The Commercial

Images 1-4 Gail Hastings, Exhibition: To Do, 2014, acrylic on plywood, plywood, watercolour and lead pencil on paper, 185.5 x 225 x 225cm; image 5 exhibition installation view; images 6-7 Gail Hastings,Corner caretakers, 2014, watercolour and lead pencil on paper in plywood frames, 12 components, each 55 x 46.5 x 1.8cm (Corner caretakers is a sculptuation from Gail Hastings’ eBook, Missing, 2014)

The four walls that make up Gail Hastings’ Exhibition: To Do are oriented within the gallery along the Earth’s axis — coordinates and a rudimentary geometry shared by all. Each wall bears geometric patterns of shelves — small units of space — made of intervals and intersections described and located along xy and z axes. The pattern of spatial intervals has been determined by the material thickness of the wood used — 18mm; wherein solidity and space play interchanging parts (e.g. solid, space, space, solid, space, space, solid, space, space, solid …) along the height and length of each object. In these ways, Hastings has eliminated extraneous moments of decision-making, lending a sense of givenness to the exhibition but also its need to be made. […]

The shelf patterns demarcate small units of space, partitions within the greater field. We enter the work and stand at the centre of this architecture of art where space has been created at the intersection of mindfulness and its evidence in the physical world, between the disciplined mind at rest — a state of patience — and where one might find signs of its opposite — an agitation of breath, the fundamental metrical axis of life.

“Space is generally thought of in its ideal form – as empty. Notions, such as needing space to breathe, space to move, space to be free and outer space (uninhabited) point this way. In being empty, space is thought of as missing something, something that can fill it. It is why space is spoken of with such potential.”

“The conundrum, then, is how does one retain this potential when one makes art that creates space – an aesthetic space that is not missing something but is, instead, a something: a concrete thing?” (Hastings)

Exhibition: To Do is a major new work. It is accompanied in the exhibition by Corner Caretakers andSpace of a five page plot, two sculptuations from Missing – an eBook by Gail Hastings with a foreword by Richard Shiff. A book review of Missing has been written by Annabel Crabb.

Gail Hastings’ work is deeply invested in a reassessment of the history of Minimalism — Donald Judd — but also points back to the beginning of the 20th century to the work of Russian Constructivists — Varvara Stepanova; and Modernist Architecture — Walter Burley Griffin, Marion Mahony Griffin. Her work articulates real space through aesthetic space via architectural floorplans (watercolour pencil drawings) that physically locate a colourful geometry of objects — a particular language, history and medium with which Hastings works. Her tools.

Hastings’ solo exhibitions (non-commercial) include the Art Gallery of New South Wales Level 2 Contemporary Projects (2007) – from which major works were acquired by the AGNSW, Sydney, and the Daimler Contemporary Art Collection, Berlin, the exhibition travelled to the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, curated by Melissa Keys (2008); Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, curated by Zara Stanhope (2003); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, curated by Stuart Koop (2001); University of Queensland Art Museum (1999); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (1998); Bahnwärterhaus, Galerie der Stadt, Esslingen (1998); Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (1994); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (1993); Store 5, Melbourne (1991, 1990, 1989).

Group exhibitions (non-commercial) include Direct Democracy, curated by Geraldine Barlow, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2013); Minimalism and Applied II, Dialogues of contemporary art with aspects of 20th century design and architecture, curated by Renate Wiehager, Daimler Contemporary, Berlin which included artists Martin Boyce, Philippe Parreno, Charlotte Perriand, Charlotte Posenenske and Jean Prouvé (2010); To make a work of timeless art – MCA Primavera Acquisitions, curated by Clare Lewis, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2008); Pitch your own Tent: Art Projects | Store 5 | 1st Floor, curated by Max Delany, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2005); The Daimler Art Collection – 100 artists out of more than 60 Years, Museum für Neue Kunst ZKM, Karlsruhe (2003); Kunst Nuch Kunst (Art after Art), curated by Peter Friese, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Bremen (2002); Minimalism and After – New Acquisitions, Daimler Contemporary, Berlin (2002); Geometrical Affairs, various galleries, Berlin (2001); The Space Here is Everywhereart with architecture, curated by Renate Weihager, (other artists included Daniel Buren, Liam Gillick, Gordon Matta-Clark, Steve McQueen, Julian Opie, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Gregor Schneider) Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany (1999); Strolling: the art of arcades, boulevards and barricades, publicity, curated by Max Delany, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (1998); All This and Heaven Too: The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art 1998, curated by Juliana Engberg and Ewen McDonald, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (1998); On Dialogue, curated by Anne Marie Freybourg, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (1997); Lovers, curated by Juliana Engberg, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (1995); Store 5, curated by Gary Wilson Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (1994); Primavera: The Belinda Jackson Exhibition of Young Artists, curated by Linda Michael, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1992 – inaugural); 1991 Perspecta, curated by Victoria Lynn, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1991).

Australian public holdings include the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Cruthers Collection at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of Western Australia, Perth; the Gallery of Modern Art | Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

The most significant holdings of Hastings’ work to date are in the Daimler Art Collection, Berlin (with major acquisitions made in 2010 and 1998) where Hastings has also exhibited in important group exhibitions. Other international holdings include the Citibank Collection, New York, and the GAP Art Collection, Los Angeles. 

The Commercial exhibited a solo presentation of Hastings’ work at the inaugural Sydney Contemporary art fair in September 2013 from which a major work, Corner, was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Exhibition: To Do is Gail Hastings’ first solo exhibition at The Commercial.

Gail Hastings’ eBook, Missing

available now for pre-release on iBooks

Foreword by Richard Shiff

Book review by Annabel Crabb

A special pre-order price of AU$14.99 applies until 26/04/14

You will find actual art, not documentation of art, in Missing by Gail Hastings. For instance, the space between you and Missing’scover is a real space, the space of the room in which you might sit, the space you happen to be. It is also the watercolour space of the sculptuations inside Missing where, in one, four friends gather to take comfort in their card-carrying doubt of contemporary art while, on page three, readers suspect they have missed something integral. A foreword by art historian Richard Shiff discusses the being (or non-being) of Missing.