Proximity Festival is the first one-on-one intimate performance platform of its kind in Australia. Co-founded in 2011 by James Berlyn, Sarah Rowbottam and Kelli Mccluskey, Proximity Festival provides critical peer support, encouraging artists from all disciplines to experiment with new modes of practice in the creation of participatory art.
As an artist-led initiative, it provides independent artists with a chance to take creative risks, push their practice and make cost effective, portable, small-scale work that can be packed in a suitcase and toured. Proximity aims to provide audiences with transformative experiences that place them at the centre of the work, activating them to rethink what performance can be.
Each year Proximity Festival takes over a venue in its entirety and invite emerging, mid-career and established practitioners from all disciplines to re-purpose the building and seek out alternative uses for hidden, forgotten or negative spaces. Twelve artists and/or groups are curated into the program and participate in a two-week mentored, fee-free development LAB prior to the performance season.
Proximity Festival runs for two weeks and involves a curated season of intimate one-on-one performances, a Symposium of national speakers, a public masterclass and an opening event of performances by local artists. Audiences can select a program of four performances lasting 60 minutes or experience a marathon of all twelve performances around three hours.
For more information on Proximity Festival visit www.proximityfestival.com
Shannon Lyons attempts to visually ‘unpack’ the complex relationships that exist between artistic content and context in her multidisciplinary practice. She continually adapts, draws from and responds to specifically located built environments, producing works which directly reference the site where they were made or are eventually exhibited.
Lyons graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Art (Art) (First Class Honours) in 2008. She was selected to participate in the Fondazione Antonio Ratti Advanced Course in Visual Arts with visiting Professor Jimmie Durham in Como, Italy in 2004 and was a visiting scholar to the E’cole Nationale Supérieur d’Art de Dijon (ENSAD) in 2007/08. In 2012, Lyons participated in SOMA Summer in Mexico City, Mexico and, most recently, has participated in residencies at Moana Project Space (WA) and Sydney Non Objective (NSW). She is currently undertaking PhD research and is a sessional academic in the Department of Art at Curtin University.
You can find Shannon’s work at shannonlyons.net
Oli runs a small independent men’s clothing line based in Perth, Western Australia. All his graphics are hand-drawn and converted into silk screens which are then individually hand printed onto blank goods. Oli sources all his blanks from Australian providers who stock sweat shop free blanks and also produces a limited number of custom made “cut-and-sew” items.
Oli’s work places emphasis on his original designs and the ethical sourcing of all the materials that go into creating his garments.
You can find Oli’s work online at www.oliclothing.com or check them out locally at Common Ground or The Butcher Shop.
Since stumbling into the craft of filmmaking in 2000, Brendon has worked both independently and professionally in and out of Perth’s film industry. Through his company, blueJester Productions, Brendon has worked for multiple not-for-profit organisations as a writer, director, and producer – including a Filmmaker Residency with World Vision Australia.
In 2011 Brendon discovered a total disappointment in how he had come to treat filmmaking with a career focus (as he had begun it purely because he enjoyed sharing stories) and went on to shutdown his company. Since then he has concentrated on exploring the craft of storytelling with film as just one medium. His approach to storytelling is now based around alternating experiments in the process by which the story is created, rather than a concern and focus on the final creative piece. The main focus of his obsession is in challenging real people in fictional worlds and circumstances to push and explore the human condition.
His second feature length drama, The Lone Traveller, is the first of these experiments and has led to a major expansion of the experiment through an ambitious storytelling project in Rwanda, Rwandan Stories of Love. Brendon will also publish a series of eBooks over the next 18 months including a children’s novella and a collection of real and fictional stories & passages based on the internal experience of living with Bipolar and Depression.
You can find Brendon’s work at www.thejesterandthewolf.com
Nathan Beard is a West Australian-based interdisciplinary artist whose work is primarily engaged with exploring the myriad influences of his Thai-Australian cultural background. Beard graduated from Curtin University with First Class Honours in 2010 and is currently undertaking a JUMP mentorship under Michael Shaowanasai. He is also part of the collaboration The Greater Asia Co-Prosperite Sphere with Abdul Abdullah and Casey Ayres.
