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Reviews of artworks or curated exhibitions

Sculpture at Scenic World: 15 April -10 May 2015

Sculpture at Scenic World
15 April – 10 May 2015

The Sculpture at Scenic World installation team are currently preparing the 2015 exhibition of outdoor sculptural artworks which are scattered along the walkway of Katoomba’s own moss carpeted ‘Jurassic Rainforest’. No less than 31 unique works are included in this upcoming event with each artist’s creative response tailored to the site where their work is installed. Visitors will take from this event what they will however in my preview, interconnections of a visual, metaphoric or literal nature were most pervasive and this is an exhibition I will add to my calendar year after year henceforth.
The first indication of interconnectedness is experienced straight off the cable car in Irene Anton’s installation ‘Intervention Invading Network – net no. 45’ 2015. Anton’s work ‘reflects on themes of globalization’ and indeed stockings and Styrofoam are items which can be acquired anywhere. Anton’s installation of these items is truly amazing and a great start to the walkway sculpture experience.

Linking artworks and their makers to altogether different works of art experienced elsewhere for me, provokes further enjoyment and Waiheke Islands Headland Sculpture on the Gulf has provided fertile ground for such observations. It is these kinds of visual relations that allow the viewer to feel united to the work, the artist and ultimately the event with this recognition performing as an act of engagement. Artists I feel share a dialogue are Scenic World’s Greer Taylor with Headland’s Gaye Jurasich, Scenic World’s Deborah Redwood with Headland’s Jeff Thompson alongside Audrey Boyle and Scenic Worlds Elyssa Sykes – Smith with Headland’s Gregor Kregar to name a few.

Greer Taylor, 'Reciprocity' (2015), photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Greer Taylor, ‘Reciprocity’ (2015), photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Follow this link to Gaye Jurisich, Installations; http://www.gayejurisich.com/installation.html

Deborah Redwood, 'Sacred Vines' (2015), photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Deborah Redwood, ‘Sacred Vines’ (2015), photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Audrey Boyle (top left and bottom right), 'The Knot not and the not now' (2015), photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Audrey Boyle (top left and bottom right), ‘The Knot not and the not now’ (2015), photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Jeff Thompson, 'Reef Knot', photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Jeff Thompson, ‘Reef Knot’, photo credit: Katherine Kennedy

Elyssa Sykes Smith, 'A Canopy of Thoughts (2015), photo credits: Katherine Kennedy

Elyssa Sykes Smith, ‘A Canopy of Thoughts (2015), photo credits: Katherine Kennedy

Follow this link to, Gregor Kregar’s Pavilion Structure, http://gregorkregar.com/portfolio/pavilion-structure/
Exhibition coordinator for Sculpture at Scenic World, Jon Pritchard, has observed some lovely trends or connections over the years and he explains; ‘I have definitely noticed some visual and conceptual linkages between previous year’s exhibitions regarding specific sites along the walkway. Sometimes this can be seen as environmental concerns, the history of the site or the general architecture of the place whether it be natural or built. There are parallels to be seen in the responses of exhibiting artists which grows stronger each year’.

Left: Jon Pritchard, Middle: Marina Grasso and right: Justin Morrissey

Left: Jon Pritchard, Middle: Marina Grasso and right: Justin Morrissey

One of the missions of Scenic World is ‘to create the unforgettable’ and that’s exactly what Public Program’s officer, Marina Grasso has established with an informal series of artists talks (included with ticket purchase) located at the site of each artwork at Scenic World’s rainforest Walkway. Marina explains ‘it’s really one of those experiences that you come away with as a launch-pad for something else creatively or personally. It’s the active engagement element that makes the experience all that more special’. Public Guided Tours (included with ticket purchase) by Scenic World’s exhibition staff and Sculpture for Small People 2015 Workshops are also available and actually taught by the 2015 exhibiting artists for only $10. For bookings please call 02 47800245 or sculpture@scenicworld.com.au
Sculpture at Scenic World is now in its fourth year only this time it has a threefold exhibition format. New Exhibition Manager, Justin Morrissey has extended the event to incorporate other locations within the township of Katoomba such as Metalheads to be displayed at pivotal Katoomba sites including the Carrington Hotel, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and the Scenic World forecourt. Also new is the incorporation of an indoor component of Sculpture at Scenic World with Sculpture Otherwise, an exhibition of smaller works by the exhibiting artists showing at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre’s main gallery space from 6pm Friday 17 April.
For more information about this event, follow the link below!
http://www.scenicworld.com.au/experiences/sculpture/2015-sculpture-home/
For more information about New Zealand’s Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, follow the link below!
http://sculptureonthegulf.co.nz/

