2010 PENNY BYRNE: ILL-GOTTEN GAINS
Taking her title from the ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”, Melbourne based artist, Penny Byrne has plenty to talk about in her forthcoming exhibition. A practicing conservator, Byrne restores the glass and ceramics of Australia’s top museums. As an artist she uses these accomplished skills to manipulate and reconfigure vintage ceramic figurines. The results are politically charged and exquisitely beautiful objects as Byrne subverts the innocence of the original piece, tackling political, social and environmental issues, whilst imbuing them with a hearty dose of humour and wit. Her works are ‘like a swift, sharp slap to the face: heavy handed and straight to the point’ Tracey Clement Artlink, vol 27 #2, 2007, p.93
Subjects Byrne tackles in the exhibition are wide ranging - from the Global Financial crisis, to Australia’s 2009 Venice Biennale representative, Shaun Gladwell. In the upstairs gallery, Byrne will present, The Four Horsemen of the 21st century Apocalypse. Four reproduction Tang horses are mounted by action men – each horse and rider meticulously armored and adorned to represent the disasters that threaten our very existence: Peak Oil, Water Scarcity, Over Population and Food Shortages (see above). This will be her most ambitious project to date, and we are pleased to announce has been acquired by Shepparton Art Gallery. Works from this exhibition have also been acquired by Newcastle Region Art Gallery and Art Gallery of Ballarat.