Exhibition review: good grief, Danish Quapoor, Pinnacles Gallery

Ambitious and confident, Danish Quapoor's cohesive exhibition was four years in the making.
black and white sculpture made from ceramics and twine. Danish Quapoor.

The exhibition good grief has been beautifully presented with a high level of attention to a visual journey across its different bodies of work, and right down to display devices, such as custom organically wave-formed shelving. It is testament to the four years that Danish Quapoor (aka Daniel Qualischefski) has worked on this exhibition, in the wake of the pandemic and losing his father during that period.

In many ways it is a tribute – a tribute to his family, but also to humanity and resilience, as Quapoor finds confidence in his own creative footing and identity.

The exhibition essentially is presented as four separate – yet connected – material propositions. A suite of ambiguous, amorphous paintings, a short stop-motion animation that takes its cue from the paintings, a collection of small ceramic glazed and textured orbs, and a study in black and white that pairs glass elements with woven twine.

The paintings’ flat compositions have a graphic, somewhat surreal style – they owe a great deal to the work of artist Brent Harris, but it is a fitting vernacular for Quapoor, who similarly searches for an expression to navigate grief and sexual identity.

The surfaces of the paintings are meticulous – flattened, refined and free of brush marks – however, their saggy stretches let them down. I find it a curious lapse in detail, given the incredible attention given to the presentation of this show as a whole.

Some of the paintings are “haloed” by painted wall graphics, which frame and collect them into considerations. Again, Quapoor’s attention to detail as an exhibition maker is as much on show here as the artworks themselves.

The ceramics are intimate and presented just below eye level on custom shelving. They feel like something from a rockpool, delicate orb-like creatures that are dappled with texture, and partially glazed offering a soft tension.

Pair of ceramic, textured orb sculptures in gallery setting. Danish Quapoor
Danish Quapoor, ‘the apple and the tree’, 2023, installation view Pinnacles Gallery, Townsville. Photo: ArtsHub.

That similar tension within an object is played out again with a suite of small organic forms – tower-like stacks – that pair woven twine with glass, which sits astride them in a slumped, crumpled way.

The glass elements were made during a residency at the JamFactory in Adelaide. It is another example of glass finding its way back into a contemporary vernacular for its possibilities as a medium, less caught up in technicality and rather for its conceptual malleability and richness.

Overall, this exhibition is incredibly cohesive and – surprisingly – testament to a confidence in Quapoor’s making. He clearly demonstrates that he is willing to take on any material – to give it a genuine crack and find his own synergy with its material form. I love that resourcefulness, and it is one we often see in regional practice where artists have to work that little bit harder.

good grief, Danish Quapoor
Pinnacles Gallery
Riverway Arts Centre
20 Village Boulevard, Thuringowa (Townsville), Qld
8 March – 28 April

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina