PLAN YOUR VISIT - Discover mythological narratives and stories of migration with new exhibition Land & Sea (2 March - 16 June 2024)



Colourful, abundant and brimming with shapes that sway, teeter and slump, fantastic forms celebrates the endless creativity of the human imagination through drawing, ceramics, sculpture and animation.

The starting point for fantastic forms is the expansive selection of multi-hued drawings and curvilinear ceramics by Merric Boyd, collected by his son, Arthur Boyd, which form a cornerstone of the Bundanon Collection. Bringing this lyrical work into conversation with the very different practices of three living Australian artists, fantastic forms explores the joy of artmaking and its connection to everyday life. 

The exhibition features over 200 works from the Bundanon Collection in dialogue with new large-scale sculptures by Nabilah Nordin, a series of ceramic figures by Stephen Benwell and stop-motion videos by emerging Bundjalung artist Rubyrose Bancroft. Beginning with Merric Boyd’s idiosyncratic approach to artmaking, fantastic forms expands from well-known ceramic work into his energetic and playful drawing practice, all of which was underpinned by the spiritual philosophy of love and connection that ran through his life and work.  


Ceramic cup

Merric Boyd

Considered Australia’s first studio potter, Merric Boyd began working with clay in 1910 when the medium was not widely used. Alongside pottery, drawing formed the backbone of his practice from an early age. Boyd’s creative philosophy shaped the lives of his five children, Lucy, Arthur, Guy, David and Mary, all of whom became artists in their own rights.

abstract sculpture

Nabilah Nordin

Nabilah Nordin is a Singaporean/Australian sculptor whose practice ‘unlearns’ correct methods and techniques to maintain a state of conscious naïveté. Interested in material invention, her installations embrace wonky craftwork, playfully celebrating the visceral and anthropomorphic qualities of materials in concert with community engaged performative practices.

Ceramic figure with white and red glaze

Stephen Benwell

In his paintings, ceramics and bronzes, Benwell both references and challenges classical forms, presenting fragments of full statues, suggestive of archaeological finds, alongside busts and statues of the male nude. Benwell’s distinct style continues his contemporary perspective on traditions of beauty, and other art-historical influences.

Plasticine figure in forest scene

Rubyrose Bancroft

Rubyrose Bancroft is an emerging Bundjalung artist based in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Bancroft is a trained ceramist who began experimenting with plasticine claymation at home during lockdown. Her work in fantastic forms uses humour and escapism whilst exploring biblical and cosmic themes.

Public Program

adult and child drawing together

The Fantastic Process |
Family Fun

12 April

Adults and children collaborate to create new drawings exploring mark-making, intuition and imagination

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fantastic forms

Bonnie Porter-Greene |
Vigour and Vision

29 April, 20 May

Join artist Bonnie Porter-Greene in experimenting with colour palettes, negative space and exaggerated natural forms using pencil, gouache and food-dyes

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fantastic forms

Fantastic Forums |
White Gums and Ramoxes

29 April

Hear from curator Grace Cochane AM insights into the relationship between Merric and Arthur Boyd through their ceramics, drawings and paintings

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ceramic sculpture of a male figure

Fantastic Forums |
Boyd and Benwell

20 May

Art historian and curator John McPhee presents a floor talk on the two artists’ approaches to ceramics

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fantastic forms

Fantastic Forums |
Legacy and Metamorphosis

3 June

Curator Denise Mimmocchi discusses intergenerational connections, such as Merric Boyd’s impact on his son Arthur, and how they are explored in exhibitions today

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Bundanon acknowledges the people of the Dharawal and Dhurga language groups as the traditional owners of the land within our boundaries, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.

In Dharawal the word Bundanon means deep valley.

This website contains names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.