“The Clan MacLeod” sounds unified – a ‘clan’. It is a group exhibition with some notable names from Melbourne’s street art scene like HaHa and Happy, but the reality is disconnected art on walls joined together into a room above a pub on Highlander Lane. I don’t know if this strange disconnected group exhibition is due to uncritical mateship, commercial desperation or a deliberate agenda of extreme artistic diversity but the whole exhibition suffered from it.
Rus Kitchin’s “The Un-Familiar Series” was the small star of the small show; these digital C-prints are like Berlin Dadaist collages, their silvery blue colours making them appear like strange silver nitrate photographs. The series is the story of a European family’s photographs that include the un-familiar, African masked child of modernism. The European family’s identical faces are overlayed with occult patterns like the ritual scarification on the carved African mask, making the familiar un-familiar again.
Andy Murphy plays with patterns from tartans to zebra stripes but including the JEAN Symmonds (in punning denim) distracted from the quality of the rest of his work.
Matlok’s naïve painting style is as ugly, crude, colourful and brutal as the Melbourne streets that he depicts. His paintings are full of little details, word play and shops. He has a consistent artistic vision (that doesn’t appeal to me but that’s not a reason why someone else wouldn’t like it).
Happy is burning his bridges behind him before leaving the country. Happy was exhibiting photographs of burning one of his “Fame” paste-ups (along with the ashes in a jar) and the spray-can vandalism of his framed drawings (along with the results). This is a potlatch, the ceremonial destruction of value in an economy of excess. “We’ve come to wreck everything and ruin your life” is the title of a zine compilation of Happy’s part of the exhibition. It asks the question, in the ephemeral world of street art, are you happy with the creation and the destruction?
The worst was seeing RDKL shoot himself in the foot exhibiting a toilet seat figure, a demonstration of Arnold Rimmer level of taste of the most mundane and repetitive. The rest of his work is a rough and inarticulate psylocibin insipid drawings and computer graphics.
And there was only one HaHa, a black on white stencil “Ned Kelly”.
Cue the bagpipes and march to the exit.