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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in COMMUNITY, EXHIBITIONS, REVIEWS

 

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‘For Amanda Walker’ – Australian Womankind Magazine: Searching for your future self

Australian Womankind Magazine: Searching for your future self (Launch Issue)
Issue 1: August – October 2015

For Amanda
When I was a little girl, I had the most spiritual experience of my life. To this day it brings tears to my eyes and yes I mean now whilst I am typing this up at 34 years of age. I should mention here my happy atheist upbringing yet with a grounding on western religious values.

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Birthday girl in white looking at the camera is me…to my left in the red headband – Amanda Walker

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Amanda and I were just 7 years old, I can remember this fact as for years I have rediscovered my little envelope kept in storage only to cause me to stop in my tracks at every house move and reflect. This envelope has a photograph of Amanda at my 7th birthday, a huge event in my life as a small person as it was the only birthday party I experienced until my 21st. With this treasured possession is a school diary-like booklet we were encouraged to keep at school and write in on Monday’s to share our weekend escapades at the very least. This has an excerpt in it about Amanda written by my 7 year old hand and two articles ripped out of the local paper by mum and dad and given to me within the year of this experience.

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Amanda and I were in my Liverpool backyard playing around the above ground pool in our swimmers. She wore a navy blue one piece…I have no idea what costume I wore. We watched in wonderment as the first butterfly appeared. She put out her index finger and I was transfixed as I watched it alight upon this perch. As if this was not incredible enough already we giggled and equally hushed as more and more butterfly’s descended and landed on her costume. The light was around her, she was taller than me everyone was taller than me, so I had to raise my eyes which caused the light to pool around her face and shine through her brown hair. The butterflies just paused there covering her for a few moments and then one by one lifted off and floated away towards the light of the sun.

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Natural Focus Photography – Jason Lindsay
I have always felt a chill when a butterfly appears a little too close for comfort toward anyone I love. A cousins wedding was particularly heinous as the happy couple opened a box, after their I do’s, and let out two butterflies who thankfully ascended up and away from the crowd of people I love. When I finally sighed out my relief and relaxed my neck from its unlikely angle, I found myself backed away from the other bridesmaids by several feet.

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Paul Jackson, Jo 2013, (http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/archibald/2013/29374/)
Paul Jackson’s, Archibald 2013 finalist painting, Jo, caused another physically sickening reaction and had me backing away and into other viewers. ‘Jackson’s subject is Joanna Braithwaite, an artist known for her exploration of the interrelationships between animals and humans. She frequently combines objects, animals and humans in unexpected ways.’ ¹ In this painting however, Jo herself sits upon a corpse like figure of a human/beast its dead statuesque face staring unseeing directly toward the viewer and with body almost entirely covered by butterflies. More butterflies seemingly descend from the one gap in the clouds above and behind the foreground scene. Appearing to have originated or as born from or of the sun. The other surreal animal goings on in this image for me are only subliminal or act to emphasize the strangeness of my memory alignment to this image.

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(http://mumbrella.com.au/new-philosophers-australian-operation-launch-womens-magazine-womankind-241260)
My associations of butterflies with death have always fascinated me. Here is a creature that is so unlike any other and which before my childhood friend was lost to me, was amazing for completely alternative reasons. Womankind magazine’s launching issue, Searching for Your Future Self, challenged my established discomforts with this innocent insect in a variety of ways. Firstly, the cover design by Tsevis Charis is a portrait of a woman made up of thousands of colourful butterflies somehow collaged perfectly to inform the contours of a face. I wanted this magazine, I knew right away that I wanted it but of course picked up the second edition properly and only held the first between index and thumb by the corner as though it might rear up and sting me.

