Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lovett Gallery - Nikon Walkley Press Photography Exhibition

It’s that time of the year when the Nikon-Walkley award comes to town.  We all know we’re going to see quality photography at this exhibition.  And we all know we’re going to be feeling pretty darn lucky that we live in this country when we exit the exhibition.  But look to the left on entering the gallery and you’ll witness one of our better known characters declaring our great land the home of the thug.  Yes that’s right, documentary evidence of a great buffoon in baggy breaches belting the buggery out of another joker.  You’re visualising the already well documented brawl of James Packer vs … well actually who is that fella.  But it is hilarious and it is fortunate we live in a country where the media can scrutinise those in the public eye without repercussions.  It’s also a gentle reminder that money cannot buy style!

Now that being out of the way, let’s pursue the serious end of town.  The plight of Syrian refugees is recognized as a humanitarian crisis. Steve Pennells’ image of a tent city has a perfunctory capacity initially but the realisation that these little dots in the inhospitable desert are in fact the homes of millions of displaced people requires contemplation.  Portraits of the Syrian refugees by the same photographer are so empathetic and real.  It’s an astounding journal of humanities shame.

Adam Hourigan’s photo essay of regional Australia is a fleshed out study of character and place.  The laconic Aussie sitting casually in his caravan advertising mulch while a fire blazes behind him epitomises the personality Australians respect.  It’s a single shot but boy does it work!

The winning photograph is an image quiet and sad.  By the photographer Andrew Quilty, the appearance of a small child in Afghanistan wrapped in a sheath of metallic material with a drip wending its way into the little body conjures up imaginings of war atrocities however an oil heater was responsible for her burns.

This exhibition leaves one again pondering the disparity that exists in this world.  While it’s relatively easy for westerners to embark on a mission to document the plight of those less fortunate but perhaps more interesting, it is an almost impossible task for these people to escape from their trouble and enter a country that is peaceful.  There’s something unethical about it.  After all we look at these photos and feel empathy but carry on in passive oblivion.

The Nikon-Walkley can be viewed at Lovett Gallery until 7th March.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

30th January - 7th March 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gaffa - Honed: Makers mastering a particular technique and /or material

Andrea William, Bic Tieu, Jessica Winchcombe, Kallia Chatzigianni, Karin Jakobsson, Kenny Son, Melanie West, Oliver Smith, Satoshi Nakamura and Taisuke Nakada..

The Honed exhibition features a select group of jewellery and/or object makers who are, or in the process of, becoming masters of a particular technique.  Each uses a different technique and materials, and has spent many hours crafting the pieces on display.

This exhibition aims to make explicit the labour and skill that has gone into creating the pieces.  It considers time intensive art practices and how the outcome develops through this process.

Each of the makers has been interviewed regarding the technique and materials they use.  Their responses are included in the catalogue and on a blog in order to provide insight into the maker’s process, choices, frustrations and successes.

A cross section of different materials and technical processes were selected for this exhibition by the curator Michelle Genders.  Highly skilled artists from Sydney and the rest of the world have been included.

Curated by Michelle Genders
Catalogue by Grace Garton

22nd January - 2nd February 2015

Friday, December 19, 2014

Galerie Olivier Nouvellet - A Sens Unique

“One way”

Four artists, Flavie Cournil, Danielle Lescot (ceramic), Christine Boiry, Roland Orepuk (painting), all of them in search of simplicity but each of them expressing it in a personal way.  

If the vibrant colour of the enamelled surfaces is common to both ceramists, the rhythmical architecture of Danielle evocates more the work of Christine.  Flavie’s ceramics may occupy the space of the wall, each of them in a kind of spirit related to ‘College de Pataphysique’.  The reductivism of Roland Orepuk, both for pattern and color (his excusive predilection for yellow), appears in a very strong way in his ‘conversation with Malevitch’.

in french : "A SENS UNIQUE"

Quatre artistes, Flavie Cournil, Danielle Lescot (céramique), Christine Boiry, Roland Orepuk (peinture), tous en quête de simplicité mais l'exprimant chacun selon sa propre voie…,

Si la couleur vibrante des surfaces émaillées est commune aux deux céramistes, les architectures rythmées de Danielle répondent plus à celle de Christine..  Les céramiques de Flavie peuvent, quant à elles, occuper l'espace du mur chacune dans un esprit qui peut rappeler celui du collège de Pataphysique..  Le réductivisme de Roland tant dans la forme que pour la couleur (sa prédilection excusive pour le jaune) se manifeste de façon percutante dans sa ‘conversation with Malevitch’.. 

