Monday, 31 October 2011

Not enough hours...

Have a crazy busy week this week with several openings & reviews to write up. Particularly looking forward to the Jaki Middleton & David Lawrey opening at Gallery 9 on Wednesday... Deep breaths, crap- loads to do so....

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Murray Fredericks at ACP

Murray Fredericks, Salt 300, 2006. Image courtesy of Arc One Gallery, Melbourne.
Murray Fredericks
the SALT project: 2003- 2010
Australian Centre for Photography: October 14- November 19, 2011

Murray Fredericks photographs are stunning. Cliché perhaps but it really is the most appropriate word to describe his landscape images. SALT is eight years in the making and is a collection of photographs taken in the centre of Lake Eyre. Fredericks would camp solo for up to five weeks at a time, immersing himself in the isolating and lonely landscape.

Murray Fredericks, Salt 101, 2006. Image courtesy of Arc One Gallery, Melbourne.

Part of the beauty of the work is knowing the process behind it. The documentary film, produced with Micheal Angus, is screened in the gallery and portrays this isolation and the emotional rollercoaster Fredericks experiences while camped out in Lake Eyre. The landscape is brutal and astounding, as Fredericks describes it, a ‘landscape without a landscape’.

Murray Fredericks, Salt 18, 2006. Image courtesy of Arc One Gallery, Melbourne.
There is a distinct painterly quality to the work and the colours are startling. The seemingly endless horizon is mesmerising and the sheer desolation is captured perfectly. No reproduction will do these photographs justice, Fredericks images must be seen to be truly appreciated.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

GUEST WRITER: Elizabeth Little reviews Eric Niebuhr

Eric Niebuhr
Not Found
MOP: October 20- November 6, 2011

Having moved here in 2007, Not Found is the first Australian show for Texan painter Eric Niebuhr. In this exhibition we are given seven of Niebuhr’s paintings to view.

Initially seen as abstractions, Niebuhr’s paintings actually contain figurative elements. These are images taken from the media – newspapers, online, magazines – studied and then reinterpreted via the medium of paint. A consistent element in all of the paintings is the flat steely blue of the background and its contrasting foreground image.

In paintings such as Lifted, 2010, the compositional elements made me feel that I was viewing a fleeting instant. The cloud-like image appeared to be falling across the blue background of the picture plane, and would soon be out of frame. This feeling was reinforced as I further studied the painting, and its seemingly abstract image took on the shape of a disaster. Could this be the fallout from some midair collision / explosion with something (or possibly someone?) hurtling towards earth?

Niebuhr not only plays with the visual imagery in his paintings, he also plays with the visual textures of his oil and acrylic paints. Flat backgrounds contrast with glossy paint elements that are both pleasing to view and have an undeniable tactile quality. In God Loves You, 2011 the falling paint stops at the bottom of the frame, somehow prevented from sliding off and forming thick, glossy pools. While looking at this painting the person next to me remarked, “it looks like ice- cream. I want to lick it!”

Contrasting with the pooling paint are the strong diagonals and straight lines in Beatified, 2011. These lines add a sense of movement and power to the painting. Displayed against a threatening sky, this shape might be a building or a steel girder or even part of a staircase. Or possibly none of these at all.

The religious titles of Niebuhr’s paintings suggest a further layer to his works. Perhaps the object in Lifted is not falling at all, but moving upwards, defying gravity? And just what or who is being beatified in the two paintings with this title? Not everything becomes clear, and I was left with much to ponder.

Not Found is a strong show from a painter who understands the qualities of his chosen medium and manipulates them with intelligence and skill.

Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.
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Monday, 24 October 2011


Mikala Dwyer, Additions and Subtractions Part II, 2011.

Justin Shoulder, Julia Holderness & Susie Pratt, Mikala Dwyer & Sydney Guild 
The Paper Mill: October 12- 29, 2011

Curated by Sydney Guild

There is a waterfall in The Paper Mill. A man- made pond and rock face has been erected just inside the door by the Sydney Guild. It’s impressive but I’m not entirely sure of its purpose. Sundown claims to be about perceptions of the landscape and place- which I can see here- but I still feel slightly in the dark.

Which is ironic given it’s dark in the gallery, making Mikala Dwyer’s work that much more obvious. Her illuminated sculptural pieces are positioned in a circular formation and appear to be a collection of found objects. In particular I like the stools/ chairs stacked up into the ceiling grate and illuminated by red neon lights.

Justin Shoulder & Rebecca Stegh, Hi I'm Pinky, 2011.

