Review: Binja-Bilya-Warden by Bradley Kickett ·
Paper Mountain, 21 March ·
Review by Miranda Johnson ·
When we think of water, we tend to think of it as a singular entity. It moves and shifts, but ultimately, it’s all part of the same whole. Bradley Kickett’s abstract paintings at Paper Mountain show water as multifarious: a teeming, shining, sometimes muddy, sometimes pure, collection of bodies, none of which are really the same.
Kickett’s paintings follow the waters that move from inland, east of York, through Mount Stirling, and the Avon River by Northam, which turns into the Swan, ultimately feeding into the ocean. By tracking the water’s journey, he displays the differences between waters; the salt flats, the clear streams and the brackish mud.
Kickett has a very distinctive style of dot painting combined with paint pouring, so the colours mix and meld together to show the nuance and movement of the water. He states that he is more interested in the formal and technical qualities of painting than that of symbolism or storytelling, and the paintings’ detail and style is intricate and precise as one can be when pouring paint.
The paintings require a lot of time spent on each individual image to fully appreciate the differences, so at times it feels like perhaps a few less paintings might have been a more effective choice for a solo exhibition. However, taking the time to look at them individually is rewarding, as it’s surprising how different they all appear in the details. Bodies of water are like any other bodies, with bumps, swells, and colours that are unique and deeply personal, and Kickett portrays these bodies with precision and focus.
Are you sitting comfortably? If not, why not? These are some of the questions choreographer April Vardy asks in her new work Shall we get comfy?, premiering at Fringe World this month. In her Fringe Session Q&A, April takes her turn answering, rather than asking, the questions.
Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist? April Vardy: I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wanted to be an artist. Going through university you slowly begin to realise and understand what it means to be an artist in the world. Being exposed and inspired by so many people through my studies at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), such as Emma Fishwick, Storm Helmore, Talitha Maslin and Isabella Stone… they all gave me insight and a desire to pursue life as an artist. Having that sense of artist in myself is still growing, and may never stop but the confidence and daringness, is expanding the more I get to be creative and make movement or contemporary dance works.
S: Career highlight so far? AV: Definitely performing at Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest city park. This was during my time in LINK Dance Company (WAAPA’s graduate dance company). There was only myself and three others in the company at the time, Tanya Brown, Cheyenne Davis and Antonio Rinaldi. It was an amazing experience to have the sun setting in your vision as you were dancing on stage. Also having the audience filled with absolute strangers who may have just stopped whilst walking their dogs was a beautiful thought.
S: What do you love most about what you do? AV: I love being able to see my ideas come to life… it is so satisfying. Having a vision and it working exactly how you thought, which is rare, or collaborating with dancers who are willing to give things a go to figure out what it is exactly you are looking for… I love being surrounded by such amazingly creative and talented people. Lastly, I love sharing what I have done, no matter how small, with friends, family and anyone who will come along.
S: Tell us about Shall we get comfy?, your 2018 Fringe show! AV:Shall we get comfy? is an exploration of questioning what it means to be comfortable. Do we see our homes as our comfort zones? How do we sit comfortably? Do the people surrounding us change our definition of comfortable? Must you be uncomfortable before you get comfy? How long does it take you to get comfortable with a person?
I feel as though comfort is something everyone can relate to whether it’s a place, a song or person, there is always something that can bring us comfort in life when we need it. I hope to answer all these questions and more with the help of my dancers.
S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl? AV: I have always enjoyed the time of year when there is so much happening in Perth for celebrating the arts, and I thought why not let myself have a moment to get creative and choreography a dance work. I was craving the chance to be creative and needed something to satisfy this feeling and I thought Fringe would fill the void. A lot of friends’ support and encouragement also pushed me to enter to something in Fringe, as well as talented dancer friends volunteering their time to help my ideas come to life.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment? AV: Definitely not the monkey bars, they were never my thing but probably just a simple swing. Nothing beats that feeling of being pushed higher and higher!
“You’ll get your content” is the motto scrawled across the promo image for the Raglan Fetish Show, a one-man show featuring Patrick Downlow, Esq. that features lipsync, transgression, spoken word poetry, audience participation and cursed images… all at once.
