Posts Tagged ‘Sculpture

21
Nov
12

Day 326: Installations by Samantha Riegl and Kenny Pittock

Samantha Riegl

Day 326: This Item Belonged to My Boyfriend, by Samantha Riegl

A number of works in the current VCA Graduate Exhibition reflect that the artists are navigating the chirpy waters of artistic careers as well as personal relationships. Samantha Riegl’s installation of carefully arranged items on uniform white shelves is reminiscent at first of an arrangement from an upmarket clothing and lifestyle boutique. Only later the viewer’s eye pans over an inscription on the wall that explains how the objects relate to each other: “This item belonged to my boyfriend”, the sign proclaims in big black thick letters. The viewer is then invited to take a business card with an address of a web link leading the viewer to the online sale of the boyfriend’s effects… Revenge is a dish best served… online!

Kenny Pittock 1

Kenny Pittock 2

 Day 326 bis: Installation by Kenny Pittock

This subject matter is picked up in Kenny Pittock’s installation, where brand packaging for 60 metres of cling wrap is altered to proclaim ‘Clingy Ex-Boyfriend – 60 months’. This tongue-in-cheek recreation of a supermarket product forms a part of a large-scale installation where the artist had replicated, in a variety of media (wood, acrylic, ceramics, wax, etc), such items of our daily existence as fruit, chocolates, ice creams and other sugary treats, medicines, remote controls, and the ubiquitous laptops and flat-screen TV sets. However, he ‘doctored’ a number of brand names that now read Sadbury, Adjusted Juice, Nitpic, Kitsch-Kat, and Feelnum. A packet of condoms comes with a detailed explanation why they are branded as ‘regular’; and a large TV screen with the logo of Sky News shows… a picture of the sky.

Most objects within Pittock’s installation are arranged in a long continuous frieze along the wall, the aesthetics of which involuntarily bring to mind wall decorations and carvings of ancient Egypt. Indeed, if this installation was to be preserved for future generations, it will tell as much about our contemporary popular culture as excavated artefacts and hieroglyphs do about ancient civilisations.

http://www.samanthariegl.com/

http://kennypittock.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.vca.unimelb.edu.au/gallery

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]

15
Nov
12

Day 320: Reclining Angel, by John Perceval

John Perceval Reclining Angel

Day 320: Reclining Angel, by John Perceval

John Perceval’s Angels are among the most instantly recognisable works by the artist, and rare examples of recourse to sculpture and ceramics in the artist’s oeuvre. The series originated in the 1950s, when Perceval experimented with ceramics at the Boyd family pottery, and hence some of the early angels are slightly reminiscent of vaguely utilitarian teapots with squat bodies, spout- and handle-shaped limbs, and lid-like heads. Yet progressively, they have taken a life of their own as self-contained ceramic and bronze sculptures.

Perceval’s own children provided inspiration for poses and attitudes of the angels, and there are indeed a number of uncanny parallels between children’s appearance in the photographs and drawings of the period and flailing pudgy arms and chubby legs of his sculptured pieces. However, facial expressions of Perceval’s Angels are not necessarily or uniformly child-like. They are angels who have fallen from Heaven, and they stare at us with knowing, unsettling, and menacing grimaces.

John Perceval’s Reclining Angel (bronze, edition 3 of 6) features in Sotheby’s Australia auction of Important Australian Art (lot 42, est. AUD $15,000-$20,000) in Melbourne on November 20.

http://www.sothebysaustralia.com.au/

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]

02
Nov
12

Day 307: The Stags, by Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini The Stags

Day 307: The Stags, by Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini’s The Stags (2008) stem from the artist’s twin fascination with the length some car and bike owners would go to in order to accessorise their vehicles as well as her interest in the inherent anthropomorphic potential of inanimate objects.

She reimagines the popular European Vespa motor scooters as a pair of young stags during the mating season, fighting for supremacy and attention of a doe. In a way, a clear parallel can be drawn between competitive efforts to ‘pimp up’ cars and bikes, and the inherent belief in the ‘pulling’ power of the hotted-up vehicles.

