Posts Tagged ‘Ricky Swallow

30
May
13

Exhibition: ‘Alan Constable: Ten Cameras’ at South Willard, Los Angeles

Exhibition dates: 4th May – 2nd June 2013

Curator: Ricky Swallow

 

Wow it really happened! Congratulations to Alan Constable, Sim Lutin and Melissa Petty from Arts Project Australia and to Ricky Swallow for curating.

 

 

Alan Constable. 'Red NEK SLR' 2011

 

Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956)
Red NEK SLR
2011
Ceramic
5.5 x 12.25 x 4.75 inches
© Alan Constable

 

 

“How would a comb that cannot untangle hair look? You can make the object dangerous, humorous, useless, sinister.”
.
Christina Ramberg.

 

Alan Constable’s cameras are real ‘things’; they command constant attention from their audience and from their lucky owners. The resemblance of these sculptures to cameras is a starting point more than an end point, in the same way a swelling foot as painted by Phillip Guston behaves unlike any sensible foot, or a collage of a doorway by James Castle exceeds the expectation its structural simplicity presents.

Constable’s sculpture makes malleable mischief of both the form and function of the camera. In his hands it becomes an anthropomorphic character with endless variations and possibility. Specific types are modelled in clay from magazine advertisements with apt abbreviation and gesture, then glazed and fired in solid, sometimes soupy colours that further activate their surfaces and transform their sober dispositions.

The glazed surfaces are embellished with details so specific and beautiful they necessitate a tactile engagement with the object. As ‘things’ they still buzz with the handling and energy Constable employs in their making. Dials formed separately and thumbed into position, viewfinder windows cut directly through surfaces together with an oversized scale give Constable’s cameras the feeling of buildings or vessels. Scribed lines articulate both panels and seams, skewed inscriptions indicate model and make: all this information registers with efficiency to produce compelling objects.

The basic slab built walls forming the camera’s body also conceal one of the most interesting elements about these sculptures – internal chambers and walls have been built during the early stages of the works. Such entombed detail points towards Constable’s dedication to conceive and map a complete object, a total exploration of his subject based on unique invention and interpretation.”

Ricky Swallow, April 2013

 

South Willard is pleased to present Alan Constable|Ten Cameras as its next Shop Exhibit. Curated by Ricky Swallow in collaboration with Arts Project Australia, this is the first solo presentation of Constable’s ceramic sculptures in the United States. Now in his late 50’s, Constable has been producing his art at Arts Project studio’s in Melbourne since 1987, and has exhibited his camera sculptures in both gallery and institutional exhibitions to critical praise over the past 7 years.

Constable is also participating in Outsiderism curated by Alex Baker at Fleisher Ollman gallery in Philadelphia this month.

Ricky wishes to thank Alex Baker for his introduction to Alan’s work, and Sim Luttin and Melissa Petty at Arts Project Australia for their generous assistance.

 

Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956) 'Orange AKI SLR' 2011

 

Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956)
Orange AKI SLR
2011
Ceramic
6 x 10 x 4 inches
© Alan Constable

 

Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956) 'Green SLR' 2011

 

Alan Constable (Australian, b. 1956)
Green SLR
2011
Ceramic
7.75 x 9 x 3 inches
© Alan Constable

 

 

South Willard
970 N Broadway #205
Los Angeles CA 90012
Phone: (323) 653-6153

Opening hours:
Mon – Sat 12am – 6pm
Sunday 12am – 5pm

Arts Project Australia website

South Willard website

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20
Feb
10

Review: ‘Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur’ at The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 16th October 2009 – 28th February 2010

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- ) 'Salad days' c. 2005

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
Salad days
c. 2005
Jelutong (Dyera costulata), maple (Acer sp.)
102.0 x 102.0 x 23.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds from the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2005
© Ricky Swallow
Photo: Andy Keate courtesy Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

 

 

“Curiosity is a vice that has been stigmatized in turn by Christianity, by philosophy and even by a certain conception of science. Curiosity, futility. I like the word however. To me it suggests something all together different: it evokes concern; it evokes the care one takes for what exists or could exist; an acute sense of the real which, however, never becomes fixed; a readiness to find our surroundings strange and singular; a certain restlessness in ridding ourselves of our familiarities and looking at things otherwise; a passion for seizing what is happening now and what is passing away; a lack of respect for traditional hierarchies of the important and the essential.”

