SydneySarah Contos: The Bite Mark of a Butterfly
Sarah Contos’ new body of work brings together ideas concerned with object ontology, metamorphosis/transformation, existential inquiries, 1930’s monster movies and feelings of a wonderful ‘come down’ after a big night to create an incredible installation spanning the entire gallery.
In ‘The Bite Mark of a Butterfly’ physical remnants of moments passed are played out in repurposed cane furniture and leather jackets – shifting familiar forms into curious objects totally removed from their previous life’s purpose. Inanimate objects seemingly ‘come to life’ as one might imagine blurry-eyed, while waking from a slumber at 3 am.
By layering and manipulating personal artefacts and vestiges of popular culture in screen-prints, collage, textiles and assemblage, Contos draws attention to the multiplicity of meanings that reside in her choice of materials and imagery.
Sentimental nuances are manipulated into new forms and contexts that when given over to the viewer’s own associative memories – a new set of responses and emotional attachments arise.
‘The Bite Mark of a Butterfly’ is Sarah Contos’ third solo show at the gallery.
Sarah Contos was awarded the 2019 Studio Scholarship at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 2018 Contos presented a major commissioned work ‘Nikola Tesla Sends Theda Bara To Mars’ as part of the Balnaves Contemporary Intervention Series at the main foyer of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. In 2017 Contos won the inaugural $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize – now considered one of Australia’s most prestigious contemporary art awards presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia. In the same year she was also a finalist in the John Fries Memorial Prize and the Redlands Art Prize in 2017.
Contos has held solo exhibitions at the Australian Experimental Arts Foundation, Adelaide (2016); Heide Museum of Modern Art Project Space as part of Future Primitive, Melbourne (2013), MOP Projects, Sydney (2012/ 2010); and Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney (2009). Notable group shows include ‘Mine’, Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart (2019); ‘Femmage’, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2019); ‘Conscious Process’, Artbank, Sydney (2018); ‘Let’s Talk About Text’, Artbank, Sydney (2017); ‘THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG’, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (2017); ‘The Great Strike 1917′, Carriageworks, Sydney (2017); ’21st Century Heide’, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2015); ‘Contemporary Print Culture’, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2017); ‘Haze’, 4A Centre of Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2014); and ‘The Social’, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (2013).
This work was created at the Clothing Store Artist Studios, Carriageworks, Sydney and at the AGNSW Moya Dyring Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory bodySarah Contos, 'Bed', 2019, repurposed cane chairs, leather, stainless steel hardwares.