Play Time at Shepparton Art Museum

Melbourne based artist Nick Selenitsch has arrived in Shepparton and his energising exhibition, simply titled ‘Play’, is bringing out the inner child from those who wander past his installations.

It’s a joy to wander any exhibition, but it’s a bonus when the viewer is invited to interact with the artwork adorning the gallery halls. Interacting with an installation ensures that the artwork takes on a new, unique persona every time an interaction occurs. Through Selenitsch’s abstract creations, making good use of materials, photography and video, he transforms colour, simple lines and game-specific objects into works that coax childhood memories from the depths of his viewers.

Selenitsch demands participation and viewers can participate from the moment they enter the exhibition. Kids and adults alike are found plucking rubber squash balls out of a bucket and aiming them at a small hole at the top corner of a white wall. The wall is blemished by rubbery marks from those who have played earlier. The chances of successfully dropping a ball into the hole are slim (participants try everything from jumping, lay-ups and the classic overarm motion) but the reward is to hear the ball drop through a series of tubes behind the wall before the ball is spat out from a hole in the lower corner. Success and jubilation are imminent; the essence of Selenitsch’s work. ‘Play’ brings out an active spirit, laughter and fun while simultaneously harnessing viewers’ competitive streak.

Further on, photos can be found and they’re tailored to Shepparton’s locations for play. The collage captures netball and basketball rings, court lines, a wall grate that’s caught old golf balls and a lonely set of rusting metal wickets. A felt dart board of sorts is also within easy reach and viewers can interact by throwing Velcro balls at it. This particular install brings out the happier memories from my own childhood when I remember playing a similar game with my cousins when we used to visit our grandmother. It’s hard to ignore an inner longing for play and competitiveness emerging all over again.        

‘Play’ runs until April 27 at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). Entry is free though donations for the upkeep of the gallery are accepted. SAM is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm and public holidays from 1pm to 4pm. SAM is open every day accept New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Christmas Day. 70 Welsford Street Shepparton Victoria 3630. Phone (03) 5832 9861.