Hi I’m Pinky by Justin Shoulder and Rebecca Steghn is intensely creepy. A man painted all pink with wild pink hair and glitter on his face performs for an unseen audience. At one point the camera closes in on his eyes and he is literally reflected in his own eyes and the effect is startling, as is the figures nudity- and he is pink ALL over. The scene in which the camera distorts the face into a sinister grin will haunt me for weeks. The figure appears to go from stardom to a nervous breakdown in the space of a few minutes and he is lost in the woods, covered in dirt and drooling. Hi I’m Pinky documents a fall from grace and it’s deeply disturbing to watch.
Sydney Guild, Rock face and Body of Water, 2011.

Susie Pratt & Julia Holderness, Hanging Rock Compilation, 2011.

Susie Pratt and Julia Holderness create a two part installation that focuses on Hanging Rock. One part, Hanging Rock Compilation, shows a television set on rocks screening footage of Hanging Rock sourced from You Tube. These are not the artist’s films, these are other people’s memories. Unknown voices can be heard and it feels intrusive and voyeuristic, however had these people not wanted their footage seen they wouldn’t have uploaded it to a public forum. The second part of the installation, Dear Guido, involves letters written from different sources that all reference Hanging Rock. The work tells a narrative, from a letter written by a young boy who took a rock from the site, to a woman thanking her guide for being so helpful, Dear Guido presents different experiences with the same place.

I’m uncertain about the connecting theme of landscape between the works and while visually it was an impressive exhibition I’m not entirely convinced it works.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Don Giovanni at the Sydney Opera House

Mozart's Don Giovanni
Sydney Opera House: September 24- November 5, 2011

From the outset I would like to confess I have never been to the Opera so when a friend called me up at 5pm yesterday to offer me a free ticket I couldn't say no. Especially when she told me we were seeing Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Sydney Opera House- a story about a cad, a love rat, a libertine- how could I resist.

It's an all too familiar story of a man with a wandering eye who seduces every woman he meets whether she be, as his servant Leporello informs us, old or young, beautiful or ugly. Eventually his wandering ways catch up with him in a spectacular fashion that I did not see coming. 

As this was my first Opera perhaps I'm not the best judge but I thought it was brilliant. Humorous and engaging, Don Giovanni held you in it's grip from start to finish. In particular the character of Leporello, played by Stephen Bennett, was a scene stealer. Incredibly funny, Loporello was really the glue that held the rest of the cast together. José Carbo as Don Giovanni was, at times satirical, while managing to truly capture the essence of this lothario.

The scene in which Don Giovanni finally faces his wicked ways and is confronted, literally, by the ghosts of his past, is amazing. As the set crumbles around him his world begins to collapse and he is subjected to the pits of hell. Talk about karma.

Vocally exceptional, Don Giovanni embodies the classic moral tale and reminds us that you reap what you sow.
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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

5 Questions With... Designer Sara Spence

Sara Spence & Cosmo
What is Dubbleyou Design?

Dubbleyou is about creating small simple designs using as few processes as possible.  I like to design with purpose so many of my designs are inspired by a person or an event.

What inspires you?

Light, colour & interaction. Most things I design come from a conversation, a passing comment, something I see.

Do you have a favourite designer? 

This changes every week but I am currently obsessed with Xiral Segard because she uses concrete in the most beautiful way and I also happen to be obsessed with concrete. Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec are staple favourites.

So what's The Dream?

Work as a graphic design (in my current job) for another couple of years, all the while, developing my design empire which is Dubbleyou. Build my portfolio of large studio pieces and smaller retail pieces. Expand into brand and identity freelance design, the objects becoming a side outlet of fun times. Design branding packages for small businesses for the rest of my living life whilst making sillies on the side. Dream constantly.

One of the things you design are humorous tea towel that have song lyrics on them- what song motivates you? 

Galvanise by Chemical Brothers. This song makes me want to be a boxer, a painter, a tightrope walker, a baker, a motor cross racer and a designer all at the same time.

You can check out Sara's work on her Blog, Facebook & Twitter!

Purchases can be made through her website.

All images courtesy of Dubbleyou Design.
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Monday, 17 October 2011

Art & About Web

Had no idea that when I tweeted about Art & About it appeared on their website. Nice touch! Art & About ends on October 23rd so check it out. 

Also check out the near & the elsewhere on Twitter & Facebook!

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

'Acts of Kindness' in Martin Place...

After work yesterday I headed over to Angel Place to check out the latest opening at The Paper Mill and as I cut through Martin Place I happened upon Michael Landy's work, Acts of Kindness, part of Art & About.

 I'm undecided as to how I feel about the work. I think to fully appreciate it you need to search the city for the 'acts of kindness' and unfortunately yesterday I just didn't have the time. I do however think it's a beautiful concept and creates a connection to the city that can often be lost or dismissed.
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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Drop it like it's hot...

Just want to give a shout out to Sara Spence at Dubbleyou Designs who is featured in this months Shop til You Drop Magazine. Dubbleyou is about creating small simple designs using as few processes as possible. Quirky tea towels, eclectic candle holders, humorous cards and even letterboxes- Dubbleyou design it all! 

