Uncanny: The strange, mysterious and unsettling


Uncanny: The strange, mysterious and unsettling

A new exhibition called Uncanny with works from the Devonport City Council’s Permanent Collection will open at the Devonport Regional Gallery on Saturday 8 June.

This collection of works – primarily by contemporary Tasmanian artists – have strange, mysterious and unsettling qualities.

Some have a surrealist feel, others are cropped or distorted in ways that remove clues about their narrative, and many have an element that makes viewing them slightly uncomfortable. These works cause the mind to linger as we search for more information, try to fill in the blanks, or understand the feelings of unease the works evoke. What the works in Uncanny have in common, is that something is not quite as it appears.

Curator Erin Wilson said: “The uncanny is hard to define. It can be a niggling sense of discomfort, a mystery you are unable to understand, or an instinct that something is unnatural. The uncanny is difficult to explain, because it is, in essence, a feeling.”

For example, in Matt Calvert’s work Too Strange, the viewer is presented with a group whimsical of creatures which at first glance may appear cute and cuddly. At a distance, their texture could be mistaken for foam. Yet these works are made from shards of glass, which draw these seemingly innocuous creatures into the realm of the slightly more sinister.

Or in Mary Scott’s painting Restless, there is nothing specific to suggest anything untoward is happening. However, the framing of the scene, which crops out the faces of the women, leaves a to question what is happening beyond, creating a tension as our imagination is left to fill in the details.

“The Uncanny is ultimately a feeling uniquely experienced by the individual – as we see in Tom Samek’s work Australian Summer Smile #2 it may be elicited by something as simple as imagining the feeling of flies on our teeth.”

The Devonport City Council’s Permanent Art Collection represents a broad range of significant Tasmanian artists, working across textiles, ceramics, glass, sculpture, digital media and works on paper. The Devonport Regional Gallery’s Upper Gallery, in the paranaple arts centre, features a changing program of four exhibitions from the permanent collection in 2019, Uncanny being the second in this series.

Exhibition Dates: 8 June – 25 August 2019

Venue: Upper Gallery, Devonport Regional Gallery, paranaple arts centre

Official opening: Friday 7 June, 6pm

Twilight Tour: With Curator Erin Wilson: Thursday 20 June 5.30pm

Image details: Mary Scott, Restless, 2006, oil on linen, DCC Permanent Collection, acc. 2006.004




Media Contact:

Nigel Tapp

Media & Communications Officer

Devonport ity Council

[email protected]

P: (03) 6424 0562 | M: 0427 132 972