Around the galleries – September 2009

September 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, September 19, 2009

Around the galleries Dan Rule

Kathy Temin3

WHAT Kathy Temin: My Monument – Black Cube
WHERE Anna Schwartz Gallery, 185 Flinders Lane, city, 9654 6131,

Running concurrently with her 20-year survey at Heide, the latest instalment in Kathy Temin’s My Monument series, Black Cube, cuts a imposing figure at Anna Schwarz Gallery. Constructed via the same synthetic fur material – spare the colour – as her 2008 My Monument: White Forest work, the experience of Black Cube is an entirely different one. Where the clusters of soft, towering trees comprising the 2008 work invited you to wander amid their shadows and explore their perimeters, Black Cube is huge, impenetrable and mute. We’re left to circle the daunting monument, hopelessly searching for sign, an entrance, a secret way in. Temin, who is the daughter of a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, frames much of her practice in terms of personal and collective loss and memory, and this is one of her more affecting works. The intimacy of its materials invites us close, only for its dense structure to repel. The flood of stories and explanations are omnipresent; their details, we’ll never know. Tues to Fri noon–6pm, Sat 1pm–5pm, until October 3.


WHAT Irene Hanenbergh: Laudanum & De Breeder
WHERE Neon Parc, Level 1, 53 Bourke Street, city, 9663 0911,

A resident of Melbourne for the last 11 years, Dutch artist Irene Hanenbergh has become known for her hyperrealist negotiations of fantasy and outsider art. Created whilst in New York, new series Laudanum & De Breeder eschews her often colour-drenched aesthetic. Indeed, these tangled, wispy, overgrown black ink drawings prove austere and minimalist by comparison to Hanenbergh’s more noisy compositions. They’re no less effective. Wispy and fragile, these works hint at organic forms and folk art-like motifs without ever going so far as to reveal a subject. Flowing and plant-like from afar, interestingly, Hanenbergh’s faint lines take on an almost mechanistic quality from up close. It’s an unlikely dichotomy and one that makes the works all the more absorbing. Also included in the show are two paintings of a similar, albeit more colourful ilk. Wed to Sat noon-6pm, until October 3.

Pumfrey_Melbourne Cement Facilities 50x50cm

WHAT Garry Pumfrey: New Works
WHERE Flinders Lane Gallery, 137 Flinders Lane, city, 9654 3332,

If they were photographs, Garry Pumfrey’s gritty, industrial scapes would almost prove cliché. The nuts, bolts, chain-link fences and factories of the city’s industrial fringe have been done to death in contemporary urban photography. That said, the Melbourne-via-Perth artist’s surprisingly compact oil-on-linen works – which take in the docks, cement factories and ring roads of Melbourne’s inner west (not to mention a choice depiction of the Nylex clock on the other side of town) – grant these urban spaces an altogether new and different resonance. There’s a genuine sense of empiricism to these stunningly rendered vistas. Their brooding colours, composition and depth of field are thoughtful and evocative. Pumfrey’s scenes aren’t merely rugged-looking props, but crucial pieces in the puzzle of the working, expanding city. Tues to Fri 11am–6pm, Sat 11am–4pm, until September 25.

Michelle Tran -  Vinh

WHAT Seppuku
WHERE Lindberg Contemporary Art, 48 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, 0403 066 775,

As is often the way with shows of its kind, there are a couple of hits amongst fair few misses in Seppuku, a group show featuring the VCA Honours class of 2007. Sophia Hewson’s vast, resin-coated painting Goodnight Atala is striking piece of photo-realism, while Michelle Tran’s large-scale portrait Vinh is strikingly unadorned in its representation of its subject – a young, beautiful, transgender man – who might otherwise might slip into a mire of exoticism. Elsewhere Pip Ryan’s pair of video works and Kotoe Ishii’s oddly sexual Bouncer make for some other points of interest. But unfortunately, much of this work feels underdeveloped and unfinished, stray fingerprints and all. Wed to Sat 11am–5pm, until September 26.


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