to Oct 28

Anthony Bartok


Opening reception on Thursday, September 28 • 6 - 8 pm

Exhibition runs Thursday, September 28 - October 28

“I paint my subjects with a deadpan line because my subjects are tragic.”

Anthony Bartok’s trademark is that delicate mingling of comedy and tragedy that defines a perfect joke, in painting form. In each work, Bartok displays his keen eye for imagery and iconography while using the simple stylistic language of children’s colouring-in books. His works deliver a message of the futility and disconnections of modern relationships and life that comes from the increased obsession with social media and entertainment.

The often cynical nature of Bartok’s humour is offset by the innocence of his style – a balance between the message and its delivery. Some works in this exhibition employ a back-staining method that he learned on a recent trip to New York, adding colour and water to the back of a canvas, allowing it to bleed through. ‘This adds an element of chance that mirrors a child’s hand’s disregard for the image, which in turn mirrors our passive complacency with the major contemporary problems depicted in the work’, says Bartok.

Some of the imagery in this show traces its origins to a series Bartok started while studying at the National Art School. He used ‘found images of explosions, IMAX audiences, global pollution and Justin Bieber’s penis’, reducing them to their bare minimum and adding captions. These images act as blank canvases, offering themselves to interpretations. Utilising the same image of office cubicles, Bartok has highlighted the repetitive monotony of the modern workplace in Christine Works Very Hard so she can Enjoy her Weekends (2016), as well as the Western obsession with guns and violence in Geoff, Looks at some Automatic Handguns on the Internet (2016).

Now, in Home / Office, Bartok has both expanded and minimalised the image, blowing it up into a large intricate matrix of cubicles while doing away with the caption and focusing more on the visual symbolism. At the centre of an ocean of computers and divider walls (looking at the work, one can almost hear the constant ringing of phones in the background) is reprieve in the form of a living room, void of bodies and screens. Home / Office, much like its 2015 predecessor, calls attention to the absurdity of the modern professional’s work-life balance.

‘In my work, I explore the everyday realities and contradictions of living in the modern Western world.’

Anthony Bartok’s work would be sad if it weren’t so funny, shallow if it weren’t so sad, and inconsequential if it weren’t so close to reality – we recognise ourselves in these snapshots. In Mandatory Field, Bartok distills everyday absurdities and turns them into art.

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to Sep 26

Tom Ferson


Exhibition runs August 31 - September 26

Opening reception on Thursday, August 31, 6 - 8 PM


The result of two years of focused effort, Intersections is “about love, sexuality and intimacy, and the way identity can be informed by all of those things.” Deemed ‘Australia’s most patient artist’ by Monster Children Magazine, Ferson, through a complex and time consuming process of layering and engraving, creates incredibly detailed works that explore the softest aspects of human nature and beauty.

Sex dominates as a theme, though often it becomes apparent only within the context of the exhibition. Even inanimate objects are imbued with a near post-coital glow, from gobstoppers in varying degrees of consumption to pears and eggplants seductively positioned atop tousled bedsheets.

It is easy to be crude with such themes guiding the work, yet Ferson manages to be anything but. Sex is portrayed and alluded to within the context of love, relationship, and sometimes it is the space in between his subjects that holds the most charge. Ferson explores sensuality in all its forms, be it a tender moment over coffee in Without Words, or, in A Certain Stillness, a glimpse through the crack of an open bedroom door, a naked lover lying shut-eyed and top-to-tail in the sheets. A still-life of flowers is just that until one takes in the context; what was a nameless glass ornament is now as naughty and playful as the title, Fun with Objects, suggests

In addition to the thoughtful approach, the meticulous and meditative process itself adds an air of care and affection to the works. “There’s so much that’s gone into this show that it’s impossible not to have emotion as a theme in there”, Ferson said in an interview.

Much of the artist’s previous work has been a “meditation on female beauty” and in contrast, Intersections is a meditation on all beauty, both external and internal. The works in this show, each rendering its own touch and unique facet of emotion and love, meet at an intersection in the centre of the exhibition.

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to Aug 31

Neil Tomkins


Rising Dark


August 3 – August 31


Tomkins is an action painter operating in an echo chamber of his own experiences, the work is imbued with a dynamic sense of mark balanced by the focus of ritual.  

