Contemporary art Exhibitions

The feisty figurine fitted with baton and grenade

Penny Byrne Life is a Riot-Gezi Park, 2013 (c) Penny Byrne

It's not often you see a dainty ceramic figurine brandishing a hand grenade—which is why Penny Byrne's 2013 work Life is a Riot-Gezi Park is an eye-opener. Byrne, a trained ceramics conservator, subverts the medium, making mischievous pieces with a punch and political charge (this delicate yet plucky damsel, described by the artist as an "altered vintage ceramic figurine", draws attention to the recent turmoil in Turkey). The work is on show in a group exhibition of twenty emerging and mid-career Australian artists at the Fine Art Society in London ("Australia: Contemporary Voices", until 21 December). "The time was right.... to show a side to Australian art that international observers have not seen," says the guest curator, Geoffrey Cassidy.

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