Posts Tagged ‘masculine symbology of gun culture

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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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: ‘Mask’ 1994

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