News 2020


Closed for the summer break

Tolarno Galleries is now closed and will return in February 2021.

The exhibition program opens on Saturday 13 February 2021 with Justine Varga’s Tachisme, part of the PHOTO 2021 festival of international photography.

Between April and October 2020, during two Melbourne lockdowns, the Tolarno Galleries exhibition program moved completely online. Thank you to the artists, collectors and audience for making the leap with us.

If you missed any of the exhibitions at the time, visit them here:

Judy Watson memory scars, dreams and gardens
Judy Watson Cyanotypes
Andrew Browne Shoegazer
Amos Gebhardt Night Horse
Tim Johnson Parallel Universe
Peter Atkins  TV WEEK 1980-1985
Danie Mellor The Sun Also Sets
Brent Harris Peaks
Benjamin Armstrong Under the Southern Sky
Bill Henson On Beauty
Amos Gebhardt Evanescence
Justine Varga Tachisme (five works)
Brent Harris 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

Image: Justine Varga Aggregate 2018-19. Chromogenic photograph 151.5 x 120.7 cm (framed size), edition of 5 + 2 AP


Christmas Wishlist

A 2020 Christmas Wishlist of inspiring artworks by:

Brook Andrew, Brendan Huntley, Ben Quilty, Bill HensonTim JohnsonBrent Harris and Dan Moynihan.

Click here to view.

Image: BROOK ANDREW Shifted Time 2020, mixed media on Belgian linen, 150 x 127 cm


Judy Watson in the media

Judy Watson’s exhibition memory scars, dreams and gardens continues at Tolarno Galleries until 12 December.

Listen back to Judy Watson interviewed by Namila Benson on ABC RN The Art Show.

Read Tiarney Miekus’ review in The Age.

And Kerrie O’Brien’s interview in The Age.

If visiting the gallery in Melbourne is not an option, the Judy Watson Online Viewing Space is open.

Find details of all the available works, installation images and catalogue essay by Katina Davidson, A/Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art.


Gallery reopening on 13 November with Judy Watson

Tolarno Galleries will reopen to the public from 10am Friday 13 November with a limited number of visitors allowed into the exhibition in accordance with Victorian Government guidelines.
Regular opening hours resume, Tuesday to Friday 10am – 5 pm, Saturday 1pm – 4pm.

The gallery reopens with a new exhibition:

memory scars, dreams and gardens
13 November to 12 December 2020
Click to download the roomsheet or the catalogue essay by Katina Davidson.

A new urgency is present in Judy Watson’s memory scars, dreams and gardens… With matrilineal Waanyi ancestry, Watson’s artistic practice is centred in truth telling and ever informed by the archives that she mines. As observed by senior curator Hetti Perkins in a recent conversation with Judy Watson, her practice is “deeply personal, observational” and holds “simultaneously expression of the global ‘big picture’ and personal ‘small picture’”.
In the case of this body of work, the sentiment rings true. Rather than facing back into history – including researching evidence of massacres, and identifying historic cultural objects held in the bowels of overseas institutions – this body of work is rooted in her observations of the present. In Watson’s words, the works embody:

what I have seen
what I have done
where I have been
what I have made

Image: Judy Watson memory scar, cotton tree leaf, grass, brachychiton illawarra flame tree pods 2020, indigo, acrylic, graphite, pigment and acrylic binder medium on canvas, 180 x 148.5 cm


Andrew Browne ‘Shoegazer’

Online Viewing Space

Shoegazer, a diverse group of drawings made by Andrew Browne during the extended Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown, is a playful allusion to that sub-genre of indie rock, Shoegaze, but more so to the attention one pays to subjects and prompts found close at hand… almost underfoot. These somewhat introspective images are tender and intuitive encounters with observation, composition and mood.

Since the 1980s Melbourne-based Andrew Browne has established an unmistakable body of work across painting, drawing, photogravure, intaglio and lithography. Using photography as a tool, he investigates the phenomena of illumination, the poetics of the nocturne and the everyday.

His new series of drawings continues a decades’ long interest in landscape and natural phenomena, though one alienated and surreal. An uneasy tension exists within his images of organic growth and the detritus of human existence.

