Image: Emma Fielden, States of Matter, 2018, courtesy Parramatta Artists’ Studios
3 August to 9 September 2023
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
In partnership with Parramatta Artists’ Studios, Blacktown Arts are thrilled to introduce, The Unseen.
The Unseen explores the invisible qualities of our world as a metaphor for personal or collective reflection. Parramatta Artists’ Studios artists and alumni Emma Fielden, James Nguyen, Emily Parsons-Lord, Owen Leong and Lisa Sammut, present a contemplative and deeply felt examination of the intangible qualities of memory, cosmos, and sensation.
The exhibition brings together works that handle and express this theme through video, sculpture, collage and installation. Through a range of approaches, the exhibition shows that the unseen can be imagined through expansive and intimate gestures alike.
In addition to the exhibition, The Unseen will feature a range of engaging public programs that allow visitors to interact with the artists and their works.
Please see the public program below.
About Parramatta Artists’ Studios
Parramatta Artists’ Studios (PAS) empowers and equips artists to build thriving and sustainable creative lives. They nurture ideas and experimentation, supporting artists to take risks. They work to establish and strengthen peer and professional communities in the contemporary art sector.
PAS have supported hundreds of artists since opening in 2006 and have a growing community of alumni who are at the forefront of contemporary artistic practice in Australia.
Through supported studio facilities in Granville (upcoming) and Rydalmere, as well as digital residencies, PAS offers studio tenancies, residencies, career development opportunities and community-connected programs. These programs connect artists with Parramatta’s wider communities and contribute to its vibrant culture.
PAS is an initiative of the City of Parramatta and is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.
The Unseen Public Program
The Unseen Opening Event
Friday 4 August, 6 pm to 8 pm
Celebrate the opening of the exhibition with a live installation performance by Emma Fielden with Lizzie Thomson, and music by DJ Del Lumanta. Refreshments provided.
The Unseen Opening Weekend
Saturday 5 August, 10 am to 5 pm
Join us for an exciting weekend program with the artists of The Unseen.
Image: Fireworks by Emily Parsons-Lord, photo by Jacqui Manning
States of Matter with Emma Fielden and Lizzie Thomson
10 am to 4 pm
A mesmerising live activation by Emma Fielden and Lizzie Thomson who collaborate to install the artwork States of Matter.
Join us throughout the day to witness the first phase of this transformative installation, then return on Saturday 19 August for the second phase performance.
No registration required.
Handheld fireworks with Emily Parsons-Lord
10.30 am to noon
Emily Parsons-Lord’s activation traces the journey of the elements, from their creation in cosmic-sized explosions to how they explode on Earth.
We will speak about the explosions that are above our heads and below our feet, and then experiment with some in our hands.
For anyone with an interest in the stars and how the elements are made.
Suitable for ages 8+
No experience required. All materials provided.
Tea Ceremony with James Nguyen
12 pm to 1 pm
Savour a cup of tea with James Nguyen as he shares the tale of how he brought cherished tea from his ancestral lands, and how it is harvested and prepared by his own family.
No registration required.
The Unseen Performance and Panel Discussion
Saturday 19 August, 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm
Witness a performance followed by an engaging artist discussion.
Image: Emma Fielden, courtesy of Parramatta Artists’ Studios
States of Matter
1 pm to 2 pm
Emma Fielden and Lizzie Thomson return to The Unseen exhibition with the States of Matter: Cutting the Thread performance.
The Unseen Panel Discussion
2.30 pm to 3.30 pm
Join artists, Emma Fielden, Owen Leong, Lisa Sammut for a panel discussion about The Unseen exhibition, led by curator, Liz Chang.
Emily Parsons-Lord is an emerging cross-disciplinary artist whose practice is informed by research and critical dialogue with materials and climate science, through investigation into air, both materially and culturally. Parsons-Lord has exhibited nationally and internationally, participating in Wenn der wind weht, Kunsthaus, Vienna (2022), From impulse to action, Bundanon Art Museum, NSW (2021); 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Beijing Studio Program (2019); Then let us run (the sky is falling), Vitalstatistix, Adelaide (2018); John Fries Award, UNSW Galleries, Sydney (2018); NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship, Artspace, Sydney (2017); Liveworks, Carriageworks, Sydney (2017); A BROKEN LINK, Central St Martin’s, London (2017); Bristol Biennial 2016: in other worlds, United Kingdom (2016); Primavera 2016: young Australian artists, MCA Australia, Sydney (2016); and Tedx, Sydney (2016). In 2020, Parsons-Lord was the Major Prize Winner in the Churchie Emerging Art Award at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.
