Posts Tagged ‘gallery 101

06
Mar
10

End of an Era: The Closing of Gallery 101 in March 2010

March 2010

 

It is with sadness that I hear of the closing of Gallery 101 in March this year for the closing of a prominent city gallery hurts the whole arts community. To the director, Diana Gold, and curators Martina Copley and Cate Massola, I wish them all the best in their new endeavours, whatever they may be. I thank them for their time, conversation, insight and knowledge about the art scene in Melbourne. Au revoir!

Marcus Bunyan

 

 

 

 

“To friends and colleagues in the Melbourne Visual Art community, it is with regret that we write to tell you that Gallery 101 will close in March this year.

Major rejuvenation works have recently been instigated by the owners of 101 Collins Street within the main ground floor entry lobbies of the building adjacent to Gallery 101. To coincide with this renovation program, 101 Collins Street has recently decided that the space that has operated as Gallery 101 will close effective from March 13th.

Gallery 101 has operated as a unique model in a corporate building since the building’s establishment. In 1992 Dianna Gold was appointed Director/Curator to run the Gallery space on behalf of 101 Collins Street. For nearly 20 years, the owners and management have supported the Gallery which has provided a forum for emerging and established artists. The formal exhibition program began with an acquisitive art prize called ARTWORKZ, which ran for 5 years and was fully sponsored by 101 Collins Street to begin their art collection.

Gallery 101 has been identified as one of the most beautiful gallery spaces in one of the most respected corporate buildings in Australia. The Gallery has contributed to the profile of 101 Collins Street, liaised with tenants in the building and played a significant role in the arts community. Gallery 101 is a respected commercial gallery and member of the ACGA. With over thirty represented artists, Gallery 101 has showcased an ongoing program of diverse contemporary art exhibitions to a broad local and national audience.

The end of its life as a gallery marks the very significant role the artists via many exhibitions have contributed to the rich artistic cultural tapestry in the City of Melbourne.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those who have supported our artists and the Gallery.”

Press release from Gallery 101 [Online] Cited 03/03/2010 no longer available online

 

 

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04
Aug
09

Review: ‘Intersections’ by Sarah Amos at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 22nd July – 15th August 2009

 

Sarah Amos. 'Red Walk' 2009

 

Sarah Amos
Red Walk
2009
Collagraph and Monoprint

 

 

An interesting exhibition of Collagraphs (a type of collage printmaking)1 and etchings is presented by Sarah Amos at Gallery 101, Melbourne, work that is full of delicate coloured layering, topographical mapping and nodal, rhizomic and Spirogyra-type structures.

The ‘flux’ of the work, it’s musical cadence if you like, is the fusion of palimpsestic markings as viewed from the air – the dotted contours, the ploughed fields, the beautiful spatial layering that has an almost Kandinsky-like effect – with the aesthetics of Japanese paper, matt black colour (that subtly glistens on close inspection) and the tactility of the surface of the work. These intersections produce images that have some outstanding resonances: vibrations of energy that ebb and flow around the gallery space. These works are captivating!

For me the simpler images were the more successful especially the series named Intersections with their muted tonalities, shifting colours and topographical structure. They also reminded me of the black and white aerial landscape photography of Emmet Gowin (see below).

While I am unsure of the validity of the ‘landscape’/’urban lens’ ‘urban temperature’ references (which I found unnecessary and slightly irrelevant) these works and their synaptic interfaces must be experienced. For the viewer they hold a strange attraction as you stand before them drawn, inexorably, into their penumbral spaces. Recommended.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Many thankx to gallery 101 for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

1. “A Collagraph print is a collage printmaking technique and is a form of Intaglio printing. The collagraph plate is printed in the same way as etchings, but also include the basic principle of relief printing and can be printed either as intaglio or relief.

The term collagraph refer to a collage board where the materials are assembled on a flat base or plate (matrix) to form a relief block with different surface levels and textures.

Collagraph plates are created by sticking and gluing materials like textured paper or fabric onto the plate and then coat it with varnish or acrylic medium afterwards to protect the materials.

Anonymous. “Printmaking: Collagraphs/Collage Blocks,” on the ArtistTerms.com website [Online] Cited 03/08/2009 no longer available online

 

Sarah Amos. 'Storm Loading' 2009

 

Sarah Amos
Storm Loading
2009
Etching and hand drawing on Shiramine Japanese paper

 

Installation view of 'Intersections' by Sarah Amos at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Installation view of 'Intersections' by Sarah Amos at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

Installation views of Intersections by Sarah Amos at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

Emmet Gowin. 'Harvest traffic over agricultural pivot near Hermiston, Orgeon, 1991' 1991

 

Emmet Gowin (American, b. 1941)
Harvest traffic over agricultural pivot near Hermiston, Orgeon, 1991
1991
Gelatin silver print

 

Sarah Amos. 'Intersections 8' 2009

 

Sarah Amos
Intersections 8
2009
Collagraph with gouache

 

 

“(Flux) – where a total electric or magnetic field passes through a surface.”

 

My work is a fusion of both land and cityscape. I am interested in interpreting spatially dynamic, real and half forgotten landscapes through an urban lens. New to this body of work is my interest in the visual graphics of scientific diagrams in which dynamic and informative landscapes are drafted into linear minimal lines. I have absorbed this distilled language, translating it into an architectural and organic landscape where the intersections of line, volume and space are constantly in flux. This obscure knowledge is pared down, simplified and ordered into a clean analysis ready for instant translation.

