Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sheffer Gallery - Jane Lennon

Jane Lennon describes her solo exhibition, ‘Plate it Up’ as whimsical objects embodying an impassioned plea to reconsider our sustenance. Jane manufactures her art material from discarded office paper, forms it into objects then applies many layers of sealers and washes to the surface. This exhibition contains abstract life forms and plates and occasionally a combination of both.

While painting her works she imagines the surface as representations of deep space or the ocean. Unless we all make radical changes Jane believes our planet is under great threat. Her contribution is to be vegan, make a new material out of paper and transform that into functional objects in the possibly naive hope that she can make a difference.

Usually known for sculpture, Jane has introduced another form of paper recycling to this exhibition – collage. Some of the titles of her works, ‘Earth Keeper-Urgently Recruiting’ and ‘Protective Species’ reflect her core philosophy of treading lightly on the earth.

Art Historians love finding influences in an artist’s oeuvre and while Jane’s imagery is distinctive I see the subtle presence of Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig in many of her works. Leunig’s images are disarming with their whimsical gentleness, but suggest a grittier sadness and truth. This is very much the case of Jane’s work. Sure her sculptures are superficially fun but there is a melancholic side to her objects. Environmental art has a history that goes back to the 1970s. While most environmental artist’s are content working outdoors, Jane’s images are focused within the domestic sphere. 

Silas Clifford-Smith

3rd September – 6th September 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A-M Gallery - Georgina Pollard

The latest exhibition from Georgina Pollard at A-M Gallery ‘Through Line III’ opened Wednesday 27th August 2014.  As the title suggests is the third body of works generated by this evolving process and theme.

These works are a contradiction of creative control and random energies.  The action of dripping paint using the uncontrolled phenomena of gravity at first evokes Pollock.  But this is not the masucline action painting full of reckless bravado of that famed abstract expressionist.  Pollard’s work adds a considered sophistication.  One that demands time intervals in its creation and time limits in its durability.  These are partially ephemeral unfussy products of a process that orchestrates unique colour, concepts of recycled materials that once had a more domestic prupose and the willingness to allow the paint to find its way without the manipulation of the artist’s hand.  Pollard also challenges the accepted notions of wall hung art by relinquishing the structures that support the image.  There is no canvas, stretchers, board or paper.  The works are 100% paint.  The paint does not only provide visual structure as in conventional art but also becomes the physical structure subverting and expanding its role.

Ultimately this is a beautiful show.  The deliberate hang with a busy patchwork wall echoing the configuration of the Newtown Seat exhibition earlier in the year juxtaposing the remaining pieces being given ample and appropiate space of their own to emphasise the strength of their presence.  The colours sing, not in a sweet predictable paletter but in a unique, at times acidic, discordant and harmonious vocabulary.  This original, vibrant show is clever in its invention and physical complexity but not so demanding that it can’t be enjoyed on the level of pure aesthetic beauty.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

27th August – 20th September 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sarah Cottier Gallery - Matt Hinkley & Christopher Hanrahan

Matt Hinkley creates sculptural assemblages that are conspicuous in their inconspicuous scale.  They are tiny and hung from the ceiling in numbers from fine irregularly bent wire.  The wire itself looks like calligraphic lines concluding in these quirky colourful artworks made from synthetic bits and pieces. Unlike his work in Biennale 14 these minute works can’t be accidentally missed in the gallery environment and demands up close observation.  The works are suspended at eye level as you walk through the space and are like a joyful act of discovery as each piece comes into focus.

In the other space is a reductive abstract installation of thin welded steel, material and an electric light by Christopher Hanrahan who is now resident in New York.  His work once more figurative and literal has perhaps, under the influence of his current location taken on a more formal address and interplay of space and materiality.  The steel is sometimes bent with fragility and other times rigid with strength. The welds, precious bronze, are conspicuously rough and organic.  There is intent in each detail.

It is glowing, composed and creates a presence that differs in the way Hinkley does.  Together they are a treat appealing to different sensibilities as an art experience.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

7th August – 30th August 2014

Cstudios Art Gallery - Geoffrey Breen

Light certainly is the headline act at Cstudios Art Gallery this month. Dappled, intense, subdued, forensic. It occupies and transcends developing atmosphere and presence.

Geoffrey Breen is the exhibiting artist responsible for this beauty and exquisite cheeriness. Breen utilises colour in shadow to develop a depth that seizes the realism. He simultaneously gives credit to the imaginative interior with complimentary hues butting together to describe shape. Tracking the meandering light within a room is captured with high key patterning and the weightless and dappled paint application further accentuates this design. There is a Henri Matisse feel to these exquisite interiors with Breen also adopting the use of line drawing within a painting to allow the room to be described without the scrutiny of detail.

As significant as the large interiors are a group of smaller framed pieces detailing kitchen paraphernalia. Utensils are rendered with earthy tones allowing dark underpainting to peek through giving definition and weight. The desirable quality of the luscious paint in these works is sumptuous. Although these paintings diminish within the gallery space there is a quality that appeals and maybe surpasses the dominant interiors.

Breen’s world of interiors acknowledges the fact somewhat surreptitiously of the importance of a secure place to call home. Although perhaps not the intent of the exhibition this is the moving consequence and sympathies ensue as to the displaced in our world that cannot envision the unique comfort we in our pursuit for ever more tend to take for granted.

However due to the fickle nature of the human and the rapidity of shifting emotion one soon recognises the skill of the artist and abandons the sentimentality and superficial concern for our fellow beings that is quite typical of us of comfortable means.

The talent of Geoffrey Breen can be viewed at Cstudios Art Gallery until the 31st August.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

9th August - 30th August 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Queen Street Gallery - Shelley Burnham

Shelley Burnham has been called one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists.

