Dougal Haslem ‘The Turtle and the Merman’ @ Pieces of Eight

9 02 2011

This was my first visit to the new Pieces of Eight gallery in the city … it’s beautiful. The facade is based on the porthole in the original gallery and workshop window (on St George Road in North Fitzroy) – it’s arresting and quite gorgeous.

from Russell Place

The first exhibition in the new gallery is Dougal Haslem‘s ‘The Turtle and the Merman‘.

Exhibition media: “… a menagerie of absurd and mechanical creatures. They are pure creations of the imagination- whimsical, eccentric and entirely original in concept and form. Exquisitely handcrafted, Haslem has made it his intention to deconstruct/reconstruct found mechanical objects such as small clocks to breathe life into a collection of his very own anthropomorphic and zoomorphic miniature characters.

photograph taken with gallery permission

I’ve always been envious of Dougal’s handskills and enjoyed his sense of fun … injecting genuine personality in objects. It’s funny I don’t mind these, given I’m so adverse to virtually anything figurative and pretty much most found-object art I’ve experienced. There is something of an intellectual pursuit I appreciate here I think that supersedes these initial impulses.

My favourite pieces are the two below: ‘Pants and Drongo‘ and his friend. See Dougal’s site for a detailed image too.

photograph taken with gallery permission

In a beautiful move, Melanie commissioned a stop-motion film to be shown along with Dougal’s exhibition. Given the nature and spirit of the pieces, this makes perfect sense to me! The film is “Did that just move” by Maya Toone – it is so delightful, and Melanie has given me permission to include the link below.

HD “Did That Just Move” from Maya Toone on Vimeo.

You very well may say how fantastic that is … and you’d be right, but there’s more. A second video was commissioned: a video interview with Dougal by George Katsalidis.

The Land of the Miniature from George Katsalidis on Vimeo.

Also be sure to check out Pieces of Eight blog stories: here (Maya’s video) and here (George’s video).

The films are a great complement to the exhibition, and I hope such imaginative companion media continue with future exhibitions … and hopefully extend to other exhibition spaces too.

The Turtle and the Merman‘ is at Pieces of Eight until 12th March 2011.

An important note: the artist floor talk was to be this evening, however due to the early arrival of Dougal’s baby (congratulations!) it has been rescheduled for next Wednesday 16th February 2011.

ps. during my conversation with the infectiously (in the nicest possible way!) delightful Melanie, I noticed the upside down potplant in the offices on the mezzanine level of the gallery … witty and lighthearted!

Pieces of Eight offices



One response

9 02 2011

Amazing work, Congratulations Dougal. I am looking forward to seeing it in person.

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