News, Reviews, Visual arts

Photography in a new light

Review: Michael Reid (curator), ‘Light Years’/Sandra Murray (curator), ‘Abstracted’ ·
Perth Centre for Photography, FLUX Gallery ·
Review by Belinda Hermawan ·

When I visited the Perth Centre for Photography in 2017 to view the Iris Award finalists, I remember questioning the suitability of its Subiaco location. Hay Street was a shadow of itself. Among shopfronts for lease and cafes with no patrons, I half expected a tumbleweed to come rolling past.

However, with upgrades at its previous West Perth gallery, PCP had at least taken up the invitation to relocate temporarily to The Colonnade – an option surely better than a hiatus. In doing so, the centre demonstrated its ongoing commitment to showcasing and promoting the best of the State’s photography.

Two years later, ahead of the 2019 Iris Award, we see PCP relocated to a central location at the King Street Arts Centre, in the gallery previously occupied by FORM. FLUX Gallery is described as a ‘new, seasonal gallery initiative’. In what appears to be a realistic response to the economic realities of supporting the arts, FLUX will also exhibit non-photographic work in an effort to operate sustainably and attract more stakeholder support of the initiative.

FLUX has commenced its program with two exhibitions. Michael Reid’s inaugural lightbox exhibition ‘Light Years: 1999-2019’ showcases works by Narelle Autio, Nici Cumpston, Marian Drew, Derek Henderson, Petrina Hicks, Joseph McGlennon, Fabian Muir, Catherine Nelson, Polixini Papapetrou, Trente Parke, Joan Ross, Luke Shadboldt and Christian Thompson.

Diverse and colourful, the exhibition illuminates the wonder and refinement that comes with technological progress in this artform. Lightboxes were once hot and clunky, and contemporary photography held only a small share of the art market. Now LED-enabled boxes present images with a magical quality, enriching colour and creating a vibrant, immersive experience that will make the viewer almost forget the prints are two-dimensional.

In a world where social media users play with filters and light to create the perfect Insta-worthy image, this exhibition is highly accessible and reminds us why contemporary photography is in such high demand.

Also on show at FLUX is ‘Abstracted’, curated by Sandra Murray and featuring works from Jennifer Cochrane, Tom Freeman, Chris Hopewell, Ian Williams and Gera Woltjer. These works are striking in a different way to the Technicolour-effect of ‘Light Years’.

The artists use colour at times but delight us with a variety of mediums and techniques. Cochrane’s impressive geometric structure in primary blue is a deserving centrepiece, beautiful in its angles and scale. Hopewell’s paintings feature a wet-look effect from his use of black resin; these fluid formations have surprising depth. Williams’ oil paintings are playful with shape, colour and shadow. His slices of gold, deep purples and pale peach are a real highlight in the white gallery space. Freeman’s glazed stoneware sculptures are curiosities with curves and coils that will prompt you to circle the plinths for a range of views. Woltjer’s installation piece is another winner: swimming pool lanes recreated on a wall and extending down to the floor.

At times, surviving in the arts must seem like a constant effort: a swimmer in a perpetual training session, propelling themselves, completing stroke after stroke, lap after lap, the tiled T-mark denoting the end of a lane, a cue to tumble-turn and do it all over again.

PCP’s renewed effort to garner support for creative industries and to find a way to keep swimming, whether there appears to be light or not, is particularly encouraging and worthy of commendation. With the benefit of a central location and exciting exhibitions, FLUX Gallery will hopefully be here for many years to come.

Light Years and Abstracted run until August 3 at FLUX Gallery (Wednesday to Saturday, 11am-3pm), 357 Murray Street, Perth.

Pictured top: Catherine Nelson’s Mission I (detail) is among the  works displayed with a touch of magic through LED-enabled boxes at FLUX Gallery.

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Dancer caught in air mid-leap
Dance, News, Performing arts, Reviews

No short cuts here

Review: STRUT Dance, ‘Short Cuts 2019 – Program A’ ·
Studio 3, King Street Arts Centre ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

There’s something special about seeing dance performed in a studio setting. It’s that sense of peeping behind-the-scenes, watching dance in the place that it’s made. For this reason, I’m always pleased to head along to STRUT Dance’s annual “Short Cuts”, a mixed bill of short new contemporary dance works by independent artists, divided into two programs, A and B.

As the audience is reminded each year, each “Short Cuts” artist has just 20 hours in the studio to create and rehearse their work. So, although the program is presented to the public, the works are generally first-stage developments of new ideas; works in progress.

