‘Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise’, at the new HOTA Gallery, Home of the Arts

The newly designed HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast, on the lands of the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region, has propelled itself into a new era of creative innovation with a state-of-the-art refurbishment and the launch of the inaugural exhibition program. It all kicks off with ‘Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise’ their first exhibition, on view now until 4 July.

In line with HOTA’s commitment to supporting local artists, ‘Solid Gold’ premieres 19 newly commissioned indoor and outdoor artworks, including large-scale sculpture, weaving, textiles, ceramics, painting, photography, immersive video and installation, from a cohort of emerging and established artists and artist collectives.

Whatu Manawa Collective, PATAKA TANGATA, 2021. Courtesy the artists and HOTA, Home of the Arts, Queensland

Inspired by their own experiences and personal connections with the coastal region, the artists in ‘Solid Gold’ canvas the relationship between people and place, the effects of human interaction with the natural world and the unique qualities and aesthetics of the urban environments and the natural landscape, to visualisation.

The six-level HOTA Gallery welcomes visitors into the space with a spectacular artwork by Torres Strait Islander artist and designer Lisa Sorbie Martin. Martin’s 11-metre-high sculptural installation created with 120 fibre-optic strands cascades down from the ceiling like a glistening shower of rain.

Also making an impact throughout the gallery are a diverse range of artworks by artists CJ Anderson, Mary Elizabeth Barron, Elliot Bastianon, Ali Bezer, Kirsty Bruce, Michael Candy, Aaron Chapman, Abbey McCulloch, Claudia De Salvo, Jason Haggerty, Libby Harward, JIL Studio, Samuel Leighton-Dore, Nicola Moss, Hiromi Tango, Whatu Manawa Collective, Erica Gray and Mimi Dennett.

Anderson questions the need for perfection in object and furniture design with a display of distressed sculptural innovations; traditional craft techniques and recycled materials come together in work produced by Barron, a large-scale bobbin lace as representation of the Nerang River, charting its course from the Hinterland to the ocean; through the immersion of materials in copper sulphate Bastianon’s artistic explorations result in the formation of radiant blue crystals.

Michael Candy, Steal the Sunshine, 2021. Courtesy the artist, Michael Bugelli Gallery, Tasmania and HOTA, Home of the Arts, Queensland

Bezer explores the experience of sound processed as image in an eight-metre aluminium and bitumen sculpture coated in blue and silver. Titled I Can Hear Water, this work plays to the meditative sound of the ocean breaking on the shoreline; Bruce’s Wonderwall brings together a body of multi-layered artworks inspired by magazine imagery, which evoke notions of vulnerability, melancholy, dramatic tension and self-reflection; new media artist Candy turns viewer focus to the sun in Steal the Sunshine with a glowing representation of the fiery star, in the gallery.

The Towers Project presented by Chapman showcases large-format photographs, which pay homage to the iconic, yellow-hooded lifeguard towers that survey Gold Coast beaches; the human figure coalesces with dramatic landscapes in a series of paintings by figurative painter McCulloch exhibited alongside abstracted ceramic sculptures, which seek to posit the individual within the realms of an uncertain world; 100 clay vessels filled with water and arranged on a large walk around plinth form the basis of a performative sculptural work titled Heat and Time by De Salvo.

Melbourne-based Haggerty presents a hypnotic 14-metre-wide digital installation, which resounds real time wave data from the Gold Coast’s coastline; Quandamooka artist Harward explores water systems and sovereignty in a new film-based artwork. Harward is positioned among pipes and hoses on a backdrop of mangrove and tea tree swamp muds akin to the region’s wetlands; endemic and rare plants breathe life into a sculpture of curves and voids by JIL Studio reflecting on the irrevocable changes of local topography; Leighton-Dore invites audiences to explore an interactive cloud installation merging ceramics with augmented reality.

Mimi Dennett, Bloom, 2021. Courtesy the artist, THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne and HOTA, Home of the Arts, Queensland

Moss interrogates the intersection of politics and ecology in large-scale painted collage works, which aim to draw attention to the importance of green spaces in built-up urban vistas; Japanese-Australian artist Tango entices audiences with the colours of the rainbow in a new immersive installation, that surely no-one could resist; and women’s collective Whatu Manawa, whose works preserve Maori cultural practices in contemporary art, create a Pātaka (storage house) using traditional woven Tukutuku panels.

Extending the exhibition out to the HOTA parklands, Gray’s soft sculptural textile forms representing corals and other elements of the coastline embellish the outdoors, while interdisciplinary artist Dennett’s living Bloom sculpture of edible, exotic and indigenous plant life also becomes one with the landscape.

HOTA CEO, Criena Gehrke says, “Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise reflects a diverse and modern city and positions local artists in a national conversation.”

The new HOTA also boasts a Children’s Gallery and a dynamic collection of over 4,400 artworks including one of the largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in regional Australia. HOTA is open Saturday-Thursday, 10am to 5pm, and Fridays, 10am to 8pm. Click here to book your free timed tickets for ‘Solid Gold: Artists of Paradise’.