Monday, May 15, 2006

stuff last week

I've been trying to do a leaner, meaner, more in depth coverage of a few specific visual gems, rather than covering everthing in depth.

awww hell -this is just a tragic excuse for the fact that I just don't gt out much anymore.

I spent last week chekcing out unveristy museums. I ahvne't heard much form either KUDOS or dougherty, so I dunno wots happening at COFA. Tell me please! someone!

Anyway last wednesday I missed the jellly wrestling in order to trek out to Epping for the Ian Milllis retrospective. Punters can eyeball the online version by clicking/cutting and pasting/woteva the folllowing link:

Vintage readers of this blog may know the millis as the painter of bad irises at slot last year. then he said they were his mum's. HIS MUM WAS AT THE OPENING! I kind of hid in the corner.

Anyway the website above is dominated by a big tryptic - that also fills one wall of the gallery. the sky bit is more luminous in the flesh -but there's a dry margrittey tone about the whole thing. Swing, Tree, Noose. Initialy I thought it was a comment about the deaht of michael hutchence - but I was having a fairly intense '80's flashback moment at the time. it soon passed.

If you go to the website, click on "the invisible artist". bit. (It's invisible on my browser whihc is kind of enigmatic) then you can see all the background info about his ouvre, and what all this means. Basically this show assembles a wonderful glimpse of delights in the past - and of sydney's really interesting avante-garde heritage. 35 or something years ago - artists like millis were actively involved in inner city communities and in fighting to preserve areas like wolloomooloo. what came out of this social engagement - was a flourishing of experimental approaches to art making. Culture works like any ecosystem - feed it enough hummous and all sort sof insteresting things mushroom........

anywya - seeing the retrospective in the flesh , well the context of maquarie uni is hard to ignore, partiuclalry if yyou go by bus like I did. I spent 60 minutes on a gridlocked freeway, surrounded by suits and residue of mix106.5 statticking in the bakground, only to emerge into a see of parking lots and gumtrees. in the dark.

Fortunately I found a security guard and found the gallery easily enough. It's a nice new brick building. I strolled in and noticed the white powder map on the floor. I don't think it was coke. I looked up and went for the framed covers of the Contemporary Art Society Broadsheet, and other publications. Cool vintage stuff. with arty sqauatters stnaindg on a warehouse lookig like the droogs form a clockwork orange. and then lots of letters, minutes, fragments. Bits of encapsulated dreams. Looked left and the masking tape on the floor "follow this line' only possible wiht eyes, but I did and came to couch, and photos of couch in galllery. a 4 minute cage symphony of an artspace...... whihc was a nice way to head towards the cute corridored left of the gallery. Instruction conceptual world. well placed in an intimate space, wehre you have to be alone with the walls, and the instructions. emerging back into the gallery, wiht a massive laser print out, huge pathcwork artworkers union banners, more bits between paintings.

what is all of this doing in Epping? sydney has a really amazing history, and its bizarre how quickly radical moments get smoothed over, and moved on. Even thoght the people still hang around, sharing stories and showing scars. This is a treasure of a show.

back to sinney central and I nealy wet myself at the tin sheds on saturday. Joan ross is everything a girl could wish for. fur, lino, underpants, glitz. glorious kitsch delight - worked into some punchy thematics about australian idenity. 19th century colonial portraits painted onto kangaroo fur. and wired hanging bit sof stuff, and furry birds, and th albert namatjira lino cut kookaburra, and all those textual, delightful lacy frilly, whirling big things.


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