Piccinini’s creatures Like Us

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Internationally celebrated Australian artist Patricia Piccinini will curate an exhibition of her works for display at Newcastle Art Gallery this summer.

Like Us is an exhibition of sculptures, paintings, drawings and video works by internationally respected Australian artist Patricia Piccinini. The exhibition, which will run from 29 November 2014 to 22 February 2015, premieres new works alongside significant pieces from the last fifteen years, including two important works from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection.

Like Us presents an immersive world where the natural and the artificial meet and mingle. At every turn the viewer encounters unexpected places and unusual occupants that are both unsettling and appealing. Piccinini’s creatures entreat us to look beyond the strangeness to search for the commonality that links all living things. Implied by the title of the exhibition, Piccinini asks her audience to consider how these creatures are in their essence, like us.

“The Gallery will become an immersive world that the viewer enters and moves through, discovering unexpected places and occupants at every turn,” says Patricia Piccinini of the exhibition.

The work is often intense, sometimes strange, sometimes beautiful, encouraging audiences to consider concepts of vulnerability, childlike innocence, notions of beauty and the implications of science, playing out the implications of the technologies that animate much of contemporary life.

Many of the works reflect on what might come from contemporary research, but in ways that are more imaginative than didactic, according to the City of Newcastle’s Cultural Director Liz Burcham.

“Patricia is inspired by the implications of science that show how closely related all earthly life is, and intrigued by the possibilities and compromises that are tied together when research is put into practice,” said Burcham. “She doesn’t try to tell people what to think; instead she offers them a space to reflect for themselves or just to wonder. Connection and empathy are at the heart of this exhibition. We are so pleased to be able to bring Like Us to the Newcastle community.”

Many of the works are creatures of one sort or another, imaginary beings that are almost possible. They are often strange, but more vulnerable than threatening. The creatures literally appeal to the audience’s empathy, they entreat the viewer to look beyond their strangeness and see the connections. This is the double meaning of the title. ‘Please like us’, the creatures implore, ‘because deep down, perhaps, you are just like us’.

 

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