Posts Tagged ‘karen woodbury gallery

13
Apr
14

Review: ‘Hoda Afshar / Under Western Eyes’ at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 2nd April – 3rd May 2014

 

Dear readers, my apologies for the lack of local reviews and postings since the beginning of the year. It’s not that I haven’t been out and about looking at exhibitions, far from it, simply that there has been little stimulating enough to do a posting on. Photographically, it has been a very slow start to 2014 in Melbourne.

There have been disappointing exhibitions from Jacqui Stockdale at Helen Gory Galerie (Super Naturale 15 Mar – 5 Apr 2014) where the artist removed her fabulous painted backgrounds and isolated the carnivalesque figure in Victorian album ovals against non-descript, beige colours, hence robbing them of the wonderful interplay between figure and context; Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery (In Other Bodies 2 April – 3 May 2014) where her intimate, sightless, pinhole portrait photographs are overlaid with “bruised candy colours,” in reality a sickly tri-colour overlay that ruins any presence some of the more powerful images ever had; Pat Brassington at Arc One Gallery (Pat Brassington 8 April – 15 May 2014) where, despite three interesting images (Blush, Major Tom and Night Shade), the rest of the exhibition feels like the photographs are a caricature of themselves, repeating earlier statements, with the work going nowhere (success breeds complacency?); and Polly Borland at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Wonky 28 Mar – 25 May 2014) where the staged photographs of sculptural forms are insipid to say the least and the prints have pixellation the size of golf balls. You would have thought that a person of her supposed standing in the art world would have at least got the prints right.

It is a great pleasure then to finally discover some strong exhibitions around Melbourne town that are worthy of a posting: Hoda Afshar / Under Western Eyes and Stephen Dupont / The White Sheet Series No. 1, both at Edmund Pearce; the group exhibition Khem at Strange Neighbour; The Rennie Ellis Show at Monash Gallery of Art; and the magnificent Rosemary Laing / The Paper at Tolarno Galleries. Other postings to follow in the next week or so.

.
I love Hoda Afshar’s work. It’s big, bold, brash, beautiful, and it has something important to say and does so, eloquently. I only wish I could read the text written on nipple and background to further understand the intricacies and references of the work. The photographs pull back the veil on how Westerners commodify the representation of Islamic women in the form of decodable stereotypes. This reductive interpretation of the identity of Muslim women is bound up with aspects of exoticism, which has links to the influential book Orientalism (1978), by Edward W. Saïd, “a foundational text for the academic field of Post-colonial Studies, wherein the denotations and connotations of the term “orientalism” are expanded to describe what Saïd sees as the false cultural assumptions of the “Western world”, facilitating the cultural misrepresentation of the “The Orient”, in general, and of the Middle East, in particular.” (Wikipedia)

For Western society, “oriental” art emanated from a type of primitive fantasy, reflecting the increasingly exotic tastes of Europe from the late 19th-century following European colonialism. In her work Afshar interrogates aspects of a visual neo-colonialism. Here the voices of the marginalised are acknowledged but only so far as the language of acknowledgement is controlled by neo-colonialism (another form of imperialism which is an out a growth of classical colonialism) – in which the image and literature of the oppressed is controlled by societal structures that seek to delimit the nature of their independence.

As Bhabha notes, “Postcolonial perspectives emerge from the colonial testimony of Third World countries and the discourses of “minorities” within the geopolitical divisions of East and West, North and South. They intervene in those ideological discourses of modernity that attempt to give a hegemonic “normality” to the uneven development and the differential, often disadvantaged, histories of nations, race, communities, peoples.” (Bhabha, H. K. The location of culture. London: Routledge, 1994, p. 71)

Postcolonial theory formulates its critique around the social histories, cultural differences and political discrimination that are practised and normalised by colonial and imperial machineries. What Afshar does is poke a great big stick at these (visual) machineries, phenomenologies that continue to operate within the operating “theatres”, the mass-produced and parcelled consumer identities of the Western world.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

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

 

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #1' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #1
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #2' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #2
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #3' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #3
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

 

Edmund Pearce is pleased to present Under Western Eyes, a solo exhibition by Hoda Afshar. The exhibition comprises a series of digitally manipulated photographs, criticising the continual representation of Islamic women in the contemporary art world as veiled, subjugated and suppressed. This new project explores how the veil – seen as a sort of forced enclosure – has become the dominant mode of representing Islamic women in the West.

In speaking of the series Hoda states, “veiled women are often portrayed as a homogeneous group; powerless subjects whose veil serves either as a symbol and tool of oppression, or is celebrated as an exotic commodity. As such, the images of Muslim women have been reduced to easily decodable stereotypes; mass-produced and parcelled for Western audiences as a consumer item. In this series, I intend to emphasise the reductive interpretation of the identity of Muslim women in the West and praising of such imagery as an attitude bound up with aspects of exoticism.”

Hoda Afshar is a visual artist and Photographer. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Art at Curtin University. After finishing a BFA, majoring in Photography, at Azad University of Art and Architecture in Tehran, she began her career as a documentary photographer. In 2006 she was selected by World Press Photo as one of the top ten young documentary photographers of Iran to attend their Educational training program. Additionally, Hoda is currently a lecturer at the Photography Studies College in Melbourne. She has also been exhibiting locally and internationally since 2007 and was short listed for prestigious photography awards such as the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prizes (2012) and the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Prize (2013). She lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #5' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #5
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #6' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #6
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #7' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #7
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

Hoda Afshar. 'Westoxicated #9' 2013

 

Hoda Afshar
Westoxicated #9
2013
Archival Pigment Print
104 x 90 cm / edition of 5

 

 

Edmund Pearce Gallery
Level 2, Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street (corner Flinders Lane)
Melbourne Victoria 3000

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11 am – 5 pm

Edmund Pearce Gallery website

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21
Dec
11

melbourne’s magnificent nine 2011

December 2011

 

Here’s my pick of the nine best exhibitions in Melbourne (with excursions to Bendigo and Hobart thrown in) that appeared on the Art Blart art and cultural archive in 2011. Enjoy!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

 

1/ Sidney Nolan: Drought Photographs at Australian Galleries, Melbourne, March 2011

 

Sidney Nolan. 'Untitled (calf carcass in tree)' 1952

 

Sidney Nolan (Australian, 1917-1992)
Untitled (calf carcass in tree)
1952
archival inkjet print
23.0 cm x 23.0 cm

 

 

This was a superb exhibition of 61 black and white photographs by Sidney Nolan. The photographs were shot using a medium format camera and are printed in square format from the original 1952 negatives.

The work itself was a joy to behold. The photographs hung together like a symphony, rising and falling, with shape emphasising aspects of form. The images flowed from one to another. The formal composition of the mummified carcasses was exemplary, the resurrected animals (a horse, for example, propped up on a fifth leg) and emaciated corpses like contemporary sculpture. The handling of the tenuous aspects of human existence in this uniquely Australian landscape was also a joy to behold. Through an intimate understanding of how to tension the space between objects within the frame Nolan’s seemingly simple but complex photographs of the landscape are previsualised by the artist in the mind’s eye before he even puts the camera to his face.