Following his 2016 exhibition of South American landscapes, Tomkins has now turned his sights and his brush inland with a series of travel paintings of central Australia. Focusing on the dramatic dusks and dawns of the desert, the works in this show are divided into three parts, the first having been painted in Sydney with the help of images and imagination, the second painted plein air during the trip, and the third back in the studio upon return. The Paintings explore cultural identity and how the abstract idea of this quintessential part of our country clashes and overlaps with the physical experience of being there.

Having painted much of the work before making the trip to the desert creates a duality in this body, one that sometimes splits a work in two, as in Split Scene or Sky Opening. It highlights the difference the few hours between dusk and dawn make in a landscape and can be seen as an embodiment of the process involved in creating the show.

The evolution of Rising Dark occasionally shows in the chronology of the works, though many of the earlier paintings were later altered with the impressions Tomkins brought back from the desert. Now(here) I and II, both painted in the artist’s Sydney Studio before the trip (though fittingly titled after his return), identify a naïve view of Australia’s Red Centre “based on preconception and experience”. In Tomkins’ words, “this body of work is an exploration of time and space.” How physical presence informs and evolves the idea of space while time alters the place itself.

The paintings in this exhibition showcase Tomkins’ trademark brushstroke, his unique perspective, and his ability to find the line where realism and imagination meet, often quite literally.


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to Jul 16

Painter's Painters

Painter’s Painters

Figurative expressionism in emerging Sydney artists

Works by Priscilla Bourne, Henry Curchod, Nick Pont, Brad Teodoruk, Neil Tomkins

June 15 - July 15

With gestural brushstrokes and bold compositions, these five Sydney painters create works that are explorations of both the subjects and their painters, finding a point where imagination and reality meet.


Priscilla Bourne

Bourne’s work engages with an often-neglected aspect of urban environments - the subtle intrusion of the natural world. For city dwellers, the profusion of man-made structures and devices can act to obscure the teeming life that pre-exists, and penetrates at every point, the gauzy reality in which we shroud ourselves. Priscilla’s work addresses this blind spot, and goes some way towards making reparation.


Henry Curchod

Curchod’s works are an exploration of his self, bringing to surface both his cultural background in the deconstructed Farsi script and his innermost thoughts and desires. With instinctual certainty, he attacks the canvas with a double-edged sword of carefully calculated composition and wild, dramatic brushstrokes.


Nick Pont

Explores people in their surroundings through visual storytelling. The artist’s perceived world gets translated onto canvas with bold colours and powerful mark making, resulting in beautifully expressive works.


Brad Teodoruk

Represented by Robin Gibson Gallery

Teodoruk is a Sydney based artist committed to storytelling. He explores the depths of figuration in a diligent painting process. A process in which the artist often paints over an artwork several times, leaving traces of the previous painting creeping into the next. Through this technique, Teodoruk creates an array of expressive and abstract work.

Neil Tomkins

Primarily a landscape painter, Tomkins’ mark is unmistakably expressionist, creating dreamlike images in all of his work. While visiting a friend who cultures bonsais in Orange, Tomkins sketched the small trees to paint them upon his return to Sydney. This resulted in a series of ‘Portraits’ that bring out the human qualities in the curves and twists of the bonsai.


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to Jun 10

Michael Sellmann

Found Along the Way

Berlin based Michael Sellmann is not a painter, nor is he a sculptor, a ceramicist, an installation or assemblage artist. He is first and foremost an aesthete, gently nudging elements into beauty with the help of time, environment and chance. Though his practice is ever changing, his process never does: minimal intervention. Unlike most artists, Sellmann searches for art outside of himself, creating it by curating his own reality.

The artist has been an elusive but ever present figure in Germany’s art world since the early eighties, when he was picked to be one of several artists (including, among others, Joseph Beuys, Allan Kaprow, Noriyuki Haraguchi, and Richard Serra) in a group show called ‘Schwarz’ (‘Black’) at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.

The roughly 70 works on paper in this show are dated around 2015, though the process of their creation spans almost a decade. The sheets of paper were aged in sunlight until Sellmann found a discarded box of gold and silver leaf, and he called the paper into action. The resulting works, though sparse, are thick with tensions between the minimal marks. Light sustains a large role in the works, both in the reflective quality of the silver leaf and the continued aging of the paper.

There are a handful of themes Sellmann often returns to, each walking the line between humorous banality and vast depth of meaning, similar to the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything posed inDouglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Binary 0s and 1s have appeared in varying degrees of directness for decades. An untitled wall sculpture from 1988 looks at first like an ordinary (though outdated) power socket. The two plugs, however, only lead to each other in a cycle of nothing. In an assemblage from 2015, a man stands facing the camera at the front of a large field, holding onto a signpost with a 0 in bold lettering. Sellmann found the photograph in an old textbook and turned the sky golden.

The German Ach is another recurring theme. There is no fitting translation in English, though the sound is best described as a sigh. It could be the sight of a labourer finally able to rest after a hard day’s work, the sigh of grandmother lovingly shaking her head at a cheeky grandchild or that of a melancholiac despairing of the world. Here too, depending on the context within the work as well as the viewer’s mood, the gravity of the sigh will vary. The Ach, in its most playful form, pops into view when pulling down the handle of an untitled scroll. The object has donned the character of someone peeved to be awoken early, exhaling a sigh and a yawn in one – at least that is what it seems to me.

One must only see Sellmann’s studio with its infinite works in progress to understand that this is a man always looking, picking up objects throughout his journey and patiently waiting for their counterparts to show themselves to him. Oftentimes the artist will store an item for years before he discovers its purpose. Time is always a contributor and Sellmann guides it with a gentle hand. His works feel as though they are meant to be, almost like products of evolution. They are quiet objects in a noisy world, which makes them easy to glance over. But taking a minute to let these objects of subtle beauty cast their spells will always be rewarded.

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to May 14

Nick Pont

Ideals and Other Stories

TNSG is proud to present our first exhibition with Sydney based painter Nick Pont.

This group of drawings and paintings, created between 2014 and now, are a collection of narratives recording Nick Pont’s experiences of three years. Following on from his 2016 show, ‘Ideals’, at Sheffer Gallery, these are stories of travel, at home and abroad, and everyday excursions brought alive by a painterly element of the otherworldly and mythological.

Pont’s style is quintessentially Australian, and so are the stories he tells. He cites, among others, Sidney Nolan and Brett Whiteley as artistic influences, as well as author Tim Winton. The painters’ influences are noticeable, while Winton’s ideas of character mystique and cultural escapism are highly visible in Pont’s work.

The novelist Victor Lodato said about short story writing, “The first sentence is often like a crazy blob of paint that my subconscious throws down on the page – and then I work from there toward a greater understanding of the picture.” The inverse is true of Nick Pont’s practice when it comes to his ink works: “The narrative aspect of my work is always based on a life experience or from a distant memory and then moves on and involves other thoughts, experiences and reference material e.g. photographs, literature or historical documents.” Where Lodato’s craft begins with a blob of paint to later form a narrative, Pont begins with a story and arrives at an image. 

Nepalese Hill Story was drawn from his time in Nepal. Pont was a guest with a man who 

conscribed him to help purchase a chicken for dinner. They travelled up a winding road to the top of a hill to find a rooster that he then carried through monsoonal weather and snaking escarpments back to the house where it was killed and prepared. The four-panelled work tells this story like a fairy tale. It is dark, yet full of light, somewhat gruesome though still playful. With a mix of assertive line work and what might best be described as a painted warmth, emanating from a work using only black ink, the work has a hint of the magical.

Paradise’s Uncomfortable Reality is a brighter work, though the subject matter is not. During Pont’s time in Byron Bay, there was an unusually high number of shark attacks. The continuous coverage crept into Pont’s work, where he found himself drawing sharks, over and over. Six of these sharks were combined into what is a powerful nine panel work, encapsulating the experience and the beautiful mystique of the prehistoric predator.


‘Ideals and Other Stories’ is a collection of short stories in the form of ink works, influenced by Pont’s travels in southeast Asia, his residency in Byron Bay and his life as an artist and surfer in Sydney


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to Apr 14

Janis Clarke



Janis Clarke’s first solo exhibition with TNSG will be a turning point in the painter’s artistic practice. Following 'Transience', a solo show put on by the Moran foundation at the iconic Juniper Hall, displaying the atmospheric, abstract and often obscured landscapes Clarke is known for, 'Fapengo' is an expression of complete artistic freedom and curiosity. 

The works are an exploration of perception, often featuring seemingly banal everyday objects (water bottles, mason jars, pot plants to name a few), presented in such a way as to make the paintings both surreal and familiar, engrossing and enigmatic. Clarke chooses an object that interests him and through painting explores what caught his attention in the first place, juxtaposing it with surreal painterly elements on the way, creating a finished work that is less about the object itself than our associations with it. Each painting is a journey that sets off at our first impression of the subject and takes us through a process of abstract connections and stories the artist attaches to each element of his imagery.

In 'Fapengo', Clarke argues that seeing is imagining, a process that happens only within our mind. His painting alludes to the naivety of seeing. By leaving his brushstroke visible he makes clear that his subjects are only representations of reality, filtered through his eyes, his mind, and ultimately his brush, thereby moving closer to reality by showing how we see. “Life’s clumsy, man.” 

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to Mar 1




‘Works by the two artists oscillate between the skies and earth, closeness and distance, vastness and depth. They switch from figuration to abstraction, palpable actuality to impalpable mood’

Angela Zohlen and Ulrich Kretschmann, artistic colleagues and life partners, work in entirely different styles and with wholly separate yet related focuses. Displaying the two artists next to each other, the first noticeable difference is scope. While Zohlen looks at nature up close, focusing on texture and horticultural shapes reminiscent of Karl Bloßfeld photographs, Kretschmann widens his gaze, painting brilliant panoramic landscapes. Their work is essentially abstract, painted more from memory and mind than actual source material, focusing more on mood than realism.

Both artists work in layers. Zohlen applies a mix of pigment and rough grained sand to canvas, scraped back and reapplied numerous times to create the plant like shapes and textured backgrounds that make her work so immersive. Kretschmann works more classically, layering oil paint on a black primed canvas to produce the brooding depth of cloud-filtered light and the masked, ominous, sometimes jutting contours of horizons.

While Zohlen and Kretschmann have exhibited alongside each other in the past, this is the first time they produced work with the sole goal of showing together in a two-person exhibition. “We both work in opposite ends of Berlin. We would leave for our respective studios in the morning and return home late at night to talk about the work we did that day, exchanging ideas, showing each other images and giving updates on our process”, Kretschmann said. Due to the fundamental difference of style, their influence on each other is hard to pinpoint. The effect of their nightly conversations is a tension that appears once you place the works next to each other, as if they translate shared ideas into their individual languages on canvas.

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to Dec 23


'A Deep Rumble' 


The New Standard Gallery is proud to present an exciting body of work in Neil Tomkin's debut solo exhibition 'A Deep Rumble' 

Neil Tomkins is an Australian painter who draws inspiration from his travels, soaking up foreign landscapes and translating them to canvas through a distinctly Australian eye. 'A Deep Rumble' is the product of extensive travels through South America.

This body of work explores the internal mechanisms of new experience, joyfully delving into a deep pulse existing within the landscape, under the earth and through the waters. A two-year effort has culminated in the expression of an ever-shifting surrounding environment, exploring a sculptural perception of trees, rocks, roads, and streams. It is a connection to soil through pigment, to self through gesture.

'Through Landscape painting, I explore ideas of spirituality, physical and emotional displacement, and shamanism.' 

With a ritualistic approach to painting offset by frantic impulses of gesture, A Deep Rumble encapsulates a dynamic reinvention of the traditions within landscape painting .

The New Standard Gallery & Neil Tomkins are proudly supported & sponsored by Young Henry's, De Salis Wines & Alfies Kitchen

Opening Thursday 10th November, 6 - 9 PM
Show runs 10th November - 23rd December

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to Oct 21


'A Year in Preview'


After a lot of hard work and patience The New Standard Gallery is immensely proud to invite you to celebrate our official Grand Opening.

Our inaugural exhibition A Year in Preview will feature work by eleven artists from Australia, Germany, North America and New Zealand, in a sneak peak view of the exhibitions planned for the year ahead.

Please join directors Phillippa Griffin and Sam Ramsden to raise a glass and celebrate some amazing works, artists, and our beautiful space at 236a Riley Street, Surry Hills.

Ft. works by Isak Applin (US) Carl Baratta (US) Anthony Bartok (AU) Janis Clarke (AU) Tom Ferson (AU) Matt Hunt (NZ) Ulrich Kretschmann (GER) Gabrijela Iva Polic (AU) Michael Sellmann (GER) Neil Tomkins (AU) & Angela Zohlen (GER)


Opening Thursday October 20th | 6 – 9 pm

Exhibition closes Tuesday November 8th


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