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February 08 Exhibitions

Some galleries have taken advantage of the summer break to remodel their interiors including Arc One Gallery and, so I’ve heard has, Brunswick Arts. Arc One has lost one of its gallery spaces to office and stockroom, it appears from this an their upcoming calendar that they are changing from being another rental space gallery to a more professional commercial gallery.

And Arc One is off to a good start this year with David Ralph’s paintings about caravans. These are better paintings than most of last year’s exhibitions. Ralph has fun with both paint and the idea of mobile homes. On the subject of caravans Bob Jenyns has won the 2008 Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award with metal Meccano style trailer. Strange; trailers must be, somehow, part of the current zeitgeist.

I’ve been climbing up lots of stairs to see some exhibitions in Melbourne. Christopher Koller’s exhibition, Trust, at Upstairs Flinders is worth climbing the stairs. Koller has created large, powerful and creative b&w portrait photographs of people in Melbourne’s art clique.

Everything’s A-OK by Kill Pixi at Until Never Gallery has a lot of publicity that Until Never normally generates. With a full page advert in Art Almanac and a photo and story in MXNews.  “Kill Pixi is Mark Walen” Until Never announces in Art Almanac, as the Sydney street artist comes out from behind his tag to establish his name in the galleries. I didn’t think much of his work. It has a deliberately awkward character to it, full of insignificant intense detail and simplified shapes.

Upstairs in the Nicholas Building, there are several galleries and I can take an elevator to the eighth floor and work my way down. At Stephen McLaughlan Gallery Jason Haufe’s compositions of painted iron oxide red squares on raw canvas are cool and funky in their irregular piles of odd angles. Down one floor at Blindside Yvette Coppersmith’s impressive Blue Series also uses the aesthetic of raw canvas but with figures. “Forever in Blue Jeans” is a series of seven canvases showing a rotation of views of a man in jeans and blue shirt. Down another floor to see the Museum of Modern Electricity’s a new installation in the door. And then, down several more floors to the Pigment Gallery, where there was a group exhibition Ephemeral Folds, an exhibition by three artists about fabric. At the start of last year the space occupied by Pigment Gallery was Tim Bruce’s Open Studio; it is a rental space gallery now. The Nicholas Building is still dynamic with small galleries opening and closing.

At Mahoneys Galleries I saw the paintings two more impressive figurative artists: Lucy Turnbull and Kelly Murphy. Turnbull and Murphy, and Coppersmith at Blindside, are all painting dramatic realist paintings of people with a love of both the subject and paint. Kelly Murphy’s paintings are very dramatic, showing alienated youths, sporting war paint and tattoos postcodes on their lips or mid-digits. Lucy Turnbull’s paintings of her younger brothers are less confronting but still dramatic.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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