Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from GoMA - 24 December

Christmas eve and the team is up having a Queensland Christmas. With wet weather setting in for the weekend I decided to take one of my junior art critics down to GoMA (the Gallery of Modern Art) on the riverfront in BrisVegas ...
I had read somewhere that GoMA was quite family friendly and the first two exhibitions lived up to the hype. We liked Yayoi Kusama's show and in particular, 'The Obliteration Room'. This work comprised a series of 3 interlinked living rooms that were all originally bright white. Everyone, mainly kids but a lot of adults were getting really into it, was given a sheet of stickers when entering the room which then resulted in the rooms becoming a multi coloured blur of colour (we were here in week 3 and the above photo must've been taken in week 1, hardly any white space left now). Obviously very interactive which is an interesting start to a museum visit as everything else then disappoints with the usual no touchy rule. Which is exactly what we were told when visiting the other kids exhibit, 'we miss you magic land' by Pip & Pop (or Tanya Schultz Nicole Andrejevic as the ATO would know them). This was all rainbows, unicorns and pastel colours that primarily made from sugar and cake decorations according to the literature. We did enjoy the computers at the end and the little game although it was a bit taxing for a 4 year old. Lunch successfully navigated at the river cafe we were upstairs to check out the 'adult' section. Some interesting stuff including a Tracey Emin fluoro work, a Julian Opie video, a nice Scott Redford sculpture (although not as good as the motel sign out front) and a very good Tony Albert ephemera work (Sorry backwards). The gift store had a pretty good selection and we picked up some additional stocking stuffers although I reckon they could've done with a better postcard selection.
Points - 3 to Yayoi for the sticker room, fantastic concept for getting the whole family involved. 2 for Scott Redford's motel inspired brisvegas sculpture and 1 for magic land which we didn't miss as much as they expected.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at the MCA - 20 December

It has been a fairly hectic December for me so Christmas Drinks at the MCA seemed like a great opportunity to indulge in a little Christmas cheer and check out the new Rafael Lorenzo-Hammer show ...

The MCA at the moment is kind of like the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, partially completed but fully operational as an art venue. Mexican/Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's show 'Recorder' takes up the entire renovated 3rd floor which is accessible from the George street entrance. I had never heard of this guy before rocking up which was great as with no expectations this show really easily exceeded them! Everything was interactive, some overt like the Pulse Room (where the punters get their pulse taken on something out of a gym and then your heartbeat is taken around the room on the flashing lights) and some covert like Tape Recorders (where sensors were recording how long punters stayed in the room and fed the data into some 25m stanley tape measures that had motors attache to extend them, pictured above). Pascale and I tried virtually everything out, it was like the art equivalent of being at sideshow alley at the Easter Show. It would take a long time to describe everything here but thankfully the MCA have their own microsite for the show which explains all the works.

Points - Tough this week as the whole show is great. I'll give 3 for the Pulse Room, 2 for Please Empty Your Pockets and 1 for Tape Recorders. This is on until 12 February 2012 so I would highly recommend getting down and getting all interactive with Rafael. The other highlight from this visit was the new rooftop function space where they had the Christmas drinks (and Feliz Navidad to the tequila company who sponsored this show, we are pretty partial to the agave spirit over here).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas art - 13 December

The team at Big Lamington HQ really get into Christmas. Our tree has been up for ages but we just picked up some new ornaments by local artist Nell (who has featured on these pages before, here, here and here). Nell has made a number of different designs all featuring her trademark faces. There is a love heart, leaf, ghost, cloud and a star ranging in donation from $25 for a laser cut vinyl heart to $500 for a hand made felt piece. The money raised was all for charity so I was keen to do my part and put Nell on our tree. I had two of my junior art critics with me who helped choose a good selection of ornaments which are now up on our tree. I am a big fan of christmas editions and think it is something that could be done by anyone (and not necessarily on the scale of the Norton project). Hmmm, maybe one day we can get a BL project going ....

Points: 3 to Nell for doing this, sets a great example for others. 2 for the ghosts, although perhaps a little scary for your average christmas tree. 1 for the star, there would be fights as to who would get to put this up!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NAS graduate show - 3 December

Quick one here as I am getting to this a week late. The NAS graduate show is on now and I recommend a trip to Darlo for everyone. I took my 4 year old and we had a great time looking at the gallery and the studios. Top picks for me included Frances Morgan's banknotes (I am a sucker for currency) and Emily Chew's text works (pictured above, which brought Tony Albert to my mind). My daughter liked Merryn Hull's colourful "Looking to Springtime", Melanie Heam's porcelain ice cream cones and Melanie Olsen's coloured box. Her art criticism of one of the video works entertained the crowd (it was a video of a lady eating a cake and then spitting it out on another plate, we concluded it must be a playdoh cake as you cannot eat playdoh). She also graciously agreed to contribute to Lucas Bayne's Cave Wall Palimpsest No 1 (it was a big chalkboard, and I did check with the attendants before we got to work on it). The beauty of the grad show is that most of the works are for sale, and very affordable. We like supporting NAS so my daughter selected Olsen's Acqua box for $50 and I picked up a counterfeit note for the same price. I hear Frances is off to Paris for a residency so I hope that comes in handy.

Points. I will let my daughter give the points this week. 3 to Lucas Baynes for the chalkboard. I wonder how long my daughters art stayed on exhibition! 2 for Alicia Poppett for the bouncy ball sculpture "Mary Contrary" and 1 point for Kelly Gilkes and her constructed 'wings'.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dobell Prize for Drawing - 2 December

Things are starting to wind down for 2011 but there is one last competition to go judge - the Dobell Prize for Drawing. I didn't get around to entering this year, lets see if I fancy myself over any of the official entries.

Well, the first thing I noticed this year is that everything was really big. Most of the entries were huge. And quite a few artists saved on framing costs by entering the work on paper to be hung up by bulldog clips. In fact, one funster I overheard at the gallery remarked that "Please do not touch" had a lot of entries. I didn't much like the official winner, a triptych of pastelly shadows by Anne Judell, quite a few visitors shared that sentiment based on the gasps the punters let out when they saw the notice. Highlights for me included Reg Mombassa's glittery horses and Graham Fransella's Passegiata, although there was enough watercolour here for it to get in the Wynn. That is the thing about the Dobell - they don't define drawing. My definition includes pencil, pen and/or charcoal. Both Melissa Thompson and Eloise Rankine had reduced these materials to those 'repeated line' drawings that look like you are counting off the days (although one was more orderly than the other). I saw something similar at a NAS show earlier in the year. It looks good done on a big scale but in my mind is far too easily replicated to worthy of the points.

Points - 3 for Peter Gardiner's Hexham Swamp (pictured above courtesy of my blackberry if that explains the quality of the image). Chosen not not just because I agree Hexham is a swamp (I used to see it daily on the train ride between Maitland and Newcastle) but also because it was big (tick) and used only charcoal (big tick). 2 points for Reg aka Chris O'Doherty for the horse and I'll give the 1 point to Graham Fransella.