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ACCA- Á Rebours review

Pat Brassington has long been thought of as one of australias most important and influential image-based artists. This exhibition is a major show of Brassington’s 30 years of art-making and explores her ongoing visual language combining elements of surrealism and cinema aesthetic inspired concepts re-interpreted through photography. Brassingtons work involves reflecting on the human condition through images that, although confronting at times, are calm through Brassingtons use of soft textures and blurred subjects.  Her images are surreal, with re-occuring symbols and subject matter such as body parts, fruit and hair. These organic, intimate subjects are the pathway she uses to the human psyche. When I was confronted with these almost real images of such familiar subjects I immediately found myself wanting to decipher them, not just out of curiosity but also out of what felt like a natural reaction to seeing body parts in such an abstract portrayal. The soft blurring Brassington employs, her signature style, makes the entire experience dream-like. Her work successfully blurs the boundaries of the real and imagined by sitting on the fence between creating figurative work and abstraction, which frees the photographic image from constraints of the real. Brassingtons stated aim has been to find ways to employ universal ideas about art into personal experience and through the use of intimate subject matter which breaks into abstraction through unusual and unfamiliar composition sparking questions of reflection and self-exploration she balances the two well.

-Steven Hadley


Hannah Bertram is an Australian contemporary artist interested in the idea of value, who seeks to highlight the preciousness of experiences as opposed to the traditional idea of materials being precious.

Bertram completed her Bachelor of Fine Art in 2003 and a Master of Fine Art in 2005 at RMIT. She has been exhibiting since 2003 both in Australia and overseas. She has received multiple awards, artist residencies and publications for her work. She is also the co-founder of the 24 Hour drawing Project, an event in which artists start and finish a work of art in a continuous 24 hour period. It involves intensive effort, and attention to process, action and time, the artists can only take very short breaks for basic necessities.

Bertram’s fascination with the concept of preciousness has been evident in her work for many years. In 2006 she held a solo exhibition called “Preciousness, the poetry of transformation”’ at Flinders Lane Gallery. In this exhibition, she uses dust to create elaborate and ornate ephemeral installations that defy the traditional ideas of what is valuable, by being immune to possession so that the only way the audience could be precious with the work, was to think of the experience as precious. This specific combination of sensitive medium and ornate subject matter was so effective at conveying her ideas that Bertram has continued to use it in her projects to the present day. In 2010 Bertram used this process to create site-sensitive installations in 10 homes across Australia in a project called “The silence of becoming and disappearing”. The works were developed in consultation with the residents who were responsible for choosing both the duration of the installation and its audience. Bertram was interested in how the residents and the audience would treat the work and the events that would eventually lead to its non-existence. Bertram’s work continues in 2012 with exhibitions booked in Sydney, Paris, Connecticut and Melbourne.

-Steven Hadley

Inside my laptop

Need to work out how to use this in an artwork.

Syringe pen

Found this at the market today, in love.

Veiw from the ramparts, 2010

Rita Lazaurukas is a visual artist based in North Eastern Victoria who works predominantly in the realms of drawing and painting. Practicing since 1986, she has held exhibitions all over Australia. Interested in small objects found in everyday western households, her most popular drawings and paintings depict small worlds in which everyday objects seem animated and alive.

Lazaurikas began exhibiting in 19887 at the Albury Regional Arts Centre, although her work had been recognised 2 years before this, when she won an art competition at the Tallangata Art Festival in 1985. Since then she has held exhibitions in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Shepparton and Beechworth, to name a few. Lazaurikas is not just an artist, she is also a curator and teacher, having completed her Masters of Visual Arts at Monash University in 2001.

Lazaurikas is also interested in delivering workshops, guided tours, and the presentation of public programs, one of which is her collaborative daily drawing project, in which herself and other artists have created a drawing every day since 2003.

The subject matter addressed in Lazaurikas’ works is everyday household items shown in a different light through observational drawing and painting. In her painting practice the image of the western “Barbie doll” consistently appears in many works, with a series of her paintings called “The soft porn Barbie series”. Lazaurikas’ drawings present the jumble of objects on a household desktop as a miniature world, in which each object seems to have its own narrative, causing the viewer to contemplate what should be considered animate and inanimate. The objects chosen have human/animal characteristics, with organic shapes and dolls whose individual attributes and imperfections make them, according to Lazaurikas, the “metaphor for the human condition”.

Lazaurikas works predominantly in charcoal and acrylic paint, sometimes even combining the two.

The aspects of Lazaurikas’ work that I find most interesting are the way in which she uses drawing and painting to make the inanimate seem alive and thus demonstrating the way in which drawing and painting have the power to abstract a concept even when conveying it realistically, showing the way in which, when a person attempts to re-create what they see, the subject matter goes through the filter of personality, experience and soul in their mind, and then onto the surface. This kind of creative energy is what makes the objects seem alive, giving her work that specific aspect and strength.

-Steven Hadley

Upcoming painting detail

just thought the colours were starting to look awesome.

Further charcoal work

Life drawing

Charcoal on cartridge.

Albert Tucker, despairing head 1942

The exhibition inner worlds: portraits and physcology at the Ian Potter Museum at the university of Melbourne is an insight into the connections between psychology and portraiture. The show brings together works from various collections that are either created  by artists interested in the concepts found in physcology, portraits created by the mentally unstable or objective  portraits of some of the pioneers of physcology in Australia.

The work is primarily traditional oil on canvas and drawings however there are a few sculptural works and a film thrown in for good measure.

The exhibition is set up so that the audience first meets the objective portraits of some of the pioneers of physcological study in Australia including Janet Neild, Ernst Burgmann and Lazar Geroe. These are objective portraits intended to celebrate life and in some aspects immortalize these figures as heros of the study of physcology. And that’s about where the sanity ends.

A majority of the work is an insight into the wrestling match between the artists confused mental processes and their actual behavior. Self portraits created for the purpose of physco analysis and are considered medical records as much as art. Due to this under Australian law the names of the artists must be kept confidential. This itself has an interesting effect, seeing the words “artists name withheld” immediately gives the work a distant, foreign and almost alien association and detracts from any attempt the viewer makes to establish a connection with the artist through the work.

Albert Tuckers wartime portraits dominate one of the walls, confronting the viewer with images of pain and confusion. Another wall has been given to Mike Parr who since 1982 has created over 1000 self portraits, all of which can be used to gain an insight into his mental state at the time and his fascination with physcology.

Then the theme seems to find a balance between the objective portraits of the sane and the confused portraits of the insane.

This balance is found in the works that have been created by the (somewhat) sane who have an interest in physcology, such as the portrait “David Charmers” painted by Nick Maurtizkas. David Chalmers is interested in determining the fundamental principles that connect physical processes to mental consciousness. Chalmers describes consciousness as non physical and non material, and his portrait is just that. Created entirely with thin lines of oil paint it is like a wire sculpture, a portrait with everything but the interpretation of the consciousness of the subject stripped away, an almost purely physcological portrait.

I found the exhibition well balanced between the three apparent categories. The process of staring into a self portrait intended for physiological analysis was almost a confronting game, trying to understand who the anonymous artist was whilst dealing with the intense mental confusion and sometimes frustration emanating from the portraits.

-Steven Hadley


Development, collage.