Christine Boiry

17th December – 20th December 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gallery9 & Flinders Street Gallery

Marita Fraser, Paul Williams and Sarah crowEST at Gallery9

Marita Fraser challenges the viewer with an orchestrated room of objects, paintings, photos and at times 2 or 3 combined.  As always there is a palpable tactile quality to the materials and media which is an important deliberate aspect of her work.

Spend time in the space and you’ll start to see cohesiveness through judicious repetition of motif, shape and material presented in ways that vary from the other.  It suggests the elasticity of the elements determined by the intent of the artist.  It’s a celebration of abstraction without eschewing the significance of the figurative influence.

I’ve always enjoyed the multi-layered considerations of every aspect in Fraser’s work.  Despite the complexity it still has a direct honestly rendered surface that is from a painter’s perspective very engaging.

The Melbourne painter Paul Williams paints earthy tonal expressionist imaginings that are evocative of the landscape.  They are in fact fabricated not from life but are instinctive vigorously organic renderings that are high in textural energy but chromatically low key.  The density of the paint and tertiary nature of the palette flirts with muddiness but manages to maintain an energetic freshness.

The third artist in Gallery9’s final show of 2014 is Sarah crowEST.  The work is divided into 3 separate series each differing to the other.  Each group are aesthetically appealing going from hard edged non objective to a playful text based interpretation of her surname to painterly freestyle mixed media abstractions.  Despite the eclecticness of the show the uniformity of size and spatial placement enable a cohesive enjoyable show.

Also a show worth a look is a group show of Flinders St gallery artists.  A high quality show of paintings, graphic works and sculptures at 61 Flinders St, Sydney.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

3rd December - 20th December 2014
4th December - 20th December 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Newcastle Art Gallery - Kilgour Prize & Beard's, Mo's and Bro's

You’ve got to love the Kilgour if for no other reason than witnessing the gathering of a crowd of hopefuls picked from far and wide all waiting with bated breath to see who’ll steal away with the bonanza.  It’s Newcastle’s Archibald!  This year’s lucky contender is Alan Jones.  Had me hoping for a minute it was the illustrious leader of talkback radio branching out into a new career ready to insult our intelligence in the more painterly fashion.  But alas no.  This Alan Jones hails from Gosford and a quick google search revealed the credentials of this artist held him aloft.  The work titled “Robert Forrester #2” is a detailed analysis of the artists ancestral past.  It’s a fiery bit of gear with Forrester brandishing a spikey aura that cuts deeply into future generations.  Wreaking havoc in ignorant bliss is the luxury of our ancestors, benignly unaware of the legacy they cast.  And that is what’s to love about Jones’s work. That jittery impact is felt with the discordant foreground running juxtaposition to the calm permanence of the land in the background.  It’s a winner.

But let’s face it.  These art prizes are terse and wiry and can leave one feeling like they’ve been left out in the cold.  It can be a random act of treachery and the backdraft significant.  Longevity is key and setbacks are aplenty so try and try again is the mantra.  Local artist Rachel Milne was chosen as a finalist this year.  Her work is a seductive combination of paint and brush marks.  The juicy application of oil highlights the viscous quality of the medium.  And who would have thought the comedian Ahn Do came complete with an affinity with paint.  In the style of a Ben Quilty Do exerts his power and renders a spot on portrait.  And no one can pass up a Michael Bell!  His work is witty, mastered and sincere.  In this exhibition The Park has all the clarity of one single moment in time painted with sureness.

Also on exhibition is a salute to the pop culture phenomenon right here, right now: the beard.  Once the mark of the ultimate dag, now the status symbol of the hip and happening, Beards, Mo’s and Bro’s takes us on a journey through a fella’s world via their facial hair.  This exhibition realises the depth of the gallery collection and the limited space available for the permanent viewing of the works.  The shame of it.  Ben Quilty, John Perceval and William Dobell are amongst the exhibitors.  It is a delight to see Dallas Bray’s 2008 Kilgour prize amongst them.  The Kilgour Prize along with Beards, Mo’s and Bro’s is on exhibit until the 25th of January 2015 at Newcastle Art Gallery.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

8th November 2014 – 25th January 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

AirSpace Projects - Intimate Worlds

Intimate Worlds - Fleur MacDonald, Stephanie Monteith, Anie Nheu, Catherine Rogers and Kaye Shumack at Airspace Projects.

The closing show of 2014 for Airspace Projects is a back to painting exhibition.  Like “Sydney Painting Now” showing simultaneously at Pompom we are presented with a statement that painting has relevance and purpose in the contemporary landscape.  We are reminded that art of any form can engage and compel if created with a fresh and unique perspective.

Anie Nheu’s assemblages are lovely irregular shaped pieces that express the contrasting and conflicting cultural entities she has confronted from a lifetime of geographical displacement.  The experience of being constantly on the move has manifested in the works that express an ultimately harmonious resolve.

Stephanie Monteith, whose work has been seen most recently at the James Dorahy gallery has contributed a series of intricate finely painted flora on wood.  There is an exquisite prettiness to these small paintings in this configuration but they apparently play a role in a larger more ambitious project that is an evolving work in progress.

Fleur MacDonald backs up from her wonderful show at the Drawing Room with two brightly coloured depictions of her favourite objects and icons.  They are very direct and robust images that portray an animated fascination with popular culture and the recently retired mascot of sixtoeight Pengee.  There are witty light pop elements that convey a layer of cultural identity that triggers a deeper subliminal connection to a time and place.

Catherine Rogers contributes pieces that are not painted.  They are digital images of……paintings.  She has compiled images of art taken in various museums and galleries over time.  These have been selected for their similarity in composition and subject matter.  The works are by famous painters though this is not the point as much as how they interact together as a series of images.  Their common thread is aesthetic rather than historical.

Finally a suite of joyful painterly observations by Kaye Shumack round off an eclectic body of works that present a freshness of vision consistent with this relatively new gallery’s shows to date.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

5th December - 20th December 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Newcastle Art Space - The Strutt Sisters & Toni Amidy

Watching the ascension of The Strutt Sisters is a part time habit for most of us Novocastrian art types.  It can’t be denied their quirky and brilliant art work entices a grin and has us swanning about in nostalgic reveries.  And it’s a treat at the moment to see so many of their works on exhibit at Newcastle Art Space.  Garish colour collides with strident pattern and combined with the quaint images it all adds up to idealise femininity.  These kitsch works emphasise the beauty of the girl and perhaps along the way remind us that once connectivity was as easy as poking your head over the neighbours fence to borrow a cup of sugar.

But there’s lurking within the confines of each of these fanciful installations a sad discontent where lives were woven with gossip, drudgery and prejudice.  To delve into the narrative of each work of art makes the viewing of The Strutt Sisters work so much more rewarding.

Occupying the second gallery at NAS is painter Toni Amidy.  It’s an impressive collection of abstracted works each thoughtfully composed.  Appealing use of paint, whether it is acrylic or oil, is a big draw card.  There are many standouts in this exhibition but for me I kept returning to those works that were rich in texture and painterly prowess.  A snapshot of a queue in Posturing 3 is painted so vigorously and with such movement I had trouble removing myself from the gallery.  Observing how artists treat the touching of positive and negative space is intriguing and Amidy consistently uses confidence to create rich juxtapositions.  It’s a notable exhibition, one that will have me searching for more of Amidy’s work in future.

“Let the Chips Fall Where They May” by The Strutt Sisters and “Surface Tension” by Toni Amidy both conclude on Sunday.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

13th November – 30th November 2014