Cultcha catch-up…

Darlings!! We’ve been stuck in relentless social butterfly mode for a fortnight; so much to see, so much to do, no time to stop and post. We’ll do our darndest to roll it out in some sort of semblance of order…

We’ve lots to bring from the Shirley Hannan, but have decided to tie it together in a neat monthly bow; as in all the highlights, some of which are still to come (winner Mathew Lynn will be giving a floortalk next week, and a plethora of other goodies besides…)

So we’ll start with Bob Georgeson’s show at Ivy Hill Gallery, which followed hard on the heels of the Shirley Hannan opening.

Great gig, we love Bob’s work. It appeals enormously to our natural sense of religious anarchy. As in, take that George Pell.

…yeah baby, and so much more besides…

It’s a jolly good smutty romp’n’giggle, backed up with pl-enty of serious intellectual rigour (which always works for us, let’s face it.)

More than just another cheap chapter in churchy ch-enanigans, this work is beautifully realised and worrisomely credible.

[From the POV of the cult of the catechism, Bob’s doomed for purgatory for sure and for certain…but we’ll all be along for the party, yessir. n(Ed)]

Meanwhile, pics of many happily compliant sinners here.

Get in quick, on until the 28th June.

Construct: the show…


Alex Asch, The golden pig toucher, mixed media



Mariana del Castillo, The revelation, mixed media



Bob Georgeson, Mons, mixed media

The exhibition, Construct: Sculpture in the house, is about to come down – so for those who missed it, we’re posting it for posterity. And what a beauty it was…


(Megsie’s) Curatorial overview:

This show follows closely on the heels of Bermagui’s Sculpture on the Edge and quite consciously so. The happy circumstance of a vacancy in our exhibition program provided us the opportunity to extend the sculptural schematic to an audience already primed and receptive, and to introduce them to work of a more intimate nature. Whereas sculpture historically conjures up notions of monumentality – of sentinel endurance and poised grandeur – wrought and forged and intrinsically conspicuous, the work of the artists in Construct is at once familiar and private and inversely monumental in terms of an almost epic domesticity. This exhibition still tackles all the big questions – sex, life and the universe – but in a visual language that tugs at our collective memory through a construct of the careworn, abandoned flotsam of everyday life. Indeed all three artists, whether in 2D or 3D, employ a complex layering of emotion, material and intent to throw light on specious social mores that give us pause to contemplate the myriad absurdities of life.


Ecuadorian born artist Mariana del Castillo and American Alex Asch met at art school in Canberra some 20 years years ago, and have been practicing in a symbiotically simpatico capacity ever since. Though maintaining strictly separate practices, what they do obviously share is a genuine love of material and a clear understanding of the connotations inherent in the use of that material. Both are committed recyclers, unerringly identifying the beauty of discarded ‘detritus’ – which in turn delivers both narrative and a multi-layering of poetic embellishment to their respective practices.


Del Castillo’s work is quite clearly influenced by her Ecuadorian roots. These ‘tableaus’ are imbued with the magic-realism found in the wider South American literary culture, and taking them in is akin to curling up with a favourite South American author. They’re so lyrical and mystical. So enthrallingly visceral. Each work an encapsulated narrative, a tender balance between a private biographical circumstance and the greater universal consciousness. This is, fundamentally, women’s business; cradling all the joy and pain that life entails. It stands both poised and literally pregnant with enshrined privacy – for which del Castillo makes no apology. We really don’t need to know the intimate particulars to feel the pith and the pathos. Nor does the ‘secrecy’ interfere with our intuitive appreciation of her rich aesthetic detailing.


Alex Asch’s aesthetic approach tends more toward the minimal. He is both drawn to naturalistic materials (metals and glass as opposed to plastics) and driven by the intellectual fascination vested in the re-invention of the found object. In this he subscribes to the school of Du Champ – with a Bostonian take, of course. His work invariable has a humorous edge –  sagacious observations of the ironies in life – and he’s not one to shy away from socio-political concerns. (As anyone who has seen his recent Guantanamo Man series can attest.) But Asch’s brand of sedition is a soft-shoe shuffle; he pokes and prods gently at the wider social conscience – if only to ensure that the home fires of compassion still retain some spark. Invariably he cocks an eye at risible enigmas – the Ready to Wear piece, for instance, was prompted by the haute couture/prêt a porter scenario, and contemplates the brittle absurdities of the cat-walk and high fashion industry.


While maintaining very disparate practices, what Mariana and Alex do patently share is a genuine love of material and a clear understanding of the connotations inherent in the use of that material. The overriding sensibility is one of infinite charm and exculpation – of salvation in simplicity, beyond and despite the reckless inhumanity of our time. There’s something almost Shaker in Asch’s work which yet sits astonishingly well in apposition with del Castillo’s arcane ‘catholic’ memorabilia. Each, in their own way, pays homage to The Relic.


