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Tag Archives: Fehily Contemporary

Collingwood Gallery Crawl

Who is this beautiful woman decked out in exotic jewellery standing in front of a ceramic skull surrounded by snakes and sea shells? I know that face. The b&w photograph captures her powerful beauty, a mature beauty that admits death. It is Janet Beckhouse photographed by Christopher Köller in an exhibition at Strange Neighbour.

Christopher Köller, Trust, 2008

Christopher Köller, Trust, 2008

On Thursday afternoon I went on a gallery crawl around Fitzroy and Collingwood with Matto Lucas, who writes Melbourne Art Review. We met up at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP). I thought that the main exhibition might tie in various interests that I have about sculpture and photography but it had the least interesting photography exhibition that we saw all afternoon.

As well as Köller’s photographs at Kick Gallery we saw Bon Mott’s powerful and impressive photographs and video of her performance: It Wasn’t the First, it Wasn’t the Last.

At Fehily Contemporary we saw Camille Hannah oil paintings on perspex, Skin Flick, generate a feeling of dynamic glowing beauty. The sense of light is comparable to old master paintings but also owes much to the calligraphic energy of the brushstroke.

We were wandering around galleries more or less at random. I have a mental map of galleries and Matto has his cell phone. There are all kinds of art galleries in the area from shopfront to warehouse conversions, from the institutional CCP to the commercial to small galleries, like Off the Kerb and Little Woods, where drawings dominated.

We were about to walk past Collingwood Gallery, as we had Hogan, when Matto recognised the artist, Magupela. If you just wanted a lively informal colourful painting to hang your house that would give you years of enjoyment without becoming stale then Magupela’s Flight to my dreams would be a good exhibition to see. I write this to raise the question of what do you want from art.

We looked in at the launch of UnMagazine. The last issue of UnMagazine was unreadable, not just because of the text but also bizarre layout on coloured paper. The current issue looks a lot more readable. There were a lot of people at the launch but we didn’t want to sit through a panel discussion as we had started drinking at Mr Fluffy’s at five and now just wanted to continue, so we moved on to the exhibition opening at James Makin Gallery.

At James Makin we discovered the current location of Lindberg Gallery, it is at James Makin. This is the third location that I remember for Lindberg. Now L and M share the building and swap between the larger and smaller gallery spaces. In larger gallery, M this time, there is Fabrizio Biviano’s paintings of matchbooks in a cool painterly pop art style. In the smaller, L this time, Eugenia Raftopoulos’s Feminine Masquerade, a series of paintings of strategies for depicting obscured female faces. Matto pulls out his camera and starts to do his thing for the Melbourne Art Review.

Matto Lucas photographs Eugenia Raftopoulos

Matto Lucas photographs Eugenia Raftopoulos

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Fehily Contemporary

When I arrived at Fehily Contemporary the guy behind the desk offered me a cup of coffee or tea; that was the first time that I’ve been greeted in such hospitality at a contemporary art gallery. However as it was the first destination in my day I declined. It was the first time that I’ve been to Fehily Contemporary, part of my plan to write about different Melbourne galleries.

Fehily Contemporary is a new commercial gallery located in the growing Collingwood gallery scene amidst the wholesale fashion warehouses around Wellington St. The gallery itself is a well-designed warehouse conversion with a main ground floor gallery and a small loft gallery above office/storage space.

The main gallery was still being set up on Wednesday for the Thursday opening of US artist, Angela Ellsworth’s “Training, Walking and Drawing”. Most of the drawings had been hung but the Ellsworth’s drawing equipment had barely been unpacked. The drawings were not impressive, fan scribbles, but they are only evidence, a record of the drawing action. Ellsworth has been drawing with pencils strapped on parts of her body, head, arms and legs and will be repeating these performances during the exhibition.

Upstairs, in the ‘loft’, there is a series of painted skulls and tapestries by Chen Fei and the Bhutanese Textile Project. Chinese artist, Chen Fei’s series of ceramic skulls decorated with acrylic paint reminded me that when I’m dead my skull will be just another surface to decorate or make into a musical instrument. But as a sign of mortality the skull is a cliché.

The work of 15 master weavers from Bhutan looked contemporary with figures covered in brightly colored images. These are the best textile works that I’ve seen all year; the silk embroidery is very fine but it is the intricate intensity of the images that give life to the work. Are those sunglasses or am I just interpreting these images from my own culture? No, there definitely are elements of contemporary images mixed in with traditional elements. You don’t need to understand the subtleties of Buddhist iconography or the concepts of “Sukha and Duhkha” (the title of the exhibition) to appreciate the work of the Bhutanese Textile Project.


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