Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Challenging and interpreting...

Re-invent long flyer

Next week we will be challenging traditional interpretations at Town Hall Gallery when we install Re-invent, Re-interpret, Re-make.

They say that everything old is new again and that there are no new ideas, just new interpretations.

This month's Town Hall Gallery exhibition, Re-invent, Re-interpret, Re-make, explores the idea of re-invention, re-interpreting old ideas into new ones and re-making materials into works of art.

The seven artists taking part have either paid homage to iconic artworks and re-interpreted them in a modern way or taken traditional artisan skills and transformed them into works that will challenge how you see craft.

"There is a strong trend for exhibitions to look at recycling and re-using materials, however, artists have been reworking materials and, more importantly, ideas for a long time," Town Hall Gallery curator Mardi Nowak said.

"This exhibition looks at the idea of re-invention and re-interpretation outside of environmental concepts."

Town Hall Gallery is pleased to have on loan several woven tapestry works by Erin Riley from Philadelphia, USA.

Erin's works are primarily about re-interpretation and she sources photographic imagery from the internet and translates them into an abstract way via weaving. Her tapestries explore the world of partying college students and how the internet can play a role in re-inventing identity.

Another featured artist, Madeleine Preston uses old vinyl records as canvases for her images.
The subject matter is itself a re-interpretation, of the willow pattern plate.

"The legend of the willow pattern was invented by the English about 200 years to promote pottery sales. I was attracted to elements of the ancient story and to the idea of re-inventing what was already a fabrication," Madeleine said.

This exhibition will also feature pieces by Adrian Conti, Jasmin Coleman, Natalie Kosnar, Marija Patterson and Elizabeth Nelson. Their work includes painting, collage, installation and sculpture, which promises to create a fascinating display.

Re-invent, Re-interpret, Re-make will be open to the public from Wednesday 4 August until Saturday 28 August. We hope to see you at the exhibition soon!

Visitors are invited to join Mardi and the artists to discuss the exhibition at 2pm on Saturday 7 August.

Last week for Weapons of Mass Consumption

Beat information WOMC

Yep, maybe you should follow the Beat mag's lead and get in before 5pm this Saturday to see Weapons of Mass Consumption before it's all over! Let us know if you want to throw out all your lovely luxury items after seeing it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daniel Kaplon at Weapons of Mass Consumption

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

Artist Daniel Kaplon has been taking photographs of other people's graffiti messages worldwide for many years. This documentation captures the sense of hope, distinct from the negative perception of graffiti.

This freedom to communicate; whether it's the protest against a political leader or that written agitation against a brand (Nike) which could be perceived as humorous and somewhat refreshing in its profane, flippant dig at capitalization allows many voices to be heard. The hope in the potential of individual voices to be heard through graffiti also shows the common themes universally about consumerism and capitalism. These voices are extremely liberating.

One less car - Daniel Kaplon

Daniel was one of the artists who spoke at the In Conversation program as part of Weapons of Mass Consumption. His work was some of the most talked about and it was a great opportunity to hear him speak about his works.

One of the most fascinating aspects of his love of 'graffiti' was that of people wanting to make their mark and claim 'I was here' (or I waz here) so to speak! The images he has produced for the exhibition really have given a voice to the unknown person who has produced the text but there is also the viewer's voice being reflected in this images as well, often agreeing with the sentiment.

During the In Conversation program Daniel said that he has almost a catalogue of images of graffiti and that he can group together various statements on a variety of themes due to the large quantity of images but also due to similar statements being made all over the world. His photographs certainly have struck a chord with our viewers and it has been great to hear the conversations about these striking images.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ash Keating at Weapons of Mass Consumption

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

Bit of a close up of the four amazing photos by Ash Keating at Weapons of Mass Consumption.

Ash Keating was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1980. Keating completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) at Monash University, Caulfield in 2003 and completed a BFA Honours year at the VCA in 2006.

Keating has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally since 2004, including recent exhibitions at GCAS, MUMA and RMIT Gallery in Melbourne, CACSA Adelaide, Artspace and BREENSPACE in Sydney, and the Museo de Contemporeano in Santiago Chile.

Keating has been written about extensively in numerous art journals such as Frieze, Broadsheet, Art and Australia, Artlink and Photofile. He was the winner of a 2008 ANZ RIPE award as well as being selected as a finalist in the 2009 SOYA and RBS, Australian emerging artist awards.

