Review: Describing Air With Earth

The ambitious and rather poetic title is quite the opposite of the experience of viewing this prosaic exhibition. There is no sublime here, no transcendental transport, and no contemporary relevance. The paintings in this exhibition resemble Impressionist painting for the most part, with dashes of Rothko added to the confection. A group of smaller paintings along one wall are dashed off interpretations of Monet's water lillies. Why would one want to paint, (without irony or humour) Impressionist paintings in 2007? And what are such paintings doing in a PhD submission at the VCA? The words in the titles to some of Mark's paintings provide a clue to their conservative, unambitious nature, "obedient", "retreat". The paint quality of the work, that is the craft is like the rest of the exhibition - far from remarkable too. There is not even beauty to be found here.

Artist: Michael Mark,
Date: 04 Apr 2007 - 21 Apr 2007
Gallery: VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery,
40 Dodds Street, Southbank
Ph: 61 3 9685 9400

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By David O'Halloran

David O'Halloran

David O'Halloran is an Australian visual art curator of 25 years experience working with some of the country's most important visual arts organisations including the Biennale of Sydney, the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Contemporary Art Services Tasmania, and the Adelaide Festival. For the Glen Eira City Council Gallery he has curated important exhibitions that surveyed the work of significant Australian artists, including Elizabeth Gower, John Dunkley-Smith, Jon Campbell, Jan Murray, Stieg Persson and Victor Mazjner. David O'Halloran fondly remembers a maxim drummed into students at art school - "you can be so open minded your brains fall out".