The nature of “Short Cuts” makes it more accessible to younger choreographers than most creative opportunities, and this year’s Program A is comprised, predominantly, of works from young emerging choreographers, with the exception of Unsex me here, created and performed by Kynan Hughes and Bridget Le May. An exploration of the character of Lady Macbeth, this grappling and compelling duet is accompanied by droning strings, electronic beats and snatches of text from Macbeth, spoken with intensity by Le May. Particularly effective is the use of a hand-held light which creates pockets of darkness as it disappears between the dancers’ bodies as they clasp one another.

At the other end of the spectrum, in terms of professional experience, are two works by 2018 graduates of WAAPA’s Link Dance Company (a one-year pre-professional company for graduates). fish feet, by Jessie Camilleri-Seeber and Jocelyn Eddie, is a primary-coloured, four-part “conversation as word association” performed by Alex Abbot, Rhiana Katz, Kimberley Parkin and Macon Riley. A series of overlapping and interweaving anecdotes from four characters – accompanied by and interspersed with solos, duets and quartets – this work has a cartoon-like feel. Nights in White Satin, by Kimberley Parkin, is a solo work (plus cameo by Parkin), performed by Ana Music, in which the dancer lurches, physically and metaphorically, from audience member to performer. Though entertaining, and performed with zesty aplomb by their young casts, both these offerings felt a little too ambitious in terms of length and scope.

The remaining four works are by dance artists who graduated from WAAPA between 2013 and 2016. Two are solos, the first of which is Tried, In My Way, choreographed and performed by May Greenberg. Set to a recording of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” by Ester Ofarim (but initially sung unaccompanied by Greenberg), this gutsy solo showcases Greenberg’s strengths with surges and collapses, and long leg extensions that draw air-borne circles. The second solo, Different I’s, is choreographed by Russell Thorpe and performed by Rhiana Katz. Investigating “consciousness and how we remember ourselves”, Different I’s has a dreamy, thoughtful quality, that was beautifully conveyed by Katz.

For me, the two highlights of the evening were the first and last pieces. Opening the program, The Collapse of Brief Systems, choreographed by Dean-Ryan Lincoln and danced by Lincoln and Tahlia Russell, impressed with its movement exploration. In particular, the latter section of the work, in which a subtle weight shift almost imperceptibly expands and morphs from quiet to desperate gestures, is captivating.

Concluding proceedings, Mitchell Harvey’s Views and Series is trio for three women that takes its inspiration from the paintings of Japanese artist Hokusai. Though the resulting work seems more abstract than the program notes imply, as an exploration of movement and light, this work is engaging. The strong drum beat of Hirota Joji’s “Heart Beat” drives the work, which is at times serene and sculptural, at others athletic and sensual. There’s a pleasing physicality to this work, embodied here by dancers Ana Music, May Greenberg and Zoe Wozniak.

With its limited creative development and rehearsal time, “Short Cuts” can be a mixed bag. This year’s Program A, though varied, is consistently engaging.

“Short Cuts – Program A” is showing again at 5pm, Saturday 13 April. Program B runs Friday 12 April and Saturday 13 April at 7pm.

Pictured top is Mel Tan, whose work appears in “Short Cuts – Program B. Photo: Simon Pynt

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Dancer caught in air mid-leap
April 19, Calendar, Dance, Featured, Performing arts

Dance: Short Cuts

11 – 13 April @ Studio 3, King Street Arts Centre ·
Presented by STRUT Dance ·

STRUT Dance presents its annual season of diverse new short works from independent WA choreographers. From established artists to new graduates, Short Cuts provides a snapshot of the huge variety of contemporary dance happening right here in WA. Armed with just 20 hours of studio time, artists make a daring leap into the unknown and kick start a new idea.Many a bold dance work has found its first footing in Short Cuts, so step inside the King St Arts Centre and witness those new sparks fly…

Presented in an intimate studio setting, the program showcases 15 new short works from WA choreographers/choreographic teams, split into two programs (each performed twice).

Program A
Thu 11 April – 7pm
Sat 13 April – 5pm
Choreographers: Dean-Ryan Lincoln, Jocelyn Eddie & Jessie Camilleri-Seeber, Kynan Hughes & Bridget Le May, Kimberley Parkin, May Greenberg, Mitchell Harvey and Russell Thorpe

Program B
Fri 12 April – 7pm
Sat 13 April – 7pm
Choreographers: Azariah Felton, Bethany Reece & Aimee Sadler, Hannah Phillips, Mel Tan & Logan Ringshaw, Rikki Bremner, Scott Galbraith, Scott Ewen and Talitha Maslin

Tickets: $25/$20
Bookings: www.trybooking.com/ZRDG

More info
W: www.strutdance.org.au/opportunities/performances/short-cuts-11-13-april
E:  communications@strutdance.org.au

Pictured: Mel Tan, photo credit: Simon Pynt

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Networking Night II
Calendar, Dance, Lectures and Talks, November 18

Lectures & Talks: Networking Night II with Simon Stewart and Ian Wilkes

14 November @ King Street Arts Centre ·
Presented by Ausdance WA ·

Join us for a discussion on where traditional aboriginal dance sits in the contemporary setting with Simon Stewart and Ian Wilkes.