 

2/ Bill Henson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, March – April 2011

This was an exquisite exhibition by one of Australia’s preeminent artists. Like Glenn Gould playing a Bach fugue, Bill Henson is grand master in the performance of narrative, structure, composition, light and atmosphere. The exhibition featured thirteen large colour photographs printed on lustre paper (twelve horizontal and one vertical) – nine figurative of adolescent females, two of crowd scenes in front of Rembrandt paintings in The Hermitage, St. Petersburg (including the stunning photograph that features The return of the prodigal son c. 1662 in the background, see below) and two landscapes taken off the coast of Italy. What a journey this exhibition took you on!

Henson’s photographs have been said by many to be haunting but his images are more haunted than haunting. There is an indescribable element to them (be it the pain of personal suffering, the longing for release, the yearning for lost youth or an understanding of the deprecations of age), a mesmeric quality that is not easily forgotten. The photographs form a kind of afterimage that burns into your consciousness long after the exposure to the original image has ceased. Haunted or haunting they are unforgettable.

 

Bill Henson. 'Untitled' 2009/10

 

Bill Henson (Australian, b. 1955)
Untitled
2009/10
CL SH767 N17B
Archival inkjet pigment print
127 x 180 cm
Edition of 5

 

3/ Networks (cells & silos) at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Caulfield, February – April 2011

This was a vibrant and eclectic exhibition at MUMA, one of the best this year in Melbourne. The curator Geraldine Barlow gathered together some impressive, engaging works that were set off to good effect in the new gallery spaces. I spent a long and happy time wandering around the exhibition and came away visually satiated and intellectually stimulated. The exhibition explored “the connections between artistic representation of networks; patterns and structures found in nature; and the rapidly evolving field of network science, communications and human relations.”

 

Installation photograph of one of the galleries in the exhibition 'NETWORKS (cells & silos)' at the newly opened Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA)

 

Installation photograph of one of the galleries in the exhibition NETWORKS (cells & silos) at the newly opened Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) with Nick Mangan’s Colony (2005) in the foreground

 

4/ Monika Tichacek, To all my relations at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, May 2011

This was a stupendous exhibition by Monika Tichacek, at Karen Woodbury Gallery. One of the highlights of the year, this was a definite must see!

The work was glorious in it’s detail, a sensual and visual delight (make sure you click on the photographs to see the close up of the work!). The riotous, bacchanalian density of the work was balanced by a lyrical intimacy, the work exploring the life cycle and our relationship to the world in gouache, pencil & watercolour. Tichacek’s vibrant pink birds, small bugs, flowers and leaves have absolutely delicious colours. The layered and overlaid compositions show complete control by the artist: mottled, blotted, bark-like wings of butterflies meld into trees in a delicate metamorphosis; insects are blurred becoming one with the structure of flowers in a controlled effusion of life.

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' 2011 (detail)

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, born Switzerland 1975)
To all my relations (detail)
2011

 

5/ American Dreams: 20th century photography from George Eastman House at Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, April – July 2011

 

Diane Arbus. 'Untitled (6)' 1971

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
Untitled (6)
1971
Gelatin silver print

 

 

This was a fabulous survey exhibition of the great artists of 20th century American photography, a rare chance in Australia to see such a large selection of vintage prints from some of the masters of photography. If you had a real interest in the history of photography then you hopefully saw this exhibition, showing as it is just a short hour and a half drive (or train ride) from Melbourne at Bendigo Art Gallery.

 

6/ Time Machine: Sue Ford at Monash Gallery of Art, Wheelers Hill, Victoria, April – June 2011

 

Sue Ford. 'Self-portrait' 1976

 

Sue Ford (Australian, 1943-2009)
Self-portrait 1976
1976
From the series Self-portrait with camera (1960-2006)
Selenium toned gelatin silver print, printed 2011
24 x 18 cm
courtesy Sue Ford Archive

 

 

This beautifully hung exhibition flowed like music, interweaving up and down, the photographs framed in thin, black wood frames. It featured examples of Ford’s black and white fashion and street photography; a selection of work from the famous black and white Time series (being bought for their collection by the Art Gallery of New South Wales); a selection of Photographs of Women – modern prints from the Sue Ford archive that are wonderfully composed photographs with deep blacks that portray strong, independent, vulnerable, joyous women (see last four photographs below); and the most interesting work in the exhibition, the posthumous new series Self-portrait with camera (1960-2006) that evidence, through a 47 part investigation using colour prints from Polaroids, silver gelatin prints printed by the artist, prints made from original negatives and prints from scanned images where there was no negative available, a self-portrait of the artist in the process of ageing.

Whether looking down, looking toward or looking inward these fantastic photographs show a strong, independent women with a vital mind, an élan vital, a critical self-organisation and an understanding of the morphogenesis of things that will engage us for years to come. Essential looking.

 

7/ The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart, August 2011

My analogy: you are standing in the half-dark, your chest open, squeezing the beating heart with blood coursing between your fingers while the other hand is up your backside playing with your prostrate gland. I think ringmeister David Walsh would approve. My best friends analogy: a cross between a car park, night club, sex sauna and art gallery.

Weeks later I am still thinking about the wonderful immersive, sensory experience that is MONA. Peter Timms in an insightful article in Meanjin calls it a post-Google Wunderkammer, or wonder chest. It can be seen as a mirabilia – a non-historic installation designed primarily to delight, surprise and in this case shock. The body, sex, death and mortality are hot topics in the cultural arena and Walsh’s collection covers all bases. The collection and its display are variously hedonistic, voyeuristic, narcissistic, fetishistic pieces of theatre subsumed within the body of the spectacular museum architecture …

Spectatorship and their attendant erotics has MONA as a form of fetishistic cinema. It is as if what Barthes calls “the eroticism of place” were a modern equivalent of the eighteenth century genius loci, the “genius of the place.” The place is spectacular, the private collection writ large as public institution, the symbolic power of the institution masked through its edifice. The art become autonomous, cut free from its cultural associations, transnational, globalised, experienced through kinaesthetic means; the viewer meandering through the galleries, the anti-museum, as an international flaneur. Go. Experience!

 

Corten Stairwell & Surrounding Artworks February 2011 Museum of Old and New Art – interior

 

Corten Stairwell & Surrounding Artworks
February 2011
Museum of Old and New Art – interior
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

8/ John Bodin: Rite of Passage at Anita Traverso Gallery, Richmond, August – September 2011

 

John Bodin. 'I Was Far Away From Home' 2009

 

John Bodin (Australian)
I Was Far Away From Home
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110cm

 

 

The photographs become the surface of the body, stitched together with lines, markers pointing the way – they are encounters with the things that we see before us but also the things that we carry inside of us. It is the interchange between these two things, how one modulates and informs the other. It is this engagement that holds our attention: the dappled light, ambiguity, unevenness, the winding path that floats and bobs before our eyes looking back at us, as we observe and are observed by the body of these landscapes.

One of the fundamental qualities of the photographs is that they escape our attempts to rationalise them and make them part of our understanding of the world, to quantify our existence in terms of materiality. I have an intimate feeling with regard to these sites of engagement. They are both once familiar and unfamiliar to us; they possess a sense of nowhereness. A sense of groundlessness and groundedness. A collapsing of near and far, looking down, looking along, a collapsing of the constructed world.

