“Held in suspense”: Amarie Bergman reviews Christopher Gulick’s residency and exhibition at Factory 49

Christopher Gulick’s residency-workshop-performance-exhibition. Factory 49, Main Showroom. Monday 16 October – Saturday 11 November 2017.

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View 1, in-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

Christopher Gulick, an American artist renowned for building kinetic, mobile sculptures, transformed Factory 49 during his three-week residency-workshop-performance-exhibition from Monday, 16 October to Saturday, 11 November. Visitors were encouraged to engage with the project as Gulick responded to the space around him and invited to attend the finissage on Friday, 10 November.

The universe is in a constant state of change. Christopher Gulick presented us with concrete evidence of space-time’s temporal poignancy by energising the Main Showroom at Factory 49 with an informal suite of angular and curvilinear projection-relief sculptures. Such a construct could have been kindled in the 20th century in two-dimensions by Matisse while making his most edited cut-outs. It also recalls Arshile Gorky’s ‘Child’s Companions’ (1945), Mondrian’s balanced black and coloured subdivisions in the last grid paintings with a generosity of white galaxies, and Kandinsky and Joan Miro’s ability to seemingly levitate flat forms.

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View 2, in-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

Gulick prototypes his own unique three-dimensional work with visible graphite drawings that combine repetitive, intertwined geometric patterning and straight lines. While he may think of this ‘wallpaper’ as scribbled designs, the drawings are clearly impressive. Gulick has an extensive history of constructing kinetic, mobile sculptures, including large-scale permanent installations, and fabrications in the automotive and aeronautic fields. In the process, he appears to have inadvertently tapped into the five definitive observations about gravitational waves.

The latest observation by the U.S. based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the European based Virgo detector was confirmed on 17 October 2017 in Washington D.C., coincidentally the day Gulick began ‘the build’ in Sydney. According to LIGO, scientists detected gravitational waves, ‘ripples in spacetime’, in addition to light from the collision of two neutron stars. The findings verify we’re being stretched and squeezed because everything is being warped all the time, black holes exist and can orbit one another, short-duration gamma ray bursts are neutron star mergers, and the lightest elements were created in the Big Bang. Those of medium weight are made either by stars or supernova, while the heaviest elements materialise through neutron star collisions. With its most recent detection, LIGO has been able to measure the expansion of the universe.

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View 3, in-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

So, how do these astrophysical discoveries relate to Gulick and his site-specific project at Factory 49? To begin with, Gulick knows two-dimensional/ symmetrical/ geometric shapes have an inherent purity. When they are modified, even by a slight stretch or squeeze, their simplicity metamorphically changes into three-dimensional/ asymmetrical/ near-geometric ones. Particularly, if surfaces of the shaped sculptures are not overly textured, they read as ‘uncrafted’ or uncontrived, that is, as minimalist, non-objective forms.

Black Holes can be described as areas of darkness in space where no light is let out, rather it is captured as particles or waves by gravity. Likewise, Gulick incorporates black and other monochromatic individual solids for the same effect. He also fashions smoothly edged oval or circular openings for some of the sculptures as White Holes. Light is generated in and out of these ‘windows’ so it literally lightens physical mass and, by association, the entire gallery.

Interestingly, perceptions about the density of lightweight and heavier materials are transmitted to the viewer as differing weights without having to hold or weigh them. The variety of locally-sourced materials: lustrous aluminium and recycled plastic and especially, the fabric-covered foam brassiere inserts, elicit a frisson of excitement by their newly repurposed elemental contrasts.

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View 4, post-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

Arcs and rods of steel, supplemented by vintage knitting needles, and fastened to the gyprock, echo the prototypal designs. Held in suspense, with or without an attached sculpture, each piece of steel has poise. Now and then, almost imperceptibly, some of them twizzle in the air currents. Additions, unifications and a few subtractions took place daily. While not really melding into overt gamma ray bursts, repeat motifs have a way of amalgamating together by their similarities. When looked at sideways from non-frontal angles, various sculptures either completely or partially merge. Doubtless, they would appear to fuse in a speed-quickened dioramic video.

Gulick exposes us to his personal level of intuitive response when interacting with the unpredictability of the unknown. Moreover, with organic naturalness of the marrow of form, his expansive universe at Factory 49 has an inevitable quality. Every decision, at each stage of the project, seems right. On the evening of 10 November during the finissage, long after the tool box and sturdy, jury-rigged work desk were packed up and the drawings removed, the sculptures revealed themselves as precisely measured objects, co-mingling in the delights of tactile visuality.