Image: ANDREW BROWNE Shoegazer (vacant lot) 2020, pencil on Moulin Du Gue paper, image size 37.5 x 26 cm, paper size: 76 x 56.5 cm


Amos Gebhardt

Night Horse
Online Viewing Space
13 October – 7 November 2020

Night Horse examines the powerful currents between horses as they negotiate consent and desire during mating season. The viewer is drawn inside the kinetic swirl of the herd where hooves, flicking tails, and outstretched limbs offer an intimate encounter across the species divide. Shot in the heat of a February summer’s night, on the artist’s birthday, the charged atmosphere is palpable. The photography series revisits themes explored in the video installation Lovers which premiered at the 2018 Adelaide Biennial.

Amos Gebhardt says, “The images are raw, showing the mess of body fluids and muscle, giving vivid dimensions to the physical language of the body as an archive of story, to suggest a dramatic arc in horse terms.”

Image: Amos Gebhardt Gravity archival inkjet pigment print, 122 x 146 cm, edition of 5 + 2 AP


Sydney Contemporary presents 2020


Tolarno Galleries is pleased to participate in Sydney Contemporary presents 2020 with five new works created in 2020 by A&A, Brook Andrew, Andrew Browne, Amos Gebhardt and Ben Quilty.


Pictured: Ben Quilty The Last Day 2020, oil on linen, 180 x 202 cm


Tim Johnson

Parallel Universe
Online Viewing Space
11 September to 3 October 2020

Watch the exhibition video featuring Tim Johnson in a rare glimpse inside the studio with curator-at-large Tony Magnusson.

If a painting is a portal to another dimension, then the canvases of Tim Johnson are magic carpets, each one an invitation to embark on a voyage through the acclaimed Sydney-based artist’s personal cosmology. Revealing his sustained interest in Buddhism and other Eastern traditions, these serenely composed constellations of figures, objects and symbols inhabit an exalted space free from everyday concerns.

Johnson’s first show in five years with Tolarno Galleries, which has represented him since 1987, ‘Parallel Universe’ brings together 12 new paintings, five of them made in collaboration with Daniel Bogunovic, a self-taught artist who lives in LA.

Our thanks to Thirdrow Films.



Congratulations to A&A – Adam Goodrum and Arthur Seigneur on their shortlisting for the prestigious Dezeen Awards 2020 in the furniture design category. The nomination is for Exquisite Corpse, their debut collection of three works – a tallboy, credenza and console, with each bold and innovatively designed piece finished with thousands of individual, hand-dyed strands of straw. Exquisite Corpse premiered at Tolarno Galleries in March as part of Melbourne Design Week.

Coming soon! In October, Tolarno Galleries will present a new A&A tallboy for the Sydney Contemporary ‘presents 2020’ online event.

Photograph by Victoria Zschommler.


Peter Atkins

TV Week 1980-1985
Online Viewing Space
26 August to 23 September 2020

A new series of small abstract paintings by Peter Atkins, playing on cultural memories of small screen heroes and villains from the 1980s.

TV Week 1980-1985 attempts to locate pure monochromatic colour within the specific era of the early to mid-1980s. The pastel blues and pinks along with the quintessentially ’80s fluorescent greens and yellows remind us that colour can transport us into another time and emotional space.
The sensational headline ‘Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude’ coupled with the evocative ’Inside Kamahl’s Sydney Mansion’ was the first work in the series which came from the cover of a magazine picked up in a flea market and led into the entire project as more and more magazines were sourced online.
It appeared that each magazine had increasingly more ridiculous headlines, and titles such as ‘Jamie Redfern – Liberace Was Like A Father to Me’ and ‘New Sexy Rolf Harris’ take on a different meaning, adding a somewhat sinister tone, especially when viewed through the lens of history. It’s almost impossible to look back at these magazines with their lurid headlines and storylines and not marvel at the apparent innocence of the 1980s, especially when viewed from the world’s current context.” – Peter Atkins, Melbourne, August 2020

Image: Peter Atkins’ 2019 TV Week series of paintings in his Melbourne studio. Acrylic on board, each painting 28 x 21 cm, 51.5 x 41.5 cm framed.