Writing Art History Since 2002

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3C transformed the AVA’s traditional, and excruciatingly painful, Committees Choice exhibitions into something fairly nice – a critic’s, curators and committee’s choice, although the latter could have been given a skip. I count neither as a critic nor curator and therefore in this non-position am left to write the review.

I digress. The exhibition, if little else, provided a grand stage on which to show new work by new talent. Although there were some fresh and interesting pieces it is immediately apparent that some of our esteemed critics and curators chose work recently exposed by artists we already know – a kind of supermarket trolley selection. James Webb’s couch and Julia Rosa Clark’s rainbow seemed unnecessary to the project. Churchill Madikida’s print, Lyndi Sales’ odes to laser cutting and Thando Mama’s unsightly drawings were also a bit of a let down. Suzy Bell selected her boyfriend.But nepotism is good. Andrew Lamprecht’s friend and student, Rowan Smith, contributed a very pretty work of a little wooden boy with a console in hand plugged into a giant night sky. Smith’s mother touched said boy and broke the sculpture. A moment is found in Robert Sloon’s choice, David Scadden – a definite winner. Scadden presents a dark bunny animation. Thumping hardcore house music put the gallery’s new projection room to good use. Many have argued Mr. Scadden to be slightly disturbed and advised counselling. I think he’s doing just fine.Chad Barber presented an impressionable piece with Image of Christ licked off by Dog. The materials read ‘Semen, Miniature Pincher, Saliva on bed sheet’. The work consists of a freshly washed and Stay Soffed sheet hung on a gallery wall. Though humorous, artwork remains sad – gallery attendees argued over the rights of miniature Pinschers… a lot. An allegation is doing the rounds that director Kirsty Cockrell noted that Barber’s sheet appeared too sheet-like. The artist was solicited to go home and jerk off in order for the ejaculate to be more apparent. Cockrell did not really get it.A highlight was all-girl collective Doing it For Daddy’s Sweet Virginia. The best part of the work was the way they stole the particularly non-specific red curtain from the flyer for their backdrop, without notifying the Gallery in question, effectively ‘stealing the show’. The work investigates the once again tired relation between curator and artist, choosing three bands to perform an ode to the curator who had chosen them. Each member of the collective selected a performer. We were faced by a somewhat hilarious spoken word performer, an angsty dyke group and Linda Stupart’s boyfriend’s band, all performing the Gomez track, Sweet Virginia. Virginia Mackenny, having no warning of the piece prior to opening night, blushed. It was incredibly sweet. The exhibition was fun. A lot of work was less than interesting. The opening night saw a performance that did not take itself too seriously and at least gave us a peek at some fresh work. With a dearth of ‘curated’ exhibitions showcasing young talent of late, this is really the best we’ve got. And it was good.

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