Image: Beyond the Field (still) screen printed poster by Anne Mestiz

22-Sep-2018 - 22-Sep-2018

Beyond the Field (still) Symposium

Susan Best, Fernando do Campo, Stephen Wickham CONVENOR: Anne Mestitz PANEL CHAIR: Paul Zika

Susan Best, Fernando do Campo, Stephen Wickham

CONVENOR: Anne Mestitz


DATE: Saturday 22 September, 2018

TIME: 2.00 pm

LOCATION: Contemporary Art Tasmania


In 1968 the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) staged The Field – Australia’s first comprehensive display of colour field painting and abstract sculpture. Now 50 years on –the NGV has revisited that landmark exhibition. Anne Mestitz has taken the opportunity to curate Beyond the Field (still), an exhibition of the work of seventeen artists across two venues - Moonah Arts Centre and Contemporary Art Tasmania.

Anne Mestitz has developed a program of presentations and conversation to compliment Beyond the Field (Still). Invited speakers Susan Best, Fernando do Campo, and Stephen Wickham will join with Anne and panel chair Paul Zika to reflect on the impact of the NGV exhibitions and consider the geometric abstraction and non-objective art made by artists today.

Beyond the Field (still) is an open-textured title which alludes to the nature of Reductive Abstraction itself, a concept that has no necessary or sufficient conditions and baffles with its inability to be defined but nevertheless here we are with an exhibition of Reductive Abstraction and a symposium to facilitate a discourse. Mestitz


Within his presentation Quiet & LoudStephen Wickham will consider the establishment of the Centre for Abstract and Non-Objective Art at Deakin University, The Field Revisited exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and the project #Abstraction 2018 which waspresented across five public and private venues in Melbourne. The Field Revisited was a snapshot of time and attitudes – a restaging and a reworking. #Abstraction 2018 was an opportunity to consider the current moment in art and observe what has precipitated from the vaporous past.

Stephen Wickham is an artist who works across painting, photography and printmaking.

He studied painting at the National Gallery School of Victoria (1972-74) and began printmaking at the Victorian (now Australian) Print Workshop, Melbourne in 1983, later attaining an MFA from Monash University. He held his first solo exhibition in 1982 and since this time he has exhibited extensively.

Fernando do Campo will present Speculative Geometry: post-conceptual painting and the ghosts of hard-edged abstraction. While it can be argued that all contemporary painting is functioning post-conceptually, geometric abstraction remains a visual-language through which artists continue to think and make. Disciplinary painting discourse and the art-market have unfortunately often associated this with a stylistic revival and the cyclical ‘death of painting’. Speaking through his own work alongside other artists, do Campo will consider the ways that post-conceptual practices can arrive at geometric abstraction today.

Fernando do Campo is an artist and academic at UNSW Art + Design, Sydney. In 2014 he was the inaugural John Monash Foundation Cultural Scholar, an award towards the completion of an MFA at Parsons School of Design, New York. He has presented solo exhibitions in Australia and the USA and group exhibitions internationally. Fernando do Campo is represented by Praxis Gallery, Buenos Aires & New York. 

Susan Best will discuss Geometric abstraction and beyond. The Field was Australia's key exhibition of geometric abstraction yet rarely is this exhibition contextualised alongside other movements in the southern hemisphere in this period. Best will introduce the work of three Brazilian artists: Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape, whose work begins with geometric abstraction in the 1950s and 60s but then proceeds to break entirely new ground in the area now called participatory art.

Susan Best is Professor of art history and theory and deputy director (research and postgraduate) at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She is the author of Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde (I B Tauris, 2011) and Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography (Bloomsbury, 2016).



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