My nose still itches. I’m driving home during peak hour and I’m strangely uncomfortably comfortable. Comfortable because I have just left Asad Raza’s contemplative work Absorption and uncomfortable because my eyes and nose are calling to be scratched from the inside out. I don’t know if this will be every allergy sufferer’s response to the work but it is overwhelmingly mine.
Your initial interaction with the space happens before you walk through the door. Wafting up from the floor is the calming smell of earth, of Mother Nature doing her thing, of microbes and mushrooms. The smell you get when you open a bag of potting mix.
I breathed deeply, it felt nurturing and familiar. I continued to sniff the air as I walked, focusing on my breath, accidentally inducing a state of meditation. Then as quickly as the smell had arrived it left. My survival sensors had absorbed that data and the recognition was no longer needed.
The second thing that happens when you walk into the dark space is pupil dilation. You step over the threshold, lift your brow, widen your eyes and scan for signs of life and light. Once your eyes adjust to the dim you make out Daniels Boyd’s window treatments which allow dots of light to strike out across the space. Like stain glass windows these beams of light help you to gleam the length and breadth of the space allowing you to identify a grid of columns and the reflective vest wearing cultivators working quietly and methodically.
A young cultivator trod carefully towards me. This softly spoken gardener of the dark detailed the various artworks and processes occupying the space, the different artist contributions and the various interpretations on the title, Absorption. Unlike most invigilators these caretakers are active contributors to the work, systematically lifting, turning, crushing, grinding, wetting and raking the earth.
Traversing the space became the next sensory experience. The various areas of worked soil responded differently to each step. Some were firm and you could march tall and sturdy. Some were lumpy, clumpy and cracked and if you paused too long you quickly sank into the loam. Others were rugged, undulating and full of pit holes, gritty and crunchy. Then there were areas covered with the patterned scratching’s of rakes and hoes, too pretty to mark with your own tracks.
The solitary workers who toiled with unidentifiable purpose caressed the space through their actions of measuring, scattering and aerating. In the poor light I could just make out the remnants of things they were adding. Squatting down to identify them my fingers filtered out wisps of plastic, fibre, bone and paper. ‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,’ rang through my ears.
Usually a space like this rings with sound but in this instance it does not. The earth subsumes and suffocates any resonance. The cultivators’ voices and actions do not traverse the space, there is no white cube echo, just the soft crunch of mystery additives under your feet. To discover the secret sounds of the space you need to locate two wooden boxes pitched to the floor.
Megan Alice Clune’s simple sound boxes broadcast beautiful orchestrations affected by the rising and falling damp. Once you’ve donned her headphones the site is charged with cathedral like noise, a cacophony programmed specifically in response to a manmade earthen temple. Her work turns this composting ritualization into a secret service or calibration, an attunement to the frequency of nature.
This was the only sense that was not encouraged during my visit and it wasn’t until later that I thought about it. How would this taste? I know people taste samples of earth, specialists who can identify the different chemical and nutrient make up of substrate, detectives on TV tasting remnants of blood on murderous ground, and I wondered if the alternative areas of raked dirt would taste differently. For example would the tract of soil with coffee from the Kaldor office be bitter? Would the sandy Fraser Island soil be salty, would the industrial waste taste plastic-y, would there be an aroma of hipster beer from the spent barley?
I guess I’m wondering, will tomatoes grown in this human assisted soil ‘taste as sweet’ and will I want to try them? Do I have enough antihistamine to go back and give it a try?
Note: I suggest reading the below ABC News article to get the most out of your visit to this public artwork.
Kaldor Public Art Projects at Carriageworks.
The Clothing Store
245 Wilson St. Eveleigh, Sydney, Australia
3rd – 19th May 2019
Open Monday to Sunday 10am-6pm
The church of human frailty
Last week, in amongst the hustle and bustle of TGIF, I struggled against the chaos of inner city traffic to see the latest opening at Sullivan+Strumpf. As the fatigue of a week’s worth of work crept across my shoulders I started to talk myself out of going. It was raining, work had been really tough and I had a hectic weekend about to unfold. It would be so much easier to just sink into my couch, remote in hand and just forget. Thankfully my negative self-talk couldn’t get a foothold as I had an uncomfortable feeling that I might miss out on something special if I didn’t find the time, I was right.
