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Lismore Regional Gallery | Justene Williams: The Curtain Breathed Deeply

Image: Justene Williams, The Joy of Life After Matisse/Madonna/Marcel (video still), 2014. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery.
Lismore Regional Gallery is pleased to announce that a major solo exhibition of work by Justene Williams will open at the Gallery on 11 May at 6pm. The opening will be preceded by an in conversation session between the artist, Justene Williams, and Rachel Arndt (Gallery Programs & Touring Exhibitions Manager, Museums & Galleries of NSW) commencing at 5:15pm.
The Curtain Breathed Deeply is a major touring exhibition curated and developed by Artspace, Sydney and touring nationally in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW. It is an expansive new commission by Sydney based artist Justene Williams. The exhibition will transform the entirety of Lismore Regional Gallery into an intentionally chaotic, immersive and interrelated sequence of installations. Her largest and most ambitious undertaking to date, The Curtain Breathed Deeply will seduce visitors into and through a series of hypnotising sets and video installations abounding in sensory overload and cacophony.
In The Curtain Breathed Deeply Williams melds references from art history — painting greats such as Picasso, Leger and Kahlo — with a range of everyday pop cultural influences including hip hop music, Milli Vanilli and A Chorus Line. In her series of choreographed performative videos the artist draws on the rituals of Shamanism and Modernist Primitivism. Williams amasses together a collection of visual and aural curiosities through a wealth of patterns, colours, textures and tonalities, many of which draw from the artist’s own childhood. Calling upon memories of her father’s wrecking yard, her childhood training in dance, and her experiences constructing elaborate retail window displays, Williams uses found objects and waste materials to create dazzling theatrical environments.
Justene Williams elaborates: “I sometimes talk about my work or my way of working as a subtle knowledge or an emotional intelligence. I work from the heart and I’m interested in communicating visually — seeing, reading and hearing through colour and movement.”
On a more personal and sombre note, the curtain and the exhibition pay tribute to her late father — to his life and work, as well as the hospital curtain that marked the final stage of his life when he passed away from lung cancer. The exhibition is at once poignant and celebratory, acknowledging the life of a loved one whilst also taking pleasure in the movement of living, breathing beings.
For more information visit the Lismore Regional Gallery website.