Saturday, March 6, 2010

a taster....

How was every ones week?
All of the above?
For me it was option (d) all of the above!
I thought I was off to a flyer, achieving all the things I wanted too..
and then it fizzled...!
As soon as the rain reappeared I lost my flow and found myself trying to coach and coax myself to get moving in the studio and... 'pick up that paint brush!'
I had lost my nerve and it was a weird sensation I must say...

So the blog posting that I was going to write yesterday got lost in the ether, and so I'm now trying to find my writing flow, so I can tell you about the exhibition 'We Call them Pirates Out Here' that is now showing on the 4th floor of the MCA. Below you can see an image of a painting, also called, WE Call them Pirates Out Here' by Australian artist Daniel Boyd.

Curator for the 2010 Sydney Biennale David Elliott compiled this show with the Biennale in mind, and so I guess you could say this exhibition is like a little 'taster' for the event, and the theme that he will be presenting, which is THE BEAUTY OF DISTANCE: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age!
{Big theme and big capital letters are used in all the Biennale literature, so I thought I better follow suit!!}

In a nutshell David Elliott is presenting a Biennale that will talk about multiple points of view in relation to how we understand history, distance, and difference. And that is exactly what Boyd's painting talks about.

Boyd has an Indigenous Australian background and so he is reinterpreting the landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay from a different point of view, that of the Aboriginal peoples that were staring back at him! In this reinterpretation of history, Captain Cook is seen as a land grabbing pirate, trying to find land for its new settlers, complete with a skull and bones flag.
Controversial? Yes.
This painting by Boyd is painted beautifully, capturing a new and radical form of 'history' using a historical and realist style of painting.

The works in this show go further to demonstrate this idea of new histories, but do not have the power and the intensity that Boyd's work portrays. After leaving the show I did remember loving the Colin McMahon's painting from 1970, This day a man is...., and the Collecting Bags 1984-90, from Wurrpamirra, Lanbupu, Minjingala, Gayalun, Mipilanggurr and Rodji.... but a lot of the works were lost in translation for me....

I felt that these works, hand picked from the MCA's permanent collection, did not carry Elliott's theme as much as Boyd's work. Maybe if I had stayed longer and reads more wall text I may have found more meaning behind the works. But by walking around the rooms and just taking in the pieces on a subjective level I was not able to string a lot of the works together in order to feel the flow of the exhibition, and the Biennale's theme.

The show is on for a long spell as it will run concurrently with the Biennale when it starts later in the year. So I may go back and have another view at the works, to see if I can gain more insight into Elliott's notion that 'the power of art can only be felt by experiencing it.'

We can be Pirates Out Here is on the 4th Floor of the MCA
until August 29...

And just to finish off I thought Id give you another image by Daniel Boyd called Governor No Beard that was in the exhibition Australian Indigenous Art Triennal: Cultural Wars at the NGA a couple of years ago.
Daniel is represented at Uplands Gallery in Melbourne, and if you would like to have a look at more of his paintings Id jump onto their website for a peek. His latest exhibition Lets stay Together was a sparse and clean show with just a few works up on the walls. And with the attention to detail that can be found in each and every work, I'm sure that many visitors were transfixed for hours!

Anyway have a great weekend..
enjoying the momentary breaks in the rain!

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