.
Michel Foucault 1

 

“Swallow is at his best when he’s exploring ways to communicate through the innate qualities of materials … This is always going to be more affecting than glib post-modernism, but he just can’t help himself sometimes. So my deep dislike for portentous and ironic titles bristled up immediately here. ‘Salad Days’ and ‘Killing Time’ are only two of the jokey puns, the problem is that art that simply supports two meanings isn’t very smart or complex. There’s no room for subtext. Irony is not the complex and neutral form that ambiguity is. It doesn’t invite engagement or interpretation. Art ought to aspire to infinite meanings, or maybe even only one. Irony doesn’t make for good art, when irony is the defense mechanism against meaning, masking an anxiety about sincerity.”

.
John Matthews 2

 

 

Let’s cut through the hyperbole. This is not the best exhibition since sliced bread (“the NGV highlight of 1609, 2009 and possibly 2109 too” says Penny Modra in The Age) and while it contains a few strong individual pieces this is not even a particularly good exhibition by Ricky Swallow at NGV Australia.

Featuring bronzes, watercolours and sculptures made from 2004-2009 that are sparingly laid out in the gallery space this exhibition comes as close to the National Gallery of Victoria holding a commercial show as you will find. Using forms such as human skeletons, skulls, balloons encrusted with barnacles, dead animals and pseudo death masks that address issues of materials and memory, time and space, discontinuity and death, Swallow’s sculptures are finely made. The craftsmanship is superb, the attention to detail magnificent and there is a feeling of almost obsessional perfectionism to the pieces. This much is given – the time and care taken over the construction, the hand of the maker, the presentation of specimen as momento mori is undeniable.

After seeing the exhibition three times the standout pieces for me are a life size dead sparrow cast in bronze (with the ironic title Flying on the ground is wrong 2006) – belly up, prostrate, feet curled under – that is delicate and poignant; Caravan (2008), barnacle encrusted bronze balloons that play with the ephemerality of life and form – a sculpture that is generous of energy and spirit, quiet yet powerful; Bowman’s record (2008), found objects of paper archery targets cast in bronze, the readymade solidified, the marks on paper made ambiguous hieroglyph of non-decaying matter, paper/bronze pierced by truth = I shot this, I was here (sometime); and Fig.1 (2008), a baby’s skull encased in a paper bag made of carved wood – the delicacy of surfaces, folds, the wooden paper collapsing into the skull itself creating the wonderful haunting presence of this piece. In these sculptures the work transcends the material state to engage the viewer in a conversation with the eternal beyond.

Swallow seeks to evidence the creation of meaning through the humblest of objects where the object’s fundamental beauty relies on the passing of time for its very existence. In the above work he succeeds. In other work throughout the exhibition he fails.

There seems to be a spare, international aesthetic at work (much like the aesthetic of the Ron Mueck exhibition at NGV International on St. Kilda Road). The art is so kewl that you can’t touch it, a dude-ish ‘Californication’ having descended on Swallow’s work that puts an emotional distance between viewer and object. No chthonic nature here, no dirt under the fingernails, no blood on the hands – instead an Apollonian kewlness, all surface and show, that invites reflection on life as discontinuous condition through perfect forms that seem twee and kitsch.

In Tusk (2007) two bronze skeletal arms hold hands in an undying bond but the sculpture simply fails to engage (the theme was brilliantly addressed by Louise Bourgeois in the first and only Melbourne Arts Biennale in 1999 with her carving in granite of two clasped hands); in History of Holding (2007) the icon of the Woodstock festival designed in 1969 is carved into a log of wood placed horizontally on the floor while  a hand holding a peeled lemon (symbolising the passing of time in the still life genre) is carved from another log of wood placed vertically. One appreciates the craftmanship of the carving but the sentiments are too saccharin, the surfaces too shallow – the allegorical layering that Swallow seeks stymied by the objects iconic form. A friend of mine insightfully observed about the exhibition: “Enough of the blond wood thing – it’s so Space Furniture!”

