Marcos Davidson ‘The House of Hallmarcos’ @ Until Never

4 11 2009

Following a tip from a comment left on a recent popular story, and the positive experience of an artistically inclined friend, I decided to see Marcos Davidson’s new exhibition The House of Hallmarcos‘ at Until Never. Thankfully the gallery is open until 6pm on a Saturday, so I could fit a visit into an otherwise very busy fortnight.

Walking into the gallery room above Hosier Lane was breathtaking. The natural light coming in through the huge warehouse window is lovely. The installation is to behold – I appreciate when an artist considers the presentation and physical context of the work as much as the individual pieces themselves.


photograph courtesy of gallery; photograph credits: Zac Caley and Amac

Exhibition media states:
Featuring three major bodies of works: Sonic Selectors 2001-2009, Head Takers 2009 & Lapidem 2006.
The exhibition will also include an installation of paintings acknowledging and illuminating the street origins of the Marcos Davidson family tree of Hallmarks – The House of Hallmarcos.
Objet trouve from Marcos’ workshop will be transplanted to the gallery, like a ice-core sample from Antarctica, providing a glimpse into the world of the artists muses and appreciations.

The left side of the gallery is an installation of the a ‘wunderkammer’ feel, surrounded by small paintings of hallmarks that Marcos uses which had their evolution in icons he used in his street-art origins (above). The right wall has a simple yet stunningly presented line of carved bakelite and fine silver rings (below) – a set of ‘Head Takers’ mask shapes, and ‘Sonic Selectors’ miniature musical references.


photograph courtesy of gallery; photograph credits: Zac Caley and Amac

Also shown is the ‘Lapidem 2006‘ which you would probably recognise from the 2006 Colin and Cecily Rigg Award; carved mask; carved emu egg set in a cup form in the spirit of early Australian silversmithing; and some assemblages. There are great images on the Until Never site and blog.

Among the items from Marcos’s collection brought to the gallery is a large collection of unused army-issue sewing kits, housed in the glass gallery desk – they’re poignant in the sense of what could have happened to them, and I’m curious how it is that they still exist as a group and the artist found them.

The sub-title of the exhibition is ‘Celebrating 30 years of continual practice, from 1979 to 2009‘; and the artist described as ‘Gold and Silversmith, Gem-Hunter, Metallurgist & Plastiquairian‘.


photograph courtesy of gallery; photograph credits: Zac Caley and Amac

The mask shapes in the ‘Head Takers’ rings reminded me of the pieces said to influence Picasso’s ‘African period’ which lead into his cubist experiments. It’s a bit eerie really that this reference is linked to the material by time – bakelite is said to have been developed during 1907-09, and this period in Picasso’s development is defined as 1907-09. A small little coincidence that is pleasing to me!

I have only lived in Melbourne for six years; but the inclusion of glyphs that Marcos used in street art in the 80s may bring other connections and memories for those who saw these in their original context.

Marcos Davidson ‘The House of Hallmarcos‘ is at Until Never until 15th November 2009.

Update (4th November): I foolishly forgot to include a link to Marcos’s own website – sorry about that! It’s here, and it has some gorgeous pieces… especially the averian lozenge ring



4 responses

4 11 2009

A fabulous post! I so wanted to review this show – especially after raving about it to many pals, but just couldn’t get it together.

loving the bakelite coincidence…

4 11 2009
Marcos Davidson

Thank you for a fine review, and congratulations on a wonderful site/Blog, I am there ! Regardos~ Marcos.

4 11 2009
Andy Mac

Hi Karen
Great stuff.
A note on the soldiers sewing kits you mention – they are from 1942, and salvaged from a room on Bourke St above the Paperback book shop, that is now part of the bar Von Haus. The room had been used by the venerable Melbourne institution “The Job Warehouse” as storage for many years, and contained all manner of army surplus gear when Marcos was given access to the room.

28 11 2013
John Hounslow

The work of a GRAND MASTER.
Have a knife day.J.

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