It was off to the 'Big Smoke' yesterday to see a couple of exhibitions that I had learnt about from some of the many email subscription newsletters that flood my inbox.
First stop was Martin Browne Contemporary to see a show by Alexander McKenzie titled 'The Cairn'. A stunning and somewhat overwhelming exhibition of imagined landscape paintings alternating somewhere between serene and menacing. The numerous paintings populating the cavernous white space of the gallery tempted you to dive in to these fantasy environments that are devoid of any people yet shed evidence of peoples influence on the beautifully manicured terrain. The ambiguous light of day/evening contributes to a conjured narrative that links each 'world' within the work. The sheer volume of paintings is testament to McKenzie's commitment to studio practice and an obvious affection for the natural world.
Next stop was to visit the work of Dale Frank at Roslyn Oxley9 in Paddington. The show titled 'Nobody's Sweetie' is a suite of work including Frank's signature large fluid paintings as well as a curious assembly of taxidermy hyenas and domesticated dogs.
Viewing Frank's work en masse is tantamount to taking a massive sugar hit and wishing you could 'come down' from the psychedelic punch, sip on some hot chamomile tea and have a good lie down. Thankfully, our next stop would prove quite restorative.
Finally, it was off to Breenspace to see South Australian artist couple Angela & Hossein Valamanesh's exhibition. The work of each artist sits harmoniously together featuring Angela's ceramics, which links plant and animal forms in a quiet and meditative way, and Hossein's cast bronze work titled 'Breathe' which has been cast from branches from his garden to emulate lungs. Elsewhere, the branches are transformed into well-known phrases by Sufi poets.
Valamanesh's work has remained a constant source of inspiration for me since my days at The National Art School at the turn of the century. Twelve years on and like some persistent memory, his work surfaces in my mind whenever people ask about my own influences.