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John Vella, B. 1969, Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Hobart, Tasmania.
John Vella commits acts of physical and conceptual frottage on communities, objects and systems. Mediating status, value and ‘damage by design’, Vella develops diverse testimonies to the epic and incidental aspects of our personal and material histories. Recent projects include; FIT(7_ _ _ )* a photographic work that acts as a visual survey documenting the socioeconomic discrepancies of 8 diverse Hobart suburbs in and around Hobart and, While Blow; a fully functional penis and testicle windsock that reconciles the diverse roles of the phallus: as a male metaphor, a warning/sign, a reproductive organ and a joke.
Vella’s Hangbang (nightshift) (2010) subjected 16 years of his archived practice, his Tasmanian ‘life’s work,’ to scenarios that challenged institutional hierarchies and art world / work values.
Vella’s exhibition history includes: HANGBANG (nighshift) (2010) ,CAST Gallery, Hobart, Because I’m Lucky (2010), Conical Inc. Gallery, Melbourne; I Walk the Line: New Australian Drawing, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; permissiontosit (2009), Criterion Gallery, Hobart; FUME (2006), DeDevonport Regional Gallery, Devonport; The Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award (2003); and Going Off (2000), Canberra Contemporary Art Spaces, Canberra.
John Vella is the Head of Sculpture at the Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania.