Past News at Kluge-Ruhe

Reko Rennie will paint gallery at Kluge-Ruhe • Tuesday January 11, 2011

Australian artist Reko Rennie (Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi) from Melbourne, VIC, is spending two weeks at the University of Virginia where he will paint the interior walls of the Kluge-Ruhe Collection’s rotating gallery January 17th through the 21st. The exhibit, titled “Patternation,” opens to the public on Friday, January 28th with a public reception from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

Rennie’s exhibit has been curated by Stephen Gilchrist (Yamatji), Curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. According to Gilchrist, the exhibit title “Patternation” refers both to the repetitive “patter” of national discourse concerning Indigenous people in both Australia and the US, and to the bold, geometric patterns used by Rennie.

Although his father is an artist, Rennie came to his own art practice through contemporary youth culture – hip hop, break dancing, and graffiti. Equally comfortable working in the street or the gallery, Rennie uses stencils and spray paint to produce intricate images addressing themes of identity, justice and tradition. Rennie’s kangaroo, dubbed “Big Red,” is both a national emblem, seen on Australia’s coat of arms, and a symbol of Aboriginal survival. Rennie’s kanagroos have been popping up around Charlottesville since late-December, when a pair appeared in a storefront on the downtown mall in partnership with CommonPlace Arts.

Prior to becoming an artist, Rennie worked as a journalist in television, radio and print, including several years at The Age newspaper in Melbourne. In 2009, he was awarded an Australia Council for the Arts residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.

While in Charlottesville, Rennie will collaborate on a public art project at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative with Native American artist Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce/Onondaga) January 25-27. Hyde, who lives in Pittsburgh, mixes Indian imagery with icons of pop culture, expressing what he calls the “fragmented contemporary life” of a Native American U.S. citizen. Although not a street artist, Hyde incorporates stencils in his paintings on canvas.

Hyde attended the Santa Fe Fine Arts Institute and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has exhibited his work for over 15 years in many Santa Fe galleries as well as in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

Rennie and Hyde will present their art at the Beyond Walls Symposium at UVa on January 28 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm in Campbell Hall 153, along with Dean Dass, professor of Art at UVa.