Saturday, 19 November 2011

Heather Shimmen, Vivienne Binns and Paper Scissors Rock

Had a terrific afternoon of exhibitions today, mostly avoiding the rain. 
First, I went to Australian Galleries, Smith Street to see Heather Shimmen's fabulous linocut prints...fabulous being an appropriate adjective here, pretty much, with all sorts of imagery juxaposed, overlaid and brought together (like the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on an operating table). Her prints have a painterly richness, due to the fragmention and doubling of imagery, overlaid and slightly out of register, the combination of a graphic line that seems to derive from historic newspaper sources perhaps, with silhouettes, drippy inkspots and subtle watercolouring.
There are three very large, multi-panel works - for me the highlight being Swamp Maiden, more than 2 1/2 metres tall, a full length female figure of Margaret (or Jeanie?) Clement, impoverished society sisters who lived in reclusive destitution on their water;logged property Tullaree at Tarwin Lower in South Gippsland. I was also greatly attracted to the many small works - details from the larger works printed on felt,  as well as a group of oval-shaped prints with a central female silhouette, including Swamp Stories 2, three from an edition of 10, with variations, in painterly watercolour and ghostly overprinting.
I would highly recommend seeing this exhibition - The swamp maiden's tale -  before it finishes on 11 December.
Gallery details here.
and some of the works can be seen here

Then, I walked along Gertrude Street to Dianne Tanzer to see Paper Scissors Rock, curated by Vincent Alessi, working with the idea that sculpture and works on paper seem to be curatoral opposites, or have been until fairly recently perhaps.  The artists in the exhibition all work with paper in a sculptural forms. Fiona Cabassi's three intricately detailed works are both painting and sculpture - meticulously cut and constructed into fragile three-dimensional dreamlike worlds of possibility.
I should point out that I work with Fiona, but, as you can see below, the works are fabulous!

Wandering between the Clouds 2009

Lemon Whirls 2008

At the other end of the spectrum, in terms of colour and subject are Natasha Frisch's sculptures constructed from tracing paper - so as colourless as possible, except for a scrawl of red grafitti on From the series; Nasty little piece of work: Angel is a slut 2004.  (It doesn't reproduce very well, especially as my camera seems to be on a stting that give a blue cast to everything.  Sorry about that.)

Another of her works, Stabbing at the Station, has a similarly mundane subject, with dark overtones - a long stretch of railway line with a small deserted station at the end.

Kylie Stillman carves out negative forms from books and stacks of retail sale signs.

Maiden Hair 2009

Finally I went to Sutton Gallery on Brunswick Street for the opening of Viviennne Binns' exhibition.    She is a Canberra-based artist, and is the subject of my PhD thesis.  This is another exhibition well-worth seeing...but the hour is late and I will write more about this very soon.

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