The Australian landscape is central to my work and influences my use of colour, idiosyncratic marks and open space. These works are personalised maps of accumulated information, like printed histories, that record the duelling intersections where the weathers of the landscape and the urban temperature have begun to take on new and vital immediacy.”

Sarah Amos, 2009

Text from the Gallery 101 website [Online] Cited 01/08/2009 no longer available online

 

Sarah Amos. 'Lute' 2009

 

Sarah Amos
Lute
2009
Collagraph

 

 

Gallery 101

This gallery is no longer open.

Sarah Amos website

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17
Jun
09

Review: ‘Blight’ photographs by Josephine Kuperholz at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 3rd June – 27th June 2009

 

Josephine Kuperholz. 'Themognatha pascoci' 2008

 

Josephine Kuperholz
Themognatha pascoci
2008
Woven hand coloured silver gelatin photographic image

 

 

Josephine Kuperholz presents a beautifully engineered set of photographs in her exhibition Blight at Gallery 101, Melbourne. Featuring hand coloured silver gelatin photographs of endangered Australian insects sourced from the Entomology collection of the Victoria Museum, Kuperholz literally weaves multiple narratives into the photographs. The execution (an apt word for the circumstances of extinction facing these insects) of these images is fastidious, the weaving superlative, almost clinical.

The layering of the photographs disrupts their surface tension. There is a disjunction between the dead specimen and the singular photograph of it, a disruption of the smooth surface of the photograph by the hand colouring and a further fragmentation of the original photograph by cutting and weaving. Through these processes the photographs become intertextual in their construction, assemblages, creating new tissues of past citations: animal, colour, silver, artist, text, photograph, environment. At their best the work subverts the concept of the text as self-sufficient and hermetically sealed, blurring the outlines of the fixed image, “dispersing its image of totality into an unbounded, illimitable tissue of connections and associations, paraphrases and fragments, texts and con-texts.”1

Kuperholz’s mutations, ‘differance’ in Derrida’s terminology, produce spaces that are both fluid and fixed at one and the same time; neither her nor there. Though the original specimens and photographs are already narrativised, already textualised, Kuperholz disrupts this marking, the continual reiteration of norms, by weaving a lack of fixity into her objects; in her reconceptualisations of space and matter Kuperholz redefines the significations of the body of the animal in the fold of inscription, through a process of materialisation. Kuperholz attempts to ground these re-inscriptions through the naming of these disrupted surfaces, equating the images back to the scientific labels for the original specimen, Trapezites eliena for example (see below), and through the box frames surrounding the work that are much like museum cases. Unfortunately I found the constant reference to the habitat of the insect, it’s Latin name inscribed in pencil under the images and the use of plain brown box frames somewhat irritating. These tropes are not necessary for the work is strong enough to stand on it’s own without having to tell the viewer what to think.

The singular beetles (as seen above) are beautiful images and the multiple images where the weaving intermingles, the self decentred and multiple, fluttering and vibrating like the strobing of a time lapse photograph caught in three-dimensional space, are fantastic. Other photographs are less successful: the reflected beetles are a little passe, while the grid photographs of insects lack presence and intensity (see bottom installation photograph below). Where the concept works it is pushed hard, the fragmentation and interweaving causes an anxiety of identity and a meditation on the problematic nature of existence, revealing the changing sizes, shapes and rhythms of space and structure.

Perhaps a loosening of the rigid structure surrounding the works (the text, the frame, the incantations) would have let the photographs ascend into the ether, further releasing the work from the constraints of author, text and earth. It will be interesting to see future developments of this work. Perhaps the incorporation of gentle, subtle physical elements into the photographs (through the sowing of patterns, through the sowing of objects directly onto the photograph?), will elevate these already beautiful photographs to an-other plane of existence.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

Josephine Kuperholz. 'Trapezites eliena' 2008

 

Josephine Kuperholz
Trapezites eliena
2008
Common name – Eliena Skipper

Woven hand coloured silver gelatin photographic image

 

Josephine Kuperholz. 'Dryococelus australis' 2008

 

Josephine Kuperholz
Dryococelus australis
2008
Common name – Lord Howe Island Phasmid
Woven hand coloured silver gelatin photographic image

 

Josephine Kuperholz 'Blight' exhibition Gallery 101 website text

 

Josephine Kuperholz Blight exhibition, Gallery 101 website text

 

Josephine Kuperholz 'Blight' exhibition installation view at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Josephine Kuperholz 'Blight' exhibition installation view at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Josephine Kuperholz 'Blight' exhibition installation view at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

Josephine Kuperholz Blight exhibition installation views at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

 

GALLERY 101

This gallery is now closed.

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19
May
09

Review: ‘Exotic Queensland: Recent Painting’ by Anne Marie Graham at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 6th May – 30th May 2009

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Jungle with Cassowary' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
Jungle with Cassowary
2008
Oil on Linen
106 x 150cm
National Museum for Women in Arts, Washington

 

 

I was walking around Anne Marie Graham’s new exhibition of painting at Gallery 101, Melbourne having read a review of her work on the gallery wall where the reviewer compared the structure of the work to the essentialness of the paintings of Giotto. A lady approached me and said, “You don’t want to believe everything that you read.”

And I said, “I don’t. I make up my own mind.”

This was the artist Anne Marie Graham.

We had a wonderful conversation about her work talking about space, colour and form. This is what Graham’s work is about. No conceptual arguments are needed. The work addresses the landscape in a magical way, drawing the viewer into the compositions like a piece of music. The viewer finds entrances and passageways, spaces through the images which open up a dialogue with the landscape.