For more info on Emily visit the website here
Image: Emily Parsons-Lord by Andrew Vincent
Emma Fielden’s multidisciplinary art practice explores materiality, cosmology, human connection and disconnection. She initially studied music, then contemporary jewellery, and is currently working on a Masters of Fine Art (Research) at the University of New South Wales. Fielden’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions since 2007. She has received numerous grants and awards, including the 2018 Art Omi Australia Committee Fellowship (New York residency) and the 2017 Paramor Prize Mayoral Award. She was a resident at Parramatta Artists’ Studios from 2016 to 2018 and Parramatta Artists’ Studios Rydalmere from 2019 to 2021. Emma is represented by Dominik Mersch Gallery (Sydney).
Image: Emma Fielden by Anna Kucera
James Nguyen has been the recipient of several prizes and awards, including the Clitheroe Foundation Scholarship, the Nillumbik Art Prize for Contemporary Art, and the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship. His work has been included in group exhibitions across Australia, including The National in 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include Re:Tuning, (with Victoria Pham and collaborators, forthcoming at the Sydney Opera House), 2022, Re.Sounding, (with Victoria Pham and collaborators), Samstag Museum, Adelaide, 2021, Homesickness, (with Nguyen Thi Kim Nhung) a commission by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 2018; and BuffaloDeer, (with Nguyen Ngoc Cu) Westspace, Melbourne 2016.
Image: James Nguyen, courtesy the artist
Lisa Sammut’s practice encompasses sculpture, light, video and installation. Using a wide range of media, her poetic works explore and oscillate between themes of perspective, belonging, connection and time to bring the human condition and cosmic forces into close relationship.
She has exhibited widely in Australia, with recent solo exhibitions including HIGH LOOM, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2019), a monumental echo, Firstdraft (2018), tapestries for galaxies, Verge Gallery (2017), for the time being, Bus Projects (2016) and every now and then, Firstdraft (2015). Lisa has participated in numerous group shows including The National 2021: New Australian Art, Art Gallery of NSW (2021), 20:20, Murray Art Museum Albury (2020), and Other Suns, Fremantle Arts Centre (2019). Lisa has been the recipient of the Churchie Emerging Art Sam Whiteley Memorial Prize and Sainsbury Sculpture Grant. She was a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize (2021) and John Fries Award (2018). Her work is held in numerous collections including Artbank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the University of New South Wales as well as private collections in Australia & Germany. Lisa was also a founding co-director at Archive_ ARI (2013-2015).
Image: Lisa Sammut by Jacquie Manning
Owen Leong is a contemporary artist working with sculpture, photography, video and performance. He uses personal mythologies to explore systems of power, culture and representation. His artworks employ forces of creation and destruction to investigate the cyclical nature of order and chaos, and to reflect more universal aspects of human nature.
Leong’s work has been exhibited widely in Australia and internationally including the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Art Gallery of South Australia; Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre; Monash Gallery of Art; 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; Singapore Art Museum; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen; and the National Museum of Poznan, Poland. His work is held in the public collections of the Australia Council for the Arts, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, Gold Coast City Gallery, Murray Art Museum Albury, Newcastle Art Gallery, University of Salford Art Collection UK, and private collections in Australia and internationally.
Image: Owen Leong by Zan Wimberley
Liz Chang is Curator and Artist Development at Parramatta Artists’ Studios. She specialises in commissioning new works for unconventional exhibition spaces and developing meaningful engagement programs for artists and communities. At Parramatta Artists’ Studios she has developed the flagship artist development program, Movers and Makers, initiated the PAS Alumni program and commissioned numerous works for PAS and festivals such as Parramatta Lanes.
She was previously Curator at Urban Art Projects, Shanghai where she delivered permanent public art projects by Jason Bruges Studio (Chengdu), Tom Claasen (Wuhan), Stephen Ormandy and Belinda Smith (Shenzhen), and Nod Young (Shanghai).
Her sector experience also includes roles at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Lindy Lee Studio and Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre. She is currently based between Kubbi Kubbi/Gubbi Gubbi and Darug country.
Image: Liz Chang courtesy of Parramatta Artists Studios
The Unseen is presented by Blacktown Arts in partnership with Parramatta Artists’ Studios and Parramatta City Council, with support by the NSW Government through Create NSW and Blacktown City Council.