Failing to communicate – Sabrina Baker @ Photoaccess

25 May – 18 June 2016

Sabrina Bakers work is fully explained in the gallery sheet below. The heart of the exhibition is a video of her pumping up an inflatable raft dressed in a smock made out of signal flag material and more of her rowing on Lake Burley Griffin in such smocks. In the gallery she has a clothes rack with a large collection of smocks made out of a big range of signal  flags. The exhibition is a commentary on the place of spaces like Lake Burley Griffin.

 

White Lies, Grey Heart – Damon Craig @ M16 Artspace

29 September 16 October 2016

This exhibition ties together Naval service in the Middle East, found objects and Post traumatic shock syndrome. The works have bull dog clips, cut up photographs and lots of other elements. Damon Craig explores his diverse experience of life through these delightful artworks.

Some pictures below give the look of the works.

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200 years of Australian Fashion @ National Gallery of Victoria

I am not into fashion personally. I love all the visual arts and so fashion in a gallery is always a draw card for me. The National Gallery of Victoria has mounted a gorgeous exhibition taking (largely women’s) fashion from early European settlement to the present. It mainly focuses on the elegant and the cutting edge designer material which is arguably the best approach. I also love the curator’s art and this has great use of divided spaces, colour change, thematic collection and mainly accessible objects to look at. The use of old timber flooring, drapes and period style wallpapers lifted the experience.

Your entry is through pale grey blue spaces with limited examples from the early colonial years. Lots of long dresses, lace bodices and a limited colour range. Later you are exposed to department store clothing, colourful knitwear through to the sixties and the catwalks of high fashion. The cornucopia of ideas and colourful use of fabric and design is a rich delight.

The website link below has some information and there are some pics below.

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200 Years of Australian Fashion

 

Hidden Faces – Ignite Visual Artists @ Belconnen Arts Centre

20 November – 13 December 2015

This exhibition was a set of works created by Ignite Visual artists who are people who have been dealing with mental health issues yet work within the creative arts. More details are on the text panels attached below and a sense of the range of works is seen in the pics.

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David Bowie Is.. @ Australian Centre for the Moving Image

16 Jul – 1 Nov
This exhibition was a truly great experience for me. I saw the three concert visit David Bowie made to London in the 18 months I lived there in my 20s. When I heard this was on in London some years ago I even priced the cost of flying there so the delight when told it was coming to Melbourne I was ecstatic
In my humble view Bowie is one of the greatest creative people in the last 50 years. The exhibition confirmed me in the view. It took me just 210 minutes to get through. The costumes, the dance steps, the videos, the music, the films, the collaboration, the ephemera, the lyrics, the interviews,the collaborations, and the list goes on.Always creating new personas aways setting new trends and always with a unique take on the times.
I am deeply grateful to David for over four decades of enjoyment and to the V&A for their role in creating this exhibition.
Surprisingly for such a great media user there was a no photography policy. I sneakily took a few of the costumes they are only a tiny fraction of what is there at ACM?I
Website page with lots of limits and a few pics and ephemera below.
http://www.acmi.net.au/bowie?gclid=CPCf0Y7jxsgCFQqAvQodCx4J2A
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Recollect – Underwear @ Powerhouse Museum Sydney

There is a delightful small exhibition of underwear on at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. The blurb speaks of “Naughty and Nice” which is what you might expect in a show of this kind. The exhibition included good history like Chesty Bond (including statue) . It draws attention to the powerful presence of Australian companies in this global industry. Some of the items are for street wear but some are strictly for the boudoir. Most of the material is women’s underwear as the boom in male designer underwear did not occur till recently. This set is drawn from the Museum’s collection and seems to be a sensible exhibition in such a place.
Sample pics below
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Paul Gaultier @ National Gallery of Victoria

