Around the galleries – June 2009

July 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, June 27, 2009.

Around the galleries Dan Rule

Lisa Roet

Lisa Roet

WHAT Lisa Roet: In-Sight
WHERE Karen Woodbury Gallery, 4 Albert Street, Richmond, 9421 2500, kwgallery.com

While her practice has spanned realist sculpture, photo-media, video and drawing, the core subject of Lisa Roet’s research and artwork has remained distinctly hairy and long-armed. Featuring two series of LED-lit sculptures, new show In-Sight takes her study of the relations between primates and humans in new directions. In the first collection, the bronze heads of a human, chimp, gorilla and orang-utan hover silently in a glowing marksman’s target. In the second, life-sized polyurethane orang-utans’ heads perch lifelessly in front of vivid, flashing, LED crossbones. But while there’s a clear strain of activism throughout Roet’s work, there’s also a fun, psychedelic and almost camp quality. The backlit, endangered orang-utans may be foreboding, but they kind of make you want to dance. Wed–Sat: 11am–5pm. Until July 11.

WHAT Drew Pettifer: You are the Light, Sally McInerney: Windows and Other Reflections
WHERE Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick, 9389 8622, moreland.vic.gov.au

The current pair of photography exhibitions at Brunswick’s Counihan Gallery both conjure a kind of rethinking of their subjects. In gallery one, Sally McInerney’s photographs of faded shopfronts and rotting car bodies effectively use glass as a secondary, converse lens. Her otherwise mundane and disregarded subjects are given context – landscape, setting and the suggestion of a history – via a kind of instant double exposure. Drew Pettifer’s gritty, domestically set photographs, meanwhile, sidle sexuality, expectation and gaze in sprawling show You are the Light. Featuring over 70 variously scaled works, the collection recasts young men as the sexualised object. While the collection could have done with some serious culling, at its best, Pettifer’s employment of the queer gaze stretches beyond mere subversion. So unadorned, pimply and shamelessly ordinary are the subjects that their sexuality becomes little more than subsidiary. Wed–Sat: 11am–5pm, Sun: 1pm–5pm. Until July 5.

WHAT Gareth Sansom
WHERE John Buckley Gallery, 8 Albert Street, Richmond, 9428 8554, johnbuckleygallery.com

A few years back, there was a suggestion that veteran Melbourne artist Gareth Sansom was mellowing. His current show at John Buckley puts that theory to rest quickly enough. At once loud, angular, humorous and fluid, the 70-year-old’s new series of paintings, drawings and photo-collages are strewn with a squawk of references. Religion, philosophy, erections and skateboarding punks and other such fodder scatter and tear at these works.  Wed–Sat: 11am–5pm. Until July 4.

WHAT Greatest Hits: TACOCAT
WHERE West Space, Lvl 1, 15–19 Anthony Street, city, 9328 8712, westspace.org.au

The work of Greatest Hits – a collective comprising recent VCA graduates Gavin Bell, Jarrah de Kuijer and Simon McGlinn – offers an amusing, engaging take on the sometimes-haughty realm of spatial art practice. Showing alongside two other shows, TACOCAT deals in the currency of intervention. For one, Greatest Hits have plastered over the doorway to gallery three, forcing the audience to first enter the West Space storeroom (itself spiked with two, rather odd video installations) before climbing through a hole hacked through the gallery’s rear wall. Once inside, blinding fluoro lighting, a beanbag, a broken fridge and a smoking lump of concrete await. Enjoy. Wed–Friday: 12pm–6pm, Sat: 12pm–5pm. Until July 4.

Jackson Slattery

Jackson Slattery

WHAT Metro Art Award
WHERE Metro Gallery, 1214 High Street, Armadale, 9500 8511, metrogallery.com.au

The annual Metro Art Award show offers all the angst, introspection and ardour you’d come to expect from a young painters’ prize. But there are some genuine standouts, the best of which play with perception and the role of the viewer. From afar, Steven Giblett’s Walk on by appears a classic piece of photo-realism, though the closer you get, the more jarring, loud and abstract the beach scene becomes. Jackson Slattery’s evocative watercolour Our Plastic Everything is Broken is a worthy winner. The painting’s vista of Muslims praying during Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, is equally beautiful and loaded. Tues–Fri: 10:30am–5pm, Sat–Sun: 11am–5pm. Until July 5.

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