Around the galleries – October 2009

October 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, October 24, 2009.

Around the galleries Dan Rule

Habitat#12

WHAT Beverley Veasey: Habitats #2
WHERE Dickerson Gallery, 44 Oxford Street, Collingwood, 9416 0031, dickersongallery.com.au

Beverley Veasey’s ‘landscapes’ are as much about absence as they subject. Her large-scale, monochrome photographs of animal enclosures, captured in zoos throughout the world, chart spaces void of their occupants. In Habitat #3, a tangle of desert brush and high grass frame a crudely painted Grand Canyon-esque backdrop, the outline of a door – the keeper’s entrance – clearly visible against the tallest rocky peak. In Habitat #10, a corner gives a dense jungle scene an almost believable depth. It’s both alluring and haunting. Veasey’s works function on the level of proposition more so than representation. They suggest power and intention. In a contemporary setting, these cramped, contrived spaces are our only interface with rare and endangered species – species that we are collectively responsible for crippling. Nonetheless, all the care and labour that has been channelled into these spaces – the dramatic, painted backdrops, the installation of dead foliage, the illusion of space – is almost entirely for the viewer’s benefit. Tues to Sat, 10:30am–5:30pm, until November 1.

SteveCarr_PreeningPeacock_2009

WHAT Steve Carr: Enchanté
WHERE Uplands Gallery, 247 High Street, Prahran, 9510 2374, uplandsgallery.com

The aesthetic markers of refinement, prestige and accomplishment can assume many decorative forms. Perhaps it’s one’s social deportment, one’s cigar brand. The badge on one’s two-door sports vehicle, perchance, or one’s proclivity for the arts. Steve Carr’s new series of works seems to offer an examination of such ultimately disingenuous cues. As its title alludes, Enchanté delves in the processes and, ahem, faux pas employed to maintain the front. Comprising seven large-scale photographs of flamboyant wine-glass napkin folds – a preening peacock and palm frond included – and a 17-minute video work capturing a painstaking roast turkey preparation, Carr points to the planned, practiced and executed mechanics of perfection, sans the supposed mystique. As the table settings take on increasingly extravagant forms, the illusion of sophistication and cultural grandeur becomes all the more explicit. It is elaborate and ultimately desperate performance. Tues to Fri, 11am–5:30pm, Sat noon–4pm, until October 31.

stars_1

WHAT Paolo Consorti: Exaltations
WHERE Anna Pappas Gallery, 2–4 Carlton Street, Prahran, 8598 9915, annapappasgallery.com

It’s difficult to get bearing within Paulo Consorti’s crowded, technicolour vistas. The Italian artist drops found and original photographs into swirling arrangements of digitally rendered landscapes, moonscapes, warzones and hippie mud baths. While these theatrical, fantastical images are endlessly playful and striking in their detail, there’s a lurking earnestness (and boyish admiration for Photoshop) here that might grate with some. Consorti seems to be exploring the extremes of humanity’s manifestations, good and bad. That in itself isn’t a problem. It’s the fact that he’s done so via what some might consider a dated, soft-lens fantasy art aesthetic that goes some way to blunt his ambitions. Tues to Fri 10am–6pm, Sat to Sun noon–6pm, until October 31.

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