Spence Messih

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'Wet things dry, dry things get wet' by Spence Messih made on residency at Auto Italia, London, 2019. Image credit: Rob Harris.

Visual artist Spence Messih’s practice spans a range of mediums including installation, photography, sculpture and text-based artworks. Their work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Firstdraft Gallery and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, among others. Through their practice, Spence explores the potential of forms and materials historically associated with abstraction and minimalism to communicate transgender experiences and histories.

Spence was supported by a Cultural Trust grant to undertake a residency at Auto Italia South East, London. During the residency, Spence visited leading curators and met with artists and researchers working across feminist, gender and political discourse to explore ideas that are integral to their artistic practice. Throughout this time Spence developed a new body of work, including a stained-glass diptych titled Wet things dry, dry things get wet.

The residency allowed Spence to not only develop new work and gain critical recognition but to conceptualise their future practice and gain new understandings of the queer discourse and visual arts scene in the UK.

“This was a unique opportunity and I feel enlivened by the response to my work from the artists and curators I met through [Auto Italia South East]. The relationships formed during my stay in London will break ground in my practice I couldn’t have anticipated. I will bring this back to fellow artists in Sydney, centring our work within an international queer artistic community.”


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