Q&A with Michael Ciavarella
Describe your artistic practice.
My practice is studio-based, predominately focused on painting and
collage. My work is generated through found images. I spend a lot of
time looking through second hand books, online, magazines, newspaper
and other visual media.
Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition Prima Facie?
‘Prima facie’ is a Latin expression which appealed because definitions
of it invariably employ visual metaphors, such as ‘at first sight’,
‘on the face of it’. The exhibition consists of figurative paintings
of people, faces sometimes obscured, in various poses, performing
The way the source imagery for each painting is
dealt with varies from painting to painting. Some have little or no
change, relying on changes in scale and cropping to transform them.
Other paintings combine two separate images together like collage,
while others are transformed through the painting process in a more
The narrative threads which run through and across
the paintings is really important to me; the way the paintings might
relate to one another, or how they may rub up against each other, in a
strange kind of dance. While using humour and absurdity as a key
tool, the works bear out a tension between trivial and earnest
Who are Melbourne artists who you admire?
Helen Johnson – her paintings have an uncompromising intelligence and
subvert a number of painting conventions.
Ross Coulter – multi media artist who has an impressive commitment to
ambitious large scale projects, that have an element of collaboration.
Patrick Pound – I really love his use of found photographs, and the
way he deploys methods of the museum/archive. The groupings and
juxtapositions are a delight and source of wonder.
Prima Facie is showing at Long Division Main Gallery from April 6 – 27. Gallery open 9am – 3pm Monday to Friday or by appointment.
Thursday, April 6th