If I can wear a twat on my head, pluck my eyebriows and wear a g-string in public
I can probably describe my own show here.
wearing two hats is sometimes difficult.
I finished art school in 1999. I went to east sydney now national art school)- and majored in painting - but tried to do the least painting possible -preferring to undertake perfomrance art, typewritten manifestos and studio installations in a space where it still seemed novel. (plus if got a BFA with no HECS!!!)
Art school is art and leaving art school is hard. And its hard when people tell you repeatedly that most art school graduates will stop withihn the first 5 years and won't ever start again. I've found the predictions not as dire as I thought. Lots of people did further study, but many didn't. quite a few of my classmates are still trucking on. Even more successful ones are hardly rolling in it. Lots of us have returned to former jobs, or found crappy ones to pay for paint, studio, housing. Most artists accept to have 2 careers and just try to keep on going.
My second job - is at present to write about art - I'm doing a course of scholarhsip funded study. I initially had messianic visions of intervening into art writing/art history/art theory. I thought that since most art writing was unreadable - that I should give it a go. then I realised - that most art writing is unreadable - hence I don't read it - and If I dont read it then who the hell does????- I have no idea how to intervene in most of the existing academic art journals. I HATe PSYHCOANALYTICAL THEORY (this is a bit like living in Byron and not believing in Astrology). and I really can't see the point of using obfuscating language - when trying to describe somehting visual. Art writing is probably a dying field anyway. Bugger.
I digress. Its hard to be a critic about work that is close to me. Yet that is what makes this work critical. In the work of my 'peers', or my friends and colloeagues, I see my own emotional err.... cultural (?) survival. I believe that there has to space for this work to exist. My work, my firends work. Just slow sloppy shabby work that ain't amaneable to the latest art market or design edge spin. The right to paint IS the right to paint badly.
so , am I a bad painter?
My works are bright, colourful, courageous and fun. They show an important and moving topic in a really interesting and imaginative way. (go upstairs) They are also works completed "on the hop" - squeezed in between my research, writing, teaching, and rest of a life.
I just wish I had more time, more layers, more subtlety.
As for my colleagues? for this show?
Anna Wheeler's paintings taught me how to see and use colour. Her works - of FARM animals and harlequins - may seem twee - but like any subject - they are the excuse for the paint. the paint is where the real subject is. She makes oil sing.
Anthony Connolly is one of the sweetest men I or most people have ever met. His combinations of bodies squashed into buildings are quite frankly deeply disturbing. his use of paint - is really chunky and delicious - and he delicately slides away from the mud school .
Natalie McCarthy's works are great, very very good use of colour. Her works are tonally defined rather than through colour. (that means she uses tonal variations to sugest plane and space.) She works wiht smilary subdued palette to Sharon Whittle (another peer - wiht some drawings opening at Mori next week). I am not only in favour of loud screamers of paintings - I lke soft singers as well. Nat uses more colours. Nice reds. Wish she did more.
Peter Yates - was always known at NAS as COFA Pete. I think he and I should have swapped institutions. He's come out of the wildenress of post conceptual wranglings - to get a nice technique as a tonal painter. his stuff is claricey bekketty type views of dim newtown scenes. I don't totally hate grey - especially when its tempered with a bit of orange.
Damien Nugent won the waverly prize for drawing last year with his ink drawings of judges and QC's. He's been too busy playing pool and writing long stories of the Green Park pool comp to paint, but we all like his drawings and his sense of humour. He converted the entire art school to Johnny Cash.
So this is a kind of breather show - not a retrospective - but a "look what we are up to now". We made a point of not putting a heap of thumbnails on the invite and used a "album cover concept" photo. this was Damians idea. The man is a genius.
anyway - If anyone reckons my art is shit - you are invited to submit alternative reviews to monday overdrive on 2SER. I still reckon its worth a gander
show opens tuesdya 2nd aug (tomrrow night) at 6-8pm
Runs until sunday august 14th. (open wed-sun 11am-6m)
Venue is Addison Road Gallery, 142 Addison Road MArrickville
(Not far from SNO - the new thing in town)
Eshya and the farmers
1 year ago