In recent years, still life has been a pillar of Michael Zavros’s painting practice. ‘Michael Zavros: The Favourite’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane until 2 October 2023 incorporates more than 100 works, primarily paintings but with diversions into sculpture, video, photography and performance.
Before you peek at the artwork titles below, look closely at these opulent arrangements of fruits, flowers, and vases on pristine white canvases as they conjure all kinds of animals.
Your ticket to ‘Michael Zavros: The Favourite’ provides entry to two exhibitions on your day of visit, including ‘eX de Medici: Beautiful Wickedness’.
GOMA, Until 2 October 2023
These works recall the fantastical proto-surrealist portraits of sixteenth-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527–93), who often fashioned his subject’s likeness from clever compositions of vegetables. Whereas the ambience of Arcimboldo’s approach is dark and grotesque, Zavros’s is light-filled and lighthearted, overtly courting a sense of fun and games.
Although the ‘hidden’ subjects of these paintings are strongly legible, their presence recalls the condition pareidolia — the tendency to see faces, animals or familiar objects in patterns of clouds, geography and other visual stimuli. In this way, Zavros’s still-life paintings are more than just plays of trickery or illusion and more consciously walk the limits of artifice, painterly skill and the construction of meaning.
‘I brought vast armfuls of flowers to the studio. I contrived the forms like an old-fashioned florist, using wire and various props… they took hours to create, before I could make photographs of them to use as the basis for the paintings… I’m reminded of the mythical hybrid creatures made for feasts in the Middle Ages… fused into culinary fabrications for the amusement of guests. Michael Zavros
The 208-page exhibition publication Michael Zavros: The Favourite is available at QAGOMA Stores or online.
‘Michael Zavros: The Favourite‘ in 1.1 (The Fairfax Gallery) and 1.2 at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane from 24 June to 2 October 2023 surveys 25 years of painting, sculpture, photography and video by leading contemporary Queensland artist Michael Zavros.
This exhibition offers opportunities for dialogue with ‘eX de Medici: Beautiful Wickedness’ presented in the adjacent gallery 1.2 and 1.3 (Eric and Marion Taylor Gallery). Immerse yourself in these two irresistible exhibitions from leading Australian artists. Your ticket provides entry to both exhibitions on your day of visit. Buy timed tickets in advance to guarantee entry. Last session 4.00pm daily. Exhibition closes at 5.00pm. Full-day Flexi Ticket also available.