Her unique and captivating style has seen her paintings collected throughout Australia and the rest of the world.

Shelley’s paintings are executed with a deep sensitivity for her subject and an obsessive passion for her craft.  Her great love and appreciation for the Australian landscape are demonstrated in her work with great depths of colour and movement.  Her quirky sense of humour and acute observations of life are also a central theme in her paintings which reflect a sense of childlike honesty and purity.

Shelley’s raw approach to her paintings mixed with an incredible attention to detail makes her a highly sought after artist.

This new series, which took over 3 years to complete is titled ‘Time moved on so I stayed behind’. It’s a collection that demonstrates Shelley’s observations of everyday life, highlighting our constant attempts to fit more into the time we have, and how we often don’t stay still long enough to appreciate the special moments.  Shelley expresses her interpretation of her upcoming exhibition, “Our lives are moving so quickly and we are all so busy.  We are all looking for some calm and peace in our lives and I have tried to portray that feeling in my work.”

Shelley lives in Randwick with her musician husband, Joe Burnham and two sons. This is Shelley’s tenth solo exhibition.

Liz Deep-Jones

11th August – 17th August 2014
Queen Street Gallery, 28 Queen Street, Woollahra, Sydney

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Newcastle Art Space - John Moroney & Paul Maher

The talented artist Paul Maher had me chugging along merrily anticipating a silent commune with his latest offering at Newcastle Art Space.  But behold the hour cometh whereupon I witnessed the astounding flair for fine art of the young whippersnapper John Moroney.  Now I’m not being facetious here.  This fellow had pumped out a torrent of spectacular drawings that had me in awe. Piece after piece in his exhibition “Dissonance” demonstrated his life-drawing skills and not one had snags in regard to foreshortening or perspective difficulties.

Moroney’s ability however does not cease at technical prowess.  Attention is seized through a myriad of techniques where brush, charcoal, ink and water are teased and manipulated to create a push and pull outcome within his art.  This fractious base permits his work to be raised above that proud achievement of finding likeness in drawing to the divine heights of soul in art.  He’s one to keep an eye out for.

And now Paul Maher. “Walking the Square Mile” did not disappoint.  There’s an eager pleasure in the art of Maher who I discovered earlier in the year at Four Point Gallery.  A fresh approach to drawing found in his computer derived work delves into those murky waters of what constitutes drawing.  But it’s all happening here with the spontaneity and looseness creating movement that’s teasing with its cool lingo.  Colour is languid and easy working well against the casual line.

The earthy tones in Maher’s paintings expose a peaceful Newcastle easy to perceive and engage with. It’s not only the expressive creativity at work here but also a rich application of paint that pleases and rewards.  In the end the audience is allowed to observe the everyday become extraordinary. 

Both exhibitions emerge successfully in the sea of artistic endeavours ensconcing “our town” at present. Paul Maher’s intriguing eye and John Moroney’s supurb skill are on display until the 17th August at NAS.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

31st July - 17th August 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Airspace Projects - Playbox-Anie Nheu & Jan Fieldsend

In the relatively new Airspace Projects in Marrickville a collaborative installation by Anie Nheu and Jan Fieldsend is currently on show.

Presented are disparate objects, images and assemblages that tap into subliminal memory without being too literal or specific in references.  A pool of social, emotional and cultural inferences is at play here as is the considered use of space.

This collaboration I found to be evocative in an intimate way as these everyday remnants of humanity present ordinariness as extraordinary.  It is a grand statement coming from the periphery.

As an overview there is a spontaneous fresh feel to this show.   Individually and collectively the pieces engage with a cohesive and playful mix of textures, tonalities, and at times reductive hard edge imagery.  Importantly they strive for an aesthetic beauty which is sometimes lost at the expense of concept.  The install and use of space also adds to the sense of immediacy as an important facet of their creative process.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

1st – 16th August 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Annandale Galleries - The Edge Emerging Artists

The high profile commercial gallery owned by Bill Gregory, the Annandale Gallery is hosting a group show of contemporary, non objective and conceptual art under the title of ‘The Edge Emerging Artists’.

This show is fresh, vibrant and sophisticated. It challenges the often staid offerings of so called established art with its unselfconscious uncompromised bravado. The serendipity and adventurousness is compellingly enhanced by the anonymity of being ‘emerging artist’.

The fact is that perhaps in this environment the work is on the edge and the artists are emerging. In reality this network of artist have cut their teeth developing their processes, exhibiting, collaborating and making connections over time that has seen them ‘emerge’ creatively well before now and such is the nature of creativity will continue to emerge throughout their artistic lives. As the large buzzing crowd will testify the artists have been followed and supported for years through spaces such as SNO, The Articulate Projectspace and Factory 49 amongst others.

Much credit goes to the Annandale Gallery for hosting this show in a space that truly does it justice. For the artists it is a rare opportunity to see their work in such ideal conditions.

The Bright inventive floor pieces of Chris Packer and Susan Buret allows the show to leave the walls and mingle with the crowd. The bold colours and patterns of Sophia Egarchos are commanding images as is the subtle near white forms of June Sartracom. Suzie Idiens once again delights with her shiny super smooth colour pieces that I’m reliably informed were oddly a temptation to lick by a number of patrons. One figurative piece from Catherine O’Donnel is a hyper real charcoal depiction of the urban environment. It is typically a technical tour de force. The contributions across the board are equally as excellent as the viewers all had varying opinions over what they found most engaging.

This show is aesthetically beautiful and conceptually challenging and if viewed with an open mind you will be richly rewarded for your efforts.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

16th July – 16th August 2014