Is that a promise or a threat? Seesaw caught up with Patrick Downlow Esq. (AKA writer/performer Nick Morlet) to find out more about this unusual character and his show.
Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist? Patrick Downlow Esq.: It was maybe 2009 when I realised that, for the most part, lay people simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to furnish themselves with the kind of content they truly deserve. I was at my office viewing footage an associate had sent me of a migrating herd of critically endangered Saiga antelope when it occurred to me that I’m in a position to really help others, in ways they never knew they needed help to begin with.
S: Did you do formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both? PD: I suppose it could be said I’ve been training all my life… from my childhood spent in the attic amongst the mouldering stacks of Nat Geos and Women’s Weeklies, to that first CRT monitor and the widening world of screen-based content it brought into our home.
I digress, or rather, regress. My on-the-job training started really at my first journalism job, reviewing local film festivals and gallery openings but I consider my true inception as an artist to be when I opened my first content dissemination firm in 2004. From there it was just a matter of realising my ultimate path, to become the person I am today.
S: Describe your artistic practice… PD: There are, in essence, two pathways open to people who are interested in soliciting my services: the first, one-on-one coaching wherein I not only expose people to content that I, through a rigorous period of research, find most appropriate but also! divulge to them my patented methods and means of content procurement. This is, of course, not comprehensive of my entire practice but is certainly more in-depth than your usual sub-Reddit listing or Instagram exposé.
The second is geared more towards group sessions and this is what I will be showcasing in my debut Fringe performance, the Raglan Fetish Show. Both multi-modal and interdisciplinary in focus, the show takes the guise of a conventionally presentational one-man act, but certain technical and, let’s say, attitudinal aspects of the production will impress upon the audience that what they see is meta-content at the bleeding edge, a “22nd-century TedX talk” so to speak.
S: What do you love most about what you do? PD: Just the very particular, very special way an under-occupied individual’s dull face lights up when they see an example of especially good content, for what must feel like the first time in their lives.
S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl? PD: People are at Fringe for one thing, and one thing only: content. Whether or not they get the best is up to them but I feel I can help raise awareness, so that audiences can best decide where to put their valuable selves. In other words, I saw a niche, I filled a niche. Now, as they say, all there is to do is to sit back and wait for the kudos to roll in.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment? PD: The large web-like climbing apparatuses, found, for example, on the Freo esplanade.
Fringe World review: The Honeymoon Suite by Bernadette Lewis ·
Paper Mountain gallery, 1 February ·
Review by Nina Levy ·
Entering the Paper Mountain gallery space to see Bernadette Lewis’s The Honeymoon Suite, I come upon two be-sequinned dancers lying entwined, pretzel-like, around one another. Part-performance, part installation, two gallery walls feature luminous, blue-hued stills of the dancers, by photographer Emma Fishwick. The other two display an assortment of objects united by pinkness; flowers, hand-weights, slippers, ice cream cones, puzzle pieces.
The gallery, which is unusually long and narrow for a dance performance space, is mostly taken up by a rubber dance floor; the audience hovers at its edge, bathed in the subtle rosy glow that illuminates the show as a whole. There’s a gently 80s vibe permeating the room; the sequins, the neon sign, the background pop music, the musk sticks on offer.
The segue between before-the-show and the-show-has-definitely-started is subtle, appropriately, perhaps, for a work that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Musically the vibe hovers somewhere between lounge and the aforementioned 80s pop, with a handful of electronica thrown in for good measure.
Against this soundscape the movement teeters between sensual and silly, occasionally tipping into sinister. Now the dancers (Laura Boynes and Tanya Brown) recline like glamorous 50s film stars, their long hair flung back, their fingers holding invisible cigarettes aloft. Now they traverse the width of the performance space on their bottoms, hips shifting in a comical race to the end. Now they become entangled as they wrestle, more foes than friends. Boynes and Brown are gorgeous to watch as they morph, with careless ease, through the many moods of this work.
A fabulously kooky scene sees the dancers become a moving, ice-cream eating sculpture. Another involves climbing the walls, hanging from the window frames and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.
Without giving too much away, the bouncing grand finale is highly satisfying, although as one of the audience members hauled (reluctantly) on stage, the closing moments felt anti-climactic. Aside from my aversion to audience participation, I would have liked to have seen this entertaining concept further developed.
