Troy Emery: Myth Making


Myth Making is Troy Emery’s latest museum exhibition at Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) on view until Sunday, 3 March 2024. Myth Making marks a significant career milestone for Troy Emery and his first release of new works since joining our stable of represented artists.

Jointly conceived with fellow artist Kate Rhode, this exuberant exhibition dives into the stuff of legends, conjuring wild tales through a collision of classical mythology with the natural ecology of Victoria’s Wimmera and Grampians region.

An adventure in colour, whimsy and magnificent animal forms, this cabinet of curiosities poses Emery’s sculptural practice in dialogue with his paintings, which similarly conjure fantastical beings in brilliant hues. Remixing the tropes of museum display and decorative arts traditions, Myth Making confronts the fabulisms of the European imaginary and fashions boldly original stories from an engagement with the local environment.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery is located at 230 High Street, Maitland NSW 2320. Tuesday – Sunday 10.00am – 5.00pm

For further information, please contact dean@michaelreid.com.au.

Could you tell us about some of your early artistic influences? How do these continue to inform your practice today?

Before I started my formal fine arts education, I briefly studied fashion and textiles in Brisbane. This was where I got my interest in the kinds of materials I use now.

What initially drew you to the sculptural medium and how have you developed this over time? Are there themes, approaches, styles or techniques that you have returned to over time?

Initially I was interested in recreating the experience of natural science objects in the museum and they are sculptural in their physicality. There’s something I like about working to life-scale, even though the anatomical aspects of the first gets subverted under the bulk of textiles.

Is there a narrative or conceptual through line within the series of works comprising Myth Making? How do they reflect the direction of your practice at the moment?

All the sculptures incorporate bases of some kind. I’m interested in these trophy-like mountings of the works that refer back to museological displays, and taxidermy mounts.

Could you tell us about the artworks featured in Myth Making? Where did you begin with these paintings and what were some of the ideas and experiences that shaped them?

The oil stick drawings started as concept drawings for another project, a sketch for a sculpture, but I enjoyed the materiality of the oil stick so much that I expanded them into a series of 10 and they become more deranged the more I made.

The gouaches are more related to the original iteration on Myth Making at Horsham Regional Gallery in Victoria. Here I exhibited a number of paintings of mythical panthers , referencing the notorious Grampians panther. These gouaches are more cryptozoological creatures , imagined in the landscape.

How have you come about exploring with the painting medium and how does this relate to your sculptural practise?

I’ve always had a drawing component to my creative output. Recently I extrapolated that into a series of drawings and paintings depicting animals placed in simplified landscapes. I think I’m often interested in a sculptural aspect of painting and drawing. Thick paste like oil paint, and chunky crumbly oil sticks. It’s very tactile.

How would you describe the curatorial process – working to develop the collection of works presented in the Myth Making exhibition?

Maitland Regional Gallery has an impressive army of staff on board that were able to accommodate all our requests. Kate Rohde and I visited earlier in the year and planned out the installation, the wallpapers, custom furniture, and placement of works. When returned, everything was exactly how we had requested. Very grateful to curator Kim Blunt.

What have been some of your favourite career experiences?

In 2022 the National Gallery of Victoria commissioned a large work for the 2023 exhibition Melbourne Now. This was my largest most ambitious work at 3.5 meters tall. I enjoyed working at such a large scale. The exhibition also placed my work within the context of the wider Victorian artist community and it was my 1st major commission by a state institution.

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