The usually brightly lit gallery with its impressive glass entrance and its smattering of early arrivals, artists and owners was dark and somewhat intimidating. I paused briefly in the foyer and peered through gaps in elbows and limbs to view a massive still from the video. There was Narcissus who, as per usual, was staring obsessively at himself in the reflective petroleum like water. Completely ignorant of the melee unfolding behind him, totally preoccupied with his inky rendition.
Moving through to the back space was like entering some kind of hellish flesh cathedral. Beautifully lit writhing bodies screamed down at me in silence and I was instantly drawn into the unfolding diorama of tortured players crowding behind the iconic hottie. The film blasted at me, assaulting me with its visual
loudness and deafening silence. The growing gallery crowd were forced into muted reverence and it felt like every cell in my body was bursting from the inferred sound. The imagery and open mouthed players vibrated through my senses with colour and emotion, leaving my skin prickled with goosebumps. It was like standing in front of a stack of speakers, pulsating and tweaking the small hairs of my face; it was electric, it was exciting, it was scary.
My eyes hungrily roved the scene, locking briefly onto various characters, watching them unfold, scanning their faces, mouths and movements, trying to guess their next move. Frantically my eyes flitted from a torrid foreground trio, briefly up to a nipple clenching couple then down again to catch a form shrouded in silky fabric bellowing and fluttering through the throng. Their bodies bursting forth like a slow motion, time lapse human flower.
Looking on like a voyeur who pervs out of a darkened doorway I was reminded of another cinematic experience that had left me in sensory overload. It was 1993 and Salò by Pasolini (1975) had for the first time been released in Australia. Based on The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade this film had left me visibly shaken by the experience. I still remember the people leaving the cinema with all the blood drained from their face, left emotionally and physically wretched by another's fictional creation. While hardly as horrific and vile as the film, I got the distinct feeling that by the end of the night the silent confrontation of Tiatia’s work would have taken its toll on the audience. With its attrition on the senses needling our own narcissistic tendencies through the silent roar of her captured humanity Tiatia had certainly grabbed my attention by the throat.
Extracting myself from the room was a feat and I needed an emotional reprieve, sometime to regroup. Thankfully Joanna Lamb’s paintings upstairs did the trick. Echoing the darkened space below Lamb’s large paintings were mounted on blackened walls making her flat stenciled paintings feel as if they were extruding from the surface. The space and artwork also embodied the silence and stillness of a sacred space, more chapel than cathedral, but this time devoid of human form. A methodical rendition of human creations and manipulations ‘waiting’ for their owners’ arrival and consumption.
While downstairs was filled with silent screams and angsty flesh upstairs felt like a time capsule. A documentary of the mundane. The stillness emitting from these images was laden with static secret messages untold to the viewer. The spaces devoid of humans had echoes of the zombie apocalypse about them. Empty streets and architecture standing the test of time long after we become dust and our memories dissolve. Thankfully the memory of these two shows will linger with me for quite a while.
Narcissus by Angela Tiatia
Everything Is Waiting by Joanna Lamb
799 Elizabeth St
Zetland, Sydney NSW 2017
or by appointment
Get thyself to Gaffa Galleries and check out Kare Martens, ‘Beautiful and Pointless.’ His quirky, colourful digital photographs are bursting with humour and fun, while his oil paintings with their black backgrounds feel mysterious and secretive.
Martens is a communications designer by trade and produces film posters and book covers here in Australia and Scandinavia. His choice of crisp, clean, eye catching colour palettes combined with enticing objects and arrangements testify to his designer persuasions. You can easily image these pieces in a smart coffee table magazine or gracing the cover of a best seller. The simple yet peculiar images hint at a narrative yet to be revealed, asking the viewer to relish in their tongue in cheek titles and pictorial jocularity.