Keating’s 2009 project Activate 2750, was created through the MCA’s C3West initiative in partnership with SITA. This project was a hybrid progression of his two 2008 art projects, 2020? created at Arts House Meat Market and Label Land created during an Asialink residency in Seoul, Korea. These projects have merged costumed performances and actions together with large-scale sculptural installations utlising salvaged commercial and industrial waste.

In seeking to bring about positive change or alternative thinking, Keating's projects are presented through poetic forms that seek to radically transform the viewer’s understandings of environmental issues.

Ash Keating is represented by BREENSPACE, Sydney and you can find out more about him by visiting his website He has completed loads of great projects so go visit the site!

Huang Xu's photographs at Weapons of Mass Consumption

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

Town Hall Gallery is pleased to have two very large and beautiful photographs by Huang Xu, on loan from Arc One Gallery in Melbourne, as part of the Weapons of Mass Consumption exhibition.

Huang Xu uses the 3D scanners usually used by archeologists to create his richly haunting images of tattered remains of plastic bags.

"For Huang Xu, the mundane history of the plastic shopping bag evokes a critical commentary on China's acceleration towards a free-market economy and the global shift in the fortunes of capitalism."

Though free plastic bags were virtually unheard of in much of China before the early 1990s, around 3 million plastic bags are now used in China every day. Levels of plastic pollution were so high in the months leading up to the Olympics that China imposed a ban on lightweight bags. For many Chinese, this environmental crisis was perceived as symptomatic of the negative impact of the country's recent race to embrace capitalism.

Huang Xu was born in Beijing in 1968. He set up the Substratum Art Studio in 1989, the Migrant Bird Art Studio in 1991 and the Big Basin Studio in 2003. He has exhibited in Australia and China and works as a professional photographer in Beijing.

Huang Xu's work is on loan from Arc One gallery in Melbourne.

Adam Cruickshank's works at Weapons of Mass Consumption

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

Adam Cruickshank, Ikea Lagerphone, 2010.

Adam Cruickshank has two works in Weapons of Mass Consumption. Both of them have intrigued viewers with the comments often being: "is the light real? how many metres of extension cord is in it?" for the nightlight installation and "gee, the artist must of drunk alot of beer!" for the Ikea Lagerphone.

Using techniques of sculptural assemblage and repetitive craft-based processes, Adam Cruickshank takes standardized objects produced from automated systems and reworks them into new items of art work. The work Ikea Lagerphone, utilizes a purchased Ikea chair, modified with many bottle tops reminiscent of the musical instrument. The mass produced chair now has a new function.

"My practice involves sculptural assemblage, installation, drawing, painting, printmaking and aspects of performance. In general it involves a critical engagement with the systems and hierarchies of contemporary culture. It often involves a sense of humour and investigates slippage points between two opposing concepts; hand-made and mass-produced, old and new (etc) in order to force meaning into flux."

Adam Cruickshank is a Melbourne-based artist working across a broad range of media and installation techniques. Having worked as an art director and designer in advertising and magazines, the corporate manipulation of culture is central to much of his artistic practise. The dialogic nature of his approach attempts to question hierarchical definitions of fine and so-called ‘applied art’ practices. Cruickshank attended the Queensland College of Art in the early 90’s and was involved with various Brisbane artist run spaces of that time. He has lived in London, Berlin, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

You can check out Adam's website at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ryan Foote and his Objects of Desire..

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

One of the exhibiting artists in Weapons of Mass Consumption is Ryan Foote. His installation of clear perspex boxes that replicate designer packaging are incredibly engaging. This series of works is titled Objects of Desire, he talks further about this body of work.

Weapons of Mass Consumption Exhibition

"This body of work is the second in a series of artworks that looks at my love of art and fashion and how my compulsion to create is more dominant and important to me than my love of fashion. By choosing to express myself through my artwork it restricts my individual expression betrayed by fashion.

This artwork reflects upon contemporary popular culture and the emergence of trend culture. Artists have to consider themselves part of the consumers world, whether it be by consuming materials to create the artwork, through to production of documentation and flyers of the exhibitions.

Elements of my work explores my love to consume but also my over powering desire to create and add to the world. This artwork also comments on ethical issues of living in a world dealing with global warming and growing financial credit driven by a global society.

The work sees boxes that mimic the size and shape of fashion related objects that I desired but have had to give up in order to produce my artwork. The boxes replicate packaging of things like Victor and Rolf cologne, Apple’s iphone, Calvin Klein underwear, D&G shoeboxes. The boxes are made out of clear acrylic and subtly etched with the designer labeling and then filled with by-products from the creation of past artwork. For example the shoe boxes stuffed with hundreds of pieces of used sandpaper and cologne boxes filled with sawdust from timber I have cut up. The works are slick and seductive but at the same time they are objects filled with all my art excrement.

