As Melbourne bakes in major heat wave nobody will be visiting any galleries; last week I did get to see a couple of exhibitions. Many of the galleries in Melbourne are still closed and their front windows covered in paper. Those commercial galleries that are open in Collingwood and Fitzroy are having stockroom exhibitions or exhibitions of aboriginal art. Many of the other rental spaces and artist run spaces throughout the city are filled with the extensive Midsumma Visual Arts program.
I met Tim, who headed Midsumma team organizing the visual arts program when I was visiting 69 Smith St and congratulated him on several years of producing excellent programs
Midsumma at 69 Smith St. has five exhibitions of nude photography. Downstairs there is Rick Connors expanding a strong graphic idea from Robert Mapplethorpe photograph of contrasting colored torsos. Alexander Edwards exhibition Touch Me works on the idea of writing the thoughts on the body. Upstairs David Khan’s Naked makes much of its use of ordinary men as models but the results just look like professional models. Chris Nash’s haunting little exhibition “Could I exist as just one these elements” is the most original and interesting of these exhibitions. (I reviewed Midsumma @ Platform in an earlier entry).
BSG is open and filled with exhibitions of massively varying quality from paintings by 2-year old, Aelita Andre (see my entry Toddler Arts) in one gallery to This Is Brunswick Arts in the next. The 9 artists that run Brunswick Art Space annually have group exhibitions in other galleries. Their work varies from photographs by Alice Dunn and Catherine Evans, paintings by Alison Hanly and James Wray, a large drawing by Alister Karl, a neo-baroque wallpaper cut-out by Karis Sim and sculptures by Lenni Morkel-Kingsbury, Kieran Stewart, Erin Voth and Benjamin Webb.
In yet another room photographer Christopher Atkins “Hidden in Plain Sight” at BSG is sub-titled “Re-imaging Masonic Architecture”. It is a series of b&w and color photographs of the suburban Masonic temples in Melbourne from the outside and inside. The Masons are not a secret society; their temples are everywhere, old buildings from the first half of the 20th century when Free Masons were a popular organisation. Atkins both documents the changes in the architecture and the function of the Masonic temples; some are now converted into apartments or medical clinics. But Atkins photographs do more than just document; the old Masons alone inside their empty halls are haunting in their emptiness.
As this heat wave continues I will be staying out of the sun and so it will be unlikely if I see any exhibition in the next week.