-Amarie Bergman

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View 5, post-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

 

Christopher Gulick’s residency-workshop-performance-exhibition

Factory 49, Main Showroom
Monday, 16 October to Saturday, 11 November 2017
49 Shepherd Street,
Marrickville,
Sydney, NSW, 2204
(02) 9572 9863

Christopher Gulick at Factory 49

Christopher Gulick’s website


Amarie Bergman formulates and makes reductive art, showing her work at non-objective art galleries located in Melbourne, Sydney and Paris. Amarie’s reviews have been published in artUS and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art.
website: http://www.amariebergman.com

 

ISSUE 21. January – March 2017

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Luciano Prisco Terra, earth, osso, bone. acrylic on five panels.

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Teasing Threads

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Featured Artists ‘Engrybirdz’- Dorit Goldman (dis_Object) and Mel Baveas (der_melicious): Biographical Note

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Engrybirdz is a sculpture, text, and interactive art based, collaborative duo; founded in 2013 by Dorit Goldman (dis_Object) and Mel Baveas (der_melicious). Engrybirdz have worked together on a number of public and urban art projects including, ‘Once U Have Seen OZ Y would U Go Back2 Kansas’ for the Redfern Biennale 2016. Dorit Goldman (dis_Object) and Mel Baveas (der_melicious) completed ‘_______Hours’ in 2015 at Sydney College of Art as part of their Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours).

recent public projects:

(2016): Amnesty International (Artillery) Vivid Sydney – Work Shop Sydney – ’causeitisbitter’.
(2016): Redfern Biennale, ‘Once U Have Seen OZ Y would U Go Back2 Kansas’
(2016): Articulate Project Space, ‘SCASS Project: Fresh Paint Grilled Chicken’
(2015): Sydney College of the Arts Café Wall ‘g.ven’ Project

recent private projects:

(2016): M Contemporary Gallery – Young Artist Initiative [YAI]
(2016): Factory 49 – Graduates 1
(2015): Articulate Project Space – ‘Have Your Say’
(2014): Articulate Project Space – ‘cutendpaste’
(2014): Articulate Project Space – ‘Artsider’

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Engrybirdz – Dorit Goldman (dis_Object) and Mel Baveas (der_melicious) next to ‘____Hours’ (2015) at M Contemporary for the YAI- Young Artist Initiative in 2016

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‘______Hours’ (2015), Engrybirdz (Dorit Goldman and Mel Baveas). Folded, shaped and taped White Pages: Business and Government. ‘Causeitsbitter’ (2015), Dorit Goldman. exhibited at Sydney College of the Arts Honours Graduate Show, 18-24 November, 2015. photography by Si Rundle.

Note from Engrybirdz: ” shadow and text stolen from dis_Object who stole from Vernon Ah Kee, who stole from Stephen Crane, who stole from _____________”

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‘Causeitsbitter’ [detail] (2015), dis_Object (Dorit Goldman), SCA Honours Graduate Show, 18-24 November 2015. photography by Si Rundle.

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Featured Artists ‘Engrybirdz’- Curated by Zalehah Turner
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Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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Savouring Small Things: Siobhan Hodge reviews Miniature Minutiae by Katherine Clayton

 Miniature Minutiae by Katherine Clayton, exhibited at Paper Mountain Gallery.

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Brisbane artist Katherine Clayton visits Perth with a small collection of artwork, currently housed at Paper Mountain gallery in Northbridge. The first response when walking into the gallery was initially one of surprise; when Clayton says “miniature”, she means it.

 

The open space of the Paper Mountain gallery has largely been left bare. Visitors could easily miss the exhibits themselves if they were walking by with a less-than-careful glance. When I entered the room, it was this open gallery’s white space that set the first strong tone – the pieces themselves are almost hidden by the space. However, as you adjust to the setting, each miniature artwork rises into prominence. There are no set directions for the exhibition, but a story seems to unfold as you walk. Clayton wants her viewers purposeful and inquisitive, looking more closely rather than stepping backwards to take in the overall effect.  Rather than anticipating a large number of small pieces, viewers have to tread carefully and lean in to appreciate her work.