Our consumer driven world love creating objects and products that we as society don’t necessarily need but rather want, this is epitomized through these objects as they are filled with waste from my studio and workshop, but on the other hand this artwork looks at trends in sustainable /recycled found objects, found in a growing number of artist artwork that comment on society. "

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weapons of Mass Consumption: Emma-Lee Crane

Artist Emma-Lee Crane is based in NSW so we were very please that she got on a plane and came to help us install her hundreds of resin triangles for the Weapons of Mass Consumption exhibition. It was also fantastic to have her here for the official launch as well. Emma-Lee's work is incredibly engaging with it's use of repetition. Her small red resin triangles are reminscent of lollies and the colour on mass is beautiful.

She says about this her artistic practice:

"Concentrating on social issues, my work explores the ugly side of human nature through the device of repetition. The repetition is both the visual components that create balance and rhythm and the physical actions during the laborious process of creating (and installing) the work.

Bulk is created from resin and drawing pins. It is a work that explores the excessive number of mass-produced products that are in the market place. Bulk is made up of thousands of useless singular objects that together create a display of attractive shimmering red that draws the audience in.

Understanding the connotations the colour red imparts is important to the understanding of this work. Red is used a great deal by marketing companies to attract buyer to their product, it heightens the sense hunger and desire. Red is also used by the stock market to indicate loss - a visual that we are more familiar with following the recent Global Recession.

By creating ‘mass produced’ goods by hand and by ones self is a contradiction to the idea of industrial mass production. The repetitive actions and processes involved make the artist a ‘machine’ - a machine that inadvertently makes mistakes and inconsistencies whilst producing the same object thousands of times over. It is these ‘mistakes’ that differentiate Bulk from other mass produced items. Bulk has character and original detail when viewed up close - even with a ‘real’ mass produced item (the pin) in each triangle."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weapons of Mass Consumption: Peter Zylstra

Hecho en Mexico 1

Perth based, artist Peter Zylstra, has recently completed a series of photos inspired by his travels through many parts of Mexico titled, "Hecho En Mexico" (Made in Mexico).

Born in Canada, Peter went to the United states where he completed his BFA and MFA. He then went on to lecture in various universities in the US and Mexico, and then to the Contempory Arts Media in Melbourne where he worked developing the curriculem there.

Peter's artistic background specializes in painting and phototography, many of his works feature and are influenced by 'the politics of looking, especially that implicit in the touristic, colonizing and artistic gaze'.

Hecho en Mexico 18 Peter Z

Many images in Peter's series capture materialistic aspects of tourism and culture seen on Peter's recent travels to Mexico. These photos aim to explore the authenticity of transformation of traditional hand-made goods into mass produced souveniers. Many of the photos ironically reveal that these 'traditional' goods have been imported and mass produced yet still appeal to a tourist's "authentic experience".

Peter states, "The photographs in this series archive the rapidly changing landscape of Mexico, one of the many developing economies that will define the direction of the twenty-first century".

You can check out more of Peter's work via his website here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weapons of Mass Consumption: artist Jessica Wong

Jessica Wong's artworks explore the temporary happiness gained through retail therapy, consumerism and extension. Jessica has created an artwork of a long flowing scroll which mimics the fluidity of an ocean and sky. By creating movement in her work, Jessica makes a connection between the elements human and Earth.

Weapons of Mass Consumption 018

Detail from Jessica's installation.

Weapons of Mass Consumption 015

Instability of the human world is symbolized using layers of blue and white ink which build images of clouds and seas. In her artwork, Jessica incorporates references to environmental issues associated with our world.

Fine drawings across Jessica's work use humour to display environmental impacts, "Overpopulation, urban expansion and the associated ecological issues can be read into the free-hand doodles and mapping elements, imparting ironic humour to encourage the viewer to consider ideas of equality, over-consumption and excess."

Jessica explores the vulnerability and disordered nature of social constructions in our culture, creating fluidity of folds across the scroll. The use of translucent paper is evident across all of Jessica's work, this means that the artwork is very fragile and can be easily damaged.
Jessica explains that, "Modern museums and galleries are charged with keeping works of art in mint condition, but what are the implications on our planet over time if artworks are continually produced and kept forever? ". Over consumption is evident in our culture, using translucent paper challenges the need for over consumption to exist in our culture. Using this medium, Jessica is also able to highlight similarities between the 'temporary nature of human life' and the 'fragility of existence'.