Around the galleries – November 2009

November 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, November 21, 2009.

Around the galleries Dan Rule

WHAT Simryn Gill: Inland
WHERE Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy, 9417 1549, ccp.org.au

The work of Malaysian-Australian artist Simryn Gill toes a line between presence and absence, intimacy and emptiness. Across a number of the bodies of work that comprise this extensive survey at CCP, she ascribes significance and meaning to what might otherwise seem mundane domestica. In 260-strong 2001 series Dalam and her 2003 artist book Distance, she photographs the nondescript interiors – countless lounge rooms and living spaces in Dalam and the inside of her Marrickville home in Distance – while new series Inland features piles of loose photographs that take in Australian homes and their humble surrounds. Gill’s work seems about imprint and identity. The majority of her photographs may be void of the human form, but the mark is unavoidable. Personalities, lives, habits, tastes and routines are evidenced in these spaces. They are anything but empty. Wed to Sat 11am–6pm, Sun 1pm–5pm, until December 13.

WHAT Matthew Johnson: Auroral
WHERE Block Projects, Level 4, 289 Flinders Lane, city, 9662 9148, blockprojects.com

The title of Matthew Johnson’s alluring new series of paintings at Block Projects is no mistake. Auroral sees the Melbourne-based artist deal in the currency of sheer luminosity, colour and hue. Across a series of 10 large canvasses, he explores grid-like formations of softened squares of colour, effecting light and darkness. Where much of his previous work sees undulating patterns and ripples of field, Auroral possesses a distinctly horizon-like quality. His symmetrical configurations of pigment shift from blurred, darkened foreground, to a vivid, almost modular middle distance, to the shimmering, hazy white of what might be taken as a distant sky. Whilst non-figurative, Johnson’s work has a strong resonance to ocean and landscape – an Australianness – but any reference would be amiss. Johnson has deconstructed light and tonality into its building blocks; its shimmering pixels of coalescing colour. Wed to Fri, 11am–6pm, Sat 11am–4pm, until November 28.

WHAT Reductive
WHERE ACGA Gallery, The Atrium, Federation Square, city, 9662 2209, acga.com.au

While its premise might be a little dry, this group show in the compact ACGA space offers plenty of highlights. Concisely curated by Dickerson Gallery’s David Hagger, Reductive offers a survey of artists stripping their practice to its core elements. While some of the more spatially oriented works – Louise Blyton’s right-angled canvas The Most Secret Heart, which connects the wall and floor of the space, and Giles Ryder’s multileveled, mirrored perspex work Here Comes the Sound of Colours – would have benefited from a larger gallery space, the smaller and medium sized canvasses and flat-panel works prove the strongest in this context. Justin Andrews’ tangled, geometric shards of colour – Acid Yellow #4 (pictured) – recalls early 2000s UK digital artists like Alex Rutterford, while David Milne’s The Golden Glow… has an almost totemic quality. A fascinating piece is Alex Spremberg’s CPS Painting No.4, in which the artist has poured paint directly into the centre of the canvas, resulting in a highly organic and fluid bloom of whites an greys on glossy black. Tues to Sun 10am–5pm, until November 29.

WHAT Interiors
WHERE Anna Pappas Gallery, 2-4 Carlton Street, Prahran, 8598 9915, annapappasgallery.com

Curated by Simon Gregg of Gippsland Art Gallery, this six-artist-strong show takes a dualistic glimpse at the notion of the interior, attributing the idea with both a physical and psychological significance. While it’s a joy to see works from photo-artist Clare Rae’s Climbing the Walls and Other Actions series (previously covered in this column) in the ground floor space – not to mention a pair of stunning, elegiac video works by British artist Eloise Calandre – the two standouts here use text as their foil. In her Little Histories series, Jane Dyer reappropriates and recasts yellowed pages of books via collage, elegantly imposing her own personalised, internal narrative onto the found texts. Anna Gilby’s equally fragile and imposing sculptural work, on the other hand, offers something of a spatial and perceptive dichotomy. Comprises a huge, parachute-like structure sewn from the pages of books, her Inflated work (pictured)  has both architectural and physiological qualities, as it literally breathes and reacts the changing conditions of the gallery space. Tues to Fri 10am–6pm, Sat noon–6pm, until November 28.

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