Like the road in these photographs there is no self just an infinite time that has no beginning and no end. The time before my birth, the time after my death. We are just in the world, just being somewhere. Life is just a temporary structure on the road from order to disorder. “The road is life,” writes Jack Kerouac in On the Road.

 

9/ Juan Davila: The Moral Meaning of Wilderness at the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Caulfield, August – October 2011

Simply put, this was one of the best exhibitions I saw in Melbourne this year.

I had a spiritual experience with this work for the paintings promote in the human a state of grace. The non-material, the unconceptualisable, things which are outside all possibility of time and space are made visible. This happens very rarely but when it does you remember, eternally, the time and space of occurrence. I hope you had the same experience.

 

Juan Davila. 'Wilderness' 2010

 

Juan Davila (Chilean b. 1946, emigrated Australia 1974)
Wilderness
2010
© Juan Davila, Courtesy Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art

 

10/ In camera and in public at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, September – October 2011

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki. 'Untitled' 1971

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki (Japanese, b. 1946)
Untitled
1971
From the series The Park
Gelatin Silver Print
© Kohei Yoshiyuki, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

 

Curated by Naomi Cass as part of the Melbourne Festival, this was a brilliant exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne. The exhibition explored, “the fraught relationship between the camera and the subject: where the image is stolen, candid or where the unspoken contract between photographer and subject is broken in some way – sometimes to make art, sometimes to do something malevolent.” It examined the promiscuity of gazes in public / private space specifically looking at surveillance, voyeurism, desire, scopophilia, secret photography and self-reflexivity. It investigated the camera and its moral and physical relationship to the unsuspecting subject.

 

11/ The Mad Square: Modernity in German Art 1910 – 37 at The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, November 2011 – March 2012

This is one of the best exhibitions this year in Melbourne bar none. Edgy and eclectic the work resonates with the viewer in these days of uncertainty: THIS should have been the Winter Masterpieces exhibition!

The title of the exhibition, The mad square (Der tolle Platz) is taken from Felix Nussbaum’s 1931 painting of the same name where “the ‘mad square’ is both a physical place – the city, represented in so many works in the exhibition, and a reference to the state of turbulence and tension that characterises the period.”The exhibition showcases how artists responded to modern life in Germany in the interwar years, years that were full of murder and mayhem, putsch, revolution, rampant inflation, starvation, the Great Depression and the rise of National Socialism. Portrayed is the dystopian, dark side of modernity (where people are the victims of a morally bankrupt society) as opposed to the utopian avant-garde (the prosperous, the wealthy), where new alliances emerge between art and politics, technology and the mass media. Featuring furniture, decorative arts, painting, sculpture, collage and photography in the sections World War 1 and the Revolution, Dada, Bauhaus, Constructivism and the Machine Aesthetic, Metropolis, New Objectivity and Power and Degenerate Art, it is the collages and photographs that are the strongest elements of the exhibition, particularly the photographs. What a joy they are to see.

 

Albert Renger-Patzsch (American, born Hungary, 1895-1946) 'Harbour with crane' c. 1927

 

Albert Renger-Patzsch (American, born Hungary, 1895-1946)
Harbour with crane
c. 1927
Gelatin silver photograph
Printed image 22.7 h x 16.8 w cm
Purchased 1983
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

 

 

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10
Dec
11

Review: ‘Lionel Bawden: Pattern spill’ at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 23rd November – 17th December 2011

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Double Vision' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Double Vision
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 23.0 x 26.0 x 7.0 cm
Shelf: 7.5 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

 

 

In the self contained world of commercial “art to go” galleries, this exhibition is the apotheosis of that form. The work is astonishingly beautiful, refined and self contained. Drawing on references to Islamic art, Brancusi (Endless Column), stalactites, wafting sea sponges and the changeable camouflage patterns of sea creatures, the sculptures are perfect in visualisation, creation, contemplation and containment.

Sitting on coloured perspex shelves the patterns spills of coloured Staedtler pencils explore “themes of flux, transformation and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world.” The titles of the work hint at such an exploration: Double VisionTrance-muterSecretionLosing Containment, Pattern Spill.

How I wish, long, crave to own one and I am not alone: on the opening night nearly all the sculptures were already sold! Obviously people recognise the uniqueness and beauty of this work.

And yet …

.
Part of               me

longs
for    a
      broken
pencil,
a
snapped           t/wig,
something
                                           out of place
that puts
pattern to
shame.

 

For only in mutation is pattern given relevance (and this is what the irregularity of ‘spill’ is supposed to be about). The flow of the Pattern Spill sculptures are the only ones that get close to this mutation and that in a pretty, ordered way.

“What happens in the case of mutation? Consider the example of the genetic code. Mutation normally occurs when some random event (for example, a burst of radiation or a coding error) disrupts an existing pattern and something else is put in its place instead. Although mutation disrupts pattern, it also presupposes a morphological standard against which it can be measured and understood as mutation … Mutation is critical because it names the bifurcation point at which the interplay between pattern and randomness causes the system to evolve in a new direction…

The randomness to which mutation testifies is implicit in the very idea of pattern, for only against the background of nonpattern can pattern emerge. Randomness is the contrasting term that allows pattern to be understood as such.”1

.
Instead of pattern “something else is put in its place instead.” I don’t get that here. Yes, these are beautiful, contemplative sculptures but one wonders how they will go on revealing themselves over months and years. I yearn for the prick of their imperfection.

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

 

  1. Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp.30-33.

 

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Trance-muter' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Trance-muter
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 32.0 x 26.0 x 7.5 cm
Shelf: 7.5 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Secretion' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Secretion
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 31.0 x 25.0 x 17.0 cm
Shelf: 7.5 x 45.0 x 30.0 cm

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Losing Containment' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Losing Containment
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form 1: 31.5 x 24.0 x 12.0 cm
Form 2: 33.5 x 33.0 x 26.0 cm
Shelf: 15.0 x 120.0 x 30.0 cm

 

 

Lionel Bawden’s exhibition Pattern Spill will comprise of a range of small-scale objects created from vibrantly coloured pencils that are fused and sculpted together. By working with hexagonal coloured pencils as a sculptural material, Bawden is able to reconfigure and carve a range of amorphous shapes that convey movement and process. Bawden explores themes of flux, transformation and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world.

This new body of work deals with ideas of control and collapse, surface and interior and organic patterns and energies through static three-dimensional objects. Bawden’s sculptures explore larger ideas beyond the work and relate to societal and natural systems, cycles and structures. Through his work, Bawden communicates macro ideas through micro detail. The works in Pattern spill become vessels for contemplation.

Alongside the sculptures there will also be a range of small meticulous drawings of vast hexagonal cells included in the exhibition. These drawings will act as companions to the sculptures, assisting to convey Bawden’s oblique explorations and meditations of the human condition.

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Pattern Spill' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Pattern Spill
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 30.0 x 23.5 x 33.0 cm
Shelf: 15.0 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Patttern Spill III' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Patttern Spill III
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 31.0 x 23.0 x 34.0 cm
Shelf: 15.0 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Secretion III' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Secretion III
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 35.0 x 26.5 x 15.0 cm
Shelf: 15.0 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

 

Lionel Bawden. 'Elevation' 2011

 

Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
Elevation
2011
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
Form: 42.5 x 15.0 x 7.0 cm
Shelf: 7.5 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

 

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has now closed.

