Monday, July 29, 2013

Gympie Regional Gallery - Rosie Lloyd-Giblett

Queensland artist, Rosie Lloyd-Giblett’s show ‘Bones and Bouquets’ is an exhibition that requires more than one visit. I found the work slowly drawing me in. I became fascinated by the stories the artist is telling, the ideas she is exploring and the link they have with her personal history – growing up on a cattle property in Western Queensland.

Rosie also uses the process of writing poetry to access her personal philosophical dialogue. I found her words so immensely enjoyable.

Eat my dust brother 
I used to love making dust on my motorbike. 
Speeding home after being outside working 
Past the graveyard of animals that have been 
What animal were you and what will you become? 
Bones are a metaphor for memory and reflection 
Bones have been beings and will continue to be. 
Memories transformed and transferred to another life. 

Questions of life, and more specifically the impact we are having on the natural environment of regional Queensland are raised in these works. The artist recalls playtime with her brother and spending hours tracking animals, following the paths through to somewhere… into gullies or over cultivation. “The bones we came across were not for kicking,” said Rosie. “We would walk around them and even sit for a while.

“Bones should be respected and viewed as a memory - thus the metaphor. Bones are placed on the land and they become it. Is this reincarnation? Does the bone become a rock or something else? The bouquets are the flora we collected and often placed in remembrance of those beings that had passed on,” says Rosie.

My favourite work was ‘Groundcover’ – to me this painting is very reminiscent of the artist’s childhood remembering – a girl lost in the bones. It raises the question – what are these bones? Are they her memories? Are they her forefathers? Perhaps they are the landscape. The bones are the groundcover. They are everywhere. If you have grown up in the bush you will understand.

There is a depth and straightforward honesty in this body of work that rings of authenticity.

Congratulations, Rosie!

Amy Clarke
Guest Reviewer

16th July - 10th August 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre - Beata Geyer

Would it be a space time continuum regarding this installation, maybe or a space colour continuum instead. Probably a bit of both as this wonderful fantastic work is so big and big enough to go for a stroll around. With over 100 panels, which each panel is 60x80cm paint on MDF, various colours but colour is Beata’s existence, it encapsulates her, it rules her life as it does many who work with colour.

The supports for each panel is rollers, so that each piece can easily move up against the other but given adequate space between each piece so as to allow for the floating affect. This process makes for an impressive work, only wish this work was the only piece in the gallery as I think the more space around it would have made it more impressive as it already is.

Pre mixed monochromed colours takes the pain out of mixing them yourself but also helps in achieving the desired affect. There is a concentration of pinks and reds in the middle with blues and greens on the outer with splatterings of greys and purple interspersed, like a giant test pattern and it lures you in to follow each colour to walk around it and make a connection with it.

Katherine Hepburn once said that you should think very carefully before you buy anything yellow as it stands for insanity, but nowadays it’s also for safety, Red is for love, Blue is for betrothal and Black for Betrayal. Silver for happy communications, Green for keeping calm, Gold for wealth and the list goes on.

It can make your heart skip a beat, shed a tear, laugh out loud or scream in anger and we would all be lost without colour even those who can not see colour.

Fleur MacDonald

7th June - 28th July 2013

The Balmain Watch House Gallery - Natalie Fallon & Linda McGowan

The Watch House’s original purpose was to lock up petty criminals and upon entering this building I was prepared to expect small rooms, there are three small rooms and one large room, a small courtyard and a darling little backyard, perfect setting for a Gallery. No sign of doom and gloom, I noticed a few holes in the walls and imagined an inmate scratching away at the wall in hope of an escape, but the walls are awfully think and I think he’d still be there if he hadn’t been released.

The drawing by Linda McGowan of her mother is beautiful, a delicate interpretation of a mothers love quietly hanging on the stone wall overseeing her daughters somewhat erratic love for repetitive surface texture. Although the two small works of a child either side of the mother are in the direction of what I think Linda should be going, these two works are strong and pretty damn good, I’d like to see more of these, they are like two sides of a story, dark and light (good and evil) but both compelling.

Natalie Fallon was telling me that she has an insatiable appetite for colour and can’t wait to get the paint onto the brush, love that, a sense of urgency, but doesn’t show in her work, I found a calmness within her landscapes, a deep respect for colour and placement. These works were easy to look at as they reminded me of my childhood looking at all those wonderful Abstrationist’s and a little bit of nowadays Idris Murphy.

I understand that this is the first ‘Solo’ for each of these Artist’s, but the old adage ‘Less is More’ should have prevailed and hanging at a generic eye level would have also been appreciated. This location for the ‘first Solo’ should have been for a bit longer as three days is just too short for anyone to really appreciate the amount of angst and love that has gone into putting up this show.

Fleur MacDonald

 26th July - 28th July 2013
The Balmain Watch House Gallery 179 Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney 10am – 4pm

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gallery 9 - Stuart Watters and Jade Pegler

Do we ever find what we are looking for, this continual search somehow is like a guidance to our preferred grassy patch. Stuart Watters and Jade Pegler’s work’s are like a guiding light to that grassy patch with a couple of brightly coloured flowers popping out of it.

