“Untitled” by Sebastian Wickerworth – Art Review

By Jesse Bowling

Destroying your art can be a pretty satisfying event, trust me I have done it a couple of times. Sebastian’s work “untitled” was a part of a show at Ballce Hertling Gallery in Paris in 2010, just scrapping in as “contemporary art” (class in-joke soz). Sebastian exhibited a large grey box upended that seems to have been dropped from the ceiling. The “box” is made from gib-board – which is typically used to line walls within buildings; the board is then covered in a glossy gray film. Most of his work speaks to traditional post-minimalist art with a zesty twist of destruction.

yan03

The “box” seems it has been dropped from a substantial height onto the gallery floor… but it’s touching the ceiling so how could this destruction happen? Sebastian has done many other works that seem to be destroyed in-situ, but on the contrary Sebastian constructs his destruction. Just as much work has gone into the geometric form that has gone into constructing an aesthetical forceful act. Has a spectator unaware of Sebastian’s work you may be like WTF why would you destroy your work? Was there a performance I missed?

I enjoy that he plays with the notion of the art object as being a “precious” item, that should not be touched or you will knock it off the plinth. Wickeroth challenges the historical avant-garde aesthetics so often we see the same old geometric abstract paintings, with their sharp edges and simple geometric compositions, Sebastian with simple order that is paralleled by his deconstruction, speaks to a new geometric abstraction with a brutalized truth of form.

My favorite titled work by Sebastian would be “ Form Fucks Function” having a jab at those Judd lovers :P.

Take a look at his website for more info: http://www.wickeroth.de/

All images credited to: Sebastian Wickeroth

Toner Party – Exhibition Review

By Maddy Plimmer

Although I didn’t have the pleasure of attending the 2014 exhibition “Toner Party,” it is the concept of the exhibition that I find most satisfying.  Hosted by Apothecary gallery in North Carolina, artist’s works were printed in black and white and put on the walls in one large chaotic collage, to reflect the spontaneous and rapid pace of the creation and consumption of many contemporary artworks.  The show contained works from international artists, with some works being sent via email to make it to the show. The works also ranged from photocopies of paintings, to poster designs and other commercial work. However all the works were influenced by the Internet aesthetic, and some even had a somewhat 1980s influence. The way the works are displayed in a nonsensical, overlapping patchwork leaving no gaps of wall showing, is similar to a how stereotypical teenager’s bedroom would be littered with posters of fad bands and models.  It creates a sense of over stimulation, an unedited spread of contemporary culture, or more specifically and unedited cross-section of the Post Internet movement. This untidy, and overwhelming arrangement of works also mimics the fast pace and constant stimulation one can find on the Internet. The display method is a part of a concept that overrides the concepts of the individual pieces. It appears as if the pieces were selected based on their appearance and their ability to sit harmoniously in the group. The mixing of fine art pieces and old gig posters creates a nice assortment of images and text.

Screen shot 2015-03-25 at 10.28.03 AM

The cheap bulk approach to printing the artworks is interesting in terms of a renouncement of traditional modes of presenting art.  It tends to quantity over quality. The individual works are not given space and carefully selected to be considered on their own and then discussed from a metre away. Rather they make up part of a whole, the tactic for their display becomes more the art than the actual works. They are part of a larger composition now.  A composition that allows for maximum art consumption.

Wandering Objects by artist Lucy Wardle – Exhibition Review

By William Hadwen

Lucy Wardle’s recent work in the 2015 Wellington Performance Arcade, ‘Wandering Objects’ featured a shipping container with one open end for participants to enter through, while the other end was occupied by a transparent pink wall. This performance felt approachable and welcoming and participation was quiet and contemplative compared to the more intense and confronting performances I have experienced. Inside the container was a rather inviting pile of what I could only describe as elephant trunks, constructed with hundreds of threaded floral rounds, cut from warm-tone woollen blankets.

In regard to presentation, once lying on the woollen trunks – intertwined and content – I noticed lights had been installed in the ceiling of the container, emphasising the pink glow of the transparent wall and dowsing the interior with an artificial pink glow. This saturated illumination gradually diffused toward the opening, which appeared to provide a certain natural green glow from the outside world caused by my eyes’ over compensation in reaction to the overpowering pink setting. While this work was certainly presented as a contemporary interactive performance – it was in the Performance Arcade, after all – it also showed certain formal qualities which I didn’t expect and was in fact pleasantly surprised by. The processes employed involved both physical objects within the space and a study of light and human visual perception, purposefully displacing what one would expect to see and offering a filtered view of reality – we don’t realise what we take for granted because… we take it for granted.

