September 15 – October 22
Fort Delta is pleased to announce ‘Leather Seats’ an exhibition of new work by Melbourne-based artist Gian Manik. Leather Seats will occupy the mid-chamber of the gallery, flanked by Stephen Gibeltt’s concurrent exhibition ‘Other Paintings’ presented at the front and rear of the gallery. An opening reception for both exhibitions will be held on Thursday September 15 between 6.00 – 8.00pm, with the exhibition remaining on view until Saturday October 15.
In Gian Manik’s first solo exhibition at Fort Delta, ‘Leather Seats’, the viewer is presented with a set of conceptual and iconographical impulses new to the artist’s practice, explored in a series of highly gestural, colour oriented paintings. Comprising both stretched and un-stretched canvases, in a variety of scales and formats, these paintings serve as assorted, yet interconnected examinations of one commonly overlooked symbol in our daily lives: the imprint of human weight left on seating after the occupant has vacated their post. Arse prints on leather seats.
Referencing photographs a friend had taken for the artist showing imprints left on leather upholstered ottomans at GOMA, Brisbane, Manik has developed this subject in his paintings to form heroic and unexpectedly energetic studies of human presence, their built environments and the notion of transience. The seats were chosen by Manik’s friend to send to him due to their silverly, reflective qualities; mirrored and foiled surfaces being Manik’s area of visual representation for many years. Where the static photographs of the luminous and rippled creases showed calm, sombre scenes, Manik’s paintings represent movement, anxiety and exaggerated forms, making full use of the medium of oil painting.
The significance of arse imprints in denoting human referents is given particular scope in ‘Leather Seats’. The semiotician Umberto Eco has written of the role of imprints, or clues, as signifying not individual presence, but a generalised or even collective human presence: ‘When looking at the footprint on the island, Robinson Crusoe was not able to think about an individual. He detected <human beings>.’ So too does the viewer of Manik’s paintings detect the presence of anonymous humans at an art gallery, represented not realistically but imaginatively. Manik’s work characteristically approaches abstraction, without fully relinquishing representational forms.
Gian Manik graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University in 2012 and has since shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions across Australia. Selected solo exhibitions have included Ventilation and Natural Light, Artereal, Sydney, 2015; First Outside, Inside Last, Caves, Melbourne, 2015; Umbrella, Anna Pappas, Melbourne, 2015; Foils Utopian Slumps, Melbourne, 2014, Big Recorder, ALASKA Projects, Sydney, 2013; and The Retreat to Representation, Venn Gallery, Perth; 2012. Selected group exhibitions include Painting, More Painting, ACCA, Melbourne; 2016, Farewell to Function, Gian Manik and Koji Ryui, Twenty Thirty Seven, Curated by Consuelo Cavaniglia, Sydney, 2015; Y3K Biennale, Curated by Christopher LG Hill, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne, 2014; Fresh Paint, Sutton Project Space, Melbourne, 2012. He recently participated with Fort Delta at the Spring 1883 Art Fair. He was awarded the Gunnery prize from Artspace, Sydney in 2009 and was a finalist in the Joondalup Art Award also in 2009. His work is held the collections of Artbank, Australia, The Art Gallery of Western Australia and various other private collections.