After two years of university and a personal awakening attributed by new expansive knowledge and the associative questioning of my place and future in this world and indeed the Australian arts industry, have prepared me well for this magazine. I decided to suck it up. I would read the launching edition and reward myself with the second later, once I had read the first from front to back. I am half way through and compelled to write already. I felt it build and build and could not hold back any longer once I had read DBC Pierre’s article ‘Kismet’. In this article Pierre goes there, he unashamedly writes about a project with photographer Tobias Wenzel which situates writers at cemetery’s and in Pierre’s case, halfway inside a dug-out grave. The placement of this article within this butterfly themed magazine edition was just too potent to ignore as was his Mexican upbringing outlining the inherent fascination with death and oftentimes superstition and his thesis idea of Kismet, chance and coincidence.
My recent experiences of Kismet almost always involve reading. Chris Kraus, ‘I love dick’ (1997), Maura Reilly selected texts and I suspect Simone de Beauvoir, ‘The Second Sex’ (on order). So, ‘Searching for your future self’ is really well timed as indeed is Womankind magazine for this thirty something year old woman. Learning that intellect is the most attractive gift one can cultivate for herself and that it is not impossible to consider an affiliation with butterfly’s from a transformation perspective.
¹ http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/archibald/2013/29374/

http://mumbrella.com.au/new-philosophers-australian-operation-launch-womens-magazine-womankind-241260

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in REVIEWS

 

‘Girl Genius’ is a Stroke of GENIUS

Last night a public declaration was made alongside the inauguration of an inclusionary award for the long absent ‘Girl Genius’ within the arts vicinity. A multitude of witnesses can attest as in a stroke of ‘genius’ a new initiative was launched during the opening night event for the annual Kudos Art Award at Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier Street Paddington.

BA Fine Arts Graduate and Honors candidate, Miranda Samuel proudly stood and announced an exciting new award which ‘stems from the very idea of the ‘girl genius’ as something that is virtually non-existent’. She rousingly explained the rapid growth which support for this project had sustained from the moment of its inception when communicating it to prominent women Australia wide.

Interestingly this young, attractive, intelligent, proactive girl with her well-earned self-confidence in announcing herself as co-founder of this initiative was met with amusement. Is not her attempt at inclusionary judgment and direct address toward gender imbalance in institutions something to be applauded? Hopefully this is exactly how she is received when presenting ‘Girl Genius: redressing gender imbalance’, alongside Tess Allas, Director of Indigenous Programs College of Fine Arts and Design UNSW, at Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), on the 24th October 2014. Maura Reilly, Professor and Chair of Art Theory at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University and writer of ‘Curatorial Activism and Ethical Responsibility’ is also presenting a ‘Masterclass – Curating Feminism conference’ the discovery of whom ‘helped buoy our confidence that something was not quite right’.

Tess has begun work with Miranda’s observations and redress of ‘the gender imbalance that exists at an institutional level’ as a departure point and ‘through a multifaceted ongoing project and a series of panel discussions, publications and exhibitions over the coming years we hope to begin a frank and open dialogue about the issues surrounding this imbalance.’

Marie Sierra, Deputy Dean & Head of School judged the award alongside Miranda and the other cash endorsements for prize funds came from Tess and Miranda, Penelope Benton, UNSW MFA candidate and Manager of Arc@UNSW Art & Design, Lisa Havilah-Director of Carriageworks, Dr. Kim Snepvangers-Program Director of Art Education, Associate Professor Joanna Mendelsson and Ms Rebecca Nicholson.

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Yao Zhang, United horses for the year of the horse

The criteria for the award was simple; ‘a heartbreaking work of staggering girl genius’. The judging notes read, ‘We intended to have just one recipient of the award this year, but were completely captivated by two genius female entries so we’ve split the prize into one main winner, and a highly commended’. The only artwork from the printmaking discipline within the Kudos Award thankfully received a ‘Highly Commended’ and cash prize which was awarded to Yao Zhang for, United Horses for the year of horse’ (2014) for the ‘surreal nature of the imagery together with the superior technical rendering, and scale of the etching made this a standout’.

