Loving the trend for Saturday afternoon openings in Zetland. It is just a little easier to get to than Thursday 6-8pm. This weekend was Kate Shaw and the famous TextaQueen at Sullivan + Strumpf. Given that TextaQueen (no more Arlene, and it appears the Q is now capped, as in PricewaterhouseCoopers - gee they were ahead of the game those folks) is well known to the family it was pretty easy to convince one of my junior critics to tag along ...
Which meant it was upstairs at once to check out Texta's latest show 'Unknown Artist'. Gee hasn't TextaQueen's style become more refined? The way she has drawn the hair in 'Sacred Heart' (pictured above) seems a lot more styled than previous self-portraits. There were some really pretty works here, and most of them are fully clothed (in fact the nudity is nearly absent which contrasts with the more raunchy work at her last show). This was a complete sell out before opening so a great result for all involved. I did get a look see at one of the works pre opening but sadly my budget is still GFC restrained so I wasn't able to add another Texta to the Big Lamington collection (we are still very happy with our textanude that adorns the wall in the 2 and 3 year old critics room). These are all pretty much the same size (130 x 100cm) and the same price $4,500 and I would've liked a couple. Indeed a few museums did exactly that, with my sources suggesting the NGV and GOMA picked up the lions share of the 8 works on offer. My 5 year old was a bit concerned that Texta wasn't wearing her superhero costume. Maybe it was in the wash? That said, she wasn't in mufti and instead came dressed in the colourful lycra suit from the 'Grown / Flown / Unknown' self portrait. Sadly no fortunes like last time but there were some postcards! Yay, I love a good souvenir so points here. My junior critic picked up the postcard versions of 'Save Yourself' and 'Grown / Flown / Unknown' (which has a rainbow feather motif that seems irresistible to a 5 year old girl).
Downstairs was Kate Shaw's lovely acrylic and resin on board landscapes. For those that came in late these are essentially painted collages where Kate pours out the paint on paper to make some trippy patterns, cuts them up and them makes those shapes into landscapes. The Mrs and I are very into Kate's signature style and I keep saying one day but these prices continue to climb (or the sizes keep getting bigger, that is why you file room sheets!). Mainly Kate does mountains and water with the odd tree here and there but this time I noticed a cave theme, with drippy stalactites featuring on two of the works (Nightingale and Meridian). I much prefer the mountains to the trees and the brighter the better so Gongshi (pictured below) which was all pinks was the combined favourite here. In a interesting twist Kate has given bracketed titles to most of the works that reference atomic tests (e.g. Maralinga, Monte Bello, Muroroa etc). I like where she is going here but I don't get why she didn't go all out and actually recreate one of those big mushroom cloud explosions in her style (there is a great photo here of a test at Maralinga with these random grid like smoke columns behind the explosion, probably my favourite nuclear image if you can have one!). Also interesting is the image that was chosen for the litho. I think it is great to make an entry level work available (this is sub $1k, by $10 for an edition of 15) but I do think you miss out on the resin and the real pop of colour. Personally I would settle for an A4 version of Lop Nor.
Points: 3 for 'Sacred Heart' by TextaQueen. I am actually convinced that Texta is turning into our felt tip version of Frida Kahlo. I do want to get one of her self portraits! 2 for 'Colonised Desire', what can I say, I like the muppets! 1 point for Kate's Gongshi.