I’ve had a wonderful month of viewing art, sometimes solo and in taking groups of local and American visitors on inART tours. I’ve seen much that has been immensely pleasurable and satisfying, and some that has been extremely challenging and inaccessible. And that’s the point – it’s not a universal panacea but should provoke us to think and see outside our sometimes narrow frame of reference and inspire debate. This is a little of what I’ve seen …..
Matthew Barney at MONA, Hobart:
American performance artist and sculptor, Matthew Barney, is a darling of the art world cognoscenti, so saying you don’t like his work is tantamount to treason in some circles. I don’t like his work! His recent exhibition at MONA, River of Fundament, was vast in scale and content, and comprised a six hour film, over 100 pieces for the exhibition plus 50 pieces drawn from MONA’s ‘benign dictator’, David Walsh, collection of Egyptian antiquities.
The film and exhibition are based on Norman Mailer’s book, Ancient Evenings. I wasn’t able to see the film in the time I was there but viewed the exhibition – displayed in rooms painted in flat institutional grey with depressing fluorescent lighting creating a somber viewing experience. I have read that if you didn’t see the film, then you were likely to be disappointed by the exhibition, but I’m not convinced. Sitting through a six-hour confronting film, said by many to be unwatchable, based on Mailer’s book, that is said to be unreadable, sounds like purgatory to me.
But MONA, you are always provocative and a great conversation starter!
Luminous at the Museum of Contemporary Art:
Luminous definitely has the WOW factor! It’s a bright and brilliant exhibition of light works by Australian artists from the MCA Collection that “…. includes shooting star spirits, geometric patterns of light and dark dancing on walls, ambient installations and infinity windows carved into architectural space.” (MCA) The exhibition features works that explore both the subtle and dramatic effects of light and includes work by artists Peter Kennedy, John Mawurndjul, William Seeto, Sandra Selig and a major new commission by Jonathan Jones. Luminous is on until 8 June – don’t miss it.
Sculptor Laurence Edwards at at Martyn Cook, Sydney and Mossgreen in Melbourne
Business partner, Angeline Collings, and I had the pleasure of meeting engaging English sculptor, Laurence Edwards while he was briefly in Sydney after a successful exhibition launch of his works at Melbourne’s Mossgreen Gallery. His Sydney exhibition opened on 15 April at Martyn Cook, 98 Barcom Avenue, Rushcutters Bay. Edwards lives and works near the charming village of Woodbridge, Suffolk, in a complex of studios and workshops he shares with a group of around 18 other artists, assistants and students. His strongly masculine sculptures are cast in bronze, often retaining bits of straw and wood from the original clay model, creating rough, earthy textured surfaces, almost as if his figures have emerged directly out of the landscape. This is only the second time that Edwards has shown in Australia and is an excellent show from a masterful sculptor.
Other highly recommended exhibitions are American artist, Winston Roeth, at Jensen; Paddington; David Noonan at RoslynOxley9, Paddington; Wall Power: Significant Contemporary Australian Photography & Photomedia at Michael Reid, Rushcutters Bay and the bold and graphic works by Ronnie Tjampitjinpa at Utopia, Waterloo.