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Claudia Nicholson, Baby I would climb the Andes

First Prize, cash prize and trophy went to Claudia Nicholson for ‘Baby I would climb the Andes’ an artwork of some high esteem. Claudia was recently chosen by 4A’s Visual Arts Advisory committee as one of only two Australian artists selected for the 2014 Bejing Studio Program at the studios of Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin. She is also the current artist in residency at Firstdraft gallery and is a regular at Gaffa, Sydney. The judgment notes reading as, ‘Claudia uses cultural signifiers to explore identity politics and belonging. Her work offers a refreshing addition to the dialogues around this subject matter.

Girl Genius will no doubt take off to dizzying heights in its honorable search for equality in the arts with proud supporters actively jumping on board as honestly, who wouldn’t want to?

Resource Links;

See the below link for the Girl Genius and other Master-classes alongside the Curating Feminism Conference, program of events;
http://sydney.edu.au/sca/galleries-events/curating-feminism/index.shtml

http://www.4a.com.au/beijing-studio-program-2014-announcement/

http://www.claudianicholson.com/

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2014 in REVIEWS

 

Fluid @ Cypher Gallery Marrickville

Fluid by definition is a substance that has no fixed shape and yields easily to external pressure; a gas or (especially) a liquid. Fluid as a concept or thematic departure point for an exhibition is particularly potent as it allows for changeability and indefinite possible explorations of its variable nature. 24 UNSW Art & Design students have traversed this alterable landscape at Cypher Gallery and Monster Mouse Studios Marrickville in a three day only event from the 24th-27th September. The work itself is performative, sculptural, multi-disciplinary, interactive and brave and the accommodating nature of fluid is manifest in works incorporating liquid, solids, weight, gas, and squishy qualities.
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Shaza Smit opens the exhibition with her environmentally conscious piece ‘I don’t give a fog’ viewed upon entry to the space. Smit explained her new politically aligned view arising out of the research for this particular piece, ‘…mining coal from the Great Barrier Reef is actually a thing that we are doing now. When this coal is burnt, it creates twice the amount of Greenhouse emissions than all the other forms of energy in Australia combined. I wanted to create something which seemed domestic and familiar, and something which we usually over look and don’t think twice about’. So she created a bathroom tiled plinth with a tap and ‘when the viewer opens the tap they are actively creating chemical smoke. If they were to keep the tap open, the smoke much like the Reef coal, would run out.’
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Alternatively, Lucinda Rose and Rachel Levine’s collaborative and improvisational performance ‘A Butcher in Gold’ investigates the tension created when flour is combined with water and the physicality of the busy, action and sometimes aggressive force required to bind these two substances together. Their fascinating primal and rhythmic performance to accompanying music in kind begins in a small separate gallery space where they join, sew, pull, and create doughy offerings later gifted to the audience within and without this domestic golden hub.
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Bailee Lobb’s Extensions, is also an interactive work however exploring the psychological weight of hidden illnesses via textile design which the audience is invited to wear. One of three seemingly identical suites with varying weight distribution is selected unknowingly by a participant who through this bodily engagement experiences sad, overwhelming or comforting responses.
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These are but three examples of a great body of work of which must be seen in person however, other standout works include Celina Jayne’s edible toffee sculptures ‘Osculate’, Scarlett Steven’s ‘Tufts’ of hair, various video installations by Amy Mills and others, and more performative installation pieces such as Elle van Uden’s water play ‘Clair de Lune’, some traditional two dimensional printed works by Catherine Thicket contrast and draw attention as does Ben Allen’s, pulsating heart ‘Don’t Phunk with my Heart’.

