First I went to the State Library of Victoria to see the ANU Edition + Artist Book Studio exhibition titled "How I entered there I cannot truly say". This gorgeous triangle book on the left was my pick - triangle books are my favourite and with that succulent red section, well who could resist this beautiful piece.
There were some wonderful etchings but I was hugely disappointed that the books were displayed in cabinets. Where were the white gloves? A book is made to be held in your hands and the pages turned...and I told them so in my feedback sheet.
This invite is for an exhibition of beautiful works by Hannah Bertram, a talented artist who I met at RMIT. Hannah's work concerns the decorative, is often ephemeral, and frequently surprises. This installation consisted of a trail of everyday paper ephemera beautifully pierced with intricate patterns. The works extended along the wall, filling the entire length of the gallery like a chain of buddhist prayer flags. The contrast between the labour-intensive decoration and the incredibly mundane substrate is at times quite amusing.
In the same gallery as Hannah's work (Dianne Tanzer Gallery) I stumbled on a wonderful group show with quite a few Australian "name" artists including two of my favourites, Kris Coad (her work left) and Sebastian di Mauro (below). I know I saw this show advertised somewhere but I can't find any images of it online to show you so I have used some older works by these artists which are particular favourites of mine. Kris Coad works with the translucency of porcelain to create works with almost-hidden symbols that rely on light to be exposed.
Sebastian di Mauro is a wonderful artist from my home state, Queensland and this image shows the first work of his I ever saw. It was called Floccus and as you can see he created these wonderfully ambiguous huge sculptures of some soft material that looks like fluff from a clothes dryer or something. The forms really took on the feeling of being creatures that you just wanted to hug or stroke, but by the same token, in the semi-dark space, you couldn't be sure they might not turn on you suddenly! It is one of my all time favourite installations. The work in Melbourne continued to explore similar forms but in bronze and less than 30 cms in length.
The last show I saw was by another talented artist from the MFA program, Katie Roberts. Katie's work has focussed on the Yarra River, which twists and turns its way through Melbourne. She has used video previously and in this exhibition presents her second series of mixed media drawings which functions as documentation of the social and natural history of the river. With moody depictions of the city in the background, Katie has manipulated her materials to create what looks like a record of the very soil on the river banks. Indigenous imprints are overlaid by the European ways of thinking about and interacting with the river, creating a visually "sedimentary" historical record.