Reviews

  • Article: Future Primitive
  • Future Primitive
  • In large paintings of a thin but colourful character, Graham Fletcher depicts the radical dream home of the 1970s. Departing from the frontality and symmetries of traditional design, the rougher...
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  • Melbourne Now
  • ‘Melbourne Now’ delivers on the comment Tony Elwood made earlier this year; ‘I can’t ask the community to get behind me if I’m not getting behind them’. 1 Congratulations Tony; it’s so great to see the city’s considerable creativity being celebrated on such a scale. Already the galleries are swarming, just one week into this holiday season blockbuster.
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  • The unspoken clitoris in Heather B Swann
  • Standing almost two metres high, a large and blunt horn curves forward. With the title *Husband*, this black eminence seems something between a rock from Stonehenge and a human figure, but very phallic, like an archaic fetish, let us say Bonehenge.
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  • Jumping geometries
  • Geometry that jumps has a special value in art. In most circumstances, geometry is perfectly regular. Anything geometrical can be described by lines and angles, sequences, repetition and uniformity, where each part is predictable by the formula that generates it.
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  • Bea Maddock - NGV International
  • In 1987, Bea Maddock made a trip to Antarctica. During the bracing stint in the freeze, the artist pondered geological time in a way that must have gone beyond the scientific information. According to Alisa Bunbury, the curator of a thoughtful retrospective...
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  • Article: The image of the city: Alessandro Piredda
  • The image of the city: Alessandro Piredda
  • For painter Alessandro Piredda, looking at a city is a dramatic act, which begins the moment we reach a place and consider how to enter it. His series of urban panoramas places us at the edge of the city: at the point of deciding how to approach it, navigate it, and finally, how to remember it. His Urban Assembly 02 Bangkok represents a new way of perceiving that city. In his view, the Asian metropolis has...
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  • Article: More then just plant porn
  • More then just plant porn
  • Rich luminous hues and gorgeously exotic and rare botanical specimens belie the fact that there is something much more subversive going on in John Pastoriza-Piñol’s Hermes – Aphrodite, at Nellie Castan Gallery in South Yarra from...
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  • NotFair Primal mutation
  • Primal mutation is the theme of this year’s Not Fair exhibition curated by Melissa Amore, Ashley Crawford and Sam Leach, and it turns out to be a surprisingly expansive topic. As one might expect, some of this show resembles a carnival of death, with dripping animal heads and snarling mouths, and in general, there is a lot of black ooze. But in many works, the idea of mutation is expressed in terms of an original blueprint which has been mucked up. Several artists make use of stamps, transfers and tracings of human and animal forms. In each case, a tainted copy becomes the prototype from which successive generations are modelled.
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  • Article: Visionary Reflections
  • Visionary Reflections
  • An obstruction course of mismatched natural and man-made materials; a dark spiritual room with hanging woven textiles; a passageway of haunting silhouettes and menacing faces and a miniature world of curious otherworldly technicolour figures....
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  • Game Masters
  • “Game Masters” is a rich and busy show of video games at ACMI. A worthy successor to 'Game on"from 2008, it contains a history of electronic authors, as well as a wonderful array of arcade machines, consoles, concept art...
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  • JAN MURRAY AND WILMA TABACCO
  • Looking at Jan Murray’s elegant hang in the main gallery at Langford 120 you could easily find yourself asking is this primarily a meditation on monochrome painting and colour, formal issues of surface, flatness..
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  • The Spoils
  • In the beginning, the thing you will notice about Sam Leach’s paintings is that they are very seductive objects. Let’s get this out of the way. Did I say....
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  • Generation Capture Release: Fairweather Robbins
  • Robbins is well known for his wind drawing machines, his focus on process and on the generative power of natural forces. His ‘Weatherglyph’ series is a new iteration of his wind drawings but with a completely alternative temporal approach.
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  • Nature revealed
  • Nature revealed is an extensive record of von Guérard’s art that takes a good couple of hours to digest. By the time I’d worked my way through the exhibition I was at once overawed by his prolific output, his relentless expression of a detailed and ‘picturesque’ enframement of the landscape, and equally discomforted by a sickly sweet, tick-a-box translation of an ideal Romanticism.
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  • Images of modern evil
  • History is full of moralists who went around in their day insulting people for their lack of virtue. A millennium, a century, a decade later, we read their invectives and cringe. The main cause of their distemper now seems little more than misanthropic jealousy, where the reasons for moral disapproval boil down to a hatred of other people having fun.
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  • Ohne Titel
  • I’m trying really very hard not to open this review with a variant on ‘what a load of rubbish’, but alas, there it is. Truly, this show is rubbish. And yet, it is so much more.
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  • The Recovery of Discovery
  • Signing a legal waiver before admission to an art exhibition has almost always set me up for a disappointment. It sets my imagination running wild with expectations of truly dangerous and perilous conditions. .
