Around the galleries – June 2009

July 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, June 20, 2009.

Around the galleries – Dan Rule

David van Royen

WHAT David van Royen, Vivian Cooper Smith and Ian Tippett: We Were Young
WHERE Kings Artist Run Initiative, Lvl 1, 171 King Street, city, ph 9642 0859,

This collaborative exhibition – featuring Melbourne photographers David van Royen, Vivian Cooper Smith and Ian Tippett – engages with notions of fear and expectation within the contemporary social setting. The artists, each of whom contribute three large-scale prints, take varying approaches to the theme. Tippett’s photographs of iPod-enveloped teens seem to negotiate the tension between public and private space, while in Smith’s domestic portraits, the sanctuary of the home is fractured and interrupted. Blinding shards of sunlight erase the faces of his otherwise clearly perceptible subjects, eschewing the intimacy of their setting. Van Royen’s works are perhaps the most striking. His assumed subjects are conspicuously absent. A child’s hood-top (minus the child) adorns a park bollard; a lonely tangle of streamers and balloons act as mere evidence of celebration. We Were Young shows alongside an illuminating Polaroid and video work by Fiona Williams and a crochet and painting based installation by Kevin Chin and his mum. Wed–Sat: noon–6pm. Until June 27.

Robert Hollingworth

WHAT Robert Hollingworth: Neither Here Nor There
WHERE Block Projects, Lvl 4, 289 Flinders Lane, city, ph 9662 9148,

At first glance, there seems a calculated, almost empirical quality to the large-scale acrylic on canvas works that come to form Neither Here Nor There. In the International Year of Astronomy, longstanding Australian artists and author Robert Hollingworth renders the outer reaches of night sky and wider universe with planetarium-like detail. But with further study, the qualities of Hollingworth’s patois change scale and shape. The sheer detail and laboriousness of these works tends to draw us close; the fact that these worlds are imaginary and not observed leads us to the show’s philosophical nub. Hollingworth offers us a spectacular, unfathomable vastness. We deal with it however we can. Wed–Fri: 11am–6pm, Sat: 11am–4pm. Until June 27.

Arlo Mountford

WHAT Arlo Mountford: The Folly
WHERE Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy, ph 9417 1549,

Locally based artist Arlo Mountford has made a name for gnawing at art history. He turns his attention to three works by Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder in new show The Folly, bringing to life Hunters in the Snow, The Corn Harvest and The Fall of Icarus as a large-scale, three-channel digital animation and four-channel sound mix. Painstakingly detailed and animated, the once inert images are recast as slow-moving, soundtracked narratives. In The Fall, the farmer quits his work to casually (and audibly) crunch on an apple and watch Icarus takes his final dive. But what might be seen as mere satire rests more in the realm of reinterpretation. Mountford expands on our original perceptions of the historical paintings, challenging us to rethink how we’ve come to draw our conclusions. Shows alongside works by Bianca Hester, Louis Porter, Simon Zoric, Catherine Connolly and Larissa Hjorth. Wed–Sat: 11am–6pm, Sun: 1pm–5pm. Until August 2.

Sam Tho Duong

WHAT Schmuck 2009
WHERE RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, city, ph 9925 1717,

There seems to be a couple of motifs at play within Schmuck, the annual contemporary jewellery exhibition from Munich’s famed international trades and crafts fair, Internationale Handwerksmesse. Travelling to RMIT gallery in celebration of its 50th year, the extensive 2009 show expands on the current interest in found and recycled objects to also suggest a exploration of organic, plant-like forms. Standouts include the incredibly rendered, shell-like textile forms of Japanese designer Maki Kawawa, the ornate pearl and silver clusters of Sam Tho Duong and the minimalist silver work of Vered Kaminski. Renowned Melbourne designer Julia de Ville makes an appearance with a pair of stunning (and suitably creepy) brooches made from a taxidermy mouse and sparrow, while Polish designer Oliwia Kuczynska’s bib necklace of 22 antique watches also impresses. But whilst much of the work is striking, perhaps the most appealing aspect of Schmuck is that its pieces are also, for the most part, wearable. Mon–Fri: 11am–5pm, Sat: 2pm–5pm. Until July 18.


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