Current Issue #488

Adelaide Art Guide:
What’s on in July

Michal Kluvanek
Jake Novick, Walk, 2020, pastel on L’ Aquarella Cason Heritage paper, 300gsm, 297 x 420mm

Adelaide Review arts writer John Neylon surveys the city’s visual arts landscape to pick out some of the highlights for the month of July.

Gallery for One
Adelaide Central School of Art

Course re-arrangements have given Curator Andrew Purvis an opportunity to mount an exhibition with a difference. The result is a series of ‘spotlight’ solo shows of recent and new work by established and emerging artists in temporarily vacated studio spaces. It is also an opportunity for these artists to market their work in challenging times. The cross-generational lineup of artists; Roy Ananda, Maxwell Callaghan, Helen Fuller, Anna Horne, and Cassie Thring, sets up some really interesting conversations about ideas, materiality and sustainability.

Ananda’s rarely seen annotated drawings reveal much about this artist’s insatiable enthusiasm for fantasy, game-based culture and its roots in deeper strata of popular culture. The robust character of recent graduate Max Callaghan’s panel paintings is a measure this artist’s growing confidence in taking his mosaic-like compositions in more pared-back directions. Helen Fuller’s engagement with texture and patterning is front and centre of an elegant disposition of cross-media works spanning different periods of the artist’s practice.

Cassie Thring, Untitled, 2020

This is the kind of mini-survey that wouldn’t look out of place in the state gallery. Rebecca Horne’s ongoing exploration of casting possibilities, particularly the chameleon-like properties of concrete, is really starting to pay dividends in expanding her vocabulary of texture and form. Cassie Thring’s talent for extracting mock-heroic possibilities from everyday sources is evident in her ironic valorisation of The Big Lobster at Kingston SE.

On elegance while sleeping
Adelaide Central School of Art
Until 24 July

Charles Baudelaire said that true reality is only in dreams. On that basis modern to contemporary artists have drawn inspiration from realms of sleep and dreams in the belief that they contain truths about the nature of existence. On elegance while dreaming, curated by Andrew Purvis, features work by Sundari Carmody, Honor Freeman, Sasha Grbich, and Kynan Tan, which explores or responds to sleep/dreaming as a force of nature.

Somewhere along the way subtexts related to time, twilight zones and deepest, darkness night make cameo appearances. Grbich’s time lapse video capturing the slumbering artist on the grass in Victoria Square set against a frenetic backdrop of traffic and passer-by’s, in casting the viewer as voyeur, foregrounds sleep as a risky enterprise. This edginess flows into a reading of Tan’s extraordinary 3D prints of brain ‘bubbles’, neurological activity data made flesh. Freeman’s split pillow offers all the comfort of night-sweat terrors. As do the strangulated vowels of Grbich’s learning the language of sleep. Or does the gold leaf, revealed within Carmody’s pillow, hint at insights that only happen in dreams?

Sasha Grbich, Eat the fruit of a night flowering plant. Dream of transformation., 2020, (video still), two channel video, no sound, 6 minutes looped

Freeman’s Fountain, issuing scents from night blooming flowers is a haiku by other means. The implacable, neon stare of this artist’s Somnograph suddenly shifts the gallery on its axis and calls it into an equinoxal dance. This compact exhibition (supported by extensive room notes) has wide wings.

Jake Novick, Slow Burn
Artist in Residence Exhibition
Sauerbier House
27 June – 1 August

The Southern Vales continue to inspire a diversity of artists. Jake Novick grew up around Maslins and Willunga and has surfed along the coast. It’s in his blood. Slow Burn is a homecoming of sorts for the artist who has been reflecting on the brevity of life and landscape as a ready-made metaphor for change. These landscapes reference the diverse winter moods of coastal terrain and skies from Port Noarlunga to Sellicks Beach. Since formative encounters with the Fleurieu imagery of Dorrit Black, Ivor Hele, David Dallwitz and others Novick has sought to find his own voice and has settled on an intuitive approach which favours simplified forms and compositions that allude to vistas as much imagined and recalled as observed. This is not the Southern Vales of sybaritic wine tasters and green fields estates. Novick’s sombre images speak to a different mindset that sees the bare-boned character of the topology and its changing seasonal moods as some kind of inner truth – and perhaps the reassurance of place as personal anchorage.   

Project 7 The Video Show
South West Contemporary
Throughout July

With South West Contemporary facing social distancing challenges director Craige Andrae has hit on a strategy to get artists and audiences back on the dance floor. The Video Show with Andy Petrusevics as curator brings together video work of fourteen artists; Sophie Corso, Cindi Drennan, Chris Gaston, Monica Corduff Gonzalez, Yoko Kajio, Jane Marr, Grace Marlow. Monte Masi, Andy Petrusevics, Sami Porter, Michael Rostig, Peter Sansom, Cassie Thring and Nick Hanisch.

It’s an interesting mix – cross generational and a refreshing balance of art practices. Some artists have extensive experience in video work. Others are working in the medium for the first time. Add to this the set up which has a looped screening projected onto the back wall viewed by folk standing outside or seated in their cars as if at the drive in. Ah the nostalgic memories of the early days of 1960s TV when people gathered on Friday nights to look at TV programmes presented in the windows of white goods stores.

Monte Masi, ZOOMLORD, 2020, (still)

A younger generation may see it as the legacy of the experience of evenings in the Mercury Cinema when SALA used to screen Moving Image events. Andrae says that the dynamics of projected images on the rear wall of an empty gallery has created a camera-obscura experience. Petrusevics’ dabs are all over the slick and quirky packaging of ‘shorts’ which track across parody, satire, visual poetry, close encounters with the built and natural environment and more. The staging of video in this way is a reminder that video is a physical medium, in which context shapes shapes engagement and meaning. Get a pizza and go kerbside at South West Contemporary one evening.

John Neylon

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John Neylon is an award-winning art critic and the author of several books on South Australian artists including Hans Heysen: Into The Light (2004), Aldo Iacobelli: I love painting (2006), and Robert Hannaford: Natural Eye (2007).

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