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Louise Haselton is a visual artist who employs a range of presentations. Her practice explores the inherent qualities of everyday materials, seeking connections and relationships between seemingly disparate materials and objects gleaned from the world around us. Haselton was awarded a Bachelor of Visual Art in 1990 from the University of South Australia and, in 2002, a Master of Fine Art (Sculpture) from RMIT University, Melbourne. She has undertaken several artist residencies, including Sanskriti Kendra, Delhi, India; Phasmid Studios, Berlin, Germany; and Blackstone Art Centre, Papalankutja, Western Australia. She has held solo exhibitions at the Experimental Art Foundation, the Samstag Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Centre of SA, and GAGPROJECTS, Adelaide. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, notably the pleasurable, the illegible, the multiple, the mundane, ArtSpace, Sydney, curated by Talia Linz; and Fabrik: conceptual, minimalist, and performative approaches to textiles, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, curated by Jane O’Neill. In 2019, Haselton’s practice was the subject of the SALA Publication published by Wakefield Press, titled Act Natural. This publication was accompanied by a major solo exhibition at the Samstag Museum of Art.

Louise Haselton’s playful works seek to awaken a sense of wonder in those that encounter them. Her sculptures, installations and prints often bring objects and materials into unexpected dialogues, their meeting orchestrated by the artist as a form of conversation. The convivial atmosphere of these ‘conversations’ is generated by the startling juxtapositions of natural and man-made elements that each bring their own personalities to the encounter. As curator Gillian Brown has observed: Haselton’s aesthetic decisions take into account the inherent qualities of each element, looking not to transform but to expose them as they are, acknowledging their agency. 1This feeling of agency energises her free standing and wall mounted sculptures which possess a finely tuned sense of balance. This principle is central to her enquiry, with materials of different weight and qualities brought together in harmony. Haselton selects her elements by foraging discarded objects in the neighbourhoods surrounding her home in Adelaide’s inner west, or by sourcing materials (ranging from semi-precious stones to velvet, felt, leather) online, or through specialist shops, as well as discovering unlikely treasures in two dollar emporiums. Her assembly of these quotidian materials and unlikely objects happens through a slow, careful process of selection, the artist living with the items for months, or even years, at a time. In the final work the object may stay in its found state, or it may be altered – for example through a process of binding with wool or casting in bronze.


Haselton’s art draws on rich cultural history and is influenced by her reading and travels; for example in 2009 her first-hand research of objects created by the Angami and other Naga peoples in the remote north-east of Nagaland in India led her to make Scrutineers, 2011, now in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia (fig. 5). Haselton was attracted to the Naga peoples belief in animism - that not only humans, but also animals, plants, rocks, and natural phenomena possess a spirit or soul. Haselton has also drawn on early twentieth century sculptural traditions, in particular the work of Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Calder, and the Italian Arte Povera movement, with its respect for humble materials. For her forthcoming exhibition at GAG Projects Haselton has bought her reading of Adolf Loos’s polemical text Ornament and Crime (1908) to consider the tension between her gravitation towards minimalism and her attraction to adornment, recognising that these poles exist on a continuum. Her work Tracce (Traces) after Fausto Melotti, 2024 a pair of wall-mounted powder coated steel structures, re-imagines Fausto Melotti’s 1975 earrings as a large sculpture.


At the heart of Haselton’s practice is a certain paradox – a playful game of revealing and concealing. Her assemblages hint at underlying complexities, and the 2 connections between systems. One of those systems is ornament, as just discussed, another is language. It is perhaps no coincidence that the artist’s first degree was English Literature. When Haselton first became an artist, her early work (completed as part of her Masters at RMIT in 2000-2002) incorporated text. Haselton’s interest in the internal logic of language continues in her recent explorations, where the form of language – its minimal symbolic letters – are made strange, untethered to their function.

Haselton’s majestic survey exhibition of twenty-five years of her practice like cures like at the Samstag Museum of Art in 2019, revealed the ambition and quality of the artist’s work. A major monograph Act Natural by Gillian Brown and Leigh Robb, published to coincide with the exhibition, made a case for Haselton as one of Australia’s most compelling sculptors. Haselton’s work was recently curated by Talia Linz into the pleasurable, the illegible, the multiple, the mundane (fig. 7, Artspace, Sydney, 2021). In 2023 Haselton was the recipient of the prestigious South Australian Arts SA Fellowship.