Using repeated patterns and layered construction, from bottom to top, from front to back, the images subtly push and pull the viewer: space quietly recedes and comes towards the viewer. Complimentary bands of colours are muted except for stunning highlight colours – the red of flowers, the blue of leaves or the unexpected pink or yellow of a background. The forms and textures delight. Dr Sheridan Palmer is correct, these paintings have an almost hypnotic effect, meditative and peaceful. They make you feel good!

Their presence is undeniable. For such complex paintings, which on the surface seem very simple (a difficult task to accomplish); for such essential representations that address the heart of the matter… their affect is powerful.

Graham’s refined aesthetic allows the viewer to engage with the poetic spaces she creates, allowing them to appreciate the colour fields, plants and landscapes she orchestrates and to be subsumed into their fold. Here we come to understand the diverse empathy of an artist who lays it all ‘on the line’ and knows how to do so in a brilliant way.

A talented artist and a nice lady as well – what more can you ask for!

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

Anne Marie Graham 'Exotic Queensland: Recent Painting' installation view at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Anne Marie Graham 'Exotic Queensland: Recent Painting' installation view at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

Exotic Queensland: Recent Painting installation views at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

 

These landscapes are inspired by the areas around Noosa, the Glasshouse Mountains and the Botanic Gardens in Cairns. Look at the bromeliads, those cousins of the pineapple that store pools of water in their depths. And the helliconias – they’re also called lobster-claw plants and you can see why! Look at the massive scarlet tassels set against tropical green – and not just the one green but the subtlest of shades and tones in combination.

‘If there’s a God, it must be there’, Says Anne of the Cairns Botanical Gardens. ‘The inventiveness and colours, the lushness and tropical exuberance and shapes. I still can’t overcome this enthusiasm’. There is an analogy with Eugene von Guérard here. Like Ann, he was born in Vienna and was also a precisely scientific observer of nature, ever mindful that the world is a thing far greater than us: that the hand of God (for want of a better word) can be found in very leaf and every grain of sand.

How much further in both place and mood could Anne possibly have travelled from the order and long humanist traditions of her childhood home in Austria? In these Queensland paintings you’ll discover cockatoos, a water dragon, a fat goanna, ibises in the lotus pond, and the shy endangered cassowary almost hidden in the jungle. And look at the sky in that painting – the rosiest pink of a twilight had tells us tomorrow will be a perfect day.

Jane Clark
Senior Research Curator, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart

Extract from speech given at the opening of the exhibition Exotic Queensland, Gallery 101 Melbourne May 2009

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Water Dragon with Banksias' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
Water Dragon with Banksias
2008

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Heliconia No. 1' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
Heliconia No. 1
2008
Oil on Linen
106 x 150cm

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Variations in Green and Mauve' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
Variations in Green and Mauve
2008
Oil on linen
106 x 150cm

 

 

“Anne Marie Graham’s painting career now spans more than six decades. Observed with a penetrating and affectionate gaze, her images are beautiful records of Australia’s vast landscape. Each work is an engagingly optimistic view, evoking the mystery and fragility of Australia’s rich environment. This survey of recent paintings concentrates on the tropical Queensland landscapes around Noosa and the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

As she casts he vision over mountains, rain forests and panoramic vistas or as she leads us into an intimate world of gardens, winding pathways and potted plants, we find ourselves amongst large succulents, variegated foliage, ferns and brilliant flowers, visually engaging at a Lilliputian level in her richly orchestrated fields and forests. In these locations she constructs marvellous labyrinthine worlds that reveal layers of muted colours, folding forms and textures that induce a most extraordinary hypnotic spell.”

Dr Sheridan Palmer, Art Curator, from the catalogue essay

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Heliconia No. 2' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
Heliconia No. 2
2008

 

 

GALLERY 101

This gallery has now closed.

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23
Apr
09

Review: ‘Mark Strizic: Melbourne – A City in Transition (Rare Silver Gelatin Photographs)’ at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 8th April – 2nd May 2009

 

Mark Strizic. 'Eastern Market Destruction - 1' 1960

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Eastern Market Destruction – 1
1960, printed 1996
Silver gelatin photograph
19 x 22.5cm

 

 

Social Fact and Urban Vision

This is an exhibition by the veteran Australian photographer Mark Strizic that plays like the coda at the end of a piece of music, the pensive full stop at the end of a well read book. There are some stunning highlight photographs among the 139 black and white silver gelatin prints on display, some good photographs and some fairly mundane images and prints. With some judicious editing of the photographs (perhaps by a third), the exhibition could have had a stronger artistic aesthetic and carried the voice of the photographer with greater projection. As it is the exhibition will be popular drawing in the crowds because of the photographs subject matter and their appeal to both an individual and collective nostalgia.

