Redfern Biennale 2015

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Damien Minton, the curator of the annual event now part of Art Month, the ‘Redfern Biennale’, asked me to contribute this year. An exhibition with a difference, on the streets of the Sydney suburb, Redfern. Outside the commercial gallery context and on the streets of the NSW Housing Commission precinct; readymade objects, found materials, photography, all responded to the environment. I found it a liberating experience, placing art out of doors in an installation context. It made me realise it would be great to see more art in the streets without the accompaniment of commerce. The readymade exhibition was only held for one day, the 21st of March 2015.

“Be ready, again, to view for free readymades, sculpture, multi media, new media, painting, found object or even a cobweb on the street. This year, 2015, with the assistance of local community service centres, the Redfern Biennale will feature the display, on the street, of artwork by local NSW Housing Commission residents. The Redfern Biennale precinct is focussed around the fences and footpaths of Walker Street, bound by Cooper and Redfern Streets, Redfern.

The Redfern Biennale is an outdoor, eclectic, democratic free-for-all happening that will just happen on the day.

There is no Council approval, we are just placing the work on the streets for 7 hours.

Whether it is John Cage remarking ‘beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look’ the notion of this show stems from the art dealer Damien Minton photographing readymade objects and clusters around the streets of Redfern and posting them on social media.” (Art Month, Yellam Nre)

As the internationally renowned contemporary curator Yellan Nre commented in his/her essay for the Redfern Biennale 2014, ‘Clusterfuck Aesthetics, the Radicality of Garbage:

“The nihilism of the readymade – both sneering and naïve, complete yet broken – defines our experience of contemporary art today. Objects umoored from the womb of the white cube are without referent or narrative, and yet generate narrative in their very abandonment. Art made in public space is an assault on the narrative of community, and complicates the periphery of our social engagement. But when the anti-establishment gesture of the guerrilla artwork is subsumed within the cannibalising assault of gentrification, how can the art object reclaim its radicality?

“In its democratizing gesture of a free-for-all pile of stuff on stuff, Redfern Biennale is a shot across the bow of government sanctioned social sculpture for the greater good. It places public art back in the hands of the public, where they are free to ‘engage’ with it as they wish. The utopian desire, imagined or otherwise, of a multifarious yet united society is thus enacted via the analogy of trash. The value of what we discard, conceal and detain outlines the border of our collective culture. Thus the artist’s gesture of displaying a work of art in public space becomes one of defiance and generosity. In doing so, it confounds Duchamp’s exhortation to indifference to the aesthetics or origin of an object – it enforces direct interaction with the situation of appearance and context. Destructions should take place more rapidly.”

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My work ‘Domesticity’ incorporated a collection of found materials that reflects my personal world at present. The stretcher frame without a painting except a small sketch of mother and child, signifying the amount of time you get to do your own work! The domestic world with its olive branch, acceptance, patience and love.

http://www.artmonthsydney.com.au/experiences/redfern-biennale-2015/

Yoko Ono at MCA, Sydney

The retrospective exhibition of Yoko Ono, ‘War is Over!’ is on now at the MCA until the 23rd of Feb, which means there is now only this week to go! For anyone in Sydney if you havnt had a chance to get there, I would recommend getting down to see the show before Sunday the 23rd.

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The video ‘Cut Piece’ in the background of this image, and ‘Play it by Trust’ in the foreground. ‘Cut Piece’ is considered one of Yoko Ono’s most significant artworks today, first performed in 1964, Tokyo, Japan. The audience members are invited to cut pieces of her clothing away with a pair of scissors, as she sits impassively upon the stage. In this exhibition the film documentaries of two of the performances are shown, one in 1965 at Carnegie Recital Hall and the second, in Paris, age of 70, in 2003. “The relationship between the younger and older woman, as well as questions of venerability, dignity and audience response are touched in these films”. ‘Play it by Trust’, first installed in 1966 at Indica Gallery, London, has been repeatedly made over several decades. Customised boards and chess pieces are all white, once the game commences the pieces intermingle and it becomes difficult to know who controls which piece, the idea of competition founders. Ono says, “this leads to a shared understanding of (our) mutual concerns and a new relationship based on empathy rather than opposition. Peace is then attained on a small scale”.

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‘Windows’, 2009/2013, Another participatory work which is a great thing about her work, everyone can get involved. Here writing a letter to add to a beautiful original travel suitcases.

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‘My Mommy is Beautiful‘ 2004/2013, Participatory artwork, writing a note to one’s mother. “Ono has long been interested in the complexity of gender and the feminine through her art…a participatory artwork which takes the form of a wall upon which audience members are invited to pin or tape private messages of love, hope, forgiveness and reconciliation to their mothers…elicits a spectrum of responses from love and thanks, to anger and sadness.”

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A selection of mothers in front of the art work.

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‘Imagine Map Piece’ 1966/2013, Participatory artwork, where the viewer is invited to stamp ‘peace’ in differing languages on maps of the world.

