Kate Shaw's Ecology (2008) - part of the New Psychedelia exhibition
Kate Shaw's Ecology (2008) - part of the New Psychedelia exhibition
5 May 2011

Visitors are invited to take a trip through hallucinogenic patterns, optical illusions and cosmic landscapes when the latest exhibition at The University of Queensland opens this weekend.

New Psychedelia takes over the entire ground floor of the UQ Art Museum from Saturday, May 7 with pieces by 43 contemporary Australian artists, including one that requires 3D glasses.

“A new psychedelia has undoubtedly emerged in the past decade as an off-spring of the rave party, but also out of the décor of virtual reality and what William Gibson dubbed the ‘consensual hallucination’ of cyberspace,” Dr Edward Colless writes in the exhibition catalogue.

Curator Sebastian Moody said it was debatable whether recent explorations of psychedelia are in fact a countermovement to the “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” mentality of the 1960s.

“The contemporary interest in psychedelia is not driven by a drug culture as in was in the 1960s, though the term ‘psychedelic’ arose from trials of LSD, mescaline and other hallucinogens for therapeutic purposes,” Mr Moody said.

“However, conjuring the spirit of the ‘psychedelic’ experience remains critical to the aesthetic, and the idea of expanding consciousness – finding a bridge between inner and outer worlds – is central to all of the artworks in the exhibition.”

Among the featured works are a pulsing abstract painting by Dale Frank, Sandra Selig’s fluoro spider webs, and a painting by Indigenous artist Roy McIvor. Geoff Kleem’s The Good Forest even comes with 3D glasses to provide a unique viewing experience.

Mr Moody said in addition to being visually striking, the works offered intriguing explorations of society’s increasing reliance on technology, and the growing interest in neo-shamanism and other forms of mysticism.

“If our consumer society seeks to understand and control the unconscious through market research, opinion polling and other Big Brother tactics, then psychedelia is its opposite – a weapon to blast the inner policeman out of our heads,” he said.

New acquisitions to The University of Queensland art collection on display for the first time in New Psychedelia include work by Nathan Gray, Irene Hanenbergh, Brendan Huntley, Madeleine Kelly, Tim Maguire, Laith McGregor, Roy McIvor, Kate Shaw, and Jemima Wyman, while existing collection works by Dale Frank and Sandra Selig will be seen in a new light.

The Queensland Government through Arts Queensland contributed significant funding towards the project, including the commissioning of new works. The catalogue has been supported by the Gordon Darling Foundation.

The free exhibition continues at UQ Art Museum until July 3, and is open seven days a week.

PLEASE NOTE: A number of interstate and Brisbane-based artists will be available on Friday, May 6 for interviews.

High-resolution images are available for download here

Media: Michele Helmrich (07 3365 3946, m.helmrich@uq.edu.au) or Sebastian Moody (0419 789 006, s.moody@uq.edu.au) at the UQ Art Museum, or Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049, c.pegg@uq.edu.au)

Saturday 7 May: 11.00am Curator floor talk by Sebastian Moody; 12.00pm Artist floor talks by Damiano Bertoli, Matt Dabrowski, Geoff Kleem and Noël Skrzypczak; 2.00pm Artist Kate Shaw, catalogue writers Dr Edward Colless and Dr Mark Pennings and curator Sebastian Moody discuss the exhibition’s themes.


Sean Bailey, Belle Bassin, Guy Benfield, Chris Bennie, Damiano Bertoli, Matt Dabrowski and the Many Hands of Glamour, James Deutsher, Anita Fontaine, Dale Frank, Ben Frost, Nathan Gray, Irene Hanenbergh, Matt Hinkley, Natalya Hughes, Brendan Huntley, Tim Johnson and Nava Chapman, Madeleine Kelly, Geoff Kleem, Tim Maguire, Ross Manning, Dylan Martorell, Laith McGregor, Roy McIvor, TV Moore, Joshua Petherick and Christopher L. G. Hill, Nike Savvas, Carl Scrase, Nick Selenitsch, Sandra Selig, Kate Shaw, Noël Skrzypczak, Brendan Smith, Gemma Smith, Joel Stern and Wtem, Masato Takasaka, Darren Wardle, Rohan Wealleans, Jemima Wyman, and John Young.