19 July 2023

Reflecting our Universe through the eyes of Kerrie Poliness

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Reflecting our Universe through the eyes of Kerrie Poliness
Reflecting our Universe through the eyes of Kerrie Poliness
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This year, the Artist-in-Residence program exposed the Year 9 Art class to the concept and nature of abstract artwork.

Through a range of classroom workshops, the students worked with Contemporary Australian artist Kerrie Poliness and learnt about her use of grid processes using tape and chalk pastel. Kerrie is known for her rule-based paintings and drawings that celebrate abstract designs. She was one of a vanguard of young artists who contributed to a resurgence of abstract art in Melbourne in the late 1980s and has continued the execution of this practice throughout her career. Kerrie emphasises the following in her creative practice:

The drawing’s execution becomes a kind of performance, as well as evidence of the collective creative process and the assertion of individual human judgment. An element of change through chance improvisations is structured by the artist into the realisation of the wall drawing, which subtly breaks down the systematised rationality of its execution.’

Over a three-week block during Term 2, and in partnership with Monash University Museum of Modern Art, Carey’s Middle School students worked within the classroom undertaking a range of creative introductory tasks in preparation for creating a site-specific drawing under the guidance of Kerrie. This classroom work culminated in a large-scale outdoor installation work on the Junior School Kew basketball courts, completed in two groups across a full school day.

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Photography and videography by Gavin Blue
Music by SergePavkinMusic from Pixabay

Students were blessed with the beautiful sunny Friday afternoon to create the mural and collaborate with the drone artist and Kerrie Poliness. They particularly enjoyed the interactive and communal approach to the production of the artwork on the basketball court and were inspired by the design in cool hues and a warmer colour palette. Students followed the designated grid patterns with chalk on sticks and built up the strength of the linework and design. It had an art performance quality to it as the drone hovered above the students and documented the process. From these aerial views it was exciting to see that the personality of the two classes were reflected in the nature of the linework with one group more controlled while the other energetic and loose. This was also reflected in the contrasting cool and warm hues. The students found the experience rewarding, referencing in reflective discussion at the end of the day the way art elements can impact an artwork and also challenge their perception of what art can be.

Reflecting our Universe

The resulting large-scale chalk drawings are the catalyst for a much-anticipated public artwork which will be installed in Carey’s Middle School building in late Term 3, and will be the first Artist-in-Residence collaborative artwork installed in the building. The Carey Art and Design Artist-in-Residence programs across Middle and Senior Schools continue to enhance our learning programs and continue to foster authentic professional engagement with local Melbourne-based designers and artists. A rich community of co-creators continue to support our students’ curiosity and creativity through these long established collaborative frameworks.

A huge thank you to Kerrie Poliness, Melissa Bedford from the Monash University Museum of Art education team, Ruth McDonald, Peter Schmidli and Si De Boer from the Carey Art and Design learning area.

Simon Carver
Leader of Learning – Art and Design


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