11
Oct
09

Review: ‘Sweet Complicity’ by eX de Medici at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 30th September – 24th October 2009

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eX de Medici. 'Tooth and claw' 2009

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eX de Medici
‘Tooth and claw’
2009

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eX de Medici. 'Tooth and Claw (detail) 2009

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eX de Medici
‘Tooth and claw’ (detail)
2009

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eX de Medici. 'Tooth and claw' (detail) 2009

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eX de Medici. 'Tooth and claw' (detail) 2009

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eX de Medici
‘Tooth and claw’ (details)
2009

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Is it sinful to say that an Armalite rifle can be voluptuously seductive? Not in the hands of artist eX de Medici!

Taking a variety of contemporary military high-powered weapons (Armalite AR30 Tactical .308 Sniper, Modified AK 47, Blackwater AR15, Patriot Ordinance P45 .223 for example) eX de Medici’s armaments have a steely presence softened and consumed by multitudinous garlands of traditional tattoo ‘flash’ iconography (flowers, skulls, bows, stars, Chinese dragons, waves and swallows repeated in Escher-like patterns) and contorted skeletons. Using individual colour palettes for each of the three large pen, ink and mica on paper works in the exhibition, eX subverts the masculine symbology of gun culture and decomposes it within an ornamentation of deathly desire – new compositions in the dance of death: ‘U hurt me Baby, U Fkd me up gd, the hole tht u made (cross) me Ded …’

In other less skilled artist’s hands the subject matter could become cliched and trite but here de Medici balances the disparate elements in her compositions and brings the subject matter alive – sinuously jumping off the paper, entwining the viewer in their delicious ironies, all of us sweetly complicit in the terror war (send more meat, send more meat!), fighting tooth and nail to keep urban realities at arm’s length. The dark desires that these works contain possess an aesthetic beauty that swallows us up so that we, too, become ‘Barbarians All’. Highly recommended!

Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Installation view of 'Sweet Complicity' by eX de Medici at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

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Installation view of ‘Sweet Complicity’ by eX de Medici at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

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eX de Medici. 'Send more meat' 2009

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eX de Medici
‘Send more meat’
2009

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eX de Medici. 'Send more meat' (detail) 2009

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eX de Medici
‘Send more meat’ (detail)
2009

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“Sweet complicity is eX de Medici’s first and much anticipated exhibition at Karen Woodbury Gallery. The exhibition will comprise of three monumental pen, ink and mica works on archival paper. These works examine recurring themes in her practice such as power, war, death and violence via a decorative feminine veneer and aesthetic.

The recurrent use of symbolism in the form of weapons, skulls and garlands in her work re-appear with the addition of Chinese imagery (Imperial golden dragons, China’s five-pointed star, and the use of chrysthanthemums). These potent works display a latent interest in scientific illustration and allude to de Medici’s characteristic stylised tattoo motifs that stems from her work as a tattooist. The almost obsessive repetition of pattern and immense detailing display eX’s dedication to her practice through the strong mental and physical commitment required to complete such awe-inspiring artworks that seduce the viewer.

There is an unmistaken polemic tone in de Medici’s practice that cannot be ignored. Different cultures, identities, actions and consequences are represented and centered on objects of warfare, allowing for disguised and layered political and moral statements.

de Medici lives and produces much of her work in the nation’s capital Canberra. Streams of influences inform the work; Canberra’s political and physical agendas, research resourced from various national institutions such as the CSIRO Entomological and Taxonomy Division, the National Library of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. She has recently returned from the Solomon Islands where she was chosen as an official war artist.”

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website

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eX de Medici. 'American Sex/Funky Beat Machine' 2009

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eX de Medici
‘American Sex/Funky Beat Machine’
2009

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eX de Medici. 'American Sex/Funky Beat Machine' (detail) 2009

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eX de Medici
‘American Sex/Funky Beat Machine’ (detail)
2009

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Karen Woodbury Gallery
4, Albert Street
Richmond, Vic 3121

Opening hours: Wed – Sat 11-5pm

Karen Woodbury Gallery website

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3 Responses to “Review: ‘Sweet Complicity’ by eX de Medici at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, Melbourne”


  1. 1 Ebit4Life
    January 11, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I just saw Tooth and Claw today it is a great piece of artwork, I think the way that the artist had made these pieces of artwork if magnificent

  2. October 23, 2009 at 6:11 am

    having just seen this today, I am by turns inspired, speechless, and awestruck…


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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