Words by Maria Zagala,

Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs

Art Gallery of South Australia



Lingering behind the woven works and assemblages of Dani Marti’s third solo exhibition at GAGPROJECTS – simply titled Wall Hangings – is a body longing to be represented and remembered. Wall Hangings continues Marti’s longstanding assertion that abstraction is portraiture, a threshold to what he calls ‘sexual minimalism’. Emptied out and beyond conventional recognition, the body represented on these walls belongs to the artist, now in his sixties, and grappling with the conundrums of aging, health, mortality and existence as a queer man living with HIV since 1989. Stitched and woven back together, this body is like an old coat reunited with its corporeal imprint. Like a seat still warm from human skin.

Marti’s wall hangings are a visual and tactile invitation to human connection and intimacy – elegies for self and others. Polyester ropes of pink, blue and grey are woven into a grid as a tribute to murdered British transgender teen, Brianna Ghey (2006–2023).  Elsewhere, a collection of Tupperware containers once belonging to art collector Peter Fay – the subject of Marti’s earlier work of sculptural and video portraiture, Bacon’s Dog (2010) – are torched into fleshy landscapes, referencing bodily interiority. Where skin meets what lies beneath is where hand meets heart, igniting transformation within a swirling landscape of torn and exposed flesh.

Indeed, the hand is what keeps the thread of connection alive for Marti. It’s as if each work is imbued with human traces of the handmade/handheld as a counterpoint to the stone-cold modes of production rife in the machine age and beyond. What lies beyond is the same void uniting us all, tacked to the walls, a public hanging. He regards one work as an anxious act of self-revelation amid the flickering white-noise rabble-rousing of social media. Like dust particles floating in space, Marti trades one abyss for another as his customised road reflectors catch light if not fire.

Wall Hangings. Nothing could be more utilitarian and unadorned as a title. But with it, Marti sets the emotive stage for the stories untold, histories new and old. None blunter than the art historical reference to Wall Hangings, the landmark 1969 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, ‘devoted to the contemporary weaver whose work places him [sic] not in the fabric industry but in the world of art’. Ironic considering the ‘universal’ male pronoun was applied to an exhibition with a gender ratio of twenty-five female to three male artists. Evidence of the gendering of craft-based practices, then. And the queering of that same tradition, now.

Previously, Marti shunned being categorised as a queer artist, despite the flagrant homoeroticism of his video practice or the ‘sissy abstraction’ – a term coined by Australian artist Peter Maloney (1953–2023) – that ensues when the male frat house of modernism is queered. Marti repressed a queer political position that is now in full bloom, ironically, through the so-called purity (or danger?) of abstraction: ‘In the past, I kept saying, “My work is not about gay art. I'm not a gay artist.” With age, I'm starting to realise, “It is about gay issues, gay life, the gay body.” And so, I'm starting to be more relaxed about the queerness that I have repressed in the past.’

Wall Hangings is where Marti is hanging it all out to dry: past anxieties commingling with the tense present against a backdrop of specific cultural histories. We see how the gendered art/craft debate of one art historical moment (New York, 1969) coexisted culturally alongside the urgent (but not yet intersectional) politics of gay liberation birthed from the Stonewall Riots (also New York, 1969). It’s like Marti wishes to underscore how past curatorial gestures can ignite queer capacities for remembrance further down the track. This is what, for instance, the AIDS Memorial Quilt says of queer ‘craftivism’ in another context (or at the very least, the life-affirming power to memorialise through making). Or what, for Marti, the wall does for the ground when abstraction is asked to tell stories and pave the path forward.

