Saturday, October 18, 2014

Everything at M.Contemporary - 18 October

So much on at M. Contemporary at the moment.  We were swinging by to check out the emerging artist show, but they also have jewellery, some remnants of their last show and maybe a bit of stock room going on as well. Too hard to classify, we're calling this 'Everything'.

So no room sheets in the main space here, you have to pay attention to the walls.  Except for the Lynne Roberts-Goodwin photo of the mountain in the front room. For that work you have to ask at the front desk. Well, that was my strategy anyways.  I had dragged along the 5 year old art critic who was a little edgy as we'd just borrowed a Star Wars dvd from Paddo library and he had some different culture in mind for Saturday afternoon. Luckily for us a diversion in the form of Wong Ho Lun's ceramic figures sprung into view. These works all included mini stormtroopers in each piece, although there were an especial feature of 'Clone' (image top).  That said, Wong, as even my 5 year old will tell you, there is a world of difference between a Clone Trooper and a Storm Trooper. Geez! With that we made our ways upstairs to see the emerging show that had been our goal. Now I didn't even know there was an upstairs. And no wonder.  It is such a well hidden space you actually have to go outside the gallery and then walk up the outside back stairs to get into the upstairs space. For some reason room sheets are also the flavour of the day up here and this reminds me it is actually .M rather than M. which I will never get used to (and no wonder I have struggles googling this place!).  In this show was a small Eloise Cato and a very big Anna Cuthill (go NAS!) along with quite a few similar looking works from Tom Blake, a Will Coles concrete bag, and some interesting photos from Tanya Dyhin and Kai Wasikowski. Anna Cuthill's dye sublimation printo on polyester fabric is a big digi print curtain (Rest Area 31 Federal Highway, pictured above in iPhone panorama), and it is 3m x 9m. And it is an edition of 3! Loved it. Don't know where I have a 9m long space in my house but you this does get me thinking all manner of possibilities. Again there were some unlabelled works upstairs which turned out to be the stockroom.  Chris Uphues colourful love hearts stood out as did a few of Conrad Botes works. After a good explore of this space and another look through the downstairs on the way out we certainly could say we had seen everything.  Or at least enough.

Points:  So I used that handy search function to see why I remembered Anna's name.  She's got points before! 1 point for the massive Milk print at the NAS postgrad show.  Looks like she is making large format her signature.  3 points today for this vast effort.  2 points will go to Wong for the Clone Stormtrooper Ceramic. I will give 1 point to Chris Uphues for these stockroom beauties (pictured above). What can I say, I love stuff packaged up in bubble wrap! Lastly, and not wanting to get all house & garden here but how good is .M courtyard going in spring? Great work with whatever those flowers are.  We have this aspect at our terrace and Mrs BL would love our courtyard looking like this. My 5 year old also rated the hanging sculpture as the best work in joint. Nicely.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

French & Marshall at Chalk Horse - 16 October

Opening night at Chalk Horse and who happened to be walking by?  You guessed it.  This guy.  A good reminder of an opening night here is the crowd milling about outside on William Street, a drinking and a smoking.  After a couple of quick hellos to some familiar faces it was downstairs to check out the wares.

In the front room is Will French's show Uno Momento and around the corner you'll find Addison Marshall's It's What you Don't See.  I was a little disoriented upon entering and actually walked all over one Will's works, a coiled piece of rope on the floor called 'Attension', yours for $3200.  Feeling a bit self-conscious I scurried over to check out his photographs and then calmed down when I saw another half a dozen punters step all over the art!  His photos (pictured top) document a performance undertaken a few weeks ago when he got a plane to write 'This will never last'.  Quite.  Great idea and I always like seeing an artist merchandise performance art.  Other works included a random steel pennant which looked like oversize castle lego hanging from a wooden pole attached to a mirror on the ceiling, aka 'Half Masked'.  So you can see this had everything!  My preference was the skywriting which was a novel idea, and apparently also using themes of the momento mori according to the catalogue essay.  Yeah, I can see that.  I'm liking this even more.  Speaking of likes, I thought Addison Marshall's sculptures were pretty cool.  These were ceramic works that were variously freestanding, attached to the wall, and hanging from the ceiling.  I didn't really get the titles, but reading the accompanying essay learnt he has taken them from self-help books.  I am still none the wiser.  I did like the pieces hanging from the ceiling but these were hard to take a snap of on opening night so I'll illustrate the show with mainly pieces on the wall.  I thought the use of coloured thread on variously white or coloured ceramic was a great touch.  Gave a real luminosity to some of the pieces.  I just may steal this technique for the Easter Show ...

Points: Tough one.  Had I looked up on the evening of 22nd September and seen the art in the sky and then on the walls tonight Will French would've had a lock on the 3.  As it is, the photos are cool but they are one step removed as documentation of a performance, 2 points to Will.  Addison will take the 3 points for Sink or Swim and the 1 point for the Stress Relief series (pic above, they were actually 10 in all).  These were 9cm diameter and only $200 each.  Nicely.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Banyard, Beckingham and Whalen at MOP/Pompom - 11 October

Time flies.  It's October already and turns out this is my first trip to the double act that is Galerie Pompom and MOP projects this year.  How do I know?  Well, the layout change.  What was formerly MOP is now Pompom and vice versa.  They have also cut a handy hole in the wall between the two spaces to cut down on attendant requirements.  Its been like this all year apparently.  Don't I have my finger on the pulse!

