Ash Laing: Flagging Opinion
When: Thursday 28 June - Sunday 12 August
Where: Brindley Family Galleries, MAMA.
Tallangatta artist Ash Laing examines the role of the Australian Flag in contemporary Australian life in his new exhibition, Flagging Opinion. Laing investigates the schisms of esteem, novelty and identity in an installation that brings together photographs of himself and objects he has made from the Australian Flag.
In the gallery space these photographs are placed within a soundscape of voices that vocalise comments made on social media about his work, Untitled (Oi, Oi, Oi), which was removed from the BUILDING | ART ON WALLS project in Tallangatta 36 hours after it was installed.
About the Artist
Ashlee Laing is interested in the politics of belonging and in finding new ways to challenge existing social borders and cultural boundaries. A central concern of Laing's work is personal response to dominant authorities and cultures that contradict his ideal of an inclusively diverse society, one that respects not only fundamental rights and freedoms, but also the social, cultural and sexual identities of individuals. Laing's art is instantaneous, direct and without apology. The borders in Laing's practice are not fixed or final, rather, they exist to be contemplated and tangled with, danced upon and scribbled out, to be broken down with heated conversation and good humour, and ultimately, disposed of with dignity.
Primarily known for his photographic and video installations, Laing also paints, draws, stages performances and invites public participation in his work. At times humorous and at times confronting, Laing elicits responses from his viewers. By inviting the audience to engage with politically loaded topics, he creates dynamic spaces open to dialogues. Laing's artistic practice provides a powerful and often challenging commentary on what it means to look for a safe place to belong within contemporary society.
Laing was born in Melbourne in 1974. He graduated from Sydney College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Photography) in 1995, then went on to the Victorian College of the Arts where he achieved a Masters of Contemporary Art in 2014. Laing has held solo exhibitions at The Rumpus Room, Kings ARI, Blindside Gallery and BUS Projects. He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions across Australia, and internationally, at Trestle Gallery, New York City; Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne; Lehrter Siebzehn, Berlin; tête, Berlin; Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington; Gold Coast City Gallery, Gold Coast; The Substation, Newport; Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Hobart; Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown; and Araluen Gallery, Alice Springs. Laing was a 2014 recipient of Ian Potter Cultural Trust funding for supporting the diversity and excellence of emerging artists. Early career highlights include undertaking an artist residency at PICTURE BERLIN in 2014, and being selected as part of Nillumbik Shire Council's Artist in Residence Program at Laughing Waters in Eltham in 2012.