c3 Contemporary Art Space – current exhibitions
Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St Abbotsford
Open 10.00AM-5.00PM Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday).
Closed June 12.
NESTLED in the under-story of the old convent in Abbotsford’s art precinct on the Yarra, c3 Contemporary Art Space has been a showcase for emerging artists for more than eight years. Currently, six artists are on show, presenting a veritable cornucopia of different ideas, views, thoughts, objectives and interests. Culture, place, history and experience all provide a wealth of opportunity for artistic expression.
Homeland is a series of seven head-sized sculptures, arranged in a line, each mounted on a wire and perspex armature. They, in turn, are displayed in strict military line on a large illuminated plinth, raising each to roughly waist height. The overall effect is of a group of ancient works, presented for dissection in a controlled environment. There is no whimsy or humour here – this work invites reverent contemplation. Mileikowski explains that her work explores protection and fragility – and these sculptures could be interpreted as veils reminiscent of religious habit or ancient military garb – coifs for protecting the wearer from the slings and arrows of a hostile world. Viewed in this way, the ideas of spiritual and political concerns of identity and belonging form the core of this work.
Wagstaff takes on the history and meaning of abstraction in art. In this group, ready-made objects, colour field painting, abstract sculpture and installation art all claim attention and jostle in a flattened tower of Babel. In his words, ‘Language – visual and otherwise – consists of signs, representations, ghosts, replicants, that are ordered and controlled to convey the hypothetical, the past, the possible, and the impossible; memetic tools, re-contextualised with every use. Abstraction has mutated and evolved through many iterations, an idea re-representing itself, an actor and a character, the signifier and the signified. It is the ghost of the shell, trapped in the shell.’
It Tears Us Apart
Kubota Fumikazu exhibition consists of six large, hard-edged abstract paintings. They create futurist arrangements of colour and line, block structure in isometric projection – abstract architecture that floats in ether. He completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2013 and regularly exhibits in Melbourne’s artist run initiatives.
Makgill presents comparatively small, intimate works of pure abstraction – no representation here, each is an experiment, an academic exercise in the classical abstract idea of the object is itself, not a representation of something else. In these works, Makgill let’s the paint do the talking and although she makes choices about colours, volumes and starting points – the what and where – ultimately the paint is left to carve out its own form. In Makgill’s words, these works seek to reveal process, touch and tension between the figure and ground of traditional painting approaches.
Morrison’s video and digital prints form the smallest exhibition at c3. They are the product of a journey to Iceland earlier this year, in January. Morrison presents an alien January seascape for Australian eyes – no blue skies, warm water and golden sand here. Morrison’s January seascapes feature a sky of dark lead, black, tossed and unremitting seas, a beach where the snow falls in flurries. There is no water recreation in these seascapes – the physical conditions are harsh. For all that, the images show an environment where paradoxically, you could achieve the same end as a visit to a remote Australian beach post-Christmas – the grandeur of nature, a place of peace and silence, of solitude and reflection, time to think, contemplate and consider.
Tumer’s work at c3 in deals with war. Savas, (war in Turkish), is composed of a series of contemporary photographs of the Gallipoli and Mornington Peninsulas. The contrast (or perhaps similarities) are clear and poignant. Two governments decide to build forts to defend their coast lines from aggressive invaders. The terrain of each echoes the other. The major difference, of course, is that one of these peninsulas was invaded and one was not. In the view of the government doing the invading, the cause was righteous – to preserve democracy and liberty, basic rights threatened by an unscrupulous and aggressive antagonist. In the view of those actually in the boats, approaching the shore, the myth is different – but no less abstract – their purpose encompassed ideas of adventure, doing ‘the right thing’ and sticking up for their mates. In truth it was none of these things and all of these things. The images in Tumer’s work rely on similar colours, construction, and composition to define their form. They aren’t sentimental, they do not glorify or sanctify anybody’s leaders, politics or geography. What they do, through their lack of difference, is communicate just that – we humans, wherever we come from, whatever our ideals and beliefs, aren’t that different after all – and that the tragedy of armed conflict continues long after the heat of the battlefield, wherever and whenever it is and whatever it is supposedly for.