Adelaide Review arts writer John Neylon surveys South Australia’s exhibitions landscape for the month of March.
Another Life: Human Flows / Unknown Odysseys
March 1 – 17
Festival Theatre Foyer
A term like ‘human tide of misery and despair’ too-easily wash off a compassion-fatigued society. But images of individual suffering can still cut through – as this compelling exhibition demonstrates. Twenty-six photographers were there on the ground as refugees fled Syria and other zones. At times the lens takes in the ‘tide’ – queues of anxious and bedraggled people, waiting, waiting for something to give – for a gate to open, a bus to arrive or a document to be stamped.
At other times – the camera is in the thick of scuffles as men battle riot militia and stare down the batons and the guns. Then the moments of intense appeal to the heart within all of us, as a parent kisses a child while walking alone, in the rain, on a road to nowhere. Or the despair of a long journey abruptly ended by by a barbed wire fence or a shift in policy which sends people back down the road. Then the irony of refugees, asleep on a wharf at Piraeus underneath a mural of sailing vessels from an imagined golden age of Aegean history. There are three small photographs sited in one corner, depicting Macedonian Turks and Greek refugees assembled during an ‘exchange of populations’ in 1923. Pause to consider, as writer Ben Okri observed in his Writers’ Week address, the price we pay for imprisoning our minds.
Steph Fuller, Proximal Orbit, Praxis ARTSPACE
February 21 – 22 March
Writer Bernadette Klavins describes Steph Fuller as an “alchemist of dust, light, water and web… (she) transforms the familiar into the fantastic.” The artist has spent years exploring the photographic archives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Faced with the infinite possibilities of even thinking about deep space, but inspired to navigate some kind of personal journey into and through it, Fuller has taken her domestic environment of rooms, mirrors, cobwebs, tooth paste smears, a slug trail or lit matches, into her confidence and convinced such prosaic items and fugitive moments that they too can become space cadets and join her on her odyssey. Within the darkness of this theatrical space and through the agency of photography’s seductive powers of visual persuasion, normal service is suspended until further notice. In this realm a scrap of plastic can become a cosmos, a spider an extra terrestrial explorer, a lighted match a blazing comet. Welcome to the planetarium of Fuller’s imagination.
Duplex: Betty Smart and Greg Geraghty
21 March – 28 April
West Gallery Thebarton
Two worlds collide in Duplex which can be variously viewed as duet-ish, duo-able, or simply ‘au pair ‘ in the origins of the term as ‘on equal terms’. Betty Smart and Greg Geraghty have studios in opposite ends of their house in Adelaide. Geraghty is an exhibitions veteran. His practice utilizes electro-mechanical production methods. This is Smart’s first show. She works predominately as a painter. Different drums but the twain do meet – possibly half-way down the passage way if the metaphor is to be pursued – and the results of their creative endeavors aligned to see if some synaptic sparks fly.
It shouldn’t work. Smart is at home in the domestic world of the home garden, the Adelaide Hills, trips to the city and so forth. In her images a little bit of surrealism goes a long way in offering naturalistic depictions of creatures’ plants and vistas a glimpse of a dream world they might someday attain to. Geraghty is in one sense already there – constantly tracking from words, to words about words and images representing words. So now these two, quite different creative imaginations, are sharing the same gallery space. And you the viewer are invited to decide if it stacks up, makes sense, more sharply defines the trajectory of each practice or if we’ve got a bit of Frida and Diego (or Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, Man Ray and Lee Miller or Guillermo Calzadilla and Jennifer Allora) fusion going on. Get curious and decide for yourself.