FORTYFIVE DOWNSTAIRS



DAVID LEHMANN

In his artwork, Lehmann represents the web generation, finding himself more at home in cyberspace chatrooms than in cafés. He has been creating work that scrutinises the Internet’s social significance as a facilitator in the eroticism of masculinity. Within his work, he has been concerned with examining contemporary censorship from a postmodern perspective and its effect on society. The Internet’s manipulations of the body questions and transgresses the assumed naturalness of its boundaries, functions and gender. For this purpose, Lehmann uses the male nipple as an icon, as the art object itself.

While he produces images using small glass beads, his work is informed by the principles of painting and photography rather than a craft perspective. The use of small glass beads emphasises the digital component of the work, giving reference to the pixel, the glass component in cathodes (computer screens) and the transfer of information. When he deploys glittery glass beads in his artistic practice, he is acutely aware of these loaded historical and cultural origins, as beads are amongst the most ancient and widespread human ornaments and earliest forms of trade.

These works result from computer scanned and processed images, which are in turn taken directly from live ‘sitters’, whose relationship with the artist has also been mediated by digital technology. That is, all portrait encounters have originated through chat channels, resulting in a wide range of male subjects - from chefs to mechanics and lawyers - exposing their chest to the gaze of artist and his scanner, resulting in obsessively hand beading fetishistic works, which are potent, erotic and beautiful. For Lehmann, each subject’s willingness to ‘expose himself’ is a ‘precious’ gift, which requires equally precious time and intricate labour on the part of the artist. The astonishing variety of nipple types and sizes feature tattoos, rings, zits and bruises, which become affectionately transformed into glowing fields of azure, purple and rose, while up-close chest hair suggests deeply flowing rivulets. Every nipple is unique and yet this badge of male individuality goes largely unremarked in Phallocentric society, as does the humble glass bead. But maybe not for much longer, as the internet reminds us that we are developing alternative methods of transaction.


TIM CRAKER

Mixed Marriage is a cargo net, a double hammock, an Islamic grille, a picnic rug, an aerialist’s safety net, a trap…

It looks at pattern and the grid, at biodegradability and permanence, at natural and synthetic materials, at the culture of the disposable and at the occident and the orient - in a sideways glance. The mundane is transformed.

Cutlery has been an object and subject often returned to - subconsciously - in Craker’s work. Aside from the tactile attractions of its’ immediately recognisable and particular shapes, what he potentially returns to is its symbolic representation of order, ritual and ‘civilised’ ingestion, of the set table, of sitting down to dinner and conversation - and what that might stand against.

As Craker himself identifies from reading an illustrated article in a weekend newspaper about someone’s ‘favourite things’, one person included a small length of an enormously long daisy chain, made as an entry in a sculpture competition by the person’s nine-year-old daughter, Lola. Part of her artist’s statement was:

“I like daisy chains because you start with something little and end with something big...…because you start with lots of worthless things and end with one thing of value.”

Craker was invited to be part of an exhibition in Malaysia entitled ‘Feed Me!’, the curatorial theme being an exploration of food and its cultural and social significance. From this, he developed thoughts on the common interest in food - recipes, ritual, preparation, eating - and the role played (and continue to play) in intercultural relations. As a result, he started to play with disposable eating utensils - cheap, abundant, light, easily worked. From this, he reflected again on Lola and her view:

“you start with something little and end with something big, and not just in size.”

FIELDS - T.J. Bateson

A journey through the landscapes of rural Victoria and the corresponding hues of nature are evidenced in the new body of work from T.J. Bateson. But, as one would expect from an artist whose work continues to explore the abstract, these are not renditions of land- and seascapes imbued with a sense of realism.

The use of paint encrusted with silver leaf and metallic pigments of aluminium and bronze create a new surface, a pearlescence, a shimmering reflective quality that captures moments of light, of a flickering gesture or movement.

The exploration of colour and low tonality continue to be synonymous: quiet, muted tones of a contemplative nature, calling for moments of reflection at each drawing.


CITY LIBRARY



SUNSETS - Troy-Anthony Baylis

Troy-Anthony Baylis was born in Sydney in 1976 with Irish and Aboriginal heritage; a descendant of the Jawoyn people from Australia’s Northern Territory.

Troy-Anthony Baylis is a visual artist, performer and social activist. In his visual arts practice, the artist employs strategies of narration
that have been developed in the intercourse between traditional Aboriginal art and Western art of the first half of the 20th century.