Piccinini’s The Stags from the collection of the QAG / GOMA was recently on view in the Sculpture Is Everything exhibition, which also included works by such prominent sculptors as Ai Weiwei, Martin Creed, Olaf Breuning, Thomas Demand, Lara Favaretto, Simryn Gill, Romuald Hazoumé, Gordon Hookey, Zilvinas Kempinas, Anish Kapoor, Gordon Matta-Clark, John Mawurndjul, Henrique Oliveira, Dennis Oppenheim, Michael Sailstorfer, Kathy Temin, Ken Thaiday Sr, Rachel Whiteread, Ah Xian, and numerous others.

http://www.patriciapiccinini.net/  /  http://qagoma.qld.gov.au/

http://qagoma.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/past/2012/sculpture_is_everything_contemporary_works_from_the_collection

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries.]

12
Jan
12

National Gallery of Victoria – Australian Collections (Part IV)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

… continued from the previous entry …

National Gallery of Victoria – Australian Collections (Part IV) 

The Edwardian Rooms feature a number of flamboyant and large-scale creations by Rupert Bunny, Emanuel Phillips Fox, and George Lambert that celebrate the elegant and indolent lifestyle of the of the bourgeoisie, forever lounging by a seashore and taking endless cups of tea in the shade of their stately gardens. Noticeably absent from this vision of Arcadia is Norman Lindsay’s Spring Innocence, for which the National Gallery shelled out nearly half a million dollars about five or so years ago.

The art of Hugh Ramsey, that most promising Australian painter whose untimely death at the age of 29 is regretted by art historians to this day, is explored in some depth within the gallery, including his portrait of a student of the Latin Quarter. I always found it to be a covertly sexy picture, as even the thick woollen sweater and baggy pants cannot disguise the muscular armature underneath. The youthful determination is reflected in the strikingly handsome and masculine face with the prominent nose and square jaw; and yet there is also something elegantly romantic about his outstretched sinuous arm and a languorously limp long-fingered hand.

In a totally different spirit is George Lambert’s Hera. As most of Lambert’s female protagonists, she is posed coquettishly, twisting her body, with a hand on her hip, and a come hither tilt of her head. She is wearing a diaphanous bright pink dress; a blue shawl edged with golden fringe is thrown over her shoulders, and its rich patterning shimmers in the rays of light. Multi-coloured flowers, that favourite device of the artists who wish to further emphasise and emblematise the exuberance of youthful femininity, burst forth from a glass vase on the left hand side. There are no hints of struggle or privation as one can detect in the humble still life in the right foreground of the Ramsay portrait with its crumpled napkin, hunk of bread, and dusty pewter and glass ware: everything in Lambert’s portrait is about youth, exuberance, and joy.

The collection of the early 20th-Century Australian art is remarkably rich in sculpture. Bertram Mackennal’s life-size study for the Eton College’s War Memorial in the middle of the gallery bears shades of Leighton’s Sluggard, while Web Gilbert’s marble The Sun and the Earth is as close as one could possibly get to the spirit of Auguste Rodin. The sculpture encapsulates the essence of Art Nouveau with its flowing and sinuous lines; the embracing figures slowly emerge from the roughly hewn lump of marble; the tactile plasticity of their naked bodies visually defies the cold and firm sensation of the lifeless stone.

… to be continued… 

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012. Where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries.]

20
Oct
11

Angels-Demons by AES+F

Angels-Demons AES+F

Thursday, 20 October 2011 

For anyone riding down Swanston Street and St Kilda Road it would become apparent that a swarm of demon babies has descended upon Melbourne. Numbering seven in total, they stretch from the Melbourne Town Hall to the Arts Centre forecourt. These Angels-Demons, to give them their correct name, are a product of the talented and internationally renowned Russian collective, AES+F, and they are making their stop-over here for the duration of the Melbourne Festival.

