The ants are in the idiom is a presentation of newly commissioned work by Australian-born, London-based artist Susan Jacobs. A meditation on the relationship between language and matter, the exhibition is an expansive sculptural environment that draws the viewer into a web of visual riddles.
Jacobs poetic approach to materials is underpinned by research into systems of thought that have shapedand mis-shapedhuman knowledge. Playful allusions to science, psychology and mythology jostle with visual puns and word games. Enlivened by the imaginative potential of misinterpretation, the exhibition is a rhizomatic sculptural network that stimulates a process of associative looking in the viewer.
The artist has developed this work over several years, experimenting with materials in her studio to articulate a sculptural language informed by cumulative layers of environmental observation and historical research. The ants are in the idiom could be read as an allegory for a way of working as an artist or, on a more universal level, for the human drive to make meaning of our surroundings.
Curated by Jacqueline Doughty.
The development of this exhibition was supported by an Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship.
Susan Jacobs: The Ants are in the Idiom is on view at Buxton Contemporary
on Level 1, with Still Life exhibition on Level 2.
Buxton Contemporary opened in 2018 at the University of Melbournes art school, the Victorian College of the Arts. Designed by renowned architects Fender Katsalidis, the museum is comprised of four public exhibition galleries, teaching facilities, and the largest outdoor screen in Australia dedicated to the display of moving image art. The museum is located in the heart of the Melbourne arts precinct where it provides a creative forum through which the University engages local, national and international audiences with the best of contemporary Australian and international art. Sitting within the University of Melbourne Museums and Collections department, Buxton Contemporary has quickly become one of Melbournes must-see exhibition spaces.
Buxton Contemporary is the result of a landmark gift to the University by the art collector and property developer Michael Buxton. In 1995 Michael founded the Michael Buxton Collection with the aim of developing a museum quality collection of contemporary Australian art. The Collection acquired individual artists work in depth, across media, and over time, while supporting those artists to practice ambitiously. Within twenty years the Collection had grown to more than 350 major artworks and was widely recognised as one of the most important collections of recent Australian art held anywhere in the world.
In 2014, in one of the most significant acts of cultural philanthropy in Australian history, Michael and Janet Buxton donated the Collection to the University of Melbourne, along with funds to build and partially endow a new museum in which to house it. Since opening on the 7th of March 2018, Buxton Contemporary uses the Michael Buxton Collection as a foundation and inspiration for exhibitions, performance, research, teaching and publishing.