Thursday, October 30, 2014

Postgrad show at NAS - 30 October

Five years in a row for me checking out the NAS postgrad show.  That has to be some kind of record.  The new innovation this year is the online catalogue!  Finally.  These kids are racking up the HECS debt so the least the school could do is help out with some online promotion.  Here's a link to the site.  It's a little old school as they sort by major but give them time.  The better thing about the web presence is that the shop feature is fully operational.  Take that COFA and SCA!  Anyhoo, enough on the marketing, let's see the art ...

So the great thing about opening night, and the first few days, is that it is open season on the studios.  So you get to see a little more than the supposed highlights in the main gallery.  Quite often my favourite works are out in the studios and again I wasn't to be disappointed.  Out in the side gallery were some fantastic installations.  Elena Tory-Henderson's Big Yellow (plastic strips hanging across the gallery) and Liya Mirzaeva's Pink Rocks (pictured above) were memorable. In the painting studio a couple of artists seemed to have developed a signature, both Sarah Fitzgerald's geometric works (especially the big X) and Kylie Barber's broken down canvasses (the image I tweeted was her Gold Fold).  In the photography space the Mrs gave her tick of approval to Sarah Dugan for her iconic Australian rural scene (and I recognised her from last years grad show, congrats on the honours).  The main space seemed more cluttered this year, but maybe that was just due to the crowd milling about Jeff Wood's interactive toothbrush painting machine contraption (had to be seen to be comprehended). Certainly no artist seemed to pull away from the pack in my mind.  I liked Steven Latimer's still from Asphalt Dingoes (pictured top).  But then again you are talking to someone who has a pinterest board called 'cars with racing numbers'!  And who could miss the big happy portrait of Ian Thorpe, covered with sequins, by Murat Urlali. And on checking him out online I see he did a Tony Abbott in smugglers as well.  Bit of a swimwear theme, come down to North Bondi at 6am on Friday and you might just see the Big Lamington in his budgy smugglers! Now that is art.

Points:  I am going to reward making a statement, so 3 points to Elena Tory-Henderson for the Big Yellow installation.  I didn't take a good photo of it and sadly, as it is NFS, the image on the NAS site isn't very big, which is a long way of saying apologies for the bad image below!  2 points for homo-erotic mad maxness of Steve Latimer's car 69 (top).  1 point will go to Sarah Dugan for Encounter from the Badland series (above).  


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ohnesorge at pompom / Carsley at MOP - 25 October

After a long spell between drinks its twice in a fortnight to the dynamic duo of artist spaces that is galerie pompom / MOP Projects.  This time around it was all very organised.  Nana Ohnesorge in the galerie and Gary Carsley in the project space.  I've been looking forward to this so let's get going.

Nana has featured on the Big Lamington a few times.  I love her signature use of fluoro colours and the themes she keeps recalling in her work, iconic Australian imagery like Ned Kelly (top) and aboriginal people (above).  The above works (Aboriginal Man, Aboriginal Girl, Young Warrior, Young Woman and Aboriginal Man 2) are based on found prints, photos and illustrations.  These acrylic and pigment pen works look like screenprints but Nana looks to have handrawn the outline and then coloured in with the fluoro acrylics.  Great technique.  Definitely my favourites here and with the Big Lamington HQ extension drawing to an end in the coming weeks on the shortlist to christen the extension.  Nana continues her use of fluoro through collages, a very cool sculpture (which is itself a companion piece to the Bennelong portrait) and portraits of contemporary Australians.  Next door at MOP is a much more subtle affair.  Gary Carsley has taken inspiration from the statues in the Botanic Gardens and made wallpaper cutouts in their silhouettes.  Very Victorian parlour but so contemporary at the same time.  I was very intrigued with these, the idea was just so clever!  They look great en masse, and if you have a big blank wall I bet they would look great at home too.  I think maybe vinyl instead of wallpaper for outside? Gary the possibilities are endless!