Nonetheless, The Honeymoon Suite is trip into a retro-wonderland. It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time.
23 February @ Paper Mountain, William Street Northbridge ∙
Presented by: Alira Callaghan ∙
The closing night of the Gallery as Residency project by Alira Callaghan will be held at Paper Mountain on the 23rd February at 6pm following two weeks of open-to-the-public creative development having occurred within the gallery space.
Details of the project:
Gallery as Residency is a new exhibition by Alira Callaghan at Paper Mountain that investigates the gallery as a site for creativity. Callaghan will make and exhibit work during the exhibition, transforming the Paper Mountain exhibition space into a dynamic performance space and collaborating with visiting gallery patrons. Taking the concept of the artist residency as a starting point, this performance work unpacks how art is made while creating an experience between participants and the gallery space itself.
Those who were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Bernadette Lewis’s “The Honeymoon Suite” in STRUT Dance’s “Short Cuts” program last year will know that the work is imbued with both sensuality and satire. Seesaw found out a little more about the dynamic emerging choreographer behind “The Honeymoon Suite”, ahead of its Fringe World season.
Seesaw: Tell us about your training… formal training, on-the-job, or a bit of both? Bernadette Lewis: I began my training as an elite level gymnast at age seven, retiring from my Olympic pursuit at the ripe old age of 12 when I started my formal classical, jazz and contemporary dance training. I completed my BA in dance at WAAPA in 2005 and then temporarily retired again before returning for my honours year with LINK Dance Company in 2011. I’ve been learning on the job ever since.
S: Describe your artistic practice… BL: My artistic practice crosses performance, choreography, teaching and community engagement. My choreographic works are moving pastiches that drive toward a dialogue or confluence of high art and pop culture.
S: Career highlight so far? BL: So hard to pick one, but definitely up there is returning to LINK as a guest artist in 2015 to perform in Didier Théron’s Shanghai Bolero at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
S: Career lowlight? BL: The inevitable gaps in work that we independent artists face year in, year out.
S: What do you love most about what you do? BL: Being able to share the absolute joy of dance with all walks of life from professionals, to young aspiring dancers, to kids who can’t afford dance and to seniors who always wanted to.
S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, The Honeymoon Suite! BL:The Honeymoon Suite is a short, contemporary dance work staged in a light, photography and found object installation. It’s a neon, time travelling dreamscape that collages together vintage women’s wrestling, 1940’s beauty queens and the best of 1980’s exercise fads with all the religious fervour of a devout, Mexican Luchadora. It’s a bit slapstick, a bit satirical and abundantly kitsch.
It’s performed by Laura Boynes and Tanya Brown, with killer photography by Emma Fishwick and will be full of colour thanks to some very sage lighting advice from Chris Donnelly.
S: You’ve performed in Fringe before but not presented your own work. What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl as a maker? BL: I’ve been very choosy about entering the Fringe domain as a presenter and have been waiting for the right opportunity to present the right work for some time now. I was determined to be involved in a curated program so when Paper Mountain’s Peaks call out was announced I didn’t want to miss out. I’m a big fan of their volunteer/co-op model and am really interested in placing dance in non-conventional spaces. The Paper Mountain Gallery is an absolute gift for us.
S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe? BL: I can’t wait to see the rest of the Peaks program and “MicroMove” at The Blue Room as part of Summer Nights, where I’ll be performing in Scott Elstermann’s Act 2, Scenes 1-4 – The Murder / The Horror / The Arrest / The Escape.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment? BL: The swings. No doubt about it.
What do you get when you mix performance poetry, spoken word and rap? Star-Crossed Poets, a group of Perth performers who will be mixing poetry with a little hip-hop at Fringe World. Jesse Oliver, founder of Star-Crossed Poets, gave Seesaw an insight into the wonderful world of performance poetry… including competing nationally!
Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist? Jesse Oliver: I knew I wanted to be an artist when I realised that my poetry is worth more to me than having money. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of artists start. I left a full-time retail job and lived hard for the art! I’m just glad it paid off in the past year.
