Chronic Manageable Conditions

Opening Friday 27 May, 6-8pm

The works in Chronic Manageable Conditions began on a journey where I recovered from a debilitating medical condition.

In order to avoid the grand history of painting, I enjoyed an indulgence in drawing, or making works on paper, partly inspired in this direction by exposure to the graphic work of artists from Jogjakarta while I was living in Indonesia. Drawing, in this project, is direct, responsive, immediate and raw. It is a form of thinking out loud, and can also engage the body in a physical way, outside of the frame. I respond to this immediacy as a metaphor for living in Darwin, compelling us to be in the moment. I observe artists revelling in the margins here, dancing to our own tune.

I prefer a messier subjectivity, something that can contain a multitude of ideas and aspirations, be it identity politics, romantic expression, thought bubbles, dreamscapes, surreal associations, queerness, responses to the street, media and screen life, to the daily complexities of contemporary life. This ability to respond is important to me, against the barrage of info and power operations we are otherwise compelled to ingest. Once I began this project, it took on a life of its own, digging out moments in a contested realm of visions; in some cases digging out old diaries from my art school days for source material.

Recurrent themes seep up in clusters: racial politics, sexual politics and pleasures, (the queering of) native flora and fauna, the body, mortality, my Catholic upbringing, my life as a hyphen – a space in-between. These also reflect an ecology of childhood. I am a war baby, Mum being from North Vietnam and Dad being an officer in the RAAF. A marriage of enemies, apparently, with its own rich baggage.

Andy Ewing has worked as an artist, curator, and arts project manager over the past two decades. He undertook formal studies in visual art in Sydney during the late 1980s/early 1990s and soon after held his first solo exhibition in Sydney. Chronic Manageable Conditions represents his first solo exhibition in a public art gallery and a concerted return to his practice after a long hiatus. His curatorial achievements include Monster Pop!, Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, 2015/15 (co-curated with Fiona Carter), and Territorial, NCCA/Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 2007 (co-curated with David Broker). In 2015 Andy was judged overall winner of NCCA’s Members’ show (Milestone) and of Darwin’s annual Art of Pride exhibition. Andy belongs to Yum Cha Arts collective which focuses on multi-artform projects, developing and producing collaborations with Asian and NT artists. www.yumchaarts.org

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