Friday, March 1, 2013
Gemma Smith and Jamie North at the new Sarah Cottier Gallery - 1 March
New gallery openings are a pretty big deal. And when they are in Paddington it is an even bigger deal. I have been watching the former Roylston street factory get transformed and you could've put Bromley on there tonight and I would've turned up to get a sticky at the space. Lucky for me we had some artists I liked!
First impressions, where are all the people? It is a big space and the room is quite empty. Found you. This new space is a cave that keeps on going with rooms hidden around corners and a really big outdoor courtyard. There are hundreds a people here, not Quilty sized but still a great turnout. And a couple of big names too. Gemma Smith has the front room and here is an installation of her tangle works (top Infinite Loop, Blue / Yellow, and above the installation view showing the slick new concrete floor). I am not sure if it is because the room is more spacious but I think these Gemma Smith works are getting bigger, these are all 185 x 185cm so it kind of limits where you can put these tangle paintings. I think they look great en masse and up close they are impressive, the detail is nice and I like the occasional hint of a different hue in there. That said, there is a bit of a decorator feel to them due to the colour palettes used. I would expect some people to pick what would go with the furniture! And even I would probably want to specify colours, maybe a hi vis orange and navy like the colours of the finest soft sand running club in the world? At just under $20k you are getting a lot of wall coverage for your buck and I think there will be plenty of red dots by the end of the month. I think I had counted a couple on opening night. Around the corner in the side room is Jamie North's innerouter. I really like these works (below installation view), what look like decaying concrete pipes filled with plants, in a kind of terrarium effect. To be honest I was not that familiar with the artist so had to go searching for a CV, and in good news Jamie has a website. Thank you, more should. Certainly makes it easier for your average punter to learn a few things. From here I learnt that Jamie is an artist that is interested in "documenting, emulating and reimagining ecological systems and their attendant species". And I just thought they were pretty cool. I was thinking these would be great in the garden but at $8,800 each you would hope they could be concreted in!
Points: I am going to give the 3 to Jamie, I like the website and I loved this body of work. That said, I couldn't really tell the name of one work to the next, they are all concrete and had the same plants in them! Oh and top marks for use of natives like the Port Jackson Fig. 2 points to Gemma's infinite loop and 1 to Open Tangle (orange / blue). I am hoping Sarah might pick up a few new artists with all this space so I will be back to see what's on next.