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‘Mend Peace’ 1966/2013, Participatory artwork, an invitation to select broken ceramic pieces and put them back together again in a morphemic new form.

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Displayed on shelves, the public’s mended pieces of ceramics ware, complete with string and glue.

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Helmets – Pieces of Sky‘ 2001/2013 Participatory artwork, “Ono witnessed the physical and economic devastation of Japan as a young girl living through World War 11…. she has written about her war time experiences, describing the hours that she and her brother  spent watching the sky and clouds drift past….Images of the wide blue sky with drifting clouds have become a recurring theme within Ono’s art works ever since”. In ‘Helmets’ World War military helmets hang upside down from the ceiling, filled with pieces of blue sky jigsaw puzzle. Gallery visitors are invited to take one piece of sky away with them “in the hope that, one day in the future, they will return with their pieces to build a beautiful new sky together”.

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‘touch me 111’ 2008, Participatory artwork, “Ono has often addressed the quiet undercurrent of violence done to women and their bodies through her art”. This theme is expanded in this work, with individual parts of women’s bodies, in silicone, are placed in small wooden boxes upon a platform. A bowl of water is at one end, with the instructions for the viewer to wet their fingers and gently ‘touch’ the body. “The depressions and gouges left by the gallery visitors when this work was first shown in New York caused Ono’s gallery to recommend taking it away from view. Ono declined, leaving the damaged body on display as a reminder of the violent treatment that so many women endure in their daily lives'”

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Doors and Sky Puddles’ 2011, this work was exhibited at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, with multiple upright doors that appear to float in the gallery space. The wooden doors are old and peeling, flecked with the passage of time. If you look closely at the doors surface, Ono has written tiny messages as well as writing haiku poetry directly on the gallery wall using Japanese calligraphic ink. Clouds and sky are inverted in the sky puddles that sit upon the floor. Ono wroye in 1968, “Doors are just a figment of our imagination’, suggesting that barriers exist in our mind, as much as reality, and that we need strength and courage to pass through them.”

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We’re All Water’ 2006/2013,

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‘Balance Piece’ 1998, “Much of Yoko Ono’s art is affirmative, reflecting the desire to wish for a better, more peaceful world. In some works, however, there is a equally an undercurrent of violence – for in keeping with Buddhist principles of universal balances, harmony cannot be expressed without its opposite state”. In ‘Balance Piece’ an ordinary kitchen is “literally suspended in a precarious balance, with a large magnet visible on the other side of the wall.” (all quotes are from the MCA gallery catalogue)

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And the cafe after for sustenance, view from window! Not the harbour but an ocean liner!

‘One Night Stand’ at Damien Minton Gallery, night 9, Connie Anthes, night 11 featuring Rachel Burns and Ulan Murray

Damien Minton Gallery has created a great new initiative , ‘One Night Stand’, over 14 nights, 14 consecutive shows are held within the gallery space, 583 Elizabeth Street, Redfern, Sydney, running from 9th December to the 22nd December. I have managed to make to two of them so far, night 9, Tuesday 17th, ‘Low Relief’ curated by artist Connie Anthes, and night 11, Thursday 19th December, the works of Rachel Burns and Ulan Murray. It is really great to see such a range of artworks, artists practices and creatives from all fields and spectrums all exhibiting in such a whirlwind affair. Contributers to ‘One night stand’ range from the South Sydney Multicultural Community Center, Art Teachers, performers, Paul McDermott and Paul Livingston, the cooperative and pottery studio ClayPool and muscian, Robert Moore. Such contributers, often lying outside the traditional commercial gallery scene, has created a dynamic and energizing series of eventful nights.

http://damienmintongallery.com.au

Tuesday 17 December 2013
Low Relief, curated by Connie Anthes

“Inspired by two sets of gun-metal grey plan drawers acquired by artist Connie Anthes when Sydney’s last map shop closed in 2011, Low Relief explores the possibilities of shallow space and its relation to mapping place, time and ideas of perception. Twenty artists have each responded to a drawer with its original label intact, with the work to be displayed in situ and experienced one-on-one by the audience.

20 drawers/20 artists, including: Matthew Allen, Sarah Breen Lovett, Catherine Cassidy, Criena Court, Michaela Gleave, Sarah Goffman, David Haines, Janet Haslett, Greg Hodge, Leahlani Johnson, Anna Kristensen, Abbas Makrab, Noel McKenna, Ian Millis, Eric Niebuhr, Peter Nelson, Madeleine Preston, Peter Sharp, Floria Tosca, and Paul Williams.”

Thursday 19 December 2013
Rachel Burns + Ulan Murray

Rachel Burns
“This series of paintings deals with the Australian culture of the road trip. Living in such a vast and largely vacant land we often find ourselves travelling long distances, in our cars, at speed. As we drive through the landscape some things attract our eyes and others just become a blur of colour and form.