During the first and second world wars, Aboriginal women knitted jumpers to provide warmth for the troops, and Troy-Anthony has reintroduced this visual language, albeit into highly contemporary new forms. The knittings have painterly qualities that extend boundaries of both knitting and painting. They are also transportable to international contexts; others of these series have been constructed in Australia, Thailand, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom and also exhibited in solo exhibitions in Berlin and Essen (Germany), Melbourne and Adelaide.

Both in motive and composition, Baylis’ sunsets reference a famous model, Warhol’s print series Sunset, 1972. They depict what is a serial event by nature, a great drama that unfolds every day, naturally finding a new and, by no means, singular form for a wellestablished choreography upon each occurrence. Baylis picks up on this formal pattern and the clear definition of layers of colour. His choice of material guarantees the softness and his choice of colours creates equally radiating images. The knitting process, however, creates a surface structure that Baylis highlights, emphasising it by incorporating surface pattern.

This establishes a focus on the object and sculptural aspect of the pieces, but it also alludes to painterly qualities. The loops that develop in knitting create a vivid visual structure that, in this context of woollen object as image, is somewhat reminiscent of a structure of visible brushstrokes. It creates an almost regular consistent pattern, one that would have to be familiar from impressionist and even more so, postimpressionist painting.

Sunsets reveals a contemporary vision of art that results from an exploration of identity and observations of evolving visual culture. Troy-Anthony Baylis is part of a generation of Indigenous artists who are redefining the diversity of Aboriginal cultures in Australia.


GLASS WING

Lisa Mc Donald, Ben Pokidin, Emily Garnett, Cliff Fowler, Ellie R, Rupesh P, Pablo M and Nathan
Glass Wing explores the perspective and understanding of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex (GLBTI) community and aims to challenge viewers to consider difficulties, barriers and challenges such as homophobia, heterosexism and invisibility.

These bodies of photographic work are created by artists from YAK (same sex attracted young people’s social support group) and their responses to the Glass Wing Butterfly with its multitude of layers and meanings. Working with photographic artist Rachel Taylor and principles of community cultural development, these emerging artists have used photography to explore issues of sexual identity.



PLATFORM SPACE



JOSEFINE KRISTENSEN

Josefine Kristensen’s Homophobia/Queer Pride is thought provoking, playful and fun. These works question consumerism and the idea that homosexuality can be classified as a lifestyle choice. The three images represent a well known consumer product which is instantly related to advertising. The works promote discourse around issues of classification, love and place within society.


ANDREA VAN STEEN

Andrea Van Steen is a Melbourne-based photographer who will be exhibiting in the Majorca Building Cabinets on Centre Place.


LOOP BAR



SINE REDEMPTUS READY FOR YOUR CLOSE UP? Gianfranco Di Lorio

Divas, Dykes, Saints and Singers prepare to SHOUT OUT, ROCK OUT or CONFESS all your delicious secrets! Visual artist Gianfranco Di lorio and the Midsumma Digital Arts Group present their first unholy video confessional booth, Sine Redemptus. Footage captured will be projected live onto the big screen as part of the visual arts launch, Urban Visual Arts Conga Line 2008.


THE ARTS CENTER



A NIGHT AT THE STAR - John Sones

Photographer John Sones captures the rich and vibrant performance styles of some of Melbourne’s iconic drag kings in this groundbreaking documentary exhibition at the Arts Centre. Shot over several months at King Victoria (programmed by Bumpy), Sones has documented one of Melbourne’s most successful, yet underground, phenomena. Featuring performers Moira Finucane, Azaria Universe and Nik Willmott, as well as a range of talented amateur kings, A Night at the Star is a moving testament to the power of genderfuck.

In late 2005, John Sones and Crusader Hillis discussed the idea of documenting the drag king culture in Melbourne. John, a photographer from Northern Ireland, has been living and working in Australia for some years and has developed a fascination with drag king performance. He feels this style of performance is much more adventurous and contemporary than the the long tradition of the drag queen, posing serious questions about the role of gender in our lives.

Working closely with the drag king performers, this exhibition is a powerful documentary of gender performance and a playful exploration of female masculinities.


THE CARLTON HOTEL & STUDIOS



BROKE [BROK]

Andrew Atchison, Danielle Karalus, Marcus Keating, Pip Shea, Glenn Walls
Broke [Brôk] brings together six artists whose work confront our conventional perceptions of what it means to be producing work
in a global environment. It is an exhibition that reflects the issues we deal with in our daily lives, not just as artists but also as individuals who, like everyone else, confront the real challenges of surviving in a deteriorating world.

The title refers to a number of ideas surrounding our current social climate that have been broken or are devoid of physical function or emotional association. The artists in this exhibition have been selected because of the ways in which their practices address these concepts. Broke is something missing, something that needs to be fixed.