Around the galleries – August 2009

August 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, August 1, 2009.

Around the galleries Dan Rule

Albrecht Fuchs

WHAT presentation/representation: photography from Germany
WHERE Monash Gallery of Art, 860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill, 9562 1569, mga.org.au

In terms of subject, much of the material that comprises presentation/representation might appear a little dry at a glance. But there is far more to this exemplary survey of contemporary German photography than the meticulousness that immediately meets the eye and the cultural typecast. Spanning the work of 10 artists, this collection finds its resonances in execution, subtle evocation and thrillingly huge formats. Wiebke Loeper’s series of suburban and semi-rural landscapes echo with a lurking sense of dislocation, while Laurenz Berges’s massively scaled empty rooms and spaces are a richly detailed study of absence. At the opposite end of the space, meanwhile, Matthias Koch peels back a layer of history to reveal some of Germany’s most notorious wartime sites in their peaceful, postcard-perfect, present-day contexts. There’s also a strong human element to presentation/representation. Though thoroughly deadpan, Albrecht Fuchs’ portraits of Daniel Richter, David Shrigley, Lawrence Weiner and others ooze with personality, while Nicola Meitzner’s monochromes of Tokyo afford an intimate aspect to an otherwise teeming cityscape. It’s a quality that spreads throughout this survey. The apparent subject is little more than a starting point. Tues to Fri 10am–5pm, Sat to Sun noon–5pm, until August 30.

Dane Lovett

WHAT Dane Lovett: Catch the Spirit
WHERE Seventh Gallery, 155 Gertude Street, Fitzroy, seventhgallery.org

Though he works in a traditional medium, Dane Lovett is very much an artist of today. The watercolour, gauche and acrylic paintings that comprise new show Catch the Spirit invoke both a reverence to the subject and an oddly deconstructed sensibility. Painting images sourced via the internet – or perhaps in some cases, the share house – Lovett doesn’t allow his subjects to dictate the terms. Various interventions fracture and contest these works. A vintage, portable VHS/television is rendered across two misaligned parchments in Pictures came and broke your heart. While the painting itself has an almost tech-fetishistic quality, its fissure implies the cycle of obsolescence. Tues to Sat noon–6pm, until August 8.

WHAT Jim Pavlidis: Piraeus, Girt by Sea
WHERE Chrysalis Gallery & Studio, 179 Gipps Street, East Melbourne, 9415 1977, chrysalis.com.au

There is an inconspicuous charm to Jim Pavlidis’s oil portraits, lithographs and etchings, showing as two separate series at Chrysalis Gallery. His portraits of Greek-Melburnians are both economical and incisive. Identified only by initials or at most first names, Pavlidis’s subjects seem relaxed and unperturbed by his gaze. The etchings and lithographs, composed in response to a stunning series of personal history poems by Tom Petsinis, My Father’s Tools, are the real joy. These may be the accounts of one family, but they evoke the story of a whole generation of Melbournians. (Pavlidis works at The Age.)Tues to Fri 9:30am–5:30pm, Sat 11am–5pm, until August 8

Lisa Benson

WHAT The Black Show
WHERE C3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, 9416 4300, abbotsfordconvent.com.au

There are some alluring departures from what might be considered a fairly clunky premise in C3’s latest group exhibition. While The Black Show frames its theme with trumpery like “the black of shame and horror that slips into a shadowy past”, most of the artists nimbly avoid such melodramatic hogwash. Lisa Benson’s pinhole camera series from Fiji plunge tropical vistas into burning, black-rimmed colour, where the black sand beaches and rusting industrial plants of Rozalind Drummond’s austere landscape photographs echo with abandonment and decay. Riki-Metisse Marlow’s automated texta and sound installation proves another highlight. Wed to Sun 10am–5pm, until August 9.

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