Once in a while an artist is able to give you an ‘aha!’ moment, in which the world and its possibilities open up before you. Chris Carmody is one such artist finding and exposing the sublime within the everyday. Carmody’s obsession with these ‘keep clear’ markings, lays bare a common signifier, a system of knowledge and participation, that we take for granted in our day-to-day lives: now that you’re thinking about them, you’ll see them everywhere.
Dan Vukovljak’s Something or Nothing is an experience in interactive art. After spending six months as a studio resident at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space, he has made the shift from painting to new media.
In Something or Nothing the art no longer stays on the walls, waiting patiently for you to come and stare it down. Bet you never thought art could be this addictive, but just wait till you pick up a singing pencil. You may need someone to come and tear you away from it. As you take the pencils in your hot little hands and start to draw you are no longer the same person, suddenly you are a conductor, a musician and an artist. You might be used to talking about drawings, but this drawing talks back. Listen to what it’s saying, it might be something, or nothing, but this is definitely one artwork that is not going to stay quiet.
Words by Alice Dickins
People often confess that they don’t know what to feel when faced with the work of Eadie Newman and Merryn Sommerville. Newman’s work is introspective, with strange human bodies and animal characters that are surreal, poignant and fiercely witty. She draws intuitively, with delicate line, a fleshy colour palate and intimate scale. Sommerville’s ostensibly innocent pastel drawings employ the figure of the child to communicate complex feelings about adult awareness of life and death. The dark background, luminous application of colour and sensitive mark-making give her portraits an intensity and dark beauty.
Lauren Hewitt’s new exhibition Some kind of Melancholy is both breathtaking and personal. She contrasts large scale, isolating landscapes with the homey and personal hand stitching. The combination of majesty and domesticity is both compelling and striking. Hewitt has long been enraptured by the beauty and mystique of the mountains. A self-described ‘armchair adventurer’ Hewitt showcases not just the beauty of mountainous landscapes but a profound sense of isolation and melancholy. Rather than the freedom of space, they map the topography of sadness.
Boathead explores the ways in which experience and encounter help us to build the stories which inform our lives. This animation, developed through the work of drawing and erasing, piecing together and eliding, creates a narrative and also references the process of building one. The marks left on the paper through erasure, like a palimpsest, recall, as I draw, the past that remains, blurred perhaps, but real, while I am constructing the future of my characters.
Adam Veikkanen’s exhibition Sporting Pleasures features sporting iconography such as sports fields and equipment. He appreciates the sports field on an aesthetic level for its visual properties of line, colour, composition and shape. Veikkanen’s colours capture the energy, fun and excitement of a game.
An ominous and enveloping cloak of ash shrouds Roman Stachurki’s exhibition Second Nature. This is the first of a pair of exhibitions concerned with the future of planet earth and Second Natureexplores a dark and forbidding possible reality.
Stachurski says that his works reflect his interest in “the current state of the planet and civilization, particularly the consumerist culture of mankind and the modernizing world.” Themes of the terrestrial and the possibility of decay are expressed in Second Nature, a mixture of static and kinetic sculptures feature in an ash covered gallery space that transforms and transports the viewer into Stachurski’s own vision of the future. Second Future, is set in a far more traditional gallery setting with plain white walls and clean floors. However, themes of a grim and frightening future persist. The influence of science fiction on both Second Nature and Second Future is evident with the artist acknowledging the influence of sci-fi author Phillip K Dick on his work. Whether or not one subscribes to such a bleak outlook of the future, it is fascinating to see how Stachurski conjures such an alarming experience of the future.
A close study of Patrick Larmour's screwed up paintings will reveal that these were competent completed works that appear to have been destroyed before exhibition. A little more research will also reveal that the patterns so beautifully rendered on the canvas are those of his distinguishing shirts (or sometimes those of his friends). Thus they convey aspects of self reflection and a mood of sadness. Larmour’s work is often characterised by a sharp melancholy that in these works has been further sharpened by his attentiveness to what has apparently been discarded. Although he does not consider the work to be sculptural the process of destruction is actually a method of creation. As the paintings become three-dimensional each fold and twist is that of the artist’s hand, or more precisely, a problematic collaboration between mind and body. At this point the “experimental” gives way to the metaphorical, whereby the frame rejects its role as a support and stands for the artist’s body – flawed, fragile, unreliable and unpredictable.
In Holly Granville-Edge’s exhibition Throwaway she investigates what is valuable in a photograph. Whether it is a snap from a family photo album or an image seemingly insignificant or insipid, photographs have significance and prominence in art and in everyday life. ‘Photographs can carry a weight and a value far greater than the paper they’re printed on’ says Granville-Edge. Throwaway features constructed colour photographs featuring everyday objects and staged moments. Narrative and meaning do not take form, rather the work aims to highlight a contrast between the valued photographs and the memories they contain.
Ralph has produced a series of intensely coloured paintings that reference flashbacks to another era when colour reproduction was less taken for granted and its rendering of greater significance.
James Rowell’s paintings reveal sexual innuendo in the form of puns based on the name of English philosopher John Locke.