Thursday, 15 October 2015

La Revolution at City Recital Hall


Just days after the landing of the First Fleet at Botany Bay in 1788 the La Perouse expedition landed in the bay. Had they been a few days earlier perhaps we would all be speaking French. This piece of Australian - French history is relayed to us by Jane Rutter, flautist and Artistic Director of La Revolution, a concert in celebration of Bastille Day.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Frances Barrett, The Wrestle, 2015. Photo: Zan Wimberley. Courtesy of 4A.

48HR Incident at 4A Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art saw artists from Australia, Asia and the Pacific inhabit the gallery space in varying degrees over the course of three days. With the aim of challenging pre-existing social frameworks of the individual in relation to the group, I admired the overarching set-up and concept of 48HR Incident. Over the course of the three days the gallery remained open late and the fact that audience members could wander in and out at will and see exceptional performance work at all hour of the night gave a sense of freedom and spontaneity not often associated with galleries. I managed to see three works over the course of the exhibition - Latai Taumoepeau’s Dark Continent, Frances Barrett’s The Wrestle and Tony Schwensen’s SCABLAND

Read the full article on the AU review.

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

El’ Circo Blanc at Slide

El' Circo Blanc - Mr Gorski and friend. Courtesy of El' Circo Blanc.

Slide in Sydney specialises in experiences. As soon as you enter the world of El’ Circo Blanc you are transported to a Russian winter wonderland. Alicia Quin as the Russian Babushka effortlessly guides the audience through a narrative that takes us through her life in the Imperial Circus. A talented singer, her vocals accompany the many acts which punctuate the evenings five course degustation menu. 

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little reviews BANG: Art from the Future

Amber Hearn

Spectrum Now is the latest arts festival to be launched in Sydney. It covers areas as diverse as  music, film, books, the stage, dance, contemporary art and design.

BANG: Art from the Future is one of Spectrum Now's contemporary art offerings. And it did go off with a bang! For 3 hours only the exhibition took over Pier 2/3, a cavernous warehouse space on the edge of Sydney harbour. Curated by artist Candice Towne it featured new work by emerging artists, many of whom have recently graduated from the National Art School. These included: Georgia Saxelby, Jan Handel, Inge Berman, Emma Kirby, Joe Purtle, Lily Plasto, Martin Claydon, Chanelle Collier and Joe Wilson, Elena Tory-Henderson, Amber Hearn and Candice Towne. Despite the size of the venue, the art was never dwarfed.
Joe Wilson and Chanelle Collier
Georgia Saxelby continued her exploration of the role of ritual in modern life. Her work was based around the birthday ritual of cake, candles, party hats and the ubiquitous song. Part installation, part performance it involved spectators singing, blowing out the candles, cutting and eating slices of a giant cake.
Joe Wilson and Chanelle Collier

Joe Purtle offered a fortune telling experience that ended with the participant being gifted one of his tiny glazed ceramic bowls. Martin Claydon, Emma Kirby, Candice Towne and Jan Handel all explored and played with both the material limits and more traditional concepts of of painting and drawing.

In such a large space it was not surprising that installations were prominent. Amber Hearn, Lily Plasto, Elena Tory,  Chantelle Collier and Joe Wilson Henderson all had large 3 dimensional works which made an immediate impact and yet also rewarded extended viewing. In contrast Inge Berman's tiny worlds on plinths were made from combining found rocks with small ceramic pieces. In many instances these tiny worlds looked like they were emerging from the rocks that supported them.
Jan Handel

Jan Handel

My only disappointment regarding the show was that it was on for such a short time. More people deserved to see such an interesting show of technically and conceptually strong work.
Emma Kirby

Inge Berman

Amber Hearn

Martin Claydon

Elena Tory Henderson

Candice Towne

Candice Towne


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

All images supplied by the writer.
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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Liam Benson's Noble Savage at Artereal Gallery

The Executioner, Liam Benson, 2015
Noble Savage by Liam Benson is an exploration of identity and the re-appropriation of preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Through self-portraiture we see Benson adopt different personas through an attempt to find his place as a white “Anglo” gay male in twenty-first century Australia.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Interview with Todd Fuller on his new body of work

Untitled (Little Star 1), Todd Fuller, 2015
With an impressive track record of emotive and powerful video work, Todd Fuller's latest body of work will be on show at Brenda May Gallery in Sydney from April 14. The artist opens up to Naomi Gall about the deeply personal nature of Little Star and its unlikely protagonist.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music at The State Theatre


Before we start there’s something you should know, I’ve been watching The Sound of Music since I was 5, I can recite every line, sing every song and for a large portion of my childhood I wanted to be a nun. With all this in mind I went to the Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music at Sydney’s State Theatre on a Friday night.
As with previous years (that’s right, this was not my first time – now you know all my secrets) getting dressed up is half the fun, for most people.
Read the full article on the AU review.
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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

GUEST POST: Chuck Close at the MCA by Anthony Springford

Last week Prudy and I finally made it to the Chuck Close: Prints, Process & Collaboration exhibition at the MCA.