As John Matthews opines in the above quotation from his review of the exhibition there seems to be a lack of sincerity and authenticity of feeling in much of Swallow’s work. Irony as evidenced in the two major pieces titled Salad Days (2005) and Killing Time (2003-04) leaves little room for the layering of meaning: “Irony is not the complex and neutral form that ambiguity is. It doesn’t invite engagement or interpretation.” Well said.

Killing Time in particular adds nothing to the vernacular of Vanitas paintings of the 17th century, adds nothing to the mother tongue of contemporary concerns about the rape of the seas, fails to update the allegories of the futility of pleasure and the inevitability of death – in fact the allegories in Swallow’s sculpture, the way he tries to twist our conception of the real, seem to have lost the power to remind us of our doom. The dead wooden fish just stare back at us with doleful, hollow eyes. The stilted iconography has no layering; it does not destroy hierarchies but builds them up.

In his early work Swallow was full of curiosity, challenging the norms of culture and creation. I always remember his wonderful series of dioramas at the Melbourne Biennale that featured old record players and animated scenes (see the photograph of Rooftop shoot out with chimpanzee (1999) below). Wow they were hot, they were fun, they made you think and challenge how you viewed the world! As Foucault notes in his excellent quotation at the top of the posting, curiosity promotes “an acute sense of the real which, however, never becomes fixed; a readiness to find our surroundings strange and singular; a certain restlessness in ridding ourselves of our familiarities and looking at things otherwise; a passion for seizing what is happening now and what is passing away; a lack of respect for traditional hierarchies of the important and the essential.”

While Swallow’s ‘diverse gestures of memorialisation’ still address the fundamental concerns of Foucault’s quotation his work seems to have become fixed in an Apollonian desire for perfection. He has forgotten how his early work challenged traditional hierarchies of existence; now, even as he twists and turns around a central axis, the conceptualisation of life, memory and death, his familiarity has become facsimile (a bricoleur is a master of nothing, a tinkerer fiddling at the edges). His lack of respect has become sublimated (“to divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable”), his tongue in cheek has become firmly fixed, his sculptures just hanging around not looking at things otherwise.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

  1. Foucault, Michel. “The Masked Philosopher” in Politics, philosophy, culture: interviews and other writings, 1977-1984. London: Routledge, 1988, p. 328
  2. Matthews, John. “On Ricky Swallow @ NGV” on ArtKritique [Online] Cited 02/02/2010

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Rooftop shoot out with chimpanzee' 1999

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
Rooftop shoot out with chimpanzee
1999
from the series Even the odd orbit
Cardboard, wood, plastic model figures and portable record player
53.0 h x 33.0 w x 30.0 d cm
Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
Gift of Peter Fay 2001

 

Ricky Swallow. 'The Man from Encinitas' 2009

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
The Man from Encinitas
2009
Plaster, onyx, steel

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- ) 'Killing Time' 2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
Killing Time
2003-04
Laminated Jelutong, maple
108.0 x 184.0 x 118.0 cm (irreg.)
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Rudy Komon Memorial Fund and the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2004
© Ricky Swallow. Courtesy Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

 

 

Killing time, 2003-04, and Salad days, 2005, depict animals that Swallow and his family either found or caught when he was young and best highlight how the artist reclaims the still life genre to explore personal narrative. Killing time, which depicts a bounty of fish and crustaceans spread across a table modelled after the Swallow family kitchen table of the artist’s youth, is rife with autobiographical association. It not only references an object from Swallow’s past, but also the profession of his father, a fisherman, and the fact that Swallow was raised by the sea. Salad days is another autobiographical work depicting a range of animals such as birds, a rabbit, mice and a fox skull. Like many boys growing up in rural environments, Swallow recalls shooting magpies, encountering nesting birds in his garage or discovering dead lizards or trapping live ones in an attempt to keep them as pets.

