in the galleries

it’s been aaaaages since i’ve been to an exhibition and had the presence of mind to think about it enough for a review post. to be honest, i’ve been too self-absorbed in my own practice. not something i’m necessarily proud of, but just a fact of the matter.

however, i’m hoping to rectify all this with a few posts about some of the shows i’ve seen lately.

the next wave festival: closer together (which i kept calling ‘come together) has certainly provided me with the opportunity to check out some hot shows.

cecilia‘s full-frontals have obviously the talk of the town (between her and the Henson fracas, holy shit!). but i actually was far more interested in her masks. they appeared like a conversation with the drawings/ceramics/glass works by Brendan Suppression (Huntley), which I kind of appreciated – both Cecilia and Brendan being Melbourne rock fiends.

the vitrine at platform, with the growing installation by was amazing. it was fantastic to see the artist* hiromi tango in the space, continuing to create works like some kind of silk worm or spider, and the aesthetic was suprisingly rad. i can get very tired, very quickly of bitsy, naive, cutesy, fluoro stuff (seeing it as a bit of a fad a the moment), but this seemed genuine and in context and considered and with some kind of depth or excitement. i liked it anyway.

*i’m sorry, i forgot to write down the artist’s name. help?

the other interesting things on in the platform subway included mel upton and her beautiful trash pieces (as seen above, pinched from her beautiful website), plus the random guerilla intervention that students from the RMIT industrial design department were doing on the opening night with rose petals. apparently it wasn’t part of the festival, but i may or may not have encouraged them to take advantage of festival time to do a whole bunch of guerilla works.

CCP projection window.
i always ride past the CCP projection window, just to check out what’s on. i made a special effort this time though. mainly because i didn’t have much time to see anything else, but also because i had seen the image of the girl pulling the red wool out of her mouth and i got all self-obsessed. i loved the idea, and i wished i’d had it – i’m currently knitting the wool that i took down from the Spinach residency and i kind of wished that i was making a movie of pulling it out of my mouth instead. the video is so beautiful and so simple.

[i think i’m going to upload the short vid i took of that red, thread process to flickr. then i might actually do something with it.]

2020? ash keating, et al (not et al from NZ, but et al as in the rest of the kids that did the 2020 thing)

Anyway, I managed to scurry down to the Meat Market on the last day of the festival and wow. Firstly, the place is amazing. not quite as cool as the london meat markets that look like these, but are still working slaughter galleries. Secondly, the installation is impressive. It’s actually nice to see impressive artwork [in terms of scale] in australia at the moment ‘cos i haven’t seen any for a while. the work itself is also impressively beautiful – loads of colour and dramatic composition, opportunities to engage, or to just stand back and observe. the last work i had seen of keating‘s was the great stack of mXs at platform a few years ago (having missed out on the acca debacle. shame bout that) and from that, this is amazing. his comment on beauty and waste is interesting and relevant, if a little ‘no shit sherlock’, but still a message that needs to be repeated again and again. i find the argument about permission of waste the interesting bit (especially in light of said debacle) and the point at which waste is no longer owned, if ever.

there was a forum on when i went and unfortunately i couldn’t hear a damn thing anyone was saying, which was annoying, as i would have liked to. a lot. so i scarpered off early.

this is now, sebastian moody
on my way out from the meat market, i popped in to see this work which used advertising/planning methodology to create an image to represent the values of current australian society. knowing a little about the whole ad/planning wank (see previous post), i was really interested in this work and wanted to find out more about the artist, what else he found, whether the research papers he tabled were legit, etc, etc. in fact, i wanted a whole bunch of my plannery types to check out the show, but hey, most of them are on the other side of the world (ahem). [age, stan, angela, angus. if you read this and need to remind some of your creatives about the difference between art and advertising, go see this show.]

Objects in Space
I have the awesome OIS catalogue. so there.

i’m tempted to leave my review at that. but i should just quickly point out some of the cool things i’ve seen as part of this project: renee ugazio‘s curtain piece at craft victoria: very xanadu, abba, 70s interior design. i thought i’d hate it. turns out i like it rather a lot;
the schlock horror install by yvette king on the stairs of bus: fake mice with flashing red eyes, b-grade screams and tacky mist. all brilliant and a perfect entrance to the fabulous, fabulous show by Kim Jaeger & Emelie Plunkett, Jordan Wood and Bonnie Lane;
oh, and the mel upton piece i mentioned earlier.

plus, over the last couple of days i’ve been able to check out the show at TCB featuring Alasdair McLuckie and Christina Hayes (that’s her work above, that i pinched from the tcb site).
Alisdair’s show seems like the love child between Jade Pegler and Dylan Martorell, two of my fave peeps, so i don’t know if I was especially partial to his work. Not that it’s bad, but I just know that style rather well and am surrounded by it at the moment, so a little over it. Christina’s paintings are quite lovely. I only really truly liked two of them and for some reason, it was the two which had this really beautiful shadow colouring between the body and the tree they were in. it really grounded the figures and made them far more engaging. but overall a good show at tcb – they always do killer shows there.

