Biographies – Martin Rowney @ Belconnen Arts Centre

29 July – 20 August 2017

Small targeted exhibitions are often surprisingly interesting.  Martin Rowney has five works on display at the Belconnen Arts Centre around the lives of four people. Each of the art works have unique elements in them that speak to the life and individual and reflect the back story that is displayed on the wall. Each of the works has an artistic interest and merit in itself but become richer with the person’s brief bio in mind.

Rowney is an archaeologist who uses art to communicate elements of his work. The pics and gallery materials are below.

What is the Meme-ing of this? @ Casula Powerhouse

The website explains this exhibition in part in the following way

CPAC Youth proudly present an array of works created by young people expressing how youth consume and interact with media, questioning what media is for young people, as well as how they are represented within it.

‘What’s the Meme-ing of this?!’ draws from a counter-culture created by millennials, and a territory often foreign to professionals to show how Memes can use humour, play and divergent thinking as vehicles to push agendas that resonate with young audiences.

The images are often fun and often confronting. A great take on Memes

Website

http://www.casulapowerhouse.com/whats-on/exhibitions2/whats-the-meme-ing-of-this

Pics

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New World Order @ Casula Powerhouse

9 Dec 2016 – 12 Feb 2017

This is an awesomely timed exhibition at the end of a remarkable year of post truth, white conspiracy ascendancy. In the blurb below the ambit of the show is spelt out. I went through the exhibition without reading the blurb and well researched booklet that goes with the artworks. I found some of the works worrying with their clarity of the nature of the challenge posed by some of the issues addressed. To me the most remarkable was three and four below which addressed blockchain and bitcoin in a discomforting way. I loved this exhibition for its adventurous spirit.

Artists: Hany Armanious, Simon Denny, Beau Emmett, Eva and Franco Mattes, Soda_Jerk, Jess Johnson, Alexis Mailles and Yujun Ye, Ryan Presley, Zoe M. Robertson, Suzanne Treister and Pope Alice Xorporation.

The blurb below takes you to the heart of this exhibition

Exposés, conspiracy theories, cybernetic tarot cards, hacked city-scapes, UFO blanket paintings, alternate currencies, illusions, paradoxes and alternate endings, New World Order is an opportunity to think about how we make sense of the world in a post-internet era.
Website
Some sample pics

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Ships, clocks and stars: The Quest for Longitude @ Australian National Maritime Museum

5 May – 30 October 2016

One of the hats I wear is that I am a Middle School History teacher. We study the Middle Ages and the voyages of discovery so the idea of an exhibition about The Search for Longitude combined professional learning and fun.  The Australian National Maritime Museum is the right place for this exhibition and their exhibitions are always thoroughly researched and intelligently mounted.

I am in awe of this exhibition. It intelligently tells the story of the quest for an accurate way to establish longitude while sailing around the world. They track the scientific integration with government quests to solve the problem. There is a marvellous textual and pictorial narrative of the larger than life characters involveed and the intense competition and rivalry between people involved in the quest.

The bit I liked the most was that they had working examples of the various clock like devices and lots of other instruments such as sextants. I was riveted to the wonderful text panels and other display materials

The saddest part of this exhibition was there was a ban on photography in side so I have only included two pics taken of the publicity materials on the way up to the area where the exhibition was held.

This was a great experience and it is an exhibition at the right place.

Website page

http://www.anmm.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/on-now/ships-clocks-stars

Advert Flyer

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Dogs and Pigs – Shan Cosbie @ Belconnen Arts Centre

24 June – 17 July 2016

Striking name for an art exhibition heh – Pigs and Dogs. Shan Crosbie explores different attitudes humans have to animals that are in many aspects similar. The artist points out in the blurb that we eat out bacon and love our dog.

Each of the eighty portraits of dogs and pigs on the wall present the animals as loveable and relatable.  Shan clearly wants to highlight these seemingly strange attitudes to creatures that are likeable.

Look at the pics below and the gallery sheet.

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Play 201301 – Xu Zhen @ National Gallery of Australia

In half of what used to be the Sculpture gallery on the eastern extreme of the National Gallery of Australia there is a large medieval style castle/church style sculpture made out of clothing and equipment used by people of the BDSM sexual movment. It is very large (apparently weighing close to a tonne). It is arresting to look at being made almost exclusively of black leather and chrome plated metal.

My first time looking at the sculpture in this very large space I spend most of the time in constant laughter. This is a wonderful funny piece of art. Lots of layers of meaning and playful elements. Churches and castles are very public buildings lots of BDSM activities have been private, Those buildings are made of hard cold rock and bdsm items are often made out of soft leather.  The transformation of hundreds of sexual peccadillo elements into this vast castle combined with the fact that it is suspended in mid air by enormous ropes still brings a laugh.  It would be wonderful to chat with the bloke about the layers of meaning he was weaving together into this work. In chatting with one of the security guards making sure no one nicks any bits of it I commented about the startling amount of money that would have been spent to buy all the elements of this work.

There is a review and some clips on the following link an some pics below:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/one-tonne-bondage-castle-goes-on-display-at-canberras-national-gallery-of-australia-20160603-gpb81d.html

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Race @ Wyndham Cultural Centre

This is “An exhibition by renowned national and international artists, examining issues of racism.” and it sure does what the blurb says.

Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, Destiny Deacon, Gordon Hookey, Dianne Jones, William Kentridge, David Sequeira, Wani Le Frere, and Vicki West are the exhibiting artists.

William Kentridge created a remarkable black and white charcoal animation dealing with exploitative mining. Richard Bell has exhibited a confronting video of racism teased out in a psychiatrist’s room. David Sequeira’s black and white pop art inspired expression of many of the issues he has faced as an Indian in Australia is a visual feast.

I loved the set and it was good to meet Wani Le Friere at the gallery who had contributed some great compositions which deal with fashion and race.

Pics below and the web link

http://www.wyncc.com.au/art_gallery/race_

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Australian Design Awards 2016 @ Overseas Passenger Terminal – Sydney

A great exhibition in Sydney in May was the display of the award winners of the annual Australian Design competition. The range of materials on display ranged from the very high tech Tesla motor vehicle down to little plastic molds in which you can have vertical garden to green up your apartment. The walk around this exhibition was highly fascinating. Designers are an interesting breed. They all seem to be stimulated by novelty and transformation. I was impressed by appliances,.educational aids for people learning Braille, little constructed nooks for both homes and aircraft. The list is huge but the range was so diverse it kept me wanting more.

Below are some pics of some of the materials on display.

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Blake Prize 2015 @ Casula Powerhouse

The biggest single art  show I have seen in the last several months is the Blake Prize show at the Casula Powerhouse. The displays cover all the gallery spaces and as a religious ideas prize the content and styles are awesomely wide.

There are a large group of cut out bright outlined cardinals. There is a display that takes mugs from ornamental isolation on shelves to smashed rubble returning to the ground..There are portraits, there are mythical style creations and a delightful pair of spray bottles that  are bigger than I am.

The range and diversity of styles in this exhibition includes a large carcass of meat. There is a great installation that uses hats and flat screens that tie together the celebration of a birthday. I usually only get one visit to these and in this case I wish I could get back. It was an inspiring set of art works.

Below is a set of snaps taken on the phone in the gallery.

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