Artel, CPL’s (Choice, Passion, Life) creative industries studio in Redcliffe supports the development of a positive and participatory cultural identity for people with profound and complex disabilities. The studio offers space, instruction and an environment in which this particular community of individuals has been able, over many years, to express themselves as a dynamic artistic movement.
The exhibition Reasonable and Necessary, curated by Lynne Seear, includes prints and artist books, which are both refreshingly unpretentious and exceedingly skilled and which pose these fundamental questions: “Who Am I?”, “Where Do I Belong”, “What Do I Love?”. The Artel artists address these questions with a range of artworks in familiar genres – portraits, landscapes, still-life, abstracts – but using a visual language that is contemporary, distinctive and undeniably their own.
From the Curator
"On first meeting, the artists who practice at Artel seem distant from the art world’s real, prickly existence. There is no denying that the art that is produced here is partly made possible despite extraordinary challenges – most of the artists require a degree of patient facilitation and ingenious support systems in order to complete their work, especially as it involves the sometimes laborious techniques of print-making.
Certain words often buzz around discussions of work by artists with disabilities – words like 'naive', 'pure', 'raw', 'visionary'. While many of these characteristics hold true of the work made by the Artel artists, they speak not only to the artist but to the audience, and to ideas of what constitutes art making in its most idealized, authentic sense. This language unveils the unadulterated act of creation, outside of norms and trends and anxieties and the desire for commercial success.
Nevertheless such labels can also function as a discriminatory boundary preventing 'untrained' artists from their rightful places in the canon and the market. This exhibition of prints and artist books seeks to disrupt that barrier."
Banner image above: Sara Wyatt, Plane trip to Tasmania, 2016. Lino print. Image courtesy of the artist.