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23
May
11

Exhibition: ‘Monika Tichacek, To all my relations’ at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 4th May – 28th May 2011

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
To all my relations
2011
Diptych
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
244.0 x 300.0 cm overall

 

 

This is a stupendous exhibition by Monika Tichacek, at Karen Woodbury Gallery. One of the highlights of the year, this is a definite must see!

The work is glorious in it’s detail, a sensual and visual delight (make sure you click on the photographs to see the close up of the work!). The riotous, bacchanalian density of the work is balanced by a lyrical intimacy, the work exploring the life cycle and our relationship to the world in gouache, pencil & watercolour. Tichacek’s vibrant pink birds, small bugs, flowers and leaves have absolutely delicious colours. The layered and overlaid compositions show complete control by the artist: mottled, blotted, bark-like wings of butterflies meld into trees in a delicate metamorphosis; insects are blurred becoming one with the structure of flowers in a controlled effusion of life. The title of the exhibition, To all my relations,

“has inspired an understanding that all animist cultures’ peoples have who live in close relationship to the earth. We are all related, we all exist in an interdependent system. The ecosystem is such an unbelievably complex, harmonious system. Every drop of rain, every insect, every micro-organism has its place for the perfect functioning and health of nature… The title is an acknowledgement and honouring of all that is live-giving, every little element that makes up the big picture of life on earth.”1

It was very difficult to pull myself away from the beauty and intimate polyphony of voices contained within the work. I loved it!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

  1. O’Sullivan, Jane. “Artist Interview: Monika Tichacek,” on Australian Art Collector website, 19th May 2011 [Online] Cited 21/05/2010 no longer available online

.
Many thankx to Karen Woodbury Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs and Art Guide Australia for allowing me to publish the text in the posting. The text by Dylan Rainforth was commissioned by Art Guide Australia and appears in the May/June 11 issue of Art Guide Australia magazine. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' (detail) 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
To all my relations (detail)
2011
Diptych
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
244.0 x 300.0 cm overall

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' (detail) 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
To all my relations (detail)
2011
Diptych
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
244.0 x 300.0 cm overall

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' (detail) 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
To all my relations (detail)
2011
Diptych
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
244.0 x 300.0 cm overall

 

 

The Cycle of Nature – Monika Tichacek’s To All My Relations

Dylan Rainforth

Anyone used to the immaculately controlled, exactingly lit photographic and video mise en scène that Swiss-born artist Monika Tichacek presented in such series as The Shadowers, for which she won the prestigious Anne Landa Award for Video and New Media Arts in 2007, may be surprised by the direction her work has taken in her latest exhibition. To All My Relations consists entirely of works on paper – watercolour and ink drawings that evince a tension between abstract, gestural shapes and bleeds of colour, recalling (just for convenience’s sake) Kandinsky, and intricately rendered natural forms that owe more to the scientific, zoological and botanical narratives of the Endeavour voyages of Captain Cook, Joseph Banks and the artist Sydney Parkinson.

The work has come out of an intensive period over the last few years in which Tichacek spent considerable time in the jungles of South America and the deserts of the United States, as well as time spent in the New South Wales bush and studying nature books. “I’m getting more and more interested in the cellular, microscopic imagery that you get when you enlarge something and peer deeper into the structure of how material elements are composed, and that really coincides with my interest in Eastern philosophies of Buddhism and many other things too. I guess I’m looking as deeply into the nature of something as is possible but I’m trying not to do it so much with my mind – but of course that’s very challenging,” she says, laughing lightly.

“The exploration of feeling is quite important to me – it’s quite a departure from what I used to do, which were certainly works that came from a very inner landscape but then the execution would be very conceptual, obviously – it had to be and this new work is much more intimate.”

That challenge to the rational, objective Western subject is informed by Tichacek’s exposure to indigenous traditions in South America and other places.

“In 2006 I had a research grant and I went to the Amazon because I wanted to look more deeply into animist cultures, meaning cultures that really see the land as living and as alive with energy and with spirit or ‘beingness’. So I went to the Amazon and spent quite a long time there and also in the mountains in Peru and saw a little bit of Central America and also North America in the desert. I spent time there and really learnt a lot about their indigenous ways and got to participate in a lot of things and experience a lot of things. In the Amazon shamanic tradition there is a process – they call it dieting – you spend a few months more or less alone, existing on very limited foods. You get very little, limited food and very little contact and they give you different traditional plants that, through the communion they do, they are ‘told’ to give you. And you are encouraged to connect with this plant for its healing properties to come through. So that was quite an amazing time to get quite still…”

The exhibition title comes from a Native American ceremony. According to Tichacek, “It’s always said when entering the sweat lodge and it’s an acknowledgement of being related to everything in nature, every being, the understanding that without all these other relations one wouldn’t exist. In those cultures it’s much more understood – we’ve lost that understanding because we can just buy things in the supermarket and eat them but if we lived that way we would probably remember a lot more that we are closely related to everything around us.”

From this perspective we can see that this new work is not a complete departure from Tichacek’s earlier work after all, yet its intentions are radically different. Both the natural world and shamanistic knowledge played their part in The Shadowers. Professor Anne Marsh has described Tichacek’s video, played out in a violent scene occurring between three women (one of whom Marsh characterises as a witch doctor or shaman) in a forest environment, as stretch[ing] the boundaries between body art, ritual and sado-masochism by assaulting the senses and transgressing the social realm. In psychoanalytic terms it tears at the screen of the real and immerses the viewer into the abject world of instinctual response where language has no authority.” [i]

Pain, sado-masochism, ritual and endurance certainly have their place in shamanistic traditions – one need only think of any number of initiation rites – but now Tichacek is looking for a less conflicted relationship with nature. “The work has always been very personal and I guess in The Shadowers that nature relationship was starting to come in but it was very tense and very violent and very confused. The continuation of that theme is still there – the exploration of how to understand the experience of the self and what we are doing here and how we come to exist. That’s definitely been there before but this new work is more in the realm of psychology and the previous works are more in the realm of the female body.”

To All My Relations will present several drawings, with one in particular being conceived on a massive scale that Tichacek intends to convey the sense of awe we experience when surrounded by nature. The artist will also stage a performance – something her interdisciplinary practice has always embraced – at the opening. Although she had not completely determined the details when I spoke to her the performance was inspired by a drawing she made a few years ago and will symbolically connect the artist’s body to the roots of a tree.

“I always feel like [performance serves] to bring my body into it. Although I feel like my body’s very much in these drawings there’s something about performance that’s really physically present.”

Dylan Rainforth.

 

This text by Dylan Rainforth was commissioned by Art Guide Australia and appears in the May/June 11 issue of Art Guide Australia magazine.