Chuck Close is one of America’s most important living artists. His work has always been about the way technologies shape visual experience and this show focuses on his use of a very wide variety of print techniques. Over the last 50 years Close seems to have tried every printmaking technique under the sun, mostly in collaboration with master printers who are specialists in traditional methods like woodcut, etching and screen printing. The MCA show highlights Close’s collaborative relationships with these printmakers.

Close is famous for his portraits, but he doesn’t depict faces so much as photographs of heads. He takes very neutral, straight-on photographs of expressionless faces and then meticulously re-creates and enlarges these photos in paint or as prints. Apparently Close has a neurological condition which means he can’t recognise faces in the usual way (not even his own!), and so his re-creation of photographs enables him to ‘see’ faces; especially the people he knows intimately.

The faces he paints look very different to the faces we experience in our day-to-day lives. They are blown-up to so much that they become alien; human skin has folds like an an elephant’s with giant pores and monstrous silver hairs. As Close learns tosee faces, he is also teaching us to see heads, in all their details.

The strangeness of Close’s work is partly the result of his combination of photography, painting and other media. Photography gives us a very different experience of the world to painting or unaided vision: it allows us to freeze an experience in time, and to fix something as mobile and changing as the face. It also allows us to zoom in until we seem to be inches away from a thousand tiny details, all in perfect focus. Close doesn’t just copy his photographs. He simplifies and modifies tones to highlight the hairs and texture of the skin, emphasising the shifts of focus and blurs.

Close’s Self Portrait in the form of an anamorphic woodcut is an impressive display of technique. As you can see below:
Close’s woodcut version of Emma (his daughter), printed by Yasu Shibata, is extraordinary.  Most of us have probably tried to do a woodcut or a linocut in primary school. The principle is simple; it’s the same as a potato print. You just cut out the part that you want to be white and leave the flat part where you want to print. Unlike the one’s you did in primary school however, the woodcuts in this show have over 80 colours, which means over 80 or more different blocks of wood which all need to be carved individually in such a way that they line up and come together as an effective image. The print of Emma (below) is made up of 120 different blocks, printed one after the other!









Chuck Close: Prints, Process & Collaboration comes down in March, so try to see it. The entry charge is worth it just for the mezzotint print of Keith, from 1972. That’s my pick for the exhibition, but let us know your favourites!(Prudy’s was “Leslie”–an etching done using Close’s fingerprints!)


Article first published on the Black Parrot blog. Black Parrot is changing way we sell art. Utilising the online space, Black Parrot believe that art is a basic human need, and everyone should have access to the best art in their community.
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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sport for Jove present A Midsummer Night's Dream

Photo: Seiya Taguchi

Every year around this time Sport for Jove Theatre Co. present the Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park Festival. Not a fan of Shakespeare? You don't have to be. The brilliance of a Sport for Jove production lies in their ability to take the classics and inject them with a modern twist and A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Susanna Dowling, is no exception.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Sport for Jove present The Crucible

Photo: Seiya Taguchi

The setting couldn't have been more perfect for Sport for Jove Theatre Co's production of The Crucible, part of the annual Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park Festival. Directed by Damien Ryan and set in the old shed on the grounds of Bella Vista Farm, the small stage was surrounded by candles, with a bed suspended on chains from the ceiling.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

Courtesy of the Theatre Royal.

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake was first staged at Sadler's Wells theatre in London in 1995. Now, almost 20 years on, the performance remains as powerful and relevant as when it was first conceived. Broadly based on the Russian ballet Swan Lake and with music by Tchaikovsky, Bourne famously employs male dancer in the traditionally female role of the swans. The result is a stunning and harrowing display of ballet based contemporary movement.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Interview with Linda Luke

Still Point Turning, Linda Luke. Photo: Mayu Kanamori

Following its premiere at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the solo performance - combining dance, video, sound and installation - Still Point Turning is coming to Western Sydney for four performances at the end of the month, presented by FORM Dance Projects. Choreographer Linda Luke will be performing the solo work, and our own Naomi Gall caught up with her to talk about the acclaimed and anticipated production.

