Actions for Tomorrow from Yangjiang Group at 4A

“You always have great exhibitions, but this is the best in a good while”, I told Aaron Seeto, the curator at Sydney’s 4A Gallery. Their current exhibition, “Actions for Tomorrow” is the first solo exhibition in Australia of Yangjiang Group and it’s fantastic.

At the heart of the exhibition is the work of three artists, each with their own speciality who work collaboratively. My own personal favourite is the artist who works with wax, dripping wax over clothing. As you enter the gallery’s ground floor, it’s almost as if you’re entering a clothing store. The surprise is the clothing is covered in candle wax. Here are some photographs from today’s exhibition launch.

Resistant Obsolescence at Lismore Art Gallery

I paid a visit today to the Lismore Regional Art Gallery today, where the current exhibition’s called “Resistant Obsolescence”. The exhibition features a series of works created with “found” obsolete technology. Turntables, cassette tapes, floppy discs and other objects have been created into new artworks: some resemble the technology they’ve been created with; others have been used to create something new and unique, including the creation of some soundscapes. All of the works appear to have been created by local artists, and so when I wandered into the gallery today, I was pleasantly surprised to see the exhibition. The exhibition is on until the end of January, and I think is worth a look, as it takes some everyday objects and creates something new that is both “out there” and familiar.

Boomali Aboriginal Art Gallery

Boomali Aboriginal Art Gallery
Boomali Aboriginal Art Gallery

Sue and I enjoyed a fabulous afternoon at Boomali Aboriginal Art Gallery.

The current exhibition is on there until February.

Both Sue and I really liked a couple of works, which might turn out to be our Christmas presents to ourselves. As with all art purchases, there’s a degree of “think it over” involved.

That said, it’s a really great exhibition with lots of really great works from NSW artists which are worth checking out.

Pop Art at AGNSW

A lot of people went to a lot of effort to dress up for the Pop Art Party at the Art Gallery of NSW last night. We didn’t. We were happy just to go along in the same clothes we wear to pretty much every event the AGNSW. In keeping with the theme of the party, there were lots of Andy Wahols, lots of Warhol inspired costumes, and lots of characters from Roy Lichtenstein paintings. For all the effort involved, my personal favourite was the skinny bloke who came dressed in an oversized Spiderman costume. “That’s the worst Spiderman I’ve ever seen”, a woman standing at our table said. “That’s the point”, I told her.

Friday Night Fever

“Where are you going? You have to stay. You’re in the show”, the photographer William Yang said to my friend Kate, as we had gotten up from our seats, and were headed to the bar to grab a glass of wine, ahead of William’s talk at the Museum of Contempoary Art (MCA) in Sydney last night.

We thought we had a few minutes to grab a glass of wine, and to absorb the previous talk by Djon Mundine, before William was due to speak. Djon had run a little bit over-time, and so the break between the two had to be shortened. Djon, an Indigenous artist, had spoken about the portrayal of Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people in Australian film. In particular he came from the perspective of the portral of white man. While a lot of film and popular culture tends to portray black men as mystical, magical and sexual, he was interested to see how white men are portrayed in films which have significant Indigenous themes and casting. Along the way he showed excerpts from films like “Kadaicha”, “Bedevil”, “Jimmie Blacksmith” and another film whose name escapes me right now. His conclusion: the portrayal is often as police, property developers and paedophiles, though he noted his lack of film critic or academic credentials.

William’s talk on the other hand was about some of his recent overseas travels to China, Korea, Italy and Germany. Kate featured in the number of photographs in China. It was like a “slide night with depth” as William talked us through photographs of art, landscape, social occasions, food and attractive men he met along the way. On the subject matter of the latter two, I thought he could do an exhibition called “Edible”, though I never got around to suggesting it to William himself. Though there were ample opportunities to, as later in the evening a whole bunch of us ended up on the rooftop dance floor.

I was there with a couple of other friends. Another friend was there with mutual friends. There’s nothing like a dance floor to see a blending of the groups, and to discover further mutual contacts. In a text to one of my friends who was downstairs, I urged her to come to the rooftop to hear possibly the world’s greatest DJ, Leo Tanoi. I didn’t know at the time, they were actually friends. Although the moniker of “world’s greatest DJ” was possibly a little over the top, he played the kind of music that went down well with a bunch of 40 and 50 somethings who like art and who like to groove along (Madonna, Whitney, Michael Jackson etc). It’s been ages since I’ve been out for a “proper dance”, and since the music was so good, we barely left the dance floor. In between, there was a terrific performance by a singer, Nadeena Dixon, whose repertoire tended to reggae and dance, with a lot of songs with Indigenous-themed lyrics. William Yang, as always snapped a few photographs of the dance floor festivities.

At the end of a long, long week, it was so great to hang out with friends, see some great art, and then have a dance for a couple of hours at the rooftop of the MCA, with the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as backdrops, on a really pleasant summerish evening. “It doesn’t get much better than this”, a few friends were inclined to say last night.

Mental As

If I could afford it (which I can’t), I’d love to buy the work by Ben Quilty, currently on display at the ABC Ultimo HQ. It’s a beautiful work about a soldier living with post traumatic stress disorder. Ben has done a lot of work documenting the lives of Australian soldiers who have fought in recent conflicts, and I think this is a particularly beautiful one. The large slabs of paint. The great colours. The subject matter.

If you have the money, and you like the works, it would be good if you could support #mentalas, an auction in support of mental health research. Details are here, http://www.smhr.org.au/mental-as-auction.aspx. Hope you like the images which I snapped on the way home from work tonight.

Australian Life

“At my funeral, can you take a photograph instead of having a guestbook?”, I asked my friend Sue on the weekend. “It’s always so hard thinking of what to say”, I added, noting it would be far more interesting and far easier just to take a photograph of everyone. The photograph of those attending the funeral of Martin Sharp was one of my favourites in this year’s “Art and About” “Australian Life” photographic competition.

Yes, “Australian Life” not “Sydney Life” as it has always been. The other addition this year was a separate photographic exhibition for children. “The composition of some of these photographs is really amazing”, Sue noted as we wandered around looking at the photographic work of children. “Most of my photographs from that time feature too much sky and lots of chopped off heads”, I noted.

Even with the changes this year, the photographic competition remains one of my favourite part of the annual “Art and About” project in Sydney. Although I thought there were a few photographic cliches this year, I still really loved the competition, and have shared with you, in situ, my favourites from this year’s competition.