It’s not easy finding a decent job in the arts. At the moment however, there’s a bit of movement, fuelled in part by the exodus of some excellent people to Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane (Jason Smith, Kyla McFarlane, Geraldine Barlow, Aaron Seeto et al).
Here’s a round up of some spicy jobs currently on offer:
Leg of Lamb’s written a short list, in chronological order, of five very disparate art highlights of the year. There were other highlights too of course; Tony Clark and Polly Borland at Murray White, Layla Rudneva-McKay at Starkwhite and et al. at Kaliman Rawlins all get honourable mentions…
Henry Jock Walker’s Somethingland at TCB, Melbourne, 30 May – 16 June Walker’s a painter. He’s a surfer too. And sometimes he surfs on his paintings. One of the artist’s paint/surfboard hybrids was included in his show at TCB. Scrubbed with surf wax, the monochromatic canvas cleverly poked fun at the lofty ideals of modernist painting. The front space contained remnants of a painting performance as well. Walker’s bodysuit-clad alter ego transformed the gallery thanks to a souped up, faux abstract expressionist painterly frenzy, recorded and replayed in situ.
Berlinde De Bruyckere’s We are all flesh at ACCA, Melbourne, 2 June – 29 July De Bruyckere’s giant headless horse forms and contrastingly delicate wax sculptures of antlers and other ephemera reflected on life’s transience with great subtlety. The pared back show contained only a handful of works – each a haunting testament to the slippage between life, death and transcendence.
Looking East: ARTJOG12 at Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, 14 – 28 July For an immersive introduction into the vibrant contemporary art scene in Yogyakarta, look no further than ARTJOG, a key event in the city’s cultural calendar. ARTJOG doesn’t include individual stands. Rather, it’s a ‘curated’ event in which works are selected for exhibition following an open call for submissions. A highlight each year are the commissioned projects, that often transform the exterior of the venue, Taman Budaya. The works above are by two of this year’s commissioned artists, Joko Dwi Avianto and I Made Widya Diputra.
John Spiteri’s Still Life Social Climber at Neon Parc, Melbourne, 22 August – 22 September Leg of Lamb is a long time fan of Sydney painter John Spiteri, so much so that one of the works in this show came home with me. The canvases in Still Life Social Climber were scraped and scratched, covered in little cross hatches and muddy ambiguities. These abstractions were enlivened by hints of figuration and narrative, suggested in nebulous half forms and titles like ‘Busy People’ and ‘Sultan’. Mysterious and dreamy, Spiteri’s paintings are slow burns.
Theatre of the Worldcurated by Jean-Hubert Martin at MONA, Hobart, 23 June – April 13, 2013 Martin, former director of the Pompidou, has selected over 400 objects from the collections of MONA and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in an exhibition that collapses conventional museological divisions between ancient and contemporary. Seemingly disparate objects (like a Picasso painting and an African tribal shield) are juxtaposed in a manner in which art historical context is subsumed in favour of curation that promotes the very act of ‘seeing’. Invigorating.
The work of Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere invokes a strange pathos. Her current show at ACCA features two sculptures (commissioned specifically for the exhibition) comprised of a pair of horse carcasses suspended from poles, one from the wall, the other freestanding. Impressive in scale, the stretched and contorted creatures are made from stitched up hides re-stretched over wax casts. And they’re headless – a modification that makes them distinctly unsettling. The reconfigured creatures are both monumental and melancholic; a moving foil to the heroic beasts found in history paintings and classical sculpture.
This sense of insidious sadness is further teased out in works of great delicacy – in a cabinet of curiosities filled with branches cast from wax, and in stringed up sets of wax antlers that transition from pure white into veins of bloody red. We are all flesh is a show of great subtlety, even tenderness, in which de Bruyckere’s biomorphic forms gently capture a haunting, decidedly human vulnerability.
Leg of Lamb reckons this year’s NEW is patchy at best. ACCA collaborated with exhibition designers Nexus Designs, who divided the gallery into seven different sites. Each artist was assigned a separate space and asked to ‘respond’ to it. No doubt an interesting brief for Nexus employees, the concept is gimmicky and unnecessary.
The highlight of the exhibition is Kiwi Alicia Frankovich‘s installation, Medea, that consists of a bounty of garden plants, abundantly fruity and…suspended upside-down from the ceiling with climbers’ harnesses. Formerly a gymnast, performance is a significant part of Frankovich’s practice. Here, she takes a step back. Frankovich sees the suspended plants as extensions of the human body. The vegetation grows, fruits and drops, and these inevitabletransformations are crucial to the installation. Medea‘smetamorphoses warrant return visits.
NEW010 runs at ACCA, 111 Sturt Street, Melbourne, until May 23.