and i also got to see great shows at west space, especially hockey plot – fantastic show in the main gallery. i especially liked the punk’d t-shirt exchange and the sharp wit of both rehgan de mather and simon perecich killed me. i laughed out loud. a lot. which can be quite embarrassing in an empty gallery. but hey. the image above is a dodgy shot from my photobooth of the catalogue, featuring rehgan’s tee.

so, this weekend i’m also going to check out neon parc, kings[woo hoo! new website!] and hopefully both the damiano bertolli and louise weaver shows at the geelong regional gallery. well, that’s the plan anyway.

oh, and i also went to the brilliant architecture + philosphy lecture at RMIT on friday night, featuring ashley schafer from praxis, but i’ll post about that separately on monday, after i’ve seen part 2, with tony fry (everybody’s in the house!).

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

a gallery per day: june week 1

having spent the better part of the week actually concerned with finding a place to live and a job to go to, my gallery visiting was not quite as deep as it has been in the last couple of weeks. you’ll have to just forgive me.

in some nice news, i’ve decided to make a separate blog for a gallery per day. i’ll post a ‘new gallery per day post’ each week on here when one goes up, so you can still keep up with what’s going on. i’ll also be trying to improve my grammar, spelling and language on there, because i’d like to take that element of my writing a little more seriously. don’t worry, i’m not having a complete personality transplant, just a little bit of a tone down, so that if grown up publishing-type people want to take it up, they don’t have to freak out about offending the kiddies.

it’s here.

. 29.5.07
. Tuesday

Riflemaker, John Maeda, myspace and Anja Niemi, Statbad

I popped into Riflemaker because I had been enjoying a very yummy coffee at flat white and it was around the corner. I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with a John Maeda exhibition. I had heard of Maeda, but not quite registered it, so was pleased to be able to acquaint myself with a name that seems to be well-regarded in tech-art circles. I wasn’t 100% enamoured with the exhibition – the text boards and the random op-art pespex reliefs were a bit random for me, but i did totally love his ipod works. There were 2 works in particular that were sharp as tacks and I would have loved the whole exhibition to be like this. But sometimes I can be greedy.
The first ipod work was an ipod video that displayed a screen that replicated the old-school Apple green screens and ‘played’ a logic code ‘conversation’ along the lines of:



When i was in high school we learned very basic code like this to play very basic games and draw very basic images. This contemporary chat between technological machines was amusing and poignant at the same time. I was pleased that superceded systems and machinery were given a nostalgic place by Maeda.

The other ipod piece that I loved was a relief sculpture framed in a beautiful box frame. There were 16 white ipod nanos piled in a fan-like shape, all running different films of passing scenery, abstract and colour-based work that didn’t seem to relate to each other, but I think that was the point. It was such a beautiful moving colour field object.

The other exhibition at the gallery was the photographic work of Anja Niemi, whose eery photographs of ghostly girls in abandoned spaces were very beautiful, well photographed and reminded me of Emily Portmann whose worked got snapped up by Sullivan & Strumpf as a graduate. This may sounds like I’m saying that Anja’s work was ‘so undergrad’. That wasn’t the intention, but it was quite single-minded. I could have bought one (the one of the girl in the bath), and for regular readers of these weekly ramblings, you’ll know that while it doesn’t necessarily mean a lot, it means something. Especially ‘cos I don’t have any money to buy one.

. 30.5.07
. Wednesday

National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing, Italian painters, 1350-1550

I decided to mix up my usual pattern this week and take advantage of late opening hours on Wednesday. Although I didn’t actually stay until 9pm, there wasn’t the feeling of pressure to leave that usually happens when i find myself engulfed in the National’s collection. For good measure, I met both Charles and Young Will there today and while I was quite a crap gallery guide for Charles in the first instance, once Will arrived, we all found ourselves having fantastic conversations about all kinds of stuff, while slugging tea in the National Café. It was so acceptable, it was unbelievable. Stuff geek girls’ dreams are made of.

While i was quite ambivalent about most of the Italian painting in rooms 62-65, I did arrive at Sandro Botticelli‘s Venus and Mars and spent quite a while drawing it. Getting Venus’ proportions right wasn’t easy, but once I got it, I really enjoyed it. I could really converse with the seraphims playing havoc with Mars’ war paraphernalia (helmet, staff), i loved drawing Mars and his raised knee and the curve of Venus’ body (through the sheer drapery) was lovely. While Boticelli has left me cool in the past, I can see why the boys and girls love him. Here was the beginning of the rennaisance and it was oh so sexy and completely legit. Sexual subversion, advocated by the church? Better than Eastenders anyday.

