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ACCA is pleased to present Overlapping Magisteria: The 2020 Macfarlane Commissions, the second edition of a multi-year partnership that supports ambitious projects by contemporary artists. Overlapping Magisteria transforms ACCA’s galleries with major new works by Robert Andrew, Mimosa Echard, Sidney McMahon, Sam Petersen and Isadora Vaughan.
Encompassing living organisms, kinetic installations and immersive assemblages, Overlapping Magisteria pays attention to multiple ways of knowing, sensing, feeling and interacting with the world. The works by participating artists draw on various social, cultural, technical and material forms, unsettling the lingering divide between nature and culture towards more complex realms of knowledge and experience.
The exhibition title Overlapping Magisteria asserts a position against historical desires to separate science and religion (or metaphysics) as distinct fields of enquiry into the human relationship with the natural world. The phrase ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ was coined by Stephen Jay Gould in an attempt to explain how the domain of science is informed by empirical facts of the material world, while that of religion or spirituality is subject to moral, ethical and emotional influences – and that one does not aid in an understanding of, nor discount, the other.
This exhibition encompasses works that explicitly imbricate these realms, bringing together material facts and immaterial values, rational and irrational, animate and inanimate forms, without one having dominion or mastery over another. The works in Overlapping Magisteria are the outcome of astute observations and reflections on language, culture, land use, bodies, architecture and practices that have often been marginalised by historically dominant paradigms. Some works explore psychic and social realms, and pleasures inherent in the senses. Others encourage us to learn from non-human organisms, entities and elements.
The artists in Overlapping Magisteria layer intuitive and sensory material responses with ideas drawn from across disciplinary as well as metaphysical domains to consider the possibilities of a world in flux, transformation and entropy.
Artists: Robert Andrew, Mimosa Echard, Sidney McMahon, Sam Petersen & Isadora Vaughan.
Curators: Max Delany and Miriam Kelly
The Macfarlane Commissions
The Macfarlane Commissions is a recently established series of exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art featuring new commissions by emerging and mid-career Australian and international artists. To be held every second year for a period of six years, the series is supported by The Macfarlane Fund, a philanthropic initiative established in 2017 to honour the life of respected Melbourne businessman Donald (Don) Macfarlane, who throughout his life took immense pleasure in the arts. The Macfarlane Fund’s primary focus is to offer financial support across the career span of artists, with programs developed to support graduate, mid-career and senior artists.
Image: Yhonnie Scarce, Only a mother could love them 2016, hand blown glass, 25.0 x 15.0 cm diameter each (variable sizes - approx.) Monash University Collection. Purchased by the Monash Business School 2017. Courtesy of Monash University Museum of Art, the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne.