FIELDWORK: artist encounters is an exhibition project that creates spatial, conceptual, sonic and material conversations between recent works of a collection of artists with decades-long practice trajectories involving, in various ways, work in the field or of the field.

The exhibition was curated by Gary Warner and showed at Sydney College of the Arts Galleries, University of Sydney, 7-30 July 2016.

A 48-page saddle-stitched colour publication accompanies the exhibition.
ISBN 978-0-9946280-0-8


catalogue text – foreword:

on the field


– an area of land, used for growing crops or keeping animals, usually enclosed by a fence

– a place of work or research in a real situation, other than an office or laboratory

– an area designated for a specific use – sports field, air field

– a category of knowledge, activity or interest – the field of history/ astronomy/ medicine

– the aggregate of people taking part in a race or activity

– a unit of a computer database

– a descriptive scientific term – electromagnetic field, scalar field, force field

– geographical area containing specific resources – oil field, gas field

– a fundamental algebraic structure – field of real numbers, finite field

– assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space – vector field


– work in an environment other than a laboratory or office – field work, field science

– commonly encountered in fields – field mouse

– military designation – field officer, field gun

– cosmology – field galaxy

– physics – field strength

– audio – field recording (recording made outside of a controlled studio environment)

– espionage – field agent

– football – field goal

– rural life – field day (exhibition of agricultural industry and equipment rather than livestock)

– education – field tripphotography:

– field of view – area of view imaged by a lens

– depth of field – range of view appearing acceptably sharp


– colour field – a genre of abstract painting exploring the language and psychological uses of colour, characterised by picture-making strategies of system, structure, form and process, with little or no referential content

– The Field – National Gallery of Victoria, 1968

– Fieldwork, Australian Art 1968-2002 – National Gallery of Victoria, 2003

– Tackling ‘The Field’ – Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2009

sociology (Bourdieu):

A setting in which agents and their social positions are located, that is, any historical, non-homogeneous social-spatial arena in which people manoeuvre and struggle in pursuit of desirable resources. The position of each agent in the field is a result of interaction between the specific rules of the field, the agent’s habitus (their intrinsic, lasting, acquired schemes of perception, thought and action) and the agent’s capital (social, economic and cultural). Fields interact with each other, and are hierarchical – most eventually becoming subordinate to the larger field of power and class relations.


– study of free-living wild subjects observed in their natural habitat, without intentionally changing, harming, or materially altering the setting or behaviour under study

– experiments conducted outside controlled laboratory conditions

– field research seeks to get beneath the surface, to compare and contrast observed actual behaviour with prevailing theory-derived understanding

Gary Warner 2016

images: above – pour painting rolls by Jeff Doring; below – catalogue cover