• In/Visibility

    Exhibition 4 February to 25 February 2017

  • In/Visibility

    Exhibition 4 February to 25 February 2017

  • In/Visibility

    Exhibition 4 February to 25 February 2017

  • In/Visibility

    Exhibition 4 February to 25 February 2017

In/Visibility: Mini Graff exhibition and residency

4 February to 25 February 2017

In/Visibility: Mini Graff exhibition, residency and interviews on street art and politics

Events:

Saturday 4 February, 12 to 4 pm: Opening Talk by Mini Graff at 3 pm for Sydney East Art Walk

Saturday 11 Feb at 3 pm: Mini Graff interviews: Kurt Iveson, urban geographer

Saturday 18 February at 3 pm: Mini Graff interviews Jacqueline Millner, art writer

Saturday 25 February at 10 am: Mini Graff workshop. Materials and walls provided. Cost $50 / $30 students. Bookings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saturday 25 February at 3 pm: Mini Graff interviews Garage Graphix poster-making legends, Lin Mountstephen & Marla Guppy. Free

Garage Graphix collective worked with communities of Western Sydney on visual arts projects, graphic design and screenprinted production, producing artworks related to cultural diversity and social issues.

Lin was Garage Graphix’s Creative Director from 1981 until April 1996. Marla Guppy was artist in residence (one of several) who helped develop positive visual images of Western Sydney

Mini Graff, Unknown Rebellious Undertones, 2016.

Mini Graff, Unknown Rebellious Undertones, 2016.

Mini Graff, Poster

Mini Graff, Street posters


 

Contextual and layered, street art uses the city as an open gallery: unsanctioned and expressing rebellious undertones. This art history is unauthorised, its artists known as anon or Jill Posters or by an alias or persona such as Mini Graff. Yet, street artists play a vital role as a field critics: they inhabit the site of practice and are alert to the privatisation of public spaces. They practice at the sharp edges of otherwise invisible processes of homogenisation and exclusion. We register these subliminal or unexpected displays of cultural or social commentary often as art that appears in the 'wrong place' (Doherty, 2015), outside the narrative structure and prompts of the gallery and outside official art and commerce. In/Visibility is registered as a process and paradox.

 

Some of Mini Graff's selected 'unsanctioned' artworks are familiar friends from inner-city walls, like Mark your mark (on society), or they have been witty prompts on what is / is not public art. Edges and margins matter. Like the earlier anon Jill Posters, this is a contextual art history where rights are contested and policies hostile to street art are enforced. But our heroine will 'never give up'. In the high-visibility poster Broke, inspired by the protest scene in Wollongong and the Jobs for Women Movement (Art Resistance, 2016), a small but otherwise unbroken heroine valiantly waves a small flag. A heraldic figure for rebellious times.

 

The first world city works to eliminate the 'wrong place', focussing on reaffirming our sense of self, reflecting back a picture of a non-threatening, grounded identity — building a world of pot plants, official public art and shopping malls. Once the walls of Sydney were alive with the handiwork of many Jill Posters. This September 2017 is the 40th anniversary of Walls sometimes speak, an exhibition of posters coordinated by Chips Mackinolty and Toni Robertson, with 14 other poster makers. A small but dynamic group of artists, including some of Australia's most interesting feminist artists, continue to interrogate public space. Like Mini Graff they are deeply interested in conversation and telling the story of growing social imbalances in the urban situation. Parody, humor and social commentary are common themes in their work: ideas translated into experiments with scale, from discrete interventions to large scale installations, in the margins of public spaces. Mini Graff has long used a non-threatening quotidian persona, a 'mini Mini' whose work is to reclaim the streets and the traditions of street art. 

 

Those who are literate in reading (or talking back to) walls learn to recognise an artist's visual language. Mini Graff, for example, uses hand-cut stencils transferred with aerosol pint or seriography and craft skills of Letraset and typography. Her installations range from single colour, single stencil works to multiple stencils and colours incorporating 3D elements. Depending on the installation the site, Graff also pre-prints onto paper, stickers and wallpaper – hanging them in the place of painted stencils. Graff’s work shows how a simple treatment applied to an object rendered invisible by familiarity, such as a sign post, can return it to our awareness. Conversely a sly sticker on a monument may say 'this is not public art'.

 

Mini Graff has participated in several public art projects including MCA Art Bar (2016 with Jason Wing and Alison Alder), MAY’S Lane and Outpost, plus presented at numerous events including 7th National Print Symposium, National Gallery of Australia
 and IMPACT7 International Print Conference. She is currently working from a residency at The Cross Art Projects and with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) in California.

 

 

Mini Graff, Broke, 2016; Order disorder, 2016; Make your mark (text only), 2016; Make your mark (with brick, 3 colour), 2016; Real Australians are Aboriginal, 2015 (artists Matt F and Mini Graff); This is street art, 2015 (2 versions).

Equality Series, 2016 (4 posters). Artists: Kurt Iveson and Mini Graff. Images from Meredith Burgmann Archive.
Notes: Printed from hand dawn Equality positive, plus black and white halftone photo. Printed (matter), 2017; Not commercial, 2017.

Mini Graff, Broke, 2016. Edition: 10. crylic screen print (three stencils), 100 x 70 cm
Reference: Radical Wollongong and Jobs for Women, Art Resistance, 2016.

