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’.
Walking into one of Turner Galleries’ Engine Rooms to view Nathan Beard’s solo show, “Siamese Smize”, I suddenly feel uneasy, as though I am being watched by 22 pairs of eyes.
The eyes belong to the people in a collection of photographs found in Beard’s mother’s abandoned home in Thailand, the faces of which have been masked with glittering Swarovski crystals, leaving only their eyes exposed. Their lips hover in front of the image, printed on the acrylic face of the frame.
The masks flatten the faces of people in the portraits into coloured or patterned shapes. Whilst this uncanny shift is slightly discomforting, the expressions on the faces still appear pleasant and calm; as if this visage can be deciphered solely from the eyes. The word “smize”, referenced in the title of the show, is slang for “smiling with the eyes”. It’s used here in amalgamation with “Siamese Smile”, a phrase adopted by Thai tourism industry in the late 1980s which fetishized and simplified “Thainess” for a Western audience.
The statement from Beard that accompanies the show goes on to explain that there are “at least 13 different expressions for smiles” in the Thai language. In contrast, Beard has used mostly staged portraits of similar expression and body language. This unoffending body language changes as one moves past each image. As the floating lips position in relation to the face shifts, so too does our interpretation of the wearers’ smile, from pleasant to bizarre.
The kitschy crystal embellishments reference both a contemporary South-East Asian aesthetic of clothes and accessories, adorned with crystals and pop culture, and traditional Thai patterns found on ceramics and silks. Through their value, and painstaking application, the crystals also memorialise the subjects of the portraits, honouring Beard’s relation to them as family and as a connection to his own Thai heritage.
Yet another highly polished (and glittering) body of work from Beard, the portraits in “Siamese Smize” successfully balance the viewer between uneasiness and familiarity. Asking what is truly behind a smile, or a perceived national identity, this exhibition is a playful search for authenticity as Beard explores his Thai-Australian heritage.
Local artist Jacobus Capone’s latest exhibition “Passage”, at Turner Galleries, presents a body of work produced over two years and three journeys between Tasmania and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, during which the artist exchanged a single drop of water between the two locations.
The centre of the exhibition is a masterfully produced 26 minute, five channel video. The scene changes from grand white glaciers, rocky mountain faces and dark caves, to lush green bushland and flowing rivers. The artist is present in almost all of the scenes; his figure sometimes dwarfed by the grandness of the landscape, other times, a large presence in the vulnerable environment. A calm contemplation of the work is encouraged by the soundtrack; a slow rhythm of water drops and heartbeats.
Flanking the video on either side of the gallery is a series of paintings, light on one side, dark on the other. These studies of glacial scarring are unassuming when viewed from a distance, but closer inspection reveals that they are made up of a series of minute, delicate marks on paper, white on white or black on black. As well as the paintings there are two large inkjet prints on either side of the back wall, though these lack the crisp imagery of the video work.
The room is broken up into north and south (though not reflecting the gallery’s actual orientation) with the white paintings representing south and the black, north. The reasoning for the assigned colours is unclear but it echoes a recurring theme of oppositions – north and south, water and ice – while, conversely, interrupting the use of symmetry and reflection in the installation of the exhibition and the video work itself.
“Passage” mourns Tasmania’s once glaciated landscape – juxtaposing it with Svalbard’s current icy terrain – and reflects on the ever-changing state on the environment, the break in symmetry alluding, perhaps, to the fact that these now opposing landscapes weren’t always so different. The futility of trying to reconcile the two bodies of water also seems to reference current attempts to slow climate change.
Tiny, tender marks on paper represent millions of years of glacial movement and single drops of water traversing the globe. It’s these minute actions and grand journeys that are typical of Capone’s work.
“Passage” successfully encourages a consideration of one’s own place in the world whilst capturing the dramatic beauty of these two landscapes.
Review: Richard Giblett, “Frontier” ·
Turner Galleries ·
Review by Miranda Johnson ·
Richard Giblett’s exhibition “Frontier”, at Turner Galleries, showcases the artist’s ongoing investigations into space, architecture and global branding. Giblett’s works are displayed sparsely and evenly throughout the front room of Turner Galleries; the industrial concrete-and-white space playing nicely against his canvases and lightboxes, which involve clean geometric shapes amid finely detailed lines.
A centrepiece to the exhibition is a Perspex miniature warehouse, emblazoned with the Chanel logo and lit from the inside, making its architectural lines glow like an unearthly, alien object. Luxury branding also appears as a recurring motif in Giblett’s gouache and collage canvases, with the Chanel logo again appearing in Sump System II (Frontier). Similarly, YSL System IV and V features collages of artistically slumped models woven throughout geometric, interlocking rectangular shapes – YSL referring to, presumably, Yves Saint Laurent.
