Art & Design

Art Beat | Every Art Show You Need To See In January

By Emma O'Neill
18th Jan 2019

Art Beat January 2019 | Urban List

Escape the summer heatwave and ease back into the swing of the year with a few art shows to get you thinking and get you 'gramming.

Here are the exhibitions you should check out in January. 


For any gallery-goer with a desire to dip their toes in the Sydney contemporary art scene, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery should be on the top of their must-visit list. Operating since 1982, this iconic Sydney gallery is one of the cornerstones of the city’s commercial art world, and one of the few galleries opens during the early weeks of January.

The latest show Blessings, features their ninth solo show of artist Nell. The show’s title is borrowed from a book authored by late Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue and remixes his Celtic spirituality with pop songs such as Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye, Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain and the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.


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The artworks are witty, dark and full of energy—retelling lyrics with large textbase mixed media on canvas, or featuring egg-heads that emanate AC/DC lightning bolts, Nell yokes eclectic influences of rock’n’roll, Buddhist philosophy and Celtic poetry to an entirely new artistic tune.

What: Blessings
When: Until 19 January, 2019
Where: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Borrowed Scenery

Though 75% of Australian arts graduates are female-identifying, only 34% of the artists represented in our state museum and gallery collections are female-identifying. It is the work of The Countess Report that unveils such disappointing stats like these. Made up of artist Elvis Richardson, Amy Prcevich and Miranda Samuels, The Countess Report began as an anonymous blog in 2008, and has now become an internationally recognised benchmark report on the representation of women in the arts.

Though they cannot right all the wrongs, in response to such findings Campbelltown Arts Centre presents Borrowed Scenery this January celebrating women as makers instead of muses.

The show presents their existing collection of more than 50 works including ceramics, weavings, sculpture, paintings, prints and new media as well as a fresh commission by The Countess Report. Big names include Ildiko Kovacs, Elisabeth Cummings, Eunice Napanangka, Hilarie Mais, Pip Drysdale and the late Bronwyn Oliver. After a 2018 full of feminist uprising, Campbelltown Arts Centre is continuing the conversation in 2019.

What: Borrowed Scenery
When: Until 10 March 2019
Where: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Akira Isogawa

Sceptics would deny the spiritual connection one can have with clothes, and maybe change their mind upon viewing Akira Isogawa’s work.

“As a designer, I want to make things that are emotionally or spiritually connected to people,” he says. Born in Kyoto in 1964, Isogawa moved to Sydney aged 21 on a working holiday visa and has since become one of the country’s most celebrated fashion designers. Though a heavyweight on the Australian fashion scene, his work still draws from Japanese apparel such as the kimono and the hakama as well as using distinctly Japanese techniques of shibori dyeing, origami folding, embroidery and hand painting. A regular at Paris fashion week, Isogawa’s romantic silhouettes have also regularly graced the stage of The Australian Ballet in collaboration with choreographer Graeme Murphy.


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For Akira Isogawa, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences explores the special blend of creative impulses, background and cultural influences that knit Japanese aesthetics with Australian ease in his work. 

What: Akira Isogawa
When: Until 10 March 2019
Where: Powerhouse Museum


By the end of January, we’re guessing you may need events like Immerse to bring you back to the bliss of summer holidays. Held as a part of Sydney Festival, the interactive installation features a 360-degree video projection that morphs and changes in response to musical performances.

The playlist is as varied as the artwork’s responses. Harking back to classical works of Bach, Benjamin Britten and Brett Dean, cellist Thomas Rann and violist James Wannan will produce entirely new songs, alongside electronic tunes by Robert Sasdov and Felicity Wilcox. Designers Matt Hughes, Adam Bursill and Jaime Garcia have created a 360-degree video projection that literally moves and shakes to the music whether it is classic or contemporary—increasing in complexity and intensity as each song progresses to produce a mini-world of sound, music and colour. Stand back and let the art do the dancing for you.

What: Immerse
When: 23-25 January, 2019
Where: University of Technology, Sydney

Want more art? Add these blockbuster exhibitions to your calendar in 2019. 

Image credit: Akira Isogawa. 

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