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  • A Bird on the Wire
  • At first these images, for all of their post-Picasso minimalist edge, seem strangely archaic. Of course the painting of the feathered has...
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  • Georgetti’s Carnivalesque
  • At first sight it could be some kind of gigantic insect larvae, a creature in the process of embryogenesis, a pupa of some monstrous creature waiting to hatch. The heat of the lights bares down on it, encouraging some...
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  • The Shock of the Old
  • Tony Clark was always something of an oddity. He emerged in the early 1980s via the independent artists’ space Art Projects, Melbourne...
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  • Freehand : Recent Australian Drawing
  • The title of this show set up certain expectations which were frustrated, for different reasons, for me and the people I saw it with. I think that people generally go into an exhibition of drawings hoping to feel they are closer to...
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  • James & Eleanor Avery
  • For their first major exhibition in Melbourne, James and Eleanor Avery bring a beautifully malicious presence to the main gallery at Nellie Castan. Openly stating a wish to create works which are ambiguous and have multiple readings ...
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  • Sam Martin-Overloaded Man
  • In the tight confines of the project space at Arc One a definitive articulation of colour pulsates from the semi-figurative, semi-abstract paintings of Sam Martin. A rushing sea of reds is offset by occasional oranges....
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  • Hard Age New Edge
  • Depak Chopra meets Robert Morris in one of the strangest shows you’re going to see this year. With equal amounts of Minimalist....
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  • The Lost Living
  • A drawn-out whining sound surrounds the audience as we descend into the darkness and are silently and impassively instructed to sit.
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  • In The Zone by Blaine Cooper
  • Walking the darkened narrow corridor toward the gallery space I’m immediately drawn in by the rhythmic drums and the sound of a man’s voice. Light filters down the pathway creating a sense of anticipation
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  • My brother Esau is an hairy man but I am a smooth man
  • he curator of the Ron Mueck retrospective at the NGV referred to the narrative qualities of the work. By this I take him to mean that we are drawn into a scene that the people depicted in the work inhabit and infer their state of mind from their facial expressions and body language, by reference...
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  • Camilla Tadich-Slabalong
  • SLABALONG. The word is painted on a piece of wood with the Ls turned into arrows pointing off somewhere into the outback night. It’s a funny word, cute even, but there’s no way I’d follow its direction.
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  • Ross Coulter-Prelude
  • Occupying the large front gallery of Seventh, Prelude commands a presence. A large group of paper sculptures hang suspended in space, as if floating, frozen. As many as two dozen of these occupy the gallery, each an aggregate of folded paper, taped together, that...
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  • Tai Snaith-The Wild Chorus
  • To me, Tai Snaith's work has always seemed like the product of an innocence both cheeky and brutal. A series of messages delivered in the same way a child might exclaim in the supermarket queue...
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  • Peter Greenaway at Melbourne International Arts Festival
  • eter Greenaway’s filmic installation of a replica of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper (1498) is on as part of The Melbourne International Arts Festival. He aims to set up a dialogue between painting and film – as the short written introduction outside the exhibition...
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  • ANALOGUE SHIFT-JUSTIN ANDREWS
  • I’ll start at the beginning. This is a beautiful looking exhibition. There’s a shift from some of the more overtly architectural works of some of Andrews’ past shows and a move to a fascination with abstraction...
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  • EurEco Revolution by Ash Keating
  • Ash Keating is a highly productive artist whose work embraces the ancient and simultaneously contemporary process of utilising/modifying the energy flow of a system in order to alter/subvert it. Think judo masters....
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  • Daniel Argyle at NCG
  • In his latest show at NCG Argyle presents a series of cardboard boxes printed with colourful, formalist abstract patterns. On the walls are a series of cardboard works - small boxes which seem to have...
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  • Dalí: Liquid Desire
  • There are such a vast number of objects in this exhibition, and it is so difficult to get close to the more famous ones, due...
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  • You’re Portrait by Lucy Farmer
  • In a long, narrow space, glowing with rich burgundy paint, seven portraits are arranged along the walls. Eight sets of eyes look out from painted confines, seeming to observe and gain life from the return of a viewers gaze. As...
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  • Tacita Dean at ACCA
  • I have had a background interest in Tacita Dean’s work for a number of years now, from the first time I saw her mesmerising films....
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  • SOCIETY GETS THE ART IT DESERVES
  • This was the phrase employed by Stephen Asquith of Block Projects in regard to a society which only produces an elite few who can afford art and who have created a market for a slickly presented final product, which.....
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  • A Life More Ordinary at Westspace
  • 400 years ago, we decided to switch from deductive to inductive reasoning as our favourite way of making new knowledge. Of course it is widely acknowledged (at least it is often mentioned in the pages of New Scientist) that....
