28 January – 13 Febuary 2010
Curated by Natalya Maller, Drew Pettifer & Andrew Tetzlaff
Opening Night | (Day of the week, Month spelt in full, time 6 - 8pm)
Maggie Brown, Christo Crocker, Dylan Hammond, Ted McKinlay, Sophie Mitchell, Sam Page, Van Thanh Rudd, Jacob Weiss + Marcin Wojcik
Blindside’s Debut series of exhibitions is an annual survey of Melbourne’s freshly emancipated art school graduates. Its curatorial premise is simple: NO fancy French philosophy or long German words to connect points A and B; NO unifying theories; and NO attempt to fill in the gaps. Debut, without bias or favor, supports the sweat and success of 2009’s brightest – the shining stars and the diamonds in the rough. Work is selected from the tender bits of a marathon hunt through a month-and-a-half of near-daily exhibitions. We’d like to congratulate these artists, emerging talent we proudly highlight, and wish them well as they transition from art schools to art galleries and beyond.
Between Now and a Hard Place, 2009
Cinder Blocks, sand
By employing cinder blocks in this balancing game, Mitchell joyfully ups the ante on the traditional house of cards construction. Brick by brick the artist widens the gap between the stacked blocks; inch by inch the wall begins to loose its identity and integrity. The gradual transition from stability to precariousness – from wall to ruin – is paused at its tipping point. The resulting moment of anxiety is haloed in pink sand, perhaps an indication of the projects tongue-in-cheek attitude towards this physics experiment gone wrong.
Those places you were not (All at once), 2009-10
Pastel on paper, 110 x 150 cm
From morning to noon to night we barrage our senses with visual imagery that our mind dutifully shelves, classifies and catalogues as our waking experience. It is this phenomenological accumulation that McKinlay investigates by layering tableaus rendered in shadowy pastel. Fleeting moments are conjoined and superimposed on short eternities, some detailed with hypersensitive clarity and others disregarded as incidental fragments. The whole becomes a labyrinth of imagery, a non-functional record of information that mirrors our own unreliable memory.
Van Thanh Rudd
Serena Williams and Democracy, 2009
PVC banner, 220 x 170 cm
Damn, its good to see some solid artwork that is at the same time true to its activist intentions. So often it seems to be one or the other, but Rudd’s collages effortlessly navigate the narrow straights between contemporary art and political voice. In a world riddled with crises and inequality, art can often be seen fleeing the social battlefield. When many retreat or simply stay safely indoors, Serena Williams and Democracy stands its ground to consider the state of media and advertisement, the sporting and military climate and most interestingly the trajectories and parallels between these economies and psychologies.
Chiptune is an ongoing project that utilizes 8-bit GameBoy sound as an improvisational instrument. Through the layering of pseudo-recognizable blip and bleep leitmotifs Page washes our ears out with disjointed 1-UPS and mismatched warp levels. “Creating new works with these sounds is a game, a puzzle… The little box of chips that is the GameBoy. Extracting emotion from two square waves is the game, and games are fun.” (Sam Page, 2010)
Playing with Space, 2009
Digital video, type C print
Cake Piece, 2009
Inkjet digital print
There is a captivating curiosity to the carefully orchestrated, nearly dramatic scene. All of the components of the installation are repeatedly but ever-so-slightly askew and in a “state of collapse” – stray planks support frames and monitors, bits are propped upon one another, and prints are crumpled and scrunched. Working together as a whole, however, the disjointed parts feel unified, complete and balanced – albeit almost incomprehensibly so. It is the investigation into the works self-reflexive and composite nature that triggers a slow release of wonder and reveals a disguised magic.
Untitled Tube, 2009
Weiss’ interest lays in the subtle consideration of circular geometries and their metaphoric and physical relationship to the body. “This work seeks to blend the form of structures such as the colon, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, fallopian tube etc into the one object, which aims to elude clear definition.” (Jacob Weiss, 2009) His focus on the cylinder, though considered abstractly, seems to belie its non-representational minimalist form. It is in these quiet contradictions that the work is able to speak. Its shape and synthetic nature rubs with beautiful friction against its skin-like physicality, nameless orifice-ness and parasitic connection to the gallery wall.
Holding Up, 2009
Digital video, 2:27 minutes
Digital photograph, 52 x 45 cm
“The two works Holding Up and Limitation comment on our feelings of anxiety and vulnerability, and the strategies we use to make our lives seem worthwhile and safe. It explores our attempts to feel safe and in control by creating routines and rules for ourselves. Old, worn objects are a symbol of the comfort they create and the well-established psychological patterns that we repeat endlessly, without thought. The work questions whether these habits and objects help us, or whether they act as an inflexible burden or penance.” (Maggie Brown, 2009)
Bay Voyage, 2009
Performance, installation, digital video
Bay Voyage seems a rosy-lensed attempt to square-peg round-hole fiction into reality. With the drive of a Golden Age comic book protagonist, Wojcik embarked on a yearlong process-based work that culminated in the construction and launch of a DIY yacht. A science fiction optimism coupled with a MacGyver attitude challenges the functional and structural limits of cheap materials. The grandeur and spectacle of a boat christening and launch are thus delightfully sabotaged by the projects own spirited energy and wide-eyed ambition. Though the yacht could not stay afloat, the project itself sails on successfully into the setting sun.
Untitled (framed by a doorway), 2009
Mixed media on paper, digital projection
Hammond’s work is made of equal parts silence and intensity, confronting us with a ghostly projection of a naked body trapped uncomfortably in a dark screen. While layers of graphite and wax bear a tangible history and physicality, the faded figure is illusive – recalling instead notions of mental images, memory and physical impermanence. It is this slippage that mixes like oil and water when shaken, and leaves us staring at the separation. What more, the ontological debate that underpins Hammond’s work seems to be self-reflexively deadlocked as he champions equally the ephemeral moment and the corporeal object.
Text by Andrew Tetzlaff, Edited by Natalya Maller, 2010