CCP (Centre for Contemporary Photography) in Fitzroy was my first stop for this month. I have always been meaning to visit this gallery and I was pretty excited to discover this brilliant space housed in an unassuming white building. The gallery has been going for more than 25 years and in 2005 CCP relocated to purpose built premises designed by Melbourne architect, Sean Godsell. CCP has five exhibition spaces, including a Night Projection Window. This window is lit up at night and can be seen from George and Kerr Streets. What a great idea for viewing art after dark!
The current exhibition, Wall of Seahorsel features two series by New Zealand artist, Yvonne Todd.
Seahorsal is the artist’s newer series of large scale photographs. Men and women are portrayed wearing flesh coloured unitards performing dance moves. It is all quite strange and definitely left me feeling uneasy. The actions are quite illogical and made me think of these people as being part of a futuristic community of sorts carrying out rituals related to their beliefs.
Her next series of large scale photographs, The Wall of Man (2009), in comparison seemed so mundane. The Wall of Man features portraits of senior businessmen (who are in fact amateur models that Todd hired) posed in the obligatory tie and suite. Smiling back at the camera makes for a very ‘typical’ businessman portrait, however after viewing Seahorsel, I was searching to find something a bit off about these otherwise ‘normal’ images.
I love how the artist and curator planned it so the viewer feels a certain way about the work just by hanging the photographs in a specific order.
This gallery is well worth a visit and they have lots on offer with regular talks, classes and even a reading room.
Denise Green: Wonder: The Rainbow
My next stop was into the city to see Denise Green’s installation, Wonder: The Rainbow at Arc One Gallery. Green is an Australian-American artist and writer based in New York City who was awarded the Order of Australia in 2007.
In her current exhibition Green has created an installation of layered colour arcs. Clusters of these colour swatches are placed around the space. One of her works is made up of 135 individual pieces, which spans an entire wall of the gallery. The title of the exhibition, Wonder: The Rainbow, suggests that inspiration was taken from nature’s most wondrous spectrum. Green also references it in the fan-like shape she uses in her collages. The repetition of the shapes and the sheer number of the works gives the colour study a scientific feel, which I think is at odds with the exhibition’s title. Green is certainly a master of colour.
My favourite part of this exhibition were detailed miniature sketches showing how the pieces would all fit together in the space. Imagine the hours spent on figuring out how to hang the 135 pieces so they work harmoniously!
Is it a coincidence that the artist’s name is a colour? I think not! Although Green’s exhibition has ended in Melbourne she has a show coming up in Queensland at Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Bowen Hills in March. Green also has a new publication, An Artist’s Odyssey, which is both an autobiography and an investigation into the theoretical ideas that have shaped her painting over the past 40 years. I was previously unaware of Green’s work but as you can tell she is a prolific Australian artist who has successfully made a career overseas.
(It is also worth mentioning that if you head down to Arc One Gallery definitely have a look into the stock room – it is a real treat!)