(cross)hatched is the debut exhibition of the emerging art organisation, room01 collective. Its founders are all current undergraduate and postgraduate art students, tying into the purpose of the exhibition itself: to celebrate the student art of Perth.

(cross)hatched lends its name from Perth Institute of Contemporary Art’s annual exhibition, the Hatched National Graduate Show. room01 collective decided to, in the words of member Claudia Mintuillo, “simultaneously celebrate, and critique Hatched”, which has seen a reduced number of approved participants, especially from Western Australia.

As part of this project, room01 reached out to visual arts students from across four Western Australian educational institutions, and included works from all of the thirty-three artists who responded. This complete inclusivity breaks down many curatorial and institutional barriers that can prevent artists from exhibiting in shows such as Hatched. It also enables incredible moments of collaboration between artists and artworks which may not have come into conversation with each other when restricted to their own institutional background.

Yet this inclusivity also presented the curators with a challenge. Taking place at YMCA HQ in Leederville, a small, corridor-like exhibition space pushed room01 to be creative with their curatorial process. By employing a variety of levels, artworks in the exhibition have their own space, whilst are also forced into dynamic and powerful interactions with other artworks. And whilst the crowds at opening night ebbed and flowed, the curatorial savvy of the organisation proved to be a success.

(cross)hatched feels radical: and this owes much to room01 collective’s inclusivity and student focus. Art can feel stuffy and elitist in the 21st century, displayed in intentionally ambiguous way to police engagement and interaction. (cross)hatched, as an attendee told me at the opening night, was the complete opposite. It is raw and direct; not trying to be something it is not. And just what the Perth art scene needs right now.

Words by Aninya Marzohl

Image credit: Hannah Grace Harper, Coral Kitsch, clay, glitter, foam, gems, acrylic paint, 2018, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist.