Saturday, June 14, 2014

Paddington Gallery Crawl - 14 June

Great to be back enjoying a fairly mild winter in Paddington.  So lets take a stroll around the area that is really establishing itself as gallery central, what I like to call 'lower Paddington' near Trumper Oval.  Roslyn Oxley has been here for many years alongside the Australian Gallery.  And then Martin Browne, and then Sarah Cottier, and then Jensen Gallery and then?  No more and then* at the moment!

I was with one of the junior critics taking our afternoon constitutional so we hit Cottier, Jensen and Roslyn Oxley before he pleaded no mas which is a pretty decent sample.  Sarah Cottier was first.  Their exhibition at the moment is Jamie North's 'terraforms' (pictured top is a smaller one).  I've seen Jamie once before at this gallery and also in a group show at Artspace before.  These living works are growing on me!  Actually, I like the plant selection better this time, some native Australian orchids which I am a fan of.  I would've preferred if Jamie had even been a bit more specific than the 'Australian native plants'.  Punters love detail nowadays.  So listing dockrillia striolata or whatever species of dendrobium it is would've got me even more excited.  Price wise these are quite cheap for art but probably pricey for garden ornaments.  I am not sure exactly how I would display if I had one as sadly Big Lamington HQ lacks a lovely expanse of polished concrete a la Sarah Cottier.  The other conservational issue is of course keeping the plants alive!

Moving on we hit the Jensen gallery which is the newest in the 'hood.  This used to hidden up on Caledonia Street in Paddo and I think in all my years in the area I went there maybe once (certainly didn't find any hits using the fancy search function on the blog!).  Jensen are showing James Casebere who it turns out is an American artist.  So this series titled 'Dutchess County' is entirely appropriate coming from him.  Dutchess county is one of the areas just up the Hudson River from NY for those less cosmopolitan readers.  I don't really know much more about this work (pictured above) except that it looks like large scale photos of some very good model railroad dioramas.  If so, congrats Jimbo.  Top effort.  Other than that it looks like a bit of a tough sell to Australian collectors.  I know I have parochial tendencies.  

Last on the hit list was Roslyn Oxley.  Now they have two great shows on at the moment.  The first is the video area in the garage / entrance (at least it seems like it is turning into a video area, Nell had her fly video here on my last visit).  This time around it is Clark Beaumont which isn't a dudes name but two female artists.  I think using their surnames in a touch of identity theft.  They are dancing to what from memory was Whitney Houston and this was overdubbed with them saying "me" and "you". Hence it is no great stretch of the imagination that the video is called 'You and/or me'.  We've seen Clark Beaumont before on the Big Lamington, performance arting their way through 13 rooms. Good to see they are putting out something collectable but my observation from then is as relevant now. This work asks questions, it doesn't provide answers! Upstairs was the randomness of the group exhibition called Never Never Land which was a co-production with Melbourne gallery with a cool random name Utopian Slumps.  Dylan Martorell had an interesting sculptural construction and I nearly confused him for Sarah Contos whose work I was looking out for.  Sarah's pieces (pictured second from top) are quite recognisable so once I clocked the covergirl from the Aussie Post I had my bearings.  As well as Dylan and Sarah the show had geometric shapes from Esther Stewart, random abstractions from Jake Walker and non-traditional pottery from Sanne Mestrom.  In other words, everything!  My favourites here were probably Dylan and Sarah.  Sarah's work was probably more 'out there crazy' but I liked how Dylan had mixed the crazy sculptural creation that would be a tough sell with the smart merchandising of a series of c-type prints.  Crazy like a fox old Dylan.  Nice touch.

Points: Overall I think Jamie North is going to bag the 3 pointer here (Jamie's second contested 3 pointer as well!).  As I said above, I am appreciating these concrete forms more, especially the different materials being used like marble chips, steel slag and coal ash.  Lets hope we actually keep a blast furnace going somewhere in this country for the raw materials!  2 points for Dylan Martorell and 1 point for Sarah Contos.

* Dude, where's my car.  Seriously you had to look this up?

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