Image: Ramesh Nithiyendran, Blue Head, 2018, earthenware, glazed, lustre. Image courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney and Singapore. Renee So, Woman II, Stoneware. Image courtesy of the artist; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Kate MacGarry, London

Idolatry and mythological archetypes are reimagined in the ceramics and wall works of Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and Renee So in Idols. Working primarily in figurative ceramics, both artists aim to challenge and overturn old perspectives on gendered power structures and the aesthetics of spiritualities.

Nithiyendran creates rough-edged, vibrant, new-age sculptures that are at once enticing and confronting. He experiments with form and scale in the context of figurative sculpture to explore the politics of sex, monuments, gender and religion. He draws on his Hindu and Christian heritage as reference points, as well as the internet, fashion and art history.

In hand-built stoneware sculptures and machine knitted textile works, Renee So also explores constructions of masculinity, femininity and gender-based power structures. Underpinning these works is a deep interest in the history of art, craft and design, and a considered irony.

The pairing of So with Nithiyendran makes for an energetic ‘face-off’ about gender, power and their signifiers. Nithiyendran’s works form a chaotic shrine that will be anchored and thrown into relief by So’s enigmatic yet authoritative male and female figures.

Idols is part of the 2019 Perth Festival.

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