VCA Art Grad Show: The future of art making in Australia on display

Elena Misso, studio wall, colour darkroom printing, 2022
Elena Misso, studio wall, colour darkroom printing, 2022

The 23 November marks the celebrated return of the VCA Art Grad Show, featuring new works by the graduating cohort of Art students.

With more than 140 ambitious and thought-provoking projects on display, the 2022 Art Grad Show is a snapshot of the future of artmaking in Australia, introducing the next generation of artists to the world.

Bold in both scope and scale, the exhibition reaches across the University of Melbourne's Southbank campus, spanning the VCA Art Studios, the Fiona and Sidney Myer Gallery, the Stables, and the Performing Arts spaces.

The show is an extraordinary display of art across various contemporary disciplines, including painting, sculpture, installation, video, performance, photography, printmaking and more.

Head of Art at the VCA, Associate Professor Simone Slee, said: "This year’s show is a dynamic survey of new art engaging with the most pressing concerns of our times. Ranging from large-scale installations through to intimate moments of quiet reflection, this show highlights the limitless creativity and talent of the emerging artists at VCA Art.”

2022 VCA Art Grad Show. Image credit: Drew Echberg

The show's never-before-seen works include a compelling suite of linocut prints and wood carvings by Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drawing and Printmaking) student James Farrar.

Farrar, whose work follows a personal journey of self-discovery, said he was inspired by his experiences as an adopted Korean male living in Australia.

"The works on display are allegorical and adapt mythology and folklore to my personal context. I have combined images of dance, movement, music, and war with the medium of printmaking to convey my journey of searching for an Australian-Korean identity," said Farrar.

Also displaying new work at this year's show is Honours graduating student Tara Denny.

“I am a sculptor working with bronze, found metals, ceramics, and found objects with personal significance as my works are often autobiographical and draw on fictional elements,” said Denny.

“My work in this show is a love letter. Scrawled into the surface of these works is a diary-like scribble, concealing and revealing queer desire. Through these sculptures, I meditate on love, poetry, and the ageing process.”

The Grad Show is a tremendous occasion for many of this year’s graduating cohort, who spent prolonged periods of their degree in isolation and lockdown.

Master of Fine Art graduating student, Katie Paine is excited to be showcasing her work to live audiences.

"I made a lot of this work in the loungeroom of my apartment because of covid, so I'm excited to present it to the public finally," said Paine.

Paine’s work is a striking large-scale installation of specially built structures adorned to mimic hospital machinery and medical paraphernalia. Her work explores institutions such science and medicine and draws inspiration from the large parts of her life spent in hospitals.

"This project is three years in the making," said Paine. “It's surreal to be able to celebrate so many months of research, writing, and making, and to see it culminate in such a large-scale exhibition."

VCA Art Grad Show. Image credit: Drew Echberg

Paine, Denny and Farrar's works will appear alongside the work of other graduating students in a special online catalogue launching to the public on December 14.

The digital catalogue will feature a film of the exhibition and list the winners of the 2022 Art Awards, which recognise this year’s most outstanding graduating Art students.

Audiences can also purchase a unique piece of contemporary art at the exhibition, with many works on sale to the public.

The 2022 VCA Art Grad Show is on display from November 23 to December 1 at the University of Melbourne Southbank campus and will be open between 11am - 5pm daily. Read more and organise your visit