Three very different exhibition: Blue, a very Blimey exhibition, and Moya McKenna’s a body of content, arranged for melody.
Masculinity is not well defined in western 21st century culture compared to femininity. Masculinity is both feared and the subject for humor. There are no Departments of Masculinity Studies in any universities. Consider the number of exhibitions of all women artists to exhibitions of all men artists. Blue at Brunswick Arts is welcome change. Blue follows up on Brunswick Arts 2006 show of female artists – Pink.
The theme of masculinity brought out some strong, aggressive, spectacular and funny works. I laughed when I saw Benjamin Webb’s ‘10 inches’, a tape measure in a phallic pose measuring ten inches; the best readymade I’ve seen this year. Webb’s hanging wax full body cast, ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ was not so funny. Alister Karl continues his wall drawing project with “Yellow Monster Truck Project #3”, the largest one yet. David Ramm has a very aggressive installation looking at challenging, fighting words. Dirtfish’s paintings are images of simple cartoon faces. His street art style translates well onto canvas with wonderfully distressed paintwork and tight cropping. Leon Hawker’s large looping collages are very intense, obsessive and beautiful creations – all very masculine qualities. James Wray’s series of photographs and installation takes an ironic look at hyper-masculinity. Wray’s masked wrestler is seen at home surrounded by 50s kitsch, a time when masculinity was better defined.
Ahoy me hearties there is ‘a very Blimey exhibition’ at 696. Pirates have an effervescent popularity (recently bubbling over with movies and merchandize) their free, anarchic spirit will always be attractive. ‘A very Blimey exhibition’ has illustrations from a number of artists for the piratical stories of Jo Spurling. Miss Blimey, a female pirate with eye patch and cutlass is the central character of the stories. There are excellent whimsical illustrations by a scurvy crew of artists: Jay Copp, Alan Kerr, Timba Smits, Martin Abel, HelloBard, Luke Feldman, Richard Adams and Jimmy Misanthrope. It is interesting to compare the styles and techniques of the different illustrators as they work on the same theme and characters. The exhibition is complete with t-shirts, magazines, badges and showbags.
Moya McKenna is exhibiting her contemporary still life painting at Neon Parc, There are no fruit nor flowers in these still life paintings but studio objects, a clutter of boxes and castes of arms. These are not precious nor over-worked still life paintings McKenna’s brushstrokes are strong and decisive. There are not many paintings in this exhibition, nor are they particularly large, but they all are of an equally high standard.