Friday, February 15, 2013
Various Artists, Artspace - 15 February
With the rain clearing I thought I could put some culture on to the Friday lunchtime menu. After a quick walk to Woolloomoloo I soon had some art as the first course. Artspace have three shows on now until 3 March, History is Made at Night by Daniel Boyd; You Gotta Love It by Pat Hoffie; and Wellington by Mathieu Gallois. That sounds a lot but you can easily squeeze this into a lunch break, and more importantly still have time for a hot dog de wheels at Harry's.
How is one to choose which of the self contained shows to look at first? My rule is ask the guy at the counter, he has been living with the works for a few weeks now and suggested Pat Hoffie. Both he and the artist were right. I did love it. Pat's project considers Australian identity, but by mixing the bogan bumper sticker message with the craft of Balinese woodworking. As the room notes say, "in this more elaborately laboured form they are rendered into artefacts that warrant closer scrutiny, as objects embodying some of the inherent complexities of cultural exchange." They are also damn clever and still very funny. My top picks were probably 'Fuck off, We're Full' (top, there was also another version of this with frogs but I prefer the coat of arms influences), 'Toughen Up Princess' (above), and 'Women Love Me, Fish Fear Me' (check my twitter for this one). That said pretty much all of them were great, although I think there were a few typos either accidental or on purpose to keep you guessing and really accentuate the cultural distance. Next up was Daniel Boyd, mainly because I really like his old stuff (pirate capt cooks and the like). This new body of work continues his exploration of dot painting but also adds a big video work. I'll be frank, this I just did not get. Apparently this "draws upon recent philosophical and scientific advancements relating to the existence of dark matter". Perhaps. It is a very trippy piece, all colours flowing in and out and music. It was relaxing but I do worry that the artists intentions are not well translated if a random punter could look at a video work for over 10 minutes and conclude the viewing of the piece would be made infinitely more sensible by being on drugs. Last up was Mathieu. Again you will need to read the room sheet here if you are not to wonder why there is a random Judy Cassab portrait mixed in with all the aboriginal historial stuff (it is of his grandfather, who owned the Wellington Times, that makes a lot more sense now). I really liked this body of work, but it was definitely 'museumy' type work. And by that I mean the kind of strident non-commercialism that you see at all the biennales. In fact, I am sure I have seen piles of newspapers at the MCA quite recently. The blacked out text of the Wellington Times (example below) worked well as it highlighted just the stories on aboriginals. It was very interesting to read these stories from the 1950s in the present day. The world certainly has changed a lot from our grandfathers time.
Points: easy 3 here for Pat Hoffie. I would really like one of these souvenirs - Pat get a website! 2 for Mathieu Gallois who had a very thoughtful body of work. 1 point for Daniel Boyd, please bring back the pirates!