Exotic lies and sacred ties (the heart that conceals, the tongue that never reveals) 2008installation: pastel, pencil, glitter, Swarovski crystal and wash on paper, framed, with mosaic china, taxidermy and painted wood 325 x 325 x 130 cm variableCollection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2009
Exotic lies and sacred ties (the heart that conceals, the tongue that never reveals) 2008installation: pastel, pencil, glitter, Swarovski crystal and wash on paper, framed, with mosaic china, taxidermy and painted wood 325 x 325 x 130 cm variableCollection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2009
3 October 2013

A decade of artwork by leading contemporary artist Danie Mellor is the focus of The University of Queensland Art Museum exhibition Danie Mellor: Exotic Lies Sacred Ties, opening on 18 January 2014.

UQ Art Museum Director Dr Campbell Gray said Mellor worked in a range of styles and media, always with an eye to Australia’s colonial past.

“His Indigenous heritage informs his art, which disarms with humour, narrative and a play on the ‘exotic’, while confronting and confounding our understanding of history,” Dr Gray said.

Mellor was born in Mackay in 1971 and maintains strong links to his mother’s Country in the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland.

Mellor’s mother is of Scottish, Irish and Indigenous heritage, being descended from the Mamu and Ngagen rainforest people with connections to the Jirrbal.

The exhibition will bring together more than 50 of the artist’s key works drawn from public collections, including the UQ Art Museum, Australian Museum, National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Bathurst Regional Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and private collections.

“The survey is the first large-scale exhibition to consider in depth the contribution Danie Mellor has made to contemporary Australian art,” Dr Gray said.

Exhibition Curator Maudie Palmer AO said the survey would invite engagement with Australia’s shared histories through core themes in Mellor’s work.

“His visual narrative relies on manipulating British imagery from the 18th and 19th centuries, specifically iconography borrowed from blue and white Spode china, which he layers with his own record of the cultural differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia,” Ms Palmer said.

“The exhibition is timely, following Mellor’s inclusion in several significant exhibitions in recent years, including Story place: Indigenous art of Cape York and the rainforest at the Queensland Art Gallery (2003), both National Indigenous Art Triennials, Culture warriors and undisclosed, at the National Gallery of Australia (2007 and 2012), and Sakahàn: 1st international quinquennial of new Indigenous art, at the National Gallery of Canada (2013).”

The exhibition and associated public programs will invite a broad cross section of Indigenous, art, academic and local communities to participate in focussed discussion around the histories and ideas that occupy Mellor.

A publication featuring full-colour reproductions of all the works and a learning guide for tertiary students and secondary students and teachers accompanies the exhibition.

Danie Mellor: Exotic Lies Sacred Ties opens at the UQ Art Museum (18 January to 27 April 2014), and will travel to TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria (10 May to13 July 2014) and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin (29 August to 16 November 2014).

Where: UQ Art Museum, University Drive, The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus When: Open daily, 10am - 4pm. Closed during summer recess, 22 December 2012 to
6 January 2013.

Download images for news and review here.

Media Enquiries: Exhibition Curator Maudie Palmer AO, 03 9899 3064, 0439 899 306, maudie@netspace.net.au. Coordinating Curator, UQ Art Museum, Samantha Littley (Wednesday to Friday only), 07 3346 8782, 0416 198 632, s.littley@uq.edu.au. UQ Art Museum Digital Communications Officer Sebastian Moody (Monday to Thursday only), 07 3346 8761, 0419 789 006, s.moody@uq.edu.au.

Danie Mellor
was born in 1971 at Mackay, Queensland. He attained a Bachelor of Arts (Visual) with Honours from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University (ANU), Canberra (1994), an MA (Fine Art) from the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, University of Central England, UK (1996), and a PhD from the School of Art, National Institute of the Arts, ANU, Canberra (2009). He lectures in Art Theory at the Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney. Mellor has held a number of significant solo exhibitions, including Danie Mellor, Manly Art Gallery and Museum (2012), and Voyages of recovery or an ongoing catalogue with moments of reason from the cabinet, Canberra Museum and Art Gallery (2006). His work has been included in several high profile group exhibitions, among them Artbank: Celebrating 25 years of Australian art (12 national and regional venues 2006–2009), Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2005). He was the Major Prize Winner in the 26th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (2009) winner of the Indigenous Ceramic Art Award, Shepparton Art Museum (2009) and the John Tallis Acquisitive Award, The Tallis Foundation 2008 National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2008). Mellor’s work is held in important public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, most state and many regional galleries, and in university collections.

Maudie Palmer AO is an expert in the field of Australian modern art and contemporary visual art. She began her career as Assistant Director/Curator at the University Gallery, the University of Melbourne (now Ian Potter Museum of Art) (1975–1981). She was Founding Director and Curator of both Heide Park and Art Gallery (now Heide Museum of Modern Art) (1981–1996), and TarraWarra Museum of Art (TWMA) (2000–2009). Having resigned from TWMA in 2009, she returned early in 2011 to act as Director until April 2012. Maudie has worked as a consultant on a wide range of projects, including the Moët and Chandon Australian Art Foundation (1996–2001); New Commonwealth Law Courts, Melbourne, Public Art Program (1999); Parks Victoria, Yarra Valley Artists-in-Residence Program; Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park; and the Melbourne Festival Visual Arts Program (1997–1999). She was a member of the Commissioner’s Council for the Venice Biennale (2006), and served as a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria for nine years. Maudie is a Fellow of Heide Museum of Modern Art, the first Life Member of TWMA, and a Life Member of the Members of the National Gallery of Victoria. In 2006 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia and, in 2012, appointed Professorial Fellow to the Vice Chancellor of Monash University.