MCA Collection ‘Artist in Focus’: Brook Andrew

24 May 2024

Brook Andrew and eight other artists are on view for ‘Artists in Focus’ at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), a changing presentation of works from the MCA Collection.

Currently presented in individual galleries are paintings, sculptures, installations and video works by Collection artists.A selection of 68 bark paintings from the Arnott’s Biscuits Collection highlights the work of Aboriginal artists from Groote Eylandt, Yirrkala, Galiwin’ku, Milingimbi, Maningrida, Ramingining, Gunbalanya, Wadeye, and the Tiwi Islands.

Andrew’s ‘Loop. A Model of how the world operates’ (2008) is part of an ongoing series of wall drawings using black-and-white patterns traditionally carved into shields and trees (dendroglyphs) inspired by his matriarchal Wiradjuri cultural heritage of western New South Wales. The artist uses this dazzle, alongside the glowing neon, as a metaphor for our contemporary culture of consumption and spectacle, in which we are mesmerised by consumerism and drawn in by advertising as ways to forget cultural and historical responsibilities. What appears to be an abstract, hard-edge minimalist work is grounded in traditional life and culture; the neon coils, glowing on and off, aim, as Andrew says, ‘to hypnotise. The overall effect: Free will or submission?’

“I like the idea of being hypnotised by a pattern, a pattern that can break the program of how we are supposed to behave and what we are supposed to be doing. For me, the pattern represents a matrix. It’s covering the surface and coding this structure and the people who experience it. It can take you somewhere else and I hope that’s what it does.” Andrew states.

Image: Installation view of Brook Andrew at MCA. Photographed by xxx. Courtesy of the artist and MCA