Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas eve special at MOP and pompom - 23 December

Okay - I realise this is a little late!  But I did want to put the 59th (and last) post up for 2012.  I could've made 60 but will defer Taboo until 2013.  This was a Christmas eve eve eve special to check out MOP and Galerie pompom before they (and I) take a long break.

First up was MOP.  Here Sarah Contos (yes, more artists with websites, keep it up) has a show called 'My Eyes Through Your Mountains'. I really liked this.  I finally got around to reading the exhibition essay by Joel Mu (who guest curated the show at Alaska I quite liked) and it is pretty reassuring as even Joel makes the same titular links as I did.  Apparently Sarah likes working with images of old iconic Aussie performers, Olivia Newton John, Kamahl, Dame Joan Sutherland etc.  I didn't realise that the embellished screenprints (above 'Spring (DJS)') was actually meant to be Dame Joan, I think a little cut and paste job here.  There were 4 of these screenprints and only $650 each so a total bargain although I would struggle getting these breasts in the house, even covered up with bead tassels.  Family friendly was 'the bluest moon' (pictured top) which was neon on an old album cover.  Loved it.  And only $850?  I should've got her sooner ... and not spent my 2012 budget already!  Great work MOP.

Next door at pompom was a good old fashioned group show called 'heaven or las vegas'. Which sounded promising but to me had nothing to do with the works on show, but that is kind of par for the course with modern curatorial practice so you barely even make note of it nowadays.  Here I quite liked Craig Bender's photos.  Especially the ones where he orients them a little squiff.  My favourite was a work called 'Ballad of the New World II' which was turned on its side.  Mr Squiggle eat your heart out.    I did like Vivian Cooper-Smith's works which appear crumpled and then re-photographed (instal photo of 'The sound of tomorrow 1 & 2' above).  Also appealing was Todd Robinson's funny sculpture of a pink balloon called 'he knows at any moment it may be lost in a vertical field'! Much better than 'untitled'.

Points:  3 to Sarah for her Olivia Neon. I want one. Did Melissa Tkautz ever release on vinyl?  2 points for Craig's side photo and 1 point back to Sarah for her collagey screenprints.  In my interpretation those were the mountains ...

Dobell Prize at AGNSW - 6 December

So let me get this straight.  The Trustees of the Dobell Foundation decided to axe the prize and instead run with an invitation only show every 2 years?  Way to disenfranchise young and emerging artists!  One of the great things about a prize is that it is open to anyone.  Hell, even I was considering having a crack (I have at least a week of NAS drawing instruction under my belt!).  Art prizes are just the way we do things in Australia, we like winners in sport and I think that goes the same for the arts.  So yes in summary I think it is a fucking terrible decision.  The Dobell Foundation Trustees had better put on one hell of a drawing event in two years time!

On to this years show (which is open until 10 February).  I am only just getting around to posting about this a few weeks late due to a hectic Christmas season so I have to consult my notes extensively.  I think this has moved around the floors of the AGNSW for the last 3 years but I did prefer to take the stairs up to the exhibition this year.  As per usual form I disagree with the judges decision.  Gareth Sansom's series of small drawings called 'Made in Wadeye' won the official comp, but to me this seemed more like a gong for lifetime achievement rather than the work in question. After much deliberation I think my Dobell for 2012 would've gone to Katherine Hattam's 'Heidegger's Hut' (pictured above, taken before I realised they actually have images on the intrawebs for about half the finalists this year, I have gone with mine as the colours on my iphone seem brighter).  Graham Fransella has quite a good watercolour entry this year, luckily for him there is still the Trustee's watercolour prize within the Wynne!  Quite a few other recognizable entries, like former winner Suzanne Archer and Wendy Sharpe's sketch for her recent show at King St gallery.  I always make a point of asking the guides what their favourite was and in this case the Pam Hallandal would've taken the points.  There is still time so go and see for yourself.

Points:  3 for Katherine Hattam.  2 points for Marinka Bozzec's 'Box Office Poison', (above, a series of small drawings. Marinka is also on flickr so you can see some of her other work).  1 point will go to Craig Waddell's 'You are the lightness in my dark' which for some reason isn't available on the AGNSW site but was a great drawing of waratahs which resonated with the state patriot in me.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Archie Moore at The Commercial - 1 December

Hot one today so I enjoyed the aircon on my way over to The Commercial.  This was my first visit and for some reason I can't stop singing the chorus to that 80s song 'feels like the first time'.  Anyway, the team behind The Commercial were really nice and it was a really enjoyable visit, especially 'for the very first time'.  Sorry.

I had read about this show on tweeter of all things (which I do suggest you get by the way, and follow me of course, and separately also follow Michael Reid because he is a really interesting character and you get art and all sorts stuff, I see a twitter post coming in Dec/Jan).  This was the last day of Archie Moore's Flag's, and given that December 1st is West Papua Independence Day (where they raise the morning star flag in defiance of Indonesian rule) I thought it an appropriate show to visit.  Archie has produced 10 different versions of the Aboriginal flag (see above for the gallery shot).  They are 'acrylic on nothing' in that he paints them on a rubber mat and then peels away the rubber to just leave the paint that has dried together.  I thought these would be quite brittle but if you ask nicely you can have a touch and they are very soft and move like a vinyl banner.  There is a real mix between the more overt political flags (like the hammer & sickle and the swastika flags) and the more social progressive flags (like the heart and the peace sign).  They were also great value at $2k a throw.  Unfortunately for me I was too late and the National Gallery had picked up three works (the most political ones) and another institution had also picked up a brace.  I think the only one still available was the rainbow which I could understand as the red / yellow / black is a really strong colour combo and the rainbow didn't really appear vibrant against the background. I really liked this show, but then again I am a bit of a vexillological geek (flagpole coming soon!) and was impressed at the re-imagining of such a recognisable standard.

Points:  3 to Aboriginal Heart (pictured top).  2 points to Aboriginal Deadly (pictured above).  I only learnt about the phrase 'Be Deadly' from the Tony Albert poster and now I know there is a flag as well and it does look deadly!  1 to Aboriginal Peace.  I think Archie just put himself on the Big Lamington wish list for 2013, especially if he does some cotton flags which I think pose less conservational issues than painting on nothing.