The MCA Australia has announced the seven artists exhibiting in Primavera 2015 and several UNSW A&D students, alumni and staff are among the artists to watch for.     

The young artists in this year’s exhibition include UNSW A&D Master of Fine Arts student Abdul Abdullah, Bachelor of Design graduate Lucy Simpson and brothers Vincent & Vaughan O’Connor. Vincent is currently a PhD candidate and Vaughan graduated with a Master of Arts Administration (now a Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership). He currently works at UNSW Galleries in the role of Assistant Curator.

Primavera is the MCA’s high profile annual exhibition of young Australian artists aged 35 and under. Since 1992, the Primavera series has showcased the works of artists and curators in the early stages of their career, many of who go on to exhibit nationally and internationally. In 2015, Primavera celebrates its 24th edition.

This year Primavera is curated by Nicole Foreshew, a Sydney-based artist and member of the Wiradjuri Nation in Central West. In 2014, Foreshew was awarded the Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize, a partnership award with Campbelltown Arts Centre, Arts NSW and UNSW Art & Design.

Foreshew has worked with the artists in this year’s Primavera to create installation and assemblages consisting of earth materials, sound design, and video. All the work is preoccupied with strategies of survival and the revival of forms of cultural production.

Vincent and Vaughan O’Connor’s work Millionth Acre is a multi-layered assemblage that traces geological formations, different relationships of land use, and the impact of human activity on the eponymous forest pine plantation situated in the Oberon area of Central West NSW. “Because it’s a state forest it operates very differently to a national forest. It's a constructed natural space (Radiata pine), so it poses some interesting problems around the idea of authenticity within the Australian landscape. The works attempts to visualise, spatialise and sonify some of these histories, through connected fragments and recordings taken during numerous site visits."

The brother’s work is a meeting place for different emerging technologies and associated fascinations. Vincent’s area of research for his PhD is plant bioacoustics; Vaughan works with holograms produced from geological scans of the site. The result is a highly technologised excavation using sound, holograms, 3D printing and custom electronics to visualise the cultural, material and temporal layers of the Central West.

As Vaughan says, being involved with Primavera this year is inspiring, not only because of its rich beauty but ‘quiet politics’.

“It’s a real departure for Primavera because the curatorial focus is so specific. It’s a very aesthetic show but it has diverse social, cultural and political and significances as well”.

Check out Vincent O'Connor's research into plant bioacoustics here.You can learn more about Vincent O’Connor’s PhD research into the interaction of technology and botany by artists at the Energies in the Arts Conference from 13-15 August, part of the Energies: Haines and Hinterding exhibition currently on at the MCA.

Primavera opens on 22 September and runs until 6 December. 

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