Hallway by Polly Stanton – Art Review

By Louisa Beatty

Video Artist Polly Stanton’s ‘Hallway’, is a 2 minute 30 second long slow zoom video. The entirety of the work consists of a slow moving zoom from one end of the hallway to the empty back room of a seemingly abandoned house. Almost unnoticeable as the work begins, a low drone of audio escalates in unison with the cameras movement, building up as the camera finally approaches the edge of the doors frame and cut.

The screen is black in an empty and echoing (and bizarrely satisfying?) anticlimax.

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Presented in the gallery context of ‘Blue Oyster Project Space’ the work is projected to fit the size of the rooms back wall in an immersive allusion to cinematic production. However -not attending the original viewing- stanton’s work was directly presented to me online through a series of stills from the work as a representation of the zooms progression. If it wasn’t for the shots interesting composition I would have never investigated the work further (in terms of finding research/artists creating durational works), the fast forwarded photo progression documented conceptually seeming to undermine the very real tension Stanton creates through time manipulation. But they are still beautiful tense images… I’m not sure

[How am I supposed to document durational art?

maybe I could just present the exact same still over and over?]

Never the less, Stanton’s play on cinematic suspense results in the ultimate anti climax, shifting the weight of the work from subject to viewer. The durational emphasis on suspense and expectation forcing overall self awareness and bodily reactions from the audience. I’m interested in the almost therapeutic process of acceptance and deepened understanding when an audience becomes forced into durational engagements with ‘disengaging’ works.

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Luke Munn: swfer – Exhibition Review

By Jordana Bragg

swfer | Luke Munn | Blue Oyster Art Project Space | 9 May 2015 – 06 June 2015

swfer continues Luke Munn’s investigation into the relationship between immaterial, sterilised technology and the intimacy and physicality of our moistmedia bodies.

[moist media] is a term coined by Roy Ascott to signal the emergent confluence in media art of (wet) biological processes and (dry) computational systems.

The bold typeface proclaiming swfer, as the title of Luke Munn’s current exhibition at Blue Oyster Art Project Space (open 09 May 2015 – June 06 2015) had me at its lurid use of hot pink. Fortunately, on Saturday May 09 2015 I found myself in the Octagon in Dunedin at approximately 2:30pm with half an hour to idle. With the large-scale exhibition Private Utopia at Dunedin Public Art Gallery (open 28 March 2015 – 09 August 2015) looming over me like an obligation I could not fully commit to, and the awareness Blue Oyster was to close in half an hour, I ran to Blue Oyster, and right into an artist talk with Luke Munn and Matthew Galloway.

In the front gallery space on the right wall behind those seated at the artist talk I noted a small-scale pink wall text stating: ‘i-chatmobi’, (iChat – 2015) and upon further investigation it was understood to be a provocation to interact with an online messenger application iChat:

iChat is a messenger application embodied by a ‘Tumblr teen girl aesthetic’, when interacting with iChat a conversation reformation occurs between a ‘decoy adolescent female’ + a ‘predator’.

Citing directly a conversation from Perveted-Justice.com, the application articulates entrapment strategies and the importance of human connectivity/representation/vulnerability online, (whether genuine or constructed).

Against the end wall of the front gallery space a projected text work (Code Swishing – 2014) screens currently circulating Internet acronyms, for example: ‘SWM’, and beneath this the expansion: ‘Single White Male’. This work was initially humorous, yet after time with the work the specific acronyms selected and their intentions became more sinister, asserting a critical awareness, potentially of how these text reductions and their cyber perpetuation simultaneously over simplify and complicate identity politics online (FWB: friends with benefits, GBM: gay black male, BBW: big black women).

Moving into the back gallery space I encountered a disk drive painted white and situated on top of a white plinth (SeeDee – 2014), with a faint soundtrack of the disk burner in operation underneath. At this point I overheard Luke and Matthew discussing “breathing shallow while waiting for emails to load”, which I found extremely applicable and entered back into the front gallery space to stand within ear shot while reading over the titles and work descriptions. In the medium section of SeeDee (2014), it outlined semen as a component of the materials alongside the plinth and disk drive. This particular involvement of the body and, furthermore, bodily fluid evident in the title, yet invisible to the viewer prior to reading the description, provoked me to consider this action in relation to anxieties surrounding uploading the body online and the ever-present yet often ‘invisible’ or little discussed under current of pornography online.

As an exhibition which considers / reconsiders the intrinsic relationship between the gallery space, cyber space and URL / IRL human connectivity and experience, I position this text as anecdotal, a provocation for others to experience swfer IRL (in real life), and to engage with the online components: iChat and the artist talk available on sound cloud (links attached).

Matthew Galloway in conversation with Luke Munn: https://soundcloud.com/blue-oyster-dunedin/luke-munn-talking-to-matthew-galloway

Link to application iChat: http://i-chat.mobi

Unpainted: Helen Calder, James Bellaney, Kim Pieters, Fu On Chung – Exhibition Review

23 September 2014 – 18 October 2014, Blue Oyster Art Project Space.

By Judith Yeh

The first thing one sees at Blue Oyster Art Project Space is what looks to be enormous, peeled frankfurter skins suspended off the ceiling. It’s a decorative, unrefined work that sets the tone for this project, which alludes to the fact that painting is considered as a premise but not a parameter here. If the exhibition’s title, unpainted, hasn’t given enough hint already. Very soon one discovers that those raw plastic peelings are acrylic paint skins, removing any framework that denotes the installation as traditional painting. Helen Calder’s use of intensely saturated colours, and the title Red, Red, Red, Red, opens the dialogue to this force of redundancy towards painting.

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The exhibition begins to unfold as the other side of that wall hangs four small-scaled, brilliantly bright coloured “paintings”, wrapped in light-reflecting cellophane covers. A seemingly blatant and obvious way to fit in with the theme; Fu-On Chung’s canvas works sit face to face across the room to two large panels of canvases, which have more reasons for the viewer to unpick, and discover how it ties in with the exhibition. A composition of paint have been manipulated into swirling textural elements across the canvases, James Bellaney challenges the laboriousness of layering and manipulating paint. The intensity and the strong contrast of the complimentary colours, yellow and purple; Bellaney’s work screams emotionally at the brutality of the acrylic skins across the room. Inducing a slight claustrophobia. Suddenly, Chung’s small-scaled paintings against the exposed white walls seem to create a perfect equilibrium within the room, providing an escape from the structural exploitation of the two other works.

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Wandering further into the art space, a small dimmed room displays an achromatic, dream-like moving image soundscape; picturing soft focus renderings of Dunedin’s first church steeple against a background of scumbling and swirling dabs of light. Kim Pieter’s Flame takes on a number of painterly qualities outside the formality of a physical painting, accompanied by the artist’s narration of her creative process and journey.

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Although the exhibition’s title has a misleading nature that distracts the concept of the exhibition, it adds to the slightly muddled nature of the show. For a relatively compact exhibition, unpainted creates a somewhat coherent narrative from all of these disparate pieces. The fact that the works are in complete contrast to one another, installation and style wise, the result goes beyond the marginalised idea of traditional painting – creating an incredibly convincing argument.

Photo credit: Blue Oyster Art Project Space

More images available on blueoyster.org.nz