Many thanks to artist and writer Bridie Connell for her excellent piece on our Art Month exhibition.
HOME@735 – 02.03.16
It’s March and Sydney is in the midst of Art Month – the citywide, event packed festival dedicated to all things contemporary art, collecting and community. It’s also that time of the year when Sydneysiders hit the streets in search of culture, conversation and free cocktails and included in this year’s line-up of open galleries is Home@735. Located within the private residence of local arts professionals Madeleine Preston and Anthony Bautovich, the gallery is notable, not only for its domestic setting, but also for presenting a balanced mix of experimental and collectable, emerging and established art and artists. Their Art Month offering is no exception showcasing a diverse line up of artists united by their technical skill, use of collage and references to the absurd and surreal.
Occupying the living room gallery is a suite of round, oil on board paintings by Anthony Cahill. As titles such as ‘Gardens of Stone, Shift’ and ‘The Well, Hill End’ suggest, his works are grounded in observations of the landscape but are refreshingly non-representational. Informed by his interest in the absurd and displaying a great level of technical skill, organic and architectural forms are abstracted and rearranged into colourful, lightly textured compositions in warm earth tones with touches of fleshy pink, shocking green and aqua blue.
Equally polished are the works of Melbourne based Heidi Yardley. With an interest in the surreal and uncanny her artistic process begins with cut and paste collages of found images from magazines and publications, which she re-works into large-scale, flawlessly rendered, charcoal drawings. The series currently adorning the walls of the stairwell and landing stairs an anonymous cast of 60s sirens; their faces blacked out, obscured by flowers and fractured by geometry to create seductive compositions that are at once achingly beautiful and subtly sinister.
Neighbouring Yardley in the hallway gallery, and sharing a monochromatic colour palette, is the work of recent graduate Nick Bannehr. His passion for photography and the ocean is evident in his aptly titled ‘Black Spot’ series, comprising ten portraits of male boardriders. Expertly shot and edited, Bannehr’s clever manipulation of colour and contrast plays on the young men’s sun-kissed features. Tanned skin, crows feet and freckles are exaggerated to stunning effect and, combined with piercingly clear eyes, the end result is line up of surreal mug shots that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mad Max film.
On the shelf directly beneath Bannehr is a series of small sculptures by Priscilla Bourne. Cast in beautiful, cloudy blue crystal glass her ‘three-dimensional collages’ are ambiguous amalgamations of found objects with titles such as “Banana Split’, ‘Heart’ and “Bat Jazzeled’ hinting at their origins. A clever fusion of natural and artificial detritus, these organically shaped oddities are reminiscent of fossilised forms, sitting side by side in a Cabinet of Curiosities style display.
Head back down to the living room gallery you’ll find something of a closet of curiosities with a newly created video and sound booth occupying the space under the stairs. Inside you’ll find two chairs, a flat screen and four newly commissioned video works by Dominic Byrne, David Greenhalgh, Petrija Pajic and Zac Svendsen on rotation. Each artist was asked to respond to a song by Bautovich’s own musical side project, The Forresters, and the range of responses is nothing short of impressive. From Byrne’s lo-fi, karaoke stylings, Pajic’s subtle moving frames within a single channel, Svendsen’s performative masked antics and Greenhalgh’s seamlessly edited psychedelic reel of found footage, the works are evident of a new generation of video art talent – and when the craziness of Art Month cools down I’m looking forward to watching the booth space evolve.