The main features in this exhibit are inherently fragile. In one piece, arrangements of coloured stones and water droplets are set in the middle of the floor, so patrons have to mind their step. Another piece uses a small stool, with a careful little pattern of coloured stones set upon it. The other ground-based piece features on one a promotional poster and is pictured below – a piece of roughly cut stone with a small, papery flower “growing” from it. Set upon a pink plate, it creates a series of contrasts and questions as the natural and the human-made come together in strangely harmonious ways. Clayton encourages the viewer to appreciate these engagements on a smaller physical scale, but sizeable symbolic level.

IMG_3300Clayton’s artistic direction is towards the natural, but with a small human influence, teasing out a new angle from the materials. Her touch is purposeful. Nothing is wasted, and much is left to hang on simplicity and implication. The viewer is given even another purpose: to construct a narrative out of the fragments on offer.

This is particularly compounded in Clayton’s featured collection of eight pencil drawings. Upon first glance and from a distance, the paper almost looks to be bare. Upon closer inspection, neat pencil drawings of plants emerge. Brief captions accompany each one. Sometimes these are only a single word to denote what kind of plant is being featured, but as you walk down the line of drawings, more of a story begins to emerge. These are drawings of plants that grow in the artist’s garden, her neighbour’s garden, or chosen because they are a beautiful,  favoured colour. These tiny attentions to detail build an intimate portrait of the artist, but there is still a secretive atmosphere.

Similarly, Clayton’s wall-based pieces are delicate and personal. A pair of coppery leaves is set at eye-level in one bare wall, pictured above. A crumpled picture of a flower is neatly pinned to another. In both instances the viewer could easily miss their appearance, and must circle back for a closer look. Miniature Minutiae is all about interrupting the hasty flow of vision and directing the viewer to slow down and savour the details. The sense of peace and privacy in the gallery boosts this even more so. The natural and the personal are entwined in a fragmentary way, encouraging viewers to assess how the images are constructed individually to build a picture – which, if not larger is still certainly condensed – of respectful co-habitation and gentle impositions of identity on the outside world.

Paper Mountain is open daily from 9.30am-5pm. Miniature Minutiae will be open from 26 February until 13 March 2016. More about the exhibit can be found here: http://papermountain.org.au/program_items/miniature-minutiae-2/

 – Siobhan Hodge

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Siobhan Hodge has a doctorate from the University of Western Australia in English. Her thesis focused on Sappho’s legacy in English translations. She is an Associate Editor at Rochford Street Review, Reviews Editor for Writ Review, and contributing reviewer for Cordite. Born in the UK, she divides her time between Australia and Hong Kong. Her chapbook of reflections on Sappho, Picking Up the Pieces, was published in 2012 as part of the Wide Range Chapbooks series. She has also had poetry and criticism published in several places, including Limina, Colloquy, Cordite, Plumwood Mountain, Page Seventeen, Yellow Field, Peril, Verge, and Kitaab.

Stephen Hall: Featured Artist Issue 16 – Curated by James Aksman-Glosz

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Stephen Hall, Merry-Andrew Through Water, Through Storm, 2014, mixed media on paper. Picture: courtesy of the artist

There are common traits that are identifiable in artists who push past the boundary of arts many genres and types: be it portraiture, still life, landscape, and abstraction or realism. A few examples of these common traits are the demonstration of a high degree of technical skill at a young age, or a childhood event that acts as a catalyst. This catalyst often manifests as an internal calling to seriously pursue an education and career in the visual arts.

In the case of the Sydney-based artist Stephen Hall, it happened during his childhood (1967-1974). While living in the isolated rural area of Broken Hill, his mother, a practising artist introduced him to art through a diverse collection of art reproductions, stored in an old suitcase. For Stephen, as a child, these reproductions, with their creased corners and faded colour, were like strange ancient artefacts. They acted as a magical gateway to a lost civilisation, and he felt a deep connection with this lost world. This diverse collection of art reproductions, both in artistic style and from different time periods, ranged from the flat imagery and distorted scale of animals in the Lascaux Cave Paintings– Hall of Bulls (c. 15-18,000 B.C), minimalist colour and subtle light used in Honoré Daumier’s painting Don Quixote (1868). As well as the influence of atonal musical compositions in Wassily Kandinsky’s geometric abstract painting series Composition I–Composition X (1909-1939). And there were images closer to home with the integration of Australian history and experience in the early paintings produced by Russell Drysdale (1953-1960).