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  • Guardians Of The Departed
  • Last September I was in studio 3 at the British School at Rome, Amanda Marburg was in studio 7. It was way too hot to paint, or do anything much other than take refuge in the cool dark marble interiors of churches and smirk at the baroque excess, or be dumbstruck by crypts decorated with the bones...
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  • They Shoot Horses Don’t They
  • Last Thursday night I thought I was going to the opening of a show by Berlin based, Belgian painter, Stephan Balleux but it turned out I was a week early. I was told that it was a preview, not an opening. Whatever, I got....
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  • Double Voyage
  • I really enjoy going to Anna Schwartz gallery when the lights are out. The space is so cavernous and the shoes I was wearing last Friday created a satisfying click-clunk that echoed nicely as I walked back and forth....
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  • There are more things
  • "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that....
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  • Graham Day Guerra at Wardlow Studio
  • Guerra uses software to create 3d models of conglomerate figures resumbling some combination of a Bellmer doll and a Chapman brothers' sculpture. These models form the basis for skillfully executed...
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  • An OK Biennale
  • The Biennale of Sydney is a very important show for Australians who like contemporary art. Many of us take a bi-annual trip to see the latest and sometimes the fashionable in contemporary art. Australia still suffers from...
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  • Darkness Matters
  • Imagine a museum display from another planet, or imagine what the early seventies thought the future of art would look like and now imagine them getting it right. If you can't do either of these things then check out Giles Ryder's latest show, Dark Matter. Ryder's grey matter must be.....
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  • Benevolent Terrorist Siege at Neon Parc
  • To be honest I haven’t even seen this show. I only went to the opening (an hour late) and even then I didn’t actually go into the gallery. It wasn’t my fault, it was because terrorists had taken over Neon Parc and they weren’t letting.....
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  • NEW08 at ACCA
  • This much anticipated annual survey demonstrates an eye for detail. The works here are carefully constructed, labour intensive and often require the viewer to look.....
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  • A Considered Response
  • One of the consequences of this image-saturated world is that eight seconds is as long as you can expect anyone to look at a painting. Sam Leach’s entry into this years Archibald Prize is a case in point. In eight seconds you will see a self portrait of the artist in Nazi uniform, after....
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  • There Goes a Narwhal
  • Nell's bronze sculpture scared my 19 month old daughter. It is just life-like enough to trigger that sort of response - it appears to have....
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  • David Ralph at Arc One Gallery
  • Dribbly, blurry, smeary, chunky, slick and rough, David Ralph makes his paint work hard. He puts it through an almost gymnastic regime, forcing it to perform in leaps and bounds on the canvas. The surface terrain is rich....
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  • Goodfellow Show at Seventh
  • Antonia Goodfellow Seventh Gallery December 2007 Goodfellow exhibited sculptures and drawings at Fitzroy Seventh Gallery in December last. The sculptures....
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  • Tim Hawkinson at MCA, Sydney
  • "All these giant piles of moving rubbish are making me feel quite anxious," says my partner at "Mapping the Marvelous" - the Tim Hawkinson survey show at MCA.
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  • Bertram Mackennal
  • Sex, nudity, orgies, death and fame, glorious, fickle fame. A hundred years ago, Bertram Mackennal was an art superstar. An Australian who made it big time in England, a member...
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  • Louise Hearman at Tolarno Galleries
  • It was a sunny October morning but in the reverential gloom of Tolarno Galleries the only light seemed to be emanating from the paintings themselves. An ethereal light reflected from who knows whence revealing....
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  • The Spoils
  • In the beginning, the thing you will notice about Sam Leach’s paintings is that they are very seductive objects. Let’s get this out of the way. Did I say objects? Yes I did. But these are paintings? Oil paintings. Old school...
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  • Judith Van Heeren
  • An interesting show in a wonderful space. Richly coloured paintings of birds (specimens from the Natural History museum in New York, we are told) set....
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  • Andrew Browne - Chimera
  • As I write this, the show is about to close, but these paintings will be floating around the art world in the flesh and in reproduction for a while. I have heard criticism of this show that the paintings are perhaps....
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  • bird girl
  • "I'm no anti-feminist. I love women. Some of my best friends are women. My wife, indeed." (Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister). The status....
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  • John Nixon at TarraWarra
  • I am an artist who has recently arrived from another country. A local artist friend took me along to see my first exhibition of paintings by John Nixon. My friend....
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  • Wardlow Opinion
  • A one night only show at Wardlow Studio proved to be one of the more interesting I have seen this year. Slattery's work in particular is a bit of a revelation.
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  • Geoff Newton - Paintings
  • Geoff Newton's show at Neon Parc is good. A collection of smallish paintings, ranging from well painted to poorly painted, gestural to quite tight, conceptual to figurative they hang together beautifully....
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  • David Thomas at Nellie Castan - April 2007
  • Dr Thomas looks very serious on the cover of the latest edition of Art Collector. As well he might – he has staged a serious installation of paintings and what he calls "photo-paintings" at Nellie Castan Gallery
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