Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rue de Belleville at Galerie pompom - 22 June

It was a wet weekend but nice and dry inside the gallery (or galerie in this case).  Accompanied by one of my junior critics we were at pompom to check out the group show called Rue de Belleville.  My daughter was coming down off the high of having seen Barbie in real life at Bondi Westfield.  I don't think I was that excited but I was really looking forward to see what these artists had in store ...

Having seen before and liked three of the six artists in this group show I was expecting a treat.  And I wasn't disappointed.  It is just a single room at pompom and I honestly didn't know where to look first.  Nana Ohnesorge's has a work from 2010 in this show, 'The Journey' (pictured top).  This is quite a large work (150 x 112 cm) and hard to miss with its use of vivid colours. Described as acrylic paint and aerosol, pigment pen and oil on linen it is a great display of what I take to be Nana's nearly trademark style - vintage images remixed with hyper colours and collage type elements.  Personally, I really like her work but subject wise would prefer a Ned Kelly in the Big Lamington collection to the european* looking waif in this show.  My daughter is also a big fan of colour so it is no surprise that she gravitated towards Megan Walch and Jonny Niesche's work.  Megan was a new artist for me and her 'Jamming on the Rue Fontaine, Folding of the old horizon' (above, again don't ask me about the title - I tried googling and got some interesting links to surrealism but it was all a little too much for me) was a fantastic Mr Whippyesque landscape of oil on canvas that included quite a few random little pine trees dotted around like on a ski run (you can kind of make them out on the image).  I read an article that described this Taswegian's art as 'pretty but with a scent of something else'.  I did get both, even if I couldn't pick what that scent of something else was.  Jonny Niesche's work dials up the pretty to 11.  My daughter loved all the glitter in both his canvas work and his "logic stick" (below, left).  I saw Jonny's work at Roslyn Oxley before and it really made an impression.  To quote Eric B and Rakim, "I'm thinkin' of a master plan" to get some Jonny into the Big Lamington collection.  Watch this space.  Rochelle Haley was another familiar face.  Her jewels were nice but I think I preferred the watercolours from her previous show that also added animal skeletons to the bling.  Tara Marynowsky's watercolour was pretty trippy.  I liked the pacman style ghosts lurking around the edges of this work.  More importantly she also has a website so I could see more of her work. I've not seen Ron Adams' work before, his Shenanigans (great title by the way) is another rainbow coloured work that again was like mainlining colour. It's another great show from pompom, I would love to have any of these artists grace the walls of Big Lamington HQ.  

Points:  I think colour was the real winner on the day!  In terms of the art I am going to give the 3 to Nana Ohnesorge.  As I said I am really loving her trademark style of vibrant colours and interesting images.  Such a shame I was late to the party here, my favourite from her last show sold before I saw it, I have it as my iphone screen saver as a memento mori to get there first!   2 points to Megan Walch who was my daughters top pick (one to watch there) and 1 point to the glittering stick of Jonny Niesche. 

*although maybe I was influenced by the the whole Rue de Belleville group show name, which I am still a little confused about even after reading up on. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tim Hetherington and Doug Rickard at Stills Gallery / Yossi Milo - 15 June

I was determined to get to Stills Gallery for this Head On Photo Festival exhibition which was put on in association with the Yossi Milo Gallery of New York.  I was thinking this would be a trip down memory lane as I remember going to this gallery to see a Loretta Lux exhibition back in '06.  Someone pass the lobster rolls.  Dragging two of the junior critics with me failed to evoke the requisite feelings of living in Manhattan, but let's dry our eyes and get back to the now and see what we thought of this show.

Tim Hethington and Doug Rickard have pretty divergent practices.  Tim's show comprised images of US soldiers sleeping in Afghanistan.  I guess he was going for the incongruence of the peaceful images of rest versus the reality of what these soldiers were in Afghanistan to do.  We all preferred the fully dressed soldier the best (above, Nevalla, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan 2008) as it was clearly referencing the war.  The guys sleeping shirtless were a little too homoerotic for me personally.  Amazing to consider these images were taken in 2008 and just the other day we were at Ben Quilty's show in regards the same war!  Tim's life story provides an added poignancy - a prize winning photojournalist who died covering the Libyan uprising in 2011.

For his series New American Photo, Doug Rickard has done a modern day Richard Prince and re-photographed google maps' street views.  Yep, you read correctly.  He spends hours trawling google street views looking for views of poverty at odds with the prosperous vision of a modern America.  He then blows these up on his screen and then takes a photo of his screen (so my screen shots top and below, Camden and the Bronx respectively, are virtual homages!).  This explains the washed out, instagram feel of the snaps and the random stares that the subjects are obviously throwing at the google mobile.  Stills had a selection of these works, apparently Doug spent 4 years accumulating images which he published in a monograph.  Would be an interesting book to flip through.  Clever idea.  Bags doing same for Paddington.

