The notion of ‘void’ is explored by contemporary Aboriginal artists who work in a range of media from ceramics to video, painting, sculpture and photography. ‘Indigenous artists are innovative, constantly changing and finding new ways to articulate old ways,’ explains curator Emily McDaniel, from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri nation in central New South Wales. ‘These artists are engaging with art as a visual and a metaphorical means to articulate the complexity of their experiences.’

Artists such as Pepai Jangala Carroll, Jonathan Jones, Mabel Juli, John Mawurndjul AM, Hayley Millar-Baker, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Rusty Peters, Doreen Reid Nakamarra, Andy Snelgar, Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher AO, Freddie Timms, James Tylor, Jennifer Wurrkidj, and Josephine Wurrkidj, do not merely define the void as denoting vacancy; instead, they utilise form to represent the formless.

James Tylor, (Erased) From an Untouched Landscape #10, 2013. Courtesy the artist and UTS Gallery, Sydney

‘The void is a politicised space that cannot be defined as simply an absence or a presence. It is the space between distinct worldviews, which implicates our ways of seeing, understanding and knowing. As a spatial notion, the void holds misconceptions of vacuity and emptiness; a mark of the unseen, the unknown or the undefined. In ‘Void’, this notion stands in opposition to the reality of each artist’s understanding; that the void is always occupied by meaning and contains personal, historical and ancestral significance,’ writes McDaniel in the show’s accompanying catalogue essay. She concludes, ‘The void is a complex space of exclusion and inclusion, definition and deliberate ambiguity. But as these artists demonstrate, the void is always lived upon, navigated and known even as it remains unseen, unknown and undefined.’

Void, curated by Emily McDaniel, (installation view) UTS Gallery, 25 September to 16 November 2018; Hayley Millar-Baker, Meeyn Meerreeng (Country at Night), 2017. Photograph: Jessica Maurer Photography

In conjunction with UTS Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, presented nationally by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

UTS Gallery
25 September to 16 November 2018

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
6 December, 2019 to 2 February, 2020
New South Wales

Canberra Museum and Gallery
15 February to 1 August 2020
Australian Capital Territory

Geraldton Regional Art Gallery
22 August to 26 September 2020
Western Australia

Bendigo Art Gallery
21 November 2020 to 31 January 2021

Newcastle Art Gallery
13 February to 18 April 2021
New South Wales

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre
8 May to 4 July 2021
New South Wales

Artspace Mackay
23 July to 17 October 2021

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
6 November 2021 to 30 January 2022
New South Wales