Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anthony Lister: 'Memories Not Included' (Opening Night)

Here is just a taste of the explosive atmosphere on the opening night of Anthony Lister's 'Memories Not Included' at Chalk Horse. 

Like a tin of sardines (but not as smelly); Chalk Horse was filled to the wall with hundreds of Lister's dedicated followers; the once quiet leafy cul-de-sac of Cooper Street was swarmed with the overflowing crowd from the gallery. 

Photography by Aimee El Sharpe

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dane Lovett: "Paintingss" at WESTSPACE

Install shot: Paintingss at WESTSPACE
Dane Lovett New Season (2010)
Acrylic on Dibond 96 x 66cm

Dane Lovett True Stories (2010)
Acrylic on Dibond 66 x 96cm

Dane Lovett Flower Painting (2010)
Acrylic on Dibond 183 x 152cm

Install shot: Paintingss at WESTSPACE
Dane Lovett’s paintings bring together subject matter from a variety of sources, moving freely between still-life, found imagery and portraiture. Paintingss, is a group of not quite classical acrylic and watercolour works, where flowers, plants and interiors are twisted slightly with the inclusion of various musical motifs. The show is on view at Westspace in Melbourne from November 25th though to 18th December 2010.

To make an enquiry about available works please click here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sino-Australian Music Exchange: Chalk Horse in China

“Culture needs dialogue and dialogue needs culture. Cultural exchange also enriches lives by inspiring new forms of artistic expression and providing fresh insights that broaden horizons.”
- Dougal Phillips, Director and Curator at Chalk Horse

In connection with Imagine Australia: The Year of Australian Culture in China Chalk Horse and Tenzenmen are presenting an exciting tour of Australian bands to China for 2010-2011. The Sino-Australia Music Exchange features heaps of dynamic Australian alternative bands embarking on tours to Shanghai and beyond as well as encouraging and helping musicians from China to play in Australia.
Dead Farmers' Daniel gave up punk for a second to eat ice-cream
SAME has kick started a new era of musical communications to initiate and nurture an open cultural dialogue between Australia and China for 2010-11 and beyond. SAME has also orchestrated visits to Australia from Chinese veterans P.K.14 and Carsick Cars. All bands engaged in the exchange have documented their journey and experience of voicing their cultural standpoint in newfound arenas at the official blog: http://s-a-m-e.tumblr.com

PK.14 Came down to Australia for the Melbourne Festival
This poster says it all for the bands on tour.
Dead Farmers took this great shot
Aussie rock bands, The Dead Farmers and Vasco Era have just returned from their thrilling jaunts in China with heaps to say about their time away and while there where moments where the bands felt lost in translation, their music was wonderfully received. 
Vasco Era, live in China

Some even had a male fan confess his undying love after a gig proclaiming “I love you” and  “less buzz” on the mic apparently means “more buzz”. So quite mixed experiences for the lads but all pretty incredible, “punk rock fuck you good”, indeed. 
Vasco Era on the Great Wall of China

The streets of china has all sorts of aesthetic feasts for the bands to digest
Vasco Era, live in China

There are heaps more bands to go over including East Brunswick All Girls Choirs, Digger and the Pussycats, Die!Die!Die! (NZ), Dan Kelly, Perfect Fit, Nikko, Ouch My Face, Hotel Wrecking City Traders and My Disco each with tours including extensive travel across China.

For more info on the tour click here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oliver Watts in Art in America

Art in America, October 2010

Oliver Watts at Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne Australia

Place, as subject, has gotten a lot of visual arts play in recent decades. Notions of identity and history often inform the topic, but the give and take of geographical sovereignty, a major definer of place, is relatively neglected.

Oliver Watts - whose group of ten paintings enlivened the larger of two galleries at Helen Gory - employed recent work to delaminate layers of proprietary interest that lies, like sedimentary overburden, on Australia’s landscape.

Landscape painting has long served prevailing ideology - from John Constable’s painterly ratification of elitist agrarian ‘reform’ to the populist westward-ho exhortations of Albert Bierstadt. Painters of the colonial period enticed new colonist by producing ‘civilized’ images of Australia’s terra incognita.

Oliver Watts Leap, image courtesy the artist and Artbank
Watts paints landscape near the seaside Australian town of Angourie (where he has familial ties) as aesthetic study and case study, of contentious forces claiming ownership of the region – from indigenous Yagel people, with first rights, to those whose claims follow. Crown, European emigrants, national park, and a cohort of surfers, profess ownership of the same lands.  

Watts raises an extravagant curtain on his story of place with a heroically scaled (304 x 168 cm) acrylic on canvas diptych of Angourie’s quarry. Leap is a panoramically confrontational view of the quarry’s man-made cliffs – the rock’s light and graffiti dappled face darkly doubled in a long swimming-hole lapping its base.

The skins of Watts’ paintings are inventively puzzle-pieced – optically fitted with opaquely zoned passages (recalling Neil Welliver’s demarcations) and translucent overlaps of modulated tint. The artist coaxes a jewel-like tempera quality from famously stubborn synthetic polymer. 

The painting’s title, Leap, is gotten from quarry habitués’ tradition of cliff-diving. Surfers, emigrant stock, and Yagel youth mutually participate in an equalizing (via shared mortality) rite of passage. Contributing to handwritten scrawls decorating the rocks is an assortment of native-Australian and European monikers. Aptly, the pigment used by locals to write graffiti is a local ochre – a pigment traditionally employed and historically bartered by the Yagel.

Culture as well as goods change hands when populations collide. Yaegl - a medium sized (102 x 122cm) painting with big ambitions summarizes how local, national and international signs blend and incarnate in unanticipated ways. The painting’s lone male figure is tattooed, across bare shoulders, with L.A. gangsta-style gothic script - the tattoo’s declamation and identifier is the proper noun Yagel.

Lawn Line (120 x 122CM) visually summarizes the exhibition’s overall project. A mono-cropped patch of greensward serves as manicured bulwark against surrounding native bush. It’s a comprehensible bit of old England, a verdant rectangle of empire set into an incomprehensibly complex native ecosystem, and all it represents. An uneasy peace reigns on either side of the line.

Equivalent détente plays out in the artist’s collected paintings. At their best Watts’ efforts envision a breathless summer moment – a prelude, before social tremors, subtly rumbling below the work’s languid formal choices, superficially bucolic images and tectonically shifting content, commence fissuring the pictures’ idyllic overgrowth.

Oliver Watts Crown Land (2010), 120cm x 100cm acrylic on canvas
To order a copy of Art in America featuring Oliver Watts, or to make an enquiry about the artist please click here

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Runway Magazine: issue 17

Runway Magazine issue 17 cover featuring Tara Marynowsky

Chalk Horse is proud to have Tara Marynowsky, John A. Douglas and Bababa International featured in Runway Magazine issue #17.

Marynowsky graces this month's cover (front and back) with the Return section a dedicated visual essay of her work "Helter Skelter". 

Tara Marynowsky, Gods and Monsters (2010)

Bababa International: Without Right Angles
Ivan Muñiz Reed

Bababa International, Soap City, Firstdraft
Recently Bababa International mysteriously returned from the shadows of Modernism, finding their way back through all the rubble and detritus of its heroic failures. Since 2008, the Sydney based collective formed by Tom Mellick, Ivan Ruhle, Stephen Russell, Giles Thackway and (the newest member from the United States) Uncle Eric Harrod, have been creating projects that are actively engaging audiences through participatory artworks and ingenious suggestions that still hold true to that old and splendid dream of their namesake.
Many of the attitudes Bababa International articulate through their work are evocative of the ideals of visionaries who critiqued the power of the State and of capital by emphasizing the power of the collective.