Make your mark (text only), 2016; Make your mark (with brick)

Real Australians are Aboriginal, 2015 (artists Matt F and Mini Graff)

Talk by Mini Graff, 4 February 2017

Talk by Mini Graff, 4 February 2017

Talk by Mini Graff, 4 February 2017

Talk by Mini Graff, 4 February 2017

Mini Graff, I’ve got the Disorder of Disorder, 2016

Mini Graff, Disorder of Disorder, 2016, 2 colour screen print on 90gsm litho

 

Garage Graphix: Lin Mountstephen and Marla Guppy

Mini Graff interviews Garage Graphix poster-making legends, Lin Mountstephen, cultural development co-ordinator & Marla Guppy, artist. Saturday 25 February at 3 pm.

Garage Graphix collective worked with communities of Western Sydney on visual arts projects, graphic design and screenprinted production, producing artworks related to cultural diversity and social issues — working mostly with women’s and Aboriginal organisations on landrights, women’s and minority rights. .

Lin Mountstephen was Garage Graphix’s Creative Director from 1981 until April 1996 — a remarkable 15 years. Marla Guppy was one of the artists in residence who, over her eight year residency, helped develop positive visual images of Western Sydney. Lin is now Cultural Development Co-ordinator at Blue Mountains Council. Marla Guppy is an independent visual artist and designer. 

As applied to the visual arts, the ideas of the 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement aimed to foster peer situations, develop women’s skills, training and also to give artists the chance to experiment and take risks. All the group’s attributions (where they appear) are by women. The Women’s Art Movement had a political idea that being a collective was a political act. Therefore, some artworks are anonymous or when to identify who made a work?

Work by Garage Graphix is rarely seen and there is not yet much written. Last year, curator  Kon Gouriotis included some print works in a show at Blacktown Art Centre called Its our thing’ Kon wrote about a GG’s exhibition at StreetLevel Gallery in Blacktown, but that was a long time ago. A major printmaking operation — that ran for a decade and a half — has disappeared.

 

Marla Guppy and Alice Hinton-Bateup, We have survived, 1987. Garage Graphix

Collection: National Gallery of Australia, prints and printmaking.
Garage Graphix, Mt Druitt, Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Prints, ink; paper screenprint, printed in colour inks, from multiple stencils Support: paper
Edition: print run unknown
Dimensions: sheet 65.0 h x 50.0 w cm

Marla Guppy and Alice Hinton-Bateup, Now let's crack the system, 1988. Garage Graphix

Collection: National Gallery of Australia, prints and printmaking.
Print, ink; paper screenprint, printed in colour inks, from multiple stencils.
Dimensions: sheet 65.0 h x 50.0 w cm
Subject: Australia, Bicentennial, 1988

 

Acknowledgements

Daiwei (David) Yao, intern /curatorial assistant, Masters of Curating, Sydney University. SCA Print Studio.

 

Collaborators

#changethedate by Sydney musician Tim Gray (Gumbaynggir) and Mini Graff (Aotearoa), Matt F., Kurt Iveson, Meredith Burgmann archive, Kristian Malloy (Letraset instruction), Michael Corridore, filmmaker.

 

Links / Downloads

May Lane Street Art Project, exhibition catalogue, 2010. Essay by Kurt Iveson, ‘Making a better city Specifically through better graffiti’ [mentions Mini Graff]. > Download pdf

Kurt Iveson, ‘The wars on graffiti and the new military urbanism’, CITY, vol. 14, nos. 1–2, 2010. > Download pdf

Kurt Iveson, ‘War is over (if you want it): rethinking the graffiti problem’, Australian Pianner, vol. 46, no. 4, 2009. > Download pdf

Therese Kenyon, 1995. Under a Hot Tin Roof: Art, Politics and Passion at the Tin Sheds Art Workshop Sydney. Sydney: State Library of New South Wales Press.

Louise Mayhew, Jill Posters Will Be Prosecuted: Australia’s women-only print collectives from the 1970s and 1980s. At Jill_Posters_will_be_prosecuted_Australi.doc

Jacqueline Millner, ‘Decentralising Cultural Capital: Recent Public Initiatives in Sydney’, Contemporary Art+Culture Broadsheet, 40.2, 2001, pp 140-141. (Includes discussion on Mini Graff and Jason Wing.) > Download pdf

Jacqueline Millner, Visual Poetics: the critical impulse in street art from Paris to Melbourne’, The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Vol 4 No 3, 2009, 303-320, 2009

Jacqueline Millner, ‘Street art aesthetics: Realism, surrealism and disruptive realism’, Hawaii International Conference of the Humanities, Hawaii, USA, January 2010

http://theorisingstreetart.com/about/dr-jacqueline-millner/

Mini Graff Interview by Jaklyn Babington

Clare Williamson, 1991. Signs of the Times: Political Posters in Queensland. South Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery.

Anna Zagala, Redback Graphix, 2008. Canberra: National Gallery of Australia.

 

Web / blog pages / podcast

B.U.G.A.  U.P. Billboard Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions. At http://www.bugaup.org/bugaup/

Cities and Citizenship by Kurt Iveson. At http://citiesandcitizenship.blogspot.com.au/

Michael Organ's Research Blog. At http://www.uow.edu.au/~morgan/

Podcast: Jaklyn Babington interviews Mini Graff and Jason Wing, 9 March 2011

 

Artists

Alison Alder at http://alisonalder.com/

Mini Graff at http://minigraff.com/

Jason Wing at http://www.jasonwing.net/