New Takes @ Art Station

We joined the throngs of people attending the New Takes exhibition at Art Station this evening, I arrived late and it was still packed.

The exhibition was energetic, in the sense of the large number of enthusiastic attendees, but also in the sense of the work itself, which was playful and full of humour: a fantastic start to addressing the brief. Each artist was assigned a film (not of their choosing), they then created a work that responded to the film.

On arrival, to get into the gallery, you had to walk over a work. By the time I got there, the paintings were scuffed, muddied, and in general, they looked like drop sheets, but I loved the idea as much as I hated standing on art work. The work was titled after the allocated film “Natural Born Killers” – why did the artist (Henry Christine Slane) ask me to walk over the work? Perhaps it was because of the manner in which the DOP of Natural Born Killers ‘walked all over’ the Director and the original intentions of the film. Maybe it was some other reason altogether.

Another work that lay on the floor was “Sugar Blossom” (Kenah Trueswich) a confectionery tiled vulva that had a distinctly Rohan Wealleans feel about it. Though I wonder if I’d have made that connection had I not first encountered Trueswich by her portrait of Wealleans in Potroast #10. The work was in response to Lolita.  I don’t think the intention of this work was to be trodden upon. At least I hope not, as the implications of a vulva being trodden upon are very offensive to me. I really wasn’t happy with the fact that it was on the floor. it already had several footprint indentations on it from people who had stood on it. I appreciate that components of the work may have fallen off the work had it been mounted on the wall, but the work should have been, at the very least, placed on a plinth. That would have been a great way of extending the idiom “pussy on a pedestal.”

My top pick of the exhibition is definitely Lucy Meyle’s “A Little Complication” in response to Brazil. A contorted complication of two of Meyle’s recognisable characters (I’m a big fan of her experimental comics and zines) lying within a dense hatching of pencil mark-making. The work is understated, the composition simple and forward, and the lettering is beautifully designed. The hand of the artist is quite apparent, and one can’t help but imagine the painstaking care employed to make it. It’s an absolute steal at $220, if I had the money, I’d have bought it.

The works “Do you know” (Ada Leung) and “Sacrament” (Jane Park) were very strong images/objects, evocative and apt to conjure many associations and imaginative connections, though I don’t know either of the films they were responding to (God Bless America & The Lair of the Long White Worm respectively). Leung’s work, a newspaper and PVA glue sculpture, was a precise, clean and beautiful form, the colours of the newspaper becoming an almost glowing purplish blue. It was a shame the work was on a window sill, as it was easy to walk past, given that it had quite a simple and understated presence. Park’s hanging test tubes hung away from the wall, and the slow sway of them on their chains cast great shadows on the wall.

Finn Godbolt’s “Distraction is an obstruction for the construction”, a response to Science of Sleep was charming and lovable, and utterly suitable for the film. Likewise, Jessamyn Gemming’s work responded to the film in a wonderful way. In fact, as far as responding to the allocated films, “Blue Ruin, Tangerine Dream, Green Revolution” was the most accomplished. I don’t want to describe it for you, or even say which film it is responding to, as that moment when I made the connection was all part of the work’s charm. I encourage you to see it for yourself.

As with any large group show, it has its ups and downs, but the large number of quality and insightful works maintain the momentum. New Takes is a wonderful, energetic show. I left the exhibition feeling high spirited and inspired.

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