New installation opens at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

CHOREOGRAPHED VIDEO: Justene Williams, The Joy of Life After Matisse/Madonna/Marcel (video still), 2014. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery.
CHOREOGRAPHED VIDEO: Justene Williams, The Joy of Life After Matisse/Madonna/Marcel (video still), 2014. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery.

The Goulburn Regional Art gallery is about to be transformed into a “series of hypnotizing sets and video installations abounding in sensory overload and cacophony.”

Such is the new solo exhibition called The Curtain Breathed Deeply opening this weekend. The exhibition by Justene Williams will be opened at the gallery on Saturday, May 27 at 2pm by the artist. 

In her largest and most ambitious undertaking to date, The Curtain Breathed Deeply will seduce visitors into and through a series of hypnotizing sets and video installations abounding in sensory overload and cacophony.

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.

“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,” Williams said.

On a more personal 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.

The exhibition continues until July 8. 

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. 

The exhibition is an expansive new commission by Sydney-based artist Williams that will transform the gallery into an intentionally chaotic, immersive and interrelated sequence of installations.