Posts Tagged ‘gallery 101

06
Mar
10

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

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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!

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“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 101Collins 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

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04
Aug
09

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

Exhibition dates: 22nd July – 15th August, 2009

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Sarah Amos. 'Red Walk' 2009

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Sarah Amos
‘Red Walk’
Collagraph and Monoprint
2009

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Sarah Amos. 'Storm Loading' 2009

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

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

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

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

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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, inexporably, into their penumbral spaces. Recommended.

Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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

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Emmet Gowin
‘Harvest traffic over agricultural pivot near Hermiston, Orgeon, 1991’
1991

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Sarah Amos. 'Intersections 8' 2009

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Sarah Amos
‘Intersections 8’
Collagraph with gouache
2009

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“(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 color, idiosyncratic marks and open space. These works are personalized maps of accumulated information, like printed histories, that record the dueling 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

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Sarah Amos. 'Lute' 2009

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Sarah Amos
‘Lute’
Collagraph
2009

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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. www.artistterms.com/collagraph.htm

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GALLERY 101
Ground level, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne VICTORIA 3000
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm
T 61 3 96546886 F 61 3 9663 0562

Gallery 101 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

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Josephine Kuperholz. 'Themognatha pascoci' 2008

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

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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 narrativized, already textualized, Kuperholz disrupts this marking, the continual reiteration of norms, by weaving a lack of fixity into her objects; in her reconceptualizations of space and matter Kuperholz redefines the significations of the body of the animal in the fold of inscription, through a process of materialization. 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.

Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Josephine Kuperholz. 'Trapezites eliena' 2008

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Josephine Kuperholz
‘Trapezites eliena’
Common name – Eliena Skipper

Woven hand coloured silver gelatin photographic image
2008

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Josephine Kuperholz. 'Dryococelus australis' 2008

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

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Josephine Kuperholz 'Blight' exhibition Gallery 101 website text

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Josephine Kuperholz ‘Blight’ exhibition Gallery 101 website text

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

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

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

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Josephine Kuperholz ‘Blight’ exhibition installation views at Gallery 101, Melbourne

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GALLERY 101
Ground level, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne VICTORIA 3000
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm
T 61 3 96546886 F 61 3 9663 0562

Gallery 101 website

Josephine Kuperholz website

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1. Keep, Christopher, McLaughlin, Tim and Parmar, Robin. “Intertexuality,” on The Electronic Labyrinth [Online] Cited on 17th June, 2009. http://elab.eserver.org/hfl0278.html

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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

Review by Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Jungle with Cassowary' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
‘Jungle with Cassowary’
2008

 

 

“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 '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

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Water Dragon with Banksias' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
‘Water Dragon with Banksias’
2008

 

 

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 for this is what Graham’s work is about. No conceptual arguments are needed for the work addresses the landscape in a simple, magical way drawing the viewer into the compositions like a piece of music. The viewer finds entrances and passageways, spaces through the images.

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 and 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 simple paintings, for such essential things that address the core 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 be subsumed into their fold. Here we come to understand the diverse simplicity 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!

 

Marcus Bunyan
for the Art Blart blog

 

Anne Marie Graham. 'Heliconia II' 2008

 

Anne Marie Graham
‘Heliconia II’
2008

 

 

GALLERY 101
Ground level, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne VICTORIA 3000
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm
T 61 3 96546886 F 61 3 9663 0562

Gallery 101 website

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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
‘Eastern Market Destruction – 1’
1960

 

“‘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.”

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.”

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

 

Mark Strizic exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne installation view

 

Mark Strizic exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne installation view

 

Mark Strizic exhibition at Gallery 101, Melbourne installation views

 

 

msatstpauls1954

 

Mark Strizic
‘At St.Pauls’
1954

 

Mark Strizic. 'Near Spencer Street - 1' 1950

 

Mark Strizic
‘Near Spencer Street – 1’
1950

 

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 momunental, 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 

 

Mark Strizic photographs

Mark Strizic photographs

 

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.

 

Mark Strizic photographs

 

 

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) 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.

 

Mark Strizic. 'Macpherson Building -1' 1958

 

Mark Strizic
‘Macpherson Building – 1’
1958

 

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

 

Mark Strizic photographs

Mark Strizic photographs

 

 

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

Today, nostalgia has become a cultural phenomenon one centered on a longing for home (home is where you are happy to be!) in a collective sense and promoted through commercialization and the realization 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.

 

Mark Strizic. 'On Princes Bridge' 1959

 

Mark Strizic
‘On Princes Bridge’
1959

 

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.

M Bunyan

 

 

Mark Strizic, Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern: The Book by Thames and Hudson in association with the State Library of Victoria will be published in September 2009.

 

GALLERY 101 
Ground level, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne VICTORIA 3000
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm
T 61 3 96546886  F 61 3 9663 0562

Gallery 101 website

 

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.

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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 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.

 

Peter James Smith. 'reENLIGHTENMENT' installation view 2009

 

Peter James Smith. 'reENLIGHTENMENT' installation view 2009

 

Peter James Smith
‘reENLIGHTENMENT’ installation views
2009

 

Enlightenment, Romanticism, reason, authenticity, revelation.

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.

 

Peter James Smith. 'Paradise Lost IV' 2008

 

Peter James Smith
‘Paradise Lost IV’
2008

 

“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

 

 

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’ (above) 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.

 

Peter James Smith. 'Cathedral' 2009

 

Peter James Smith
‘Cathedral’
2009

 

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.

 

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

 

Peter James Smith
‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’
2008

 

Peter James Smith. 'reENLIGHTENMENT' 2009

 

Peter James Smith
‘reENLIGHTENMENT’
2009

 

The large installation ‘reELIGHTENMENT’ (2009 above, 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.

 

the-slow-dance

 

Peter James Smith
‘The slow dance of an astronomical twighlight’
2009

 

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.

M Bunyan

 

 

GALLERY 101 
Ground level, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne VICTORIA 3000
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm
T 61 3 96546886  F 61 3 9663 0562
www.101collins.com.au

 

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.htm.

3. McClure, Christoper. The Concept of Authenticity in Charles Taylor and Martin Heidegger. [Online] cited on March 29th, 2009 at http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/3/8/5/8/pages138584/p138584-1.php

4. Donne, John. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris. 1624.

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.

 

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.”

 

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.

M Bunyan

 

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.”
 

 

GALLERY 101 
Ground level, 101 Collins Street,
Melbourne VICTORIA 3000
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm
T 61 3 96546886  F 61 3 9663 0562
www.101collins.com.au




Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

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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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