Wednesday, April 24, 2013

East Sydney Doctors - Diablo Mode - Accident Prone

'Accident prone' is a clever title for an exhibition in a pop up salon within a Doctor's surgery. As a title for Diablo Mode's recent exhibition it also suggests a process of making in the studio informed by the wise intuition of the happy accident in a prolonged dialogue with rich, natural and man made materials.

If you are familiar with Diablo's work then you are probably already a devotee or a collector of it.  It has a kind of magnetism that pulls you in.  The works traverse a territory between the naturalistic bounty of strange fruit one might find on a forest floor and of sacrosanct reliquaries celebrating the sacred and divine.

Within this exhibition the artist maintains his vocabulary of materials, a delicate use of Casuarina and Chir pine needles, bound with coloured threads and copper wire and Sydney Black Bean seed pods pierced with screws and metal tacks.  'Accident prone' boasts Mode's most impressive series to date- of refined works created with coloured variegated nylon rope, again bound and constrained using plastic cable ties.  All the works share an understated kinky aesthetic, in which their binding is both a kind of domination and willing submission, as the artist and material shift in a power play of who has the upper hand.

'Mood swing II' and 'Pisshead' pictured on the exhibition invite, exploit a colour palette of reds, oranges and yellow, which works in combination with the spiraling and binding to unite the two strands of work of plant materials and of rope.  'Mood swing II' visually refers to the infinite, and of creation, of cycles, of rising and falling, unfurling and closing up.  It is characteristic of a certain species of Diablo's forms, which feel like spiraling avian creatures about to take flight.  'Pisshead' is aptly titled, with intricately bound spirals of yellow and red rope surrounding an antique urinal rosette.  This work triumphantly embodies the subtle, or at least restrained homoeroticism of Mode's work.  In 'Pisshead' one could argue that a whole branch of fetishism of piss, watersports and piss play is played out through the spirals of devotion focused around the rosette to create a new kind of flower.

Found materials operate as a kind of disrupt across the exhibition, whilst in the individual works each evoke the poetics of form and material, as if the artist could not resist to see what this or that might do.  This is a practice rich in play and discovery.  'Goddess' incorporates a Tanzanian figurative hair comb, bound and woven with jute and copper wire and an antique quoit.  This strong figuration is unusual outside of Mode's drawings and on reflection 'Goddess' is one of the most compelling and accomplished works in the show, the curve of the quoit forming arms for the figure and echoed in the bound Casurina below, which grounds the piece.  'Scorpio' is brought to life with the inclusion of two dark metal callipers, becoming deadly pincers whilst a cluster of silver spoon heads within 'Feast' form a kind of armour plating that punctuates the base of the work.

In the room sheet The artist says of the work: "The sculpture in this show represent moods, memories, habits and routines of the artist.  As baskets, they are stripped of their function and exist purely for decoration.  Their purpose isn't to hold fruit, car keys, coins or anything else that gets thrown in a bowl, but rather emotion and ideas."  He references his passion for the etchings of Ernst Haeckel who produced the divine visual tome 'Artforms in Nature' and Albertus Seba 'Natural curiosities.'  This influence is visible in the work through a shared "inspiration from the mathematics of nature" and a curiosity and making that both honours natural form, whilst pushing it beyond the boundaries of experienced reference points.  Mode's works extend our imagination of the natural world, creating forms which invite contemplation and inspire awe and visual delight.

The opening was characterised by the handsome crowd, friendly atmosphere and a consistent orchestra of 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahs,' the sonic reverie released from our pleasure centres when stopped still in an encounter with beauty!

Lionel Bawden, 23rd April 2013.
Lionel Bawden is an artist, a peer of Diablo Mode and collector of Mode's work and Guest Reviewer for

East Sydney Doctors
102 Burton St, Darlinghurst. (Entry via corridor central to building.)
Exhibition runs for 8 weeks, Monday to Friday 9am- 5pm from April 23rd 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Picture House Gallery & Bookshop - Local Eyes Photography and Gyan 'Bear in Mind' performance and book launch

There’s an exciting new gallery/performance space in Gunning NSW nestled between Canberra and Goulburn, that is the brainchild of artist Margarita Georgiadis and actor/artist Max Cullen.

Originally The Coronation Theatre circa 1937, Max and Margarita have renamed their venue “The Picture House Gallery & Bookshop”.  They have spent the last ten years setting up a performing arts bookshop in the original cinema foyer and recently extended the shop to include a fabulous gallery that boasts high cathedral ceilings; the interior of the old cinema.   Beyond the gallery are Max and Margarita’s studios (once a 500 seat theatre), which also includes a raked proscenium stage, perfect for intimate performances and events.  The first exhibition at the gallery opened on Sunday 14 April and showcased four local photographers, each with a keen eye and appreciation for the surrounding landscape of Canberra and the Southern Tablelands.

Jeremy Thompson is an ABC journalist living in Canberra, with a lifelong love of photography. Jeremy has taken photographs from all over the world, often illustrating his own articles with photographs and video.  Jeremy was a finalist in the 2011 Australian National Portrait Prize, with a photograph of journalists interviewing Kevin Rudd, this brilliant work is featured in the exhibition, along with Jeremy’s stunning landscape and nature photography; namely of the Simpson Desert.

