‘5×7: early career Australian makers’ @ Gallery Funaki

14 05 2016

Oh dear readers, it has been a marvellously convoluted life that I’ve been living over the last month or more … so much so that it was only possible to visit ‘5×7: early career Australian makers‘ at Gallery Funaki on its last day.

For that I most sincerely beg forgiveness … though I anticipate that many of you have visited yourself, and if not I hope you’ve been watching the online pictures.

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Lindy

Makers invited to exhibit are:

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Marcos (left) and Zoe (right)

I’ve been a long-time sincere admirer of Inari’s work – you may never, or perhaps only rarely, see work with such genuine spirit; or an artist with such a bright internal fire and need to create. The earrings and brooch in this collection were standouts for me; their darkness and surface finish is incredibly ethereal, though somehow broodingly standoffish at the same time. The little aluminium pin was a delight too. And while I admit to being troubled by not being able to hear what the larger scale sculptures were saying, I cannot help but be impressed by their scale and confidence.

I’ve also been a long-time supporter of, and interlocutor with, Zoe – her work is full of words and I freakin’ love words. I’m brutally self-critical and open about my struggle with humour and irreverence in jewellery, as I am far too much of a rigid traditionalist regarding the preciousness of adornment … though I like to think that I’m lightening up a little through exposure to work like Zoe’s (the earrings she’s making for the current Bilk exhibition are fantastic fun – see!). I have such respect for her work, her ethic, her enthusiasm in encouraging other makers, and truly wish I had her approach to making. I actually had a bit of a senior moment, when I initially misread the ‘GO ON’ pendant as ‘GOON’ … ah, showing my Queensland university days there.

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Inari (left) and Annie (right)

In all her previous graduate exhibitions (that I’ve been able to visit) I’ve called out Lindy’s work as exceptional – I do really respond to her vessels’ shapes, and the black is the blackest black I’ve seen in a very long time (it must take her so much preparation and intense care to create). If I hadn’t blown my budget on my recent Norwegian adventures, I may have brought one home with me – though the ones I responded to most had already been bought (which is so super for them and Lindy, not so much for me).

Annie’s work felt a little different to the other makers, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why … perhaps it was due to the colours, with these pieces being pale blue and pinks, and the other work in the show being quite monochromatic and/or low/subdued colouring. Sadly I have quite an aversion to pastels – completely not the fault of the maker of course, all my own fault!

The collection of pendants by Marcos was a revelation. It shouldn’t have been of course, as I’ve seen his work in many graduate and other shows … but it seems this particular group really called out to my attentions. I was speaking with another maker recently, and they made a great observation that I agree with (but cannot claim as my own) : he makes perspex look like it’s not perspex. It can really be a tricky material, though in his hands it’s transformed and given a delicious matt finish. How he put the colours into the holes in the material is beyond me! I spent ages, along with today’s most excellent gallery attendant, trying to figure how how he did it … part of me really really seriously wants to know, but I rather enjoy the mystery of not knowing too.

Warmest congratulations to the makers for being invited … by the best contemporary jewellery gallery in the universe no less(!) … to exhibit in this group show. I look forward to seeing how their work develops over the coming years.

5×7: early career Australian makers‘ was at Gallery Funaki until 14th May 2016.

ps. a note on photography: there was a sign asking for no photographs; this is the first time I’ve seen this at Funaki though it is of course understandable; the above photographs were taken with explicit gallery permission





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‘Go, said the bird’ @ fortyfive downstairs

13 09 2015

Exhibition-visiting Saturday continued with a visit to fortyfive downstairs for two exhibitions. The first is ‘Go, said the bird‘.

