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i've been tidying up my files lately, hoping to upgrade to OS X.3.9 or whatever is the latest update. Anyway, it occurred to me that i had a few images of shows that i plugged, but didn't follow up on, so here they are.

Red and Green - the covert show in the not-so-secret location with Jade Pegler

entropy remnants and 3 x 4000

read all over, collaboration with Jade Pegler

more ova mortis

255 x 255 - the newcastle show as part of the exchange between project and field contemporary artspaces

installing entropy part 2
photo thanks to Jade Pegler

entropy part 2. are you ready to crumble...
photo thanks to Jade Pegler


false walls and raincoats for furniture

boy the first draft opening on Wednesday night was pumping! There were people everywhere on Chalmers St. Possibly because the gallery was like the 5th Level of Hell, but also because the show went off. There were 8 artists participating in the 3 shows (that's if you include Spat + Loogie as 2 artists, which i will) and all their friends, family and the regular first draft opening crew. [Which i think i might have inadvertantly become one of, given i've been to at least 1 per month and reviewed several on this blog alone.]

Spat + Loogie, who some of you may remember from such art installations as the New!shop, were in the front room with some quite amusing lenticular collage works from Google Images, futuresearch. There were also some interactive goggle things kicking around (Goggle Images maybe?), but i felt a little shy at the time so didn't put them on. I liked the works a lot, but to be honest, i'm not raving about them. Some of the messages they had were great, but with so many works hung almost salon-style and then framed in faux gilt, with ornate title plaques, it was overkill on the post-modern, self referential, pop-culture quirk.

That's the second time i've been a bit ambivalent about their work, dammit. I really want to love it 'cos they're hard working artists who are looking at some interesting ideas!...bugger.

Elka Wohlfahrt, Muted Suburb
thanks to USyd News

The second room was filled with Migrating Within an eclectic mix of women who are ex-Meadowbank students, focusing on domestic posessions and ownership. Their works were quite different to anything i'd previously seen at first draft, but some were quite interesting. I really liked the perspex houses by Angela Femia, but felt they got lost in the darkness/projection thing. I was, however, quite impressed with the fishtank-cum-window-frame projection object in the second second room by Elke Wohlfahrt. That second second wasn't actually a typo (although considering my slackness on these things, you could be forgiven for assuming so).

The artist actually built a second wall in the main room of the gallery and created a second second room. It was an amazing wall and suited the space so well! plus, it created a beautiful intimate space for the projection, Muted Suburb, which looked great from about 3 vantage points, and then you had to negotiate piercing light and cross reflections in others. It was actually quite a nice distortion of home-video screenings in suburbia and it reminded me of a book i stumbled upon a while back called Louis: A Novel on Suburbia, or something like that anyway (with Howard Arkley's paintings on the cover).

My all-time favourite work from the show was in the last room as part of the Serious Play exhibition. Bonita Bub's Building Raincoats for Furniture series was fantastic. Clear plastic sewn to create covers for a range of furniture, including a table, chair, armchair and even an indoor plant! At first, i thought Bonita had created neat plastic carry bags for the objects, which was exciting enough. The idea of raincoats was even more engaging. The idea of protection and suffocation about our possessions was great. It reminded me of people my grandparents' age who cover their couches in sticky plastic to preserve the couch (for what, i'm not exactly sure). I loved the covered (artificial) plant the best, but would have loved to see a real plant in there for the exhibition. just 'cos i'm a nasty ratbag sometimes. i saw it as commentary on the scaredy cats out there who are so busy protecting themselves from whatever impending doom they choose, that they end up suffocating in the tedium of life. and it reminded me that i need to get out into the big wide world.

or maybe that was just the suffocating heat in the gallery.



can anything be beautiful? part 1

well of course anything can be beautiful – it's just a choice to elevate something to a particular level of perception.
that’s the easy bit.

but where’s the fun in that argument?

which leads us onto section 2.

can anything be beautiful? part 1.2

all arse. model: sweetheart, my cat

no. this is not beautiful. in fact, it's downright ugly. and anyone else that wakes up to that each morning would have to agree with me.

yet ‘things’ are not always about beauty, but also about function, fun, power, peace – the range and diversity of reasons for existing. and if anything, and therefore everything was beautiful, nothing would get done and we’d all be a bunch of boring hedonists, living in a blissful paradise with dante and yoda.

and as cool as those guys would be, i imagine it would boring as batshit because it’s the occasion of beauty that makes it so inspiring. the surprise, the treat, the glimpse of it gives us such a wonderful thing to aspire to (but never quite obtain as an absolute). in fact living in absolute anything would be an entirely depressing existence.

so while my cat's bum is damned ugly and will never be beautiful, it fulfills a function that my cat always appreciates, even if i don't.

and luckily, the rest of her is gorgeous, so it all works out in the end.



claire and sean would be proud

it's council-clean up time and lauren is doing some serious moving soon. for the first time ever, i've been able to make a beautiful pile on my nature strip. an ode to sean and claire.

PS. happy birthday to my sister, anthea xx

can anything be beautiful? preface

sometimes there are crazy opportunities you just want to take up. if you ride the life-train like i do, sometimes they come out of left field and all anyone else can do is shrug in amazement. i got my first real job that way. i was a temp at an ad agency, filling in while someone else got the job and i ran after the sales rep from our pre-press bureau, calling him a 'duffer' after he'd left something behind. 2 weeks' later he gave me a job as the receptionist there, 9 months later i was an apprentice and finally after 4 years i finished my trade in Graphic Pre-Press. File under Opportunity Knocks.

then i packed it all in and went to art school! ha!

W+K london are currently calling for 'talent' for their WK Side project, encouraging those 'outside adland' to create online content for the chance to work with them for 3 months in London, being trained by some of the best planners and writers in the world (the others being here and here). File under Opportunity of a Lifetime.

unfortunately for me, I have to file it under 'Opportunity of a Lifetime (If Luck Still Loves Me)'. W+K need their new kids to be on the block by the 10th April. i arrive on the 6th May. bugger.

but seeing as it's such a gorgeous question, a fun task and a great chance to muse on some more philosophical ideas (as opposed to the sausages and council clean-ups governing my current focus), i thought i'd step up to the plate anyway. And if W+K read it and like it, well, fantastic!

Stay tuned for the next 3 installments of Can Anything Be Beautiful?



roses are red

violets are blue
valentines day is a crock of shit
and so is poo..!!

man - i should quit being an artist and become a poet!!
oh dear. apologies to all the real writers out there in the world. and to think that this month, i'll be published in a little publication called Appliance across the Tasman in NZ...wowser.

Every year i try to not rant about this stupid occasion, but fail miserably as the hype gets bigger and bigger. If it didn't piss me off so much, I could possibly see it as a fantastic marketing ploy by Hallmark. Or more recently by Roses Only. [Boy haven't those kids jumped on the fucking bandwagon like nobody's business.]

But then i walk through the streets and past the shops and i'm accosted by the cutesy wutesy frilly silly fucking cards, balloons, over-stuff toys and over-priced flowers, stupid advertising and blatant abuse of the colour red, that i just have to rant.

As a bloody hopeless romantic, it makes me really cross because it really just kills true romance and promotes mindless behaviour, based on commerical interest. Maybe that's what the use of red is all about. It's not actually the colour of love. It's the colour of the death of sponteneity. The colour of the death of honest love. The colour of the death of unconditional caring and the colour of the death of imagination.

Perhaps next year i will actually get off my arse and produce the range of cards I've been meaning to for a while:

happy valentine's day suckers...



this week begins the exchange between the kids from project and field called 255 x 255. so called because project lives at 255 kiera st in wollongong and field lives at 255 king st in newcastle. both galleries have decided to re-ignite the friendly rivalry between the two sydney bookends (and former steel towns) and have a bit of a swap/meet.

friday night (16th feb) is the opening of 255 x 255 at project featuring the work of the directors from field contemporary artspace in newcastle:carly brett, chrissy cope, shelly evans, melanie foster, llawella lewis, kelly-ann lees and niomi sands

then on sunday and monday, the girls and boys from project head up to field to install for the 255 x 255 at field, which opens next thursday 22nd. the show features works from previous and recent project committee members:

damian bancks, lauren brown, jasmin carter, gino chiodo, peter james hewitt, john lascelles, ashley milne, andrew netherwood, jade pegler, marc wheatley and sara zarahodny

i'll be including a site-specific version of entropy, the works from platform, in "the box" plus some early manifestations of a work planned for the future.

if you're in either of these towns over the next couple of weeks - come and check out the shows!