[i] Marsh, A. The Shadowers: Haunting the Real; essay available on Karen Woodbury Gallery website, accessed 03/04/11, no longer available online

 

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' (detail) 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
To all my relations (detail)
2011
Diptych
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
244.0 x 300.0 cm overall

 

Monika Tichacek. 'To all my relations' (detail) 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
To all my relations (detail)
2011
Diptych
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
244.0 x 300.0 cm overall

 

Monika Tichacek. 'Birth of generosity' 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
Birth of generosity
2011
Diptych
Pencil and watercolour on paper
70.0 x 114.0 cm overall

 

Monika Tichacek. 'Transmission' 2011

 

Monika Tichacek (Australian, b. 1975 Switzerland)
Transmission
2011
Pencil and watercolour on paper
150.0 x 125.0 cm

 

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has now closed

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03
Nov
10

Exhibitions: ‘The Other’ by Titania Henderson at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, ‘Halftone’ by John Nicholson at Sophie Gannon Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 19/20th October – 13th November 2010

 

Titania Henderson 'Together II' 2010

 

Titania Henderson (Dutch, b. 1945 emigrated Australia 1956)
Together II
2010
Images courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

 

Two solid exhibitions, ceramics by Titania Henderson at Karen Woodbury Gallery and sculpture by John Nicholson at Sophie Gannon Gallery. Both exhibitions benefit from a straight forward approach to craft – elegant, refined sensibilities that are free from an overly conceptual rendering of ideas; stillness, of form in style, inhabits both bodies of work.

Contemplation is of the essence – in the beautiful, delicate, seemingly fragile shell and tubular mollusc-like bone china structures that, conversely, are physically strong; in the tonal colours of woven amoebic, disc and U-shaped constructions (the Halftone of the exhibition title referring to the loss of colour in digital printing, the longing for sumptuous analogue markings). I liked both exhibitions for the paring down of elements to essentials forming a basis for quiet reflection, a grounding in texture, colour and lightness of form.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Karen Woodbury Gallery and Sophie Gannon Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Titania Henderson. 'Silence' 2010

 

Titania Henderson (Dutch, b. 1945 emigrated Australia 1956)
Silence
2010
Images courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

Titania Henderson. 'Remembering' 2010

 

Titania Henderson (Dutch, b. 1945 emigrated Australia 1956)
Remembering
2010
Images courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

Titania Henderson. 'Piled up 1 (yellow)' 2009/10

 

Titania Henderson (Dutch, b. 1945 emigrated Australia 1956)
Piled up 1 (yellow)
2009/10
Images courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

Titania Henderson 'Piled up 2 (yellow)' 2009/10

 

Titania Henderson (Dutch, b. 1945 emigrated Australia 1956)
Piled up 2 (yellow)
2009/10
Images courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

 

Titania Henderson’s exhibition The Other presents a range of ceramic sculptural installations in pure white Bone China that convey a three-dimensional engagement. A fragility and vulnerability resonate through these poignant paper-thin configurations, bringing a sense of clarity and freedom. These hand built works challenge the conception of Bone China as a material only suited for slip casting while also incorporating the use of French Limoges. Henderson’s method involves perseverance, technical proficiency and precision, as she creates her own language of rhythmic ceramic art. There is an inherent translucent character that appeals to elements of shadow and light within the works. This new body of work is based on ideas of the human conscience and larger philosophical ideas beyond the objects themselves and beyond language.”

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website

 

John Nicholson (Australian, b. 1970) 'Cloudpopper' 2010

 

John Nicholson (Australian, b. 1970)
Cloudpopper
2010
Plastic
110 x 38 x 38 cm

 

John Nicholson 'Scan' 2010

 

John Nicholson (Australian, b. 1970)
Scan
2010
Plastic
72 x 128 cm

 

John Nicholson. 'Asymmetric' 2010

 

John Nicholson (Australian, b. 1970)
Asymmetric
2010
Plastic
29 x 70 x 29 cm

 

John Nicholson 'Concept 101' 2010

 

John Nicholson (Australian, b. 1970)
Concept 101
2010
Plastic
35 x 46 x 40 cm

 

John Nicholson. Installation view of 'Halftone' 2010

 

John Nicholson (Australian, b. 1970)
Installation view of Halftone
2010

 

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has now closed.

Sophie Gannon Gallery

2, Albert Street
Richmond, Melbourne

Opening hours: Tues – Saturday 11 – 5pm

Sophie Gannon Gallery website

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26
May
10

Exhibition: ‘The Navigators’ at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 5th May – 29th May 2010

Artists: Lionel Bawden, Penny Byrne, Nicholas Folland, Locust Jones, Rhys Lee, Rob McHaffie, Derek O’Connor, Alex Spremberg, Madonna Staunton

 

 

Lionel Bawden (Sydney, b. 1974) 'formless worlds move through me' 2010

 

Lionel Bawden (Sydney, b. 1974)
formless worlds move through me
2010
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac
51.0 x 51.0 x 9.5 cm

 

 

Some good work in this exhibition – especially the Staedtler hexagonal coloured pencil constructions by Lionel Bawden. Beautifully crafted by hand they remind me of ghosts, the ‘millefiori’ (thousand flowers) of Italian glass and the inside of caverns with their stalactites.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

Alex Spremberg (Australian, born Germany 1950) 'Inside skins' 2002

 

Alex Spremberg (Australian, born Germany 1950)
Inside skins
2002

 

 

These artists have been selected for their interest in ideas of assemblage and re-use of pre-existing materials. Working across a range of media, each artist in the exhibition employs a process of manipulation to create completely different concepts and forms with their finished works. These works comprise of found objects and assembled from disparate elements, scavenged or foraged by the artists and juxtaposed in inventive ways. All works included in The Navigators take on their own form and imbue a new meaning to the original source materials.

Not originally intended as art materials, yet these artists have seen potential for a new idea in the materials; creating a new thought for the object. The original useful element of the preformed material thus comes under more aesthetic and creative significance. The impetus for such artistic practice is located in a desire by these artists to re-use, re-model, reshape and recycle within their practices. Despite an obvious interest and emphasis in the materiality of the works, the conceptual underpinning are the key motivation within these varying works and pose questions regarding the value of the objects within society. The artists included in The Navigators are continuously surveying and navigating their practice, allowing for deeper exploration in their work.

The exhibition will include various two and three-dimensional objects that interact with each other in unique ways. In the example of Lionel Bawden’s sculptures, his work exploits hexagonal coloured pencils as a sculptural material, reconfiguring and carving into amorphous shapes. Here the rich qualities of colour are explored as pencils are carved, shaped and fused together. Bawden explores themes of flux, transformation, rhythm and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world. Bawden’s wall mounted works ‘the caverns of temporal suspension’ explore shapes within and outside the work as they hover ominously, melting, conjoined, growing, in transformation. These works are at the forefront of his current practice.

Penny Byrne’s work makes use of vintage porcelain sculptures that are adorned with a range of materials. Through this process, Byrne makes the base sculptures appear starkly different to that of the original, taking on new connotations that are often humorous and quirky but also convey political and social issues. In her work Mercury Rising. Hunted, Slaughtered, Eaten vintage porcelain dolphins and new plastic Manga figurines are employed to relate to the annual Japanese slaughter of tens of thousands dolphins as highlighted in the documentary ‘The Cove’. The Japanese eat the dolphins and then suffer mercury poisoning due to the high mercury levels in the dolphins flesh, leading to symptoms of madness.

