ADAM CULLEN'S detractors have been trying for years to shoot down his work. Now he has beaten them to it.
For his latest exhibition the maverick artist lined up spray cans and paint tubs on top of a television. Behind them he placed large canvases with crude bull's-eyes. Then he started firing bullets, sending splatters of colour and debris onto the white backdrops.
The ballistic exercise on a rural property near Goulburn was filmed and the footage is being shown in Chalk Horse's spiffy new gallery along with the two lashed canvases, a bullet-riddled smaller panel and a textual reference to the death of his mother a year ago.
"Look at this, mate, this is huge," Cullen says admiringly as he moves a finger around a hole the size of a fist, one of many dotting the canvases.
''This whole thing, I suppose, is some form of lactic exercise in ballistics. So it's sort of lactic ballistics. It's like, if you can imagine, tits as guns. Thus the title,'' he says of Independent Judiciary (Mother's Milk)....
'Cullen aims for the brutal beauty of ballistics'
Adam Fulton, August 17, 2011
... Yoko Ono and the late William S. Burroughs have used ballistics in art. American artist Chris Burden was once shot in the arm as a deliberate part of an art performance.
But Cullen says no other Australian artist has created paintings with guns.
The exhibition of paintings, titled Independent Judiciary (Mother's Milk), is on view from today at Chalk Horse, where Clementine Blackman is gallery manager.
Cullen, who has delighted in delivering artistic shocks since his student days, is clearly chuffed to be showing at Chalk Horse.In Sydney, Cullen normally shows his work at the upmarket Michael Reid gallery at Elizabeth Bay. But Reid was happy to collaborate with Chalk Horse on this exhibition, since his gallery was too small to house it.
Cullen, who has delighted in delivering artistic shocks since his student days, is clearly chuffed to be showing at Chalk Horse. It shows that, in his mid-40s, his art is still experimental enough for a gallery in touch with its roots as an artist-run space...
Sanné Mestrom, Thinking Props, 2010
120x100x100cm Mixed media sculptural installation
Viscopy is pleased to announce Sanné Mestrom the winner of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2011 for emerging visual artists. Mestrom received the $10,000 prize at the opening of the exhibition of the fifteen finalists last night at Blackfriars off Broadway, Viscopy’s contemporary art space in Chippendale. The prize was awarded by acclaimed Sydney artist, Lindy Lee.
Mestrom's winning artwork, Thinking Props features in the exhibition with the other fourteen finalists: Cyrus Tang, Erica Molesworth, Eva Hampel, Heath Franco, Jennifer O'Brien, Karl Khoe & Tessa Zettel, Keiko Matsui, Kristel Britcher, Kurt Sorensen, Nathan Taylor, Pauletta Kerinauia, Sanné Mestrom, Susie Nelson, Wade Marynowsky and Walter Brecely.
The winning entry was selected by an auspicious panel of judges including Anna Davis, media artist and Museum of Contemporary Art curator, Hannah Bertram the 2010 John Fries Memorial Prize winner, Danie Mellor contemporary Indigenous artist and 2009 National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award winner and Kath Fries, artist and Viscopy Board member.
Mestrom's sculptural installation Thinking Props plays with the idea of a physical prop designed to promote cerebral and psychological contemplation. Made from everyday found objects, the work consists of three components: a table, a cluster of door handles and a “joy prop”. Her table is tailored to one assuming the classic position of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, with elbow placed on table enclave and chin on cupped hand. It is a physical prop that encourages cerebral revelation. A grid of door handles below the table suggests opening doors, that endless possibilities and zones of discovery are just a simple action away. In front of the table sits a “joy prop” constructed of a cast bronze mould hypothetically designed to be fitted into the mouth to force a smile.
Danie Mellor says of the Mestrom’s artwork: “In her winning entry for the 2011 John Fries Memorial Prize, Mestrom engages with the everyday and what she terms ‘psychological props’. Through her interest in human intimacy and this field of research and play in her practice, she presents playful and thought provoking arrangements of objects that recall Modernist engagements with the readymade. The difference with her work by comparison though, is that an intimacy is invoked that allows a bodily interaction with form, if only through the viewers’ realisation that in fact ‘this is what you (can and are supposed to) do’ with the objects. They are both familiar and out of reach as fragile objects in a gallery space, a temptation for the curious. The complexity of the potential interaction that the installation suggests, and its resolution as an intricate and multi-layered object, lends this work its intrigue and place as a well deserving winner.”
The exhibition, curated by Venita Poblocki, runs until 30 September and is open between 1pm and 5pm from Wednesday to Friday.
The John Fries Memorial Prize for emerging visual artists is an annual prize donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy. The competition is open to emerging Australian and New Zealand artists of all ages and disciplines who are not represented in a regional, state, territory or national public art collection.
For further information contact Viscopy on (02) 9310 2018.
Chalk Horse is a contemporary art gallery based in Sydney, Australia. The gallery exhibits a range of work by Australian and international artists. The Directors of Chalk Horse are committed to producing curatorial projects in Australia and Asia as well promoting Australian artists internationally.