S: Did you do formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both? JO: In the few years leading up to the National Poetry Slam, I trained myself in my bedroom. I think you’re the hardest on yourself, the worst critic… but that can be a good thing! It just requires patience, forgiveness, determination and being able to recognise when something’s finished.
S: Describe your artistic practice. JO: Usually my best work comes to me around 11pm when I’m falling asleep and I annoy my girlfriend by jumping out of bed and scrambling for a pen in the dark. Once I have these sleepy scribbles I make sure I make time to workshop them for performance. It’s a lot easier with the Star-Crossed crew because we have scheduled meetings. Every one of the team inspires me with their unique styles and it’s easy to roll with each other’s poetry. Two things we do always ensures a great session; laughs and food.
S: Career highlight so far? JO: October 15, 2017. After months of daily practise, I won the Australian Poetry Slam Championship at the Sydney Opera House to a crowd of 600+. Since then, I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities like directing the National Young Writers’ Festival, a world tour and of course, starting my Star-Crossed crew.
S: Career lowlight? JO: Not winning in 2015. I missed out on attending the Sydney final by half a point, and was so ready to give up poetry all together as I battled social anxiety. But on the plus side, it’s the same time that I met the amazing Perth Poetry community (SHOUT OUT!) and it was like a warm hug through a dark time of my life.
Seesaw: What do you love most about what you do? JO: The intimacy, connection and liberation that comes from sharing yourself. Poetry is personal, when I’m on stage with a poem that’s true to who I am I feel like I’m flying. After the social anxiety thing, it’s the most amazing feeling to be fearless in your words and to have people clicking your truth. That’s the connection, having a whole room on the same page. (Fun Fact: Clicks are a poet’s applause, as clapping is thought to throw off a performance)
S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, Star-Crossed Poetry! JO:Star-Crossed Poetry is a brand-new show! It’s actually based on my own love life, told through poetry, rap and storytelling. I’m performing alongside some of Perth’s most talented young writers; Laundry Man, Demie Scally, Saoirse Nash and Jake “Wiseguy” Sulli. It’s a light hearted, funny journey through four stages of being in love; love, heartbreak, meaningless sex and something more. We’re all really excited to show it to the world!
S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl? JO: Some of the SC crew and I were heading back to Perth from the National Young Writers Festival. So we were hanging at the Sydney airport terminal when I saw that the Fringe registrations were open, and to be honest, also closing that night in exactly one hour. I have never mobile typed so fast in my life. But underlying this, I’ve just always wanted to do one. Also, sometimes I just cheekily want to see what I’m capable of, I’ve spent too long living in fear. Sometimes I surprise myself, other times I fall flat on my face. Thankfully, this crew has been the coolest thing I have ever put together.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment? JO: I am NOT a fan of slides… When I was about eight I went down one after a kid who had peed himself and it’s never been the same for me. I like the weird animal things that are on a big spring, to this day I cannot resist a quick go.
1-4 February @ 7pm, 5 February @ 6pm @ Paper Mountain Gallery ∙
Presented by: Bernadette Lewis ∙
A multidisciplinary performance installation. An intimate dialogue between light, photography, found object and dance. Drive on down to the strange lands of vintage women’s wrestling, age-old pageant queens, exercise fads and treat yourself to our neon, time travelling dreamscape.
Welcome to The Honeymoon Suite. Enjoy your stay. Don’t feed the birds. And let’s get ready to rumble!
Described as a one-woman, one-Roomba show, Future’s Eve will also feature a paddling pool, breakfast made live on stage and lasers, according to its maker and performer, Michelle Aitken. The Perth-based independent dance artist took some time out to tell us more about Future’s Eve and the path that’s led her to creating a work that asks why our vision of the future looks so much like the past.
Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist? Michelle Aitken: I don’t know when I decided to chase arts as a career. I was aiming to do something creative at high-school and, having not really danced before, fell into the ballet program because it meant I didn’t have to do phys ed…
I remember saying quite early on that maybe I could do dance as a career and my mum just laughing. And I don’t think I was serious at that point, but I never stopped thinking that, and maybe it’s happened.
