nightshifts embraces solitude as positive and productive

nightshifts embraces solitude as positive and productive
Kaylah Joelle Baker

A contemplative new group exhibition featuring more than 30 works from the University of Melbourne’s art collection has arrived at Buxton Contemporary.

Unveiled at the end of May, nightshifts questions the importance of solitude, and looks to the “after hours” as a metaphor to explore the thinking and work that happens away from the public’s gaze, during periods of rest, privacy and temporary seclusion.

The large-scale exhibition is curated by Hannah Presley and Annika Aitken, and works span a range of themes, histories, and media.

“Annika and I were keen to consider the Buxton and wider Melbourne University collections through a different lens,” senior curator museums and collections Hannah Presley said.

“We began by examining the work of artists who have created their most enigmatic work through solo studio practice and extended this investigation to encompass artists exploring the creatively abundant qualities of time spent alone. It was important to us to embrace the potential for solitude to be a positive and productive mechanism of artistic practice.”

Two new commissions have also been included within the exhibition; Canberra-based artist Lisa Sammut with a new large-scale kinetic sculptural and moving image installation, and Gunditjmara and Keerray Woorroong artist Dr Vicki Couzens’ and Rob Bundle’s immersive soundscape that draws on the Indigenous concept of Deep Listening.

“We have worked with Lisa Sammut, Dr Vicki Couzens and Rob Bundle to present two exciting new commissions for nightshifts,” curator, museums and collections Annika Aitken said.


These works create space for pause and contemplation within the exhibition, and are supported by a responsive design that moves through subtle transitions in light, colour, and sound – evoking the shift from dusk to dawn.


Works from artists Shaun Gladwell, Tracey Moffatt, Callum Morton, Mike Parr, Mikala Dwyer, Teelah George, Marco Fusinato, Mabel Juli, Louise Weaver and Peter Booth are also seen at the exhibition.

While walking through the exhibition, visitors will move through subtle changes in light, colour, and sound, serving to demonstrate the transition from dusk to dawn.

nightshifts will be presented at Buxton Contemporary up until October 29, and is open from Wednesday through to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.  •

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