Examining Strizic’s photographs we note a traditional structure to the picture plane. Unlike the photographs of Eugene Atget who photographed Paris in the early 20th century there is little sublime spatial representation in Strizics photographs, that different angle of alignment that Atget achieved with the positioning of his camera. Further, we observe that unlike an immigrant to another country at around the same time, Robert Frank and America, the photographs follow traditional format: none of the revolutionary experimentation in handheld, grainy images of jukeboxes, cut up people or images of flags appear in this work. We can also say that unlike Helen Levitt’s early black and white images of New York from around the same period there is little ‘joie de vivre’, little engagement with the actual nitty gritty stuff of living in Strizic’s work. The quote below articulates what Strizic’s photographs both address and dismiss:

“To walk in the city is to experience the disjuncture of partial vision/partial consciousness. The narrativity of this walking is belied by a simultaneity we know and yet cannot experience. As we turn a corner, our object disappears around the next corner. The sides of the street conspire against us; each attention suppresses a field of possibilities. The discourse of the city is a syncretic discourse, political in its untranslatability. Hence the language of the state elides. Unable to speak all the city’s languages, unable to speak all at once, the state’s language become monumental, the silence of headquarters, the silence of the bank. In this transcendent and anonymous silence is the miming of corporate relations. Between the night workers and the day workers lies the interface of light; in the rotating shift, the disembodiment of lived time. The walkers of the city travel at different speeds, their steps like handwriting of a personal mobility. In the milling of the crowd is the choking of class relations, the interruption of speed, and the machine. Hence the barbarism of police on horses, the sudden terror of the risen animal.”1

We observe in the photographs an emphasis on surfaces, on a supreme understanding of light and shade coupled with a certain distance and emotional remoteness from the frenetic hubbub of city life. Empty streets and isolated people fall into shadow and their is little evidence of ‘play’ in the photographs. This is observation not interaction or integration as an immigrant observing Melbourne life. There is no up front presence of disembodied people as in Robert Franks photographs in The Americans. Here the alienation that pervades the photographs is the alienation of the photographer from the people as much as it is the alienation of the people from themselves. People are shot in silhouette against the sun or shop windows or peering in at unobtainable goods; desolate streets and working class suburbs all express the isolation of city life but at a structured distance from them.

When Strizic’s photographs are good they are very good. His understanding of light is magnificent: light reflects off water, hazes and shimmers off city buildings. The mixing of shadows and sun and his use of the technique of ‘contre jour’ (shooting into the sun) the one thing Strizic does against traditional conventions works to good effect in some of the best photographs. His 1968 night time long exposure photograph of the old Gas and Fuel Building is rewarding for the black bulk of the end of the building looming over Flinders Street and the striations of car headlamps. The photograph Flinders Lane (1967, below) shows a delicate use of depth of field where the foreground of cars and person are out of focus, the light bouncing off the edges of the woman, the focus of the image in the far distance. The photograph McPhersons Building (1958, below) is one of my personal favourites in the exhibition and is a stunning photograph for the atmosphere the photographer has captured.

After a while the use of the ‘contre jour’ technique becomes tiresome. Other photographs simply document a city in transition. These photographs appeal both to an individual nostalgia (‘I used to work in that building’; ‘My grandmother used to live in that street’) and a collective nostalgia where people experience things collectively, “in the sense that [collective] nostalgia occurs when we are with others who shared the event(s) being recalled, and also in the sense that one’s nostalgia is often for the collective – the characteristics and activities of a group or institution in which the individual was a participant.”2

Collective nostalgia refers to that condition in which the symbolic objects are of a highly public, widely shared and familiar character, i.e. those symbolic resources from the past which can under proper conditions trigger off wave upon wave of nostalgic feeling in millions of persons at the same time3 and in this exhibition it is the photographs of a city in transition that trigger this nostalgia, a city now lost to the mists of time. Through these photographs we remember what Melbourne was like at this time collectively.

As Harper has observed

“Nostalgia combines bitterness and sweetness, the lost and the found, the far and near, the new and the familiar, absence and presence. The past which is over and gone, from which we have been or are being removed, by some magic becomes present again for a short while. But its realness seems even more familiar, because renewed, than it ever was, more enchanting and more lovely …”4

Does this collective nostalgia make the photographs good? This is a pertinent question.

Today, nostalgia has become a cultural phenomenon one centred on a longing for home (home is where you are happy to be!) in a collective sense and promoted through commercialisation and the realisation that nostalgia sells. The use of the value seeking word ‘rare’ in the exhibition title is instructive in this regard. Only about 25% of the photographs in this exhibition are “vintage” prints, in other words photographs printed within 3 years of the negative being taken. All other photographs have been printed within the last 15 years. Some are ‘Unique state’ gelatin photographs while others are not. What does this mean. Are they are unique state only in this size? What about the common or garden silver gelatin prints in the show? What does the status word “rare” imply for them?

I remember seeing an exhibition of the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson in Scotland about ten years ago. Three rooms had large prints of his work. One room just had vintage prints. The contrast was astounding. The room full of vintage prints had an intensity of vision, of his vision at the time he took the photographs evidenced in small jewel like photographs that the three other rooms photographs simply did not possess – through scale, printing and aesthetics. The same question, without any need for an answer, can be posed here. Only the word ‘rare’ demands that answer for the modern prints are just what they are and nothing more.

