Eytan Messiah - Tempe. 21 November - 8 December, 2019.

Messiah’s work sits at a cross-section of folk-art, ancient Greek, modernist and cubist styles where abstract plains give rise to mythical figures, which are further realised in his ceramic works. They converge to form evocative scenes like players on a stage.

The artist has a myriad of references - firstly the notion that myth making is an essential pillar of humanity, and conceptualising it, a colonial device. He contrasts the imagery of ancient Greek culture theatrically against colonial settings and references 18th-century Staffordshire figurines as loaded symbols. Messiah was also inspired by early circus activity in Sydney, the impressive biography of Alexander Brodie Spark who relocated from England to Sydney in 1823, and his faux- Arcadian estate on the Cook’s River he aptly named Tempe.

Hero piece Striped Horse is a play on the naivety of colonisers, anthropologists and explorers, whose depiction of strange new flora and fauna drew on European conventions to make exotic scenes seem palpable, but ultimately inaccurate. The European interest in all things ‘exotic’ is a sentiment throughout Tempe.

In order to 'see'  Tempe, one must piece together the fragments and clues that Messiah provides into a vision of a place. The total image must be 'thought' in order to be 'seen' , and each viewer will see it differently.