Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize - 26 October

With the Mrs working a weekend, yours truly was the one at Council chambers with three junior critics racing around the exhibition on Saturday.  There was quite a bit to see, but helpfully you can see it again online here (and in the flesh until 10 November).

A couple of familiar names here, Joan Ross, Troy Emery and Peter Cooley all submitting works emblematic of their quite distinctive styles (Peter's Cassowary, above, was pretty cool if you like cassowaries. I do).  Likewise Julia Deville.  She is owning taxidermy at the moment and her 'Sorrow' (image top) of a stillborn deer sitting on an antique silver platter won the prize.  Her work is still priced competitively and its yours for $7.9k (or maybe not, is this prize acquisitive?  I can't remember).  I didn't recognise it immediately, but Donna Marcus has a work in her this year (Khrushchev + Nixon) that references her Big Lamington 3 point winner from 2011.  Other highlights included Dani Marti whose bead encrusted rope kind of made me think of an Angela Ellsworth (think pin bonnets) door snake.  There were quite a few works challenging the 80cm size rule, like David Jensz's plane space (79cm in 2 dimensions) and this large confusing wooden crib from some guy with a made up name.  What else?  Well I can't help mentioning Kirsteen Peiterse's Downpour.  Primarily because it reminded me of that random 80s kids TV show Fraggle Rock.  Those acrylic rods look just like doozer constructions.  Other prizes?  Stephen Bird and Michelle Ussher won Highly Commended's for their pieces and Uri Aeurbach won something called the Plinth Prize.

Points:  Loath as I usually am to actually agree with the judges verdict I think Julia gets my 3 points as well, well done.  2 points to Darren McGinn's Building Blocks (above) and 1 point to Abdullah Syed's woven dollar (if you follow me on tweeter you would have already seen this.  Damn, stop missing out on the fresh stuff!) which I really liked but am not so sure it wouldn't have been better just framed instead of being contortioned into flying rug for the rules of sculpture.  Well done Woollahra Council.  Good to see (some) of my rates supporting this.

Friday, October 18, 2013

2013 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship for Emerging Artists at Artspace - 18 October

I gather this award is supposed to give an emerging artist's career a leg up (& their bank balance a good one too - it is $30k).  It certainly should take up a few lines on the resume as the title is a mouthful.  I came down to Woolloomooloo on a Friday lunchtime to check out the entrants and take down a Curry Tiger from Harry's cafe de wheels.

It was art first and a few familiar sights all around.  JD Reforma's installation was similar to something I saw at MOP, again some Jonny Niesche's work I think I recognised from Firstdraft (see image top, JD on the left and the glitter is Jonny's).  Then I realised you mightn't have had to make anything new for this and just submit work representative of your career.  This makes a bit more sense.  The winner of the fellowship was Jamie North (installation view above), whose work reprised a recent show at Sarah Cottier.  It is pretty interesting but I do wonder at the conservational aspects of keeping the plants alive.  I'm not sure my gardening skills are up to it.  Apart from more familiar names I also liked David Capra who rocks another flag (or banner really) in his video Intercession, Marian Tubbs randomly framed triptych (which looked like a single work had been framed and then sliced into 3 non-symmetrical pieces) - points here, always good to see something new and Mark Shorter's video where he acts like a white feathered yowie on Mount Wellington in Hobart.

Points:  3 to Jonny Niesche.  The more I see the glitter, the more I like it.  What is that theory about familiarity again?  2 points to Marian Tubbs for rethinking the standard approach to framing & display - it is always hard to do something different (at least this was the first time I had seen it). 1 point to Mark Shorter for the totes bizarro video.  It might have scored higher but I did think it a trifle unnecessary to see his junk.