GAFFA – UNSW Art & Design studio show

There’s some great emerging artists coming onto the art scene through UNSW Art & Design Master by Coursework program this year. The work, which is on show at Sydney Council’s GAFFA Gallery in Clarence Street, represents a broad display of mediums and content. It ranges from a shibori and mixed media work by Gigi Huang, Attachments, 2018 that reflects her interests in textiles and the feminine to Chris Casali’s intriguing labyrinthian diptych that is totally absorbing and quite psychedelic. There were also virtual reality pieces with views into an empty gallery, digital videos and installations.

 

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Sydney’s Archibald prize exhibition

The annual prize fest of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes  at the Art Gallery of NSW, offers a rich diversity of Australian art practice. First awarded in 1921, the Archibald portrait prize reflects how portraiture has evolved since then and the subject matter is an insightful reflection of contemporary life. There is also a Young Archie competition which has mazing works by school children. The Wynne focusses landscape and figure sculpture and the Sulman for best genre or subject painting.

Experiments with roses

The most everyday things in life are often the ones that are sources for endless creativity.

If you could see the miracle of a single flower you would see the world more clearly , to paraphrase a Buddhist saying. In flowers, and especially roses, I see how the cycle of life can go. Georgia O’Keefe amongst other artists, depicted flowers in such ways as to have quite different readings. Here is an exploration of roses to see how they can be objects of beauty, a fragile moment or an evocation of decay when taken out of the context of their original bunch of roses.

San Francisco MOMA – drawing collection

This collection at SFMOMA, San Francisco include two great American artists/drawers, Amy Stillman and Brice Marden. Looking at Stillman’s work, Untitled, 2009-10,  it does appear to be disparate male and female body parts rendered quite crudely in charcoal and gouache, colour and black and white. What parts and why except that they are and Stillman is exploring the limits of sexual suggestion and format. The format and series approach is interesting as a way of telling a story. She combines an abstract expressionist technique and colour pallet with figurative drawing into a new form of expression.

 

 

Brice Marden’s, Shell Studies 1-7, 1984, were done in Thailand over a year e spent there. The patterns are calligraphic marks the gallery notes say, and become elemental reductions of growth and decay. This abstraction of forms derived from living things is an aspect of my work that is on-going; the spatial exploration over a page and the quality of the line work.

Grant Wood – Whitney Museum, NYC

Some of Grant Wood’s works in this Whitney Museum show, from the 1930’s, are so iconic that they have become part of American art folk lore. From a drawer’s perspective one interesting point to note about his work, is that he did full scale, meticulously drawn works as preparation for the final paintings. Tonally quite dark and stiff like his paintings, they are equally still as rich though with the story of the period he was living in. Another work, Victorian Survival, 1931,  is  striking for its meticulous similarity to s Victorian era photograph even down to the details of the red velvet frame. He also added a telephone which is another layer of dissonance in the work.

 

M’O

So this is a game changer museum, Musee d’Orsay. More so, for this visitor, than Le Louvre where tourists take photos of tourists and the Mona Lisa, who needs a room to herself with strict access. Except for the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the M’O is the place to go rather even though works come from the Louvre when it was formed from three national collections.

IMG_1982

IMG_1983

 

 

 

 

 

Winged Victory of Samothrace

 

The works from the period of the former train station are all here. A lot of challenging went on between 1848 – 1914. The time of the railways, industrialisation; reality being seen and experienced and expressed in a new way. Edouard Manet’s, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe Le déjeuner sur l’herbe was paying tributes to classical composition whilst sending up contemporary conventions by having a nude woman amongst clothed men.

There is Eduard Manet’s Olympia where Olympia is gazing at the viewer and the artist’s views of her as Venus come prostitute challenging the academic paining of the period. Millet’s The Gleaners and the everyday became valid subjects.

IMG_2057 Olympia

IMG_2033 The GleanersIMG_2062 Le dejeuner sur l’herbeIMG_2067Le déjeuner sur l’herbe 

 

Reboot – Antwerp MoMu – mode museum/ FOMU

Antwerp is a fashion tourist destination and MoMu, one of its’ major landmarks.  An exhibition of the work of Olivier Theyskens, She walks in Beauty captures the evolution of a very original aesthetic. You can see his influence on or a poetic aesthetic in the work of Antwerp designer, Ann Demeulemeester.  Works are poetic and ones done even twenty years ago, retain their originality.

If you take a walk along the river, you will find Antwerp Foto Museum, where there’s a great exhibition, Ai Weiwei – Mirror which is both funny and serious. Also a very insightful exhibition, Ebifananyi – Andrea Stultiens Andrea Stultiens  with work based in Africa.

Blog reboot – Antwerp and beyond.

Rebooting this blog on a trip to Europe after doing an art blog for the past year.

Antwerp is home to the Antwerp Six, Belgium’s most influential avant grade fashion designers. It’s also a city that has everything that a larger city has but without the hassle, with  a population of around half a million inhabitants. It has street cars and is flat and is easy to walk around. When walking around at night you can come across these random video projections about refugees!

 

The river is a surprise in a raw, industrial way. The food is great – quite French but also mid-European. The Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen is a dramatic, looking affair designed by Studio Associato Secchi-Vigano (Milan, Italy). They also have a Zaha Hadid designed Port Authority building overhanging the river which isn’t covered here. The Photo Museum has some great exhibits.

 

At the Galleries-April

With The National 2017, New Australian Art, at three venues, there’s a lot going on. Not just the National but some other great exhibitions as well.

Fiona Hall, Gateless Gate, at Roslyn Oxley, 12 April – 13 May 2017.

This is a very intense show comprising different media – bronze sculptures, glass, cuckoo clocks, long case clocks, water colours, installations, photographs. Syria is the over riding theme. There are numerous interpretations and meticulous cataloguing of the multifarious dimensions of the impact of this conflict and its’ drivers. This is very Fiona Hall – you enter into her world. Rather than a series of separate conversations this is one big one with several participants involved. It is a consuming, spooky and draining experience.

Jonny Niesche, Love-light and Nicola Smith, A whole Night, at Sarah Cottier, 20 April – 20 May 2017.

No wonder Jonny Niesche and Nicola Smith are such a relief. Niesche’s immersive colourfield work is mesmerising and calming. Nicola’s takes on black and white movies are as immersive as films. Serial images play out in different scenarios, emotively evoking moments lost, forgotten.