There are three artists showing at the moment and you have to check the room sheets to see who is representing whom.  Jodie Whalen is firmly in the MOP project space, Kylie Banyard is in MOP and then Kate Beckingham is also in the main space as a "MOP Projects exhibition hosted by Galerie Pompom".  All clear?  Let's go.  The first art you see is Beckingham's.  Interesting pieces.  Apparently photos from a residency in Iceland with some later studio works inspired by the trip.  I spot a white flag.  It is apparently showing (also in white) the international symbol for S.O.S - not sure Kate enjoyed the trip to Iceland!  Another piece that caught my eye was Ring (pictured above).  This was a wooden gymnastics ring hanging from the ceiling.  Don't know what it is supposed to mean but the minimal aesthetic did look good (and also as someone with relatively full walls I could see this hanging from my ceiling!).  On to Kylie Banyard whose interiors seemed a little trippy - they are all focused on handmade houses (pictured top, 'Somewhere').  I thought I saw some John Coburn references in the Bell Chamber but the interiors are all from the US as I understand.  I also liked the Cosmic Chimes but maybe that is because I used to ring the bells at church - true story! This was the last weekend on view and this show was a sellout so great work from Kylie.  Moving into the front room you are confronted with seven similarly sized collages (all 21 x 29cm)  I am disappointed I didn't bring one of my junior critics as they would have loved the Hello Kitty! aesthetic that Jodie is using here.  A little bit Murakami mixed in there as well.  Not sure I get the title (each one called 'Everyday is a job well done', I think #7 or #4 is pictured below).

Points:  Tough choices for the points.  I liked aspects of each of these shows.  3 points will go to Kate Beckingham for the Ring.  I also liked her flag but white on white was a little too subtle for me.  2 points to Jodie Whalen for the happy collages. 1 point will go to Kylie for Bell Chamber, which reminds me, I need to get back into bellringing ...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Richard Prince's Instagrams at Gagosian.

Long time readers would know that whilst the Big Lamington keeps its finger on the pulse of The Arts in Sydney that I have a very soft spot for Prince, Richard.  I've said it before that one of my all time favourite images is his untitled (Cowboy), of which both the AGNSW and Patrick Bateman have a copy.  Now for those that have come in late, or don't read the global arts press he has an amazing exhibition on right now at Gagosian in NY.  I wish I was in town to see it in the flesh as, being a follower of Prince on both twitter and instagram, I have unwittingly been witnessing this exhibition come together.  To avoid me having to give you all chapter and verse, go read Jerry Saltz's awesome review here.  Apart from being a top art critic, and personal friend of the Big Lamington, he is also a Prince fanboy so I share his views.

Prince has, for those that haven't worked it out.  Taken appropriation to a whole new level in the iphone age.  He started by just taking screen shots of peoples profiles on twitter.  Then posting it as "Portrait of [  ]".  Then he started finding images on instagram, adding comments under his own name, then taken screen shots of those posts.  In his show at Gagosian he has printed out those screen shots on canvas.  163 x 124 cm canvasses.  In other words BIG.  To top it all off, when the exhibition went up, Prince deleted his instagram feed.  What a marketer!  Luckily the Big Lamington had been screenshotting in the background along the way, examples pictured above & below.  Now one of the best bits of this show is the Gagosian press release which states "All images are subject to copyright.  Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction."  Righto, gallery install view at bottom.  I tweeted a sneaky pic of a Richard Prince canvas from his Canal Zone show at Gagosian in May and got a great response tweet from artist - "I want to be a hypocrite".  Love it.  He deleted that tweet, but not before I took a screenshot.  Canvasses available shortly ...

Points - Prince gets them all. Hey AGNSW, when are we bringing this genius out to Aus?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ingenious Inhabitants at William Street Windows - 9 October

So I am still making the daily trek into the City from Paddington via shanks pony.  Which means I get to walk past the William Street windows on a daily basis.  Their current show, Ingenious Inhabitants, is on until 12 October.  Will this be as good as their last show?  Let's find out ...

