I recently had a lovely holiday in Australia – 3 glorious weeks of doing not much apart from walking on the beach, swimming and eating and drinking far too much with old friends and family.
When I managed to drag myself away from the beach, during a couple of rainy days, I visited the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), newly built since my last visit to Sydney 8 years ago. It is a beautiful, light filled building, dappled with sunlight and built in a stunning location, right on Sydney Harbor, at Circular Key, across the water from the Opera House. The MCA opened in 2012, bringing a much-needed addition of contemporary art to the rather touristy area of the Rocks.
The main exhibit, Yoko Ono’s, ‘War is over”…well…., less said about that the better in my humble opinion. I saw her Show at the Serpentine Gallery in London a few years ago, and I was just as underwhelmed then, so, moving on!
I was very taken with the New Acquisitions in Context Exhibition of established and emerging Australian artists, as well as and Volume One of the permanent collection, which were on show in the rest of the Galleries.
I have to admit that I liked most of what they had on show in the Galleries. There was a wide range of work encompassing most disciplines from video installations, sculpture, painting and drawing. Here are my impressions from some of the works that I saw….
Tracy Moffat’s quirky look back at all the worst jobs she had in her youth entitled, fittingly ‘First Jobs’. The artist used images of work places from the 70’s and 80’s and inserted herself into the photographs, then hand coloured them using evocative candy colours emulating the perfect image of life from 60’s lifestyle magazines
Gloria Petyarres’ Painting ‘Leaves in the wind’ depicts Bush medicine leaves drying on the desert floor. Descended from the Anmatyerre people, her work is inspired by the country around Utopia in the Northern territory. Working with a restrained palette, this painting created a shimmering, almost 3 dimensional effect.
Rebecca Baumann’s automated ‘Colour Field 2011’ is a kinetic work using flip clocks to play with a range of tonal colours, relaxing and mesmerizing to watch.
I have to include Gordon Bennett’s Piece, just because of his name – which is an exclamation of surprise (in English), plus it is a ‘minced oath’, which I love the sound of. But joking apart, Bennett’s work revolves around language, and the way it shapes culture and identity. He is an Australian of Aboriginal and Anglo–Celtic descent, and after 1999 he adopted an alter ego and began making and exhibiting Pop Art inspired images under the name of John Citizen. You can read more here.
It was disappointing to see only a handful of Prints in the entire collection, but maybe they are waiting for Volume Two of the permanent collection to blow people away with their print collection. One can only hope!
Here are some more works from the show.