For me the exhibition of the week was Concrete Poetry Now! at Melbourne City Library in Flinders Lane. This little group exhibition of visual poetry curated by Ashley J Higgs really spoke to me about what is art/poetry/music/photography. The poetry of life in letters/signs of all kinds. It is a fun and thought provoking growing exhibition that left me wanting more and made me aware of more.
I also saw the exhibitions at Blindside. Todd Johnson’s Evidence shows evidence of impacts on ordinary objects like the bonnet of a Holden. More taxidermy in art; this time a beautiful fox hanging from the ceiling (see my post Taxidermy & Contemporary Art). Did it impact with the Holden?
Also at Blindside, Kieran Stewart A Highly Unadvisable Undertaking is about his attempt to build a parachute. Stewart describes his art as incorporating “a wide range of construction and building techniques that are constantly developing as part of my multi-disciplinary arts practice.”
On the second floor of the Nicholas Building the two exhibitions at Edmund Pearce Gallery made me think about the staging of photographs; when and why a viewer might suspend their disbelief in the photographic evidence. Daniel Sponiar’s series of portraits of Melbourne chefs, Yes Chef! has many dramatic images that are obviously staged but that only adds to showing the character of the subject. However, in Rebecca Dagnall’s In Tenebris series of dark Australian gothic bush scenes the more that I noticed the staging the photograph the less convincing I found the photograph.
On the way to my train I had a brief look at Platform but found Andrea Eckersley’s painting too subtle for the space; a underpass is not conducive to contemplation. Maybe this might work at a gallery. Metro Gallery had an exhibition of paintings by Kathleen Kngale the soft and delicate colours in intense fields of dots almost completely cover the dark underpainting. Beautiful and relaxing like a soporific drug but they wouldn’t be effective in an underpass either.
I hadn’t been to galleries in the Nicholas Building for sometime (I get tired of visiting the same galleries all the time). It is worth visiting the Nicholas Building if you are interested in art, fashion, literature, or just urban exploration but I’ll stick to the art galleries for this blog post.
I took the old elevator to near the top of the building for on the eighth floor is the Stephen McLaughlan that sells seriously beautiful art for the serious art collector. The current exhibitions featured beautiful lights and a video installation. The light works by Veronica Cavern Aldous are beautiful, simple and effective – I saw another work by her last year in a group show at Guildford Lane Gallery. Josephine Telfer’s installation “Billabong” is a romantic multi-layered work that combines text and two videos of the moon reflected on a billabong.
I walked down the stairs one floor to Blindside, an artist run space supported by the City of Melbourne, on the seventh floor. Blindside has two gallery spaces. In Gallery One, Elizabeth Pedler’s exhibition “Interventions in the Present Moment” features two giant teleidoscopes, a kind of kaleidoscope without coloured beads, focused on the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Street. But for much of this exhibition Pedler is pushing the mirror thing to far; every couple of years I see an exhibition with mirrors in white gallery corners.
In Blindside’s Gallery Two Canberra based artist, Steph Wilson “Ain’t Got No Business Doing Business Today”. A painting and the actual thing; every couple of years I see an exhibition that does this but Wilson has done a cool corporate-style version of this trope. It creates a strange vibe; I kept on looking at the differences between the painting and the installation of coach, table, pot plant, the black border on one wall – it is like the spot the difference puzzle drawings.
I continued walking down the stairs of the Nicholas Building, taking in the ambience of the old building to the second floor where there is the Edmund Pearce Gallery (where the Pigment Gallery used to be.) Edmund Pearce Gallery is a contemporary art space dedicated to photography with two exhibitions. There was Peter Drinkell’s “The great road climbs of the Alps and Pyreness”. It is a very topical exhibition given the current Tour de France and sponsored by a cycling clothing and accessories company. And Gary Heery’s “Undergrowth”; the deathly beauty of Heery’s photographs is spooky like a butterfly collection. The young nude women are pressed on glass, this and the frame of photographic print reminded me of Laura Palmer wrapt in plastic, or Snow White in her crystal tomb. The spiky plants and thorns contrast the soft mortal flesh of the models.
Two more floors and I’m back under the lead-lighting of Cathedral Arcade. It was worth visit the Nicholas Building – I must do it again soon.