TarraWarra Museum of Art: A Convergence of Contemporary Art and Modernist Design

Cool Sh*t, Melbourne / 8 February 2024

The TarraWarra Museum of Art, nestled in Wurundjeri Country, is set to unveil three compelling exhibitions from 23 March to 14 July 2024. Curated by Anthony Fitzpatrick, these exhibitions present a unique fusion of contemporary art and iconic modernist design.

Dana Harris, fancywork 12 from the series fancywork 2020–23. Braided nylon cord and cotton, embroidered on plastic grids, 34 x 37 cm, Courtesy of the artist

SUPERsystems: Peter Atkins and Dana Harris

The first exhibition, SUPERsystems, is a collaborative endeavour by Melbourne-based artists Peter Atkins and Dana Harris. This show marks their first joint presentation, showcasing major new works that embody a shared interest in geometry, repetition, and abstract representation.

Peter Atkins’s approach, termed ‘readymade abstraction’, transforms everyday items like movie posters and road signs into high art. His latest work dissects Maurice Binder’s iconic title sequence for ‘Dr. No’, transforming it into 92 individual paintings. Each piece stands as a unique abstraction, offering a tangible, frame-by-frame journey through the animation.

Dana Harris, meanwhile, explores urban landscapes through intricate hand-embroidered panels in her project ‘fancywork’. Inspired by the deserted streets of Melbourne during the COVID–19 lockdowns, Harris’s work captures the evolving rhythms and connections within the city’s architecture.

Peter Atkins Dr. No (after Maurice Binder) 2020–23 (detail) synthetic polymer paint on board. 92 panels: 28 x 46 cm each Courtesy of the artist, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and GAGProjects, Adelaide

The Industrial Design of Clement Meadmore: The Harris/Atkins Collection

The second exhibition, The Industrial Design of Clement Meadmore, delves into the world of the celebrated sculptor and designer. This comprehensive collection, meticulously assembled by Atkins and Harris, showcases Meadmore’s innovative use of materials like steel, glass, and plywood. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the depth of Meadmore’s design ethos.

Systems and Structures: A Focus on the TarraWarra Museum of Art Collection

Systems and Structures, the third exhibition, highlights abstract painting and sculpture from the Museum’s collection. Featuring works by artists such as Robert Hunter and Rosalie Gascoigne, this exhibition explores the diverse ways in which artists use patterns and geometry in their work.

John Nixon, Polychrome Painting 2006 , enamel on composition board . TarraWarra Museum of Art collection , Purchased 2007  

Engaging Programming and Events

Complementing the exhibitions, the 2024 TarraWarra Festival from 4 to 5 May will feature Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. This performance, set amidst the Systems and Structures exhibition, promises an immersive artistic experience. Furthermore, an exclusive event, ‘An Afternoon with Peter Atkins and Dana Harris’, scheduled for 21 April 2024, offers insights into the artists’ practices and Clement Meadmore’s legacy.

Clement Meadmore, Wire Chair (model DC601A) c. 1958, (co-designer Michael Hirst) plastic-coated steel, vinyl and rubber. 2 x 41 x 57 cm, Harris/Atkins Collection


Visit TarraWarra Museum of Art

These exhibitions at TarraWarra Museum of Art not only highlight the talent of contemporary Australian artists but also offer a deeper understanding of the interplay between art and design. For art enthusiasts and the general public alike, this is a cultural experience not to be missed.

Hilarie Mais  Bay 2001, oil paint on wood. 127.2 x 244.8 x 4 cm. TarraWarra Museum of Art collection. Gift of Eva Besen AO and Marc Besen AO.  Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2012 © Hilarie Mais