Points:  Must rush and catch up with the blog so straight to the points.  3 to Aboriginal Man (the far left in the middle).  2 points will go to Gary for one of the flat statues, probably Autumn (pictured above). I am a sucker for Ned Kelly so 'Local Colour' (top) will grab another point for Nana.  Such is life.

Paula do Prado at Chasm Gallery - 25 October

What great weather in Sydney.  Quick trip out to Chippendale for me to see Pompom / MOP and also managed to visit Chasm Gallery thanks to some twitter logistics, with the artist Paula do Prado kindly arranging to have the gallery open in the afternoon.

And what a treat it was.  Paula shows primarily down in bleak city (at Gallerysmith) so it is good that she is having a solo show in Sydney (it was back in 2012 that we saw Paula at Cross Arts, time flies!).  This had a little bit of everything.  Some newer work, focusing on masks - both painting, collage and textiles, as well as some older works like her sepia siren series (one of which picked up the 2 points on that last visit and since then joined the Big Lamington collection).  I have to say, I was taken by the textile masks in particular (top and above).  Paula has combined different fabrics and then embellished with paint and some occasionally embroidery details.  Don't mind a bit of text in art and Paula has obliged on roughly half of them. Very tribal / oceanic aesthetic.  Have I mentioned previously I'd love to have a tiki bar? Well these would be great in it!

Points: 5 points in all to the 'Self Portrait as Mask' series.  3 to the image top and then I will give 2 points to the blue.  1 point will go to the Fox collage.  Great work Paula and a pleasure to meet you.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Big Lamington turns 4!

It was October 24 2010 when I kicked off this blog.  So today the Big Lamington turns 4!  It is interesting to go back to that first post and see if, just like Jon Bon, I've kept the faith.  And for the most part yes.  Unfortunately, there's no gift shop at the Big Lamington yet, so that is one promise that I haven't delivered.  But I promised I'd check out "galleries and museums in and around Sydney with the occasional jaunt to foreign climes".  Let's see.  So far over 250 posts, the lion share of those are Sydney with the National Art School topping the charts with 21 posts.  There's been the trip to Hobart for MONA.  A trip to Brisneyland for GoMA, an extended period in New Zealand and the recent trip to New York to mix things up a little.  So that is the main goal all ticked off.  I hope whoever has stumbled upon this blog has enjoyed some of the posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them.  For me? It is a great way to make me think, at least a little bit, about the art I see.  It is also a great tool for answering the question 'Have I seen that artist before?', thank you handy blogger search function!

Since the get-go I have been handing out points in the footy coach 'best & fairest' style; 3, 2 and 1.  Initially I promised a Big Lamington pewter mug to the artist with the most points.  Well, I thought I should go back and see who has amassed the most points, I won't do the the Dally M round by round scorecard, but I will tweet the top 5 during November.  Better get on twitter, even the Motel Sisters are (pictured above from their MCA performance).

I also wanted to see what others have thought of the blog.  For this I had to swap my strategy of usually stalking artists to actually stalking myself online to see what punters have been saying.  And it was a rewarding bit of research.  I've really enjoyed seeing the Big Lamington name pop up on a few artist CV's - thanks to all (the first time I saw it I felt a tinge of respectability wash over me!).  My favourite Facebook shout out was probably the Nell / Lionel Bawden exchange above, love Nell's work and so am very pleased the Big Lamington is on her radar.  As a fellow Maitlander can you please design a Big Pumpkin for our hometown?  With that background from regional NSW I must say another real highlight was being quoted in the Walgett Daily News! Some extracts below:

So what's in store for the 5th year?  Well more of the same really - random art musings from some semi-anonymous punter with a little bit of spare time.  Hopefully the Sydney art scene continues to be interesting.  I've seen lots of galleries close, lots of galleries open, and even seen some galleries open and close.  I'll still be front and centre at the art school shows which I find so enjoyable and I will still try and call it as I see it.  But I do make this promise.  Tea-towels will be available in the gift shop within 12 months!!