So first off, I think there are a few less artists this time around.  The windows certainly feel a little emptier.  Which means you can't miss Ramesh Nithiyendran's work.  His oil, acrylic, enamel and resin on plywood works are big, bright and a little out there in subject.  I've also only just discovered their names, 'My Birth' (pictured top) and 'Self-portrait masturbating' - I never considered that moment as worthy of art before. Performance art maybe, but not a self portrait!  Next to this was Monica Brooks' work, 'Besia's Glasses' (pictured below).  This looked fairly plain, and is usually the type of thing I would slag off a bit, especially when I am in a narky mood.  But I didn't mind this.  Yes, it looks like you could pull it off for about $80 from your nearest SVdeP but the backstory is quite interesting. I couldn't work out whether Monica or her aunt was the collector, but I've got that bug as well so this could be in line for some points!  At the other end of the same window was Amber Boardman.  Amber will have "achieved [her] goal if someone feels something, anything at all" about the work. I like where she is going here.  To me it recalls the ambition of Andres "I like to make pieces that make people feel something.  Any reaction is better than indifference" Serrano of piss-christ fame.  So no pressure then, how do I feel about these works? Well, to be honest, I'm not feeling all that much.  Maybe it needed to be bigger?  Onto the next window where it was all about the installations.  These looked pretty interesting, but the window gallery does provide a limitation as you can't get as close as you'd maybe like to study the detail in some of the works.  The pile of what looked like green turds for instance (Peter Nelson's 'Extensions of a No Place', pictured above) actually turned out to be 3D printed ceramics when you read the online guide.  Gee, I'm not sure that is why we invented 3D printing!  The accompanying video is tied into in a way the casual viewer will get but only the art historian will appreciate when they read the artist statement.

Points:  You can probably guess this exhibit didn't really grab me like their last one.  3 points will go to Monica's glass collection - let me know if you want to borrow my tiki mugs one day.  2 points to Ramesh, who should probably stop painting himself wacking off, and 1 to Peter Nelson, whose sculptures I think you need to get up closer to rather than being kept at arms length.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bridie Connell at ALASKA - 24 September

How great it is to have venues like Alaska putting out something different for the punters.  Just a couple of weeks after seeing Alex Munt's awesome American Corner (will have to come back and post about that) we have Bridie Connell promising some burlesque with 'B-Girl Rhapsody'.

I love the poster design, and by implication, the bad girl vibe it is throwing out.  Harking back to the 'golden age' of comic design and by reference, the Cross itself.  In my mind, the golden age of the Cross was the '90s (vale Joe's Garage, Baron's, Mansions, Sugar Reef etc).  That said I do remember seeing some sights that would challenge anyones definition of performance art.  I was actually expecting some performance art tonight but one thing you should expect about Alaska is you never know exactly what it is going to entail.  The small gallery space was cut in half by a thick velvet curtain.  In the front half were a series of ostrich feather fans, tools of the trade so to speak.  I was excited to see what was behind the curtain.  It was the sign pictured top.  Now with a smattering of high school latin and also a bit of ancient history to boot it was easy to pick up the gag of famous Julius Caesar quote.  Traditionally, Veni, Vidi, Vici; I came, I saw, I conquered.  Bridie has gone for I came, I saw, I came.  Indeed Bridie.  I'm not really all that familiar with Bridie but after a bit of intrawebs research I am sad that I am only just getting up to speed with this artist.  Apparently there will be a different text based work for each day of the exhibition (till the 28th!).  Well, I am out on Saturday but will try and see a few more.  Points to come.  Get it?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Melissa Coote at Jensen Gallery - 20 September

Only just made this show which finished on Saturday.  I had been trying to cajole one of the junior critics to come down the road with me to no avail.  So, under the pretext of delivering birthday party invitations for one of the junior critics I set off to Jensen Gallery and just made it in before closing.  And luckily I did because this was one great show.

Hearts are dear to my heart! My old man is/was a heart specialist and courtesy of my childhood memories I can still vividly see medical models of hearts that he used to have lying about his office.  So Melissa's works all hit the right note for me.  They were big canvasses, small editions on paper and lots of bronze sculptures.  Melissa had used sheep hearts (the little ones) and bull hearts (the big ones) as the basis for works.  Confusingly, they were all titled variants of Heart.  The sculptures used letters and numbers (e.g. Heart B and Heart 4) whereas the works on the wall used roman numerals (e.g. Heart IV).  Now even luckier for me was the fact that invigilating on this slow Saturday was arts writer Chloe Wolifson.  Conveniently, Chloe had written the profile in the arts collector magazine on Melissa so she was a font of knowledge.  Then, Melissa decides to pop into the gallery herself and I am treated to a one-on-one artist chat about technique and all sorts of things.  Even better, when discussing the patina effect to make the black heart (it uses acid and then some polish) Chloe pulled another sheep's heart out of the drawer in a 'here's one we made earlier' type move and I got to feel it snug in my palm.  After that it was all on for touchy feely time and I picked up quite a few of them to inspect for heft.  All very impressive stuff.  It really is something special when you can make a relatively modest work in terms of size and for it to have such an impact.  The subject, the detail, the weight, the material all worked together beautifully.  The paintings were also impressive.  Not only due to their oversize scale but also the amount of 3D detail in their creation which you miss in the pics, lots of layering and scraping away in their drafting apparently.  It was such a cohesive show and one that will stick with me for a while.  Inspiring.

Points:  I quite liked the large heart drawings but for mine the stars were the sculptures.  I'm really torn between the two sizes and the two finishes.  I am leaning towards shiny and so the only question is will the bull or the sheep take the blue ribbon?  I am actually going to go small and give the 3 points to the bronze sheeps heart (pictured above).  Great work and fits in your hand perfectly.  The bronze bull heart will take the 2 points and one of the patina finish black hearts will take the 1, the sheep again had it for me.