‘GOMA Q’ Emerging Writers competition – by Sarah Bradley

Monica Rohan, Australia b.1990 / Jumble 2015 / Oil on board / Courtesy: The artist, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, and Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne / © The artist

In conjunction with ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art’, emerging writers had the opportunity to enter the ‘GOMA Q’ Emerging Writers Competition, launched on the opening weekend of the exhibition. A judging panel comprised of the Emerging Creatives team and the QAGOMA Blog coordinator had the difficult task of choosing a winner and four talented runners up from the many high quality entries about the ‘GOMA Q’ exhibition. Sarah Bradley was one of the four runners up and her blog is published below. The entry from the remaining runner up will appear on our Blog next week. View the winning entry.

The ‘GOMA Q’ Class of 2015

It was a pleasing winter’s day in Brisbane. As the season waved July goodbye, the people of Queensland could relish in the long-awaited and effortless jeans and t-shirt weather. With rarely worn cardigans tossed aside, the incentive to explore the sunlit streets began to set in. On the weekend, as if foretelling the sudden spark in the air, GOMA extended its doors into the open-air for the Winter Design Market. The entry to the museum was abuzz with stalls showcasing some of Queensland’s most creative artisans. The local talent clearly enchanted audiences, sparking the intrigue of a range of museum-goers, from curious toddlers reaching for the frightfully delicate ceramic plate to elderly patrons carefully choosing gifts for their grandchildren. This cross-generational engagement offered the ideal doorway into GOMA’s current exhibition, ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art’ (until 11 October 2015).

With all the strength of my will power, I peeled myself away from the tempting delights of the market and entered the museum. I had journeyed over to GOMA to view the newly opened ‘GOMA Q’ exhibition. Upon entering, I bumped into a friend who had just finished visiting the exhibition. As an early-modern art devotee, my friend admitted to feeling that the diverse assortment of contemporary artworks felt like a bit of a “jumble”. However, as I would soon discover, this “jumbled” sensation was the exact element of the exhibition that excited me. Just as the bustling markets outside provided a diverse crowd with the grounds to support a common, local cause, ‘GOMA Q’ offered the artists the chance to share their unique voices under the broad, embracing arm of contemporary Queensland art.

As I walked through ‘GOMA Q’, I was reminded of the spatial curation of a graduate exhibition for an art university. This struck me in the sense that the exhibition’s arrangement was designed to profile each of the thirty artists without impeding on any artist’s work in the space. The “jumbled” variety of artworks that were conceived by the ‘GOMA Q’ class of 2015, were cohesive in the space for the precise reason that they were never intended to be cohesive in the first place. Instead, they were selected to illuminate the dynamism and variation of creative vision (both established and emerging), which propels the Queensland art scene forward.

I cannot allude to the concept of the “jumble” without discussing Monica Rohan’s painting bearing the same title, Jumble 2015. Since graduating from the Queensland College of Art in 2011, Rohan has received due praise for her distinctively complex, insightful, yet mysterious self-portraits. Hidden within the heaping folds of vibrantly coloured, tropical fabric, the artist’s toppling figure appears in a binary of physical and emotional states. Jumble communicates the artist’s internal battle with identity as an introvert in a society that demands responsiveness and embraces the spotlight. This “jumbled” relationship the artist holds with her identity in society echoes the changeable and dynamic voices of contemporary artists in Queensland. Therefore, to “un-jumble” is to obstruct innovation and blockage the “GOMA Q” class of 2015.

Sarah Bradley is an art history and accounting student at the University of Queensland. She is currently undertaking a curatorial internship at UQ art museum as well as interning at ‘Life Art Worldwide’.