Until 22 July - Inner worlds: portraits and psychology
Inner worlds: portraits and psychology at the Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne, explores key connections between portraiture and psychology in Australia since the early twentieth century.
Artists include Judy Cassab, Anne Ferran, Dale Frank, Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan, Mike Parr, Albert Tucker and Danila Vassilieff.
Portraits of Australia’s pioneers of psychology from World War I to the 1950s will be presented, alongside works by modernist and contemporary artists whose artistic practices have been highly influenced and strongly informed by their interest in psychology, the subconscious mind and intense mental states.
Christopher Menz, Acting Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, said this exhibition provides a unique insight into the social history of psychology.
"This exhibition shines a light on the valuable work of leading figures associated with psychological research and psychoanalysis in Australia, and provides a fascinating exploration of social history, biography and visual art," he said.
Highlights include portraits and depictions of faces and figures created in the 1940s by Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan and Joy Hester that reflect psychological trauma, an interest they shared with psychologist Reginald Spencer Ellery.
The exhibition includes portraits and imaginary faces created by mental health patients from the 1950s and 1960s. Dr Eric Cunningham Dax collected these works of art, which reveal unique experiences of the mind.
As these images are legally considered to be medical records, the artist-patients’ names are withheld and the works cannot be reproduced but are granted exemption for exhibition in this context.
Contemporary works, which explore highly intense mental states from the 1980s and 1990s, are seen in experimental self-portraits and figure studies by Dale Frank, Anne Ferran and Mike Parr.
Guest curator Christopher Chapman emphasised the importance of the contemporary works.
"This portraiture exhibition provides a framework in which to examine the influence of psychology on the work of particular artists who are fascinated by the subconscious mind and extreme mental states."
A major publication accompanies the exhibition with essays by scholars reflecting on the history of psychology and trauma in Australia, the influence of psychology on artists and art, and the state of psychology in contemporary Australian culture.
Where: The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, Swanston Street (between Elgin and Faraday streets), Parkville, 3010 (map)
T: +61 3 8344 5148
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am - 5pm. Saturday and Sunday 12pm - 5pm (free admission)
* The Dax Centre and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, in conjunction with the exhibitions Hide and Seek and Inner worlds, are hosting a symposium on psychology and portraiture on Saturday 28 April. For more information, please click here.