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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