Monster Mouse Studios and Cypher Gallery address: 21 Maude Lane, Marrickville (very close to Sydenham station)
MAP: http://infoplaces.net/info/Cypher-Gallery-in-Marrickville

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in REVIEWS

 

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Shallow Kids Perform a ‘Collective Encouragement’

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Viewing the inaugural exhibition ‘Transformation’ (August 6 to 11, 2014) for the launch of Cypher Gallery at Monster Mouse, Marrickville included the usual spectacle of opening night in a new environment amidst a room full of strangers. Monster Mouse Studios is an artist run enterprise and COFA BA Fine Arts (Honours candidate) Sonia Tanner received a UNSW Arc Art and Design Grant to establish an exhibition space at this location. Thankfully the space, on this night was arranged in such a way that navigating around an unfamiliar environment generated excitement about the discovery of hidden works behind pop up walls. Naturally, when I noticed some commotion behind one of these walls, I gravitated toward it and found ‘Shallow Kids’, though I did not realise this was their name at the time and misunderstood this for the title of their performance.

Dressed all in white and attached to each other with a woollen knitted (umbilical-like) cord, COFA graduate Mark Mailler and third year student Clare Powell were loudly and energetically clapping and congratulating a spectator. At first glance I thought the recipient may have been a fellow artist and were therefore accepting a much deserved round of applause for their achievement in a mutual celebration for work migrating from the studio to the gallery. Unsurprisingly I deduced, that this performance responded directly to the regular opening night phenomenon of intense admiration, commendation and applause whilst subverting the role of the artist and the viewer.

This was not the case, as although they were approaching anyone in the space and lavishing upon them excessive praise the intention for the work was different as was the title ‘Collective Encouragement’. As the theme for the show was ‘transformation’, Shallow kids wanted to bless the space and the people that entered into that new environment, Mark says ‘we wanted them to feel love from the space and thank them for joining us’ in the opening of Cypher Gallery. Mailler later reflects upon the reaction of the audience ‘the individual at first, although a little embarrassed enjoyed the praise. But very quickly their faces and body language would change into them becoming uncomfortable. The performance soon became almost intrusive and overwhelming for some’ and ‘throughout the night it became more and more interesting watching the individual trying to escape from us. We almost become unwanted in the space’. As it was the first time this piece was performed publicly, Mark acknowledged that it inadvertently could change and become something else as the night continues and I might add, could have different outcomes in other settings. Clare adds ‘I think it is important for us as performers and the audience to feel respected and safe. Of course art is a mode of extending boundaries of comfortability but not at anyone’s expense’.

I mentioned a correlation I saw between Vito Acconci’s ‘Room Situation’ (proximity) piece and ‘Collective Encouragement’ to Clare and in particular how he stood adjacent or behind a person, until an attempt to leave or a change in stance was observed. Both Clare and Mark have studied performance and theatre as part of their degrees, in fact they met at Time Based Art classes at COFA in 2012, founded Shallow Kids and began collaborating under this pseudonym since early this year (they stress the importance of outside participation including collaborations with artists, dancers and musicians in past and future performances). Clare explains they would have been affected by the work of Vito Acconci however subliminally, ‘I appreciate the way he intentionally manipulates his audience into becoming integral pieces of the work and yeah, he has been integral in the development of performance within the art vicinity’.

This kind of work provokes questions of environmental differences and its effects upon the reception of the work which Clare acknowledges and notes, ‘I think our performance Humans, Space, Plants at BEAMS festival (Chippendale) next month will be a little easier to realise in the sense that it is a space for works of performance and installation rather than something more traditional like painting’. She goes on to explain, ‘I found Monster Mouse to be a little challenging as some of the viewers were unsure how to recognise art in a live, moving medium (like our bodies) and had difficulties appreciating it in the same way they appreciated works of 2d and 3d forms’.

However misguided my initial appraisal of Shallow Kids work may have been it was wonderful and successful in the sense that it navigated, interacted, affected and even ‘transformed’ the space and inhabitants of opening night. Sometimes a little bit of a shake-up equates to a wake-up and incites deeper thoughts on these matters and interestingly their performance made me realise there is ample room for interpretation in this art form as in other disciplines.

