Saturday, October 30, 2010

Joan Ross at GBK - 30 October

Next up was Joan Ross at GBK (acronyms come in handy when the full name is 'gallery barry keldoulis'). In my opinion this left Ben Quilty at grantpirrie for dead. GBK also took it up a notch in terms of Saturday staffing and had three gallerists on duty. I assume Barry his-self was present but no one really introduces themselves these days, and I certainly don't until I get my three year old out of there without breaking anything.

'Enter at your own risk' as the artists show is called lives up to its name as both my daughter and I had to don bright fluoro yellow vests to see the show. We both loved the gimmick. The main part of the show is this living room of essentially op shop finds that have been 'upcycled' into what GBK is hoping the punters consider art at reasonably high prices.

My daughter, demonstrating a precocious talent for spotting the good stuff, settled on a large ceramic dog that had been painted fluoro yellow - yours for $4,500. I am a bargain hunter at heart and would have settled for a small ceramic bird that had a fluoro yellow vinyl hammerhead looking head piece attached to it - a steal at $900. At least I assume it was - you had to look at the room sheet which had a list of works and prices and then a low res photo of the room where these pieces could be found. A reasonably hard task given the names of most pieces didn't really correspond to their form. My bird was called, I think, 'Pirate of the Tasman'.
Moving into the backyard we came across a series that would be happily added to the family collection. 'When I grow up I want to be a forger' is a video piece that was meant to have been commissioned by the Newcastle art gallery for their exhibit 'curious colony'. I will definitely be checking this show out when it comes to Sydney in the new year. My daughter loved this one and we watched it many times, mainly I think as some of the small red characters look like the pontypines from in the night garden, I am not sure this is what the artist intended. By the third viewing this piece had grown on me but luckily for our bank account the video was all sold out, this only being an edition of 5 plus one A/P. I am not really across the mechanics of video work but couldn't we burn another DVD? If anyone bought this I am very willing to purchase a pirated copy! The name of the work is practically daring people to forge a couple of extras. Maybe next week I just take my flip video camera and make my own shaky version, appropriation Richard Prince style ...

I would've happily settled for a print that came out of the video. There are three different but similar images of 'Once upon a time in Great Parrotland" which are an homage to colonial artist Joseph Lycett (which yours truly, without knowing it actually guessed - I put it down to growing up in the Hunter). At $3,500 for an edition of 5 I thought these prints were pushing it a little (given a digital print is just a big photo blow-up). Oh and by the way mounting the print was an extra $380 as the room sheet helpfully pointed out. Please, $3.5k and now I need to mount this photocopy? Anyway ....

My three year old art critic by now had wandered off to explore the stockroom. She didn't think much of Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy's lego works (I agreed, Daddy could smash those guys at lego). She did however, love Sean's shopping trolley mash up (two shopping trolleys joined like siamese twins) and passed this feedback on to the gallerists upon departure.

Points: 3 - the video work, 2 - Parrotland prints, 1 - Sean's shopping trolley (the fluoro vests get an honorable mention).

Ben Quilty at grantpirrie - 30 October

First art review for big lamington and I'm not sure the Ben Quilty show at grantpirrie will get us off to the start we wanted. I was looking forward to visiting this gallery. I haven't really ventured back into Redfern since returning to Sydney after many years in the states. But as any former Bourke street boy will tell you, you can take the boy out of Bourke street but you can't take the Bourke street out of the boy. And if you understand where I am going with this please write and tell me.

Anyhoo, the space is pretty promising. All white walls, sparse former warehouse and polished concrete floors. I didn't really know what to expect as their website is blocked at the office (maybe our IT department is doing its own art criticism) but had read the blurb on the art magazine website so had an idea of what was on show. I liked a few of the evolution of captain cook paintings. It's not exactly a new idea but executed reasonably well. I had no idea what the bird cage had to do with it all and grantpirrie, despite having two gallerinas on hand on a fairly empty Saturday afternoon, didn't really assist with matters.

We moved on to their second room which had a few prints of Abi Alice. On the room sheet, grantpirrie had actually deigned to provide prices for Abi's works. The 3 year old art critic who was accompanying me took a shine to this graphical work and had soon picked two that she liked. Unfortunately she is a little too young to understand that "giclee" is a fancy art gallery term for large colour photocopy and that Daddy doesn't think they should sell for an amount that has a comma. She was satisfied with the artist post card at the front desk, which is just as well.

On our way out the gallerina's helpfully suggested we check out the kaleidoscope installation in their window around the corner. We like kaleidoscopes and installations so high tailed it around the corner to be sorely disappointed by Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forwards's collobaration. It might work in the home but the angle of attack, the smudgy window, and the fairly dodgy home made viewing tube (I cannot actually confirm whether it is a kaleidocope) resulted in five minutes of my precious weekend time lost for not much.

Points: 3 - Abi's spirals, 2 - Ben's painting, Lack of information at the gallery - 1.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Start baking ...

Welcome to the Big Lamington! Tea towels will be available in the gift shop shortly. For now it's just a blog but when my powerball ticket hits it will be built in the style of the Big Prawn (ie all shiny and fibreglass) somewhere - maybe Prada Marfa style in the middle of nowhere or perhaps Waterloo if I follow all the other Sydney commercial galleries in flocking to Sydney's inner south.

While I am waiting for my lucky numbers to come up I'll be checking out the galleries and museums in and around Sydney with the occasional jaunt to foreign climes. The criticism and reviews presented herein are my own and my taste in art is probably best described as 'all over the shop' so I encourage everyone not to take just my word for it but to get out and have a look see at the shows for yourself.

To go with my 'rugby match report' writing style and to keep it interesting I'll be handing out the points for each exhibition footy coach best & fairest style - 3, 2 and 1. Maybe the artist with the most points will get a big lamington pewter mug at the end of season award night (as Australia needs more arts awards!)