He states in the exhibition catalogue that this work is about catching “ideas that popup” from his unconscious mind, ideas which have laid “dormant” in his “designer’s brain,” ideas that command “visual expression.” And command they do. As I wandered through all of Gaffas galleries I could not help but return to gallery 1 invigorated by Martens ‘funny bugger’ approach to art and design, his sophisticated images and their playful attitude.
So get yourself to Gaffa Creative Precinct and Studios ASAP, it's just a 5min walk from Town Hall station and with its bespoke jewelry studios, arcade and galleries I’m sure you could get all your Xmas shopping done in no time.
Gallery 1, 22 November - 3 December 2018
281 Clarence St, Sydney. NSW. 2000
Mon - Fri 10-6pm, Sat 11-5pm
Monday 10th September 2018
Wooh, where did the last month go. August flashed by in a blur and before I knew it I hadn’t posted or ‘galleried’ in over a month. But not this weekend, as a visual non-fattening treat to myself I’m off to the Sydney Contemporary art fair at Carriageworks. I am pumped, this will be the artistic saturation I have been waiting for. A festival of art, accessible and concentrated in one space.
No midweek wait for my other half to arrive home to mind the little critter. No high five ‘tag out’ in the hallway on the way to the front door. No dash to the city to view an opening during a 2hour window. All because the Sydney Contemporary promises a collectors paradise, even if said collector is broke, has rego due and said critter needs new shoes for its growing feet.
My insta feed has been going berserk with posts from gallery owners, curators and artists excitedly planning for the event. Tantalizing images of making and bumping in make me mourn my 9 to 5’s hold over me. I bought a lotto ticket with my last 15 bucks today, I want what they are having in a ‘Harry met Sally’ hard-on kinda way.
Carriageworks, Wilson St, Eveleigh.
Sunday 16th September 2018
So yesterday I headed to the Sydney Contemporary with my critter in tow. I wasn’t sure how long I could guarantee her patience so I bribed her with the promise of Sushi Train and Gelato Blue for dinner and dessert. I had also appealed to her interests and mentioned that there would be cat themed art to view, she was in.
I went planning to be bowled over, to wander lustfully, to maybe even buy something, after all my birthday is coming up. But the over saturation of my Insta feed had sated me. I’d seen a lot of the work online, my excitement had been warranted but my social feed had acted as an intense visual foreplay and instead of greedily consuming all that I surveyed I wandered the space in a state of ‘afterglow.’ I had cum too soon.
In saying that I had a fantastic time and we spent over 2 hours wandering stall to stall, sometimes talking with artists and gallery folk, mostly chatting with each other. I was able to share and show my mini-me all kinds of art and she surprised me with her interest, questioning and clever associations. I pointed out art works by people I had once studied with, or who had taught me. She questioned the purpose and messages represented while I supplied her with the art history that explained the artists’ choices. She hunted out the cats distributed throughout the show and she relished in pointing out rude bits and naughty words. I continually nudged her as we wandered past artists of renown and whispered titbits of art world gossip as we passed movers and shakers from all walks of Sydney life.
Unexpectedly most of my titillation came from people spotting, overheard conversations and interpreting body language. While my menial budget excluded me from making any artistic investment the experience left me pondering the commercial art world. I was expecting to come away feeling jealous or full of yearning but instead I left feeling a deep empathy for all the hard work of the gallery hosts and their stable.
Fatigue was definitely setting in by 4pm Saturday afternoon and I felt for all of them. Stall holders greasing the wheel, sussing viable customers, some willing to chat to all interested parties, valuing anyone who values art. Others exhausted, faces glued with a welcoming bone-tired smile, heads down and focused on website updates, looking for a little solitude in the thronging space. Meanwhile various artists were compelled to share their inner thoughts to enquiring strangers, plying their wares, bobbing up and down on the Carriageworks circuit gym of meet and greet. Thank you Sydney Contemporary for a most excellent show, but more importantly a massive thank you to the gallery staff and artists who wore their hearts on their sleeve and shared. xxx
Magic Modern Sorcery
The ease of digital photography = every one is a photographer.