Nicholas Folland’s Navigator sculptures are indicative Folland’s continued interest in utilising, modifying and experimenting with various sourced materials. These sculptures comprise of various upturned intricately detailed crystal objects that sit above a wood panelled shelf. These glass object are lit and act as beacons or floating satellite cities. Folland personifies the intrepid creative explorer via his navigation of various found materials.

Locust Jones’ three-dimensional globes are made from papier mache and pictorially and graphically convey global issues. These works sit on the floor and allow the viewer to orient themselves around the works allowing for a detached, objective perspective on contemporary societal issues. The quickly worked surfaces reflect a stream of consciousness in process. Imagery and themes are taken from various media such as the Internet, photojournalism, film culture and nightly news broadcasts.

The two sculptures in the exhibition by Rhys Lee imbue associations of debris and deal with found objects such as a money box, a dead bird and a clowns face. These trophy-like pieces are decorated by old, worn and found vintage materials that engage with the everyday. The intimate scale of these works do not account for the potency of symbolism and accumulation of collected ideas. The blistered silver patina and bronze sculptures allude to a dark gothic sentiment that extends beyond the morphing forms. The shapes have been smashed, manipulated and stuck back together again resulting in frozen miniature icons that represent a contemporary zest for defiance.

Rob McHaffie’s works comprise a pastiche of painted anonymous unrelated objects and shapes that somehow come together to create unlikely compositions and formations. The highly skilled execution of McHaffie’s paintings attracts the viewer, who is then faced with a banality in subject matter, often of depictions of clothing, crumpled paper, plants and disfigured creatures and figures. These perfectly rendered images of everyday objects are unsettling in their clarity and realism, which are then skewed, moulded and displaced in unlikely relationships. There is a sense of a deliberate haphazard nature to McHaffie’s work that draws upon a range of elements brought together to mimic something else. Humour surfaces through this stylistic creative process.

Derek O’Connor’s re-worked painting collages resemble distorted and fragmented realities and stories via the manipulation and playful technique of alteration and re-use of book covers and record album and EP covers. O’Connor’s characteristic gestural sweeping luscious brushstrokes are employed with precision yet allow for organic spontaneity. The old material takes on new meaning and are given new life via O’Connor’s creations.

Alex Spremberg’s work Inside Skins highlights the artist’s accidental processes at work. This sculptural piece was made as an ancillary to his broader practice – working with acrylic, enamel and varnish on board and canvas. These objects where literally created via chance – an after thought that was noticed to be a finished piece in its own right. Left to dry within their containers these ‘skins’ were extracted and proved to provide aesthetic attraction and conceptual ideas of the ready-made.

The mainstay of Madonna Staunton’s practice surrounds the physicality of assemblage. Essentially she is a collage artist. The components of her two- and three-dimensional assemblages are usually drawn from old, faded and battered discards such as frames and chairs that are carefully put together in new ways and given another life. A play between precision and randomness animates her work. Her sensitivity to tonal and formal arrangement always remains acute during this process and the results are austerely and chaotically beautiful.

Press release from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website [Online] Cited 20/05/2010 no longer available online

 

Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967) 'Navigators 1' 2008

 

Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967)
Navigators 1
2008
Glassware, table and lightbox
25.0 x 110.0 x 87.0 cm

 

Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967) 'Navigators 2' 2008

 

Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967)
Navigators 2
2008
Glassware, table and lightbox
25.0 x 110.0 x 87.0 cm

 

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has now closed.

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13
Apr
10

Four exhibitions in Albert Street, Richmond: Pamela Rataj at Anita Traverso Gallery, Claudia Damichi at Sophie Gannon Gallery, Steve Randall at John Buckley Gallery and Robert Boynes at Karen Woodbury Gallery

April 2010

 

Four interesting exhibitions in Albert Street, Richmond – from the beautiful, formed leather sculptures of Pamela Rataj to the wonderfully vibrant tropical bird, chair and decorative pattern paintings of Claudia Damichi; from the intensely observed canvas environments of Steve Randall to the post-photographic silk-screen textualisations of Robert Boynes. Well worth a visit on a Saturday afternoon!

As always, many thankx to the galleries for allowing me to publish the images in this posting. Please click on the images for a larger version.

  • Pamela Rataj. The Morphology of Forgetting at Anita Traverso Gallery. 7th April – 1st May 2010
  • Claudia Damichi. The Bitter Sweet at Sophie Gannon Gallery. 30th March – 25th April 2010
  • Steve Rendall. Security, Storage and Recreation at John Buckley Gallery. 8th April – 1st May 2010
  • Robert Boynes. Postscript at Karen Woodbury Gallery. 7th April – 1st May 2010

 

Pamela Rataj. The Morphology of Forgetting at Anita Traverso Gallery

7th April – 1st May 2010

 

Pamela Rataj. 'Tangent Bundle' 2009

 

Pamela Rataj
Tangent Bundle
2009

 

Pamela Rataj. 'Ravel' 2009

 

Pamela Rataj
Ravel
2009

 

Pamela Rataj. 'Kairos' 2009

 

Pamela Rataj
Kairos
2009

 

 

How to draw a boundary between self and other, past time and today?

Patterns and forms in nature often resemble one another, connecting life forms in unexpected ways. Tide lines left in the sand resemble the grains found in a piece of wood, and the veins in a leaf or those in a hand.

The age lines in the trunk of a tree form as each outer layer covers the one preceding it and echoes its shape. This makes me think of the way past experience resurfaces as memory, receding or becoming more important at different times in our lives, as each new experience envelopes our previous states of being and yet is shaped by them.

The wrapped and layered forms in The Morphology of Forgetting explore coexistence and connection.

I dedicate this exhibition to my parents, whose recent deaths have helped me appreciate memory as a way to connect through time.

Pamela Rataj 2010

Press release from the Anita Traverso Gallery website [Online] Cited 10/04/2010 no longer available online

 

Pamela Rataj. 'Faisceaux 1' 2009

 

Pamela Rataj
Faisceaux 1
2009

 

Pamela Rataj. 'Faisceaux 4' 2009

 

Pamela Rataj
Faisceaux 4
2009

 

Claudia Damichi. The Bitter Sweet at Sophie Gannon Gallery

30th March – 25th April 2010

 

Claudia Damichi. 'Birds eye' 2010

 

Claudia Damichi
Birds eye
2010
Acrylic on canvas
46 x 41 cm

 

Claudia Damichi. 'Star Gazer' 2009

 

Claudia Damichi
Star Gazer
2009
Acrylic on canvas
46 x 41 cm

 

Claudia Damichi. 'Gridlock' 2010

 

Claudia Damichi
Gridlock
2010
Acrylic on canvas
41 x 46 cm

 

Claudia Damichi. 'Reading between the lines' 2010

 

Claudia Damichi
Reading between the lines
2010
Acrylic on canvas
46 x 41 cm

 

 

Claudia Damichi’s surrealist still life paintings are characterised by vivid colours, elaborate patterns and distorted spatial proportions. In her paintings of domestic interiors, flowers, birds and furniture, colour is inflated and scale is playfully manipulated – solitary domestic interiors are reconfigured into places of fantasy and illusion. Inspired by the enduring aesthetic of modern industrial design, her surreal and theatrically staged scenarios self-consciously conjure a sense of the absurd. Graphic patterning, high-croma colour and whimsical compositions foster worlds that are at once playful and claustrophobic, satirical and real, tapping into an ambiguous nostalgia that leaves the viewer feeling that anything is possible.

