Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hall & Deacon at Roslyn Oxley - 26 July

Last day of the solo shows of Fiona Hall (in the main space) and Destiny Deacon (in the side room) at RoslynOxley.  I'd heard very good word of mouth about these shows so phoned ahead to make they were still on to avoid disappointment.  I grabbed the 6 year old to come with as we made the short trek downhill to Paddo gallery central ...

Let's cut to the chase, these shows lived up to the hype.  I didn't love everything but there were a couple of standout works in each to make this a show to see.  So sorry about the late review and all, but hey, we try our best!  For those that came in late, Fiona Hall is a bit of a big deal.  Selected to represent Australia at the upcoming Venice Biennale in 2015 her works deal with the relationship between people and nature.  Upon entering I made a beeline for the vitrine (pictured top).  This work, Thicket, was totes amazeballs.  The container was filled with pvc pipes painted up as faux branches with ceramic birds that looked like they were sourced from ebay or vinnies perching upon each branch with targets on them.  Then on top of this was a collection of jet planes.  Crazy.  Weird.  Fantastic.  I've seen a few Fiona Hall vitrines and this was a beauty.  It is amazing what putting some random objects in a very formal glass box will do to the mind.  I can't help thinking Museum of Natural History.  I guess I was also expecting to see some stainless steel sardine tins but the closest we got to that was an aluminium skull sitting on a pile of burnt books.  What did surprise me was the collection of Tongan bark cloths.  Would've liked to have investigated these in a little more detail but the junior critic was unsupervising herself around the corner.  Destiny Deacon's installation was a top effort.  The walls were covered in images and then the prints were displayed on top.  I liked a couple of the kitschy dolls which reminded me of my hometowns one time (former?) calling card, the Black Boy.  I tweeted an image of the Cake Man but you can also have a look at the images on the gallery site which has them all.  Also, this seems a good a time as any to call out Roslyn Oxley for having THE BEST room sheets in Sydney, perhaps Australia.  Nearly always an A3 that is folded booklet style I love that they have a little thumbnail image along with all the details, prices and there is usually a little blurb / essay on the back.  Keep up that great work.  Now the highlight from Destiny for both of us was the video work, Snap out of it.  My daughter was lying on the floor strapped into get the whole 2 minutes 30 seconds of this intriguing work.  Hard to explain but luckily a few stills were available (see above, Snap out of it, C).  It is basically two hands rolling around a few different coloured 'water bombs' (or something that looked like a water bomb) over what appears to be a wallaby fur.  We were Transfixed.  On the way out we had time to appreciate some of Fiona's Untitled pieces.  There were, confusingly, 6 of them.  All just plain 'Untitled'.  Not even the Richard Prince style brackets of 'Untitled (Cowboy)' to tell apart the Vatican on the Tank from the Billiard Ball Antlers.  Someone might want to give Fiona a book on Damien Hirst before she heads to Venice ...

Points:  Well the 3 points is easy.  Fiona Hall's Thicket stands out by a country mile in my mind.  Loved this.  Loved the old school vitrine and the interesting contents.  I still don't necessarily get it, but love the aesthetics and that it gets you thinking.  Another detail shot below and will also tweet a close up of the jets.  The 2 points will go to the Destiny Deacon video.  Snap out of it.  Although this could've been called Untitled because now I am thinking about Cher, which is dangerous as it is nearly bedtime.  Just like Fiona's vitrine I still don't really get this work either but ditto for the aesthetics and the thinking. The final point will go to Untitled. Wait, you want to know which of the 6 untitled works?  Hint:  The one pictured above.


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