Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dancing Words at Black Penny - 14 July

I always like to stalk do further research on artists whose works I've noticed.  3 point winner from the yen art prize, Robin Clare, is no exception.  Luckily for me she has a decent website.  It was here I learnt of her solo exhibition at Black Penny in Bourke Street Surry Hills.  Well says I, a new ARI in Surry Hills?  Turns out Black Penny is a small bar, and before any hipsters start sniggering I used to live on this stretch of Bourke Street and back in my day we called it Redfern.  Turn out Black Penny is a pretty cool small bar in the former home of the old Tandoori Rasoi (once home to the Tendulkar of the Tandoor!). As well as slinging cocktails Black Penny also peddle art in their back lounge area.

Sadly I couldn't make the opening which sounded great with reggae and rum and dancing girls.  When I was in NY I worked with a couple of Jamaicans who introduced me to the wonders of beef patties and coco bread and I've been fortunate to visit Jamaica and developed quite a taste for the island and its culture. So it was wonderful to be virtually transported back to Kingston for this show.  The Dancing Words of the shows title reference the dancehall moves that are invented to go with certain songs.  I can't say I was familiar with any of the moves (e.g. Thunder Clap, Wacky Dip, and Pretty Wine - see image top) but really liked the aesthetics here.  Vibrant colours and bold text.  They could also be instructional if you ever did need to learn how to 'signal di plane'.  The little illustrations kind of remind me of a bow tie instructional.  From memory these acrylic and inks on paper were very affordable and quite a few had sold by my visit.  As well as the Dancing Word series Robin had also included some of her 'Bulls Eye' series (one of which was the finalist in the yen art prize we saw last week). I loved these, her inspiration is vintage Jamaican comic book imagery but they also look kind of like Jamaican bollywood movie posters. Again, vibrant colours, eye catching images and lots of text. This show has ended but make sure to visit Robin's website as she also had links to her etsy shop where she sells prints of the works and zines.  I think I might be buying my first zine shortly!

Points: I will give the 3 points to a dancing words work as that was the main theme.  I think my favourite was Signal Di Plane (above).  The rest of the points will go to the bulls eyes. 2 points to The Youth (below) and 1 point to Dancehall Duel (middle) whose costumed dancing girls had a retro James Bond feel to it - I also love the last line of text ... "Rewind and pull up Selecta"!

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