Making It New: A Focus On Contemporary Australian Art

A review of an exhibition showcasing contemporary Australian artists by Andrew Leeson, Northern Beaches Christian School.


During September to November, Making It New: A Focus On Contemporary Australian Art, curated by Glenn Barkley, was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. The exhibition displayed a great array of Australian talent including the work of SCA lecturer, Toni Warburton and artists including Alison Alder, Jon Campbell and Micky Allan.

Walking through the exhibition the artworks screamed “AUSTRALIAN” at the viewer. Works by Warburton utilised objects that are so commonly related to everyday life in Australia. Through her sculptures she redefined the preconceived ideas of these objects. The sculptural pieces created a strangely entertaining aesthetic as one piece consisted of a suspended section of a tree that was unceremoniously secured by ropes, a hook and a pulley.

The art throughout the exhibition continued along this unapologetically Australian mindset, but none of them achieved the same style, concept or presentation as Warburton and the exhibition was refreshingly devoid of a “safe bet”. During my visit to the exhibition I found myself engaged and excited at the promise of more to come from these artists and almost definitely proud to be Australian.

Image: Toni Warburton, installation view, Making it New: Focus on contemporary Australian art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Image courtesy MCA © the artist. Photograph: Jenni Carter