Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two wonderful new exhibitions just opened at Damien Minton Gallery in Redfern: Di Holdsworth's Fly Me to the Moon and Daniel Wallace's Enquire Within. Both shows continue until April 3rd and are so funny and clever, the work so beautifully crafted that you really should get along to see this exhibition.

Di Holdsworth's found object assemblages are minutely detailed, fully functioning music boxes complete with little handles to animate the characters within. There is a Superman glove puppet, a racetrack with galloping horses, ballerinas which pirhouette and the clown (above) learing suggestively toward his paramour, the cupie doll, who looks just a little concerned.

Daniel Wallace has constructed a large temple within the gallery space which on opening night provided a wonderful sanctuary for all the kids to chill out, lounging around with their game consoles and leaving the adults to view the art. Daniel is a master of deception. His finely crafted timber sculptures play around with metaphor and perspective and cleverly incorporate branches and twigs to convey everyday domestic objects transformed into fascinating objet d'art.

Just two doors away in Great Buckingham street, at Smith and Hall Gallery, I happened upon another exhibition the same night: Matt Dive Gold, various artists portraying the gorgeous Matthew Mitcham. Matthew is one of the very few international Olympic stars to have openly declared themselves as gay, and having won gold at Beijing he has consequently become a Sydney Gay Icon, a role he appears to embrace with both pride and humility.

I enjoyed William Yang's photographs very much, with his diary notes scrawled across the surface of the image. Unfortunately this exhibition, which included such greats as Tom Bianchi(USA), Tracey Moffat(Aust) and rising star Craig Ruddy(Aust), came down today. But keep an eye on this Gallery as they are clearly carving out a distinct niche in Sydney's exhibition scene.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It was chilly on the steps of the Sydney Opera House at sunrise last Monday morning, with not a stitch of clothing. But the sense of comaraderie, optimism and excitement amongst the 5,000 other participants in Spencer Tunick's "The Base" was palpable. Waves of body heat would waft through the throng and a delightful, subtle but pervasive perfume permeated the event. With a 3.30am start for most of us we knew that everyone there was equally keen to be a part of art history in the making.

All shapes and sizes, every conceivable body type, was present though one thing that struck me was how few coloured people were there. It was without a doubt mostly a white person's event, at least from where I was standing, which surprised me considering the diverse population of Sydney. There were certainly some very beautiful people and some very beautifully decorated people, amongst the crowd; straight couples, gay couples and lots of individuals who seemingly had no trouble making intimate aquaintence with a stranger when Spencer requested a shot of everyone kissing, or at least embracing, the person next to them.

But it was the ordinary-ness of the event which really struck home. How completely relaxed we all were with our nakedness, with our sameness amidst the apparent differences. When we were asked to raise both hands high in the air it was like being in a dense forest. I left feeling inspired and uplifted but mostly just very calm. It was also empowering insofar as images of masses of naked humans has always, since first seeing such films as an adolescent, taken me to the Nazi gas chambers of WW2. Being a part of The Base has totally transformed that experience.

Late in January this year I took part in ESP Gallery's "New Work:New Decade", creating a piece related to my street artworks on-site at the Marrickville gallery, more or less completing it during the opening night, as a performance piece. At the close of the exhibition I continued working on Large Untitled No2 (Urban Landscape) in my studio until I felt it was complete and ready to submit for the Wynne at the Art Gallery of NSW. Judging is next week.