In the flat fields

Thanks to the self-imposed period of nonline time, i didn't get a chance to rave about a great show that's on at the moment at MOP. Good friends Damian Dillon and Philip Wilson are in a group show in the main room with a mate of theirs, Mike Roddy and Canberra artist Kirsten Farrell is in the Project room with her Green work.

Kirsten Farrell, Green
Thanks to mop.org.au

I really liked Kirsten's work. As someone who understands the colour-based affinity, i was into the green coloured resin offcuts of some industrial process. Varying tones and hues of green, collated to create some kind of planar journey through the colour, they were quite funky pieces. Although the cheeky part of me wanted to grab a whole bunch of my own red offcuts and set them off together - get them really flashing!

Mike's paintings were reminiscent of early Gerhardt Richter photorealist paintings (before he discovered what slathering great wads of paint over picturesque landscapes felt like) and were very pretty, but not something i really wanted to engage with.

Philip had two types of photographs in the show, both taken on his trip to Japan last year, or the year before - i can't remember. The large uban works (like the image below) were reminiscent of other works of his I have seen and while they're technically and aesthetically good, i preferred the intimacy of the smaller Naka/Soto works, which document areas where the outside world (especially nature) infiltrates interior worlds, and vice-versa.

Philip Wilson, [insert title here - too slack to keep the room sheet!]
Thanks to mop.org.au

Damian Dillon is starting to experiment with new subject matter in a new format, but in this exhibition is still working with his trademark (and super more-ish) large photographs of especially industrial settings, [specifically airports this time] and then altering them in very analogue ways - with collage, fucked up exposures, tape, scribbles on the screens and references to old school proofing marks. His focus has always been on obscuring and revelation using analogue and is still keepin' it old school, working with large-format cameras, film and playing around with the boundaries of that technology.
My favourite work in this show is the work in which these huge jumbos and the accompanying equipment end up looking like kids models. It reminded me of something Fischli/Weiss would have done about 15 years ago and was achieved through extending the hell out of the bellows of a large format out over a fence, completely obscuring his view - hoping to hell it all worked out.

This look was possibly passé in the mid 90s when everyone was DIY-ing it up, but now that retouched cleanliness and brightness of production is so accessible and du jour, Damian's work is the equivalent of my old scratched 7" of California Über Alles. Sure, it may be nostalgic, but it's also so goddamn raw and still looks hard and fast at what the world has to offer that it reminds you that humanity doesn't always fall into the 25 colours of the Revlon Foundation spectrum.

Not work from the current show, but a Damian Dillon nonetheless - in my hallway! gloating? Not much!!!

I'd like to be able to say 'even if i didn't know these artists, it's a great show', but seeing as i do know them, there is no possible way that i can be objective. But since when has that stopped me! This show is a top show and a great start to the MOP year. Go and check it.



wish you were here

well, i had a wonderful time all last week, racking up some serious nonline time. i've got a bunch of stuff to catch up on - shows i went to see, work i'm doing, exhibitions i'm in soon and some required reading. but i really can't be stuffed tonight, after 4 days worth of 30th birthday celebrations ending this afternoon!

more details to come later. it's nice to be back :)



switching off

i've decided to have a bit of a break from my virtual existence and switch off for a week.

i just need a bit of a virtual holiday from my virtual life, so no internet.
well, apart from necessary sites like www.bom.gov.au, www.commbank.com.au and my work website. but no bludging on blogs for the next week, no loitering in comments sections, no yawking on youtube.

i need to restore my retinas to a somewhat regular state and my brain needs to stop thinking in 1s and 0s for a week.

don't worry, i'll be back - just in case you were worried.