Kirsten Jeffcoat is a painter, printmaker and photographer living in Goulburn, with an extensive artistic career teaching at the Sorbonne University in Paris, Education Officer at Goulburn Regional Gallery and the NGA.  Her lithographs are included in the National Gallery of Australia collection. Kirsten has exhibited in Australia and France, her photographs in this exhibition are from her travels to the Pilbara, water reflections from the Kimberley, ice crystals of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain, the salt pools of Malta and terracotta tiles in the French Ardennes. Kirsten’s work explores fragments and memory of time and place, she captures these elements masterfully within the detail and patterns of the places she has visited.

Renee Andrews from Dalton is inspired by the vast mountain landscapes and changing weather conditions of southeastern of NSW.  Renee is a member of the Australian Photographic Society and has been involved in online folios, submitting a nature photograph weekly.  Renee was a finalist in the Goulburn Regional Art Award in 2012.  Her photography is a spectacular portrayal of the sometimes violent and dramatic landscape and weather conditions of the Southern Tablelands. Renee’s photographs are a celebration of the ‘epic’ where she finds and delivers the beauty of the vast rural hill-scapes and dramatic clouds in the open country sky, often from her doorstep!

Mary Butt has lived in the Crookwell area for 18 years and been a shearers cook and shed hand for the last 11 years.  Mary travels with her husband Matt, who is a shearer. They travel to remote NSW outback areas including Burke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Hay, Booligal, Ivanhoe and in and around the Crookwell area as part of their work.  Mary’s photographs capture our great Australian landscape and local history.  As she often travels to remote areas, her photographs are haunting glimpses of long forgotten or neglected shearing sheds, abandoned cars or dilapidated historic homesteads.  Mary’s work takes the viewer into the secret, silent places of the outback, with an eye for the beauty of abandonment and decay.

“Local Eyes” is a stunning exhibition by four very talented photographers, it is a celebration of landscape, bird life, the outback and the micro life we so often don’t get a chance to stop and observe in our busy, fast paced lives.  It is the perfect debut exhibition for a venue nestled between Sydney and Canberra, where all the beauty captured by these photographers of the Australian countryside and nature resides.

After the exhibition opening, guests were invited into the theatre/studio for a performance and book launch by the enigmatic, world renowned, Byron Bay based singer/songwriter/author, GYAN.  With an ARIA award and platinum sales for her self-titled debut album in 1990, Gyan moved to the UK, then the USA where she signed to Universal working with Ricky Martin, Leanne Rimes and producer Desmond Child.  Last year, Gyan performed at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre with Leunig and was the voice of hope and redemption in director P J Hogan’s “Mental”.

Gyan’s performance at The Picture House was outstanding to say the least.  The intimate audience was mesmerized by the hauntingly beautiful music and voice of this exceptional artist, who sang from her various albums and performed a few of her tiny poems.  Audience members received a free signed copy of Gyan’s book of tiny poems “Bear in Mind” at the end of the show and all, including Gyan, were taken by the brilliant acoustics of the venue.  It was indeed a very special afternoon of art, music, poetry and performance in Gunning.

Max and Margarita are thrilled with the success of their first event and exhibition at their picture house, and are planning more for 2013 and into the future.
Watch this space!

Rita Rogers
Guest Reviewer from Gunning, NSW

14th April - 4th May 2013

James Dorahy Project Space - Julie Krone and Emma Lindsay

To start with I must say that was a most joyous opening and one that I was looking forward to seeing and being at.

It’s funny how people respond to how Art is made, how everyone’s perception of Art is so different. The traditional practice is mostly recognizable from a distant but the more unconventional practice needs on many occasion an introduction, especially for the novice.

As with the work ‘Nothing’s Black or White’ by Julie Krone, it’s not unconventional, especially in this day and age where Artist’s have a much more freedom of speech with their work. Working with structural building products as these lovely lumps of wood, don’t get me wrong as I love a good block of wood and including those with words printed all over them. These ‘modules’ reflect the wonderful realization of black against white and vice versa. We need that balance of hues laid out in front of us. The intensity of each phrase running towards infinity reminds us that life is short and we need to keep reading.

‘Lovesong’ like the Simple Minds song, builds you up and drops you down but you are in awe, awe of this beauty before you.

I too experience the birdsong outside the studio, since moving to the mountains away form the city this birdsong has become an anthem to each waking and close of day. It is a constant to pick up a feather which I place around my entrance hall mirror.

Emma Lindsay has released the essence of these birds, created more of a remembrance of each beloved native bird. Like death masks that humans make, these birds will be remembered forever. Their true intensity of colour and stature reveal what they must have been like in full flight. Her painting technique has somehow given them eternal life but only on a canvas as they cannot fly away.

‘Still (Endangered Northern Quoll)’ oil on gessoboard is a testament to her talent, love the shading on the cloth and tiny tiny detail on the pin heads.

The attention to detail has exposed the fragility in all of these works, pushing us to take care and spend time to listen to the sounds of nature if in case it disappears for ever.

Fleur MacDonald

26th March - 21st April 2013