The branding of these works contrasts somewhat with Bauhaus de Stijl block, the second sculpture in the exhibition, which is made from a number of steel set squares, layered on top of one another to form a structure and lit from underneath, adding another eerie glow to the work. It’s an interesting use of an architectural tool used for making straight lines; in this case, the lines themselves are formed by the square, and the humble, everyday tool transformed into an art object in itself.
The central piece, Sump System II (Frontier), forms the largest and most intricate work. Comprised of four canvases, the work shows a dense system of factories, homes and urban environments; some resemble ancient pyramids whilst others are as humble as a suburban swimming pool. Throughout the work, instantly recognisable global company logos top buildings: Shell, Esso, Xerox. The buildings float against a black background, interconnected by a system of pipes and tubes, many of which ooze slick, black oil. From this work, it’s clear that the artist’s interests lie within graphic design and his childhood years in Hong Kong; the patterns are futuristic yet industrial, suggesting built environments and concrete jungles.
Although the artist’s statement claims that his use of luxury branding, consumerist motifs and industrial pollution is not necessarily a critique, but is used to simply draw attention to the impact these have upon our lives, it’s hard not to view these works as critique. The images of corporate greed are so pervasive in Sump System II (Frontier) that, when combined with the geometric industrial pipes, angular, sullen models and corporate factories, the world created seems to me to be more dystopian than simply design-oriented. As a whole, the exhibition reflects to us our most greedy and corporate selves, holding up a mirror to our reliance on global energy companies and luxury capitalism. Giblett may not intend to critique this reality but, by reflecting it through his intricate, geometric works, he makes us realise that it necessitates critiquing.
6 July – 4 August @ Turner Galleries ·
Presented by Turner Galleries ·
Opening 6pm Friday 6 July.
Artist talks 3pm Saturday 7 July.
Exhibition closes Saturday 4 August
Frontier, by Melbourne based artist Richard Giblett, is a suite of new and recent artworks consisting of meticulously hand painted works on paper and two sculptures. Drawing inspiration from advertising, luxury goods, architecture, city lights, refineries and urban networks, the artist both questions and pays homage to the needs of our city based lives.
Review: “Silence”, Kyle Hughes-Odgers –
Turner Galleries, opening night 1 September –
Review by Belinda Hermawan –
In contrast with its title, the first minutes of the opening of Kyle Hughes-Odgers’ exhibition “Silence” were the only quiet ones of the night. This was the lull before the whirlwind of admirers came streaming into the Turner Galleries, when one could view the works of abstract whimsy with some degree of solitude.
But there was a palpable joy in being part of the crowd appreciating one of Perth’s best-known multi-disciplinary artists. Hughes-Odgers’ public street art has been commissioned globally, with large scale murals in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London and Madrid. His art work is known to younger members of the community through his five children’s books and also Ten Tiny Things by Meg McKinlay.
Installed at the entrance of the gallery is the fifteen-minute film Ordered Chaos, a documentary about Hughes-Odgers’ projects made by Chad Peacock. Murmurs of recognition from viewers reflect how iconic Hughes-Odgers’ art works have become in our city. Perthites can see his distinctive style in projects at Perth Airport, Northbridge, Mt Lawley, Claremont, William St, Perth… The growing list is a collection as organic as the elements of nature so often depicted in his works.
In the paintings diagrams of life, parts A – M, Hughes-Odgers creates magic from the mundane, creating a multi-faceted grid of objects and figures in both warm and cool tones. These geometric patterns evoke a sense of nostalgia and comfort, of child-like wonder in ordinary objects. In depicting the everyday – mugs, books, plants, paint and people – the viewer is pulled into observing the small components of our lives, things we tend to take for granted.
Hughes-Odgers’ quirkiness is seen in the diptych A map to the horizon, where the use of colour and pattern unifies the man-made campsites with nature, portraying a symbiotic enjoyment of the outdoors. The work draws parallels to his “totem” series of ink drawings, in which characters and trees are stacked in unexpected ways; wonderful combinations of people and nature, emblematic of an ideal balance. Turn around to the impressive set of 43 vases and you see a sprawling display of framed segments of vases; a biomorphic construction.
In his artist statement, Hughes-Odgers explains that the title of exhibition ‘is based on the idea of paintings as static silent objects that can spark ideas, memory and create dialogue.’ The excited chatter in the gallery an hour into opening night proved his hypothesis correct. From a small piece of paper to four 35m grain silos in Merredin, Hughes-Odgers makes us think about and discuss creativity in all its shapes and sizes.