Simple objects with elements of complexity within a rigid, strongly geometric space brought a certain physical minimalism with potentially darker undertones of a more gruesome or bodily narrative, inside the belly of a whale perhaps. Willing participants, consumed into the warmth of a nurturing interior. My favourite aspect of this sculptural installation was the intentional use of light on the ceiling and walls of the container, it was as though it offered two different poles between the artificial pink overload and exaggerated green compensation. The undulating metal surface alternated between bars of pink and green light, each becoming thicker toward their respected end, but meeting harmoniously and in balance at the center of the container’s interior surfaces.

The success of this work was its understated immersiveness.

Untitled

Petra Collins’ Instagram – Online Art Review

By Laura Duffy

Petra Collins is an American photographer and artist, currently working in New York. Petra often photographs adolescent girls with sensitivity towards the exploration of friendship, sexuality and youth. Using the representation of young experiences to encourage young people to become more comfortable within their own bodies.  Potentially reproducing the ideology that she’s trying to critique by discussing female sexuality and development from a male-gaze perspective specifically in her older work. I think she and working through the internalization of the male-gaze and progressing.

Petra seems to be interested in broadening the dissemination of her work outside of the gallery, as well as being involved with Rookie magazine she designed a t-shirt featuring masturbating menstrual blood for American Apparel. She is also very prominent within social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Utilising the mainstream space of fashion and magazines as well digital social media space, which could be said to be more popular than the gallery space for her target audience of young girls. Looking specifically at her Instagram, the photographs are being digitally exhibited, as well as simultaneously published to her account. As well as posting her own work and exhibitions, she includes influences to her life and work. I find this an interesting mixture of professional and personal, workbook and blog. Entering into the same space that she’s critiquing, the mainstream, she’s working from the inside out. As well as allowing easier, instant and international accessibility for viewers.

I found it really thought-provoking when Petra Collin’s Instagram was shut down after posting a picture in bikini bottoms with public hair showing. The photo was reported to Instagram by a number of anonymous users, exemplifying a societal force and regulation to the “norm”.  When interviewed by Oyster on the topic Petra Collin’s expressed her confusion and annoyance drew comparisons to the medias repetitious coverage on Rihanna’s face beaten up after being the victim of abuse. Questioning what is censored and what is not, why are we allowed to see so many horrific things yet censor the natural pubic hair of the female body? She finishes the interview with lingering questions for readers, “WHY you felt this way? WHY this image was so shocking? WHY you have no tolerance for it? Hopefully you will come to understand that it might not be you thinking these things but society telling you how to think.”

IMG_2528

Link to Petra Collins website where the Oyster interview is published:

http://www.petracollins.com/?page_id=222

Link to Petra Collins’ Instagram:

https://instagram.com/petrafcollins/

Image credit: Screenshot from Instagram & Petra Collins

S P A C E S at The Dowse – Exhibtion Review

Featuring artists such as Andrew Barber, Zac Langdon-Pole, Gavin Hurley, Kate Newby, Patrick Lundberg, Fiona Connor and Peter Peryer.

The Dowse Art Museum -13 Dec 2014 – 22 Mar 2015

By Kane Laing

Walking into the space of S P A C E S, the first words that enter my mind are “Looks like Contemporary Art”. It had a feeling of contemporariness with its mix of contemporary aesthetic tropes, the giant abstract canvas, the small paintings, the giant semi-abstract reduction painting, the recontextualised stack of bricks, the intimate black and white photo, and of course the removed and relocated staircases sculpture in the middle of the room. Not to mention the colour theme of grey and white.

On the wall-text of S P A C E S is written:

 “How do you exhibit architecture? The common answer is generally a combination of drawings, models, photography and film – media that may provide a helpful representation but can never quite match the experience of architecture itself. . . Through these works we may begin to notice the physical space around us, and start to ask questions: How much does architecture impact on art? How much does art impact on architecture? Is it possible for the spaces we see art in to be neutral? Are some spaces so interesting architecturally that they dwarf the art? Can art change the way we see and remember a space?”

I don’t feel like any of these really good questions were addressed, except maybe in the most vague manner that only contemporary artists could. It sounds like a wonderful seed to an exhibition, but in this case the exhibition bears boring fruits. The exhibiton was very cold to me and try-hard contemporary, I didn’t like it. It is the sort of exhibition that leaves me with the underwhelming feeling of “Art, who cares.”.

However it was still worthwhile seeing. The stair sculpture was actually totally reconstructed, which was interesting, but I then wondered if it was more interesting than bringing some real stairs in. I really like the painting by Patrick Newby and I am a fan of his stuff, but it does nothing for this exhibition. Some things are kind of nice but nothing gives the exhibition life. It isn’t a bad exhibition it’s just really boring.

265fdd727c98dce9a9d97fe78c17a458

INSTALLATION VIEW WITH WORKS BY GAVIN HURELY, JOHN REYNOLDS & JULIAN DASHPER, AND PATRICK LUNDBERG. PHOTO: JOHN LAKE

I can see the interesting links to architecture in most of these works, but I felt uninspired and distant from the beauty or fascination that can be found in architecture everywhere. The wall text in the show is right on the money and I want to see a show that really embodies those questions. But, I’m sorry, 12 bricks stacked up is a shallow engagement with an interesting concept. To me that is the essence of what is wrong with contemporary art, it’s so vague and clinical, and it can be intimidating to some people when it is so inaccessible. I don’t think the public has to be spoon-fed and there is room for ambiguity and unknowing-tension in art, but at least make it engaging.

The alphabet-art show upstairs was much more fun.

Images taken from The Dowse website

http://dowse.org.nz/exhibitions/detail/spaces

The Unbearable Lightness of Art by Simon Mark Smith – Exhibition Review

By John Fuller

Little Chelsea Gallery, UK. – 7 – 29 June 2014

Simon Mark Smith is a UK based artist with an eclectic mix of talents, ranging from digital art, photography and writing through to traditional painting. He is also a singer/songwriter. This particular exhibition sparked my interest, not because of the art itself, which is almost incidental in my view, or the slightly deadpan presentation, but because of the philosophical and far-reaching questions Smith is asking through this art and the innovative methods he has used to set up a dialogue with the viewer .

This artist uses digital photo frames, iPads, paint, photography, QR codes and mixes them all up to create what I would best describe as an artistic quandary, a situation where the questions asked have no clear answers. In fact if anything they possibly lead to more questions.

The Unbearable Lightness of Art opens up a Pandora’s Box of debates around the value of virtual art vs the value of printed art vs the value of traditional media. It questions how and who decides this value and even tackles the issue of the value of the artist’s name.

Thrown into the mix are hybrid works, which utilise digital photo frames with real paint added directly to the screens. There are digital photographs of objects, which are printed, painted on and then re-photographed before being digitally altered and displayed virtually in digital frames. These are displayed next to the same images printed on paper. Again questions around value (both monetary and artistic) are asked. Does a digital image on an iPad have any value? When the same image is printed does its value change? Again more questions than answers.

Smith goes on to explore the longevity of virtual art, or more accurately its lack of longevity. Will it survive over time, or will it be lost? Does it exist at all if it is not printed? Is its lack of permanency a good thing or a bad thing? Finally he uses QR codes to generate dialogue and some virtual images, including one of a self-portrait which was constructed entirely on his iPad using graphics software. This is a highly realistic rendering of the artist generated by his use of software. Is it a self-portrait or a portrait produced by a machine? Again more questions than answers. I have a head ache.

Bonus Simon Mark Smith music track. WARNING don’t watch this if you hate Elvis.

Work&Play: Confession Ritual – Exhibition Review

22 March 2014, Dowling Street Project Space

by Judith Yeh

It is significant how the long history of art has developed into this 21st Century movement called “contemporary art”. The spectrum of this significance covers a wide range of various expressions, sometimes the definition of what constitute as an art form becomes obscure. How does one define an exhibition? Does an exhibition only limit to inhabitation of physical objects? I question myself as I stand before a mad and emotional Korean man ritualistically scrawling toothpaste all over a mirror.

Throughout the series of Work&Play, which consist of fifteen performances over two weeks, and across four different locations; Confession Ritual is, without a doubt, the most intense and emotional one out of all. Although the title may have already suggested that this isn’t going to be some self-indulgent, paint splattering musical dance number, it has not prepared one to be so directly confronted with the artist’s immense agony and excruciation. Samin Son’s practice is largely formed by his experience in the two-year compulsory military service in South Korea. He draws upon the endurance and the meticulously directed aggression demanded by the mundane military life, as well as his struggles with identity and race politics. This piece, which sees him enter and circles the room while intoning some unrecognised phrase, is enchanting, displacing and confrontational. One moment he is tying select people together with one of those everlasting public toilet hand towels, forming a defined space to accentuate displacement and uniformity; then he is coming up to each individual, staring into their eyes and commanding them, shrinking the audience in size and individuality. While these actions already put members of the audience on edge, Son takes it to another level by repetitively and laboriously cleaning the mirror with toothpaste, scribbling with it and wiping it off again. The intensity leaves the audience stuck fast, petrified and fascinated.

An art form is the way of expressing one’s emotions. If comparing Son’s display of performance to that of a painting; his movements as the brushes and strokes, and the space as a blank canvas, what really is the difference between Son’s “exhibition” to an “expressionist exhibition” or perhaps an “abstract expressionist exhibition”? It is safe to say, that Son’s style of expressionism has most definitely become one of the most memorable exhibitions I have seen so far.
Video shown is part of Samin Son’s “Toothpaste Action #10”, at DEPOPULATE 01 presented by White Fungus.