Points:  3 posthumous BL points to Tim's Nevalla.  I will give 2 points to Doug's Camden NJ (top) and 1 point to the Bronx!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Criena Court at Artereal - 8 June

A long weekend for all but a quiet Saturday for me as I was joining my Bondi running club's annual overseas tour (to Manly) on the Sunday to punch out 9k on the soft sand.  What better way to get in the zone than by chillaxing at a gallery or two.  With Criena Court in the Project Space it was off to Artereal.

Long time readers may recall Criena scooped the 3 BL points back in November 2010 at the NAS postgrad show (gee time flies).  We've since stalked followed her to Robin Gibson, MOP and now Artereal - and I am still digging the mysterious aesthetic that Criena rocks.  The biggest piece in the show (luna + geo 1, it's to the left in the image above) is a mixed media image on plywood.  The raw finish of the plywood that Criena uses in much of her work is a great contrast to the almost scientific concepts she explores with geometry and the moon images.  I love the pop of fluro pink in proposal 8 (centre plinth, above), and also in the tape used to attach the 'luna hexagon 4' (image top) to the wall (you also get some peeking out from the cardboard behind).  I think mirrors have featured in every body of work I have seen from Criena and there were a couple here, although I found it hard to get the full reflective effect on the sculptures sitting on the mirrors that topped two of the plinths.  The mirror resting against the wall also rang conservatorial alarm bells for those with houses full of junior art critics.  This is a great show and Criena's work is still very affordable so get down here and check it out in person (you will need to as there are no images on the web).  This show runs until 29 June.

Points:  I think Proposal 8 will take the 3 points today. I like the glowing effect that pink perspex gives the plinth and I think these plywood constructions are turning into her signature style.  If I could work out where I would squeeze a plinth in at my place I think I would've called 'yahtzee' on it there and then.  2 points to luna hexagon 4 and 1 point to luna hexagon 3.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Nell at Roslyn Oxley & Alaska - 4/6 June

It was a big week for Nell fans.  Openings at Alaska on Tuesday (Let there be Robe) and Roslyn Oxley on Thursday (Gravest Hits 2013).  Would the Big Lamington be able to make both?  You betcha.

First up was Alaska.  As I understand it this is the same show that Nell had down in MONA, and I am thankful Alaska has brought it up here.  The room (image above, I think this was actually MONA, there were too many punters in my iphone snaps of the Alaska opening!) was decorated with crucifixes of paintbrushes and drumsticks (there were also a couple of interlopers I recognised from the Christmas project Nell did a few years back that the junior critics collected - from memory we had a heart, star and a leaf although I wish the kids had picked a ghost!), however the big focus was the AC/DC t-shirts reincarnated as a Buddhist robe.  In front of this was a pile of guitar picks will Nell spelt out in the AC/DC font (points, but not that original, we did the same thing on black t-shirts for my rugby club back in the day - for those about to ruck!).  I actually liked how this was described in the program - "Jesus said 'Let there be light', AC/DC said 'let there be rock', Nell says 'LET THERE BE ROBE!'".  I've said it before but Nell is of my vintage and we're from the same hometown and I agree that it is impossible to grow up in the '80s / '90s in regional NSW and not be into Acca Dacca.  I thought the Bon Scott tribute wall at Alaska was a particularly nice touch.  Here Nell has painted a wall white and put a cross with "Bon Scott 1946 - 1980" on the wall in the AC/DC font.  Punters are encouraged to graffiti it up and it will be interesting to go back and have a look at it now.

But before I do that we headed over to Roslyn Oxley for Gravest Hits.  There's more AC/DC here.  Pride of place are a series of 3 large works each containing 49 (7 x 7) Back in Black album sleeves.  That makes the work a massive 220 x 220 cm and for that size it was a pretty good deal.  This obviously continues the Bon Scott tribute link (the all black cover being a memorial to Bon Scott whose death by misadventure precluded his participation in this album).  Officially called 'More Sound Hours than can ever be repaid' (pictured below) these works are quite impressive, but I think that is as a result of the scale.  You need to be pretty close to see the differences in the condition of each individual cover.  On the other side of the gallery is a companion piece of 3 similar works featuring the Beatle's white album (which also answers my question as to why Nell didn't use Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap - great album but shite cover art, and would've clashed badly with the White Albums!).  Elsewhere there were other new works which repeated themes and images that Nell has used before (hence I guess the gravest hits reference).  My favourite of these other works was definitely 'girls and boys of the same name' (pictured top).  Is this meant to reference pac-man? Because I was really wishing I had a table top console version when I got home.