Thanks all for reading.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Everything at M.Contemporary - 18 October

So much on at M. Contemporary at the moment.  We were swinging by to check out the emerging artist show, but they also have jewellery, some remnants of their last show and maybe a bit of stock room going on as well. Too hard to classify, we're calling this 'Everything'.

So no room sheets in the main space here, you have to pay attention to the walls.  Except for the Lynne Roberts-Goodwin photo of the mountain in the front room. For that work you have to ask at the front desk. Well, that was my strategy anyways.  I had dragged along the 5 year old art critic who was a little edgy as we'd just borrowed a Star Wars dvd from Paddo library and he had some different culture in mind for Saturday afternoon. Luckily for us a diversion in the form of Wong Ho Lun's ceramic figures sprung into view. These works all included mini stormtroopers in each piece, although there were an especial feature of 'Clone' (image top).  That said, Wong, as even my 5 year old will tell you, there is a world of difference between a Clone Trooper and a Storm Trooper. Geez! With that we made our ways upstairs to see the emerging show that had been our goal. Now I didn't even know there was an upstairs. And no wonder.  It is such a well hidden space you actually have to go outside the gallery and then walk up the outside back stairs to get into the upstairs space. For some reason room sheets are also the flavour of the day up here and this reminds me it is actually .M rather than M. which I will never get used to (and no wonder I have struggles googling this place!).  In this show was a small Eloise Cato and a very big Anna Cuthill (go NAS!) along with quite a few similar looking works from Tom Blake, a Will Coles concrete bag, and some interesting photos from Tanya Dyhin and Kai Wasikowski. Anna Cuthill's dye sublimation printo on polyester fabric is a big digi print curtain (Rest Area 31 Federal Highway, pictured above in iPhone panorama), and it is 3m x 9m. And it is an edition of 3! Loved it. Don't know where I have a 9m long space in my house but you this does get me thinking all manner of possibilities. Again there were some unlabelled works upstairs which turned out to be the stockroom.  Chris Uphues colourful love hearts stood out as did a few of Conrad Botes works. After a good explore of this space and another look through the downstairs on the way out we certainly could say we had seen everything.  Or at least enough.

Points:  So I used that handy search function to see why I remembered Anna's name.  She's got points before! 1 point for the massive Milk print at the NAS postgrad show.  Looks like she is making large format her signature.  3 points today for this vast effort.  2 points will go to Wong for the Clone Stormtrooper Ceramic. I will give 1 point to Chris Uphues for these stockroom beauties (pictured above). What can I say, I love stuff packaged up in bubble wrap! Lastly, and not wanting to get all house & garden here but how good is .M courtyard going in spring? Great work with whatever those flowers are.  We have this aspect at our terrace and Mrs BL would love our courtyard looking like this. My 5 year old also rated the hanging sculpture as the best work in joint. Nicely.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

French & Marshall at Chalk Horse - 16 October

Opening night at Chalk Horse and who happened to be walking by?  You guessed it.  This guy.  A good reminder of an opening night here is the crowd milling about outside on William Street, a drinking and a smoking.  After a couple of quick hellos to some familiar faces it was downstairs to check out the wares.

