Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hobart Gallery crawl - 7 March

With a couple of more days in Hobart and my MONA itch well and truly scratched I decided to do a little recce on the gallery scene in Hobart. With about 90 minutes of personal time with the family napping / resting / watching playschool back at the hotel I had better get cracking ...

First up was Betts Gallery. Chosen as it was the only place I had heard of before hitting town. They were just photographing the Tricky Walsh show Science Fictions when I arrived. This is on until 31 March and is a pretty interesting collection of works which follows some imagined crystal powered engines. There are some smaller works on paper, balsa models and some other random sculptures as well as some very trippy and colourful skateboard deck sized gouache works on paper. I liked all the cross references between the works. I especially like that the gallery puts the prices on the website as the room sheet wasn't ready at the time and I was in a hurry.

Next on the list was 146 Artspace. This is the non profit gallery run by the Tasmanian government's art body. Their current show is We were never modern by Megan Perkins. Megan's show is inspired by Tasmania's natural heritage. It is all very victorian scientific display with old drawers full of curios and feather installations. I quite liked it. This space also runs a neat little artbikes rental scheme. If the weather was a bit nicer and if I actually enjoyed riding a bike around an unfamiliar city when I had a perfectly good rental car I may have taken up their offer. However, their map was just the ticket and the helpful attendant even assisted my itinerary by selecting the one gallery I should see if I only had room for one more.

So off I went to Inflight Gallery. This is an artist run initiative which meant it was the grungiest of the three spaces I visited. Their show, Swing Lo! by Matthew Greaves is also the most out there. The room contains 3 things. A plain brown flag, a bike with a bit of wheel missing, and a continuous loop video of a dude reading a book which the website describes as a "wry ideological hodgepodge". They go further, explaining that "the exhibition examines doctrinairism and intellectual risk through artworks with a deadpan, store bought cool". Wow. I hadn't read this before going so probably didn't fully grasp the artistic intention. The guy on duty did tell me that the brown flag had some anarchist symbolism. Personally I was just excited to see an artist working with some flags. I want to commission my own flag and Matthew just made the shortlist.

Points. 3 for the flag. It was simple and I loved it. 2 for Tricky's show. Hard to pick a favourite but I could see myself getting one of the gouache works, especially as the Tassie government is willing to give every Australian resident a one year interest free loan to buy Tassie art (seriously, a great deal. See here for more on their collect scheme). 1 point to Megan. Loved the feathers and the trays. Overall an interesting cross section of the Hobart gallery scene. I would like to come back.

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