This instalment of Perth Artists follows Nathan during the opening of his latest exhibition, ‘Obitus’. In this body of work, the artist travels to Thailand with his mother to visit her abandoned house in Nakhon Nayok and conduct research that continues Beard’s exploration of his Thai-Australian heritage. It explores the universal themes of homecoming, memory, mortality and nostalgia through kitsch visual language (consistent with Beard’s previous shrine-based work), photographic research and found objects relevant to the site of his Thai mother’s abandoned home.
You can find Nathan Beard’s work at http://beardworks.wordpress.com
Austen Mengler is a freelance concept artist/illustrator. He completed his Bachelor of Arts majoring in Design and Illustration at Curtin University in 2011.
Austen creates warped characters, monsters and creatures in digital formats. His works draw on undertones of horror, fantasy and science-fiction. Austen has worked on online video games, film projects, horror conventions, children’s colouring books and album covers. Austen is also currently in the process of developing a graphic novel/art book entitled “Execution”.
You can find Austen Mengler’s work at www.austenmengler.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheArtofAustenMengler
Abdul-Rahman Abdullah is an emerging West Australian artist working primarily in sculpture, installation and drawing. Abdullah’s practice explores definitions and experiences of cultural identity, focusing on memory, narrative and the domestic environment to access esoteric social histories within an urban Australian environment.
Attending the Victorian College of the Arts then Curtin University, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah graduated from art school in 2012. In 2013 he was received an Artstart grant from the Australia Council, a development grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts and was selected for the Artsource Emerging Artists Program. Abdullah was a finalist in the 62nd Blake Prize, Substation Contemporary Art Prize, Fishers Ghost Art Prize and was the West Australian recipient of the Qantas Foundation Encouragement of Australian Contemporary Art Award. In 2014 he was awarded an Art and Australia / Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award and selected as a finalist in the Bankwest Art Prize, he is currently undertaking a Jump Mentorship with Alex Seton.
Abdul-Rahman Abdullah is commercially represented by Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects (VIC) and Venn Gallery (WA).
You can find Abdul-Rahman Abdullah’s work at www.abdulrahmanabdullah.com
Carla Adams is a Perth contemporary artist who is currently working on her Honours project at Curtin University. Alongside her arts practice she is the curator of the Hard Work Club: an online space that showcases early career visual artists, designers and writers.
Carla’s work focuses primarily on modern courtship and how human interaction has been warped with the introduction of digital technologies & networking (including Instagram, Omegle and Chat Roulette). Using a range of crude sculpture materials that are often regarded as “low-brow” or “crafty”, Carla’s work reflects the naivety of the online space and its users. Her work straddles an obscure; playfully unique aesthetic: A satirical poke at the world that both inspires it and encapsulates its existence.
Carla’s work can be seen online at www.carlaadams.net
Marcia D’Souza is a newly emerging Perth artist using the mediums painting, print-making and drawing to create a body of work focussed on the theme of human behaviour. Episode three of Perth Artists follows Marcia as she opens her first solo exhibition entitled Stone Cold Baby. The exhibition intimately invites the viewers into the artist’s memories – growing up alongside her brother who has passed away. Stone Cold Baby is a deeply moving look at memory, loss & the family unit.
Marcia’s work can be seen online at http://marciamarydsouza.tumblr.com
David Collins is a Perth-born photographer who studied Art at Curtin University and received first class honours in 2010. David’s work has been displayed in several exhibitions including solo shows at the Perth Centre of Photography, Linton & Kay Contemporary and Wagner Art Gallery. His work is held in several collections including the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia’s Lawrence Wilson Gallery.
David’s photography depicts contemporary characters placed carefully in dreamy surroundings that are reminiscent of renaissance paintings. You can view David’s artwork on his website davidcharlescollins.com
The complete uncut interview will become available on PerthArtists.com later into the first season.