S: Where did you train? MA: After dancing at school and as part of STEPS Youth Dance Company, I went to WAAPA for three years to do the contemporary dance course. I graduated in 2016 with a BA (Dance). Since then, I’ve learned about who I am as an artist by doing a lot of things for the first time in a professional context. I recently performed in Unveiling: Gay Sex For Endtimes, where I had to learn to juggle wearing a full head latex locust mask and nine inch heels, while naked, while wielding a microphone on a lead, sexy dancing, and (most terrifyingly for a dancer) using my voice. In a lot of ways that show is the most challenging thing I’ve done. It’s also probably shaped my practice the most. I wouldn’t be making Future’s Eve without everything I’ve done since leaving uni.
S: Are you new to Fringe World? MA: No! I made my first show Milk, Moonlight for Fringe last year, as part of the double bill “Topographs”, at The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights.
S: Tell us about Future’s Eve, your 2018 Fringe show! MA:Future’s Eve is about women and the techno-scientific future. Between sex robots, developments in AI, and sci-fi images in pop culture, the majority of female-appearing robots fulfil stereotypically female roles: as receptionists and aged care workers, as the voices of our digital assistants, and as hyper-sexualised objects. So I wanted to ask, why does this vision of our possible future look so much like the past? And how can we think about shaping a more equal future?
The show itself is not actually a dance show – I’d call it an experimental performance. Expect me dressed in full body lycra, a Roomba, a paddling pool, breakfast made live on stage, lasers, popping balloons… It’s got this DIY futuristic vibe, it’s really fun to make, and I hope it’s ultimately thought provoking.
S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe? MA: I’m looking forward to catching all the other shows at Peaks, as well as heaps of other new works from local theatre makers! Off the top of my head, Squid Vicious’ godeatgod, Rhiannon Petersen’s The Big Dark, Bow & Dagger’s The Beast and the Bride, and as much contemporary dance as I can possibly fit in.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment? MA: My favourite playground equipment would have to be the monkey bars. No reason. I like swinging around.
Grief is deeply subjective but the processes of healing apply to us all, says Marijke Loosjes. It’s this concept that informs her new work DROWNING, the WA-based interdisciplinary artist tells Seesaw.
Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist? Marijke Loosjes: I was always a really creative child, drawing all the time and glued to my 35mm camera. I think I knew in Year 11 and 12 when I was doing both non-TEE and TEE art. It was another language for me that came so organically, I knew I needed to keep pursuing this passion that gave me so much happiness.
S: Where did you train? ML: I studied at Curtin and completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts (three years).
Seesaw: Describe your artistic practice… ML: I am an interdisciplinary artist who works in the mediums of sculpture, photography and performance. My work engages with themes of abjection, ephemerality and delving into the inner workings of one’s mental state. I explore the line in which abjection and beauty can be blurred with an honesty that is compelling yet provoking in the same moment.
S: Career highlight so far? ML: In 2017 I curated an exhibition called “The Rituals at the Ferguson Foundry”. It showcased five multi-disciplinary performance artists who presented a live performance art piece and a body of work exploring personal rituals. I also exhibited and performed, which was basis of my show DROWNING. The response I had was really overwhelming, made me realise I am on the right path heading in a good direction at the moment.
S: Now you’re going to present DROWNING at Fringe World… tell us more! ML: DROWNING is a one person, live performance art show that explores the various stages of grief and the steps taken in attempt to heal. There are four conceptual performances within the show, each looking at a stage of grief and referencing Worden’s four tasks of mourning; accepting the reality of loss, working through the pain of grief, adjusting to an environment in which you have experienced loss and focusing on the connection with the deceased whilst reinvesting yourself in life. The performances give special light to the state of one’s mind amidst grieving.
The performances give special light to the state of one’s mind amidst grieving.
Visual artwork and sculptural pieces will be used within the performances that are influenced by various mourning practices of the Victorian Era; their ornate momento mori pieces, colour symbolism and mourning attire.
DROWNING is an intimate and beautifully cathartic experience. It allows the audience to find their own interpretation and meaning in the performances. Grief is experienced so deeply and subjectively, but these healing processes generally apply to us all, the feelings and emotions are the same and we are not alone when we going through this.
S: What do you love most about what you do? ML: The freedom that comes with being an artist, the connection you make with people, how cathartic it is… it’s really what I live and breathe for.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment? ML: Anything I can climb and swing off!