Angels-Demons AES+F

These grand Neo-Baroque sculptures cannot be missed due to their sheer size and commanding presence. The attraction to them is instantaneous, as we are naturally drawn to anything that has to do with babies – if the multi-billion dollar baby industry and the increasing proliferation of baby photos on Facebook are anything to go by.

Angels-Demons AES+F

But the fascination is also borne by the innumerable visual dichotomies and psychological paradoxes contained within these sculptures. The very title of these works already points towards the inherent dualities with which the artists have imbued their works. Angels-Demons have no distinguishable gender or race; they are simultaneously playful yet threatening; unmistakeably human yet with atavistic dragon tails, bat wings, and horn protrusions; reminiscent of the innocent and harmlessly mischievous putti and yet so visibly demonic.

Angels-Demons AES+F

The babies’ pink and puffy skin has been replaced here by hard, black, cold and gleaming surfaces, which reflect everything around them. By gazing at these sculptures, we involuntarily end up seeing our own reflection perhaps recognising in the process the aspects of inherent multiplicities within ourselves.

Angels-Demons AES+F

Angels-Demons AES+F

Angels-Demons AES+F

Angels-Demons AES+F

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011]

14
Mar
11

Australian and International Fine Art @ Menzies

Arthur LoureiroMonday, 14 March 2011

Australian and International Fine Art @ Menzies

For their first auction of the 2011 season, which takes place in Sydney on March 24, Menzies pulled together a tight (only 100 lots) but strong group of paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and photography. Although the collection lacks significant 18th, 19th, and early 20th Century works (the market for which is dominated by Sotheby’s at the upper end and Leonard Joel at the lower end), the only notable exception is perhaps the lyrical Art Nouveau female nude by Arthur Loureiro (est $8-12,000), a rare and therefore institutionally significant work.

Brett WhiteleyIt is undoubtedly within the Modern masters that Menzies has its strengths, and the March offering is replete with representative selection of works by Arthur Boyd, John Brack, Russel Drysdale, Sydney Nolan, Jeffrey Smart, Albert Tucker, Brett Whiteley, and Fred Williams. As the catalogue meticulously indicates, a number of works by the above-mentioned artists have been around the block a few times, having frequently appeared on the art market within the last decade. However, the auction contains a number of outstanding items which are fresh to the market, and which according to the auction staff, have been extremely popular at the Melbourne preview: the market can smell fresh meat!

Fred WilliamsThese include an outstanding beach nude by Brett Whiteley from 1985, Washing Out the Salt (est $1,250,000-1,750,000); a strong work by Albert Tucker, Gamblers and Parrots from 1968 (est $180-240,000), featuring his iconic Etruscan-inspired heads and abounding with colourful darting parrots; and a very extensive collection of sculptures by Robert Klippel, from early, small, delicately whimsical construction pieces (est $30-36,000), to later large-scale edition bronzes ($110-160,000). I also must mention another two pieces by Brett Whiteley, both relatively ‘fresh’ to the market that (if nothing else) are likewise worthy of a closer look: his brightly coloured Feeding the Doves from 1979, constructed along the dominant contrasts of purples and oranges (est $450-550,000); and a slightly earlier Bondi, which is remarkable for the shapes of houses deliciously blocked out in thick, square slabs of rich impastos ($85-100,000).

Garry SheadThere is plenty for more contemporary-focused art collectors to feast their eyes on, including at least two significant works by Garry Shead, both of which haven’t seen the market since they were purchased from their respective galleries: Revelation (Royal Suite), from 1997, remarkable for its sheer size and compositional simplicity (est $250-320,000); and Artist and Muse (Velazquez), 2000, an exceptional and dreamlike composition from an important series of artist’s works (est $80-120,000). There are also strong representative pieces by Jon Cattapan, Aida Tomescu, and Ken Whisson.