Many don’t remember those scary moments when you waited to develop a roll of film. Did you wind the film on right, are you sure you heard the click? A time when taking three pics of the same thing was an extravagant waste of your limited roll of 24. A time when you were rarely in your own photos.
With Photoshop like apps there is no need to learn how to measure, mix, dodge, expose, burn or develop. With everything touch screen there is no need to print to share. Slowly film is becoming a dying art form, a lost function of a dominant media. A ‘video killed the radio star, photography killed painting, photography is dead’ kinda thing.
I have a friend who has a stockpile of unknown rolls under her bed. Unable to print them due to a lack of funds, she is on my lotto list of friends to help out. When she talks about taking photos you can see she loves working the camera. Manipulating frame and light to capture the essence of what she can see. The quality of the moment, or the experience. Last time we spoke you could see the gleam in her eyes as she chatted about the process of film photography, you could see the anticipation she had for those lonely rolls of film.
It was a similar gleam I saw in Renate Rienmüller’s eyes when I happened upon her at STACKS Projects recent group show, As if by Magic. My review is a little late but as I said in my first post I am writing about artworks I want but also, ‘continue to muse upon, reminisce about or years later still suffer from non buyers remorse.’ Renate’s work already makes me remorseful.
Her Lunar Caustic Study chronicled the life, thus far, of 10 palm sized aluminium photography plates. The intimacy of the small plates, housed in gorgeous velvet lined coffers, hark to the Victorian age with its obsession with death and science. Covered with 19th century photochemistry the plates were exposed directly to sunlight, without a camera and without a fixative. Because of this the metals and chemicals continue to individually react to the light around them. Growing and evolving like a chemical snowflake or a tiny metal fungus on a pathology slide. They are beautiful and inviting to view.
The smart little boxes of living chemistry were contrasted against large digital photographs of the plates at 304 days old. These large opal like discs set against black, coupled with their Lunar Caustic title evoked the mystical moon and the art of alchemy. Whilst chatting with Renata it was evident she revels in the role of artist alchemist and through these experiments plays amongst the visual boundaries of old school photography.
What I love about the work, other then the lovely organic petri dish forms and contrasting blacks, gold and silver, is the notion that the work will continue to evolve. The idea of them as a lifetime artwork, a work that evolves during the lifetime of the artist, owner and material. A work that is never the same and becomes aged and weathered by the curve of light.
AS IF BY MAGIC
12 - 29 July 2018
191 Victoria St, Potts Point, NSW, 2011
Thursday to Saturday 11 - 6, Sunday 11 - 4
Washed Out - Kerry Toomey
The below poem was written in response to a panel discussion held at Kogarah Library on the 12th July for NAIDOC week, 2018. The panel consisted of Linda Burney MP, local Aboriginal elder Annette Webb and educator and artist Kerry Toomey. I found the conversations and shared histories very moving and this poem was penned in response to their family stories of stolen children and wages, especially Kerry Toomey's recollections of her female family members washing laundry.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all three women for their generosity and exceptional strength.
Kerry Toomey is currently exhibiting in the Broadhurst Gallery at Hazelhurst Arts Centre. Her show ‘Washed Out’ explores family, love and “growing up an outsider in your own country.” It is a broad exhibition showcasing the artists interests and experimentations within a multitude of mediums.
Get along to it ASAP as it finishes on the 24th July.
Quote taken from Hazelhurst Arts Centre 2018 program guide.
Hazelhurst Arts Centre
782 Kingsway, Gymea NSW
Mon-Sun 10am - 5pm
Washing clean, drying straight.
Thick linen, nice and white.
Warm from the sun, beautiful to embrace.
Sitting in baskets, learning to fold.
Picking with pegs, little dollies to hold.