Visit the Sophie Gannon website

 

Claudia Damichi. 'Look out' 2010

 

Claudia Damichi
Look out
2010
Acrylic on canvas
46 x 56 cm

 

Steve Rendall. Security, Storage and Recreation at John Buckley Gallery

8th April – 1st May 2010

 

Steven Rendall. 'Archive 1' 2010

 

Steven Rendall
Archive 1
2010
Oil on linen

 

Steven Rendall. 'Archive 2' 2010

 

Steven Rendall
Archive 2
2010
Oil on linen

 

 

Citing the British artist Walter Sickert as an important influence on his painterly style, Rendall’s work displays a form and content that has attracted the attention of both critics and collectors. A key work in the exhibition is a large-scale painting on un-stretched linen titled Fountain (Rosemary’s Baby) that sprawls across 4.5m. Certain fountains, along with other apparently arbitrary images of television monitors, speedboats, clothing racks, shelving units and museum interiors are recurring motifs in Rendall’s paintings.

Rendall aims to ‘collect and synthesise’ images from around his home and en route to and from his Brunswick studio. Passing observations of window displays, charity shops and various light industrial warehouses are registered and recorded in conjunction with the accumulation of promotional flyers spruiking leisure activities and museum experiences. This shambolic collection of images is transcribed into an array of compositions in Rendall’s paintings. Images occasionally materialise in unlikely places, such as the spectral diver’s head that is resting on a warehouse shelf in the appropriately titled Storage.

In the exhibition Security, Storage and Recreation, you are invited to enter the image bank of Steven Rendall; a ‘wake in fright’ experience where one can become immersed and caught up in the maelstrom of the artist’s visual language – a sequence of painterly dreams each similar yet different to the last.”

Press release from the John Buckley Gallery website [Online] Cited 10/04/2010 no longer available online

 

Steven Rendall. 'Flat Screens (Green)' 2010

 

Steven Rendall
Flat Screens (Green)
2010
Oil on linen

 

Steven Rendall. 'Pipes' 2010

 

Steven Rendall
Pipes
2010
Oil on linen

 

Steven Rendall. 'Claustrophobia' 2010

 

Steven Rendall
Claustrophobia
2010
Oil on linen

 

Steven Rendall. 'Redacted 2' 2010

 

Steven Rendall
Redacted 2
2010
Oil on linen

 

Robert Boynes. Postscript at Karen Woodbury Gallery

7th April – 1st May 2010

 

Robert Boynes. 'Street Runner' 2010

 

Robert Boynes
Street Runner
2010
Acrylic on canvas and velvet
120 x 242 cm

 

Robert Boynes. 'Days that we forgot' 2010

 

Robert Boynes
Days that we forgot
2010
Acrylic on canvas

 

Robert Boynes. 'Signal Driver' 2010

 

Robert Boynes
Signal Driver
2010
Acrylic on canvas and velvet
120 x 190 cm

 

 

Postscript is Robert Boynes’ second solo exhibition with Karen Woodbury Gallery. This series continues with his exploration of urban themes, contemporary experience and experimentation into ways of using paint. In this most recent body of work Robert has employed the use of text in juxtaposition to various materials such as wood and velvet. The text conveys a feeling of noise and urban clatter, acting as a context and environment for the figures within the work.

His technique involves transferring photographic images to large silk screens and dragging paint through the mesh onto canvas. Robert thus has control in the manipulation of colour, density and translucency of the images. This process results in still moments that magnify and investigate everyday observable reality. The anonymous figures are juxtaposed with text and layering of saturated, contrasting colours, appearing objectified and ghostly.

These works embody a filmic quality, the multi-panelled paintings signify fragmented narratives and enquire into perceptions of time and space.

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website [Online] Cited 10/04/2010 no longer available online

 

Robert Boynes. 'Body Type' 2 2010

 

Robert Boynes
Body Type 2
2010
Acrylic on canvas

 

Robert Boynes. 'Body Type 3' 2010

 

Robert Boynes
Body Type 3
2010
Acrylic on canvas

 

Robert Boynes. 'Things we leave behind' 2009

 

Robert Boynes
Things we leave behind
2009
Acrylic on canvas
120 x 180 cm

 

Robert Boynes. 'The layered moment' 2009

 

Robert Boynes
The layered moment
2009
Acrylic on canvas

 

Robert Boynes. 'Postscript' 2009

 

Robert Boynes
Postscript
2009
Acrylic on canvas
120 x 124 cm

 

 

All galleries have closed except for Sophie Gannon Gallery, Richmond.

Sophie Gannon Gallery
2 Albert Street Richmond VIC 3121 Australia
Phone: +61 3 9421 0857

Sophie Gannon Gallery website

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04
Mar
10

Three Openings Wednesday 3rd March 2010

March 2010

Camilla Tadich: Slabalong and Mark Hislop: Drawing at Sophie Gannon Gallery; Simon Obarzanek at Karen Woodbury Gallery; Kent Wilson Higher Breeds and Alice Wormald Wayside and Hedgerow at Shifted

 

Camilla Tadich: Slabalong and Mark Hislop: Drawing at Sophie Gannon Gallery, 2 Albert Street, Richmond
March 2nd – March 27th 2010
Sophie Gannon Gallery website

Simon Obarzanek at Karen Woodbury Gallery, 4 Albert Street, Richmond
March 3rd – March 27th 2010
This gallery is now closed

Kent Wilson Higher Breeds and Alice Wormald Wayside and Hedgerow at Shifted, Level 1, 15 Albert Street, Richmond
This gallery is now closed

 

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Mark Hislop 'Drawing'

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Mark Hislop 'Drawing'

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Mark Hislop 'Drawing'

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening – Mark Hislop Drawing

 

Camilla Tadich. 'Bordertown' 2010

 

Camilla Tadich (Australian, b. 1982)
Bordertown
2010

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Camila Tadich 'Slabalong' opening

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening – Camila Tadich Slabalong opening

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery - Simon Obarzanek opening

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery – Simon Obarzanek opening

 

 

Simon’s photographs come from observing the physical movements of people pushing through the space around them in a city. He senses a universal language through movement and is drawn to this rather than their faces, as he normally is.

He noted that the “strained movements against gravity struck me with force… When I see a person creating a shape with their body in the street I do not sense the individual but a part, a piece of a larger performance. Each individual connects with others to create a visual language. I did not want faces to interrupt this larger work.”

Simon collects the movements on his camera, as photographic sketches, then he rephotographs the movement using friends and family as models. Removed from the busy streets, dislocated, his subject is isolated and framed against a dark background. Some twist away from the camera, or stagger against an unseen wind, sheltering their face from rain that is not falling. Simon does not show their faces, which emphasises the movement and makes the figures anonymous. These photographs are theatrical and mysterious, emphasising the loneliness and alienation that can be encountered living in a big city.