Many young aspiring artists would regard this collection of imagery as nothing more than a brief snapshot of art history. In spite of this Stephen Hall viewed these images quite differently, by realising that these different visual concepts functioned in a more interesting way together than as separate artworks. Years later, he would find assurance and common purpose with the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998). Through the way, he juxtaposed an elegiac tone with polystylistic satire, abruptly combining contrasting musical genres, and breaking every rule in classical symphony arrangement as fast as he could.

Music has always had a strong relationship with the visual arts. Evident in how they both share technical terms such as composition, discord, harmony, scale and tone. Another rarely discussed fact is that music is often the only form of companionship, which an artist has during their cloistered stint in the artist studio, lasting days, weeks, sometimes even months. Such isolated activity is often the sign of a broken person — comparable to prolific readers of literature — except that stitching together the fragments of meaning in the world is projected outwards not inwards.

It is a matter of producing art not consuming it. Producing the type of art that has genuine emotional and social content (often straying far away from social trends). Artworks with a social conscience that walked in a stride of independence such as Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos series (1796-97), and Edward Keinholz’s State Hospital (1964-66). They acted as a signal for Hall in what his art could aspire to be like. These influences would end up having a profound effect on Hall’s art practice and would provide the impetus for him to seek out his artistic independence.

Stephen Hall’s art practice focuses mainly on drawing and mixed media painting but occasionally expands his practice to include printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. From an early age, he displayed a high aptitude for drawing, sidestepping reliance on drawing from life or the use of photography. Instead, he placed emphasis on memory, feelings, impulse and amalgamating different artistic styles into his artwork that developed into the visual grammar and vocabulary of his idiosyncratic drawing style. These factors contributed to Hall joining the stable of artists at the well-known Coventry Gallery in Paddington. He exhibited at the Coventry Gallery for four years (1986-1990), which included a successful solo exhibition and participating in the group show Colour II (with Matthys Gerber and Mike Nicholls). Although he soon became disenchanted with the commercial aspect of visual arts, taking an extended hiatus, and not before long, became occupied with a seventy-hour work schedule and raising a young family.

Despite the long break, Hall’s creative impulse was always lurking beneath the surface exterior of domestic life. As a way of reacquainting himself with the visual arts, its histories and practice, he studied Fine Arts (Diploma level) at Meadowbank TAFE (1996-97) and continued his studies as a Master of Art candidate and a Master of Fine Art (Research) candidate at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales (2001-04). While studying at the College of Fine Arts, he became increasingly frustrated, partly because he was constructing and deconstructing imagery through expressive line and mark-making with such ease. And for such an extended period, that his drawings began to take a progressive detour from what was expected within the boundary that frames contemporary drawing.

Visual art is considered a visual language and the drawing medium is one of its oldest dialects. And through the space of time, drawing has constantly adapted to new environments from our ancient past with cave drawings to modern science evident by diagrammatic illustrations. However, drawing has always been characterised by its sense of immediacy and its physicality, emanating from the deltoid and trapezius muscles in the shoulder and back, streaming down to the flexor digitorium muscles near the wrist. The physicality of drawing can portray narrative without the need for other visual references (contrary to Greenberg’s formalist position and Krauss’s post-medium theory). On the other hand, visual references plays an important role in academic study of the visual arts and often art institutions (like the College of Fine Arts) can be tightly confined within their academic dogma and may lack the intellectual reach to see an alternative point of view. Fortunately, Hall found the flexible attitude he needed in Professor Peter Pinson, who urged him to start entering his artwork in the Blake Prize for Religious Art. For five consecutive years, Hall was a finalist for the Blake Prize (2002-2006). During this time he reached a new tier of artistic maturity evident in three solo exhibitions unified by theme: Madness, Violence, and Absurdity (Part 1-3), held at the Beatty Gallery, Sydney and the Wall Gallery, Melbourne (2003-2006). Quickly followed an invitation by his former art theory teacher Dr Carol Elvin to accept a casual teaching position (art theory and drawing) at the Nepean Arts and Design Centre (N.A.D.C).

