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Franck Gohier: Target

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Australia is a funny place. We laugh at the commercialism of the US but spend ourselves silly on credit.  We welcome people from all nations, yet shun our own ancestors.  Or, as the recent Australian film Samson & Delilah showed, we pay exorbitant amounts of money for Aboriginal art, with most of the funding going to the gallery owners and only a pittance to the actual artist, who often lives in squalor.

Welcome to Franck Gohier‘s world, currently on display at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney.  Gohier uses his acerbic wit to comment on themes such as the Northern Territory invasion (ahem, intervention), the credit crisis, and global warming.  This wit, combined with the pop-art aesthetic, sends a powerful message about where our country is headed.  The bullet holes aren’t so subtle.

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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking

 

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R3: The Noisiest Little House in California

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In property, it is said, location is everything. This was put to the test in San Diego when architect Lloyd Russell and his artist wife Ame Parsley managed to buy a vacant block in San Diego’s Little Italy neighbourhood for a bargain $50,000 – not surprising considering the property is an oddly shaped wedge of land sitting between the i-5 freeway and the busiest single-runway airport in the USA, San Diego International Airport (with 600 departures and arrivals per day).

This site couldn’t be noisier – check out the Google Earth satellite photo below for proof – there is even an aeroplane on approach passing almost directly overhead (see if you can pick the site, the triangular building just north of the jumbo)

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Russell set to work designing his new home – the R3 building, a triangular gallery-cum-residence complete with triple glazing, commercial air filtration system, and walls that are stuccoed to help bounce sound waves back onto the freeway.  There is also a killer integrated sound system in case any pesky noise still sneak through.

In designing R3, Lloyd Russell has proven that the most exciting architecture is often, if not always borne from the most difficult challenges.

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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in architecture, building

 

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Anne Zahalka: Playing The Game

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Elton (above) is an Environmental Engineer. How lovely for him.

Anne Zahalka’s latest series Playing the Game uses photography to examine how people are transformed through sport.  Elton can escape his conservative day job and become a warrior on the track (and, presumably, in the shower).  Karo (boxing, below) is normally a performer, but put some boxing gloves on her and she becomes a force to be reckoned with.  When flight attendant Brian (below) goes to the gym, he is no longer a trolley dolly.  And Karen (with basketball) is no longer a teacher but a hoop-shooting superstar.

It’s true that they say sport is the great leveller, and can bring out the best and worst in everyone.  But for the individuals photographed by Zahalka, it is also what can transform them from their mundane day jobs into glamorous ‘superheroes’, particularly in sport-obsessed Australia.

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Posted by on July 19, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Isidro Blasco in Shanghai

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More than anywhere else in the world, Shanghai is a city in constant flux.  The never-ending sound of construction creates a landscape that is constantly evolving, barely recognisable from one year to the next.

Isidro Blasco is fascinated by this evolution.  In his mixed-media pieces, Blasco combines architecture and photography with recycled building materials to manipulate well-known perspective of Shanghai, both old and new.  The work becomes angular and fragmented – almost like a Cubist painting, in fact – and, at once familiar and new.

Isidro is coming to Dominik Mersch Gallery in Waterloo from July 23rd.  He is an accomplished international artist with work at MoMA and The Whitney amongst other places, so be sure to check it out.

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Posted by on July 15, 2009 in art, looking, photography

 

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John Briscella

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Currently exhibiting at Vienna’s Walking Chair Gallery is an exciting exhibition by urbanist John Briscella.

Briscella has taken a traditional Louis XIV Chair and transposed the street layout of Paris.  In doing this, Briscella says, he is giving meaning to the relationship between pattern and product, creating stories of their union: “Louis XIV’s great disappearing act in Paris”, or “Real ghosts put a bed sheet over them to scare people, Louis XIV uses a map of Paris”.

The gallery is also selling these natty little notebooks, with featuring 127 different feint-ruled city grids for your sketching pleasure. As you read this, one is on its way to Australia.

Thanks to MoCoLoco for the tip.

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Posted by on July 9, 2009 in art, designing, interior design, looking

 

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Lucia Fisher: Holga Diaries

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I’ve never been a fan of the Holga, seeing them are just a faddish excuse to take bad, out-of-focus images with light leaks and call it ‘art’. But I’m the first to admit that Lucia Fisher‘s lovely Holga works, which have just finished exhibiting at China Heights, have softened my opinion just a little.

Lucia takes an old Holga camera to new heights in her examination of urban decay in Sydney.  The works are intelligently framed, beautifully and appropriately lit, and very very moody.

Just lovely.

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Posted by on June 3, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Kevin Connor Paints Australia

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For some reason, Australia – Sydney in particular – seems very difficult to be artistically portrayed.  It either looks boring and provincial, or as cliched as a Ken Done poster.  Only a select few artists seem to be able to step beyond the norm and portray the ‘real’ Australia, rather than someone’s interpretation.  Think John Brack and Jeffrey Smart, who both display themes of banality and routine, as well as a certain ‘sense of emergence’ so prevalent in a nation as young as ours.

Kevin Connor is another artist who cuts through the mirage to reveal the true Australia.  In Kings Cross at Dawn (above), one can just make out the outline of the Coca-Cola sign, and the ubiquitous grubby footpath. Circular Quay (below) portrays the frenzy that commuters, buskers, tourists and pigeons bring to the area.  Scale and proportion are deliberately exaggerated, with grotesque figures contrasting with miniature landmarks.  The works are huge, over 3m wide and 2m high, which gives them an expressive authority.

Connor is currently exhibiting at Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney.

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Posted by on May 28, 2009 in art, looking

 

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