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- ) 'Killing Time' (detail) 2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
Killing Time (detail)
2003-04
Laminated Jelutong, maple
108.0 x 184.0 x 118.0 cm (irreg.)
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Rudy Komon Memorial Fund and the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2004
© Ricky Swallow. Courtesy Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

 

Ricky Swallow. 'A sad but very discreet recollection of beloved things and beloved beings' (detail) 2005

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
A sad but very discreet recollection of beloved things and beloved beings (detail)
2005
Watercolour
(1-10) 35.0 x 28.0 cm (each)
Private collection
© Ricky Swallow
Photo: courtesy Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- ) 'Bowman’s record' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (born Australia 1974, lived in England 2003-06, United States 2006- )
Bowman’s record (detail)
2008
Bronze
46.0 x 33.0 x 2.5 cm
Collection of the artist, Los Angeles
© Ricky Swallow
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer courtesy Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London

 

 

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Federation Square
Corner of Russell and 
Flinders Streets, Melbourne

Opening hours:
Open daily 10am-5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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15
Oct
09

Exhibition: ‘Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur’ at The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 16th October 2009 – 28th February 2010

 

Media crowd at the Ricky Swallow exhibition 'The Bricoleur' at NGV Australia

 

Media crowd at the Ricky Swallow exhibition The Bricoleur at NGV Australia with Alex Baker, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV fourth from left with clasped hands.

 

 

Hot off the press straight to you here at Art Blart!

Photographs of the exhibition Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur at the National Gallery of Victoria Australia, Federation Square. The photographs are in the chronological order that I took them, walking through the three spaces of the exhibition. A spare, visually minimalist aesthetic to the show, where every vanitas, every mark (in)forms the work as transcendent momenti mori. Review to follow.

Many thankx to Sue, Alison, Jemma and the team for the usual excellent job and for allowing me to document the exhibition. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“I’ve always been interested in how an object can be remembered and how that memory can be sustained and directed sculpturally, pulling things in and out of time, passing objects through the studio as a kind of filter returning them as new forms.”

.
Ricky Swallow

 

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'The Bricoleur' 2006

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
The Bricoleur
2006
Jelutong
48 x 9.75 x 9.75 inches

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Unbroken Ways (for Derek Bailey)' 2006

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Unbroken Ways (for Derek Bailey)
2006
English Limewood
5 x 30 x 7 inches

 

Ricky Swallow. 'One Nation Underground' 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
One Nation Underground
2007

 

Ricky Swallow. 'One Nation Underground' (detail) 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
One Nation Underground (detail)
2007

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Tusk' 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Tusk
2007
Bronze with white patina, brass fixtures
19.75 x 41.25 x 2.25 inches

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Tusk' (detail) 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Tusk (detail)
2007
Bronze with white patina, brass fixtures
19.75 x 41.25 x 2.25 inches

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Rehearsal for Retirement' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Rehearsal for Retirement (detail)
2008
English Lime Wood, Poplar

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Rehearsal for Retirement' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Rehearsal for Retirement (detail)
2008
English Lime Wood, Poplar

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Bowman’s record' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Bowman’s record (detail)
2008
Bronze

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Bowman’s record' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Bowman’s record (detail)
2008
Bronze

 

 

Ricky Swallow’s sculptures address fundamental issues that lie at the core of who we are. Things have lives. We are our things. We are things. When all is said and done it is our things – our material possessions – that outlive us. Anyone who has lost a family member or close friend knows this: what we have before us once that person is gone are the possessions that formed a life. Just as we are defined and represented by the things that we collect over time, we are ultimately objects ourselves. When we are dead and decomposed what remains are our bones, another type of object. And then there is social science. Archaeology, a subfield of anthropology, is entirely based on piecing together narratives of human relations based on material culture, that is, objects both whole and fragmentary. It may seem obvious but it is worth stressing here that our understanding of cultures from the distant past, those that originated before the advent of writing, is entirely based on the study of objects and skeletal remains. Swallow’s art addresses these basic yet enduring notions and reminds us of our deep symbiotic relationship to the stuff of daily life.

