Daily Archives: March 21, 2009

Street Artists on Exhibition

There are currently a few exhibitions around Melbourne with new work from some notable street artists.

Two notable Melbourne street artists are exhibiting at Platform: Tom Sevil (AKA Civil) and Marc de Jong (AKA marcsta). Tom Civil is exhibiting large illustrations of populations at war and peace in paint and marker pen on paper. These new stick-figure illustrations bare no resemblance to his old stencil art images. Except, in the underlying theme of human political, civil relationships and in the clarity of Civil’s communication. I have not seen Civil’s work for a while because I have not been looking in the right places, his illustrations are widely published and he has even been doing stencils on the Channel 10 TV show Guerrilla Gardeners. Marc de Jong is exhibiting a large series of parody public signs in green and white reflective signs and the illuminated “Exist” sign. Although this parody of civic communication and the well-ordered society with word play has been done many times before de Jong makes it fun and fresh with the use of local slang into play with: “She’ll Be Rite”.

At Famous When Dead there is a solo exhibition by Sydney street artist George Hambov (AKA ApeSeven) – House of the Wind Blown Clouds. This body of work has been exhibited twice before in Sydney but this my first sight of it.

Hambov’s paintings play with dynamic superhero robotic forms as art. The paintings have evidence of being handmade: drips, brush strokes, splatters and the surface built up on old Japanese newspaper stuck to canvas. And the images are as much formal explorations of design as illustration. The exhibition is like panels for a vast, never to be written comic book. The story of the robot anti-hero “3 of 5” and the alchemy that occurs it is exposed to ethereal power is the usual mix of the mythological science fiction or the unknown magic of superheroes. There is a wall painting and another little side part of the exhibition are three painted hipflask bottles, the “Katalyst” for the story, a technical achievement with the right paints and hairdryer George Hambov explained to me at the Friday night exhibition opening.


Grab Bag

2009 Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program part 2

By Mark Holsworth with Catherine Voutier

The design and editing of the Fashion Festival Cultural Program was obnoxiously bad without any organization alphabetical, geographical or thematic, just a random list. And it is on two sides of a four-fold sheet with the bright pink printing making it almost impossible to use. The exhibitors who paid to be included in this program did not get value for their money (according to a recent comment it did not cost anything, that explains a lot). Fleur Watson, the Cultural Program Manager, appears to have done nothing more than copy and paste information from the events that paid to be included. That this grab bag of events had a theme, ‘Cause and Effect’, is curatorial balderdash.

The Fashion Festival’s Cultural Program is a random selection of fashion related events. In Bloom, at RMIT’s First Site Gallery was a good fashion exhibition exploring floral themes with work from RMIT students and graduates. Unfortunately it closed before the opening of the Fashion Festival. Why Bus Gallery paid to have Skin and Bones 09 in the program and then ran different exhibitions I don’t know.

Everyone need fashion accessories and there were, of course, a many of Melbourne’s jewellery designers were included in the program. There was Leah Heiss’s hi-tech jewellery at 45 Downstairs. It was nothing special to look at, new materials like heat sensitive wires are interesting but it failed to be made into anything attractive. In the other direction at Glitzern in Crossley Lane there was plenty of jewellery from recycled and found material with a nautical theme. There were bracelets of brass buttons, a hat like a ship, a black sequinned lobsters and fun eye patches with sequins and netting.

The Stiches and Craft Show at the Melbourne Show Grounds was also part of the 2009 Fashion Festival Cultural Program. Taking fashion back to its basics. This featured an exhibition of women’s dresses the 1890s to the 1960s, one from each period. The dresses were not couture but handmade or made by local dress makers. Also bringing fashion back to the grassroots, craft bloggers had their own spot at the show.

Also taking fashion back to its roots Craft Victoria had Chicks On Speed, and it looked like it. It is a fun packed exhibition, a mash-up of workshop, performance space and installation. Visitors had to carefully pick their way between all the stuff. It had rock’n’roll levels of energy – not surprisingly Chicks On Speed are a punk rock band with several CDs of music and they take the little old lady out of embroidery. Poking critical fun at the fashion industry Chicks On Speed have a funky, punk do-it-yourself style. Rock’n’roll has always been an adjunct of modern fashion as Chicks On Speed are effectively demonstrating.

On the other hand Prostitution Institution by Trimapee at No Vacancy Gallery looked impressive with black figures like ninja’s hanging from the ceiling, large extreme contrast paintings of women, decorated Doctor Martens Boots and photographs in light-boxes. However, it didn’t have any depth and wasn’t doing anything new.

“Black is the new red, again.” Read the acetate lettering in the light-boxes in Brad Haylock’s installation, Everything you never wanted to know about fashion  (but were too afraid to ask) at Vitrine in the Degraves Street Underpass. This should have been included in the Cultural Program but obviously they didn’t pay to play (or didn’t get his application in on time, see comment below).


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