Tim McMonagleThose with a taste for younger artists might equally be drawn to paintings and photographs by Julia Ciccarone, Alexander McKenzie, Tim McMonagle, Darren Sylvester, and David Wadelton. None of them are offered at bargain basement prices, but the works are still offered below their retail value. Exceptional among them are perhaps Tim McMonagle’s Princess Park (est $8-12,000) and David Wadelton’s Move on Up (est $10-15,000), very strong pieces by worthy contemporary artists.

As always, should I have been blessed with an unlimited bank account, my three picks for the auction would be the above-mentioned Brett Whiteley beach nude; a very important early Arthur Boyd’s Death of a Husband, painted in 1958 and belonging to an important group of paintings with comparable examples in public collections (est $650-850,000); and a sharp, engaging, and brightly coloured with yellows, purples, and accents of reds, yet minimalist in its aesthetics Lysterfield Hillside II by Fred Williams from 1974, a representative work from the artist’s important period (est $400-500,000). The last two works have been bandied about the auction rooms all too frequently, so there’s a hope that with this auction these worthy paintings would acquire a ‘more’ permanent home.

Arthur Boyd

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

05
Jan
11

NGV Old Master Portraits: Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Bernini, Batoni

NGV - Van Dyck - Countess of SouthamptonMonday, 3 January 2011

NGV Old Master Portraits: Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Bernini, Batoni

Among the treasures of the National Gallery of Victoria are a number of remarkable Old Master Portraits. The Gallery’s collection policy did not favour portraits over other genres. Rather, it acquired representative portraits by those artists who were renowned and acknowledged specialist of the genre, and who were able to transcend the limitations of a mere likeness to create a work of art of universal appeal.

A number of portraits are rightfully considered masterpieces, and given the amount of literature that has been written on these works already, it is unnecessary to tire out the muse. It would suffice to mention albeit briefly the breath-taking portrait by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) of Rachel, Countess of Southampton, floating on a cloud, with her hand resting on a glass sphere, her foot on a skull, with a drapery fold of her dress romantically flapping in the wind. Another remarkable work in the same category and of equal stature is Rembrandt’s (1606-1669) portrait of an unknown man, reputedly one of the last paintings by the artist. The work is dominated by the sober black of the sitter’s dress and the subdued tones of browns and reds in the background. A strong light source illuminates the face of the sitter, which is framed with a mane of white hair; his lively, penetrating eyes inquisitively gaze at the viewer.

NGV - Bernini - Cardinal de RichelieuThe National Gallery also must be proud to have a bronze version of the magnificent bust by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1589-1680) of Cardinal de Richelieu, of c.1640-41, the marble original of which is at the Louvre in Paris. Bernini is one of the most important sculptors of the Italian Baroque, best known for his multi-figure marble fountains which adorn Rome’s main squares, rising upwards in an unbroken spiral movement. He was also renowned for his marble portrait sculpture, and counted Pope Urban VIII among his most important patrons. The Pope is believed to have been behind the commission of Cardinal de Richelieu’s portrait (1585-1642). Richelieu was the chief minister of King Louis XIII of France and one of the most important and influential figures in French society and politics at the time. As the cardinal was unwilling to travel to Rome to sit to the sculptor, renowned painter Philippe de Champaigne was commissioned to execute a triple portrait of the Cardinal full face, in profile, and in a three quarter turn, which was sent to Rome, and on which Bernini based his portrait bust (de Champaigne’s portrait is preserved today at the National Portrait Gallery in London). Bernini expertly models the Cardinal’s distinctive face; effectively sculpts the folds of his clothing, and faithfully reproduces the Order of Saint-Espit on his chest.