Like the bricoleur put into popular usage by anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss in his seminal book The Savage Mind, Ricky Swallow creates works of art often based on objects from his immediate surroundings. His method, however, is more of a second order bricolage: his sculptures are not assemblages of found objects, but rather elegantly crafted things. Handcarved from wood or plaster or cast in bronze, these humble objects are transformed into memorials to both the quotidian and the passage of time.

 

Still life

The still life has been an important touchstone throughout Swallow’s recent practice as it is an inspired vehicle for the exploration of how meaning is generated by objects. Several sculptures in the exhibition reference the still-life tradition in which Swallow updates and personalises this time-honoured genre, in particular the vanitas paintings of 17th century Holland. Vanitas still lifes, through an assortment of objects that had recognisable symbolism to a 17th-century viewer, functioned as allegories on the futility of pleasure and the inevitably of death. Swallow’s embrace of still life convention, however, is non-didactic, secular and open-ended. Swallow is not obsessed by death. On the contrary, his focus on objects is about salvaging them from the dust bin of history and honouring their continued resonance in his life.

Killing time, 2003-04, and Salad days, 2005, depict animals that Swallow and his family either found or caught when he was young and best highlight how the artist reclaims the still life genre to explore personal narrative. Killing time, which depicts a bounty of fish and crustaceans spread across a table modelled after the Swallow family kitchen table of the artist’s youth, is rife with autobiographical association. It not only references an object from Swallow’s past, but also the profession of his father, a fisherman, and the fact that Swallow was raised by the sea. Salad days is another autobiographical work depicting a range of animals such as birds, a rabbit, mice and a fox skull. Like many boys growing up in rural environments, Swallow recalls shooting magpies, encountering nesting birds in his garage or discovering dead lizards or trapping live ones in an attempt to keep them as pets.

While not an overt still life, History of holding, 2007, suggests the genre in its fragmentary depiction of a musical instrument and the appearance of a lemon with falling rind. The hand holding/presenting a peeled lemon as the rind winds around the wrist in bracelet-like fashion is based on a cast of Swallow’s own hand, insinuating himself into this antiquated tradition. It is as if Swallow is announcing to us his deep interest in the temporality of objects through the presentation of the peeled lemon, which symbolises the passing of time and also appears in Killing time. The second component of History of holding is a sculptural interpretation of the Woodstock music festival icon designed by Arthur Skolnick in 1969, which still circulates today. History of holding, then, also references music, a leitmotif in Swallow’s art that appears both within the work itself, and also through Swallow’s use of titles.

 

Body fragments

Tusk, 2007 among several other works in the exhibition, explores the theme of body as fragment. Much has been discussed about Swallow’s use of the skeleton as a form rich in meaning within both the traditions of art history as well as popular culture (references range from the Medieval dance macabre and the memento mori of the still life tradition to the skeleton in rock music and skateboard art iconography). Tusk represents two skeletal arms with the hands clasped together in eternal union. A poignant work, Tusk is a meditation on permanence: the permanence of the human body even after death; the permanence of the union between two people, related in the fusion of the hands into that timeless symbol of love, the heart.

 

