Image: Alex Asch, 2009, installation view.
In Terminus, Geoff Farquhar-Still creates two large piles - one made of 1500 concrete lightbulb, the other made of 3500 concrete matchbox cars. While at first appearing as light fun, maybe even nostalgic, it become darker when themes of mass consumption and destruction appear, turning these piles into funerary mounds. Overlaid is video footage of a dead bird in rain, filed with maggots - one life ends and another begins. These piles of mass destruction combine with the video - reminding that planet earth is the bird and humans are the maggots, killing through consumption. There is a voyeuristic joy as we gather speed to the abyss, much like the LED light show of slot-cars racing on the wall, it is like the dark comfort of a movie theatre.
Image: Geoff Farquhar-Still, 2009, installation view.
In Maloney's Bodies In Trouble, painting and archival inkjet prints are used to demonstrate self-conscious connections between process and concept. Full of fragmentation and layering, the different mediums inform each other while remaining autonomous in form and content. Characterised by Maloney's imperative use of black, the works insist that there is no one way of looking which will contain every pictorial possibility - the works may be black and white, but the reading is not this simple. For Maloney, black evokes visual and conceptual complexity, sensuality and depth, as well as being imbued with the associative properties that strengthen his primary metaphor of the work of art as an expression of human experience. The overtness and frenetic obsessiveness of the surface activity is unstoppable - a sort of vortex into which both viewer and maker are consumed. Viewers cannot expect to remain static receptors of images - for Maloney the success of each work demands active engagement from his viewers on a range of levels. Maloney's abstract and expressive language in the paintings turns to realism in the digital prints - exploring male homosexuality and the use of photographic image as a technological tool of subversion, incisive comment and political and social change. Maloney's nudes reveal an objective intimacy that is revelatory of a distanced and intellectual treatment of his subject, yet simeltaneously does not deny the sensual aspect of the nude. Process, as always with the artist, is an integral and encompassing aspect of his conceptual, thematic and aesthetic concerns. The layered structures of the paintings are given digital equivalents in these embracingly coercive pictures. The paintings and digital prints are eloquent and powerful statements about the role of art as commentator and agitator.
Peter Maloney, 2010, installation detail.
"Showing in the Cube gallery is Damaged Goods - a collection of assemblages by Melbourne based artist Mat de Moiser who uses consumer items such as Ikea furniture as the medium for his artwork. On one level it is a tongue in cheek look at the nature of art and consumerism. On a more serious level Damaged Goods reflects de Moisers’s Estonian heritage and memories of refugee grand parents whose first Australian house was built from re-purposed packing crates, with furnishings either donated by friends or salvaged from the local tip. ”
Image: Mat de Moiser, Damaged Goods, installation view, 2009.
Image: Dionisia Salas Hammer, n.p. gen, installation view, 2008.
"Whether it be a crisply starched and ironed collar, a scruffy paint splattered striped pastel collar, or a zebra print dress collar - a seemingly fragile textile fragment exudes a strong personality. A history is presumed, a position is assumed, a performance appropriate to status, wealth and office is expected. Simultaneously obvious and nuanced, the collar is embedded with wide cultural knowledge and reveals quirky sub-cultural significance. Alexandra Gillespie and Somaya Langley's collaborative exhibition of twenty highly individual collars are presented at the actual height of the previous owner from neck to feet. Arranged spatially in conversational groups, these highly fetishised personal adornments create an absent crowd, a crowd that speaks both to us, and each theory, visually and audibly. Here coexistence is paramount as collars internal relationships interweave with the sensibilities of exhibition visitors... Langley and Gillespie's art forms engage us far more intimately and viscerally with phrases garnered from the collars original owners - significant others in the artist's lives - friends, family, colleagues and other artists. These text snippets are projected from within the textures and patterns that once caressed a treasured ones' neck."
From Dr Melinda Rackham, 2009.
Image: Alexandra Gillespie and Somaya Langley, installation view, 2009.
Image: Tevita Havea, installation view, 2009.
Image: Izabela Pluta, Untitled, installation view, 2009.
During the 1920s and 30s, Mickey Mouse was a reckless, womanising, singing and dancing show-off, which are the aspects of the iconic Disney character that Ortega focuses on in Mouse. Fascinated by the sanitisation and and neutralisation of Mickey Mouse over the last 80 years, Ortega explores Mickey's original macho personality through photos played out like comic books. Ortega argues that heroic mythologies have normally been associated with racially dominant groups, interesting when considering that Mickey Mouse was originally shown with stereotypical attitudes of African and Hispanic minorities but his morals became more acceptable the more heroic he became. Looking like a kind of industrial film noir, Ortega has cast himself in the role of Mouse and reveals his own experience - that of the Mexican/Mayan migrant, and his gradual "purification" in an environment of white western tradition.
Image: Maurice Ortega, installation view, 2009.
"The idea of the football field as a constricted location where masculinity is constructed is an irony seldom lost on homosexual men who have not traditionally been welcomed into this exclusive zone of manhood. Contact sports, particularly the football codes, are sites of ambiguous messaging, where curious rituals of male bonding resolutely exclude women while (somehow) affirming masculine heterosexual identities. This Darwinian environment of brute survival that casts a shadow over formative years can be the stuff of nightmares for men of “questionable” sexuality. While ultimately many men might choose not to play the game, memories of sporting culture linger in a murky cauldron of inadequacy and heightened eroticism."
"It is in this vortex of confusion, where sexual fantasy and ostracism from the tribe/team generate a brittle sense of identity, that David Spooner has positioned his soft sculptures to question masculinity as it is perceived through the filters of sporting prowess. There is a surreal element to Spooner’s textile sculptures in keeping with the Freudian view of a life force (Eros) fractured by memories of past experience and emerging deep from within a psyche damaged on the “field of dreams”. Working with traditional feminine crafts such as stitching and quilting, Spooner weaves a masculine overlay consisting of a quasi-mathematical numerological narrative based on the number sixteen – denoting the sixteen candles that represent coming of age and sixteen being the number of players in his imaginary football code."
From David Broker's 2014 essay for David Spooner's Electronic Football League at The Walls.
Image: David Spooner, installation view, 2010.