Stories of history chattered about, with baskets slung on hips. They pottered about.
Thick linen, nice and white. Just a memory until tonight.
A woman told her washed memory and it resonated with me.
At its start she painted a picture I could totally see.
Of my grandmother, aunt, mother and me.
Folding washing and singing under a gum tree.
They shared their faith and their love. Their grief and shame.
Imprinted on me, themes from the past. Repeated time again.
But her white washed story bore a more sinister past.
Where she and her family could only speak when asked.
Always on guard less they came to take them away.
Here’s where her and my story started to stray.
Mine bore no record of theft, or repression.
Of a government hell bent on cultural suppression.
My family stories spoke of improvement and toil.
Of moving up the ladder, of getting the spoils.
Hers spoke of fear, time and time again.
Of unpaid work and generational shame.
Washing women clean, making them nice and white.
Out of mind, then out of sight.
Thick linen, white linen.
Background sound piece made with Audacity.
Bird sounds from www.birdsinbackyards.net
A stitch in time
Seven Figures, Elliott Bryce Foulkes (Wellington St Projects)
Opening 27th June till 8th July 2018
I come from a family of sewers…sew-ers. My dad is an upholsterer, always in his garage whipping something up. The sound of his industrial sewing machine and staple gun providing a constant backyard staccato. My dad is the original McGuyver. When we couldn't afford to go on holidays he doctored and extended an old windowless army tent. When we couldn't afford sleeping bags he made some from scratchie leftover beige upholstery linen. And when I wanted to get out of the school sport carnival, by becoming the cheer squad mascot, he helped create huge foam creatures for me to hide in.
My mum's a sewer too. Every school uniform, musical production, party and high school formal dress was cleverly designed and stitched by her. School holidays involved standing in your socks and undies while she pinned paper templates to you. Taking measurements, making alterations all the while barking instructions to wiggly kids through a mouthful of pins.
Then there was Nanna. Every chilly season we would be supplied with homemade cardigans and jumpers. Often made from leftover bundles of wool, clashing colour combinations that would rival the ugliest 70’s wallpaper. She would experiment with new patterns and stitches, keeping her hands busy and staying up late. The repetitive click and clack of the needles seducing her into a thready trance.
Because of this the Wellington St Projects and Gallery Pompom’s latest opening filled me with retrospective tactile pleasure. After navigating the tight streets of Chippo I finally found a park and trudged out into the rain. It was just after 6.30pm and even before I had gotten close to the Wellington St gallery I could hear the hubbub of people, this place was packed. Bracing for the ensuing claustrophobia I squeezed into the space.
By god it was busy, so packed and full of the darkly clad art set you could hardly get near the artwork. Being a shorty I ducked and weaved unseen, ever alert for an unannounced backward swung elbow or a reversing pointy heel. It was almost like swimming at an indoor European wave pool, more people than water.
Diving down at the front entrance, resurfacing near the bar, taking an alcohol aspirated breath, ducking down and completing a side stroke along the walls. Occasionally releasing expelled air in the form of an ‘excuse me’. The crowd was so intense that I felt like I might get swept off my feet at any moment. Resurfacing for a quick peck on the cheek with an old friend, diving down deep as the crowd thickened and swayed.
Once in position, with my nose just cm away, I familiarised myself with Elliott Bryce Foulkes, Seven Figures. Perfectly stitched and pressed geometric patterns, reminiscent of patch work samplers or flag semaphore. Not a pucker or over stretched seam in sight. Some made with bright contrasting colours, others with muted jewel tones and shapes. There were plenty of little sticker dots under most of the pieces and by the end of the night there was all but one left. It seems others thought them as confident, well executed and attractive as I.
Having had enough of the heavy population and with Gallery Pompom just a stone's throw away, I moved on. This space was also teaming with visitors and again I had to mindfully jostle my way in. There was a lot on show but I happily settled in the front room to enjoy Sarah Edmondson’s, According to Chance.