In 2009, a tempestuous storm of success and tragedy thundered into Hall’s life. His monumental drawing Mumbai or Merry-Andrew Always Plays a Straight Bat & Sheds a Tear in Passing (2009) became a finalist work in the Dobell Prize for Drawing (2009) held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. This mixed-media drawing referenced the Lashkar-e-Taiba shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai in 2008 and incorporated the philosophical theme about a joyful moment that quickly shifts to a grave catastrophe. Its narrative about global events and the serious subject matter were a stark contrast to the timid landscape drawings and cookie-cutter expressive portraits that would frequently appear in this drawing prize year after year. More success would follow, this time personal work with darker themes: the apocalyptic drawing The Limner and his Steed Rest (2010) and the epic drawing The Limner passes through the Eternal Battle (2011) both finalist works at the Dobell Prize for Drawing (2010-11). His latest exhibition Merry-Andrew the Limner: Through Water (2014) was held at the Sheffer Gallery, Sydney. A collection of drawings, mixed-media paintings and ceramic pieces that explored the theme of water, through metaphor, visual poetics and myth and how it relates to social and environmental issues.

 – James Aksman-Glosz

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James Aksman-Glosz is the Featured Artist curator for Issue 16. James is an arts writer and a practising artist whose work places emphasis on painting, drawing and printmedia. He holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Painting) from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Previously he studied at Kunstakadamie Düsseldorf. With further study at the Sydney Gallery School and at the NADC (Nepean Arts and Design Centre). More recently he was the Master Printer for Matthys Gerber with the works being exhibited in Hot Art—Cold Market (2012), Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown (I.C.A.N), Sydney.

Stephen Halls website can be found at http://www.stephen-hall.com.au/

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Introducing Chris Palazzolo’s Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism

Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Red Dirt Talking by Jacqueline Wright
Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: American Hustle
Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Annette Haywood-Carter’s Savannah
Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road
Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: The Animated Movie

Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring
Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin

Chris Palazzolo

Chris Palazzolo

Rochford Street Review is pleased to announce that Perth poet, novelist, radio presenter and video store manager, Chris Palazzolo has agreed to write a fortnightly column. Chris’ column, to be called Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism, will take a look back (in most cases) to a film or a book and look to “tease out” particular elements in order to make an observation about our culture. Chris’ pieces will not be “reviews” in the strict sense of the word rather more like “little essays” modelled, a little like the short semiotic pieces in Roland Barthes’ Mythologies. His first piece published today is on Sofia Coppola’s 2013 film The Bling Ring.

It is hoped that over the next few months many little windows will be opened onto aspects of our culture – stay tuned.

If you want to find out a little more about Chris you can read an interview with him here: http://www.regimebooks.com.au/chris-palazzolo-talks-life-and-poetry-with-regime-books/

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Vale Rod Milgate

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Rodney Milgate  Poem 1970.

Artist, poet, playwright, academic and teacher Rodney Milgate died last Friday age 80.

I meet Rod in 1989 when I got a job in the Student Administration Office at City Art Institute (later to become the College of Fine Arts, UNSW). At that time he was in charge of the School of Studio Arts and was one of the college leaders who took the Institute into a new partnership with the University of NSW in 1990. While working together on the administrative tasks of the college, as well as the added burden of managing the merger with the much larger institution down the road, we began to discuss art and poetry. Indeed it was with some excitement I remembering him telling me “ah but I’m not just a painter your see.” The next day I found a copy of his 1979 poetry collection Pictures at an Exhibition (Elizabethan Press, Sydney 1979) on my desk together with an invitation to have lunch and let him know what I thought of it. On another occasions I had shown him a draft of an article I was writing for Island Magazine called ‘Towards a New Diversity: Martin Johnston and the New Australian Poetry’ (http://printedshadows.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/towards-a-new-diversity-martin-johnston-and-the-new-australian-poetry/). This time I received a copy of his 1983 chapbook Wordscapes (which had accompanied an exhibition of his paintings at the Barry Stern Exhibiting Gallery during November 1983). This time there was a yellow post-it note on the front pointing out that he was writing “trail blazing” poetry “pre ’68 and Tranter”!

Milgate noteMilgate won the Blake Prize for Religious Art on three occasions (1966, 1975 and 1977) and held numerous solo exhibitions. He wrote a series of plays and scripts starting in 1966 as well as publishing a number of collections of poetry.

A memorial will be held for Rod in October.

Milgate3– Mark Roberts