06
Mar
09

Opening 2: ‘New work’ by Richard Grigg at Block Projects, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 5th March – 28th March 2009

Opening: Thursday 5th March 2009

 

Richard Grigg. 'New work' opening night crowd at Block Projects, Melbourne

 

Richard Grigg
New Work exhibition
Opening night crowd at Block Projects, Melbourne

 

 

Moving down Flinders Lane we ascended to the fourth floor and entered the beautiful light filled gallery space at Block Projects to view the ‘new work’ of Richard Grigg. An eclectic mix of sculpture, painting, drawing, and collage was presented. Preparatory drawings for one of the sculptures, a pencil drawing of two old men debating, a canvas of a camera in tempera, gold leaf and gesso vie for attention with the two standout pieces of the show: No more songs at funerals/hero today gone tomorrow (2007) and He can’t read well because of his horns (2009), surrealist sculptures both made of compressed cardboard (below).

These two sculptures are fantastic: the first forming a skull made out of birds perched on a cross surmounted by a bird holding an olive branch, the title deliciously ironic; the second a stooped gargoyle like creature with a massive extrusion for a nose, hanging tongue dripping saliva and phantasmagorical protrusions emerging from it’s head making it impossible for the creature to ‘read well’ in both the metaphorical and literal sense. This is a beautiful but grotesque primordial fantasy with the horns putting roots down in the soil like the roots of a mangrove tree, a gold leaf flower blooming at their outer reaches, the creature exhausted by the effort of trying to keep his head up.

Unfortunately the rest of the exhibition lacked core strength: conceptually the show is not strong. Evidence of beauty in decay and concerns about the process of ageing vie with environmental contexts; slippages in time (The Moment Between) contrast with cameras and their sight lines; Pinocchio lies under a shroud with a camera trapped in the back of a horse drawn cart (Dream of Rest). Apparently, the cameras do not signify the capturing of the frozen moment of beauty but they are there because the artist’s father collected cameras. To me they seemed to be defining the nature of our interaction with the world, the surface of the image controlling the interface between technology and earth.

One of the problems with undertaking an exhibition titled New Work is the assumption that the new work being produced hangs together holistically and tells a not necessarily linear narrative story but one that the viewer can investigate, question, and tease the pertinent concepts from – something the viewer can hang their hat on (perhaps the horns of a dilemma!) This was not the case here. The bits n bobs approach of this exhibition falls slightly flat but go see the show for the two sculptures – they alone are worth the effort!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Block Projects for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Richard Grigg. 'No more songs at funerals/hero today gone tomorrow' 2007-2009

 

Richard Grigg
No more songs at funerals/hero today gone tomorrow
2007-2009
Layered boxboard, wood dowel, glue, pine, black gloss enamel, Perspex

 

Richard Grigg. 'He can't read well because of his horns' 2009

 

Richard Grigg
He can’t read well because of his horns
2009
Layered boxboard, gold leaf, wood dowel, glue, pine, black gloss enamel, wood stain

 

Richard Grigg. 'Dream of Rest' 2007

 

Richard Grigg
A Late Night Story
2007
pencil on paper

 

Richard Grigg. 'Older than the value of beauty' 2009

 

Richard Grigg
Older than the value of beauty (detail)
2009
Tempera, gold leaf and gesso on board

 

Richard Girgg. 'Cloak' 2008

 

Richard Grigg
Cloak
2008
Tempera, gold leaf and gesso on board

 

 

Block Projects
Level 1 / 252 Church Street
Richmond Victoria 3121 Australia
Phone: +61 3 9429 0660

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 11am – 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 5pm

formerly at

Level 4, 289 Flinders Lane,
Melbourne 3000

Block Projects website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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