Points:  3 to the ghosts of 'girls and boys of the same name'.  This references the great tapestry Nell has at Deutsche Bank (let me put my love into you).  2 points to the Alaska install.  1 point to the Sound Hours for Back in Black.  I did love it but thought I could maybe re-do this as a 3 x 3 courtesy of the 'bay?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Emma Thomson at Galerie Pompom - 1 June

Next up for the Big Lamington editorial team was the quick trip from MOP to Galerie Pompom.  Despite being less than a 5 metre walk my junior critics are always quick to realise the change of scenery and call foul on Dad getting two activities in a row. Luckily for us there was lots to see inside and even a pretty cool cowhide rug on the floor that everyone dived on to to check if it was real.

Emma Thomson's solo exhibition Take your best shot offers so much more than the rather obvious double entendre from the show's title.  This is a series of female hunters from the western plains of NSW, mainly Dubbo.  Emma ran into a little bit of controversy early on as her residency out west was sponsored by the Government and apparently the animal liberationists were up in arms about taxpayers funding the killing of animals.  However, after checking the relevant legislation and realising everything was kosher the fuss really died down.  Which is a shame as this is a great show.  More people should want to come and see this, and controversy often helps.  To me, this show was channeling the Richard Prince Girlfriend series.  A quote about Richard Prince's work is appropriate here, "A lot of great art makes people angry at first.  Richard never made me angry.  But he did shock, he did startle me, and he did make me laugh." Check, check and check.  These hunting ladies aren't meant to represent the girl next door, they actually are the girls next door. Real deal Dubbo chicks. Emma goes a little over the top with the staging in a few of the shots, but all that does for me is evoke an even greater sense of the outrageous in a really (for Dubbo) everyday situation. This is on till 8 June so get down here or at least check out the show online. As per usual the folks from pompom have done a great job with a bang up essay and even an interview with the artist.

Points:  If it were up the kids I think the cowhide rug would've gone close, I think we need one at home.  In terms of the pictures I am going to give the 3 points to Anna (top), 2 points to Katrina (above) and 1 point to Rachel.

As Above | So Below at MOP - 1 June

So pinch and punch for the first day of the month and all that.  Sadly some bad calendar management saw me miss the opening night festivities of this show where the Kings Cross based Alaska Projects have sent their 1st XI into the beating heart of Chippendale to do a group show at MOP Projects.  I managed to swing by on the weekend with a couple of junior critics who were keen to take on the climbing frame at the nearby park so this was a quick stop.

MOP's non-commercial instincts are mostly charming but this show took it to another level.  Today's trick was a group show of 13 artists and a room sheet without numbers and actually a little out of order. It was quite tricky to navigate, as keeping with current contemporary art practices the titles of the work don't give much away.  My trick was to find someone whose style you knew and then try and work out the artists adjacent.  That took me to Philjames and his 'Untitled' oil on vintage cigarette card (pictured top).  I was at uni with Phil so I know we are of similar vintage.  Accordingly I loved the Battle of the Planets reference, a real blast from the past and rekindled much fond memories.  I really like how Phil does his daubing over existing works, I might need to pick up a few vintage pieces to let him work his magic on.  Next to Phil was Biljana Jancic whose 'Slalom' the room sheet described as being constructed of aluminium flashing.  Well it was shiny so I guess that was the flashing.  Sadly the TV wasn't working on my visit so I didn't get to check out the video works but near here was Kate Scardifield's Patterns for Penance.  I quite like some of Kate's work and wouldn't be too surprised if this joins the collection at some stage.  Kate also has a great website which gets a lot more ticks in my book.  I got a little confused in the middle of the space, not knowing which was Nick Collerson and Marilyn Schneider (even more embarrassing as I have one of Nick's paper leaves from Robin Gibson a few years ago), Tom Polo also squeezed a work in here but without being able to jog my memory on the MOP website (no photos, I am going to have to go more silly with iPhone on the next visit) I can't really place it.  Right near the front door were a couple of great works by Bridie Connell.  My youngest daughter liked As Above, So Below (pictured below, left) but mainly I think due to the mardi gras beads.  You know for $350 this was a complete bargain.  Her sign on the other hand, 'Queens X' (below right), whilst admittedly a funny intervention seemed a little too easy.

Points:  I will give 3 to Philjames' Mark from Battle of the Planets.  2 to Bridie Connell's sculpture and 1 to Kate Scardifield.