Thursday, March 25, 2010

Galivanting at Galleries - Todd Hunter and sex

Image: Todd Hunter, "Home Made" 2010 Oil on Canvas 183 x 160cm

Todd Hunter knows about paint.. and apparently, is very in touch with his emotions and the poetry of bodily intimacy. His new body of work "Love Buzz" at GrantPirrie Gallery in Sydney's Redfern, left me gasping for more. Luscious swathes of paint in energetic yet sensually dripping colours of Cad Red (how does he use this colour???) sienna, lemon yellow, white and an occasional patch of sap green evoke masterfully the works of de Kooning. They don't just copy, but to my mind, rival this master's work, albeit some 50 years later.

But it's a phenomenal achievement to be able to paint like this, and all credit to Todd whose studio floor is testament to the thousands of decisions and indecisions which accumulate to make such a work; an accretion of scrapings, trowelling, dripping and change of mind. I tried and tried to work out a favourite, but the consistency in quality prevented this happening decisively, though the touches of sap green at the edges of "Home Made" probably just swayed the argument in my head. You can fall in love with each painting, let alone the artist.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gab's Open Gallery Part 6: A brave new world

Images: "Give and Take"Acrylic and Gesso on Board ; and "I Sense Your Presence", Acrylic and Collage on Board - both 30 x 30cm; and "Talismans" Acrylic on Paper

Inga Dalrymple, aka
Undercover Painter has been born again - as a real, exhibiting artist. Braving coming out from under that cover and testing the waters with her first exhibition at Harris Courtin Gallery she has been delighted to find that the gallery loved her works so much that they made her a feature artist for this month, despite being committed to group shows for the forseeable future. The public, and this artist in particular, was also delighted and the paintings have all but sold out.
There is a beautiful sense of touch and depth of colour knowledge in these Acrylic and collage works, mostly on board. The mark making is varied and "felt", the paint expertly applied with each stroke -at this small scale- a considered marvel. I'm enamoured with edges, as my students know, and the way one colour butts up against another, seemingly fresh whilst not a hair out of place, was enough to make me cry "foul play" come a first timer could paint so well??
A lovely, jewel-like painterly show set amongst the plethora of pseudo pop art, image-driven works of most other first timers.But then again, read this lady's blog and you'll see she knows what she's talking about.
On till the end of the month.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gab's Open Gallery, Part 5:Meandering Lines

Images: Ildiko Kovacs, "Shine" and "Acacia" both Oil on Board, and "Pink Haze" Oil on card.

I admit I have not always liked
Ildiko Kovacs work -it seemed too simple. That was until I actually studied art and realised how difficult "simple" was.

This new show at Martin Browne Fine Art is a glory of colour and intoxicating, meandering line, part design and all painterly. There are layers on layers of paint, not obvious to the casual observer - licks of primary and tertiary colour squeeze from under wads of oil applied, in some instances, by the common tray-attached, wall type roller. This gives these works a fuzzy edged, subtly paint spattered effect, offset beautifully by carefully and lustrously hand- painted strips as, for example, in "Pink Haze".
"Shine", "Acacia" and "Dalaa" had me spending so much time in front of them that I wandered back to my car in a slight daze, quickly jolted back to reality by the parking ticket under the windscreen wipers. I meant to be only 10 minutes, and Potts Point on a Saturday afternoon is impossible to park legally, even if you have a "parking fairy", as I have. So go any time other than Saturday, and reap the benefits.
On till March 28th

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gallery Galloping, Part 4: Bird on a wire

Images: White Kangaroos; Daddy Dingo and Pups; Marsupial Mouse; all acrylic on Canvas and dated 2009

I was totally captivated by the Art Almanac ad for Trevor Turbo Brown at
Rex Livingston's gallery on Flinders Street, featuring "Untitled": the painting of a spectacle wearing toucan-ish, kookaburra striped bird with what looked like Red Indian war feathers gripped in its crossed claws. Well, you'd expect a bird like that to be totally fence sitting, wouldn't you? And so it was, but I wasn't, so I made my way across Taylor Square to be greeted at the door by David's VERY large, barking Weimaraner.