‘My works never attempts to be a realistic interpretation of the landscape but rather a jumble of remembered and imagined forms’

Ulan Murray
The sculptures celebrate the beauty and intricacy of nature. By altering the scale and abstracting the forms the works reflect nature’s mathematical structures. They look at the fragility and complexity of life forms reflecting the care needed for our ecological systems.”

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Rachel Burns paintings are all oil on canvas, and Ulan Murray’s sculptures (that also featured along with my ceramics at this years ‘Artisans in the Gardens’) are all recycled copper and steel.

COFA Annual Exhibition 2013

I went to COFA Annual Exhibition 2013, Honours: Art & Media / Final Year: Design at the very nice and new gallery space, Galleries UNSW, Cnr Oxford Street and Greens Rd, Paddington.

It is always interesting to see new experimental work, what is new and happening. The use of new and incongruous materials and work that is outside the commercial gallery context. I especially enjoyed the final year design work, looking at different practices and approaches to the design industry.

http://www.cofa.unsw.edu.au

Honours Art & Media

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Louise Zhang, ‘Seductive Monsters: (De)forming The Blob’, 2103, birch wood, oil paint, enamel paint, resin, expanding foam, plaster, plastic, gap filler, silicone

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Mia Middleton, ‘Homecoming’, 2013, looped video projection, ‘Someplace’, 2013, series of inkjet prints on Ilford Rice paper, ‘At Sea’ 2013, video

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Julie Brockbank, ‘Fold’, 2013, parchment paper and artificial light, ‘Hush’, 2013, aerated concrete, artificial light

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Tamara Muzikants, ‘Twirly Tales’, 2013, synthetic fur, vintage fur, perspex, concrete, thread, wood, resin, bricks, metal. crystal, glass, rocks

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Alice Couttoupes, ‘Eponymic Emperialisms, photos, ink on velin cotton rag, and ceramics, ‘Coastal banksia’, 2013, porcelain

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View of room with several Installations

Final Year: Design

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Emily Yeung, ‘8 Storeys’. Fashion work and video dealing with the supply and demand pressures of the fashion industry. The work has been directly informed by the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh.

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Louise Knyvett, ‘Blanchard Re-appropriated’. The work deals with the shift in the consumer market from excessive mass production to environmental awareness and responsibility. The concept of ‘up-cycling’, an analysis of the private practice of the London furniture designer Robert Blanchard.  Applying a life cycle assessment by measuring the environmental, economic and social value of his process.

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Samuel Kirby, ‘Red still life set’, ‘Pink flat and curve’ and ‘Green cube set’, acrylic on wood

Final Year, Bachelor Visual Arts, F Block

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Installations

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Bernadette Comenzuli,  ‘Trapped’, mixed media, ‘No man is an island’, bronze, ‘After the trees’, acrylic on perspex

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Jason Farrow, sandstone sculpture

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Jennifer Holman, ‘Stones’, digital print on silk

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Groovy plant holders at the campus quadrangle

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Installation in the quadrangle, with a good bit of student politics

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And a further bit of politics on the inside of the lift doors, F Block, COFA

National Art School, Postgraduate Exhibition, 2013

I went and had a look at the National Art School, Postgraduate exhibition, Sydney, for 2013, held at the National Art School Gallery.

Some interesting work.

http://www.nas.edu.au/NASGallery

Emporio Armani National Art School Postgraduate Exhibition 2013 

Exhibition: 1- 9 November 2013, Monday-Saturday 11am-5pm  The National Art School Postgraduate Exhibition showcases the best emerging talent from students graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) and Master of Fine Art.

http://www.nas.edu.au

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Rachael McCallum, ‘Bananas’, earthenware ceramics

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Rachael Mc Callum’s work in the ceramic display case, C Block

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Joanne Makas, ‘Yellow streak’, installation

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Ann-Mare Jackson, ‘Boxed 1’, ceramic and plywood

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Kirsten Drewes, ‘Terminus- part 3 + conversation’, paper-mache, acrylic paint, fur, string

Overland: From the Cradle to the Lake

Overland: From the Cradle to the Lake

Ceramic works by Barbara Campbell-Allen

28 September – 13 October 2013

Incinerator Art Space, 2 Small Street, Willoughby, Sydney

http://www.barbara-campbell-allen.com.au

Barbara Campbell-Allen is my ceramic teacher at Workshops Art Centre, Willoughby.  Her work is beautiful, and this was a great exhibition, and installation.

Ceramic artist Barbara Campbell-Allen is exhibiting a series of ceramic installations embedded in the evocative environment of Central Tasmania. This work reflects Barbara’s journeys through the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Parks.

“The abiding characteristics of Campbell-Allen’s practice are an exploration of the expressive capacities of clay and anagama-style wood-firing, and an embodied relationship to land, with many works developed in response to specific locations. In Overland; From the Cradle to the Lake, Campbell-Allen’s concern is for the groupings to convey the different emotional sense of each landscape and her journey.”

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