In conclusion this is a strong show by Strizic that could have been edited and focused in a more rewarding way. Strizic is one of Australia’s best photographers for understanding the significance of place. His use of light is superb but there always seems to be an emotional distance to his photographs. An element of collective nostalgia adds to their documentary appeal but the best photographs do not just record, they challenge and transcend the subject matter taking the work to an altogether different plane of existence.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to Gallery 101 for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on some of the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

  1. Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993, p. 2. Prologue
  2. Wilson, Janelle. “”Remember when …” a consideration of the concept of nostalgia,” in et Cetera. Concord: Fall 1999. Vol. 56, Iss. 3;  pg. 296, 9 pgs
  3. Davis, F. Yearning For Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia. New York: The Free Press, 1979, p. 222
  4. Harper, R. Nostalgia: An Existential Exploration of Longing and Fulfilment in the Modern Age. The Press of Western Reserve University, 1966, p. 120 quoted in Wilson, Janelle. “”Remember when …” a consideration of the concept of nostalgia,” in et Cetera. Concord: Fall 1999. Vol. 56, Iss. 3;  pg. 296, 9 pgs

 

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Mark Strizic: Melbourne - A City in Transition' exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Installation view of the exhibition 'Mark Strizic: Melbourne - A City in Transition' exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Installation view of the exhibition 'Mark Strizic: Melbourne - A City in Transition' exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

Installation views of the exhibition Mark Strizic: Melbourne – A City in Transition exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne

 

 

Mark Strizic, one of Australia’s eminent photographic artists presents us with nostalgic views of Melbourne and the changing face of the city in rare silver gelatin photographs. The exhibition, Melbourne – A City in Transition will be held at Gallery 101 from 8th April – 2nd May. There will be an evening artist reception on Thursday 9th April to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. Strizic’s oeuvre represents a collection of iconic images of architecture and of life – a record of the changing face of a migrating society of new prosperity, youth and popular culture – taken with a sympathetic eye for humanistic detail.

The exhibition will coincide with the announcement of the forthcoming publication, Mark Strizic, Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern, published by Thames & Hudson in association with the State Library of Victoria. In 2007, the State Library of Victoria acquired Mark Strizic’s entire archive of approximately 5000 negatives, colour transparencies and slides. In addition, the Library holds a fine collection of Strizic photographs, including examples of all types of photographic print, from gelatin silver to digital, produced by the photographer during his long career.

Press release from Gallery 101

 

Mark Strizic photographs

Mark Strizic photographs

Mark Strizic photographs

Mark Strizic photographs

Mark Strizic photographs

 

 

“‘Melbourne – A City in Transition’ is a collection of iconic images of Melbourne city life taken with a sympathetic eye for humanist detail. Strizic accurately depicts the joys and hardships experienced in everyday life with a fresh and living memory. He successfully captures the vicarious essence of suburban life. His portrait of Melbourne includes the city, harbour and river banks – streets and trams, pavements, arcades and lanes, stations and bridges, billboards and facades and public sculpture. We see people going about their daily activities – commuting, shopping at leisure, trading, embracing, conversing, reading the newspaper and visiting the beach. Other works record the demolition and construction of building sites and the changing face of Melbourne, both in society and the urban landscape.”

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Text from the exhibition flyer

 

“In these eloquent studies of light and shadow, Strizic finds beauty in the commonplace – Melbourne’s desolate lanes, street paving, derelict ferries – adopting interesting camera angles, viewpoints and cropping. Through his images, this visual humanist teaches us to observe, to see our surroundings, perhaps with the intention of stimulating us to a higher level of civilisation.”

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Emma Matthews. Mark Strizic, Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern. Thames & Hudson in association with the State Library of Victoria, September, 2009.

 

“This magnificent collection of photographs arose from the creativity of a young photographer and his adoption of his new home town, Melbourne. His pictures were taken at a time when the Victorian elegance of the city once known as ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ was being punctuated by a wave of development and the modern architectural movement. Today Mark Strizic is renowned as a photographer. In the 1950s he was a young science student from Europe playing with the possibilities of the camera. As he gained work as a professional his commercial success was accompanied by the instincts and eye of an artist. His solid technicality was accompanied by the whimsy and wit that made him the ‘poet of the fleeting movement’. The versatility of his work shows us many aspects of Melbourne – its magnificent architectural heritage, its intimate and vibrant laneways, its grand arcades counter-posed against the sudden spaces of the wrecker, the brash intrusion of the glass and concrete skyscrapers, the poignancy of poverty in the rundown inner suburbs. We see the people, on grand occasions such as the 1954 Royal Visit, or just caught in their own world of travelling, shopping, resting, walking, working.”

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Mark Strizic, Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern 
book cover

 

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'From Princes Bridge' 1958

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
From Princes Bridge
1958, printed 2006
Silver gelatin photograph
58 x 39cm

 

Mark Strizic. 'Near Spencer Street - 1' 1950

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Near Spencer Street – 1
1950
Silver gelatin photograph
27.5 x 38.5cm

 

Mark Strizic. 'At St. Pauls' 1954

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
At St. Pauls (St Paul’s Cathedral steps)
1954, printed 1999
Silver gelatin photograph
17.8 × 24.5 cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'St Paul's Cathedral steps' 1954

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
St Paul’s Cathedral steps
1954, printed 1999
Silver gelatin photograph
17.8 × 24.5 cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Collins Street at Russell Street' 1957, printed 1997

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Collins Street at Russell Street
1957, printed 1997
Unique silver gelatin photograph
39 x 56cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'St Georges Road, Northcote at Summer Av.' 1958

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
St Georges Road, Northcote at Summer Av.
1958, printed 1998
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'St. Patrick's Cathedral' January 1967

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
January 1967, printed 1998
Unique silver gelatin photograph
27 x 41cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Bourke Street from the Parliament' 1967

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Bourke Street from the Parliament – 2
1967, printed 1998
Silver gelatin photograph
38 x 27cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Russell Street Pawn Shop' 1958

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Russell Street Pawn Shop
1958
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Block Arcade' 1967

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Block Arcade
1967, printed February 2008
Unique silver gelatin photograph
53.5 x 37cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'From Princes Bridge' (Winter moorings from Princes Bridge) 1955