In the front room is Will French's show Uno Momento and around the corner you'll find Addison Marshall's It's What you Don't See.  I was a little disoriented upon entering and actually walked all over one Will's works, a coiled piece of rope on the floor called 'Attension', yours for $3200.  Feeling a bit self-conscious I scurried over to check out his photographs and then calmed down when I saw another half a dozen punters step all over the art!  His photos (pictured top) document a performance undertaken a few weeks ago when he got a plane to write 'This will never last'.  Quite.  Great idea and I always like seeing an artist merchandise performance art.  Other works included a random steel pennant which looked like oversize castle lego hanging from a wooden pole attached to a mirror on the ceiling, aka 'Half Masked'.  So you can see this had everything!  My preference was the skywriting which was a novel idea, and apparently also using themes of the momento mori according to the catalogue essay.  Yeah, I can see that.  I'm liking this even more.  Speaking of likes, I thought Addison Marshall's sculptures were pretty cool.  These were ceramic works that were variously freestanding, attached to the wall, and hanging from the ceiling.  I didn't really get the titles, but reading the accompanying essay learnt he has taken them from self-help books.  I am still none the wiser.  I did like the pieces hanging from the ceiling but these were hard to take a snap of on opening night so I'll illustrate the show with mainly pieces on the wall.  I thought the use of coloured thread on variously white or coloured ceramic was a great touch.  Gave a real luminosity to some of the pieces.  I just may steal this technique for the Easter Show ...

Points: Tough one.  Had I looked up on the evening of 22nd September and seen the art in the sky and then on the walls tonight Will French would've had a lock on the 3.  As it is, the photos are cool but they are one step removed as documentation of a performance, 2 points to Will.  Addison will take the 3 points for Sink or Swim and the 1 point for the Stress Relief series (pic above, they were actually 10 in all).  These were 9cm diameter and only $200 each.  Nicely.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Banyard, Beckingham and Whalen at MOP/Pompom - 11 October

Time flies.  It's October already and turns out this is my first trip to the double act that is Galerie Pompom and MOP projects this year.  How do I know?  Well, the layout change.  What was formerly MOP is now Pompom and vice versa.  They have also cut a handy hole in the wall between the two spaces to cut down on attendant requirements.  Its been like this all year apparently.  Don't I have my finger on the pulse!

There are three artists showing at the moment and you have to check the room sheets to see who is representing whom.  Jodie Whalen is firmly in the MOP project space, Kylie Banyard is in MOP and then Kate Beckingham is also in the main space as a "MOP Projects exhibition hosted by Galerie Pompom".  All clear?  Let's go.  The first art you see is Beckingham's.  Interesting pieces.  Apparently photos from a residency in Iceland with some later studio works inspired by the trip.  I spot a white flag.  It is apparently showing (also in white) the international symbol for S.O.S - not sure Kate enjoyed the trip to Iceland!  Another piece that caught my eye was Ring (pictured above).  This was a wooden gymnastics ring hanging from the ceiling.  Don't know what it is supposed to mean but the minimal aesthetic did look good (and also as someone with relatively full walls I could see this hanging from my ceiling!).  On to Kylie Banyard whose interiors seemed a little trippy - they are all focused on handmade houses (pictured top, 'Somewhere').  I thought I saw some John Coburn references in the Bell Chamber but the interiors are all from the US as I understand.  I also liked the Cosmic Chimes but maybe that is because I used to ring the bells at church - true story! This was the last weekend on view and this show was a sellout so great work from Kylie.  Moving into the front room you are confronted with seven similarly sized collages (all 21 x 29cm)  I am disappointed I didn't bring one of my junior critics as they would have loved the Hello Kitty! aesthetic that Jodie is using here.  A little bit Murakami mixed in there as well.  Not sure I get the title (each one called 'Everyday is a job well done', I think #7 or #4 is pictured below).

Points:  Tough choices for the points.  I liked aspects of each of these shows.  3 points will go to Kate Beckingham for the Ring.  I also liked her flag but white on white was a little too subtle for me.  2 points to Jodie Whalen for the happy collages. 1 point will go to Kylie for Bell Chamber, which reminds me, I need to get back into bellringing ...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Richard Prince's Instagrams at Gagosian.

