Tag Archives: DVD installation

Platform August 09

In the underground vitrines along Campbell’s Arcade, under Degraves Street, the train commuters exiting Flinders St. Station are exposed to contemporary art. The August series of exhibitors were typical of the exhibitions at Platform.

Claire Gallagher’s Absence of the Inner is a glass tank, an empty vitrine lit by a single fluorescent tube inside a vitrine. Nature, in the form of potted plants, taxidermy birds, taxidermy fox, animal bones, wire, string and dirt, has been pushed to the side and what remains in the centre is a void. Gallagher’s Absence of the Inner is a comment and a critique of the contemporary art, the void space defining art and excluding nature. This absence of any inner sums up much of the art exhibited in Platform’s vitrines; it is art by definition of its display in the vitrines of Platforms and lacks any inner content.

I was enchanted by the installation by Chronox at Platform. It is remarkable use of a very old stage illusion and computer graphics. On what appears to be simple forms made of toothpicks and wire magical colorful forms move. The mirrors, DVD players, screens and angled glass are hidden from view.

Perkins’ Leg is a complete installation with sand, plants and a story created by Dominic Kavanagh. However it failed to generate any kind of mystery or relevance, with bits of burnt wood that allegedly are the remains of a wooden robot. I preferred Kavanagh’s  Rebellious Garden Shed that was exhibited at Seventh Gallery last year (see my review). The Rebellious Garden Shed had an inner life and dynamism Unlike Perkin’s Leg.

Adam Cruickshank follows the logic of brand name promotions: everything is the greatest and everything is a trophy. His Enhanced Awareness Campaign is fun but never really triumphed in getting a punch-line to his visual humor.  Rachael Hooper has two acrylic paintings on a dozen sheets of paper. The two large images; one is of big subject, a landscape, and the other a close up of a ham sandwich. Between you and me and the gatepost Natasha Frisch’s Between you and me is a very boring work. Most people passing by in the pedestrian subway probably think that it is even more boring since it looks like plastic fencing. Until you get close and realize that it is all made of tracing paper. And Dell Stewart’s Elementary was too elementary to excite my interest.

Masters Exhibition

The gallery at the School of Art Gallery, in Building 49 RMIT, was just a taster of the pieces on exhibition Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition. There were so many artists and art were mostly small pieces so it was difficult to make any critical judgements. Over in the maze of studios on Level C of Building 49 in Franklin St. the graduates had a more substantial exhibition of their work.

I was already familiar with the work of some of the artists from other exhibitions. Liz Walker was not exhibiting sculpture but alternating masonite panels with oil portraits and text. Tom Gleisner was exhibiting his pale pop art paintings. And Leon Hawker intense abstract collages of repeating photocopy elements.

Other artists were new to me. In Min-Hye Cho’s DVD installation, “My name is Min-Hye, Cho”, the pixels were gradually enlarged until they were the size of the blocks that they were being projected onto.

Along with painting, sculpture, DVDs, photographs and digital prints the exhibition also featured several vitrines of jewellery. On the whole there was lots of geometric work and yellow. There are, oxymoronically given that this was Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition, no masterpieces in this exhibition, perhaps because these are masters by course work students.

At the opening of the exhibition the real action was happening away from the art. Such an exhibition is a meat market with the newly graduated artists on sale to the commercial galleries. Meeting people and talking was the main business of this exhibition as the students celebrated completing their course. And there were plenty of the usual crowd of Melbourne’s art exhibition scene in attendance probably attracted by the free wine and munchies. The Nandos chicken wings and the cab-sav wine were the definite stars of the show. Free finger food and drink, once the standard, is becoming the exception at exhibition openings and good food is exceptional.

Will any of these newly graduated Masters of Fine Art become a major artist, a new master of contemporary art? It is unlikely and their chances more are dependant on the fashions and foibles of the art market than the artist’s training and talent.

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