Friday, November 28, 2014
How will I #react? Well, my first reaction was, wasn't this the tagline for last years show? I mean, I realise Saatchi and Saatchi are still the sponsors but they couldn't spring for some new banners? I'll be #underwhelmed if this theme is rolled out again next year ...
Second up. How good is it, finally, that NAS seems to have worked out a half decent online strategy? The website they had (and I use the past tense as they've already taken it down!) was actually pretty good. Sorted by all the disciplines you could actually see nearly 100% of the works online. Which is pretty handy to get a good feel for the show before you actually go, because opening night when I swung by is always jammed packed. The one downside of the excellent website is that I didn't take notes, thinking I'd just look it up at home. Big mistake as I am writing this on 9 December and google is not helping out much. Luckily I had taken a few snaps on opening night. Pictured top are two of Hilary Sandeman's pieces which made the cut for the main gallery. Smaller works but I loved them. Hard to make out in the photo but the glass jars were filled with wax hearts. I think I've mentioned before I have a thing for medical models of hearts and Hilary was bang on with these. If I'd have been a bit more organised these should've made their way to Big Lamington HQ as the grad show is always very affordable and good to support young artists. Other highlights were Bahman Kermani who made these persian rugs (pictured middle) out of train tickets. Not bad, although would take up a fair bit of space in a Paddo terrace so you might need to think about different ways to display. Maybe put a glass table top on and make it a coffee table? Hey, just trying to help. Lastly, I was really digging the linocuts of one grad whose name I can't track down. But in trying to find this online I found Jake Morrissey's name. And he did some cool prints of Fidel & Marilyn from memory. Speaking of which, next time I will remember to post earlier!
Points: Hilary Sandeman will get the 3 for Tried to Feel But Couldn't Touch. Bahman Kermani will take the 2 for the ticket carpet. And my unknown artist will take a point for these great linocuts above. The two alpacas in the bottom right were my favourite. I think one was even from the Hunter Valley! Have I mentioned before that I'm from ….
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Okay - apologies for the delay in posts readers but it was a busy November for the Big Lamington team with, well, other stuff happening! I am going to power through some quick thoughts on the shows I saw to get the blog up to date. Here's my thoughts on Primavera, which if you need the backstory you should first read Frosty as I am going to just dive in.
I read somewhere that the consensus was curator Mikala Dwyer had crammed in too much work into a small area of the gallery and it was an incoherent hang. Unkindly, my first thought was how could they tell? That is not to say the MCA always crams random art together, they usually do leave more room. It is just that my abiding memories of previous Primavera exhibits is that it is always random and incoherent because of the nature of just selecting a couple of young urgers (its like contiki, they have to be under 30 or something) to have a crack. There was only one real star in my mind, Paul Yore. Those textile works were, to quote the Chemical Brothers, out of control. Way out of control. I loved them. Maybe a few too many cocks for home display but the fact that the middle one (apologies as I can't find my notes, is that 'Welcome to Hell' or 'This moment is Critical'?) was such an amalgam of random thoughts, like a art school patchwork quilt. My favourite element was the rainbow eureka flag (pic above). This was from memory a scaled down version of what he had at Sydney Contemporary. What else? I thought the pvc and can sculpture of Sean Peoples was pretty cool and I liked the randomness of his telepathy project with Veronica Kent. Not so much the art but the fabric on the chairs was cool in a Yinka Shonibare knock off kind of way (image below). Maybe they should've been inspired by Australia's own Utopia Goods?
Points. 3 for middle tapestry (pictured top) and 2 for the ejaculating tapestry (not pictured top). That's 5 points for Paul overall. I would say keep an eye on Paul as his works were quite affordable at Sydney Contemporary. Not for long if you ask me. Finally, for those who can count backwards you can guess Sean will pick up 1 point for his sculptural effort 'Ouroboros Centipede'.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Five years in a row for me checking out the NAS postgrad show. That has to be some kind of record. The new innovation this year is the online catalogue! Finally. These kids are racking up the HECS debt so the least the school could do is help out with some online promotion. Here's a link to the site. It's a little old school as they sort by major but give them time. The better thing about the web presence is that the shop feature is fully operational. Take that COFA and SCA! Anyhoo, enough on the marketing, let's see the art ...
So the great thing about opening night, and the first few days, is that it is open season on the studios. So you get to see a little more than the supposed highlights in the main gallery. Quite often my favourite works are out in the studios and again I wasn't to be disappointed. Out in the side gallery were some fantastic installations. Elena Tory-Henderson's Big Yellow (plastic strips hanging across the gallery) and Liya Mirzaeva's Pink Rocks (pictured above) were memorable. In the painting studio a couple of artists seemed to have developed a signature, both Sarah Fitzgerald's geometric works (especially the big X) and Kylie Barber's broken down canvasses (the image I tweeted was her Gold Fold). In the photography space the Mrs gave her tick of approval to Sarah Dugan for her iconic Australian rural scene (and I recognised her from last years grad show, congrats on the honours). The main space seemed more cluttered this year, but maybe that was just due to the crowd milling about Jeff Wood's interactive toothbrush painting machine contraption (had to be seen to be comprehended). Certainly no artist seemed to pull away from the pack in my mind. I liked Steven Latimer's still from Asphalt Dingoes (pictured top). But then again you are talking to someone who has a pinterest board called 'cars with racing numbers'! And who could miss the big happy portrait of Ian Thorpe, covered with sequins, by Murat Urlali. And on checking him out online I see he did a Tony Abbott in smugglers as well. Bit of a swimwear theme, come down to North Bondi at 6am on Friday and you might just see the Big Lamington in his budgy smugglers! Now that is art.