According to Chance, Sarah Edmondson (Galerie Pompom)
27th June - 22 July 2018
Here hung bright bold tapestries with even purposeful stitches, reminding me of a disjointed Kings Cross Coke-a-Cola sign. The artist had rendered segmented text with thick woollen thread and I thoroughly enjoyed the labour intensive tapestries which explored an accidental computer glitch, a dysfunction in reproduction. I could see the precision and exaction she had put into these pieces and imagined log hours with sore stiff split fingers. In some cases the artist had left areas bare, including the webbed support material as part of the image, breaking with the hierarchical rules of this specific craft. I’m not sure my nanna would have approved but I did. I wanted to remove the tapestries from behind the glass with the option to run my fingers through the nubbed surface. They called to be touched, caressed, folded and used.
While most of our interactions with fabric and sewing come in the form of mass produced clothing it was a pleasure to see these well executed precise colourful fractal like fabrications. I often forget to include textile art in my scope but these sophisticated experiments in cloth really caught my eye. Both artists drew with thread, drawing in timely stitches, creating form from repetitive, rhythmic practice. I imagined the frustrated moments in their studio, just like my parents when a seam faulted or the ‘fit’ wasn’t quite right. Forced to unravel, unpick and start again, constantly learning from crinkled mistakes.
The mechanical symmetrical stitches of Elliott Bryce Foulkes and the rhythmic hand pulled tuff of Sarah Edmondson reminded me that pattern making is a mathematical formula. Where needle and thread take no prisoners, showing any imperfections and fault lines. Leaving the artists held to ransom by their own choice of medium. I’ll have ‘those ones’ plus the artist's inexhaustible fortitude, just think what I could accomplish.
Wellington St Projects,
19-23 Wellington St, Chippendale, Sydney.
11-5pm, Fri- Sun
Galerie Pompom ,
2/27-39 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale, Sydney.
Wed - Sat 11am - 5pm
Sun 1 - 5pm
A trip down memory lane
Gallery hop thru Waterloo.
16th June 2018
My my how times have changed, on Saturday I took an old friend with me to check out three galleries in and around Waterloo. We reminisced as we drove, remembering the illegal rave parties I’d been too in the 90s, squats, visits to dealers and cheap rentals.
We remembered the isolation of the suburb, how we used its once quiet roads as a quick track to the centre of the CBD. Or as a hurried escape route out of Surry Hills to head south to soak up the beach. Recollecting spaces and memory cells now demolished and replaced.
She, a health professional, recalled sex workers, addicts, homeless and locals. It seemed as if each corner held a memory, an association, a forgotten moment in our timeline. And the art we saw rang true to that theme. Memory, associations and history.
I get a funky sexy feeling when I interact with other artists concepts and construction, it's titillating. Alas many members of my clan just don't get that. The strength of their personal history, memories and associations lie elsewhere. So it was with trepidation I took my dearest friend, because just like when she first met my partner, I needed them to get on. To like each other because I loved them both and I didn't want to have to choose between them.
First stop was Sullivan + Strumpf Sydney. Striding through the doors we were hit with the stark white of the space contrasting against Glenn Barkleys brightly coloured ceramics and collages. The show dominated by a huge back wall covered in post-up colour and text. My friends intake of breath spoke volumes, she wondered what she had gotten herself in for.
While my non arty buddy struggled to find joy, my engagement was immediate. I could see, feel and understand the ancient art histories at play. I revelled in the collage, ceramic forms, pastel fluorescent colours and mark making.
She was annoyed with the colour choice and the lack of ‘beauty.’ I felt as if I was viewing ancient treasures recently found off the coast of a mediterranean country, a long lost Atlantis. The ceramic vessels looked like they had been occupied by sea creatures which had modified and embellished the exterior with porous mollusc like coral.
For me they were beautiful, I felt like I was viewing living things, outrageous colourful distortions from the past. Just like that ugly boyfriend I had in high school whose personality and character made him really sexy and desirable.