Ghosts Undermine: Strange Land Vol. 1 By John A. 
Douglas Daniel Mudie Cunningham

John A Douglas Strange Land Volume 1, #11 (2010)
John A. Douglas revisits and reimagines various social histories of Glen Davis in Strange Land through the prism of Australian cinema. To date Douglas has amassed a striking body of video and photomedia work that examines how Australiana has been constructed through visual culture particularly from the 1960s and seventies until now.
Ultimately the characters of Strange Land are haunted y the ghosts they become. Riddled with historic traces of failure and trauma the ghost town is a holding cell for restless specters whose presence ascribes to the place a ‘badland’ status.
To enquire about John A Douglas, Bababa International and/or Tara Marynowsky click here
Runway Magazine is available for sale from Chalk Horse and all good newsagents.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Grip/ La Mainmise at Kadist Art Foundation (Paris, France) curated by Dougal Phillips

Chalk Horse founding Director Dr. Dougal Phillips is currently undertaking a residency at Kadist Art Foundation in Paris, France. At the culmination of his residency, his curated show The Grip/ La Mainmise is showing from the 4th of December 2010 through until the 6th of February 2011.
The Grip / La Mainmise approaches the work of artists from Australia and South-East Asia (alongside European peers) through a post-colonial framework that refers to metaphors of childhood, history, and power to explore the practices and concerns of artists from this region.

Douglas Gordon Blind Spencer (Mirror), 2002 cut photograph, 61x65.3 cm
collection Kadist Art Foundation

How do we grasp and hold onto the world? The Grip / La Mainmise is an exhibition project about knowledge – about the giving and taking of how we understand the world and the faith we hold in the putting-on of hands, in the law-giver and the forefather. The title is respectfully appropriated from the essay by Jean-François Lyotard, in which he writes of the affective grip (mancipium) of childhood and the adult fables of emancipation within the complex economy of the grip – the child whose hand is held lacks a hand.

The exhibition brings together artists whose works engage with the giving of knowledge and the phenomenology of power. Through performance, photography, film and installation, the works in this exhibition propose novel, returning gestures of taking-back, an image-based banditry that operates outside of the normal economies. The question is asked: How can artists liberate the image, profane the archive, and re-colonize ‘firstness’ or prior knowledge?

Kate Mitchell Being Punctual, 2010
Videographer (part 1): Hugo O’Connor
Photographic still: Christopher Morris
The Australian artistic duo and married couple Ms&Mr re-inhabit their own video archive from a 1980s childhood, short-circuiting their shared and discrete histories with inspiration from Russian mystic Nikolai Fyodorov who believed immortality could be achieved through a ‘Religion of Resuscitative Resurrection’ – cosmic expeditions to reconnect with our grandfathers and ancestors. The absent, mirrored eyes of Douglas Gordon’s Spencer Tracy see but cannot be seen. What might we make of Tracy as icon, playing in his long career The Old Man, a universal father, and a Nuremburg judge?
Kate Mitchell brings an athletic, Australian subversion to the French icon of the chandelier, in a work that moves across durational performance, public projection and video. Her intensive and physical taking-over of the still and civilized light fixture is played out in the Paris streets, yet performed on the other side of the world.

Ms&Mr Frame Drag, 1988 / 2009
archived VHS, HDV and animation, silent, 1080p, 16:9
3:57 min (loop) installation view
Also featured are Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen, Thai artist Arin Rungjang, and Israeli-born artists Michal Chelbin.
A catalogue of works is available upon request. Click here to enquire.
 Kadist Art Foundation is a private foundation initiated in 2001. It is dedicated to promoting contemporary art through the constitution of an art collection and the organization of exhibitions and residencies in its space in Paris. Kadist’s intention is to be actively involved in the promotion and international dimension of contemporary art.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Christian Thompson on BBC News

Bursary for Aboriginal students
 Christian Thompson and Paul Gray are the first Aboriginal students at Oxford
The first indigenous Australians to attend Oxford University are starting their studies this term.
Christian Thompson and Paul Gray are both doing doctorates thanks to the inaugural Charlie Perkins scholarship.
Charlie Perkins was the first indigenous Australian to graduate from university.
Mr Gray said: "Prior to this opportunity being announced it wasn't something that I thought was possible for me."
He said that in Australia the statistics suggest that a smaller percentage of indigenous Australians went to university and a place at Oxford seemed so distance it was unachievable.
The opportunity of a scholarship changed his expectations.
"It encouraged me to take the risk to apply; I don't think I'd have applied if the scholarship wasn't there."
He is now studying for a DPhil in Experimental Psychology.

