Tag Archives: Michael Koro Gallery

November 2010 Exhibitions

Tim Sterling’s solo exhibition, “Metamaterials” at Michael Koro Galleries is a post-minimalist exercise in sculpture and drawing. Post-minimalism is like minimalism but with a lot more. Sterling’s sculptures use a lot and lots of paper clips held together with cable ties most impressively a small I-beam (17x73x80cm) supported between two perspex pillars. His drawings are made up of a many, many small marks with a pen, his drawing “Wall” is made up of repeated marker pen marks that form bricks in a wall.

At Mailbox 141 Tasmanian sculptor Ange Leech has a small solo exhibiting “Hand of the Composure”. Leech has carved small wooden puppets and masks along with collages that are pinned together. These collages are subject to alteration like the articulate joints of the puppets.

This time of year there are many exhibitions by graduates of art, design, photography and jewellery courses.

RMIT Diploma of Photoimaging Graduates are exhibiting at First Site (“photoimaging” is a portmanteau word includes both photography and digital imaging technology). The reality that photography once implied has been replaced with fantasy and glamour. There is a lot of fantasy in this exhibition to the extent of visionary art, fashion and glamour model photography.

Box Hill Institute jewellery graduates their work at Guildford Lane Gallery. It is not just rings and necklaces there are wall pieces, cups, spoons, an hourglass of luminous sand and a wizard’s staff with a crystal ball. Some of the jewellery is inspired by Alice in Wonderland themes from a course assignment.

Guildford Lane Gallery is strange place to visit during on a weekday; they obviously don’t get a lot of visitors. It is an old factory/warehouse with a music space/bar on the ground floor. Whenever I go in someone asks if I’m here for some exhibition, I say yes and they tell me that it on the 2nd floor. They then follow me up the stairs to turn on the lights.



Curators & Current Exhibitions

Some current exhibitions that I’ve seen in Melbourne made me think about the curators. In reviewing exhibitions in this blog I have endeavoured to give credit to the curators but it also time to give them some critical attention.

Bernhard Sachs and Brad Haylock curate the current exhibition at West Space. I don’t know why they bothered. The title of the show is a beautiful work of art in itself: “The Office of Utopic Procedures Presents: The Aesthetics of Joy – The Infinite International of Poetics” but the exhibition doesn’t support it. Both curators are also exhibiting in the show along with a more or less random selection of artists. Was the exhibition about the aesthetics of joy or was the title so vague that anything could be included? The works in the exhibition are diverse in every sense and there is little cohesion, even the hanging on deep blue walls didn’t create a unity. The exhibition contains the usual contemporary curator’s mix of video art, installation and wall painting. I expect something more from a curators than this exhibition with its pretentious title.

The curators do hit the jackpot with a work by Kellie Wells, a video installation with wall painting that actually appears to be on the exhibition’s theme. Kellie Wells is jumping for joy amongst horizontal strips of elastic. These horizontal strips appear in the minimalist wall painting. It was like the children’s game except played by an adult. The ominous rumbling soundtrack to the installation is the only discordant note in the work.

At Michael Koro Gallery I saw a simpler exhibition. It is simply titled with the names of the participating artists: Ash Keating. Andrew Hutson, Daniel Du Bern and Marcin Wojcik. No curator credited but the hanging was elegantly simple. Ash Keating likes to separate rubbish – it is the environmentally responsible thing to do. And Ash Keating takes rubbish separation to an art – a black pile of plastic waste and white pile of plastic waste. Andrew Hutson is exhibiting three sculptural scenes made of painted paper-mache. They have a whimsical mood, a simple direct style and clear ideas. Daniel Du Bern is showing 10 oil ink prints of strange handmade weapons, perhaps handed in during a police amnesty, as suggested by the series title: Amnesty. These crude but deadly weapons are depicted in a cool, neutral and grey style as artefacts. In the laneway next to Michael Koro Gallery Marcin Wojcik has made small sailing ship made of sticky tape over a wooden frame.

I also saw the Shilo Project at the Ian Potter Museum of Art is curator by Dr Chris McAuliffe. In the exhibition pop music album covers, and dot to dots, meet contemporary art. It is a curatorial dream of an exhibition to include so many artists with a theme exhibition with iconic pop status. The 100 works of art looked coherent because they were all on 100 copies of Neil Diamond’s Shilo album with its dot to dot drawing cover art. There are no breathtakingly great art in this exhibition but the installation of the exhibition is a curatorial work of art incorporating the record store style, a record player and even imitation record store bins full of Neil Diamond records. CDs, with their smaller format, killed the art of the album cover – this exhibition does not attempt to revive it but to redirect it.

Landscapes @ Michael Koro

I instantly recognized Adrian Doyle’s paintings the moment that I walked in the door of Michael Koro Gallery. I had seen Doyle’s paintings before on visits to the studio and as his unique style of landscapes, a post-modern cubism, are instantly recognizable. I didn’t know what was on exhibition at Michael Koro Gallery; I was there because wanted to catch up with Doyle and other guys at Blender Studios to talk with them about the Melbourne Stencil Festival. I’d been trying to come to grips with the Stencil Festival webpage and I needed to get away from the computer.

Doyle has been painting hard, his heavy winter clothes and deconstructed-style jacket hang loosely on him as he shows me around his exhibition New Australian Landscapes. Three of the paintings have just been finished – the paint is still wet on them. The exhibition has yet to open, it will open next week, Friday 17th.

I talked with Doyle about all the techniques that he has used on the paintings. There are digital prints on canvas, stencils and aerosol spray-paint, flat paint, think paint, large globs of paint squeezed out of the tube onto the canvas. And this variety paint techniques are unified by Doyle’s vision of suburban landscapes. A suburban landscape that is itself constructed using a variety of techniques and styles. The fragments of the urban and landscapes fit together, overlap, are dissected by black tarmac roads with white dots of lane marking.

It is hard to depict a city in a painting; you can easily become lost in the detail. Cityscapes have been a challenge to artists since the development of cities. The city is only seen in fragments; it is constantly moving and you travel through the city at speed. It is hard to keep your sense of perspective in the city and the study of perspective became important in Western art at the same time when cities became important.

In Doyle’s paintings the familiar suburban landscapes are made slightly unfamiliar, where are these castles, mountains and Ferris wheels? Combining images with other elements like a diagram or a map – there is no specific point of view to the paintings. It looks like Australian suburbia, the parked cars and mowed lawns of suburbia. The large expanses of bright flat colors at the top of the canvas, the sky, and at the bottom, the land or sea, holds the paintings together. In the largest painting a children’s adventure playground stands isolated in a color field, removed from the rest of the landscape, like a child’s version of the city.

Australian suburbia is an important subject for contemporary Australian art because it is the common experience of most Australian’s who live in the outer suburbs of the vast capital cities. Seen from the air, Melbourne and Sydney are very large cities, the suburban sprawl out to the horizon. It appears limitless and flat, full of endless suburban houses. Adrain Doyle’s New Australian Landscapes depict this reality with cool chaos.

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