Read the full interview on the AU review.
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Harry + Liv at the Sydney Fringe Festival

Courtesy of Harry + Liv.

Entering the Glebe Justice Centre for Sydney Fringe Festival's Harry + Liv was like walking into the living room of an old friend. Couches are scattered around the room, all directed towards a piano and what looks like someone’s apartment. Liv is the first on stage starting the night off with a song but it is not long before the peace is interrupted by her unemployed brother Harry. Over the next hour we are delighted with songs, banter and baguettes as the siblings squabble over who will clean the apartment and how Harry could possibly have spent all the grocery money on bird seed, which he swears he thought was a muesli bar.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Daylight Savings at The Pavilion Theatre

Flick (Shelley Casey) and Josh (Luke Hawkins), Daylight Saving. Courtesy of The Pavilion Theatre.
How often have you engaged someone in conversation only to feel as if you're participating in a game of tennis - back and forth, back and forth - until someone drops the ball. It's this principle that is at the heart of Daylight Savings, The Pavilion Theatre's first production for 2015. Flick (Shelley Casey) and Tom (Richard Ifield) are married. She's a popular chef and he's a tennis coach. From the very first scene it becomes obvious that while they have been married for seven years their lives are spent very much apart. Tom takes off for Los Angeles to babysit his tennis star Jason (Tim Robertson) and completely forgets their wedding anniversary. Coincidentally it is at this moment that Flick's first love Josh (Luke Hawkins) is over from America and she organises a nice dinner for them.

It is clear that Josh wishes to rekindle their romance despite the fact it's been 20 years and Flick's married. Subsequently she is very torn between the fond memories of a past love and the cold reality of her lonely marriage. Just as you feel as if infidelity is a mere sweet word away, enter Stephanie (Anthea Brown), the neigbour, whose boyfriend has given her up for lent. But hers is not the only intrusion, enter Bunty (Julia Griffith), Flick's meddling mother who oozes North Shore snobbery and the biggest interruption of all - the constant ringing of the telephone.

Suddenly Tom appears - home early - and rightly assesses the situation for what it is and Flick is faced with a choice - which I won't reveal here - you'll have to see it for yourself.  

Set in a house overlooking Sydney's Pittwater, the set design (by Jewell Johnson) is exceptional. 25 lights are used to represent the changing lights over the water and the floor is constructed to look like a tennis court. Throughout the production the characters move between games of singles and doubles depending on what is occurring on stage. It's this subtlety that makes this productions so brilliant.

Standout performances by newcomer Shelley Casey as Flick and Richard Ifield who perfectly embodies the 1989 yuppie stereotype of Tom. Julia Griffith as Bunty had the audience in stitches every time she was on the stage and there was great comic banter between Anthea Brown as Stephanie and Luke Hawkins as Josh. If there was one performance that stole the show it was another newcomer Tim Robertson as Jason, the spoilt, clairvoyant believing, health food eating 21 year old tennis star. He is absolutely hilarious and scarily believable. This group of misfits are well cast and the chemistry on stage is perfectly pitched to produce a witty, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable show. Game. Set. Match. 
   
Daylight Saving runs until the 21st February, 2015. Bookings can be made through the website.
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Journey's End at the Seymour Centre

Courtesy of the Seymour Centre.

RC Sheriff’s play Journey’s End presents a harrowing account of his own experiences as an officer in the trenches during the First World War. It was first performed on December 9th, 1928 at London’s Apollo Theatre by the Incorporated Stage Society and starring a very young Laurence Olivier. The play gives the audience a glimpse into life in the trenches in Saint-Quentin, Aisne, in 1918 near the end of the war through the experiences and hardships of a British Army infantry company.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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Life Interrupted: Personal Diaries from WWI

Courtesy of the State Library of NSW.

It was at the end of the First World War in 1918 that the then Public Library of NSW began to collect the diaries and personal letters of those who had been involved in the conflict. These weren't only soldiers, but doctors, nurses, journalists and artists. The collection now contains around 1100 volumes of diaries from some 550 servicemen and women. In the exhibition, Life Interrupted, these personal accounts are supported through photographs, newspapers, maps and artwork while presenting the honest and at times heartbreaking reality of WWI.

Read the full article on the AU review.
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