Mark Mailler completed the double degree, BA Theatre and Performance and BFA Time Based Art.
Clare Powell is completing BA Art Education, majoring in Time Based Art.
Shallow Kids have performed at Heaps Gay VIVID, Cofa sounds, 101 gallery opening and the upcoming BEAMS festival in Chippendale.

Resources:
W. Sharp, Body Works: A Precritical, Non-definitive Survey of Very Recent Works Using the Human Body or Parts Thereof’, Avalanche 1970: 14-17

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in REVIEWS

 

Review: Artists and Writers on Telling Tough Stories in Pictures

Go to this link to find out more about this event:

http://riversideparramatta.com.au/show/artists-writers-on-telling-tough-stories-in-pictures/

I went to this event last night with a girlfriend and heard first hand accounts of how three very different artists convey tough stories through images. The panel consisted of cartoonist, writer and zine maker Pat Grant, Cartoonist and Illustrator Cathy Willcox and War artist, photographer, filmmaker and painter George Gittoes. The host for the evening was author, Journalist and Executive Director of the NSW Writers’ Centre, Jane McCredie.

Pat Grant acknowledged the difficulties which can be faced domestically within a family particularly a father/son relationship or the direct urban environmental and cultural implications of events experienced during his youth such as the Cronulla Riots. Grant’s accounts were refreshing and indicated the acceptance of a person’s personal battles as important even when pitched alongside a much more political referent in Willcox and the global and often dangerous anecdotes of Gittoes.

Willcox spoke of the sensitive nature of some subjects particularly when fresh and traumatic occurrences must be depicted in her cartoon’s for mass media consumption (Sydney Morning Herald). She spoke of delicacy toward peoples sensibilities when dealing with particularly tough breaking stories.

George Gittoes makes an impact when sharing his first hand accounts of dangerous experiences within social, cultural and literal war zones globally. His stories are so outrageous that that they seem unbelievable though we know them to be true…he has the footage to prove it! He is candid and entertaining and made a big impression on my girlfriend who ran up to him at the end of the session to tell him just how much she enjoyed him. Gittoes gave her a hug then encouraged her to introduce him to us and we all had a hug. I guess a man who puts himself in the line of fire time and time again…takes every opportunity to interact with people on a very real and intimate level when ever possible.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2014 in REVIEWS

 

Picasso – Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris – 12 Nov 2011 to March 2012

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is exhibiting ‘Picasso – Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris’, between 12 November 2011 and 25 March 2012. This travelling Picasso exhibition has been tailored to Australia’s cultural and political history by the current President of Musee Picasso, Anne Baldassari.

Baldassari considered the relevance of Picasso’s African masks, sculptures and totems when understanding the importance of Aboriginal Indigenous Art to Australia. She also acknowledges the significance of strong women historically within Australia boasting among the first countries to invite the female vote. This has all been achieved via the inclusion of ‘five studies for Les demoiselles d’Avignon, together with over twenty cubist paintings, drawings and etchings from 1907-1918,’ and ‘Picasso’s portraits of dynamic women’. (F. Brauer, P.230 Art & Australia, 2012)

The inclusion of the five Les Demoiselles studies is important when introducing the period spanning two rooms of the exhibition between 1906 and 1915. Here we see Picasso’s fascination with indigenous tribal art forms and shapes amalgamate and resolve itself in the form of this iconic painting which is largely responsible for the Cubism, collage and construction periods to follow.

Although the indigenous qualities (evident within this and later images) are far removed from that of the Australian indigenous artworks, the intent behind Baldassari’s decision making can be applauded. Picasso’s African masks , totems and sculptures from the Congo, Benin and the Ivory Coast were profoundly crucial in the development of his personal fondness of geometric and architectural forms. Baldassari’s Room 3, ‘Cubism, collage and constructions 1910-1915’ are further evidence of the foundation that Les demoiselles provided in the movements to follow.