'Marginalised communities'
Christian Thompson is already an acclaimed artist and holds a Masters of Fine Art.
He is taking a DPhil in Fine Art using exhibits at the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford as inspiration.
Mr Thompson said: "The scholarship has provided the opportunity to work very intimately with this collection and regain the knowledge that has been almost lost."
His work has already attracted the interest of actress Cate Blanchett, who recently purchased three of his photographs.

Christian Thompson Black Gum II
Elleke Boehmer, a member of the Charlie Perkins Trust's Board, said: "It is incredibly moving and significant that these talented postgraduate students from one of the world's most deprived and marginalised communities now have the opportunity, through Charlie Perkins, to study at one of the modern world's oldest centres of learning.
"The scales of historical injustice are being rebalanced."
 As seen on BBC news 22/10/10

Heat 2010
In honour of his having been selected to attend Oxford University under the Charles Perkins scholarship, Christian Thompson created a new body of work featuring his granddaughters Madeleine, Thea and Lille. The exhibition featured a three channel projection depicting the girls positioned in a staged desert zone accompanied by the elegance of the harp: The work is truly a just appreciation ode to the Perkins' and an important articulation of post-colonial Aboriginal art history.

 Heat I, Digital Photograph 2010, 60 x 60cm

  Heat II, Digital Photograph 2010, 60 x 60cm


  Heat III, Digital Photograph 2010, 60 x 60cm
In his most recent series of videos and stills, Heat, Thompson has again adopted the role of director over that of the actor to capture the affective experience of the desert climate in the Queensland outback. "I love the mysticism and the seductive cruelty of the desert, my home, and how it can be so illusive and alluring and potentially life threatening", Christian Thompson, SMH, September 2010... 
Thompson's artistic practice successfully navigates and suggests the complexities of the post-colonial situation in Australia today. Thompson constantly plays on the boundary of binaries associated with these issues – black/white, exotic/mainstream, art/anthropology, primitive/futuristic - and never ceases to surprise with his multivalent images. The oppositions are played with and reversed and other alternative spaces are suggested. It is these alternative spaces, those that exist just outside of our central consciousness, that are universal to "the human condition" and are highlighted so poignantly through Thompson's work.
-Kat Sapera 2010
To enquire about Christian Thompson please click here

Friday, October 29, 2010

International Shows 2010-2011

Laurel Nakadate will be on view at MoMA Ps1 NYC, USA in January 23, 2011 - May 2, 2011
  Laurel Nakadate "Lucky Tiger #87" 2009, unique type-c print with fingerprinting ink
 Laurel Nakadate "Lucky Tiger #231" 2009, unique type-c print with fingerprinting ink

 Fever Dream with Rabbit (2009) Digital print

Laurel Nakadate is known for her works in video, photography, and feature-length film. This is Nakadate's first large-scale museum exhibition and will feature works made in the last ten years in all three media, including her early video works, in which she was invited into the homes of anonymous men to dance, pose, or even play dead in their kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms. Also included will be Good Morning, Sunshine (2009), a more recent work in which Nakadate enters the bedrooms of young women, waking them, and instructs each to strip to their underwear for the camera. Nakadate's two features, Stay the Same Never Change (2009) and The Wolf Knife (2010) mine similar terrain-the power and fragility of the adolescent female body. The exhibition will also be the premiere of Nakadate's latest photographic series 365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears, currently in progress. These photographs document a year-long performance that began on January 1, 2010 in which the artist documented, and continues to document herself before, during, and after weeping each day. The exhibition brings together bodies of work that touch on voyeurism, loneliness, the manipulative power of the camera, and the urge to connect with others, through, within, and apart from technology and the media.

Chalk Horse represent Laurel Nakadate in Australia and currently have a number of works in stock also held in the Saatchi collection and at MoMA NYC, USA.

Ai Weiwei is currently on show at the TATE Modern, London UK

 Ai Weiwei "Sunflower Seeds" 2010 Photocredit: Tate Photography

Juliet Bingham, Curator, Tate Modern

"Ai Weiwei's Unilever Series commission, Sunflower Seeds, is a beautiful, poignant and thought-provoking sculpture. The thinking behind the work lies in far more than just the idea of walking on it. The precious nature of the material, the effort of production and the narrative and personal content create a powerful commentary on the human condition. Sunflower Seeds is a vast sculpture that visitors can contemplate at close range on Level 1 or look upon from the Turbine Hall bridge above. Each piece is a part of the whole, a commentary on the relationship between the individual and the masses. The work continues to pose challenging questions: What does it mean to be an individual in today's society? Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together? What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?"

Ai Weiwei recently exhibited at Chalk Horse in 2010 as a part of "The Problem of Asia" curated by Alvaro Rodriguez Forminaya from Para/Site gallery in HK.

Sanné Mestrom: Shaker Peg 14th-30th October 2010

Shaker Peg, 2010 circulates around the Shaker, Quakers, Shaking Quakers or "Friends" an American religious sect whose core principals are social equity and a rejection of sexual relations. Interestingly the peg is not a peg that holds up garments or objects, but rather one that fills a void to hold things together. Quite a phallic notion really for a group of people who don't go there.

According to Sanné "They designed a lot of things, but its the peg that they're most known for... [they] believe that idle hands are the devil's playground."

The exhibition reveals human intimacy with objects. A collection of some cast resin door handles as well as their 'original' wooden counterpart lay measured into a grid on the floor; the prophecy of these objects is that they invite the palm to cup and turn them opening forth new possibility. The stagnation, sculptural recontextualisation and our own natural familiarity with handles lends the objects a new romantic indentity; they are our ticket to a hypothetical door somewhere, somehow that leads us to where we most want to go. In Sanné's mind the door handles would be taken home for $75 and integrated into the emotional landscape of the home; attached to a door, drawer or portal within the house and thereby transform the space beyond it to a new zone for contemplation.
Also in the exhibition is a bronze cast of a prosthesis to force the wearer into a smile. The terrific thing about this particular object is its incredibly effective application. Whilst it is a totally unwearable non-functional and aesthetic trophy, it is the communication of its intended function that delivers the desired result; you can't help but smile when you're told.

In the centre of the space is a seemingly cumbersome, mangled table composed of odd-looking detritus; the legs are extended and resolved with resin casts and a broom handle seems to be awkwardly lending itself at a crutch. The two indents in the centre of the table are echoic of human presence, as is the carved out enclave. Sanné's weird table starts to finally make sense when you insert yourself into the ergonomic philosophy behind it; positioned with your gut in the return of the table, elbows wedged into the bronze-cast crevices, hands cupping your forwards leaning chin. Suddenly all becomes patent- it's a thinking table!

For Sanné it is the intervention of the viewer that is the key to resolving the odd juxtapositions of form and components.

Her connection to The Shakers she deems to be about their concept of manufacture being the pathway for connection to God: "Keeping their hands busy seems to bind them with a golden thread to God's side. It's really pretty simple: The Peg & God is not so dissimilar from the cup of tea & the Dali Lama, or Joseph Beuys & the Fat Corner."

Born ’79. Lived – the Netherlands // New Zealand // Australia. Programming committee member – West Space. RMIT University - PhD (Fine Art) ’08 (with APA). Arts Victoria grants - ’07, ’09. For more details - www.mestrom.org