Next stop was Stella Downer Fine Art Gallery for a group show. This small space was packed with people, making it hard to move around. Luckily the intimacy of the space wasn't too challenging for my novice gallery hound so coupled with a lovely glass of wine we wove through the people and got up close and personal with the art.
The shows themes of memory, history and the march of time once again called us to delve into our private repertoire of knowledge. Here my mate could connect with Deirdre Bean’s perfect watercolor reproductions and marvell at the artists photorealistic skill. She could ‘get with’ Rod Holdaway’s parisian inspired cityscapes but most of all she was intrigued by Di Holdsworth and Tanya Chaitow’s work.
She loved Di’s automated assemblages, she gushed over the precision and care taken in their production, she recognised elements of 20th century design and identified with the reconfigured vintage trinkets. Di’s miniature spaces were nostalgic and filled with modernist plastic iconology. Your eyes roved hungrily taking in the tiny perfections. You wanted to touch, to play, to interact. Emboldened by the wine we wound up the pieces, sipped and enjoyed the unfolding animated view.
I was immediately besotted with Tanya Chaitow’s baroque inspired Family Matters Series which captured the quality of light the master painters were famous for. The erasure and sublimation of key figures initially stymied my association with the original works by Vermeer, Goya, Metsu and De Hooch. Chaitow triggered my synapses making me rifle through the attic like status of my mind recalling the original paintings, combing through my memory banks grasping at artists names, periods and dates.
My friend also enjoyed the painted images and was intrigued by the reconfigured people, with their cartoon like animal heads. She asked questions and I struggled to explain, naturally assuming she knew Velazquez Las meninas or Goya’s girl on the swing. Images that have been a part of my visual history since forever, I just assumed they would be a part of her visual culture too.
An assumption that was met with mirth. She stopped my pathetic explanations with, ‘I know three old paintings; the Mona Lisa, that one of the girl with the blue headband and that one of the twelve apostles.‘ We dissolved into giggles and moved towards to door. Later that night I proceeded to text her images of the originals trying to jog her memory but to no avail. A lost cause.
Lastly we headed off to find Rod McHaffie’s work at Darren Knight’s gallery. The whole exhibition was a trip down memory lane, McHaffies’s colourful flashbacks gave you so much to look at, to discern. The paintings were like personal photographs loaded with emotional references and full-colour dream like recollections. I felt like a voyeur pouring over the details, enjoying the humor and swooning over the colour pallet.
Paul Weller and The Jams music swelled around in my middle ear as I wandered around these colourful, fun, entertaining documents. One day these images, like my CD collection, will be a historical recount of the artist’s life, interests, friends and observations.
From the lycra clad walkers, overflowing beach parties, modernist homes, references to shampoo and Tilde Swinbourne my travelling companion found Robs work excitingly full of narrative, allowing her to dive in. She didn’t need an art history background to get the nuances or to discover hidden signals, she could freely associate with her own experience and interests. As a keen photographer she enjoyed the bold colours, crisp lines and minute intricate details. A perfect show to end our little jaunt together.
You can tell a wella woman
Historical recollections be they my own or from art history enabled an intimate connection with the work I viewed. Just like my friendship with its roots in high school there is nothing quite like being with someone who knows you well, gets you. That knowing gave me stimulating comfort, like an erotic memory of a lover who got under your skin. The one who left a mark, sometimes in the form of a luscious love bite or a whispered exhale in your ear.
So when it comes down to making a decision about which works I would purchase with my fictional riches I’m a little spoilt for choice. Chaitow’s paintings were lovely and I’d want to own all of them so I could create my own Académie des Beaux-Arts salon.
McHaffie’s entertaining intricate paintings were so fun and inviting, a new embellished historical record. I couldn’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy them, comment on them or study them.
But to my own surprise it was Glenn Barkley’s pieces which have stayed with me all week. The more I look at them the prettier they become. I'm still turning the show over in my head and the more I do the more I like it. I'm surprised I want those ones but I do.
Sullivan and Stump Sydney.
