Saturday, June 25, 2011

Juan Ford / Michael Lindeman at SSFA - 25 June

It's been a little hectic over here at Big Lamington as we're in the process of changing art HQ's (more on that later) which has taken up a few weekends so we are looking at getting back in the swing when we get an invite in the mail ... weekend afternoon openings? I think it is a great idea, especially in Winter when if its cold and wet I'd prefer being home than out trying to find a cab at 8pm in Zetland. We were able to book a sitter to look after a few of our junior art critics while we took in the new shows at Sullivan + Strumpf at a more leisurely pace.

Juan Ford has got the downstairs space and that faith has been vindicated with plenty of red dots by Saturday afternoon. The only available work was which was both the most expensive of the pieces on show and also totally different in style to the rest (Nobody is Necessary, also from 2009 so not sure how it got in here). Looks like the Ford collectors like his new stuff better than his old stuff (with apologies to regurgitator). He is definitely making the native flora covered in paint his signature. We liked them and wouldn't mind adding one to the collection although the bigger ones don't come cheap (110 x 90cm are all c.$13k) and even the smaller 50cm squares are $6.6k. This was one of those times I didn't mind being beaten to the dots.

Upstairs was Michael Lindeman's new show the Gumbo Variations. I guess I am a little biaised here given our recent purchase, although Michael is also in on the act writing his own review for the show (a nice touch, and funny too). I can see why there were only a half dozen dots for the more than 20 works on offer - you really have to find the exact piece you want and that takes time to think and reflect. I am always trying to see if one of the ads could reference something we already have ('genuine handcrafted fijian wooden picture' was in the running here). It was also great to meet the artist and have a chat. Despite commissioning him we had never actually met before. It was interesting to talk about his recent works such as the Archibald Prize where he actually put his own number down (I can't believe I didn't think to try the number when I was at the AGNSW!) and speculate about what other prizes he could leverage his classified style into (my suggestion was the blake prize).

Points - 3 points to the Fiji ad from Michael Lindeman (although I also really liked the PNG one pictured above). 2 points to Superflower by Juan Ford (I reckon a wattle painted gold would look good for the next show) and 1 point to the genius at SSFA who decided on Saturday openings.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ken + Julia Yonetani at Artereal - 2 June

Some babysitting organised, the Mrs was able to attend her first young ambassador event. Drinks at Artereal Gallery for Ken + Julia Yonetani's new show, 'Still Life: The Food Bowl'. It was a pretty small crowd. I am not sure where everyone else was as this was a great little show to see and it is always great to be able to speak to the artists about their work. I was pretty familiar Ken + Julia's practice. All 4 of my regular readers will recall they scooped the 3 points from the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman visit so I was keen to see the full show ...

It is quite hard to describe the initial reaction to seeing all these salt sculptures. It is a mix of awe and curiosity as you try and work out how they have actually made the salt hard enough. Well just like the Colonel there is a secret recipe to these salt sculptures, and Ken + Julia aren't telling. Luckily the gallery has a couple of spare pieces on hand that you can handle (and lick if you want but the lemon and orange had apparently already been licked and I decided I didn't want sloppy art seconds). They are really dense and much heavier than they look. These pieces highlight the issue of salinity in the food production cycle and use Murray river salt from the producer that makes the posh pink salt you can buy at Coles. I was very impressed with the creativeness to think of salt as a medium, but I guess it isn't that big of a leap from the sugar that Ken used in his barrier reef sculptures when representing Australia at the 2009 biennale. I was also very impressed with the Artereal team and think they have done a great job with an exhibition that has prices for every collector from a couple of entry level pieces available ($250 to $500 for some salt shakers or salt candlesticks) all the way to the $48k chandelier (this was impressive, but luckily we already have two chandeliers from the old plaza hotel in NY). Most of the works were in the $4,000 to $8,000 range with the salt frames (from the Sulman) available for $6k (which is pretty good for a work that was a coin toss away from winning!).

Points - this could be a Big Lamington first as the 3 points goes to the salt frames! There are 5 frames representing all the senses (sense of taste was the Sulman entry), each in an edition of 3. But each of the 5 frames are identical so it really is one edition of 15, just that they are using 5 different names. Even the artist couldn't tell which was which! 2 points goes to the big table (pictured above), yours for $45k. 1 point to the stockroom which had some photos of Ken's biennale work and also a really nice Liam Benson photo that is also under serious consideration.