Long time readers would know that whilst the Big Lamington keeps its finger on the pulse of The Arts in Sydney that I have a very soft spot for Prince, Richard.  I've said it before that one of my all time favourite images is his untitled (Cowboy), of which both the AGNSW and Patrick Bateman have a copy.  Now for those that have come in late, or don't read the global arts press he has an amazing exhibition on right now at Gagosian in NY.  I wish I was in town to see it in the flesh as, being a follower of Prince on both twitter and instagram, I have unwittingly been witnessing this exhibition come together.  To avoid me having to give you all chapter and verse, go read Jerry Saltz's awesome review here.  Apart from being a top art critic, and personal friend of the Big Lamington, he is also a Prince fanboy so I share his views.

Prince has, for those that haven't worked it out.  Taken appropriation to a whole new level in the iphone age.  He started by just taking screen shots of peoples profiles on twitter.  Then posting it as "Portrait of [  ]".  Then he started finding images on instagram, adding comments under his own name, then taken screen shots of those posts.  In his show at Gagosian he has printed out those screen shots on canvas.  163 x 124 cm canvasses.  In other words BIG.  To top it all off, when the exhibition went up, Prince deleted his instagram feed.  What a marketer!  Luckily the Big Lamington had been screenshotting in the background along the way, examples pictured above & below.  Now one of the best bits of this show is the Gagosian press release which states "All images are subject to copyright.  Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction."  Righto, gallery install view at bottom.  I tweeted a sneaky pic of a Richard Prince canvas from his Canal Zone show at Gagosian in May and got a great response tweet from artist - "I want to be a hypocrite".  Love it.  He deleted that tweet, but not before I took a screenshot.  Canvasses available shortly ...

Points - Prince gets them all. Hey AGNSW, when are we bringing this genius out to Aus?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ingenious Inhabitants at William Street Windows - 9 October

So I am still making the daily trek into the City from Paddington via shanks pony.  Which means I get to walk past the William Street windows on a daily basis.  Their current show, Ingenious Inhabitants, is on until 12 October.  Will this be as good as their last show?  Let's find out ...

So first off, I think there are a few less artists this time around.  The windows certainly feel a little emptier.  Which means you can't miss Ramesh Nithiyendran's work.  His oil, acrylic, enamel and resin on plywood works are big, bright and a little out there in subject.  I've also only just discovered their names, 'My Birth' (pictured top) and 'Self-portrait masturbating' - I never considered that moment as worthy of art before. Performance art maybe, but not a self portrait!  Next to this was Monica Brooks' work, 'Besia's Glasses' (pictured below).  This looked fairly plain, and is usually the type of thing I would slag off a bit, especially when I am in a narky mood.  But I didn't mind this.  Yes, it looks like you could pull it off for about $80 from your nearest SVdeP but the backstory is quite interesting. I couldn't work out whether Monica or her aunt was the collector, but I've got that bug as well so this could be in line for some points!  At the other end of the same window was Amber Boardman.  Amber will have "achieved [her] goal if someone feels something, anything at all" about the work. I like where she is going here.  To me it recalls the ambition of Andres "I like to make pieces that make people feel something.  Any reaction is better than indifference" Serrano of piss-christ fame.  So no pressure then, how do I feel about these works? Well, to be honest, I'm not feeling all that much.  Maybe it needed to be bigger?  Onto the next window where it was all about the installations.  These looked pretty interesting, but the window gallery does provide a limitation as you can't get as close as you'd maybe like to study the detail in some of the works.  The pile of what looked like green turds for instance (Peter Nelson's 'Extensions of a No Place', pictured above) actually turned out to be 3D printed ceramics when you read the online guide.  Gee, I'm not sure that is why we invented 3D printing!  The accompanying video is tied into in a way the casual viewer will get but only the art historian will appreciate when they read the artist statement.

Points:  You can probably guess this exhibit didn't really grab me like their last one.  3 points will go to Monica's glass collection - let me know if you want to borrow my tiki mugs one day.  2 points to Ramesh, who should probably stop painting himself wacking off, and 1 to Peter Nelson, whose sculptures I think you need to get up closer to rather than being kept at arms length.