Chaos from order and vice versa is how I would probably describe Stuart’s work, with it’s recreated mass landfill landscapes set against bold striking background colours. This chaos is hiding many underlying storylines, many lost poems and many quotations which were never said out loud.

Stuart always has a story to tell when you see him in person, he is a very compassionate man with full conviction in his manner, entertainingly knowledgable which is reflected in his work. He’s been around and didn’t come down in that last shower.

As with Jade Pegler’s softly spoken, hiding in the enclosed room, wow, I was a little affected looking at these pieces, found myself with my hand against my heart whispering to myself. If you look closely these works speak volumes, volumes of the Britania Enclopedia, giving us all tips on how we should conduct ourselves.

Sometimes I am very brave and check to see if anyone is looking and reach out to touch the work, I didn’t and couldn’t for some unknown reason unless I found them to be too fragile to even consider it. These wonderful delightful works are beautifully balanced against the compelling strength of Stuarts works in the rest of the gallery.

Strangely comforting in all areas.

Fleur MacDonald

19th June - 13th July 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Artereal Gallery - Pas de deux for a noble savage - Liam Benson & Nick Atkins

On Monday afternoon at about 5:15pm, I dropped into Artereal Gallery after Liam Benson posted a Facebook invitation to his collaborative performance, with dancer/performer, Nick Atkins. Even though it was advertised from 3pm, it was as if they were only setting up and it looked like it was still in construction. There was a blue tarpaulin in a space within the Gallery, with ropes and a couple of stools and workmen’s clothes.

The artists’ brief was to collaborate within the confines of a 3 metre x 3 metre white cube. This was one of nine collaborative performances over nine consecutive days and this was the only one I got to see.

Nick and Liam were dressed in their tracky dacs and ugg boots, looking like ‘bogans’ or ‘westies’ as we used to call them. They really did not look ready. Then Liam said he was going out to get some chewing gum and that the next performance started at 6pm.

I returned to see the performance and I am glad I did. This Pas de deux meaning a dance for two people was not the usual. It turned out this ‘bogan’ outfit was their costume and the tarp, construction material, as well as the blue chewing gum were their props. The blue theme throughout the work had a familiar Australian, masculine aesthetic. Blue water bottles were also present to match the colour scheme.

I know Benson to dress as a woman in his art performances but this time he was dressed like a typical Aussie male with his slight sized mate in what appeared to be their room or apartment. It could even have been a gaol cell. The audience became voyeur to a very personal male scene. The artists chewed gum and sat like thugs on the stools looking bored, gazing out into space and they then took turns in performing a gesture.

Benson put some music on and rolled out a blue yoga mat and did a workout complete with sit-ups and star-jumps. He then rolled up his mat, took the blue chewing gum out of his mouth and stuck it on the wall. It was quite disgusting - as men can be! Benson suggests this symbolises men taking up territorial spaces, spreading even their spit to bags spaces. The way the artists sat in their spaces was also symbolic of men and their territories.

It was then Atkins’ turn; he pulled out an oversized fluoro construction jacket, put it on then daintily crouched down and buried himself in it, only showing above his eyes. He later told me this gesture symbolised hiding his body. He had aerie facial expressions throughout the performance and this was enhanced by a dodgy striptease where he would roll up his trackies and reveal his ankles and shins; at one point even kissing the wall. This was about exposing little bits of male body which is not usually a socially masculine act to show off their bodies. Benson also followed suite and began showing his neck in a pseudo risqué manner.

They continued the gesture of taking a new piece of chewing gum, sticking the used, chewed one to the wall, then throwing the wrapper on the floor. Benson then took some rope and began to role it up, throwing it out of the 3 metre confines, then threads it through the edge of the tarp. This gesture also involved macho movements, flexing muscles as he rolled the rope.

This is a humorously familiar because a friend of mine has seen her young boys stand in front of the mirror and admire their muscles in this kind of fashion after they have done a workout in the gym.

At another point, Benson broke out into one of his signature, spontaneous Acapela songs in a very classical tone, only to return to his masculine acts in doing an exercise workout and rolling and threading ropes.

After dressing in his over sized fluoro coat again, Atkins exits the room and Benson is left and begins wrapping the tarp as he pulls on the rope like a drawstring, gathering the entire contents of the space into a ball like he was wrapping up tools in the back of a ute. In contrast reminiscent also of wrappings by Christo and Jeanne Claude.

The end resulted in quite a beautiful scene with the silver backed tarp with blue lining against the white walls with spots of blue chewing gum.

Artereal Gallery stated that “Liam Benson in association with choreographer Nick Atkins will develop, rehearse and present a dance routine, Pas de deux for a noble savage exploring gender and masculinity which will inform Liam’s new work for exhibition at Artereal in 2014.”

“I am working on a new ‘body’ of work titled “Noble Savage” which will be centred around deconstructing masculinity. I want to start breaking down masculine body language and begin to harness my male body for exploring masculine culture and subculture. This may be; the way men communicate socially together, the way men communicate with their loved ones or even the way men act when they are alone.”
Liam Benson

 We look forward in seeing Liam’s developments in his explorations of masculinity in his 2014 exhibition. I think the reason for Benson’s success in the artworld is because this is contemporary performance art practice with a quintessentially Australian aesthetic.

Dot Wilkin
Guest reviewer for

8th July 2013