Image 1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pablo Picasso Les demoiselles d’Avignon 1907 

Image unavailable Seated Nude (Study for Les demoiselles d’Avignon)

Room 2 – The enchantment of Oceania and Africa 1906-1909    

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Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Olga in an armchair 1918

Room 4 – A return to classicism 1916-1924

Picasso’s Portrait of Olga in an armchair 1918 is an excellent example of Baldassari’s ‘strong women’ curatorial element due to the muse’s identity as Ballet Russes celebrated dancer Olga Koklova (1891-1954). Olga has been painted with a tenderness suggestive of ‘A return to classicism’ which is the name attributed to Room 4 (1916-1924) of the exhibition. The marble like appearance of her flesh and stoic expression upon her face, combined with the rendering of the gentle folds in the fabric are testimony to the powerful impressions that Picasso’s first journey south of France and Italy afforded. It was the classic beauty and naturalism of ancient Rome and Pompeii that Picasso acquired during this trip combined with his collaboration on the ballet Parade (composed by Eric Satie) that resulted in and drew from Picasso’s circus images and ability to utilise patterns and colour.

This painting was one of many of Picasso’s personal collection of works, of which he had refused to relinquish whilst living and which became the property of the French State in lieu of taxes upon his death in 1973. This is known as ‘payment in kind’ or dation, the works of which were later to reside within the seventeenth century Hotel Sale which is currently known (as transformed by Roland Simounet) as the Musee National Picasso. The collection now amounts to some 5000 works exists also due to generous bequests of Picasso’s heirs, ‘through the great bequest of 1979, followed in 1990 by the bequest of Jacueline Picasso (1927-1986)’ (Picasso, 2012 Preface,Baldassari).

The exhibition concurrently contains representations of each period of Picasso’s lengthy career between 1895 and 1972 with a wide range of mediums for which he is well known. The Oxford Dictionary of Art states; ‘…his energy and imagination were such that he was at all times working on a wealth of themes and in a variety of styles. He himself said: ‘The several manners I have used in my art must not be considered as an evolution, or as steps towards an unknown ideal of painting. When I have founds something to express, I have done it without thinking of the past or future’. If the subjects I have wanted to express have suggested different ways of expression, I haven’t hesitated to adopt them’.

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Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar 1937

Room 6 – Anxieties of love and War 1936-1939

This principle can be seen in another strong female Portrait of Dora Maar 1937 which can be found in Room 6 – Anxieties of love and war 1936-1939. Dora was a surrealist photographer and writer and became Picasso’s lover only after the end of his marriage to Olga and the conclusion of another affair with (then pregnant) Marie-Therese. Maar (1907-1997) was an important female in Picasso’s life as she became his official photographer in the same year 1937 as the bombing of the Basque town by right wing nationalists. ‘Guernica’ was the significant work that this period inspired which has since become a compelling and influential anti-war painting.

This period of unrest continued into World War II to Korea which was the thematic to Room 7 spanning 1940-1951. Massacre in Korea 1951 combined his ‘weeping women’ victims alongside children standing opposite a vicious firing squad. This painting is compositionally similar to The third of May 1806 by Francisco de Goya.

The entry and opening quotation for the exhibition states ‘I paint the way some people write their autobiography. The paintings finished or not, are the pages from my diary’ and this quote is featured in an otherwise bare atrium which is painted grey and evokes an austere reverence and indication toward how the show should be viewed. There are ten rooms acting as a visual catalogue listing a chronological depiction of Picasso’s personal fears or anxieties, desires and passions, his revulsion towards war and the instability and rigidity of human life; and as such the appearance of the exhibition takes upon itself to render a visual diary upon its predominantly white walls. Rooms six and seven also have grey walls and depict far more emotionally captivating periods such as The Anxieties of love and war 1936-1939 and World War II Korea 1940-1951.

The exhibited (150 individual) works as chosen by Baldassari have been thoughtfully selected and hung in a rational fashion and act as a teaser to entice the public to perhaps venture to the home of the entire collection from Musee Picasso, France at the completion of their restorations.

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Pablo Picasso, Massacre in Korea 1951                                                                                                                   Room 7 – World War II to Korea 1940-1951

Note: similarities between this and that of Francisco de Goya, The third of May, 1806

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in REVIEWS