Around the galleries – September 2009

September 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, September 12, 2009.

Around the galleries Dan Rule

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WHAT John Nicholson: Connection is Solid
WHERE Sophie Gannon Gallery, 2 Albert Street, Richmond, 9421 0857, sophiegannongallery.com.au

Configuration is key to John Nicholson’s surprisingly dynamic wall-pieces and sculptural works. New show Connection is Solid again sees the Sydney artist fusing square-edged, luridly coloured plastic strips to make largely solid, abstract compositions. But what makes this body of work so effective is its changeability. Nicholson appears fascinated by notions of comparison and proximity here. Where his previous plastic works were bolder and more immediate in gesture and form, Connection is Solid seems to pose wider questions of perception, juxtaposing the linearity of their materials with the fluidity of their construction and effect. Nicholson’s works alter, transform and complicate with every step, shuffle and glance. Tues to Sat 11am–5pm, until September 19.

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WHAT Gred Wood: Neither forgotten nor kept
WHERE Australian Galleries, 50 Smith Street, Collingwood, 9417 0800, australiangalleries.com.au

Greg Wood’s dense, nonetheless striking landscapes eschew their very subject. Comprising 14 variously scaled oil-on-linen works, Neither forgotten nor kept see the Melbourne-based artist allow atmosphere to dominate his points of reference. Trees, forests and foliage are softened, blurred and obscured, drowned in the enormity of the sky and heaviness of the atmosphere. The lie of the land – by all accounts, the wilds of Tasmania’s northwest – acts as a mere context for a more introspective, esoteric kind of engagement. Ominous, beautiful and immersive, these works accomplish what so many landscape paintings fail to even approach. Lost in the churning sky and opaque mists, Wood transcends representation. Neither forgotten nor kept is as much about us as the land on which it draws. Mon to Sat 10am–6pm, Sun noon–5pm, until September 20.

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WHAT Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
WHERE Nellie Castan Gallery, Level 1, 12 River Street, South Yarra, 9804 7366, nelliecastangallery.com

Young local curator Olivia Poloni has achieved some intriguing points of continuity with this eight-strong group show of chiefly unrepresented young artists. Spanning graphite and ink on paper, collage, various sculptural mediums, video and photography, themes of chronology and time resonate through much of this material. There are several highlights. Izabela Pluta’s sparse, grainy photographs depict decaying buildings, ‘empty’ urban space and odd architectural happenstance. Captured in washed-out colour and monochrome, these ‘non-places’ are void of any signs of life – any geographical or social context – and seem ultimately timeless. They could have been shot five days or 50 years ago. Elsewhere, the freakishly detailed charcoals of Dorota Mytych explore notions of history, nostalgia and folklore, while Amelie Scalercio’s almost exquisitely rendered, almost psychedelic pen illustrations take the volcano as a metaphor for the unpredictability of life and mortality. Tues to Sat noon–5pm, until September 19.

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