Saturday, 30 June 2012

Published on Art Guide Australia

My last official Next Wave piece was published this week and can be found here

Day Tripper

Is it possible to look at art for 15 hours straight? Naomi Gall put the Next Wave festival’s Day Pass to the test and lived to tell the tale.
The Breakfast Club, Photo Sarah Walker. Image courtesy of Art Guide Australia 

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Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Commercial Launch

Last night The Commercial opened its doors with its inaugural exhibition ONE/THREE, which included artists Agatha Gothe-Snape, Andrew Liversidge, Archie Moore, and Robert Pulie.

I feel I should preface this by saying this is not a review of the show. As the photos below can attest, there was so many people there last night it was near impossible to actually see the show, let alone form an opinion on the work. This is how a new gallery's first exhibition is supposed to be- all excitement and copious amounts of drinking.

The space itself is smaller than MOP but larger than Galerie pompom. While not massively wide, the ceilings are a great height and the space itself is clean and sharp. Anyone with a good imagination and curatorial flare will do well with this space so Director Amanda Rowell has nothing to worry about. 

It's fantastic to see more independent commercial spaces like this opening up around Sydney and I'll be interested to see where The Commercial goes from here.

ONE/THREE runs until July 14.

The Commercial is open Wednesday- Saturday, 11am- 6pm
148 Abercrombie Street, Redfern 2016.(02) 8096-3292.  

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Monday, 18 June 2012

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present 
Sydney Film Festival: June 16, 2012

In April 2010 I was lucky enough to find myself stuck in New York City. I had been there a week and was due to leave when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted and all flights in and out of New York were grounded. I couldn't fly back to the UK, where I was based at the time, for another week. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. 

When I wandered into the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)that day I had no idea I would be walking into performance artist Marina Abramovic's blockbuster retrospective. I couldn't believe I was looking at reproductions of some of Abramovic's most important and influential works. The artist herself could be found in a pool of light seated at a table- motionless- staring at whoever chose to sit down in front of her. For 3 months from the time the gallery opened until its close she would not move, demonstrating that even as she nears her mid-sixties her endurance is as strong as ever.    

Marina Abramovic, The Artist Is Present
The documentary for the Sydney Film Festival follows Abramovic from the exhibitions inception, through its execution and to its conclusion. The artist is surprisingly charismatic and engaging, her life turbulent and influential. With a personality warmer than I would have expected from her work, Abramovic describes herself as the "Grandmother of performance" and is delightfully funny and generous. Selecting 30 young artists to re-enact her previous work over the duration of the 3 month show, she views this process as passing on performance to the next generation.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present delivers a fascinating insight into a complex and brilliant woman whose life's work has paved the way for performance art. Even now Abramovic still has the capacity to intrigue and stir emotion through her ability to endure.

Marina Abramovic, The Artist Is Present

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize

Theresa Darmody, Grace, acrylic on canvas
2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize
Various artists
National Art School: May 3- August 2, 2012

The standard of work in the 2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize is exceptional. The winning entry, Ben Quilty's Dad,is typical of the artist's painterly style. Sadness and distress are etched into the man's face as his eyes glance upwards in despair. What I find most intriguing about Quilty's style is his ability to make an incredibly emotive image from large, strategic, smears of paint. From a distance it's a complete, detailed portrait but when you get closer you are able to discern the individual strokes, colours and lines that created it.

Dara Gill's Untitled (Bowl and Stick Survey) is fabulous. Next to several plastic bowls and a long plank of wood is a screen which shows a film of the artist entering with another person. There is a ladder, a bowl with liquid and a wooden plank in the room and as Gill climbs the ladder he asks for the bowl to be passed to him and would they mind using the stick to hold the bowl on the ceiling. He then removes the ladder and walks out of frame. What follows is a waiting game to see how long the person can balance the bowl on the stick. It's mesmerizing- this waiting for the bowl to fall and the liquid to spill- and when it does you can't help but laugh at the comic scene that has played out before you. 

Three separate individuals are lead into the room and it is interesting to compare how each deals with the awkward and unusual situation. Whether they are aware of what they are in for is uncertain but I'd like to think they haven't a clue- it's more humourous that way.

Other outstanding works included David Eastwood, Pink Frost, Song Ling, I Love Chanel, Anne Kwasner, Imprints, Joan Ross, BBQ this Sunday, BYO, Kate Murphy, Dear Kate...a probable portrait and Theresa Darmody, Grace.

David Eastwood, Pink Frost, acrylic on linen

Song Ling, I Love Chanel, acrylic on canvas

Ben Quilty, Dad, oil on linen

Ben Quilty, Dad (detail) oil on linen

Dara Gill, Untitled (Bowl and Stick Survey) single channel HD video, sound, bowl and stick, duration: 4:58 minutes

Anne Kwasner, Imprints (detail) clay, ceramic pencil and oxide
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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Peter Nelson: Extensions of a No- Place

Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson
Extensions of a No- Place
Flinders Street Gallery: May 29- June 16, 2012

Peter Nelson creates other worlds. His geometric works on paper are structured and orderly with a depth of perspective that is exact. The works are predominantly black and white but some are punctuated with bursts of colour. One in particular is flooded with fluid bursts of colour that appear as a direct contrast to the structured forms surrounding it. While this is a clear progression from the black and white works, I feel it's not as strong- whether from the multiple colours or the fluid forms I'm not sure. 

