OPENING : Thursday 8 Aug at 6-8 pm.
EXHIBITION : Wed 7 Aug - Sun 18 Aug, 2019
SPACE 1 : Group Show
Kathleen Harvey, Amber her Hedde and Kimberly Budd
After becoming aware of each other’s practice in painting, video, animation, sound and installation while completing their BFA at RMIT, Kathleen, Amber and Kimberly found interconnections in their work, the conceptual frameworks that guide it and the dialogues each hoped to provoke in an audience. Although each artist’s practice varies aesthetically and conceptually, it is motivated by visually and sonically abstracting traditional landscapes, their surrounding built environments and the historical, cultural content relating to these. This process of abstraction, coupled with a similar intention to instigate questions surrounding dominant narratives resulted in the idea on collaborating on a multifaceted installation.
The proposed work would be an interactive multichannel video, sound installation. After witnessing each other’s major works in the RMIT Graduation Exhibition, discussion on a collective install that harboured their diverse skills in audio and video began. The work will focus on narratives encompassing ecology, technology, philosophy and traditional landscapes.
The installation will build upon the research undertaken in their final semester and the pieces that eventuated. Please see the documentation of this in each artist’s folder and their individual social media platforms and websites for previous work.
SPACE 2: Toxic TMNT Sex Doll
This painting series is about nerd culture. From the common indulgence of a TV series binge watch, to the more extreme, display cabinet full of action figures. Toxic TMNT Sex Doll, reflects the ‘art’ of nerd culture. From cartoons on the television, to video games in the bedroom. Today, everybody is aware of at least one acquaintance who has made a lifetime of consuming ‘art’ for and about nerds. Without the nerd, there wouldn’t be such a thing as Harry Potter, Star Wars, GOT and many more products so present in American/Australian popular culture today. An entire generation simply can’t get enough of the storyline whereby the nerd protagonist gains power. Be it ‘super’, romantic or political (often all three). The nerds are out to rule the world, and by being such a prolific component of culture, perhaps they believe that they are what they are being sold en masse: super heroes.
The Toxic TMNT Sex Doll represents the sexual frustration that comes with being a socially isolated nerd. A lot of nerd sexuality goes unsaid in the typical Hollywood narrative. But it is definitely pointed to in the scenario of a nerd who gains super power. It is my contention that the ‘super’ power scenario that the nerd unconscious longs for is actually an allegory for sexual gratification desired and achieved through secret sexual power. This is not always the case as of course, I am generalising but it is surprising how often we see that the nerd’s romance is intrinsically linked to the ‘secret’ (and therefore not fully apparent) nature of his (sexual) powers. The classic example, Lois Lane in love with Superman but oblivious to Clark Kent (those glasses must really be working!)
I have labelled this subject ‘toxic’. Although it is meant ironically because so much of the realm of the super hero sells as ‘edgy’ when in truth it is basic symbolism that children are capable of decoding almost immediately. This is not an insult but it is worth pointing out that much of the nerd culture fascination begins at childhood and is hence so long standing. For it has a powerful link to the psychology of nostalgia.
Toxic: Toxic sludge represents what is harmful about nerd consumer-culture. Here, ‘toxic’ is symbolic of the ironic selling of an ‘edgy’ lifestyle choice, but also the one way nature of the communication. Critical dialogues exist, but usually only through the ‘toxic’ online chat rooms and comments sections of social media. TMNT: The ninja turtle mutation is the perceived benefit that comes from undesirable, toxic substances;
a mutation into ‘super power’. Sex Doll: The glossy, plastic sex doll is the reality of the emptiness of the consumer-bought identity, a one-way appropriation. A sex doll can be projected onto by its owner. Gratifying desire, but only through fetish for
About Paint: Importantly, the paint has a double meaning.
As shiny artificial plastic, and as slimy organic body matter.
As plastic: A widely used material in pop-culture figurines.
The plastic ninja turtle is an important symbol, as it encapsulates so much of what is fake in a nerd’s relationship to his culture. A signifier of a signifier; the hyperreal. As organic matter: There is an inherent understanding in marketing products to children, that ‘slime’ sells. Here, an outlet is provided for children to escape into a world where being ‘grubby kids’ comes guilt free. Marketeers and advertisers have long known this and they spend huge efforts on marketing ‘slime’ products to children. As the concept goes, sell to a child, and you set up a customer for life. Hence, we have adults who shop for the happiness associated with the toy brands of childhood. In such a way, the nerd lives for the latest release of the Toxic TMNT Sex Doll.
SPACE 3: Flinders Lane from Exhibition to Degraves 7.30am
For three nights a week over three years Eddy worked as a nightshift cleaner for a Melbourne 5-Star hotel. Leaving via the staff entrance at 7.30 am, he would enter flinders lane and head west, crossing exhibition street and continuing till he reached Degraves street, where he had his morning coffee.
He remembers laughing at the bleary-eyed suckers who were only just starting their working day while his was already over.
Yet he was struck by how greatly the street’s appearance changed depending on the weather, the season and whether it was a weekday or public holiday. The lane might be dark, wet and crowded or glaringly sunny and deserted. So he decided to record photographically just how varied the lane could appear at this specific time of day (which includes views down intersecting streets). It was the framework for a series of photographs exposing the architecture, people and bustle while playing with the geometry, composition and movement, with added colour for variety.
But implicit is his love for the black & white artform with its contrasts and atmosphere. Part of his mission is to celebrate the photographic form, to explore and present the scope and beauty of what is attainable, delighting in appearances, playing with tone, effects and cropping, often presenting several versions of the same shot.
Eddy’s artistic practice has included photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, children’s book illustration, poster design, visual poetry, performance poetry, novels, short stories, short plays, zines, character acting and singing.
OPENING NIGHT & EXHIBITION