Thursday, July 11, 2013

Everything is Lit at Gaffa - 11 July

Three days later and I am back at Gaffa to see a few shows.  It is a great space in the CBD, 3 galleries AND a project space.  Today is the first day for Kirra Jamison in Gallery 1, Leyla Stevens in Gallery 2, Nick Collerson in Gallery 3 and Claudia Stevens in the project space. I was interested to see it all and struggled to coin a collective title for this smorgasbord of art.  I ended up channelling my pinball fuelled uni memories when you've managed to get all the features on the machine turned on and you don't know where to hit: 'everything is lit' ...

In a quirk of interior design I couldn't get to Gallery 1 without going through either 2 or 3.  So I decided to check out Nick Collerson's work first.  I have one of Nick's paper leaves he did a few years ago but was struggling to connect the titles to the images in this group of work.  Turns out the numbers were all squiff as Gaffa had skipped the 2.  Once that was fixed (and gallery staff alerted, my good deed of the day) it all came together much better.  These works showcase a minimal almost naive style of painting and for me I was left wanting to know more about the 'why'.  The statement in the accompanying room sheet didn't really help, however Nick's website has a more detailed post about the Gaffa show.  It turns out he is being cryptic on purpose (primarily the paintings but to me also the text).  Thankfully Gallery 1 doesn't ask that many questions.  Kirra Jamison's work in this show is at the more decorative end of abstract.  There are large (all around 120-170cm cubes and rectangles) acrylic on polyester pieces which will take the better of $7k down to smaller (76 x 56cm) gouache on paper works (like Loop, mineral blue 4, above) that will run you closer to $2.5k.  These are bright and energetic works that kind of remind me of Gemma Smith's last show at Sarah Cottier, just even more colourful. There is nothing wrong in an artwork that would actually look great above the mantelpiece so I am not going to try to ascribe some deeper meaning here.  Moving on to Gallery 2 and here Leyla Stevens has some great video works. On the smaller screen is a work called 'Buoy', which coincidentally depicts a buoy with a flashing red light (which kind of recalled the Great Gatsby, just with red instead of green) and on the big screen a work called Signalmaster (still image top). Here Leyla is performing a semaphore sequence to the empty ocean in front of her. I loved it, you could tell there was a message here but given most of us don't know semaphore (I am not even sure they would teach it in the navy these days) the meaning is obscured despite being in plain sight. A riddle you are drawn to keep watching but one that you will never solve.  One riddle Leyla has solved for the punters is the editioning puzzle.  Usually right now I would be complaining about an edition of 5 in the digital age being all about enforced scarcity to drive up prices but these are editions of 100 for $80, a complete bargain in my mind.  Finally tucked away in the Project Space was Claudia Nicholson. Her show is called Silly Homelands and includes a few of the works we had recently seen at 4A as well as a couple of new ones. There was a mix of NFS and very reasonably priced works here. Of course the star of the show in my mind, the pimpin pink dolphin 'Papi Chulo', was NFS.  The new watercolours were all great. The cabbage patch and pink dolphin myths were covered in her earlier show (for those that couldn't be bothered clinking the link, Claudia's work explores children born out of wedlock so coming from the cabbage patch or the pink river dolphin that shapeshifts into a stylish man to seduce young women at parties) but the significance of the coconuts in Los Cocos was not immediately apparent.  I really liked this body of work and I think it is an interesting exploration of culture I have no familiarity with - definitely one to keep an eye on.  Oh, and watch out for pink dolphins slipping roofies into your drinks.

Points: No conflict, no interest - there is a new acquisition here.  3 points to Leyla Stevens' 'Signalmaster' (top).  Great video, great editioning. I will definitely put my money where my opinions are when it comes to a bigger edition at a reasonable price (and in this case it is probably a little too fair!). Can't wait to see what it looks like on the smaller screen at Big Lamington HQ.  2 points to Claudia for the pink dolphins in Mamacitas (above).  1 point to Kirra for the Loops, on the night I liked the mineral blue version the best but now I am beginning to think more pastel might be the go.

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