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
From Princes Bridge (Winter moorings from Princes Bridge)
1955, printed 2006
Silver gelatin photograph
58 x 39cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Flinders Lane' 1967

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Flinders Lane
1967, printed 1998
Unique silver gelatin photograph
41 x 41cm

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Swan Street, Richmond, at Church Street' 1963

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Swan Street, Richmond, at Church Street
1963
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Queensberry Street at Errol Street, North Melbourne' 1963

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Queensberry Street at Errol Street, North Melbourne
1963
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Swan Street at Church Street' 1963

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Swan Street at Church Street
1963, printed 1998
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012) 'Coates Building' 1960

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Coates Building
1960, printed 1961
Vintage silver gelatin photograph
23.5 x 15cm

 

Mark Strizic. 'Macphersons Building -1' 1958

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
Macphersons Building – 1
1958
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Mark Strizic. 'On Princes Bridge' 1959

 

Mark Strizic (Australian, 1908-2012)
On Princes Bridge
1959, printed 1996
Silver gelatin photograph
17 x 24cm

 

 

Gallery 101

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29
Mar
09

Review: ‘reENLIGHTENMENT’ exhibition by Peter James Smith at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 18th March – 4th April 2009

 

Peter James Smith. 'reENLIGHTENMENT' installation view 2009

Peter James Smith. 'reENLIGHTENMENT' installation view 2009

 

Peter James Smith
reENLIGHTENMENT installation views
2009

 

 

“Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books. For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order?”1

“Thus the claim is that texts themselves can actually be intrinsically ‘genuine’, but that authenticity is a ‘social construct’. In other words, a certain kind of authenticity is created through the interaction of the users, situations and the texts.”2

 

 

Peter James Smith links the culture of science and of human experience, bringing together mathematics and the power of nature in realist imagery that is balanced by strong mark making and text. Redolent still life and landscape images juxtapose with astronomical, poetic and historical observations in the painted images. Handwritten citations, notes, jottings, diagrams and erasures float on the loosely painted surfaces of stretched linen, paper collage and found pieces which bring a Beuysian sense of the charismatic object. A sunset, a violin, a book of verse, an installation of old bells or delicate Jasperware porcelain provide a resonant foil for the artist and viewer – and create a space for the imagination, for mathematical wonder and contemplation.

“Beyond painting, in the current work there is a sense of history allowing us to privilege its objects, their collecting and their housing on walls, in vitrines, on shelves and on plinths. Like any true collector I am keen to bring them to an audience, to show them in a revelatory way. If they are inflected by hand markings it is to personalise the revelation. There are no plastic imitations: the Jasperware vases are authentic collected Wedgwood; the small Greek Pelike is indeed a c 300 BC vase; the Roman glass is a c 300 AD; the collected Wollemi pine needles are indeed from this prehistoric plant. These and other antiquities have a long museological tradition. The narratives of Wedgwood blue and white Jasperware designs are of Greek antiquity – the firing of the white clay over a cobalt blue base (in around) 1772 was a triumph of chemistry over alchemy. With these objects, it is not a postmodernist kitsch that is revealed, but rather the resuscitated fabric of authenticity. I am re-enlightened by their tactile physical presence that has a timeless beauty. To render such things as a painted image is to engage in a different act, with different rules referring to different histories.” ~ Peter James Smith, 2009. Notes from the exhibition catalogue.

Enlightenment, Romanticism, reason, authenticity, revelation.

 

I am a collector like Peter James Smith. I display my collection of early 20th century English vases. I have a collection of 300 ties that span from the 1930s to the 1970s. I have eight rare 1940s suits, those suits that Humphrey Bogart used to wear with the wide wide lapels that nearly reach the seam of the sleeve.

Rare, fragile, beautiful, genuine.

In this exhibition Smith appeals not to the genuineness of the objects but to the authenticity of the objects he displays: “There are no plastic imitations … With these objects, it is not a postmodernist kitsch that is revealed, but rather the resuscitated fabric of authenticity.” He wants to show these objects in a revelatory way, for us to once more appreciate their authenticity. To make order out of disorder. But then Smith wants to personalise this revelation and overlays the objects with texts that re-order the taxonomy through a reinscription that is both a de-territorialization and re-territorialization of meaning, a loss of original meaning and the production of new meanings. This is the faint silver flicker of re-enlightenment the artist seeks. It is above all authentication as individual spectacle, as social construct.

“Authenticity is an issue for us today because of a widespread sense that there is something inauthentic in the way we experience the modern world.”3

In some of the works this process is effective and in other works it falls flat on it’s proverbial, intertextual backside. The process works well in the less cerebral works. The use of black paint in Paradise Lost IV (below) is particularly effective as the re-inscription of paint invades and threatens the motifs of the classical figures with the text and cross reinforcing the idea of a lost paradise. Cathedral (2009, below) is also a stunning installation of different bells hung at various heights within a locked cabinet, complicit in their silence as they would not be inside a cathedral. For me this was probably the best piece in the show for its simplicity of thought, eloquence of execution and understanding of how the installation re-enlightens the viewers socially constructed authenticity in a revelatory way. No double marking is needed – a zen balance is proposed and achieved in the quietness of the viewers mind.