Join Ausdance WA for a night of wine, cheese and of course DANCE!  Our Networking Nights are a great opportunity to connect with the WA Dance Community and expand your knowledge. Following multitudes of requests on this subject, we decided to base the talk on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance.

Learn about the respectful use of Indigenous cultural material and information about life experiences with the basic principals of: respect, Indigenous control, communication and consultation. This is a timely opportunity to question our perceptions and expand our knowledge on how best to integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This is a great night for all individuals interested in dance.

About our guests:
Ian Wilkes is a traditional Noongar dancer, writer, director and actor who has performed recently in 3.3 and Kwongkan [sand] with Ochre Contemporary Dance Company. He is pictured in the above image with performers Nadia Martich and Isha Sharvani.

Simon Stewart is a celebrated Aboriginal contemporary choreographer, who is a Sessional Lecturer at WAAPA and regularly works with Ochre Contemporary Dance Company. Recently Simon worked with High School Students directly in a residency at All Saint’s College.

Limited spaces are available for this night so get in quick!
Wednesday, 14 November from 6:00 p.m.   Doors open 5:30 p.m.
Large Meeting Room, Level 1, King Street Arts Centre
There will be wine and cheese on the night!
Members $10.00 | Non-Members $15.00

More info:
W: https://www.ausdancewa.org.au/product/networking-night-ii/
E:  memberships.wa@ausdancewa.org.au

Pictured:
Networking Night II

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Fast Art Talks
Calendar, Lectures and Talks, October 18

Lectures & Talks: Fast Art Talks

18 October @ King Street Arts Centre ·
Presented by Community Arts Network ·

CAN (Community Arts Network) presents
Fast Art Talks
Short / Sharp / Creative / Community / Art / Projects /
$10 // FREE for CAN members
Ticket includes drinks and nibbles.

Join us for a relaxed sundowner as we unpack three creative projects celebrating diverse voices in our communities. Find out about the process and practice driving these projects and the role of the creative producer to platform these voices.

King Street Arts Centre is at 357-365 Murray Street, Perth. Fast Art Talks is from 5pm-7pm.

Presenters: Caroline Wood, Director for Centre for Stories, on ‘Bright Lights, No City’ project. Ashley Yihsin Chang, Turner Galleries, on ‘Guanyin in the South West: A Portrait of Taiwan in Perth’ project and Jessica Wraight, CAN on ‘Clay Boodjar Exhibition’.

More info: www.canwa.com.au/offering/fast-art-talks-2/

Pictured: Fast Art Talks

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three dancers
Calendar, Dance, June 18, Performing arts

Dance: Short Cuts

14-16 June @ Studio 3, King Street Arts Centre, 365 Murray Street, Perth WA 6000 ·
Presented by STRUT Dance ·

Explore the ecosystem of independent dance in WA.

STRUT Dance is excited to present its SHORT CUTS season of diverse new short contemporary dance works from Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 June in Studio 3 at the King Street Arts Centre.

4 performances across 3 nights and 2 programs – presenting 14 new works from across STRUT’s membership.

Program A: Performances: Thurs 14 @ 7pm, Sat 16 @ 5pm

Bernadette Lewis with Laura Boynes, Natalie Allen & Yilin Kong
Camille Spencer (music composed by Azariah Felton)
Ellen-Hope Thomson (music composed by Annika Moses)
Emma Fishwick (music composed Niharika Senapati)
Joshua Pether
Samuel Harnett-Welk
Storm Helmore

Program B: Performances: Fri 15 @ 7pm, Sat 16 @ 7pm

Anneliese Kirk & Azariah Felton (music composed by Azariah Felton)
Dean Ryan Lincoln
Marnie Hungerford
Noah Jimmy (music composed by Louis Frere-Harvey)
Sally Richardson with Natalie Allen (sound and lighting by Joe Lui)
Sarah Chaffey (music composed by Matthew Lyall Cole)
Tahlia Russell

All performances in Studio 3, King Street Arts Centre

Tickets $20/$15 at www.trybooking.com/TJFE

More info: http://strutdance.org.au/opportunities/performances/short-cuts-june-14-16
Email: communications@strutdance.org.au

Image by Simon Pynt.

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