Words by Daniel Mudie Cunningham



Gareth Sansom is one of Australia’s most highly regarded artists. His work is held in major public and private collections throughout the country and internationally. He has created works of major significance within contemporary Australian art. Eclectic and wide-ranging in his approach, he references both high and low culture, forming charged connections via artful juxtaposition. Sansom draws inspiration from a wide range of sources, including art history, popular culture, religion, cinema, sexual identity, and direct personal experiences. His media includes painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, photography – often in combination. So unique is his visual language that it defies easy categorisation. His creative strength is the independence of his uncompromising vision. Now in his eighth-decade, Sansom paints with the energy and brio of an artist in their twenties, but with all the technical acuity that comes from a lifetime’s dedication to his practice. An artist of wide visual intelligence, Sansom has an unerring understanding of placement and composition. He is one of the great colourists of Australian art. Professor Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA, states that Sansom is ‘a rare and an intimidating phenomenon in Australian art – an artist who thinks deeply, is fiercely independent, is visually literate, and who has mastery over an extensive range of skills.’ 

Born in Melbourne, in 1939, Sansom was early on influenced by Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker, and then began a formative interest in Abstract Expressionism, which stimulated the young artist to work with loose brushwork and expressive colour. However, he was perhaps more intrigued by the freewheeling, youthful principles of Pop Art, which was gaining currency within Australian Art by the early 1960s. Consequently, figurative elements also featured in his work, jostling with the abstract painterly swathes, as were photographs and other collaged elements. The resulting paintings from this period are a fascinating window into the psyche of a young artist who was even then forging his own markedly original path, quite unique in the history of Australian art.

Throughout the 1970s, Sansom’s work explored sexual identity and the tantalising potential of adopting other personae. The photographic works he produced during this decade are mysterious, disconcerting, comic, sinister. His use of masks, wigs, various prosthetics, and even a WW2 gas mask, call to mind both Old Hollywood and Neo-Eurotrash.

Between 1977-1985, Sansom served as Head of Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. He was subsequently appointed Dean of the School of Art (1986-91). Under his steerage, the college gained the reputation as one of the most lively and interesting art schools in the country. A host of now mid-career Melbourne artists acknowledge being greatly inspired by his example of thinking outside the box. In 1978, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, mounted a major survey of Sansom's paintings and graphic works covering the period 1964–1978.

In 1982, Sansom was a visiting artist at the prestigious Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In 1984, he won the Hugh Williamson Prize, at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, and in 1985 he was Artist-in-Residence at The University of Melbourne.

In 1991, he represented Australia at the Seventh Triennale India. He had spent six-months at the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, on a series of large watercolours, making one work per day during this residency. These burst with all the colour, excitement, glorious strangeness, and wonder of being emersed in an alien culture.

In 2005, Sansom painted the large triptych, Sweeney Agonistes, which is one of the many highlights of his career. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Sebastian Smee wrote of the painting, ‘I believe it is the greatest Australian painting of the past 20 years’.  Also in 2005, a major survey of Sansom's work, entitled Welcome to my mind: Gareth Sansom, a study of selected works 1964-2005, was held at the Ian Potter Gallery, at The University of Melbourne. The exhibition consolidated Sansom’s importance in Australian contemporary art.

In 2008, the artist won the prestigious John McCaughey Memorial Prize for his painting, Junior’s brush with Vorticism (2008). The painting featured a heady combination of hard-edge abstraction and figuration. The judge for the Prize, Alex Baker, then Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, suggested that young painters should look to the work as an inspirational mark of where contemporary art should now be heading.

In 2012, Sansom, always acutely conscious of how his environment might be transmuted into his art, produced a large suite of drawings while spending two weeks in the remote Indigenous settlement of Wadeye, south-west of Darwin. Twenty of these works were assembled into a large piece, Made in Wadeye. Full of the artist’s characteristic serious-playfulness, it won that year’s Dobell Drawing Prize, at the Art Gallery of NSW.

In 2017, Sansom was the subject of a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria. Entitled Gareth Sansom: Transformer, the exhibition contained work selected from each decade of the artist’s lengthy career. The result was a collection of astonishing depth and scope. Sasha Grishin wrote that the exhibition was ‘bold, provocative, exquisitely crafted – and simply brilliant. Sansom is an artist who takes no prisoners, breaks all of the rules, and leaves you spellbound.’ Sebastian Smee, wrote that Sansom is ‘among the most important avant-garde painters of the 21st Century.’ 

- Steve Cox