NGV - Batoni - Sir Sampson Gideon and CompanionAnother important portrait which is infinitely worth mentioning is Pompeo Girolamo Batoni’s (1708-1787) Sir Sampson Gideon with an Unknown Companion, of 1767. Batoni’s career is remarkable not only for the number of outstanding paintings on religious, historical, and mythological subject matter, which encapsulate the spirit of the Italian baroque with the elements of Continental rococo, or the brilliant portraits of Popes, monarchs, and European aristocrats of the era, but also for the fact that he left one of the most complete iconographic records of British aristocracy and upper classes… without having ever set foot in England! His celebrity status was such that English aristocrats travelling to Italy on the Grand Tour considered their journey incomplete without a visit to Batoni’s studio and the obligatory sitting for a portrait from the hand of the great Italian master.

The portrait in the National Gallery’s collection illustrates this tradition. Two upper-class gentlemen in brightly-coloured suits decorated with rich embroidery, wearing powdered wigs and sporting diamond-encrusted buckles on their shoes, are placed within a palatial interior and situated between the bust of Minevra on the table and the ruins of an ancient temple in the background, both indicative of the objects the British flocked to Italy to see on the Grand Tour. The young Sir Gideon shows his companion a portrait miniature of a lady, presumably of his betrothed in the distant homeland. The little dog on the left hand side, raising its head and paw in the direction of the miniature doubtlessly represents the male desire and the imminent nuptials of the main protagonist of the picture.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

15
Aug
10

Art & Ukraine (Part 2)

NAMU Kiev Sunday, 15 August 2010

Dear Diary,

See also Art & Ukraine (Part 1)

The nucleus of Kiev’s three major art museums was formed approximately around the same time, in the second half of the 19th Century.

Two of the most important collections in Kiev belonged to the Tereshchenko and Khanenko families, rich sugar magnates and industrialists, who were also related by marriage. While the Tereshchenkos mainly concentrated on collecting Russian and Ukrainian art, the Khanenkos had a more international focus, purchasing Old Masters and Oriental works of art. Both housed their collections in neighbouring purpose-built mansions, and from time to time opened their homes to the public.

Sts Anastasia & Uliana, Ukraine, c. 1740, NAMUAlexandra Exter, Mist, 1912, NAMUThe origins of Ukraine’s National Museum of Art were slightly different inasmuch as it was founded as a purpose-build and designed public art museum, along the lines of other major public collections around the world. While the Tereshchenko and Khanenko families were among the major donors and supporters of the museum, it remained a public and independent museum of art.

After the Communist Revolution of 1917, all three collections had undergone at least twenty years of major upheavals, which have left an indelible mark on the focus and composition of their holdings.

Shishkin, Oak Trees, 1887, KMRIIn 1919, the Tereshchenko and Khanenko collections were expropriated from their owners and nationalised. The centralised governmental museum system designated them as the Museum of Russian Art and Museum of Western & Oriental Art respectively, while the National Art Museum was re-focused as the Museum of Ukrainian Art.

The holdings of these three newly-minted museums were significantly enriched with artworks coming in from other “nationalised” collections. However, in the process, the integrity of their original holdings had been lost, as works by Russian and Ukrainian artists from the former internationally-focused Khanenko collection were transferred respectively to the Russian and Ukrainian collections, and vice versa. The National Art Museum was likewise stripped of works by Ukrainian-born artists who attained their fame in Russia (such as portrait painters Borovikovsky and Levitzky), and those who were born elsewhere, though whose life and art was inextricably bound with Ukraine (such as Vrubel, Repin, and Ge).

Riangina, Ever Higher, 1934, KMRGabriel Gluck, Loggers, 1954, NAMUFurthermore, following the governmental decision to establish art museums in all (and even the most remote) centres of the Soviet empire, comparable works by same artists were re-distributed among the country’s other collections. (To put in an Australian perspective, say, the National Gallery of Victoria might have 50 or so works by Fred Williams, yet numerous other regional centres have none. So the Government would requisition ‘spare’ works by Williams from the NGV’s collection and permanently deposit them at other regional galleries).