Annika Eriksson, The Soundtrack
Thanks to the Cubitt Gallery

. 31.5.07
. Thursday

Cubitt Gallery, Annika Eriksson, The Soundtrack

Tucked in behind Pentonville Rd, Cubitt Gallery is a fantastic artist-led-space, attached to studios. I felt right at home in the place that was raw, with concrete floors and an industrial feel. The video work was really quite good. I don’t often feel like standing in front of a video piece for longer than a few seconds, but i stood in front of this one for a while. It’s an image of a drummer on the street, just playing on his own, to either his own internal rhythm, or the rhythm of the street. Or maybe a bit of both. I have a connection with rhythm and I was fascinated by the representation of someone else’s – both obvious (drums) and more subtle (traffic, citylife, solitude).

. 1.6.07
. Friday

Tate Modern, UBS Openings, Poetry and Dream

Regular readers will be wondering what happened to going to Tate on Thursdays, but I decided to go for a Friday this week for the same reason I shifted the National – late openings means i can just drift in there. And when I start working [which i have], i can still go to the Tate easily after work and spend time there.

If I thought the States of Flux section was crammed, boy was I in for a surprise in Poetry and Dream. There was one room there which was seriously jam-packed full of Surrealist works. After going to Surreal Things at the V&A last Friday, this show was a nice compliment to that. Giorgio De Chirico‘s work was the first thing in the room and it was so, so exquisitely painted, that I just stood in front of if for ages. The form of the classical sculpture was so perfectly rendered and there was just the right amount of disegno(form through drawing) and colori(form through tone) to provide absolute harmony. Unsurprisingly, I saw an artist sketching it when I was on the way out.

The exhibition covered such a range of (mostly) Surrealist and Dada works and what was fantastic about it was to hear the conversation amongst patrons. The images and style of symbolism/imagery is so much in the vernacular that whilst people didn’t quite know what was being said, they felt they had the right to discuss it, which I think is absolutely vital. I was really aware of the dynamic of visitors during my visit and I would have to say that Poetry and Dream had the most visitor engagement thus far. The Joseph Beuys ‘Stag..’ installation got the least understanding/most fear, which was completely balance by Cy Twombly‘s large scratchy paintings of Quattro Staggioni (Four Seasons). Well done, Tate.

I was pleased to see some more Magritte works and totally loved this quote from a wall plaque:
“.. the subtle undermining of the everyday was characteristic of Magritte and his Belgian Surrealist colleagues, who preferred quiet subversion to overt public action.”

And speaking of subversion, Marcel Duchamp is one of the single most influential Dada/Surrealist/Installation Artists in the modern era, apart from Pablo Picasso (IMHO) and while I appreciate the method behind scattering his work amongst all the exhibits, I really, really want him to have his own room. His subversion and his proliferation were so far-reaching that it feels like he gets lost among his colleagues. I managed to put something like this on my little postcard drawing I did as part of the kids program (OK, so i’m old enough to have children, but that doesn’t/shouldn’t stop me), but I’m not sure whether that makes much of a difference, really.

In fact, while drawing my Tate postcard, I had the nicest time chatting with a couple of younger Tate patrons about the collection, which was just delightful, and something I thoroughly recommend.

. 2.6.07
. Saturday

No gallery.

I spent all day running around North London looking for a place to live and applying for work. I didn’t feel much like going to a gallery by the end of it.

Mark Wallinger, State Britain
Thanks to the Tate website

. 3.6.07
. Sunday

Tate Britain,State Britain, Mark Wallinger.,

So much has been written about this work (rightly so), by Turner Prize candidate Mark Wallinger, that I’ll just keep it brief. In fact, I’m going to focus on the Talk with the Artist – a video that is playing in a small nook on the ground floor, which is Mark taking you through the work and the impetus and feeling behind it. It was incredibly enlightening and while I usually prefer to leave the Introduction until last, i really appreciated it. He discussed the piece being transformed into an authenticated ‘object’ by being in the gallery, rather than an ‘eyesore’ sitting outside Palace of Westminster. He discussed that for certain conservatives, this work now has validity because it has been recreated by an Artist (capital A), as opposed to a passionate protestor, Brian Haw.

While the work was a little obtuse the first time I saw it, the concept of it began to sink in and I really enjoyed poring over the way in which such basic forms of communications – hand-made signs, raw wood, grubby material and greasy tarpaulins – have been ‘recreated’ using artistic means.

After checking out State Britain, I had a quick peek in the Modern Figures section of the Modern Britons section and was wildly disappointed. There were only a small handful of interesting paintings, including a self portrait by Gwen John and some of the daily scenes by Walter Sickert. I haven’t seen other parts of the Modern collection, but I was really surprised that, in terms of figures, that Frank Auerbach and Lucien Freud, are missing. Surely they are Modern figurative painters. Perhaps they’ll show up elsewhere and I can safely report that British Art is in safe hands. If not, the Brits are being seriously under-represented in their own gallery.