Other pieces are less successful. Amphora in grey teracotta Han Dynasty c 100BC (2008), the amphora inscribed with text sitting on a painted black video recorder is particularly unengaging and unappealing – there is no revelatory experience to be had here. The Greek Pileke (see below) inscribed with lines from John Keats Ode on a Grecian Urn seems an appropriate intervention but sometimes in this exhibition one just longs to appreciate the sanctity of the object, it’s presence, in silence without the personalising of the revelation by the hand of the artist. To see the object clearly for what it is.

The large installation reELIGHTENMENT (2009 below, and installation photo at top) falls into darkness. The use of the doors as metaphor is clumsy, book covers have been more successfully used by other artists and the black paint is heavy and oppressive. More interesting are some of the paintings, for example The slow dance of an astronomical twighlight (2009, below) where the poem of William Wordsworth

… a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns

illuminates the poetry of the painting, adding an insightful double meaning to the universal revelation. A vibration of spirit is present both in the landscape and the markings upon the landscape. Unfortunately all too often in this exhibition access to the sublime is denied. Appeals to neo-authenticity fall on deaf ears. The motifs of this exhibition are universal, archetypal but the elements that go to make up this exhibition are too many and lack focus. Sometimes in art less in more and this exhibition is a classic example of this fact. There are some interesting elements but overall the whole is not the sum of its parts.

As John Donne observed

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated … No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”4

Our authentic place in the world, our spiritual space, our re-enlightenment needed to be better defined, more lucidly enunciated in this exhibition NOT IN CAPITAL LETTERS but in the quietness of our hearts.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

  1. Benjamin, Walter. “Unpacking my Library: A Talk about Book Collecting,” in Illuminations. English translation. London: Fontana, 1982, pp. 59-60
  2. Lee, W. “Authenticity revisited: text authenticity and learner authenticity,” in ELT Journal, 49(4). 1995, pp.323-328 cited in Shomoossi, Nematullah and Ketabi, Saeed. “A Critical Look at the Concept of Authenticity,” in Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 2007, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 149-155 [Online] cited on 29th March, 2009 at http://e-flt.nus.edu.sg/v4n12007/shomoossi.pdf
  3. McClure, Christoper. The Concept of Authenticity in Charles Taylor and Martin Heidegger. [Online] cited on March 29th, 2009 (no longer available online)
  4. Donne, John. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris. 1624.

 

Variously

Wedgwood Jasperware, Roman glass, Greek Pileke, books, doors, texts, paintings, bells, video, video machine, wooden boxes, black paint, crosses, albatross, Wollemi Pine needles, Paradise Lost, astronomy, linen, stars, photography, Chinese porcelain, collage, mathematical equations, mirrors, Amphora from the Han Dynasty, a violin, a sunset, a book of verse, notes, shelves, jottings, citations.

Notes to myself

  • Golden ratio
  • The archive
  • Topographical markings, inscriptions and decodings
  • The ‘nature’ of authenticity
  • The ‘voice’ of revelation
  • Re-possession of clarity and logic
  • Re-production of mystery, tenderness and love
  • Reverence for the object itself
  • Referentiality between image and text
  • The colour black: transcendent, the depths of the night sky but also the closing in of darkness at the end of days
  • Never one truth but many truths
  • Less is more

Many thankx to Gallery 101 for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

the-slow-dance

 

Peter James Smith
The slow dance of an astronomical twighlight
2009

 

Peter James Smith. 'Paradise Lost IV' 2008

 

Peter James Smith
Paradise Lost IV
2008

 

Peter James Smith. 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' 2008

 

Peter James Smith
Ode on a Grecian Urn
2008

 

Peter James Smith. 'Cathedral' 2009

 

Peter James Smith
Cathedral
2009

 

Peter James Smith. 'reENLIGHTENMENT' 2009

 

Peter James Smith
reENLIGHTENMENT
2009

 

 

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26
Feb
09

Review: ‘all about … blooming’ exhibition by JUNKO GO at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 25th February – 14th March 2009

 

“We live in a world where high achievers are congratulated, yet true achievements are not related to what we can get done, but to how deeply we aware of how wonderful it is to be alive. In this exhibition, flowers are not only a predominant source of visual inspiration, looking at them also engenders a kind of appreciation and wonder. The fragile and ephemeral flower provokes in me an awareness of the human condition that reveals the true nature of our existence.

My goal is to create images which are strong and soft, bold and precise, beautiful and ugly, figurative and abstract, all at once. My greatest challenge is to make art about what it is to be human … What really matters in art making to me is a kind of awareness – a being able to say, ‘I am as I am’.”

Text from the artist statement

 

 

Junko Go. 'Opium Poppy' 2008

 

Junko Go
Opium Poppy
2008

 

“One person’s heaven is another’s nightmare. Seeing both sides to every story can be a blessing and a curse. Good and bad, right and wrong, purity and impurity are inextricably linked.”

 

 

A delicate, refined but strong presence is felt in the work of Junko Go in the her new exhibition ‘all about … blooming’ at Gallery 101, Melbourne. Nominally landscape painting about flowers but featuring thoughts and ideas about the seed, the shoot, pollen and the breath of life the work addresses the essence of what it is to be human and live compassionately on this earth in an intelligent and profound way.

Denying the nihilism of abstract expressionism each mark is fully considered by being attentive to the connection between brush, hand and meaning. Almost childlike in their use of charcoal and acrylic her dogs, crosses and flowers, jottings and dashes, rain and rivers, seeds and people show a Zen like contemplation in the marks she makes on the canvas – just so. A releasement towards things is proffered, a letting go of the ego to create an awareness of just being. There is genuine warmth and humility to this work.

