Craft ACT’s ‘Gather’ exhibition first off the blocks in the 2008 Canberra glass stakes…

17 01 2008

liz-kelly-1.jpgmariana-del-castillo-detail.jpgblanche-tilden-detail.jpg

Craft ACT has kicked off the glass brouhaha a week early, stealing the march on the Ausglass conference with a show that’s cool, edgy and (in the main) totally out there.

Curator Jas Hugonnet invited Craft ACT members to ‘examine the possibilities of combining glass with other materials in a constructed approach after the annealing process’, and the resultant exhibition is refreshingly diverse and (perhaps more importantly) intelligently progressive.

One of the most striking aspects is the preponderance of (totally unsolicited) socio-political commentary – which of course lifts the Gang’s skirt no end. We do like to be engaged on a level a little loftier than ‘gee, how did he/she make that’ and ‘that’d look nice in my loungeroom’. (Or worse, ‘how can I rip that off and make it my own’…)

So the show is a bewdy (though this is probably hardly surprising given the cast of contributors) and, sitting as it does at the contemporary art end of craft-biz, it sets a quite gratifying intellectual benchmark; which is always to be applauded.

Some of our absolute faves are Alex Asch’s another beautiful day at the factory, Diedre Feeney’s out of time, Mariana del Castillo’s momento mori series (Mariana’s work is always so wonderfully intriguing) and Elizabeth Kelly’s AT YOUR OWN RISK. (This latter being a commentary on the ‘no care, even less responsibility’ policy and culture of the new not-to-be-named-you-know-what. We’d tell ya but we had to sign a confidentiality clause with Liz…er, not! Clue #1: it’s a shark’s nest.)

Luna Ryan’s 1-2-3 Bears (from the Transformative Toy series) is simply darling – and a complete break-away from the Mamana Mamanta work showing in Gallery 2. After some two years of working tirelessly on the Tiwi project with Jock, she’s swapped the weighty responsibility of the pukumani poles for some light-hearted R&R and studio playtime. The resultant ‘honey bears’ are irresistibly charming, and herald a completely new direction in Luna’s ongoing practice.

But back to the political…Itzell Tazziman’s Citizen of the World  is a classic reflection on the Howard era (and indeed the piece was made back in 2005, at a time when we were all most despairing of Little Johnny’s insidious social and political agenda.) Megan (Megsie) Bottari’s НАСЛЕДИЕ ГОВАРДА (Howard’s Legacy), on the other hand, is a direct response to Howard’s recent agreement with Putin (signed at the Sydney APEC fiasco last year) to flog our uranium to the Russians. (No deep and angst-riven meaningfuls here – the foreboding message is alarmingly simple: our shit will be radioactive. Period.) Even Blanchie came up with a military thematic in her eloquently elegant Perpetual bandolier. And Simon Mayberley’s signature Perception Series (silver blue) lends a certain sense of mummery and manipulation…

For those of you who remain faint/feint hearted, never fear; there’s plenty of serious craftmanship for the crotchety old purists. And the exhibition’s not entirely spiky and confronting (Amy Schleif Mohr’s Duality is characteristically Classic-School-of-Bullseye, for instance, and Rozlyn de Bussey’s Aerated Form 2 is completely innocuous…)

Meanwhile the techno stakes are represented by the work of aforementioned Diedre Feeney (glass and video projection) and Denise Higgins (a fascinating light/glass/kinetic piece), both of which need to be seen in the flesh to be properly appreciated. Suffice to say they’re worth the trip.

Gather will be showing in Gallery 1 at Craft ACT from 14th Jan – 27th January, with an opening night at 7pm on Friday 25th. Mamana Mamanta runs concurrently in Gallery 2.

For snaps from the exhibition go to…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasscentralcanberra/sets/72157603733867655/

Sincere apologies to Deidre, Denise and Rozlyn for not showing images of their work. In the case of the former two, the light component of each is integral to the piece and we simply couldn’t get a shot that did the work justice. In the case of Roslyn, the camera spat the dummy. We’ll endeavour to sort it out…

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One response

18 01 2008
Jas Hugonnet

Nice work Megs
I Know I ve got a vested interest in this show but i must say you have given the show some personality through your text.
good on ya

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