. 4.6.07
. Monday

Nolias Gallery, W+E M I X

I stumbled upon this gallery, while on the way to catch up with Helen. While the space was not particularly welcomming, the show was slightly interesting. In particular, a work by chinese artist Yuan Tian. Up on the mezzanine, there was a bedroom setting and the duvet/doona cover was printed in red writing in English “Hey, make yourself at home!” and Chinese script of the translation “Get the fuck off my bed, I just changed the covers!” (paraphrase). The Welcome mat was also in both English and translated in Chinese as “Take off your bloody shoes”.

As a recent visitor, running into my own version of English translations (ie. Thankyou, can mean, Why don’t you just fuck off!), I really appreciated the idea of culture clash and miscommunication. The rest of the works, looking at an east asian perspective of living in London was a refreshingly familiar inquiry and to be admired.

Next week, galleries I’ve got on the list include Jeff Koons at Gagosian, Damian Hirst at White Cube, Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers, Old School at Hauser & Wirth and hopefully the Design Museum (which i’ve been meaning to get to for weeks now).

EDIT: Sorry about two mega posts in a row. I promise I’ll post something light-hearted and whimsical next.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

a gallery per day: saturday

richard serra, back to back
thanks to

gagosian gallery
richard serra, albert giacometti, cy twombly and lucio fontana – living, working, making

so, yesterday i went to coffee morning, a cute little institution here in london, and there i met a bunch of people i had never met before. anyway, i got talking to msblogkx, who works for create KX in supporting the creativity in the kings cross area and she encouraged me to check out any galleries in the area and let her know if i blogged about them. i decided to check which galleries were in the area as a plan to go there on monday. lo and behold, i discover that the Gagosian is in kings cross and that the show featuring Giacometti, Serra, Twombly and Fontana was closing today.

i jumped on the tube and when i got out at the station, it was like a ghost town. the FA Cup final had started and it was a nice easy trip down pentonville rd to the gallery.

for those who don’t know, gagosian is a top-class commercial gallery, based mostly in new york, with 2 large galleries there and responsible for the careers of some of the world’s most well-known artists. the gallery in kings cross is an impressive half a block long with 4 galleries, plus a viewing room (upstairs i presume). the walls are huge and whiter than white, lit by a combination of artificial lighting and huge skylights, giving the gallery a great neutral lighting system. the grey concrete floors and staff all dressed in black provides an austerity to the place which can be simultaneously intimidating and authoratitive and i’m glad that i don’t phase easily otherwise i may have missed out on an awesome show.

the group show (if you can still call it that with the amount of heavyweights) was so well chosen. the mix of approaches and focus was perfect – all working in bronze, but giacometti‘s delicate and figurative works perfectly balanced serra‘s big, blocky industrial works. cy twombly‘s works were also on the delicate side, but he worked more with natural colours and found objects – long, lean and angular, which were lovingly opposed by fontana‘s soft blobs of bronze on the floor.

i stayed in the space for ages, drawing and admiring the works of sculptural kings. the next show at the gallery will be paintings by jeff koons and i’ll be looking forward to checking that out. and if other spaces in kings cross are half as good as gagosian, they have a gold-mine on their hands!

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

a gallery per day: tuesday

after yesterday’s mammoth post, i have a feeling that reading a whole week’s worth of gallery visits at once is on the boring and tedious, not to mention ugly, side of the blog. i’m going to try posting once a day for the next week instead. let me know what works (if you’re still reading these things).

tate britain
jake and dinos chapman
when humans walked the earth

for some reason, i thought that the chapman brothers were exhibiting the goya works here and although i much prefer their sculptural works, i was amped for a goya/chapman mash-up. however, i must have got it all arse-about and the exhibit was actually a bunch of their sculptures instead. confused? yeah, me too.

the exhibit was a bunch of ‘machines’ with amazingly rad titles and were typical chapman cheek and smut. the mixed media/found objects pieces replicated machinery that reflected the dark side of human desire and motivation. they actually looked like old machines, with systems that seemed logical and a treatment/patina that replicated metal oxidisation. there was something a little Jean-Pierre Jeune about the pieces too and it was hilarious to spy on a very well-dressed, middle class couple checking out a machine that milked penises, was powered by men sucking breasts and lead by a vaginal mouth. ha!

my first impression of the tate britain was that it was quite a wasteland – hardly populated, although i’m definitely willing to give it another go, especially because i was really only there for the Chapman show.

here’s a little sketch of one of the works, just to give you a vague idea as obviously there is no photography allowed (although i got busted photographing the artists’ quotes in the BP British Art exhibit).

i put the fun back in funeral machine, jake and dinos chapman

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx