Sydney Contemporary @ Carriageworks
It was a gloriously sunny day, and we had a few hours to spare.
I’d heard a massive exhibition was heading to Sydney, but like most of the great stuff that breezes through Sydney, figured I’d be too busy to head in. But by some odd twist of fate, a few hours freed up on the Sunday 13th of September, and I realised this was my last chance to see the Sydney Contemporary!
I had no idea what would be there, but something about it being the final day gave it a sense of urgency. I was so excited, bouncing around the house unable to focus trying to convince Michael to drive me in. Luckily he didn’t take much convincing, as he’s a pretty massive art fan himself. Cheap, new, weird Contemporary Australian art, and the promise of a free meal from yours truly. Whats not to love?
We got there at 3:30pm (It closed at 5pm…), and quickly realised we were in over our heads. We were absolutely surrounded, with little hope of seeing everything. Memo to self: If you’re going to go to an exhibit on a whim, TRY to do it in the AM…
And so began a whirlwind wandering through countless mini exhibits, flitting from colourful shiny thing to colourful shiny thing like a magpie or a startled emu running across some highway. If you’ve never seen that before, trust me, it’s the best.
So much amazing new art, so little time. The countdown was on. I grabbed my camera in the hope of remembering some snippets of the awesome stuff we stumbled across.
It’s all a wonderful blur.
One of my faves to see was Kate Shaw, who makes amazing psychedelic landscapes by cutting out and collaging drippy marbled paint skins into mountain shapes. It’s always amazing to see her works up close, because you can see the gravity of the paint marble and streaks of gold and glitter in the light. Quite a few exhibitions I’ve been to recently have had her works featured, like the Wynne Prize, and it’s always an awesome surprise to see her striking ‘space-scapes’ in the flesh.
Another standout was Rosie Deacon’s neon Australiana installation, featuring a bunch of her different works like her giant neon koala sculpture. We were lucky enough to be there at the end of the day when most of the artists were gathering to pack up, so we got to chat to Rosie herself, hot gluing sequins and eyes to clip on Koala’s at her makeshift souvenir store (and I scored one for $5! Bargain! I wore it on my overalls with pride the rest of the day!). That space was filled with overwhelming colour and humour, and all the people involved were keen for a chat and a photo. After following a similar lurid Australian theme during the Secret Garden Festival space I designed last year with Alice, I was really interested in Rosie’s work. Loved it, and want my entire house to be covered in her crazy creations.
Louise Zhang’s neon ‘growths’ are fantastic too; she is a young Australian artist who I went out of my way to find in the exhibit. It was totally worth it too, because her works are so layered with resin and enamel and plastic that seeing her sculptures up close was a totally new sensory experience to seeing them on my computer screen.
Joan Ross’ works exploring colonial Australian ‘whiteness’ were fantastic too, she was a new discovery for me that I will definitely be looking out for in the future. Her combination of classical botanical illustration and futuristic neon computer graphics was a really interesting combo. It tied perfectly into what I’ve been studying lately and I always love it when artists travel between installation and other mediums like painting and video.
Joy Ivill’s embroidery was another highlight – her adult story book tapestries always leave me in stitches (OH YEAH WHATTA PUN). But seriously, Ivill is hilarious, and everyone should check out her work. The level of detail in her work is crazy, I wish I had the patience to sew like that!
I also saw a glittery Mambo painting – The ultimate combination!
When we saw the Artists taking the works off the walls, we knew it was finally time to go, and we collapsed in a heap in Michael’s messy Ford Falcon, content and exhausted.
Looking back over the photos (some highlights below!), I can see how much amazing talent we got to see that day, if only briefly. Thank you, camera.
I got home later that night, chucked down my bag filled with gallery fliers, and immediately started to paint: the mark of a really inspiring day.
SO MUCH FUN ART. Cheers to more days like this!
Featuring works by:
Del Kathryn Barton