Participating artists: Marcos Guzman, Courtney Jackson [instagram], Inari Kiuru [site], Shaun Tan [website].

photograph taken with artist permission

photograph taken with artist permission

Exhibition media:
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”
T. S. Eliot, 1935
An extract from Burnt Norton (Quartet One), Four Quartets

Go, said the bird borrows its title from a poem by T.S. Eliot. The exhibition presents the work of four artists who examine the ambiguous nature of time through images, objects and jewellery.

photograph with artist permission

photograph with artist permission

As expected, I was completely enamored with Inari’s work … in fact, this was a grouping of objects, jewellery, and photographs from the last eight years. Her large objects are stunning; her fine-line work is precise and almost afraid; the moth pieces are my favourites … but new favourites are the black brooches ‘Clay and rock turning into steel‘ (2015).

photograph with artist permission

photograph with artist permission

Shaun’s large-scale paintings and Marcos’s playful jewellery provide colourful counterpoints to Inari and Courtney’s pieces; Inari’s are dark and broody; Courtney’s intricate, delicate, and fragile.

[There were quite a few visitors at the time I was there, so it wasn’t easy to get photographs of all the work; I’m not keen on publishing images with people in them … in case they should be somewhere else. Worse still though, my little camera phone was being temperamental with light, so many turned out overexposed and blurred. A random-though-related thought: I wonder if perhaps Courtney’s work could have benefited from a coloured background, even if only slightly tinted, to help it stand out (I’m no expert curator mind! just an idea)?]

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Check out the exhibition facebook page for more photographs.

Sorry, I was only able to visit this on its last day … ‘Go, said the bird‘ was part of Radiant Pavilion and was at fortyfive downstairs until 12th September 2015.





‘Figurative Impressions’ @ RMIT School of Art Gallery

5 09 2015

This is wonderful! I am SO excited to see that some pieces from the fabled RMIT W.E.McMillan Collection are on show. Bravo.

Figurative Impressions‘ is an exhibition at RMIT School of Art Gallery, of selected pieces from the A.D Hope acquisitive figurative award (in memory of his daughter Emily Hope); one of the awards that makes up the multi-award collection.

[Update 15Sep15 : I have been contacted by RMIT and asked to remove my images, as they do not want images of the exhibition on the internet.
I am extremely disappointed by this. I was careful to ask permission to take photographs, and was told I could and given no restrictions on use of those images. I made sure I took general and not detailed photographs, and reasonably low-resolution so they would be barely useful for others to reuse.
Given the above, and my understanding of applicable law, I am within my rights to use these images … but have removed them as requested.
It’s shame – a post without pictures is pretty boring.

There was an image here of work by David Neale, Jessica Morrison and Stephen Robb]

I remember seeing quite a number of these in creation while I was studying (2004-06) and of course since then at various exhibitions. The real treat were the pieces from earlier years. THIS is why so much more needs to be done with this collection (I’ve written about it a number of times before)!

[Update 15Sep15 : There was an image here of work by Elfrun Lach and Claire O’Halloran]

I remember Claire O’Halloran making the pieces (bottom in the above image) – so beautiful, and it is such a joy to see them again … they are even more beautiful than I recall them being.

Works from the collection on show:

  • 1983 : Viliama Grakalic
  • 1985 : J. Carter
  • 1987 : Miyuki Nakahara
  • 1988 : Stacey McCall
  • 1989 : Sandra Marasco
  • 1990 : Sarah L Ross
  • 1995 : Rei Shimada
  • 1997 : Timothy Quantrell
  • 1999 : Anna Davern
  • 2001 : Katherine Bowman
  • 2002 : Katherine Tiffany Fuller
  • 2003 : David Neale
  • 2004 : Jessica Morrison
  • 2005 : Elfrun Lach
  • 2006 : Claire O’Halloran
  • 2007 : Penelope Pollard , David Scully
  • 2009 : Catherine Da Costa , Fiona Simmons
  • 2011 : Claire McArdle
  • 2012 : Stephen Robb
  • 2013 : Inari Kiuru (very probably my favourite piece(s) of the last decade)
  • 2014 : Christopher Massey

[Update 15Sep15 : There was an image here of work including a piece of Anna Davern’s]

Sorry, I was only able to visit this on its last day … ‘Figurative Impressions‘ was part of Radiant Pavilion and was at the RMIT School of Art Gallery until 4th September 2015.