Alan Constable and the highlights of the Melbourne Art Fair 2010

August 2010



Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956)
Untitled (Hasselblad)



I finally succumbed and bought myself a wonderful Alan Constable ceramic camera from the Arts Project Australia stand at the Melbourne Art Fair on Saturday (see photographs below – click on the photographs for a larger version of the image). I first saw Alan’s ceramic work at his solo exhibition called Clay Cameras at Helen Gorie Galerie in August 2009 (see photographs from the exhibition) and was instantly attracted to the tactility and beauty of the work. Months later I saw more of his cameras at Sophie Gannon Gallery in Richmond and now at the Art Fair. Third time lucky, I found a stunning medium format Hasselblad in a beautiful two tone glaze that really spoke to me in terms of it’s form and aesthetic appeal. Constable’s work has really impinged on my consciousness and the piece has a special resonance for me.

“Constable’s ceramic works reflect a life-long fascination with old cameras, which began with his making replicas from cardboard cereal boxes at the age of eight. The sculptures are lyrical interpretations of technical instruments, and the artist’s finger marks can be seen clearly on the clay surface like traces of humanity. In this way, Alan Constable cameras can be viewed as extensions of the body, as much as sculptural representations of an object.”

Arts Project Australia text


Highlights of the Art Fair were the outstanding paintings of Juan Ford at Dianne Tanzer Gallery, the mesmeric video work of Daniel Crooks at Anna Schwartz Gallery (who I think is one of the best artists in the country – see more images of his work from his Intersection exhibition), the delicately layered and outrageously beautiful collage work of Peter Madden at Ryan Renshaw Gallery, the layered transcapes of Janet Lawrence at Arc One Gallery and the cosmological paintings of Lara Merrett at Karen Woodbury Gallery. Brickbats for the most overblown presentation must go to Danie Mellor at Michael Reid for a truly over the top performance that just left one speechless.

It was a real pleasure to meet so many gallery directors and managers face to face including Gina Lee at Niagara Galleries, James Makin at James Makin Gallery, Matt Glen at Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney, Paul Greenway from Gagprojects, Berlin and Ken Fehily from Fehily Contemporary, Melbourne.

Finally, I visited the Notfair 2010 exhibition in Richmond, a disappointing group exhibition of 30 artists selected from over 300 artists suggested by curators from around the country. As with many group exhibitions that lack thematic development the work was all over the place, in every media imaginable. The absolute standout work were the two antique stereoscopic cabinet and LED light animations of Chris Henschke from the duo Topologies. While the idea for the exhibition is to be applauded (that of presenting an exhibition of unknown or little known artists that may or may not be represented by a gallery) perhaps the next exhibition should have fewer artists to give the work chance to speak for the artist instead of just being a token gesture.

Dr Marcus Bunyan



Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956)
Untitled (Hasselblad)




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1 Response to “Alan Constable and the highlights of the Melbourne Art Fair 2010”

  1. August 10, 2010 at 12:39 am

    I’ve attended artist exhibitions almost like what you describe for the Notfair 2010. I too get lost in the eclectic collection instead of the artists work. I understand highlighting unknown artists work, and trying to get in as many as the event can handle, but it gives a sense of ‘sidewalk’ art instead of great, unique creativeness of our precious artists.

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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, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor 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.

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