Saturday, September 1, 2012

Artwank - 18th Biennale of Sydney

By Lucy Wilson

If you flip to page 2 of the 18th Biennale of Sydney Guide or look online at, you’ll find a statement headed all our relations by the Artistic Directors Catherine de Zegher (curator and writer) and Gerald McMaster (curator, artist and writer).
Travelling to Sydney to experience the Biennale I was keen to read what the curators had to say. But unfortunately I found their style of writing hard to follow, with the seemingly big concepts at either end of a sentence clanging like a brain twister, which unfortunately landed in a heap.

untitled (oysters and tea cups)

By Patrick Sutczak

It was as if I had happened upon an accident. As if the pressure was too much the door had bowed, buckled and given way, swinging open with violent force spilling the contents from within to flow and settle on the ground resting where it may for my observation and consideration.  Had I missed the eruption, or was this glacial – instant upheaval or gradual shift? Paradoxically, I think this is one and the same. Oysters and tea cups - nature and the civilised, change and adaption.
Again, Jonathon Jones dips into his heritage in order to explore how cultural intersections have, and are continuing, to occur in Australian history through ritual feast. This time, he looks at Aboriginal winter feasts of oysters, and the introduction of tea by the British into Aboriginal communities.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tame Pussy

By Elizabeth Barsham

Three small boys are discussing the colours in a large stencilled and sprayed painting, taking turns photographing each other in front of it. They have been out with the spray cans themselves and one still has a paper mask hanging round his neck. We are surrounded by huge, spray-painted images by graffiti artists Aedan Howlett, Hiiragi, Jacob Leary, Jamin, Phibs and Tom O'Hearn, but we are not in an alley between grimy concrete walls. We are in the super-respectable tastefully restored Barn at Rosny where the artists have spent the last week creating six mural-sized paintings for StArt, the Clarence City Council's annual Festival of Street Art.

Outside in the sunshine there is a free barbecue, face painting and live music; visitors make badges, stencil designs on calico shopping bags and try their hand at spray-painting and reverse graffiti (drawing into the grime on detatched car doors).

A group of Yarn Bombers help children make big, colourful pompoms, hanging the results from the bare branches of a winter tree. With Council support the guerilla knitters were able to afford far more, and more colourful, wools than usual, and handrails and bollards along the street sport eye-catching stripes.

Designs by three digital artists have been printed up billboard size and mounted on the walls of the shopping centre. School children's drawings and paintings compete with commercial displays in shop windows. On Monday it will all be gone; the only artwork to distract shoppers and commuters will be the usual advertising signs.

untitled (barra)

By Patrick Sutczak

Finding myself in another tunnel and once again finding myself having to stop.

The idea of a tunnel acting as a thoroughfare across Cockatoo Island (I assume to save time) is proving problematic in that very intention. For now, these are gallery spaces, sites of artistic installation, and sites of interventions. I could also say they are sites of reflection. I am the token tourist on Sydney's Gloucester Street who could be seen stopping every five meters to photograph the original terrace housing – or to peer into the excavations beneath the YHA accommodation, and actually enjoy it. There is something about history that captivates me, and certainly the endevours to unearth it, preserve it, and more importantly to learn from it. A captivation shared by many, but not enough. But those structures are the solid things, the remnants still here – the kind of relics that can be cordoned off, dusted down, chipped away at and displayed - things of permanent exhibition. What if history is oral, migratory, or is testament to an assimilationist – how might we engage with that? Biennale artist Jonathon Jones raises his hand…

Monday, August 27, 2012

Swarm (ASX) & The bee library

By Patrick Sutczak

One of the greatest things about an arts event like the Biennale is that as a viewer, works reveal themselves as the venue is explored, quite often when you least expect it. Before me, as I sat on the bench after meandering around on the upper part of Cockatoo Island, the work of Scottish born artist Alec Finlay was sparking my curiosity. His installation dotted around the grassy area in front of me consisting of sound, sculpture, and books (they were above my head), was inviting closer inspection, but I didn’t engage. Not at first.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Madeleine Goodwolf - Drawings & Paintings

Madeleine Goodwolf's exhibition was opened by Lucy Wilson on 24 August 2012 at Handmark Gallery, and this is what she said...
those poignant moments
by Madeleine Goodwolf
Welcome everyone to the Opening of Madeleine Goodwolf’s Exhibiton of drawings and paintings … (dot dot dot) … and no prints!

I’ve enjoyed seeing this series of Maddy’s drawings a few times. The first time I saw them was one night when I dropped in on Maddy and we had a cup of tea and were chatting and I asked her what she’d been up to, and she said “drawing”, and I said, “can I see?” and she said “yeah”. So we whipped out the back to the studio and scurried up the stairs … and it was exciting to see these drawings – black charcoal lines on big white paper. There was a tenderness and an aliveness and a beauty about them.

And what was more exciting was seeing Maddy and how happy she was about doing drawings ….and not print making anymore. Really? Gulp. Madeleine Goodwolf, Printmaker of nearly 20 yrs with a reputation that crosses oceans, and not just Bass Strait but across to Germany and beyond, and has been collected by many art lovers and acquired by prestigious collections.

Dune, 2007-12

By Patrick Sutczak

The Dog-Leg Tunnel carved through the rock of Cockatoo Island’s impressive bulk beckoned me in as I sought a respite from the unusually hot morning sun. Square cut and dimly lit, a backbone of sleepers lined the path ahead while bearing tons upon tons of earth and rock against their aging frames. Progression through the long tunnel sees the light grow even fainter as it fades to black creating a menacing space that evokes a degree of trepidation. However, there is nothing to fear here. What Daan Roosegaarde has created within this subterranean thoroughfare is a sensual installation that provokes as much thought as it does engagement.