799 Elizabeth st, Zetland
Tues-Sat 10am - 5pm
Stella Downer Fine Arts
1/24 Wellington st, Waterloo
Tues–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat 11am–5pm
Darren Knight gallery
840 Elizabeth st, Waterloo
Tues-Sat 10am - 5pm
Articulate Gallery with its elegant length and breath was an excellent camping ground for these artists to play. HANGOVER: Summer of ‘68 by Wilson and Collier immediately immersed me in a cathedral of floating orange and brown caravan park nostalgia. I'd seen the invite online I was keen.
Did I mention I've got a thing for camping. Not the hiking kind or the no mattress kind. More the powered site, gas cooker, esky, bag of ice in the morning kind.
I'd camped alongside these somewhat aged, glamorous beauties in the early 80s. All the people who owned them seemed tanned and cool. Their tents were filled with years of camping equipment and their owners had got it down to a fine art.
As I wandered through, I relied on my spider-person senses to detect and dodge the camping grounds potential trip lines and garrottes. Mental note *high heels and red wine dull the senses. Must switch to gin and tonic with ugg boots.
Did I mention I like building tents. Hoisting canvas and poles, whacking in pegs, securing ropes and building extensions with tarps. I always feel brave when I start a build. Tasting the air, waiting for the inevitable terse words.
Here I wanted to hunker down under the deconstructed tent and pull up a little folding chair. I felt lusty, slowly taking in aluminium tent poles with their curved elbow joints. My eyes wandered up seams to take in straight tight ropes pulling on brass eyelets. My camper's heart skipped a beat. They don't make them like that anymore.
I imagined this in my Kevin McCloud Grand Designs fantasy home, my own adult blanket fort. Installed throughout my fantasy sunroom or atrium... Nice :)
I imagined it in my attached fantasy orchard and gardens, during summer with a picnic..blissssss
I had tent envy bad. I wanted that one, in that amazing space, so we could grow old together.
Articulate Project Space, 497 Parramatta Rd, Leichhardt. NSW
I like the idea of buying art and antiques, but space and money are limiting factors.
My mum always said I had champagne taste on a beer budget. Over the years the budget has slowly improved and I probably could, at a stretch, buy somewhere in the Yellow Glen - Veuve Cliquot price range. Unfortunately the budget hasn't caught up with my tastes.
And it's not like I'm looking at ridiculously priced art, but unfortunately if it is more than a couple of hunge, my budget doesn't let me go there. So I've decided to live the dream and immortalise my latest favs online in virtual ownership.
You know the type of artworks I'm talking about, the ones that stay with you. The ones you continue to muse upon, reminisce about or years later still suffer from non buyers remorse. All because you paid the electricity bill instead.
So the other night I'm pretty sure I viewed some pieces that may haunt me in the future, in a good bad way of course.
First stop was AIRspace Projects, a fantastic white industrial cave tucked away in the back streets of Marrickville. Cause I'm a time nerd I was there at six on the dot and got to enjoy some of the pieces one on one, no sharing.
Sly's face on the invite had sparked my attention.
Straight thru the front door I saw Show Girl: Clean Dirty, a lovely unglazed earthenware by Yiorgos Zafiriou. I lingered alongside a beautiful deep red glittery Tenderloin then encircled She's a Lady. Captivated by the jeweled stand, blond tendrils of hair, gold reflections and lush lips. The Portrait S(l)ideshow caught my eye and I was suckered in, loving the rotation of colours and characters.
In Mobius Dick I fell in love with The Divinity of Masculinity pt.// That is until I checked my bank account and understood I could only admire from afar.
(Click on the link, its located bottom left)
Unfortunately I didn't get a long look as the place was filling up but I loved the size, frame, where it was hung and the the gorgeous white graphic notations linking this faux ancestry.com family tree. It made me laugh and that's always good👍
Jackson Farleys piece was fun and energetic. Something you could own and look at for ages. I wanted that one.
10 Junction Street
Marrickville, NSW, 2204,
I WANT DAT ONE!