The former is a Tasmanian female photographer who is a powerful manipulator of imagery of the female figure which has been partially collaged with other images. Eg a woman walking across a pathway with a paper bag where her head should be.
David Rosetzky is a Melbourne based artist who works at Monash University, and also uses the human form of portraiture but lays into the face of the subject other contrasting images. An example would be the face of a young man with a dove flying across it. Well curated , films /audios placed inside large cubicles for easy viewing and soundproofing and like items exhibited together. There was a diverse range of work but all referenced the human figure in some way.
I was intrigued to hear him talk about his creative practice and the work he does at MADA as I find him and his practice irreverent, fun and enjoyable. He puts the childish, high spirited and delightful playfulness into a serious artistic journey.
The front room exhibition space faces the street and has a large vista from the street and visibility for foot traffic, passers by in cars, and tram passengers. His diminutive figure is a self portrait or parody of the adult Ronnie dressed in a child’s batman onesie holding a microphone. The caption is YOU reinforced on a timber laser cutout board placed in a direct behind his head at the back of the front room.
His legs as placed in a spread eagled stance, one hand clutching a microphone, gaze directly ahead, a rather confrontational pose with the body protruding slightly forward. From distance the body looks childlike but is a grotesque self parody of the young Ronnie with the current older head. The hair is reddish hue, the eyes sea like blue, but steely. It implies a sense of fun with this small figure claiming attention by shouting YOU but its very presence in an obvious space. I laughed. It made me feel great. Its inviting you want to approach the figure and see why he is so angry, then you get a shock when you realise its an old persons face and mannerisms on a young person’s body.
The textile language is a strong piece of the work, in that the batman onesie reinforces the stereotype of what a juvenile might wear but the old head juxtaposes this young imagery.
Brilliantly executed the gallery space is a clever and appropriate placement for the work and attracts much attention and garners interest from passers-by. When I went a young woman who was caring for a child walked at the front of the gallery stopped, and exhorted the child to visit it as deserving of closer attention. A walk in and inspection incited her curiosity and and invited comment from the child. She talked to me about the work, asked the child her reaction and offered to take my photo with it. I believe the successful curation made the work engage more fully with the public and made this work address and achieve the desired purpose of the maker as signified by the title “YOU”. It was a bit of whimsical fun in a hectic, part of town and made scurrying city folk stop and embrace the work.
Exhibitors include Rosslynd Piggot, whose massive white bed imposes an improbable and powerful presence above the space inviting all to dream.
The gorgeous black and white photography of Max Dupain of the 1950’s models portrays images of a graceful and bygone era.
Early collage work by Sidney Nolan and David Noonan are featured. A taxidermied black cat waves goodbye to us at the end of the show. It looks like a stage prop or TV show persona and not a gallery piece. Such is the depth and wonder of this show my eyes were opened to works by artists I knew but didn’t know were part of the Dada and Surrealism movements. Being removed from Europe and the USA these artists created their own version of the movement. It is a brilliant show and many of these influential artists are currently teaching and working in Australia.
I found particularly poignant and whimsical the installations by Judith Wright in the foyer. They are assemblages of found objects of childhood relics eg horses heads, child’s toys and a rowboat. These works depict the loss of her child, and are the artists imaginings of how her child’s life would be if she had lived and grown through childhood.
This exhibition educated and exposed me to a vast area of work by Australian artists working in a wildly inventive field of exploration.
On the 2nd August, I ventured from my cosy nest to the MADA Open Day, at Monash University. The skys were bleak, the day crisp, but I was a VU student, on a mission. I leapt in my trusty Volkswagon, careered down Dandenong Rd, and
I stepped through the plastic sheeting, and gasped at the sense of familiarity and contentment, I felt. A squat, brick building beckoned surrounded by a swarm of orange clad young people. Inside, a makeshift art studio had been set up, and the walls of paper, and giant paintbrushes were too irresistible to ignore.
It was an enlightening experience. I learnt about the rigorous entry requirements, and had a grand tour of the relatively new facilities, ably assisted by keen volunteer students. The lecturers gave an inspired speech about why they love to work at MADA.
I liked what I saw and heard, not only did I get to paint, I participated in a Life Drawing Class, and met a jewellery maker, which I learnt I can take as an elective. Inspiring stuff, now I only have to negotiate the intricacies of the VTAC process, and ensure I present my best body of work possible, to be offered a place.