Thursday, 24 October 2019

Pamela Leung

20 October - 23 November      Blossom Everywhere
Link to artist's website

Pamela Leung. Blossom Everywhere. 2019.

Pamela Leung is a Hong Kong born Australian, who came here about 40 years ago. Like most people who live some distance in kilometers and years from their birthplace there is a sentiment reserved for the homeland that isn’t reasoned and never forsaken. This is the filter through which Pamela has watched the demands of students in Hong Kong for democracy with in the Chinese Republic.  Demands that stretch into the future, beyond the 2047 horizon of the one country two system regime that replaced Hong Kong’s British colonial rule.

The outlawed black facemask, the essential uniform of the Hong Kong protestor has become Pamela’s motif. Transformed into a flower and repeated, like the Hong Kong student civil disobedience, across the available space with fragile insistence. And while we might wonder what the outcome of the protest movement will eventually be Pamela has taken the dismal view that it will be squashed under the weight of China’s central government.

Symbolism, politics and sentiment collide as art in Pamela’s piece, Blossom everywhere posing the futile question of the artist’s intent. However it is not that the artist is saying anything particular about the political situation in Hong Kong, it is that she is living with a meditation on a confrontation that is reconfiguring her idea of home.

- Tony Twigg

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tony Twigg

15th September - 19th October     The Idea of Subject
Link to website with artist information

Usually a picture is of something. It might be a picture of a person, or a building or a landscape. Early on the idea of a picture’s subject was complicated by religious art. For example the subject might be a person, Christ who is not a particular man but a symbol of people’s humanity, or a building, the Kaaba, which is not a building shrouded in black cloth but the essence of Islam. And in Sydney we have our own wrapped thing, the landscape at Little Bay packaged by Christo as an altar to our cult of contemporary art. We keep these images in our memories where they cease to be pictures of particular things and become symbols that stand for all we know about a particular thing.

The picture then is not of something, but is a something that has been invented. Often fashioned along strict guidelines set down by culture permitting our pictures to be read by others as language. For some a stick is a stick is a stick while for others a stick is a tree is a magic wand. However in either case the subject is made and then remade each time it is read, eventually becoming, a sort of mirror reflecting our understanding or lack of it, of the self, the enduring subject of all art.

I have come to think of this as the method of making or inventing art. It is the experience through time of making and remaking a single thing that automatically changes each time it is made. For example, the constructed work here was made in 1989, remade in 1997 and remade again in 2016. The process was articulated metaphorically, codified as language and identified as myth. Evolving in this manner it could eventually be reduced to pattern. There are precedents in art making of legible matters, for example the crosshatching or rarrking in Aboriginal bark painting and the geometrical arabesque arrangements of polygons in Islamic art and architecture. My drawings are of similar patterns. And if this constructed work could be seen as a figure, each drawing would be seen as a portrait or more correctly a visage, an expressions caught in ripples of time connecting the past with the future that are stretched, teased out and exposed across a present that is our now.

- Tony Twigg

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Mollie Rice

11 August - 14 September      Worlds Above, Worlds Below

Link to artist's website

Mollie Rice. 2019. Worlds above, worlds below. Charcoal, gesso on paper.
Mollie Rice was born in remote Australia. She spoke of Katherine - Lightening Ridge where her Dad was an opal miner, the unstable Australian bush and small towns where she got good at listening.  By the time she had a drivers’ license she was gone. First to Bathurst for study then to Sydney where she taught, next London, travel, husband, 2 children and then back to Australia, WHY? And with out a thought she replied, “the big sky”.

She wondered how a sense of location affected an individual?  For her Sydney delivered another child and a life threatening illness that left her grinning, “I’m still here!” then a chance to study textiles at CoFA. It was a foundational language that became drawing and the observation, “drawing permitted things to be, without being a statement or an answer”. For Mollie Rice drawing seemed to be the business of listening to a location.

The works here were made in response to the walk across the Domain from the Art Gallery of New South Wales towards the city that for Mollie is the walk into a wall of silence. She watched it through her sketches made on the spot. Drawn blind as she said tracing the cities contours on to her page without lifting her eyes from her subject. And she listened, making a drawn record of the silent cities sounds, blind again, with out lifting her ears from her subject.

Her paintings access those field recordings in a shallow slippery space where foreground and background merge into blurs that could be either.  Here it's tempting to think of her subject, our city rendered as an unidentified place, enveloped by "the big sky" where only the sounds of place remain to give us a sense of location.

Tony Twigg

Monday, 15 July 2019

Bryan Fitzgerald

03 July - 10 August      Last Train to Banksia
Link to artist's website

Bryan Fitzgerald. Last Train to Banksia. Installation with photographs taken with mobile phone.
Bryan is a neighbour. He is the Fitzgerald of Chee Soon and Fitzgerald, a shop along Regent St. He’s the guy who sweeps the street in a wide arc around the shop, delivering the same aura of calmness to our street that his shop exudes. And he’s a photographer who observed Raam, a friend making his way to Redfern Station for the Last train to Banksia. And among these various endeavours the idea that threads them together is patina – Bryan’s alertness to patina.

Patina is the surface texture of things that visually conveys mood. It’s the shine on an old car’s chrome-work that labels it a classic, the faint echo of wall paint that encapsulates a past rather than indicating the need for modernization. It’s the beauty born of time and the passage of hands. And it’s the romanticism of walking down a street alive to every sensation where the visual charge is of life lived. This is the mood that Bryan Fitzgerald captures for us in his photographs of our streets.
Bryan offers us the gift of pause. It is the moment of stillness, listening, watching some perfect moment of light and shade across a surface that is gone in the moment it takes to perceive it. Then again that might simply be a friend rushing to catch the last train home.

He was born in New Zealand and living there in timber houses he says that he learnt about patina from his great aunts. With a single sweep of their hands they cleaned, making no distinction between inside and out. Timber was scrubbed, the weatherboards painted, lino was no doubt mopped, week in week out imbuing each surface with life. Small changes, incremental differences building across the passage of time and recorded as surface patina are savoured here in photographs of Raam making his journey, short and local that we might understand as cinema. We watch transfixed as time passes.

Bryan offers us the gift of pause. It is the moment of stillness, listening, watching some perfect moment of light and shade across a surface that is gone in the moment it takes to perceive it. Then again that might simply be a friend rushing to catch the last train home.

- Tony Twigg

All works are for sale in editions of 5 at $350 each
Enquiries –    83991305

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Ho Bo Jo

2 June - 3 July      Vision River

It isn’t his real name.

More correctly, it wasn’t his name when I first came across him. But when real is divided into: what was, what is and what will be, it’s the present we pay attention to. Change is accommodated, necessitated even expected, but rarely questioned when a question could be read as impolite, ill informed and possibly reactionary.

Art has pummeled the idea of real. Words like, illusion and reality, origin and reproduction, concept and object, facsimile and symbol - have been thrown together often enough for people to realize that everything is real; however, some things are more precisely named than some other things. Reality has become a question of nomenclature.

Ho Bo Jo is exhibiting jpegs, objects from cyber space that effortlessly ship pictures around as numbers. For an artist digital imagery opens pictures to seemingly endless sequences of change that can be tracked. What might begin as a single idea can expand into a graphic record of its evolution. In time the narrative of evolution becomes more consequential than any single image suggesting that the narrative has morphed into an embryonic language, a Vision River perhaps. Look at one of Ho Bo Jo’s images and you will see a jpeg, look at a 100 and you will see a language.

I can see two of these language-like sequencers of images playing here. One that looks like a set of painterly abstractions while the other represents a reality that often includes pictures hanging on gallery walls. Of course the two sets of images mingle. We observe as an art-like image that evolved as a manipulation of pixels ends up on a gallery wall where it is observed as a manipulation of images.

It is a simple story but it is a complex consideration of the mysterious romance of art. It’s not a movie; there is no beginning, no end, no running time. Look at it for 20 seconds or look at it for an hour, you will see much the same thing. But with an hour's viewing the more nuanced this meditation on the romantic ideal of art becomes.

At the end of a parting email, Ho Bo Jo informed me that his name is a “3 word poem”, a kind of onomatopoeia perhaps, a name that describes as much as it identifies, unlike his images that identify rather than describe.

Tony Twigg