Last night there were four art exhibition openings in Canberra, all starting at 6pm. Is that a record? I attended them all – briefly – just to confirm it was possible! It took just under 2 hours and only 22 kilometres of travel. The sheer volume of exhibition openings demonstrates that there is a lot happening in Canberra, but perhaps it could be better coordinated – a similar issue to some of the Centenary events’ scheduling proximity. To address this kind of calendar bulge, Genevieve has suggested that ACT-based galleries could plan their exhibition openings with staggered starting times, with a dedicated arty bus for assisted crowd control.
While the arty bus would need to be a regular, possibly fortnightly, endeavour, it has already occurred as a one-off celebratory occasion. This project occurred in September 2012 – Craft ACT’s “Capital of Culture” bus tour. I heard it gave a wonderful experience of either North or South cultural tours during Floriade (possibly too much of a time chunk, though), but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend. The Tour Guide is worth downloading just for the lovely design, but could also be reused as a fun gallery Bingo sheet. Last night’s openings could have had a Bingo sheet! I wonder if anyone else was able to attend all of them?
ANU School of Art Gallery, ACT (till 27 April 2013)
2 artists are exhibiting their Doctor of Philosophy works, with Christina Clarke’s Greek Bronze Age vessel contrasting with James Steele’s photographic works exploring place and identity. There is so much movement and information in the exhibition, with James’ projected images as well as videos of Christina’s process for painstakingly creating a hydria, that it has to be seen in person.
You can see Christina’s final piece in the 1/2013 exhibition catalogue, LM IIIA1 Hydria (2012) on pages 12 and 13 and James’ work on pages 28 and 29. The image on the left shows part of Christina’s process for creating Greek Bronze Age vessels.
Watson Arts Centre, 1 Aspinall Street Watson ACT (till 28 April 2013)
20 artists from Canberra take part in the region’s long history of book production. Each artist is exhibiting both old and new work to show their developing interest in the book form. The exhibition hopes to “…challenge notions of what a book can be in an art context. From fine press through to more sculptural pieces to street press and zines, this exhibition provides a mere sample of the breadth of contemporary book arts.” (Watson Arts Centre, Sales Catalogue, April 2013, p. ).
In the image you can catch a glimpse of Genevieve Swifte’s Shells (2006): Hand sewn boat-like structures, paper, linen impregnated with salt. The salty threads have a rhythmic sense of the tide that simultaneously give movement to the vessels but also anchor them in white space, like the flow of words in a conversation that sometimes get moored in a speech bubble.
pod, Shop 11, Lonsdale Street Traders, 24 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT (till 21 April 2013)
5 contemporary Canberra jewellers have joined forces as FIVEFOLD, an artist-run design collective, and this was their first inaugural exhibition. In the pod space, plinths have emerged like stalagmites bearing glittering trophies as sacrifices to the Lonsdale Street Trader entities. Danyka Van Buuren’s hoops have mysteriously transformed sequins into elegant colour blocks and the other pieces were enticing but tricky to get up close as there were lots of people!
The exhibition invitation is a very pretty DIY five-fold brooch – I made mine in the car so the crumpled state didn’t fully reach the attractiveness potential, I also didn’t have a pin so I just stuck it down my shirt. Other more organised people had very smooth brooches and one of them would have won a limited-edition handmade Shibuichi sterling silver brooch. There are detailed folding instructions for the invitation from FIVEFOLD’s Tumblr. As a librarian it’s exciting to see unusual invitations, as art libraries collect art ephemera as information on artists and exhibitions. This means that people can see the brooch invitation in the future as a resource to contextualise the artists’ work, and to see ephemera (invitations, posters, business cards) as art in their own right.
Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS), 19 Furneaux Street, Manuka ACT (till 21 April 2013)
Holly Granville-Edge’s photos play with the idea of manufactured sentimentality and value in the captured image. The exhibition includes a collection of “dusty junk-shop picture frames scrounged from op shops”, which charmingly contain their own portraits with eerie self-awareness of their new-found meaning and artistic elevation. Escape down the rabbit hole.