The voice of the third person in the show is that of Bermagui artist Bob Georgeson (winner of the SEMAG exhibition held here earlier this year.) His most recent work is photomontage – often a dense construct of compelling, symbolic imagery of a psycho-sexual nature that delves into the straticulate hypocrisies of social convention. His ongoing Bridal series explores the conflicts inherent in the romance versus reality conundrum of the time immemorial mating game. Captivated by bridal magazines found in op-shops, he strives to reconcile the modesty of the veil with the louche sexuality of the garter. For Georgeson, the bride is the universal sacrificial lamb, central player in a coyly titivating ritual that masks a darker purpose. Here love and desire are caught in the erotic mesh of a carefully marketed and mannerly, staged drama – where bridezilla secretes the excesses of her cheap and sleazy hen’s night in the demure folds of unimpeachable white, and the complexity of the marriage bed wreaks havoc on the romance. In this modern day Dickens, Miss Havisham gets her wedding day, but the bouquet wilts and decays regardless. Georgeson is a dadaist at heart, and consequently at odds with cultural and intellectual conformity. His practice is a balanced assemblage of decorous imagery offset by a quiet cynicism, and is at once mesmerizing and repellant in its contrivance of an inevitably deviant beauty. And yet surely we can detect just a hint of tenderness for the very vulnerability of that doomed dream.


Construct: Sculpture in the house is a complex show, representing astute artistic handling of both media and concept. There is a fascinating visual dialogue at play in the room. And – glued together by diverse sentiment and strung on humanist ideology – an almost unfathomable yearning for the safety of the (metaphoric)womb.





Alex Asch, Guitars, mixed media



Alex Asch, collage series




 For more snaps, go here.

The ‘Construct: Sculpture in the house’ opening…


(above) Klaus and Megsie with artists Bob Georgeson, Mariana del Castillo and Alex Asch.

Last Friday night was the opening of Construct: Sculpture in the house at the Bega Regional Gallery, and what a great show [even if we do say so ourselves!! n(Ed)] This was Megsie’s first curatorial outing in the Gallery (she’d inherited an almost  fully booked 2 year program with the job – but happily there’s the odd blank for her to play with, and this is the first…) 

The exhibition is an Eden-Monaro special, featuring the work of Queanbeyan artists Mariana del Castillo and Alex Asch, and Bermagui artist and winner of the recent SEMAG show, Bob Georgeson. We’ll bring you the show proper, with the curatorial overview, shortly. But for now, sit back and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the social rounds.

More snaps here.

Bob Georgeson wins SEMAG show…

Bob Georgeson took out the prize in SEMAG’s On the Edge: towards postmodernism with his photo montage piece, Love Glove.




Megsie only managed to get about four shots off on the night, period – just post the speech and announcement of the winner and highly commendables. So at this juncture we can only show a couple of crowd shots of the night – if only to mark the occasion at least. The good news is that Christian was snapping away on the Gallery’s behalf, so we’ll be able to upload a more substantial coverage later in the week…




Post Script: Joy sent through some more pics last night…


                     christian  jan-and-pauline1  crowd-shot


                                              (click to enlarge)



Thanks, Joy!

Dual studios with a view…


Guluga from Beauty Point.

Last week the Gang took a Noddy drive (blue sky/clouds dancing/birds singing…) north to just beyond Bermagui to visit Bob and Joy Georgeson in their sea-change idyll at Beauty Point (on Wallaga Lake.) The visit was primarily to give Megsie a gander at Bob’s latest work (in view of a near-future exhibition) but of course it also gave us an opportunity to check out Joy’s new studio as well…

The Georgeson’s relocated to the coast from Canberra just shy of a couple of years ago and now live in a veritable lush garden paradise, a mere stone’s throw from the lake. It’s a gorgeous place to work – if you can tear yourself away from the garden and the beckoning lake (Bob being a keen fisherman) – and they clearly relish the cinescopic environment.

Of course, when the tourists hit town and Bob and Joy hanker for some serious peace and quiet, they pack a swag and retreat to their bush studio at Rocky Hall (which they built in the late 70’s/early 80’s, prior to the later move to Canberra.) It’s a win-win/best of both worlds situation, and obviously molto conducive to the creative muse.



Bob (painter/collage meister) and Joy (ceramicist) in their respective studios.




Ah, retirement is such a beautiful thing…and both have never been busier!! The Gang has known these guys since our yoof-ful days in Melbourne (they both studied at the VCA with Harijs) and we realised with a bit of a jolt that it’s been 30 years since we first acquired a piece of Joy’s (the sugar glider, in a gallery off Toorak Rd in 1977 or 8.) Yoiks! In those days she was into her native fauna period (sugar gliders, numbats, possums and such…and, paradoxically, cats.) Later, in Canberra, she morphed into carvivorous torsos (as you would.) These days her inspiration is predominantly the coastal environment (see her Wallaga Lake-Montague Island exhibition here.)

Bob, on the other hand, has been more of the recluse when it comes to his art practice. The Gang was lucky enough to acquire his Moomba Madness, 1977 in the early ’80’s, just before he headed underground…so it’s trés excitement to witness his classically cautious re-emergence. (See earlier post.) He’s the real deal, is Bob – totally riven with existential angst. No weekend dauber, he. We love that.

For more pics (including a clutch of the Gang’s early Georgeson collection) go here.

For the fetishist in all of you…

The Gang was thrilled to get some images of Bob Georgeson’s new photo montage work. Bob, who lives at Bermagui now, is famously reclusive when it comes to his art practice – so it’s always quite major when he elects to release something.



Bob Georgeson, Love Glove, 2008, photo montage.



Bob Georgeson, Fetishist, 2008, photo montage.

What can we tell ya? It’s given us a serious taste for more. Watch this space.