Further still, the Western & Oriental Museum of Art lost a number of its important works when the cash-strapped Soviet Union started selling off its art collections on the international art market in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Collection of Early Soviet Porcelain, KMRIAnd if that was not enough, the adoption of the national arts policy in 1934 had resulted in the removal from the Russian and Ukrainian collections of works by the artists, who did not toe the Communist Party’s Social Realist aesthetics line. (The National Art Museum’s archives record a loss of nearly 1,700 works during this ‘cleansing’ process, which is eerily reminiscent of the Nazi Germany’s Ertantete Kunst policy.)

Further inestimable damage was sustained by all three museums during the Second World War. While the most important works were evacuated from Kiev as a matter of priority shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the remaining works were looted; most of them still remain untraced to the present day.

Khanenko Museum Interior 2The next forty or more years, however, were relatively prosperous for Kiev’s three major art museums. The Soviet system kept them supplied with a steady flow of contemporary art (as described in Part 1), and the collections were also enriched with donations from remaining private collections.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the declaration of the independence of the Ukrainian state in 1992 signalled momentous changes in the lives of the three museums. The importance of Tereshchenko and Khanenko families in the foundation of these collections was being prominently and proudly acknowledged. The street, on which the Museums of Russian and Western & Oriental art are located, now bears the name of the Tereshchenko family; while the Museum of Western & Oriental art was renamed as the Khanenko Museum of Fine Art. The museum of Ukrainian art was once again given its former name of the National Art Museum, and regained its prominence as the focal point of Ukrainian art and culture.

Khanenko Museum Velazquez InfantaAlthough the governmental financial support inevitably diminished during the period of political upheavals, and the established chain of supply of artworks was broken, important donations began to arrive from international collectors and philanthropists.

For more information:

www.namu.kiev.ua [National Art Museum]

www.museumru.kiev.ua [Kiev Museum of Russian Art]

www.khanenkomuseum.kiev.ua [Khanenko Museum of Fine Art]

… to be continued …

[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgement.]

08
Aug
10

NOTFair 2010

NOTFair 2010 013Sunday, 8 August 2010

It had to happen eventually, but the Melbourne Art Fair finally has its own satellite event, called NOTFair. The event has been organised and curated by arts writer Ashley Crawford and artists Sam Leach and Tony Lloyd on the following premise. The triumvirate had written to the leading public gallery directors, curators, and academics and requested their opinion on the artists, who were “under-represented” either on the commercial scene, exhibition circuit, or in the media. In other, vernacularly Australian, words, the artist that deserve ‘a fair go’.

NOTFair 2010 080The main difference, therefore, lies in the fact that there are no stands and no gallery presentations. NOTFair took place in a Richmond warehouse, which is shortly to be resurrected as the new home of Block Projects.

Furthermore, unlike the Art Fair, the entry to the fair was free, as was the opening event, which, as the result, was exceptionally well attended and the venue was filled beyond its capacity.

The fair took shape of a large group exhibition, where painting, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, and multi-media works abutted each other. As the result, it was a very dynamic, not to mention a very colourful, heterogeneous display by predominantly younger artists. All artworks were for sale, and I assume that the sales commission is to underwrite the ongoing costs of this event.

NOTFair 2010 079The quality of the works on display, not surprisingly, was well above average, and I would like to point out especially the number of superb drawings in the exhibition, which is the evidence of fresh, professional talent rising through the ranks of emerging Australian artists.

Of personal favourites, for a variety of reasons, I would single out superb paintings by Stephan Balleux and rich, glossy creations by Andre Piquet; large-scale landscape paintings by Shannon Smiley and nocturnes by Camilla Tadich (works from the same series featured in the recent Bushfire exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art); surreal, mysterious, and evocative photographic works by Murray McKeich, and a reflective, meditative video work by Brielle Hansen.

[©Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgement.]

08
Aug
10

Melbourne Art Fair 2010 [Part II]

Greenaway Stand @ Melbourne Art Fair 2010 074

Sunday, 8 August 2010

[… continues from previous entry]

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the Art Fair is the presence of international galleries. It is always interesting and refreshing to see the works of artists from other countries, as their vision and aesthetics are informed by heritage, artistic sensibilities, and political and / or religious points of view which are different from our own. While New Zealand galleries always have had a strong presence at the Fair, Australians still have to contend themselves by the crumbs of international dealerships that deign to descend upon Australian shores. Even then some of these are still owned and run by Australian expats. The directors of the Melbourne Art Fair have to work further, longer, and harder to entice the likes of Gagosian, Zwirner, or Ropac to dazzle local audiences with class acts of truly international renown.

TrépanierBaer Stand @ Melbourne Art Fair 2010 044

That having been said, Yamaki of Tokio, TrépanierBaer of Calgary, Tim Melville of Auckland, and 10 Chancery Lane of Hong Kong all presented outstanding exhibits with interesting, fresh, and original works, most of which have not been seen in Australia before.

To reiterate what I said above, the Art Fair was filled with art works by Australia’s most prominent and outstanding contemporary artists. This exhibition is no forum for new developments or dramatic departures in their career, and I still enjoyed installations by Janet Laurence at ARC, Sam Jinks’s hyper-realistic sculptures at Karen Woodbury, Daniel Crooks’s video works at Anna Schwartz, Sally Smart’s large-scale mixed media works at Greenaway, and many others as much as I did when I saw them at their respective galleries.

Marion Borgelt @ Melbourne Art Fair 2010 070Therefore, the ‘surprises’ of the exhibition have been reserved to those artists whose works I may not have seen before in Melbourne’s premier galleries. These include a superb red and black construction painting by Marion Borgelt at Turner Galleries, and amazing spherical glass and mixed media sculptures by the same artist at Dominic Mersch; mixed media sculptures by Masauki Tsubota at Yamaki; neo-classical interpretations of Indian lives by Canadian artist Kent Monkman and most incredible distorted sculpted heads by his countryman, Evan Penny, both at TrépanierBaer; carved wooden sculptures with South-East Asian influences by Simeon Nelson at Mossgreen; thick impastoed works by Craig Weddell and hyper-realistic paintings by Brett East at Gallery 9; superb etched glass vessels at Perth Galleries; new grisaille monochromatic landscapes by Tony Lloyd at Sam Hill-Smith; superb vivid-blue paintings by Danie Mellor at Michael Reid’s; a selection of works by Tony Albert in various media at Gallerysmith; Alexander Setton’s sculpture at Jan Murphy; haunting, almost pre-Raphaelite in their appearance photographs by Robert Thornley at Tim Melville; innovative landscape paintings by Peter Gardiner at Damien Minton and by Andrew Taylor and Neil Frazer at Martin Brown; icy-blue photographic works by Sonia Payes at Charles Nodrum; installation sculptures covered in white fur by Kathy Temin at Roslyn Oxley; and fine ceramic vessels by Vietnamese artist Khanh Cong Bui at 10 Chancery Lane.

Tony Lloyd @ Melbourne Art Fair 2010 053To sum it all up, the Art Fair still represented an orgiastic experience for any art lover, even despite the retinal exhaustion caused by the sheer amount of art on display and many familiar faces in the crowd. It gives a great opportunity to Melbourne and Sydney art lovers to experience works by those artists from other states that do not normally exhibit in these metropolises; to everyone else an unparalleled opportunity for a one-stop shop to view the best of Australian art under one roof; and those who are merely curious about art without actively collecting in, a biennial art fix and perhaps an enticing opportunity to acquire their first piece.

Roslyn Oxley Stand @ Melbourne Art Fair 2010 076Despite all the costs enumerated above, the Art Fair is a great opportunity for galleries to promote themselves and their artists and increase their mailing lists. True, for the costs of being at a four-day fair, an interstate gallery could hire 45 Downstairs in Melbourne or Depot Gallery in Sydney for more than a month, but they would be unlikely to receive anywhere near as much exposure as they would during these four, hectic, crowded, head-spinning days!

[©Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgement.]




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