Sumptuous does not get close. All art combines skill and creativity. The work on display from Paul Gaultier haut couture doyen from London has transformed my sense of art when applied to clothing. The display on at present in the NGV at St Kilda Road has everything – history, theatre, colour, diversity are woven together to give an exuberant sense of fun and flair.
Gailtier’s work weaves elements together from cultures and societies from all around the world. It draws on fantasy, the animal kingdom, social change and many other sources.
I am a t-shirt and shorts person myself. I have never bought a seriously high fashion item of clothing in my life. To me high end shoping is when I move from Salvos to Lowes. However I drooled for two hours over some of the most stunningly beautiful items of clothing I have ever seen. Some were over the top and almost unwearable but most were fascinating examples of the art of clothes making.
THe video and guide material showed his enthusiasm for his art. The variety and range of the clothes showed he had done fabulous work over decades. He has some distinctiv motifs but is never constrained by any form. The whole collection speaks of enormous talent worked through a creative team.
My bigest regret was that I only got there at 3pm which meant I had only two hours (I used all of it). The pics below do not do the show justice.
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Creative License @ Craft ACT

Imagine getting a diverse group of artists together and saying “We have a big pile of number plates from the Centenary of Canberra celebration”. “Guess what!” “We want you all to go and create great artworks all from these.” “THey did that!” and the artists have come through in a wonderful exhibition at the CraftACT gallery in Civic.
I walked in at a time when three of the artists were speaking about their work and so that was fun. I even got permission to take some pics of their work from the actual artists.
The first artist was Sam Cameron with his C100 Line Runner. It was a layered powerful looking remote racing car like device that has a flat Hexagonal tray on which to operate. On the tray is a map of Canberra around the CBD with London circuit done in Black. The racer made out of beautifully engineered number plate sections turns based on how its sensors pick up and respond to the black of London Circuit. Fun, beautiful and inventive.
Elizabeth Kelly with Stomachion after the Archemedies Palimpses was next. At first glance I thought this was an attractive geometric artwork with a collection of colours and surfaces in the metals including number plates. Then Elizabeth let us play with it. All the bits are on nylon boards and magnetised so you can move them around and make new shapes. Again this was a playful and yet serious piece of artistic invention. Great to look at and engaging to play with.
Ximeno Briceno went for An Uncu for a Wari Princess to use her number plates. She told us a great story about how she engaged people of her heritage in South America in producing the cloth and in forming the number plate discs including a near brush with quarantine in bringing her beautiful garment to the exhibition.
These three are part of a delightful collection of objects on display – each with a unique take and each with a radiant creativity about it.
Pics and gallery sheet below:
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Oceanic arts Pacifica @ Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

In the last few years I have seen more Pacific and Islander arts than in any previous decade. The National Gallery of Australia had a Pacific and a Bali Exhibition which were rich and comprehensive and the Art Gallery of New South Wales had a New Guinea exhibition that was varied and full of historical insight.
The Casula Powerhouse had an annual Pacific festival and the Oceanic Arts people have put on this set of delightful pieces as part of that. The exhibition consists of totems, masks, sheilds, ceremonial costumes of the most fragile materials and other artifacts from Pacific culture. The objects themselves are very engaging and use diverse techniques and skills to create.
I am one of these reading types and so the only disappointing part of the exhibition was the limited text on the walls to accompany the displayed objects. Pictures below:IMAG9114

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Stars of the Tokyo Stage – Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints @ National Gallery of Austraia

Japan is endlessly fascinating. Their unique creativity shows in every form or artistic creation. The current exhibition featuring Japanese creativity at the National Gallery is focused on a long lasting theatre tradition. The Kabuki theatre is complex, beautiful and weaves together a range of elements. This exhibition covers character, plot, costumes, publicity and personel over the hundreds of years these traditions have continued through.

Families have played roles in Kabuki generation after generation. They have samples in the exhibition of PR pictures done by a grandfather and decades later by his grandson. The interweaving of people and roles over generations shows up throughout this exhibition. The costumes are sumptuous, richly-coloured creatively embroidered artworks. There is a film of one of the plays in a 1943 print in a mini theatre within the exhibition. I love the Japanese aesthetic in most art forms and this exhibition is colourful and richly backed with great historical details in the walls.

The NGA has some fabulous website backing to this exhibition. Their anti photograph policy and no gallery sheets to take way means it is often hard to go back and remember the details without buying the 40-75 dollar type books they produce for most of their exhibitions. Not so for this exhibition. The website has a gallery of a few dozen pictures that are part of the exhibition and there is a delightful secondary school resource that is there in PDF form with great glossy illustrations. 

http://nga.gov.au/TokyoStage/Default.cfm

Here is one of the pics from the gallery to give you a sense of the beauty of this material.japana