The Gang indulges in some Hensonist popularism of its own…

17 09 2008

 

WARNING!!  Ethical parental permissions were neither sought nor given for the following ‘artistic’ activity…

 

    

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These snaps of Ginger, the Gang’s most significant Work-In-Progress (Sammy Jo now being pretty much resolved), and her mate Kobi getting frocked up for a kinky-themed party out at sleepy Murrumbatemen, were taken earlier in the year – prior to the Henson/Roslyn Oxley9 frazzle. Which has no aesthetic connection whatsoever apart from the obvious lack of shadowy, insinuating undertone…

Meanwhile, on a more serious note, the Henson controversy refuses to subside – the outré media attention, of course, has thrown the market a bone and speculation has subsequently taken on a life of its own. ArtWranglers (always on the pulse) has been keeping us abreast of ongoing, pertinent developments

…and having looked at the image currently in question (Menzies Art Brands lot#214) we have to concur that this is starting to get a little harder to defend.





When the cross-over thing gets murky…

15 09 2008

 

Look, lordy knows we’re all for trans-medium shake ups in the arts (we stoutly encourage them in fact), but standards are standards folks and if you want to use glass then at least respect it sufficiently to do it well.

 

 

Nell’s latest offering, A white bird flies in the mist, a black bird flies in the night, a woman walks, wild and free, she is not afraid to die, 2008 [installation Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne] courtesy of Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, is the perfect example of the problem. No glassie of any standing would be allowed to get away with publicly exhibiting such badly crafted/finished work, so why the hell should anybody else? 

As she gives no accreditation – mind you, no professional gaffer would put their hand up for this lot – are we to presume that Nell herself made them? (…this might, at least, explain the obvious lack of mastery…)

 

           

 

And yes, we get that it’s a pop/Pacman-esque critter (see a previous article in Artlink) but that doesn’t excuse the drack workmanship.

Our advice to Nell, with all due respect, is (if you want to be so literal) to at least go out and hire yourself a competent blower and/or team… 

 

                         

 

    …just give ’em your (very cute) drawing and bob’ll-be-your-uncle, no sweat.





Hint of things to come…

6 08 2008

Nige sent through a swag of those mad ‘lost-in-translation’ signage stuff-ups which are always a bit of a laugh. But oh so prophetic, wethinks, with the Beiijing Olympics looming…

 

 

No great surprise there – one has only to cast one’s mind back to any number of Chinese female athletes over the last decade, particularly in the women’s swim team, to figure that they’re barely a nanochromosome removed from budgie smuggling. It’s only reasonable they should be provided toilet facilities of their own…

 

 

And this one, too, cuts a little close to the bone.

We’re really tired of all the specious palaver about the separation of sports and politics, what a load of codswobble. The Olympics have been cynically manipulated at the very least since Hitler’s 1936 Nazi extravaganza in Berlin. No wonder every nation vies so desperately for the rights to host it, it’s the platinum propaganda vehicle of all time (never mind the venal money-grubbing.)

We are so over the hypocrisy. If anybody who’s been watching the growing jack-boot activity (from Tibet through to the disgraceful eviction of people from their homes and god knows what else) genuinely has any sense of decency and fair play, they’ll vote with their remote control and register their protest by not watching the bloody Games at all.





The shadow game…

11 07 2008

(above) scanned page from the latest Glass magazine, #111, Summer 2008

When does imitation cross the line from flattering veneration to mere rip-off? Afro was Lino’s apprentice, but still…

Perhaps it operates on an intellectual property/franchise arrangement…? Either that or it’s the archaic Venetian guild custom of faithfully following the footsteps of the master (as in obligatory padrone business.)





We’re rooted…

21 05 2008

 

Somebody just forwarded the Gang the above invitation to a glass exhibition, opening at the Watson Arts Centre this evening.

Dear oh dear, what can we say. There will always be a price to pay when you run ‘off the street’ programs that heartily assure all and sundry that ‘yes! you too can be a glass artist‘ (giving the glib impression that there’s really nothing to it.)

On the face of it we’re already on the slippery slide to a severe devaluation of our arts credentials…





Eyesore Central…

13 05 2008

 

We were stopped in our tracks this morning when we wandered into one of our fave links to check out the latest  ‘Eyesore of the Month’ offering. The (above) offending architectural brute is the city hall in Troy, New York.

Jaysus! We’d better pray that James Howard Kunstler doesn’t pay a visit to Canberra – he’d have a bloody field day!! Although, of course, the context is quite different in the ‘Berra (in that it’s the rule rather than the exception.) Perhaps our national capital ought be placed on the heritage list as a fine, and prime, example of the Brutalist Era. It could be in line with Melbourne being cited and admired for its Victorian character…

Anyhoo, whatever. We certainly suspect that Mr Kunstler might be on to something regarding the misogyny…

Follow the link…http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore.html





Mental health initiative: get bloggin’…that’s our advice.

8 05 2008

To the uninitiated, blogging apparently seems a waste of time (to quote an oft aired, though to us totally incomprehensible, sentiment). The reality is that the bloggosphere is the richest source of infinite entertainment imaginable. Informative, helpful, and more often than not (most importantly) incredibly amusing. And a godsend for those of us who can’t get our jollies anymore from the drack offerings of mainstream, hardcopy journalism.

Recently the Gang was having a spot of techno trouble with the glasscentralcanberra site and called for help on the WordPress forum page (usually we harass poor Zoe, but don’t like to be too much of a nuisance…!) and were immediately given a (patient and helpful) hand by a total stranger.

Later, out of idle curiosity, we had a look at the blogger in question’s own site – and thank christ we did! What a funny bugger. Right down our alley. Everything from dirty martinis to the latest pet fad, LoveLice (yessiree, pet crabs are in!!) We thoroughly recommend a regular dose…http://raincoaster.com/

 





Enter at own risk…

16 04 2008

   

  

(above) the work of Benjamin Armstrong

This post is a bit of a backtrack – but it warrants visiting, nonetheless.

Some time ago our attention was drawn to a Sebastian Smee pontification in the March 1st Weekend Australian regarding the relevance and/or vigour of the painting scene in a contemporary environment more attuned to mass multi-media ‘fusion’. He finished up with the following gush over a Benjamin Armstrong show at Tolarno…

“Finally, the most dazzling show of the new gallery season — 32-year-old Benjamin Armstrong’s show of glass and wax sculptures and linocuts at the new Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne — reminds us that painting has been only one among many options for ambitiously original artists. Armstrong’s sculptures sit on the floor like empty, inflated condoms or giant eyeballs. They are entrancing objects, eliciting physical responses that flicker between disgust and sensuousness.

Armstrong plays with degrees of transparency and opacity, etching thin lines on the blown glass or lavishly wrapping it in turbans of gorgeously textured white wax. The linocuts are almost, but not quite, as impressive. Their rhythmic, linear designs are printed in metallic pigment or black ink on hand-dyed paper.

The two sets of work — sculptures and prints — speak to each other, generating layers of intrigue. But there’s no doubt that the sculptures are among the strangest, most beguiling works of art produced in Australia in the past 10 years.”

(http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23279040-5013572,00.html )

Wethinks Sebastian needs to get out a bit more. 

Not that we aren’t into Benjamin’s work – it’s kind of Patricia Piccinini-meets-Roger Rabbit, and the icky abject condom/sprog/flesh component frankly wouldn’t be out of place in the glassworkshop of every art school across the country as we speak. The difference being that such playful investigation is considered immature faffing about, and generally ‘discouraged’ by the time a student advances beyond second year. Craftsmanship – and all that that implies; tradition, technique, skill>virtuosity – takes precedence over dabblings into visceral existentialism. All the more so in this era of aspirant consumerism, where the arts are peddled as a viable and respectable(!) career option and craft is predominently a calculated marketing game.

Very few currently practicing glassies allow themselves the self-indulgence of artistic compulsion in a contemporary art sense – mainly because it’s not fostered by a glass establishment still firmly entrenched in the maw of the decorative arts. So this is a field ordinarily left to artists from other disciplines who are able to blithely trespass into glass territory and casually use the material with impunity, unencumbered by enforced craft historic regulation.  

[It’s nigh time that glassies broke loose and followed suit.  n(Ed)]

Which brings us to another concern – who made the glass component of Benjamin’s work, and why is there no accreditation? Surely there ought be some professional courtesy in this regard. There has, of course, long been an unfortunate trend even within glass circles for practitioners to have their work blown (or kiln-formed, or coldworked) by others, without any acknowledgement of the gaffer et al (but that’s another pandora’s box entirely…)

All good grist for the mill, me hearties.

Have a squizz at Benjamin Armstrong’s exhibition at… 

http://www.tolarnogalleries.com/armstrong-benjamin/

and wait, there’s more…

http://www.gertrude.org.au/studio_artists_template.php?id=231





A long time coming: Sorry Day, at last, in Canberra…

14 02 2008

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Just a quick post to mark yesterday’s historic, unqualified apology from the Australian Parliament to both the stolen generation and the indigenous community at large – though lordy knows that the mere pronouncent of the word sorry is by no means enough.

What we really need in this country is genuine reconciliation with, and respect for the rights of, Aboriginal people – and we hope to christ that yesterday was the beginning of a fair dinkum movement in that direction. We can’t afford, morally, to let them down again.

The Craft ACT mob attended the large public gathering held outside New Parliament House for the occasion, and the Gang was certainly with them, arm-in-arm, in spirit.





Street racing fuelled at the pump…

28 01 2008

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When Brenny and the Gang swung into the Shell petrol station at Dickson the other day we were a tad horrified to read the latest choice of petrol at the bowser. If the powers-that-be are genuinely looking for an effective way to discourage street racing/petrol head buff(h)oonery/carnage on the roads, perhaps they should have a little chat with Shell. Is this just a spin-off from the Summernats, or is it the company’s blanket endorsement of speed? More importantly, is it being flogged to P-platers?