John Demos: At the Big Fag Press — 31 October to 3 November 2013


Opening celebration: 3pm on Sunday 3 November
Speaker: Josie Cavallero, Accessible Arts

Demos's work focuses on concepts of home, territory and belonging, using written text and symbolic imagery. On view at The Cross Art Projects is a selection of the prints produced in collaboration with a residency at the FAG offset lithographic proofing press in Woolloomooloo. Emerging flimmaker Josh Charles has documented John Demos's Supported Studio residency.

The Cross Art Projects celebrates ten years in Kings Cross with John Demos's exhibition, the outcome of his experimental residency with Big Fag Press in Woolloomooloo, part of a wider celebration of the Supported Studio Network and Accessible Arts.


John Demos describes the institutions and social structures he encounters by transforming their names or signifiers into the very forms and fabric of his prints, paintings, drawings and objects. His intellectual concern is to describe how these structures work and influence its most humble citizens — usually by process of inclusion or exclusion.


Like John Demos, the 'self-taught' artist Gina Sinozich, whose work inaugurated the new concept space in late September 2003 with her series The Iraq War Paintings, carries her message via the device of autobiography. Her response to the American invasion of Iraq was a profound and chilling historical document on suffering as spectacle and the catastrophic impact of war on innocent people.


Their creative work reached wider audiences with the helping hands of remarkable organisations. In 2003, Gina Sinozich was mentored by curator Peter Fay and the director of Casula Powerhouse, Kon Gouriotis. John Demos worked in collaboration with Louise Anderson, Diego Bonetto and Lucas Ihlein at Big Fag Press assisted by Kristina Tito at Project Insideout.




Video: John Demos at The Big Fag Press: doco by Josh Charles.



John Demos's creative process and collaboration with Big Fag Press involved the development of original artworks in The Firstdraft Gallery project space using a variety of mediums including ink, pastel, drawing and pens on paper. Artworks were selected to be printed by the Big Fag Press and involved pre-press design and plate-making from the original works.


In the relational hothouse of such studio encounters, avant-garde artists may well find inspiration from outsiders and vice versa. Sinozich and Demos are talented artists who are clever social commentators whose engaging works may well transform our art heritage. Celebrating their creativity reminds us of the importance of maintaining public access at all levels to cultural institutions, including by assisting 'outsiders' to access these gateways. The Cross Art Projects is pleased to continue exploring contemporary work and curatorial projects such as this collaborative residency that reflects the multiple relationships between art and life, art and the public sphere, and the boundaries of this context.


This event correlates with the Accessible Arts forum titled Supported Studios: Possibility and Potential, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, on 7 November 2013. This forum will be facilitated by Lucas Ihlein, Big Fag Press co-director, and presenting panellists John Demos and Louise Kate Anderson, Big Fag Press associate partner.


The project has been a collaboration and artist mentorship between artist John Demos, Project Insideout (a supported studio), and Big Fag Press. Demos has created a new body of work supported by the professional development grant and Amplify Your Art. Lithographic printing has enabled John's experimental works, assisted by the generous support of K.W. Doggett Papers layering and ink colours during the printing process.




John Demos, Home, 2013. FAG offset lithographic proofing press. John Demos, FAG residency, Firstdraft Depot, 2013. Photo Louise Anderson.


John Demos, Home, 2013, FAG offset lithographic proofing press.    


John Demos, installation view, 2013. John Demos, installation view, 2013.



Realtime Arts,  no 118 Enabling Art, December 2013, 'Finding a place in the art world: John Demos at Big Fag Press' by Lucas Ihlein: