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melbourne jaunt part 2

i think in the census next tuesday, i'll be marking my religion down as a coffee-ist. i've been worshipping the coffee gods mercilessly this morning and i give thanks to the joy of roasted beans.

yesterday i did a mammoth gallery run and it was fantastic! got to visit a bunch of galleries that i had heard so much about, chatted with volunteers, saw some kick ass art stuff, loaded up my bag with a bunch of paper - free shit and paid catalogues galore!

started off at Platform with this great exhibition of works on paper by Betthany Edwards which had cute little nostalgic quotes of the artist's childhood memories, illustrated by rubbings of kids books illustrations, my favourite was "i started off in highschool with a spiked fringe and a spiral perm. hey, it was the 90s". I popped in and said hey to Simone at Stinky, bought a cool zine and raved about the Melbourne scene, bitched about Sydney scene while she did the opposite. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence it seems.

From there I wandered up to Swanston St and looked for Blindside in the rabbit warren at 37. The show was great, as was the gallery - Beth Arnold and Sary Zananiri's Resurface show was simple and effective. The main piece was this growth of plaster 'tiles' almost oozing out of the white concrete walls, like a pregnant belly, or blind pimple about to burst. They had intervened with the space with tubes attached at various points in corners and on the floor, but they weren't quite as successful as the baby bump.

Beth Arnold, 2006

As cool as that show was, it wasn't nearly as cool as the lift experience. The lift is an old school rickety one, attended by a guy in a pince nez and a dali moustache, who was on his first day in the lift. The inside of the lift was covered in leunig cartoons cut out from the age and pictures of kids and animals, and as he missed the 7th floor (punctuated by an 'oops!', as the lift zoomed past) he told me desperately that they weren't his pics, that he was into zombies and ghouls, etc. I love the idea of that space being an exhibition space of sorts. Portable and oh so confined - talk about a captive audience!

Next it was off to bus to check out Alice Lang's Supple and Claire Watson's Jelly Bean Lab. There was a strange correlation between the two exhibits - the whole beany, globular shape thing was happening. Although the whole jelly bean lab wasn't entirely captivating for me, there were elements of it that tickled my fancy - the little sculptures made out of mangled jelly beans were ace and the 'flood' of black jellybeans seeping under the wall was great as well. I love multiples and bright colours, so this was right up my alley. Of course, if I had done it, there would have been a bunch more red jelly beans and i probably would have used up a lot more of the space with them, but hey, it wasn't me.
Alice Lang's Supple was small and succinct. A hanging sculptural piece of a vinyl, bulbous-looking 'thing', which kind of reminded me of intestines, sausages and offal, all at the same time and had the decorative element of frilly bits to totally wack it all out of kilter. On the wall were 3 photographs in oval frames of (I'm assuming) Alice wearing said scultpural piece as a gorgeous headpiece to go with her Victorian dress. They were so pursed, it was awesome! The 'hat' fell over Alice's eyes and I could imagine it squelching on her forehead, but she kept her cool for the photos. Queen Vic would have been proud.

Popped in to Outre Gallery to see my bud Gemma Jones, which was ace. We skitted across the road for lunch and over a regular vegetarian special at the Curry Bowl, we discussed female masturbation, a friend's convalescence from depression and the finer points of forging out an art career. Totally modern girls we are! Outre have the Charles Krafft book at the moment and a few of his grenades and a gun pack. I covet the AK-47s and one day i will own one. In the mean time, i'm going to save up a buy a grenade instead. And maybe the book.

Charles Krafft, Grenade 2005

Finally, i wandered up to West Space, which i've been looking forward to for ages! Selekta 06 is on and the show is such a great idea that i was sure the work would reflect it too. They explain it better than I do, but basically it's about 10 artists choosing 10 other artists who chose 10 other artists to participate in the show. So the curatorial 'power' is taken out of the curators and put in the squishy hands of the artists. There are some great artists there and the catalogue is ace, especially for gold coin donation! I was pleasantly surprised to see my mate Christopher Hanrahan there again - I didn't know he played guitar! And the influence of Wesley Willis on his work is perhaps only obvious to me, but hey. His interview in the catalogue with Peter Volich is pure Hanrahan pricelessness! Other highlights included Hany Armanious' squidgy puddles of resin goopy looking things, more visceral body-type stuff; Darren Sylvester's Ode to Clinique piece takes the prize for the Out of Left Field Award. I loved it, and it's something that my mate Megan Sproats needs to see in relation to her eye shadow pieces, but I would not have picked it as being by the darling of the photographic scene, that's for sure! Vanessa David's seabed pillow was cute and I did like Jessica Maurer's collage portrait. It was a really easy show to spend time in as well, which was such a nice change from the breeze in, breeze out aspect of the art fair.

Darren Sylvester

I finally had a chance to check out more stuff at the fair today, and there are some ticklish works that i want to rave about but i'll save that for the next installment!


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