It was a pleasant late November day in Melbourne – blue sky and sun – a perfect day for a walk around some galleries.
At Kick Gallery the lighting was still being adjusted for the opening that evening. The gallery was full of small sculptures, in a couple of different styles, until I was given a room sheet I was unsure if it was all the work of one sculpture; Craig MacDonald. One of his styles, the spun profile, reminded me of Renato Bertelli’s “Continuous Profile of Mussolini” 1933, but MacDonald has made a spinning fat woman instead of an Italian dictator. Most of his quirky bronze sculptures have an underlying quiet sense of humour, like the figure of an astronaut without pants.
Ben Millar’s “The Colour Notation Project” in Seventh Gallery front space had an electric guitar plugged in, if anyone wanted to attempt to read the colour notation. It was all explained and the score was on the wall, in several minimalist looking works. The backroom of Seventh contained a video installation (as usual) this time “Place of Tears” a haunting installation by Hermoine Merry and Henriette Kassay-Schuster.
69 Smith St. had one of many end-of-year student exhibitions at this time. I don’t know what to expect of NMIT Diploma of Visual Arts graduates but the exhibition was roughly hung and most of the work reminded me of art fads that I’ve seen several years ago. They really should have been looking at the work at Gertrude Contemporary, if they wanted to do contemporary art and exhibit it well. When I was looking around the “Gertrude Studios 2011” exhibition I thought that the art students rather than gone to NMIT should have just worked on a building site and learnt to build walls, an essential skill in the contemporary art scene. Josh Petherick’s “Leaning, with accompaniment” is a great example of this trend in cutting chunks out of plasterboard walls.
“Gertrude Studios 2011” is a good end of year exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary. I’m consider going to their open studio on Saturday 26th – I went to one several years ago and I wonder what else I have on that day and what the weather will be like.
The day was made even more pleasant by the band on the back of a truck grooving away accompanying the CPSU demonstration that was rallying near Parliament. With music in the air and the day so pleasant I decided to forgo the trams and walked to Collingwood. On the way back I saw many nurses returning from another strike rall. Good luck to both of them; this is why there is an Occupy movement around the world. It is these underpaid but vital care workers who do need better pay and conditions rather than the executive mangers who are getting the pay rises.
Not that there was any deeply political work in any of the galleries or on the street, except for Paul Yore’s “Monument to the Republic” at Gertrude Contemporary, a piss-taking piece of slacker art that represents the Australian Republic perfectly. The boutiques, cafes and galleries along Gertrude and Smith streets looked apolitical, absorbed in their own style. There were lots of things to see on the walk; including an exhibition of modified top hats in the window of Smart Alec’s, and, of course, the street art down the laneways.