In Opium Poppy (2008, above) the darkness of the nightmare is represented by the black marks, ascending like Jacob’s ladder balanced by the mandala like poppies whose petals seem like feathers of a bird’s wing – a flight of fancy both good and bad. In Pollen (2009) bees swarm around a sunflower leaving traces of their presence, a bird flies close to a tiny blue cloud, the sun burst forth in a tiny patch of aqua colour, and people hug arm in arm. As Go says, “Bees in a flower bear pollen unawares and play a crucial roll for the plant to survive. Our love, kindness, warmth and wisdom affect one another unawares and play a crucial roll for our planet to survive.”  In New Shoot (2008, below) the puzzle of our existence, the nature of our existential being is laid bare for all to see.

In Seeds (2008) Go reminds us that rather than being focused on what we hoped for, we must make the most of whatever opportunities we are blessed with. This means being aware of the gifts one possesses, not the distance between ‘I’ and want, need and desire – now! The seed of our experience – the calm before the force that propelled us into existence – is already present within us.

Go’s musings on the existential nature of our being are both full and empty at one and the same time and help us contemplate the link to the breath of the sublime. In the end Go’s paintings are about endings and beginnings, about being strong or not, about the infinity of the seed and about our responses to living in harmony on this planet. Through the seed, the shoot, the flower and the earth access may be granted to the sublime and this perfectly sums up the work of this artist, a reflection of her energy and radiance transferred to the canvas. I loved it.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Gallery 101 for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the art work for a larger version of the image.

 

Junko Go. 'New Shoot' 2008

 

Junko Go
New Shoot
2008

 

“Each of us is born to fill a special place in this world. In the process, we sometimes have trouble finding our niche. Life is like a jigsaw puzzle in which we make every effort to find our own place that makes a right connection with others, with the world and even with the whole universe.”

 

Junko Go. 'Red Hot Poker' 2009

 

Junko Go
Red Hot Poker
2009

 

“Push and pull our inner strength. Sometimes, we need courage to take risks in confronting pain and loss in order to gain a deep and profound experience.”

 

 

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12
Feb
09

Review: ‘Bowerhouse Blues’ exhibition by Mary Newsome, Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 3rd February – 21st February 2009

 

Mary Newsome. 'Bowerhouse Blues' installation photograph with 'The Bowerhouse' centre

 

Mary Newsome
Bowerhouse Blues installation photograph with The Bowerhouse centre
2009

 

 

This is a slight bouffant of an exhibition by Mary Newsome at Gallery 101, Collins St., Melbourne.

“The exhibition consists of separate collections to do with blue, centring on the Bowerhouse with its beckoning light. The ideas came from several different directions.” And what directions they are.

Firstly, the idea of the lonely male bowerbird at the Museum of Victoria, given blue biros as solace after killing his last mate. Secondly, Oscar Wilde trying to live with his blue china toying with Yves Klein and his uber-dimensionality, the invisible blue becoming visible. Then we have finger painting as a child upgraded to paste painting “which is finger painting under a more adult name”; and more – poetry, yes! by famous poets, sandwiched with shells and cans and bits of glass and plastic and pottery and pegs all offered up to the god of the azure.

Artefacts litter the floor around the edge of the gallery, media wash across the walls. A silkscreen here and a painting of blue and white china there, watercolours of a view out of a blue curtained Cornish cottage, a blue seascape, the “royal-ness” of a blue tampons collage, three-dimensional objects, acrylics, crayon, pencil, oils and stencils. The Bowerhouse itself, like a blue ‘red light’ house with flashing blue light inside and heart on top. And so it goes.

There are some interesting small single-pigment blue acrylics that have geometric and anamorphic shapes painted upon them with stencilled names of the colour along the spine of the canvases. There are also a couple of competent oils and silkscreens of tea sets in a dresser with cups hanging from hooks.

The works date from 1980 to the present day – and “without fully realising it” the artist has looked through her work over the past 30 years and come across lots and lots of blue. Any artist worth their salt knows their oevure indelibly from front to back. It seems inconceivable to me that this epiphany has occurred without the artist not fully understanding the importance of the colour blue to their art practice before now.

Recently I have been reading a book called Distraction (Damon Young. Distraction: A Philosopher’s Guide to Being Free. Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing, 2008). The book surmises that distraction is often a matter of what one values in the world. The book demonstrates that the opposite of a life of distraction is one of grateful appreciation, based on patient, sensitive, and thoughtful attention to the world. In this exhibition we have a perfect example of distraction: the noise of the collective work has subsumed its individual charms. The work seems forced into a conceptualisation not of it’s making. Everything seems laboured to the point where all the fun has been squeezed from it and, in the end, it just left me feeling the blues.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Photographs by Tim Gresham
Images courtesy of Gallery 101

 

Mary Newsome. 'Blue Colours' 2008

 

Mary Newsome
Blue Colours
2008

 

Mary Newsome. 'Bowerhouse Blues' installation photograph 2009

 

Mary Newsome
Bowerhouse Blues
2009
Installation photograph

 

Mary Newsome. 'Bathroom Sink' 1992

 

Mary Newsome
Bathroom Sink
1992

 

Mary Newsome. 'What Bliss There is in Blueness' 2009

 

Mary Newsome
What Bliss There is in Blueness
Extract from Laughter in the Dark, 1989 by Vladimir Nabokov
2009

 

Mary Newsome. 'Royal Tampons' collage

 

Mary Newsome
Royal Tampons
2009
Collage

 

 

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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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