Thursday, May 24, 2012

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery - Destiny Deacon & Glenn Sorensen

With two big openings on the same night and only just up the road from each other it made the evening twice the fun.

Turning up early to check out the work of these two fine artist’s while the gallery was empty was worth it, Destiny Deacon’s work packed a punch with a salon hung collection of large colourful works that shone like a beacon in the empty gallery. These works were vibrant and full of life giving happiness, the colours of the outfits and the backgrounds told of a very happy family upbringing.

As with the black and white photographs and the video, Destiny has gotten in touch with her family history, keeping her connection to her ancestors is of the up most importance. I loved the installation with the glass house and kaleidoscope video as it poured over the gallery floor it was like stepping into a fragment of history.

The raspberry bushes, snakes and intimate portraits of small delicate flowers were the first to introduce me to Glenn Sorensen’s work, the stark black backgrounds propel the images to stardom. They are almost the same as photograph negatives, the positive would be too much but the negative reveals hints of the past.

 I somehow recognized Glenn and told him I was a fan and then later his mother approached me and wanted to thank me for my kind words from a previous review and then I realized the portrait was of him with a beard.

I’m not sure which is my favourite, loved ‘Maria’ oil on linen with it’s spooky white snake and ‘Blind’ oil on linen, two soulful flowers slowly wafting in a breeze. It’s as if all of these paintings have been painted with a deeply sensitive brush, sensitive to the artist’s immediate environment and sensitive to the artist’s way of life.

Fleur MacDonald

3rd May - 19th May 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

S.H. Ervin Gallery - Salon des Refuses 2012

Getting hung in the Salon des Refuses is a Prize in itself as most Artist’s believe, it is the next best thing if you didn’t get selected for the Archibald or Wynne and some also believe it is better so it must have been a mammoth task to choose 57 works from the 1,665 viewed.

 Here are my favourites from the 57 listed works, ‘The artist before his canvas with dog’ oil on canvas by John Edwards is one of the best paintings so far I have seen of John’s work, it’s such a great description of this artist’s life and also the best title. ‘The Landscape Painter (Idris Murphy, artist) watercolour and gouache on paper by Paul Miller is a strikingly beautiful portrait of Idris, heavy in detail and lovingly respectful of the artist’s character.

‘Interlude’ acrylic on polycanvas by Robyn Sweaney reminds me a little of my childhood home, how simple but effective the houses were built back in the 60’s in country town’s, it’s almost as if Robyn is plotting the history of rural resident architecture. ‘Bowl 13’ zinc coated painted steel by Michael Snape, is this work an interpretation of how to bowl?, it’s large and wonderful.

‘Frankly Frank (Frank Watters) acylic on gessoed paper by Monica Epstein is a great portrayal of this well known Gallery Director. ‘Swamp 1(Burrumbeet) oil and acrylic on canvas by Peter Gardiner is fantastic, it just goes on forever. ‘Prima Materia’ oil on canvas by Stuart Watters gives us something to think about, I do love Stuart’s work, I love his bold attack at colour and form.

‘Lightsaver’ oil on canvas by Neil Hicks is an interesting piece describing the light filtering through the branches and leaves of a tree. ‘Cliffs’ oil on board by Brenda Stace Chat is another interesting but very striking work. ‘Stella Young (disability advocate & comedian) oil on canvas by Peter Wegner brings out the exuberance of the sitter’s personality and gently softens the blow of her plight.

This show was Big and the opening was packed to the rafters and an enjoyable afternoon had by all.

Fleur MacDonald

31st March - 20th May 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

James Dorahy Project Space - Alexander James

Weathersounds - Big bold and beautiful photographs of clouds and probably the most beautiful clouds I’ve ever seen.

‘Means for Measuring Cloud Velocity 1,2 &3’ archival pigment print is a valuable lesson.

‘Imperfect Cumuli #1’ archival pigment print, is foreboding but with a hint of relief with the tiny sliver of sunlight inching it’s way into view and ‘Imperfect Cumuli #3’ archival pigment print is that sliver of sunlight at it’s final happy end.

‘Cumulus Attacked by a Contrary Wind #1 & 2’ archival pigment print are stills from poetry in motion, soft wispy tinged with blue and lavender puffs of cloud.

And last but not at all least is ‘Nimbus, In Repose’ archival pigment print makes me think of puffs of delectable sexy chocolate wafting through the sky in all it’s glory. Hope I didn’t gush too much but this is a really beautiful show.

 Fleur MacDonald

26th April - 20th May 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Gallipoli Memorial Club - Gallipoli Art Prize 2012

Monday 23rd April was the announcement of the winners but also a chance to see who else had been chosen to hang in this difficult prize. Yes, it is a difficult prize to enter as you have to dig deep to find a suitable sombre subject to paint, no being willy nilly or funny about it. It’s serious sad stuff!

 Artist’s are asked to paint in their best way the spirit of the Gallipoli Campaign as expressed in the Club’s ‘Creed’ either being a portrait, landscape or still life.

‘Todd #1’ oil and acrylic on linen by Alan Jones is a portrait of his brother and of brotherhood and reminisces about spending time with his brother as young children in the house of his grandfather who served in WW2. When I first saw this painting I felt a sense of history coming from within the eyes and spilling out onto the face.

‘Portrait of a Lost Still Life’ oil on canvas, by yours truly, was my response to a family member finding out about having a relative that lost his life in Somme, killed in action ‘In the Field’ August 9th 1916 and gave me a personal connection and desire to go to France and pay my last respects.

‘Silent Partner’ oil on canvas by Joanna Braithwaite, reveals there is more than just the man that is fighting a cause, the animals have also paid a huge price and we all know about Simpson and his faithful donkey. Joanna has painted a respectful and thoughtful painting of a true hero.

‘Lest we Forget’ mixed media, by Kerrie Lester reminds us all of who we fight in the name of with the Queens insignia placed at the heart of her work and the many trees which are planted in memoriam of so many young lives lost, the collection of badges which have been collected over a long period of time brings home to all of us the necessity of fighting for peace.

‘I was young when I left home’ oil on linen by Paul Ryan is a prime example of how young our cherub faced soldiers were, Paul’s subject was excited by the thrill of fighting for his country, he had no idea of what was in store for him.

‘They wore feathers (Uncle Jim)’ oil on canvas by Peter Gardiner is a dark and brooding work of his Uncle Jim who had a fire in his soul.  ‘Last Light (ubi sunt)’ acrylic on canvas by Robyn Sweaney, if this building was covered in painted poppies it would be a true remembrance of so many young and old lives lost in so many wars this country has been part of.

If it hadn’t been for Robyn’s Father and Grandfather or any of the artist’s family hanging in this exhibition we may have not been able to comprehend what feelings these men and women and animals endured during war time, so I would like to thank the Board of Directors of The Gallipoli Memorial Club for setting up this worthy Prize.

 Fleur MacDonald

24th April - 11th May 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Drawing Room - Richard Hook

This collection of assemblage paintings was my first introduction to the work of Richard Hook and I’m not surprised that living south of Sydney near Port Kembla and in close proximity to the ocean his work is heavily inspired by this environment.

The use of rich seaside and heavy industrial colours gives rise to the constant abstract expressiveness within his printmaking and assemblage works.

There was 7 works in this exhibition and all of them have their own little story to tell, but I think my favourites were ‘Propeller’ a small circular work of wonder, the blades are in constant motion in one direction but if you stare at it long enough you think you can see the blades move in the opposite direction.

 ‘Jetty’ a fragment from reality placed in a way as if you are looking down from the sky, you can see this Jetty from afar and imagine the waves crashing against it. ‘Floatation’ with the built up surface and dark blue hues lapping at it’s existence.

 Inspiration can be found in all sorts of places and Richard Hook is also an ‘Inspiration’.

 Fleur MacDonald
4th April - 9th May 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ray Hughes Gallery - Lucy Culliton

Oh my, what a beautiful show, so many lovely paintings of lots and lots of lovely flowers in so many antique bottles. A terribly impressive show.

I’ve just missed my deadline as I think the show closed yesterday the 10th May, but anyway people will still be able to read this and spy some of the lovely works in this wonderful show.

73 paintings on the room sheet, 73 x 100’s of gorgeous blooms. So I’m going to pic out a few of the ones that really stood out and spoke to me, ‘Wattle’ oil on canvas, I swear I could smell the rich yellow wattle scent that was wafting through the air at the opening.

‘Apple Blossoms’ oil on canvas, it’s the two brown bottles that help to pick out the tiny flowers of these Apple Blossoms and create a nice balance.

‘Daffodils’ oil on board, I’m not sure why I love daffodils so much, maybe because they look a little weird with their little trumpet faces outlined by the frilly neck dress and then the colour yellow which represents safety, insanity and also promotes the appetite. ‘Crocosima’ oil on board, the rich vibrancy of the reds illuminating above the clear glass bottles.

‘Daisies’ oil on board, how can you go past those happy smiley faces. And ‘Love in the Mist’ oil on board, we all need love in the mist and it was that dark blue bottle that grabbed me and then the soft whispers of the cobalt blue flowers against the lush green.

The delights from a small country town five hours from Sydney, where the air is clear and the sky is a long streak of blue. Lucy has carved out a lovely existence painting knitted toys, cacti, chooks and now these, wonder what will take her fancy next.

 Fleur MacDonald

 14th April - 10th May 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Australian Galleries, Roylston Street - Kerrie Lester

Kerrie Lester is a power house, this Artist is up at the crack of dawn and working till way past sunset everyday and has been for most of her artistic life, so with a stack of solo shows later Kerrie is still at it. I really love her enthusiasm and have an enormous respect for such a prolific artist.

There is a whole lot more in the Melbourne show that I probably wont get to see that are even more fabulous than the one’s I saw in the special one night only Sydney preview. It bucketed down as I just got inside the gallery and continued till it was time to go home.

Kerrie’s work is like she looking outside the square, capturing a split second in time, a feeling of elation, a humorous moment or revealing an inner contemplation.

‘Snail’ oil on board, is one of my favourite’s as it looks like it’s just had a big meal out of one of Kerrie’s plants from her garden. ‘Poplars’ oil on board, another favourite shows three expressive trees in a windy landscape.

But looking at works on the gallery’s website, I couldn’t help but fall in love with ‘Boat’ wood and mixed media which is a sheer delight, really wish this one had been in the Sydney preview, the waves are lapping the side of the boat, the mast is extended past the main picture support and looks like it’s about to take off with the next gust of wind. Love it!!

‘Extracts’ is on show in Melbourne at Australian Galleries Derby Street until the 20th May, so if you are in Melbourne go and see it.

 Fleur MacDonald

1st May - 20th May 2012