Text from the Turner Galleries website [Online] Cited 28/06/2019

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery - Simon Obarzanek opening

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery – Simon Obarzanek opening, the artist standing centre in grey t-shirt

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery - Simon Obarzanek opening

Simon Obarzanek. 'Untitled movement No.2 #7' 2010

 

Simon Obarzanek (Israel, lives and works Melbourne, b. 1968)
Untitled movement No.2 No.7
2010
C-Type hand print
100.0 x 120.0 cm

 

Shifted opening - Kent Wilson 'Higher Breeds'

Shifted opening - Kent Wilson 'Higher Breeds'

 

Shifted opening – Kent Wilson Higher Breeds

 

Kent Wilson Image from the 'HoneySucker' series (detail) 2009

 

Kent Wilson
Image from the HoneySucker series (detail)
2009

 

Shifted opening - Alice Wormald 'Wayside & Hedgerow'

Shifted opening - Alice Wormald 'Wayside & Hedgerow'

 

Shifted opening – Alice Wormald Wayside & Hedgerow

 

 

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11
Oct
09

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

Exhibition dates: 30th September – 24th October 2009

 

eX de Medici. 'Tooth and claw' 2009

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
Tooth and claw
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper
114.0 x 521.0 cm

 

 

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

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

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

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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

 

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

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
Tooth and claw (detail)
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper
114.0 x 521.0 cm

 

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

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

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
Tooth and claw (details)
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper
114.0 x 521.0 cm

 

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

 

Installation view of Sweet Complicity by eX de Medici at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne featuring at left, Send more meat (2009) and at right, Tooth and claw (2009)

 

eX de Medici. 'Send more meat' 2009

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
Send more meat
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper

 

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

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
Send more meat (detail)
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper

 

 

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

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

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

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

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website [Online] Cited 05/10/2009 no longer available online

 

The defining theme in eX de Medici’s paintings is a consistent interrogation of power. The notion of ‘the personal’ doesn’t interest the artist. Instead she investigates authority and dissent through paintings of guns, surveillance devices and gas masks.

 

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

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
American Sex/Funky Beat Machine
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper
Diptych, 114.0 x 249.0 cm

 

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

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
American Sex/Funky Beat Machine (detail)
2009
Pen, ink and mica on archival paper
Diptych, 114.0 x 249.0 cm

 

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery is now closed.

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23
Sep
09

Review: ‘Ivy’ photographs by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 2nd September – 26th September 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966) 'Ivy #1' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #1
2009
Pigment print
89 x 75 cm

 

 

This is another outstanding body of photographic work on display in Melbourne. Featuring 10 large and 2 small sepia toned, vignetted pigment prints Burton’s work creates dark enchanted worlds of faceless female figures placed in the built environment that balance (meta)physical light and shade creating ambiguous narratives of innocence tinged with a darker edge.

The eponymous photograph Ivy #1 (above) is the seminal image of the series: a dark brooding house, hunched down positioned low in the photographic space, covered in ivy with black windows and dark eves has an ominous almost impenetrable presence and sets the tone for the rest of the work.

There are wonderful references to the history of photography if one cares to look (not simply generic references to Victorian daguerreotypes, postcards and family photographs). Ivy #2 (below) is a powerful photograph where the female figure is blindfolded, unable to see the encroaching tumescence of vegetation that surrounds and is about to engulf her. The placement of the hands is exquisite – unsure, reaching out, doubting her surroundings – with the 3-bladed fan hovering behind ready to devour the unwary. This photograph has resonances of the magical photographs of the garden by the Czech photographer Josef Sudek.

Ivy #3 (below) has echoes of the work of the American photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard and his placement of masked people within built environments. In Burton’s photograph the broken umbrella becomes like insect wings, the faceless whiteness of the three-legged and three-armed creature cocooned among the overhanging predatory ivy, the luminescent sky offering the possibility of redemption. Other photographs such as Ivy #6 (below) and Ivy #7 with their wonderful colours, depth of field, heavy shadows and elegiac romantic feel have references to Eugene Atget and his photographs of the parks of Versailles (see photograph below).

Still further references to the history of photography can be found in the photographs Ivy #9 and Ivy #10 (below). In Ivy #9 the intersection of the two female bodies through double exposure forms a slippage in (photographic) reality and the disappearance of original identity in the layering of the photographs and into the empty non-reflection of the mirror. This non-reflection is confirmed in Ivy #10 where the faceless nude woman holds a mirror with no reflection. These photographs remind me of the photographs of New Orleans prostitutes in the early years of the 20th century by the photographer Bellocq with their masked faces and the ornamentation of the wallpaper behind the figures (see below).

I feel that in these photographs with their facelessness and the non-reflection of the mirror investigate notions of ‘Theoria’ – a Greek emphasis on the vision or contemplation of God where theoria is the lifting up of the individual out of time and space and created being and through contemplative prayer into the presence of God.1 In fact the whole series of photographs can be understood through this conceptualisation – not just remembrances of past time, not a blind contemplation on existence but a lifting up out of time and space into the an’other’ dark but enlightening presence.

The greatest wonder of this series is that the photographs magically reveal themselves again and again over time. Despite (or because of) the references to other artists, the beauty of Burton’s work is that she has made it her own. The photographs have her signature, her voice as an artist and it is an informed voice; this just makes the resonances, the vibrations of energy within the work all the more potent and absorbing. I loved them.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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

 

Installation view of 'Ivy' by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

Installation view of 'Ivy' by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

 

Installation views of Ivy by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #2' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #2
2009
Pigment print
75 x 75 cm

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #3' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #3
2009
Pigment print
75 x 75 cm

 

 

“Jane Burton’s exhibition, Ivy comprises a series of photographs captured in black and white. The final prints are rendered with a sepia, peach-champagne tone, with many displaying a mottled hand-coloured effect in faded pastels of pink and green. These works hope to suggest an era past, perhaps Victorian. The imagery is evocative of old picture postcards from Europe and old photographs from the pages of family albums.

Central to the series is an image of a house covered with ivy. Depicted as dark and malevolent, the house is ‘haunted’ by the traces and stains of family history, habitation, and the buried secrets of all that occurred within.

Anonymous female figures are seen in garden settings where the foliage is rampant and encroaching and the shadows deep. There is an air of enchantment perceived with unspecified darker edge. The figures are innocent and playful. The viewer is asked to question if the and girls aware of the camera capturing their activity? Are the poses staged or caught spontaneously. In another photograph, a dilapidated male statue stands broken and armless, the texture of stone worn, and bruised with dark lichen and moss.

In the interior photographs, several nudes are depicted in the style of 19th century French daguerreotype photographs. These vignetted images display women against wall-papered backdrops with theatrical props reminiscent of earlier works by Burton such as the series ‘The other side’ (2003). Posed suggestively for the camera and the viewer’s gaze, the subjects themselves are faceless, their own gaze and features hidden behind dark hair. The surface and texture of these particular works suggests the patina of decay and the damage and wear of time.”

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website [Online] Cited 20/09/2009 no longer available online

 

Bellocq 1912

 

E. J. Bellocq (American, 1873-1949)
1912

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #10' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #10
2009
Pigment print

 

Eugene Atget. 'Versailles, France' 1923

 

Eugene Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Versailles, France
1923

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #6' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #6
2009
Pigment print
75 x 75 cm

 

 

Jane Burton website

Karen Woodbury Gallery

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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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