Despite the welcome, I was delighted to see these paintings of strange, possibly Australian but always mischievous animals, so much so that I forgot I was looking at paintings of animals (not my favourite genre) and walked from one to the other with a smile stretched broadly across my face. I loved White Kangaroos; Sea Eagle ; Daddy Dingo and Pups; and Marsupial Mouse (all dated 2009). All of Brown's paintings are as playful in their execution as they are in subject matter, even if the naive style takes some getting used to. The pure gusto with which the paint is applied, the directness of line and garish use of colour channel an uninhibited childhood, where you said precisely what you thought, in the way you wanted to, and then moved on to the next mud pie.

On till 28th March.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Galloping through the galleries (Part3)

Wayde Owen, "Coming and Going" Harrison Galleries.

Image: Wayde Owen, "Memory & Growth", Oil on canvas 100 x 80cm

This young artist won the 2005 Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship, was a finalist in the Churchie Emerging Artist Award in 2006 and 2008, in the Metro Art Award in 2007, and has spent time as a guest of AGNSW at the Cite des Arts International in Paris. Aside from that, he's been very energetic, exhibiting in numerous high quality group exhibitions (Ray Hughes Gallery, Gold Coast City Art Gallery) and fathering a child, the subject of one of my favourite paintings in his new show ("Son of God").

The work is a change for Owen, painting now in oil colour instead of black and white acrylic or presenting an illustrative line -and the wonderful surprise is, he's turned out to be a beautiful colourist. His execution is painterly, the images strong and memorable (AND strange: I want to buy "Over the Under, (John Marsden)") and his prices more than reasonable for an artist who assuredly is dedicated and has a strong vision and equally strong future. He appears to have combined the personal story telling of his friend Alan Jones with the wackiness and line of Adam Cullen, in a personal , exciting style which explores the possibility of paint. His drawings are equally compelling - the mute effort at communication of his signature quails in "Memory drawing #1" is poignant and gets under your skin.

Go see the show, and, better, buy a painting.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gallery Galloping-Part 2

"Atelier: The National Art School Studio in Paris" Charles Hewitt Gallery (till March 8th)

Images: Deborah Marks, Unspoken Moment, Oil on Canvas, Shona Trescott" Paris grey Scale" Oil and sealer on Metro Bus tickets

This is a collection of work either made during a residency at the NAS Studio In the Cite Des arts International in Paris, or subsequent work by artists who have been granted a residency there. Most of those granted the residency are teaching at the institution, or were the top graduating student. It's a great combination of studio skills (esp Debra Marks "Unspoken Moment" and "Reflective Moment") and original thinking (Genevieve Carroll "Boredom of the vertical") which develops from NAS, along with work which struggles to deal with the sheer volume of visual stimuli assaulting the first time traveller to this wonderful city (Shona Trescott, "Grey Scale - Paris"). There are the notebooks of occupants, rather like a travel diary, as well as drawings in an artist's book, which are the visual evidence of the artist's way of thinking (Pollyxenia Joannou). A well curated and interesting group exhibition and small insight into the variety of devices which stimulate the artist's mind in the city of light.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gallery Galloping

Image: Fiona White: "When I See you" Acrylic and compressed charcoal on Board, 89x74cm

Been catching up on some great exhibitions in Sydney. In the next few posts, I'll be presenting my picks of what's been, or is still happening.
Fiona White at Harrison Galleries (12th Feb -2nd March) (Title Link)
Fona White was selected for the Blake Prize for Religious art, and, to my mind, had one of the best works in the show. This lady can paint and her images cannot be ignored.

White layers thick acrylic in a flat, almost naive style which looks for all the world like enamel paint. Her colours are off-kilter, but all the more powerful for that, expressing the strange world of memory (1950's?) where her characters, mostly black (Aboriginal? Negro?) leap from the picture plane and into your soul. I fell in love with one young boy, who, I am sure, was knocking at doors on a sunny afternoon trying to engage the occupants in talk about "The Watchtower" -a painting all" innocence co-opted", revealing the awkwardness, yearning, and altruism of adolescence, and the sadness of probable rejection. Another figure floats upside-down, tossed by circumstance and history. These works are like that: you find yourself making up stories about the characters. But don't expect to happily hang these paintings over your sofa - they are too powerful for that.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sydney laid bare

Sydneysiders pose nude on the steps of the Opera House

More than 5,000 Sydneysiders strip for Spencer Tunick. (AAP: Dean Lewins)

This is the result of Sydney-siders with too much time and not enough clothes, but with abundant artistic sensibilities, helping out Spencer Tunnick for his artwork called "The Base," which is part of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival currently taking place.

Apparently most of the volunteers were in their mid 20's to early 30's -Otherwise, I'd a been there!


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