To be totemic is to embody a quality, concept or identity. Standing sentinel in a field of sand Rennie’s five hand caved iron bark totems offer a physical presence to this understanding, towering over their audiences with an intensity born of scale and surface. Bearing pigmented markings drawn from his distinctive graffiti-inspired, geometric visual language, the visual field they occupy is diamond shaped – a motif emblematic of Rennie’s Kamilaroi ancestry. Tall, proud and imbued with the artist’s hand they bear the traces a wide range of urban and cultural influences asserting the importance and continued relevance of ancestry, country and language. TOTEMIC is a dynamic convergence of cultural signifiers with Rennie employing traditional carving and timber into his contemporary practice fusing the past, present and future into distinctive material forms.

Ironbark, pigment, steel, sand
courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne

Curated by Dr Mikala Tai

Sydney Contemporary at Carriageworks, Sydney