Drawn by stones
Exhibition artists: Dean Cross
Drawn by stones brings together artists who utilise the ceramic medium to interrogate contested histories, stolen land, Indigenous sovereignty, and concepts of national identity. Exhibiting artists from Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan investigate the creation of a sense of ‘nationhood’ and ownership through ceramics and demonstrate how the ceramic form can both memorialise and tell alternative histories.
The exhibition is grounded by the 2020 installation of Monuments, Dean Cross’ site-responsive work – an ongoing project since 2016, intended for exhibition every two years. Cross’ Monuments challenges colonial concepts of ceramics, memorialising and memory, with handfuls of white ochre – handfuls of Ngunnawal/ Ngambri Country – gathered by the artist’s father on their property with permission from local elder and custodian of the land Aunty Matilda House – building a grid that spreads across the gallery floors.
Taking its title from Marvin Bell’s 1984 poem Drawn by Stones, by Earth, by Things That Have Been in the Fire, this exhibition recognises that the foundations of ceramic practice lie in the earth – and through the work of exhibiting artists, aims to expand the relevance of ceramic histories, dialogues and interrogations of land, place, sovereignty and ownership across Asia and Australia.
Dean Cross was born and raised on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country and is of Worimi descent. He is a trans-disciplinary artist primarily working across installation, sculpture and photography. His career began in contemporary dance, performing and choreographing nationally and internationally for over a decade with Australia’s leading dance companies. Following that Dean re-trained as a visual artist, gaining his Bachelor’s degree from Sydney College of the Arts, and his First Class Honours from the ANU School of Art and Design.
Dean has shown his work extensively across Australia. This includes the Indigenous Ceramic Prize at the Shepparton Art Musuem, curated by Anna Briers and Belinda Briggs (2018), Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of South Australia, curated by Nici Cumpston (2017), RUNS DEEP a solo show at Alaska Projects, Sydney (2018), The Churchie Emerging Art Prize (2016), The Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize (2015), and the Macquarie Group Emerging Art Prize (2015) where his work was awarded the Highly Commended prize by artist Joan Ross. In 2018 Dean has also exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, as a part of the NEXTWAVE Festival Melbourne, with curator Amelia Winata, and at Artbank, Sydney in Talia Smith’s In a World of Wounds. Also, Dean has been a year-long Artist in Residence at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS). Dean was also selected to be a part of the 4A Beijing Studio Residency Program in Beijing, China.