Museum of Contemporary Art Feb 2017.

In need of some respite from the heat (though Sydney was cool in comparison to what was happening elsewhere in the state) we offloaded our stuff and unencumbered lazily strolled about the MCA along with a myriad of other people also lapping up the luxurious temp. Now admittedly I don’t always find this gallery easy. Awash with the new, it can sometimes bewilder and it just seems like hard work. However I’m finding with constant exposure some of the art is starting to resonate even if it’s not the reaction the artist intended. A wise art colleague once told me the secret is to choose a couple of contemporary artists and follow their work. I haven’t necessarily taken on this sage advice though there is a genre of video art that I find intriguing. It’s haunting, rhythmic and unsettling. Initially repulsed by the artist Heath Franco’s version of film I now am fascinated and yes, I guess I’m following his art career. Having been exposed to his nightmarish film I now find I’m willing to absorb other artists doing similar. And that brings me to a couple of the video installations on display at present.

Barbara Cleveland is the name of 4 artists who graduated from UNSW. There work is absurd. In “The One Hour Laugh” the four artists wear paper witches hats, paper napkins about their necks and ludicrous false eyebrows. In the excerpt I saw they appear to have moments of genuine mirth interspersed with the fake. It’s so ridiculous I found it mesmerising. For some reason, I don’t know whether it’s my working class background, but this art seems a tad indulgent. If it were a quartet of overconfident teenagers from the local performing arts school I wonder if it would be regarded as an art form. Strange. Regardless though it’s in the gallery and it’s memorable. I’ve linked their 2 video installations below. It would be interesting to have some feedback…

https://www.mca.com.au/collection/work/2011.18/

http://www.barbaracleveland.com.au/what-do-i-do/

Another video installation by the well known Australian artist Shaun Gladwell titled “Interceptor Surf Sequence” is beautiful. Slowly I have become a fan of his work partly for the meditative quality his installations project. In this work two videos in extreme slow motion (of course) run almost simultaneously beside one another both with the same Mad Max car driving toward the horizon with a stuntman unfolding himself from the car window as if emerging from a chrysalis. The difference in the videos is the atmosphere, where one car is driving toward a threatening storm in the outback and the other the sky is blue and the light is vibrant. I wonder sometimes whether Gladwell is attempting to reach a different audience to the general art gallery goer or at least represent this group of Australians who submerse themselves in a culture that is enviable for its unpretentious quality. Nothing worse than a high brow snob!

More and more I’m finding I’m attracted to this gallery in Sydney for its broad collection of contemporary work. There were a number of paintings I really enjoyed by Heather Douglas and Linda Marrinon and an installation by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers ( I’ll be posting these images on my facebook page “The Housecat Diary” if you’re interested https://www.facebook.com/KerriSmithRedhead/)

I also visited the NSW Art Gallery to see the latest instalment of Art Express. I’m sure in the near future some of these talented teens will be exhibiting at MCA.

For those interested in checking out Heath Franco’s work here’s the link. (I wonder what his mother thinks?)

Anyway here’s cheers to another great time in art.

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