The perspex sculptures are impressive. The projection screened onto them cast dramatic shadows across the white walls and intermittently a lone figure carrying what appears to be a bucket walks into frame. This clever addition embodies the idea of the No- Place, the lost soul, the wanderer. Nelson could be described as a landscape artist, with the landscape he choses to represent being the no- place, a terrain that has not been depicted before. 

Peter Nelson

Peter Nelson

Peter Nelson

Peter Nelson

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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Craft Victoria

I had meant to post this earlier but things have been crazy lately. I came across the following exhibitions at Craft Victoria while I was in Melbourne for Next Wave. Unfortunately they have all closed now but look them up online for more info- they were truly exceptional shows.

Jasmine Targett
Crumbling Ecologies
Craft Victoria: April 26- June 9, 2012

Jasmine Targett, The Beauty of Weeds, 2012
Crumbling Ecologies stems from the decision to cut funding to both the arts and conservation in Victoria resulting in the closure of craft- based studios across Melbourne's most prominent art schools. The work responds to these cuts and the impact it will have on Melbourne's artistic culture. Geraniums are growing within and underneath glass vitrines on old school tables. Targett was assisted by over 100 volunteering artists, crafters, students, teachers, curators and creative fellows in Victoria and New South Wales to hand make over 35, 000 porcelain geraniums. These flowers were created in the now closed Monash Ceramics Studio and comments on the strength of skill that will now be lost.

In many parts of the world there are certain species of geranium that are endangered but in Australia they are seen as causing environmental damage. Often seen as tacky and out- dated, geraniums represent how part of the argument for closing the craft studios was there out-dated use. 

Targett has created a stunning installation that conveys a potent and clear message. Along with those who collaborated on the project, Targett refuses to stand by idly and allow future generations of craft skills to become extinct.

More information on The Crumbling Ecology Project can be found on the website.  

Jacqueline Bradley
The Outdoors Type
Craft Victoria: April 26- June 9, 2012

Jacqueline Bradley, Boat Dress Mutoscope, 2011

Created using sewing and found objects, the costumes and props in The Outdoors Type inhabits a space for the unskilled in the great outdoors. The flips books present the costume in situ and according to the artist hopefully bridge the gap between the artist and the environment. A dress that doubles as a boat, shoes attached to a ladder, a jacket sewn into a kite- these non- sensical props are designed to make initiation into the great outdoors easier.

While seemingly ridiculous there is something intrinsically clever about Jacqueline Bradley's costumes and a part of you almost believes that if you wore the dress in the river you would float.

Jacqueline Bradley, Boat Dress Mutoscope, 2011

Jacqueline Bradley, Boat Dress, 2010

Tony Adams
Green Room
Craft Victoria: April 26- June 9, 2012

Tony Adams, The Green Room, 2012

The Green Room focuses on waste and interactivity with the public invited to participate in a green tea ceremony. This site responsive project utilises salvaged green objects, creating a mash- up of visual interest and a slight sensory overload. The public are invited to sit, make notes on the (green) paper provided or read from the (green) literature. There are over 1, 000 green objects in the space which changed and transformed over the course of the exhibition. 

Tony Adams has created a visually overwhelming space that makes you aware of just how much consumer materials you will waste in a lifetime- and this exhibition just focused on the green stuff.

Tony Adams, The Green Room, 2012

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Saturday, 9 June 2012

NAS Art Forum: Has art writing become too collaborative...too egalitarian?

On Wednesday I headed to the National Art School for the art forum- Has art writing become too collaborative... too egalitarian? A panel of three experienced art writers- Gina Fairley, Prue Gibson & Gillian Serisier- were selected to discuss, among other things, whether blogging undermines criticality when it comes to art. This was the point, as an art blogger, I was particularly interested in and the area that was touched on the least.

The implication was that art bloggers are writers who are just starting out and they "make short cuts" when it comes to writing.I felt the, oh 4 minutes dedicated to this topic was dismissive, with blogging seen as a lesser means of publication to that of hard copy print. This is particularly frustrating given that all three speakers admitted they do not read blogs with any regularity or write for any themselves. 

The most interesting ideas were raised by the audience with one man commenting that any review was better than no review at all. While it's no question that the panel were more than qualified to speak on the topic, perhaps the discussion would have been enhanced if an actual art blogger had been included. This certainly would have added diversity and a difference of opinion that simply was not present. Panels are often far more interesting when the speakers do not always agree.

It was interesting hearing Serisier comment that she hates working with other people and that she does not believe in collaboration- especially given I have just recently returned from the Next Wave Festival which could be seen as embodying collaboration within an arts context- and embodying it rather successfully. She also made the comment that she writes everyday, making me feel rather inadequate as I sometimes go days without writing, thinking or seeing any art- sometimes I just really need the break so that I don't become too cynical and can come at it with a fresh perspective. But, each to their own.

Did I emerge from the forum any wiser? No. More inspired? Not really. A little pissed off. Yeah, kinda.

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Gridnight Cowboy

Sarah Martin, Obsequium, mixed media on board
Gridnight Cowboy
Various artists
National Art School: June 6- 7, 2012

While at NAS on Wednesday I stumbled upon the Gridnight Cowboy exhibition. Here's just a sample of the work on show.

Viola Nazario, oil on wood, ink on paper
Viola Nazario, oil on wood, ink on paper
Kaya Clarkson, Untitled, oil and paper on board
Kaya Clarkson, Untitled, oil and paper on board
Kaya Clarkson, Untitled, oil and paper on board
Charles Bamford, oil on canvas

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