Watercolours: atmospheric presentations, mummies, music, homage

Swallow calls his watercolours “atmospheric presentations”, in contradistinction to his obviously more physical sculptures, and he sees them as respites from the intensity of labour and time invested in the sculptural work. They also permit experimentation in ways that sculpture simply does not allow. One nation underground, 2007, is a collection of images based on rock/folk musicians, several who had associations to 1960s Southern California, Swallow’s current home. Most of the subjects Swallow has illustrated in this work are now deceased; several experienced wide recognition only after their deaths. Like many of his sculptures, this group of watercolours tenderly painted with an air of nostalgia has the sensibility of a memorial – or as Swallow has called it “a modest monument”. The title of the work is based on a record album by another under-heralded rock band from the 1960s, Pearls Before Swine, and is a prime example of Swallow’s belief in the importance of titles to the viewing experience as clues or layers of meaning. In this case, the title hints at the quasi-cult status of the musicians and singers depicted. The featured musicians are Chris Bell (Big Star), Karen Dalton (a folk singer), Tim Buckley (legendary singer whose style spanned several genres and father to the late Jeff Buckley), Denny Doherty (The Mamas & the Papas ), Judee Sill (folk singer), Brian Jones (Rolling Stones), Arthur Lee (Love), John Phillips (The Mamas & the Papas ), Skip Spence (Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape) and Phil Ochs (folk singer).

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria website [Online] Cited 15/10/2010

 

Installation view of 'Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur' second room at NGV Australia

Installation view of 'Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur' second room at NGV Australia

 

Installation views of Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur second space at NGV Australia

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Caravan' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Caravan (detail)
2008
Bronze

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Salad days' c.2005

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Salad days
c. 2005

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Killing time' 2003 - 04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time
2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Killing time' (detail) 2003 - 04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time (detail)
2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Killing time' 2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time
2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Killing time' (detail) 2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time (detail)
2003-04

 

 

“A new exhibition featuring the work of internationally renowned Australian artist Ricky Swallow will open at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia on 16 October 2009.

Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur is the artist’s first major exhibition in Australia since 2006. This exhibition will feature several of the artist’s well‐known intricately detailed, carved wooden sculptures as well as a range of new sculptural works in wood, bronze and plaster. The exhibition will also showcase two large groups of watercolours, an aspect of Swallow’s practice that is not as well known as his trademark works.

Salad days (2005) and Killing time (2003-04), which were featured in the 2005 Venice Biennale and are considered Swallow icons, will strike a familiar chord with Melbourne audiences.

Sculptures completed over the past year include bronze balloons on which bronze barnacles seamlessly cling (Caravan, 2008); a series of cast bronze archery targets (Bowman’s Record, 2008) that look like desecrated minimalist paintings; and carved wooden sculpture of a human skull inside what looks like a paper bag (Fig 1, 2008).

A highlight of the show will be Swallow’s watercolour, One Nation Underground (2007), recently acquired by the NGV. The work presents a collection of images based on 1960s musicians including Tim Buckley, Denny Doherty, Brian Jones and John Phillips.

Alex Baker, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV said the works in this exhibition explore the themes of life and death, time and its passing, mortality and immortality.

“Swallow’s art investigates how memory is distilled within the objects of daily life. His work addresses the fundamental issues that lie at the core of who we are, reminding us of our deep symbiotic relationship to the stuff of everyday life.”

“The exhibition’s title The Bricoleur refers to the kind of activities performed by a handyman or tinkerer, someone who makes creative use of whatever might be at hand. The Bricoleur is also the title of one of the sculptures in the exhibition, which depicts a forlorn houseplant with a sneaker wedged between its branches,” said Mr Baker.

Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV, said this exhibition reinforces the NGV’s commitment to exhibiting and collecting world‐class contemporary art.

“The NGV has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Ricky Swallow, exhibiting and acquiring a number of his works over the years. His detailed and exquisitely crafted replicas of commonplace objects never fail to inspire visitors to the Gallery.”

Ricky Swallow was born in Victoria in 1974 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His career has enjoyed a meteoric rise since winning the NGV’s prestigious Contempora5 art prize in 1999. Since then, Swallow has exhibited in the UK, Europe and the United States, and represented Australia at the 2005 Venice Biennale.”

Press release from the NGV website [Online] Cited 10/10/2009 no longer available online

 

Ricky Swallow facing the media behind his work 'Killing time' (2003 - 04)

Ricky Swallow facing the media behind his work 'Killing time' (2003 - 04)

 

Ricky Swallow facing the media behind his work Killing time (2003-04)

 

 

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Federation Square
Corner of Russell and 
Flinders Streets, Melbourne

Opening hours:
Open daily 10am – 5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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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.

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