Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ARTICLE- "art is full of :-) at the moment"- Ace Wagstaff

"art is full of :-) at the moment"
Ace Wagstaff

Is it just me or are there less and less people attending gallery opens and art events at the moment? Its a little bit sad. I thought it might be just me or my overly imaginative paranoia assuming that as soon as I turned up to an exhition, everybody left, mainly in fear of having to socialise with me. Thats not the case though. Thats rediculous. I'm a fantastic conversationalist. Ahem. Personal social insecurities aside, I can understand why gallery attendee numbers may be down at the moment, what with all the bleak news (bush fires ravaging half the state, a colossal death toll, the country sinking into a recession and the world economy imploding), it wouldn't be very considerate if we were enjoying something as socially inessential and lavish as the arts, especially in a time that calls for us to be collectively frugal and solemn. However, I feel (notice the emphasis on the "I") the melbourne art scene has been pretty full of win at the moment. I havent been to many openings, which is hazardous in an industry like the arts, which is more like a social arena that requires individuals to see and be seen, but I have seen many shows the day after, after the wine spills from the night before have been cleaned up and all the obnoxous, heavy, hot air that was issued forth from superficial conversations the night before has dissipated, which is a much more pleasent way of doing things to a degree.

Welcome to my fave's from the last month:

At Craft Victoria on Flinders Lane, the Chicks on Speed are exhibiting in the gallery space. On second thoughts, they aren't really exhibiting, they arent really using the gallery as a plinth to show their work but more as a communial space for people to interact and engage in the creative act, keeping true to the Chicks one Speed DIY ethos. The girls are running a variety of practical workshops throughout their stay in the space and invite visitors to try their hand with some needle and thread on a massive banner collaborative banner thats covered in all manner of sewn on media varying styles of stitching any time during opening hours.

"Cock and Bull" curated by Kate Daw and Vikki McInnes at the Margaret Lawerence Gallery is all about the boys. And lies. And the lies boys tell. And its about art. Its is art. Woah. The title of the exhibition ties in nicely to the all male cast, John Beagles and Graham Ramsey (Beagles and Ramsey), Jon Campbell, Tony Garifalakis and Matthew Griffin, as well as being a reference to a fictional autobiographical novel in which most of the humour comes from exageratedly complex explanations and epic, chapter-length explanitory detours ("The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" by Laurence Sterne). Beagles and Ramsey have a zillion video works playing on tables which is a feast for square eyes. Matthew Griffin's video projection in the back room is a highlight that features Griffin playing as a small handed potter, the artist as all concept and small skill, reapeating the same action to created the same object in a sisyphean loop. Jon Campbell has converted a false entrance of the gallery into a brightly coloured, circus like doorway, complete with offical looking signage above it loudly exclaiming "INSUFFICIENT FUNDING".

Dale Frank's exhibition "The Big Black Bubble" at Anna Schwartz is colour. Beautiful, big, glossy, sublime colour. The works size is awe inspiring, the shortest edge on any of the works being two metres. The largest work dominates the space at two sixty by five hundred, a mass field of black, varnish on linen, titled "Ryan Goslyn" after the movie star (from such films as the irratingly romantic "The Notebook", feel-good american high-school football and racial issues "Remember the Titans" and indie flick "Lars and the Real Girl"). The dried surfaces hide liquidy pools of varnish and oil, oozing away beneath the lush coloured gloss facade. Like I said: beautiful, big, glossy, sublime colour.

Westspace has a hatrick with Ieuan Weinman's "The third wave of Stupa building", Nicki Wynnychuk's "A flag and a flagpole" and "A life Quite Ordinary" by Charles O'Loughlin.

Weinman combines the the method of painting through layers into a method from which to create a video work. This duality of mediums, painting and video, is strengthened by exhibiting the painted image on canvas as an installation, tacking it directly to the wall, as oppsed to stretching on a timber frame, which lets it flow down and over the floorspace and also places the screen of the accompaning videowork within the canvas, each giving the other strength in the combined concept and message of "The third wave of Stupa building".

"A flag and a flagpole" divides the space with invisible borders, boundries, between four impromptu made flagpoles and flags in seperate areas of the space. Each constructed from found materials from in slash near the exhibiting site, bringing the normally superfluous collateral of the community outside and around the gallery, into the space and elevating it from common, invisible debris into a symbol, nay, a bearer of authority and power... but whose? The community inadvertedly responsible for the materials? The artist for the act of creating the idea and the object? The gallery which temporarily owns the artifacts through the act act of housing them? I foresee the answer being a much more complex one than these propositions and those greater answers probably belonging to an intellectually loftier idea relating to society, power and government. Good. It gives the work more weight than I can give it here in this article.

In "A life Quite Ordinary" O'Loughlin has timed and recorded his daily activities and who he's interacted with, then redusced that information to numbers and colours and mapped it out, exhibiting the graphs as images without keys or legends. The idea that these multicoloured lines are true recordings of what their title suggests is quite convincing even though there is no real evidence. That is perhaps my only lament with the work, is that they appear to have such mathematical exactness, and I sort of prefer a little ungrounded magic or mysticsm with my science.

How very blessed we are to have all this fine work on display all at the one time, and the exhibitions coming up in the next few days promise to be grand: "Us Vs Them" an exhibition featuring Tully Moore and Taree Mkenzie at TCB Gallery, "Drawing Folio" group show curated by John Nixon and Justin Andrews at BlockProjects and, the upcoming "Hamstrung: Creativity Within Constraints" at Platform curated by Anusha Kenny. Yep. Melbourne is rockin socks aye tee em. Now I should really go as my 'cold-and-flu-day-and-night-relief' nighttime tablets are kicking in and wakefulness is fading. Yours Sincerely, Ace.


Unknown said...

:-( :-D

Yifang said...

:) Love ur picture with the hare.


Simon O'Carrigan said...

Totally agree that Griffin's work was a highlight of Cock and Bull — it was mesmerising, and Sysephian (spelling?) is the right word. You didn't mention the attached publication, Ace — did you check it out? It was very cool.

Erica's Blog said...

Nocturama @ The Owl and Pussycat Gallery
The Owl and the Pussycat Gallery
34 Swan Street, Richmond


Just letting you know about the exciting new exhibition, “Nocturama,” opening @ The Owl and Pussycat Gallery on Friday 20 Nov, 6-9pm.

The notorious artistic temperament is frequently one of late nights, excess, introspection and a search through internal darkness. The night is a preoccupation of many creative practitioners, as they explore tropes of darkness, angst, depression and anger, in both their work and lifestyle, research and dreams.

The Night invokes contemplation of love and lust, opportunity and fear, danger, loss and entry into the world of the unknown. It is this sense of danger and the unknown that drives much of creative pursuit and thus this exhibition turns a mirror upon creative pursuits and observes this ‘through the glass darkly’.

The forthcoming exhibition Nocturama brings together selected emerging Australian, New Zealand and British artists in a survey of work that explores their concept of Nocturama in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and multimedia.

We hope to see you there!!!