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By Andrew Frost
Pop art in Australia was a rude and boisterous amalgamation of ideas, styles and methods, covering every conceivable form from collage and sculpture to painting, filmmaking, drawing, ceramics and performance, a cultural legacy that provides a rich and fetid soil for younger artists looking for a history to call their own.
Bucking the more general trend of cultural amnesia, Sarah Contos harks back to this history in her solo show My Eyes Through Your Mountains. Contos is a multidisciplinary artist working across installation, sculpture and painting, and her show captures the psychedelic bodgie ethos of artists such as Martin Sharp, Mike Brown and Richard Larter. To mark her difference, Contos fictionalizes the era into what she calls a “a pop fictional history” where “collages, sculptures and ceramics echo a 1970’s Australiana aesthetic whilst mashing up Balinese, Navajo and Kenyan tribal sensibilities.”
Sculptures include homages to Dame Joan Sutherland, Khamal and “…Olivia Newton-John’s head is precariously placed upon a railway sleeper ‐ a trophy head lamp for the hunters and admirers.” The faux-primitive iconography mixed with psychedelic colours explores the sensual affinities and erotic subtleties found in the modest folds of cultural anthropology and the brazen front of fetishism.
MOP Projects, Chippendale
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