Tag Archives: James Makin Gallery

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


Art Gallery Bumpf

At James Makin Gallery the gallery attendant hands me a price list, a postcard and a folded card color catalogue, more bumpf. At Utopian Stumps I was handed a “room sheet” – a price list, in other words. I must say that I do use the price lists; I scribble my notes on them when looking at the exhibition as it saves me from copying down names of artists or titles of art works.

But now all this art gallery bumpf is building up in a pile in the corner of my office. It hangs like snowdrifts on my bookshelves. There is a massive pile in my intray, like a massive snowdrift of room sheets, catalogues, postcard invite, business cards, threatening an avalanche onto Dignity, the cat. I have resolved to clean it up. I take one at random from the pile; Dignity sensing imminent disaster leaves the room. The pile remains in place.

What is this A4 page about? It doesn’t even have the gallery name on it – that goes straight into the recycling bin.

There is so much of this art gallery bumpf. The ecological impact of this material is often ignored in considering the artist’s environmental footprint. My advice to artists and galleries is to save a forest and do it all electronically. Use Facebook and email invites, PDF catalogues, artist and gallery websites. PDF catalogues are in many ways superior to printed paper catalogues because they are economical, document the exhibition equally well, require less space to store and increases the difficulty of forgery (such as the forgeries retrospectively documented by additions to catalogues as in the case of John Drewe.) However, the archival value of PDFs have yet to be proved.

I sort through more of the pile. There are all these business cards; this one says – “artist and interior decorator” – that doesn’t sound good.

The tangible item of a gallery catalogue can be a beautiful publication in itself, a well written thought provoking essay about the artist and more images. Those ones go in the files or even on the bookshelf. I screw up another “room sheet” and get Dignity to chase the ball of paper under the coffee table.


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