Points: I am going to reward making a statement, so 3 points to Elena Tory-Henderson for the Big Yellow installation. I didn't take a good photo of it and sadly, as it is NFS, the image on the NAS site isn't very big, which is a long way of saying apologies for the bad image below! 2 points for homo-erotic mad maxness of Steve Latimer's car 69 (top). 1 point will go to Sarah Dugan for Encounter from the Badland series (above).
Saturday, October 25, 2014
After a long spell between drinks its twice in a fortnight to the dynamic duo of artist spaces that is galerie pompom / MOP Projects. This time around it was all very organised. Nana Ohnesorge in the galerie and Gary Carsley in the project space. I've been looking forward to this so let's get going.
Nana has featured on the Big Lamington a few times. I love her signature use of fluoro colours and the themes she keeps recalling in her work, iconic Australian imagery like Ned Kelly (top) and aboriginal people (above). The above works (Aboriginal Man, Aboriginal Girl, Young Warrior, Young Woman and Aboriginal Man 2) are based on found prints, photos and illustrations. These acrylic and pigment pen works look like screenprints but Nana looks to have handrawn the outline and then coloured in with the fluoro acrylics. Great technique. Definitely my favourites here and with the Big Lamington HQ extension drawing to an end in the coming weeks on the shortlist to christen the extension. Nana continues her use of fluoro through collages, a very cool sculpture (which is itself a companion piece to the Bennelong portrait) and portraits of contemporary Australians. Next door at MOP is a much more subtle affair. Gary Carsley has taken inspiration from the statues in the Botanic Gardens and made wallpaper cutouts in their silhouettes. Very Victorian parlour but so contemporary at the same time. I was very intrigued with these, the idea was just so clever! They look great en masse, and if you have a big blank wall I bet they would look great at home too. I think maybe vinyl instead of wallpaper for outside? Gary the possibilities are endless!
Points: Must rush and catch up with the blog so straight to the points. 3 to Aboriginal Man (the far left in the middle). 2 points will go to Gary for one of the flat statues, probably Autumn (pictured above). I am a sucker for Ned Kelly so 'Local Colour' (top) will grab another point for Nana. Such is life.
What great weather in Sydney. Quick trip out to Chippendale for me to see Pompom / MOP and also managed to visit Chasm Gallery thanks to some twitter logistics, with the artist Paula do Prado kindly arranging to have the gallery open in the afternoon.
And what a treat it was. Paula shows primarily down in bleak city (at Gallerysmith) so it is good that she is having a solo show in Sydney (it was back in 2012 that we saw Paula at Cross Arts, time flies!). This had a little bit of everything. Some newer work, focusing on masks - both painting, collage and textiles, as well as some older works like her sepia siren series (one of which picked up the 2 points on that last visit and since then joined the Big Lamington collection). I have to say, I was taken by the textile masks in particular (top and above). Paula has combined different fabrics and then embellished with paint and some occasionally embroidery details. Don't mind a bit of text in art and Paula has obliged on roughly half of them. Very tribal / oceanic aesthetic. Have I mentioned previously I'd love to have a tiki bar? Well these would be great in it!
Points: 5 points in all to the 'Self Portrait as Mask' series. 3 to the image top and then I will give 2 points to the blue. 1 point will go to the Fox collage. Great work Paula and a pleasure to meet you.
Friday, October 24, 2014
It was October 24 2010 when I kicked off this blog. So today the Big Lamington turns 4! It is interesting to go back to that first post and see if, just like Jon Bon, I've kept the faith. And for the most part yes. Unfortunately, there's no gift shop at the Big Lamington yet, so that is one promise that I haven't delivered. But I promised I'd check out "galleries and museums in and around Sydney with the occasional jaunt to foreign climes". Let's see. So far over 250 posts, the lion share of those are Sydney with the National Art School topping the charts with 21 posts. There's been the trip to Hobart for MONA. A trip to Brisneyland for GoMA, an extended period in New Zealand and the recent trip to New York to mix things up a little. So that is the main goal all ticked off. I hope whoever has stumbled upon this blog has enjoyed some of the posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. For me? It is a great way to make me think, at least a little bit, about the art I see. It is also a great tool for answering the question 'Have I seen that artist before?', thank you handy blogger search function!
Since the get-go I have been handing out points in the footy coach 'best & fairest' style; 3, 2 and 1. Initially I promised a Big Lamington pewter mug to the artist with the most points. Well, I thought I should go back and see who has amassed the most points, I won't do the the Dally M round by round scorecard, but I will tweet the top 5 during November. Better get on twitter, even the Motel Sisters are (pictured above from their MCA performance).
I also wanted to see what others have thought of the blog. For this I had to swap my strategy of usually stalking artists to actually stalking myself online to see what punters have been saying. And it was a rewarding bit of research. I've really enjoyed seeing the Big Lamington name pop up on a few artist CV's - thanks to all (the first time I saw it I felt a tinge of respectability wash over me!). My favourite Facebook shout out was probably the Nell / Lionel Bawden exchange above, love Nell's work and so am very pleased the Big Lamington is on her radar. As a fellow Maitlander can you please design a Big Pumpkin for our hometown? With that background from regional NSW I must say another real highlight was being quoted in the Walgett Daily News! Some extracts below:
So what's in store for the 5th year? Well more of the same really - random art musings from some semi-anonymous punter with a little bit of spare time. Hopefully the Sydney art scene continues to be interesting. I've seen lots of galleries close, lots of galleries open, and even seen some galleries open and close. I'll still be front and centre at the art school shows which I find so enjoyable and I will still try and call it as I see it. But I do make this promise. Tea-towels will be available in the gift shop within 12 months!!
Thanks all for reading.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
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.