Check out her stuff at Young Republic

Congrats Sara!
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Monday, 10 October 2011

2011 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship

Ella Barclay, Maelstrom Studies, 2011.
Nathan Babet, Ella Barclay, David Capra, Michaela Gleave, Daniel Hollier, Anna Kristensen, Kate Mitchell, Tom Polo, Mark Shorter, Soda_Jerk, Justine Varga and Tessa Zettel & Karl Khoe.
Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition
Artspace: October 7- 23, 2011

Kate Mitchell, In A Situation, 2011.
The Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship provides financial assistance for a New South Wales visual artist at the beginning of their career to undertake a program of professional development for one to two years. The 2011 exhibition is a diverse mix of sculpture, installation, video, painting & mixed media. Overall the quality of work was exceptional and choosing a winner would have no doubt been difficult.
Kate Mitchell, Lost A Bet, 2011.
I was introduced to Kate Mitchell's work a few years ago and I love her satirical films of endurance which rely heavily on humour and the stamina of the artist. In A Situation sees Mitchell perched on a plank of wood extended from a farm shed. The artist proceeds to saw through the wood, effectively placing herself in a position of uncertainty. Eventually the artist falls, gets up and walks away. As the viewer you become transfixed and caught in an odd 'edge of your seat' tug of war wondering if and when the artist will fall. In A Situation reminds me of Mitchell's previous work Life After Life, where the artist climbs a ladder and saws off each wrung as she moves up, and I Am Not A Joke, where Mitchell saws a circle around herself which she eventually falls through. Her work is always challenging and forever funny.
Nathan Babet, Unheimliche Heimat (Uncanny Homeland) 2010. Photo: Craig Bender.
Soda_Jerk, After the Rainbow, 2009, production still.

After the Rainbow from Next Wave on Vimeo.

Other fantastic works included Nathan Babet and his amazing tilted house (Unheimliche Heimat (Uncanny Homeland)), Michaela Gleave and that silver glitter (Persistent Optimism) and Ella Barclay's beautiful light and sound water boxes that have such an other- worldly quality you almost forget you're in a gallery (Maelstrom Studies).

I was excited to hear Soda_Jerk announced as the winner of the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship as I have always been a fan of their work. Specialising in remixing samples of audiovisual material, Dan and Dominique Angeloro rework the past to create a new future and playfully manipulate preconceived ideas of visual culture. After the Rainbow clashes the fantasy world of cinema, in this case The Wizard of Oz (1939) with the reality of an older and somewhat diminished Judy Garland. After the twister a young Garland, as Dorothy, comes face to face with her older self singing about bitterness and lost dreams. It's enough to make even cheerful, optimistic Dorothy run back to Kansas. This clever manipulation of narrative succinctly takes an old story and creates a new one and like Dorothy's trip down the yellow brick road- not everything is as it seems.

If you haven't already definitely see this one. Good shows like this are rare.    
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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Be my guest...

While I think it's great that the near & the elsewhere is an outlet for my take on the art world, sometimes I find I get sick of my own voice. So after careful consideration I've decided to bring on some guest writers to share their views and opinions. 

Over the coming months, if all goes to plan, different writers will pop in and out of the near & the elsewhere

If you have something to say and would like to be involved drop me an email 

NB: Please be aware that in order to maintain quality control not all submissions will get posted.

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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Art & About in Hyde Park...

Deciding to leave work early on Thursday I headed over to Hyde Park to check out the Sydney Life Exhibition, Little Sydney Lives Exhibition & the Happy Talk House, part of Art & About. The standard of work in both the adult and childrens photographic exhibitions was of a very high standard that surpassed last years. Some of the photographs are incredible and highlight some of the best aspects of Sydney.

Janie News, Sydney Harbour Storm, Hyde Park

Happy Talk House, Hyde Park
I was particularly interested in seeing the Happy Talk House. Happy Talk is an initiative that brings people and ideas together through various projects and the house was constructed to encourage dialogue with the Pacific Islands through workshops and talks. This is a great activity for kids to participate in and during my time in the house numerous families came through and got involved.

Janet Echelman, Tsunami, Town Hall
Janet Echelman's installation work suspended between Town Hall and the Woolworths building is fantastic. Tsunami reminds me of the safety net at the circus or a giant spiders web and looks even more impressive at night as the lace netting changes colour. This is a beautiful addition to the city skyline.
One of my favourite aspects of Art & About are the 'What If' banners on display all over the city. Suzanne Boccalatte's work is insightful and controversial, raising questions that most of us have thought but perhaps never vocalised. 'What if we could change the past?' 'What if we were all happy?' 'What if Australia became a republic?' It makes you think, makes you question the staus quo and who knows- it may even make Sydney a better place. Well, perhaps a more socially aware place.

To see more photos from Art & About check out the Facebook Page.

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