Monday, March 23, 2009

Art Break

I spent most of last week bed bound with a heavy cold. All I wanted to eat was tomato soup and toast. I felt like I'd been punched in the nose. My brain was too tired and blocked to write so I consoled myself with the Satanic Verses. Gibreel and Saladin's adventures were keeping me happily soothed in the half hour between the tome and my pillow, and I thought Salman Rushdie's most labarynthine work would be nice company for the end of the tome.
alas no. in a fug of sudafed and paracetamol, I consumed it all, then returned to the computer screen for a feverish read of the e-book version of Kant's critique of judgement.

It had been a hard week

On saturday, I decided to feed my eyeballs and, and so i staggered up to brunswick bound for a tea-party launch of Jessie Willow-Tucker's tea drawings.
The weather was a crazy 35 degrees, and I had airplane ankles from lying around all week, so I panted and sweated, scuttling along my now familiar shaded maze of bluestone alleyways. Refused tea, and sipped fruit punch, and eyed the cupcakes. (btw what's this weird deal with hettie girls and cupcakes - some kind of pseudo ironic stepford wives thing?)

not that Brunswick Bound was a hettie girl kind of cupcake fest - more like a generally delicious arty sugar fiend delight. yum yum.

Sugar sated I checked out the walls. and like what I saw. Jessie did a series of "tea portrait" drawings in graphite, watercolour, and tea..... each image based on a particular flavour of tea. Our Lady Grey was a red headed sacred-heart-tattooed virgin mary, sipping tea in the grey clouds, flagged by an electric jug and a serpent, her red cup and saucer glowing in the pit of her belly. Earl Grey was a Brian mannix style retro mod, that brought back the 1980's Decore shampoo ad-ripoff of that sixites song...... the drawings are exquisite, witty and warm, and are still on show upstairs.

Downstairs, I found a paperback of The Brothers Karamazov. I fear my thesis is going to be completed accompanied by abject images of Schemrdiyakov and his poor daughter. hmmmm......

I had planned on doing the full circuit of the West Brunswick Sculpture Triennale - but the weather was really hot and sticky. I came home and lay around for an hour, before venturing out to the base station launch party - which is a short stroll from home...

It's *weird* going to art launches in a foreign city - because I find myself looking at people and seeing weird anonymous replicas of the familiar faces I know in Sydney - only they are anonymous here, and so am I and it's kind of scary and weird, because I feel like a weird fly on the wall, wathcing myself - or at least my class (with a more middle class accents and designer clothes), and definietely my cohort - bright eyed GenX ratbaggers, greying into middle age.

Renaissance girl and I sat on the impeccable green couch grass, sipping execrable wine and admiring the mini hilsl hoist, and enjoying the shade. then we wandered through the "base station" which is someone's house, with a few rooms filled with installations.... which were mostly quite cold, (convenient on a hot day). and difficult to identify form the artists statements. Someone had a video loop taken from a rotating hills hoist in a backyard similar but not the same as the one where the house was. (replica, presence, absence, simulacra, rotation) tres nice, and I *think* it may have related to the following artists statement?

Regular collaborators Geoff Robinson and Jennie Lang have developed a new work for the wBST that is a visual conversation between the artists.

Created in accordance with geographic and recording parameters predetermined by the artists, this video ‘call and response’ uses spatial observations, arrangements, interventions and movement to establish an informal dialogue about form, light and time.

The footage was recorded within each artist’s local surroundings – more specifically their home boundaries - and the work was sequentially created in the months preceding the triennial.

Scary stylised conceptual minimalism aside, the looping weight of the camera/photographer, reminded me of swinging on my mum's hills hoist as a kid. Nice. And I loved Mikala Dwyer's hanging garden - bits of melted clear plastic sculptures - made into hanging baskets for budding succulents, offset the fibreglass verandah shell really nicely - and became something to walk through and appreciate while standing - much like the fuzzy felt pennants festooned around the driveway. the highlgight of the opening though was Lucazoid's entrance with a goat called Bob, who was also commemorated in a brown and beige fuzzy felt pennant. Lucas and Bob had wandered the baking streets of west Brunswick, avoiding the laneways (and the free fruit), but getting lots of attention from residents, including the former Mayor who asked for a photo of himself, Lucas and Bob in his front yard. My aunt made a comment about Brunswick summers, saying they made her wonder what all of the greek immigrants, arriving fresh from Anatolian goatfields thought of this strange flat gridded place. so i'm glad that Lucas and Bob did a bit of retrospective imaginative topography. I told Lucas that his entrance into the OSW launch, complete with Hat and sensational beast reminded me of Joseph beuyss. bob wasn't quite a coyote though - but there was a definite happening aspect. Bob also reminded me of Rushdie's character Saladin Chamcha, morphing into a goat in Bricklane - but I didn't share that with Lucas.


I had more art yesterday when Stephen Mori flew into town, and insisted that I come along to him for the Modern Times launch at Heide. I hadn't been to Heide yet - and was astonished to see green grass, and green trees and slowly ripening tomatos. (most of melbourne is scorched brown). My favourite bits were the towel shorts and tops and woolen knitted swimtsuits that looked like flash gordon.

I saw Anne Dangar's ceramics and nearly cried (I've never really recovered from Helen Topliss's biog of Dangar which describes her miserable exploitation in the neoprimitivist artists colony in Moly Sabata. Poor Anne Dangar, only managed to create her work, in between slaving for Maurice and Madame GLieze, she was fired through the freezing neo-feudalist french winters by her disgust and rage at Australian provincialism).

Heide is a wonderful testament to the bravery and brilliance of the Reeds, fostering a rare vision that bourgeoise Australians could be more than crypto-fascist cashed up bogans, and could support and promote contemporary art, architecture, and literature. the modernist show is wonderful... *sigh* I walked past Dangar's glassed in plinth with a tear in my eye, and gasped at the room of Roy de Maistre's colourful wonders! ah! swirls! One wall had a series of high coloured landscape studies of Berry's Bay and other bits of Sydney Harbour. I imagined Datillo Rubbo sending De Maistre out to the harbour to sea and dream the colours that sing through the shuddering light, water and air of sydney (I'll admit I am still homesick). My reverie was interupted by a wrinkled version of Tru and Pru "err, yairss, this is ma feverrite arff orll, Ahh rarely lark thes warn" "Theers err the best" " Ahh rarely lark thes larnskepp, ther meyooted ternes, arr serr suttle, en ahh lark ther carmposishun" "Err yairss".

I felt a technicolour vomit coming on so I went outside for a glass of chandon and admired the sunset glinting off some big brush steel sculpture....

then went inside to fest on Narelle Jubilen's cannibal feast. this had everyting I love: sewing, a radical critique of primitivism, poignant ironic juxtapositions, found objects, and more sewing. I love how ever single component is rigorously catalogues. the obscure genealogies weaving together other richer histories.....

1 comment:

mikofanclub said...

Earl Grey was a Brian mannix style retro mod, that brought back the 1980's Decore shampoo ad-ripoff of that sixites song...

NOW THIS i neeeeed to see!!!!! x