Daily Archives: October 6, 2009

Julian Di Martino @ 69 Smith

Yellow toy workmen inside a perplex vacuum cleaner – nature should abhor that. But it is also a metaphor for working life.

Come Here and See That by Julian Di Martino at 69 Smith St. is a fun exhibition. So much fun it should be in the Comedy Festival; there are lots of sculpture making visual puns and other word play with a sardonic tone. Providing salt to rub into life’s wounds.

Following in the tradition of Barry Humphries’s Wobboist (Dada) objects, like “Pus in Boots” (1953). These are assemblages with humor, like the tower of 73 caulking nozzles stolen from Bunnings hardware. Rectified readymades are constructed from found or everyday supermarket materials like tomato sauce squeeze bottles. The plastic tomato sauce bottles become birds. Julian is also plays with the symbolism of primary colors used in these objects, a reminder that Julian is a visual artist and not a prop comic. Although describing the objects and their titles feels like explaining a joke. (The objects are not given high art prices $40 – $900)

Julian Di Martino transforms the supermarket ordinary world into a series of jokes. You don’t get a lot of loud laughs in an art gallery. It was hard to take it all in at the crowded opening on Saturday but you could tell from the way that people looked in at Julian’s objects from the front window of 69 Smith that they were enjoying it.

I’ve known Julian Di Martino for years; we are old drinking buddies. Julian when he is not at home studio in his converted shop in North Coburg can often be found gallery sitting at 69 Smith St. Julian is one of the founding members of 69 Smith St. Come Here and See That is a return to the style of object making from Julian’s first exhibition at Yuma Ya Gallery in Collingwood (Yuma Ya Gallery then developed into 69 Smith Street).


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