Thursday, November 19, 2015

of Deceit- Installation Images

Helen Johnson
I’m a particle but now I’m a wave, 2015
acrylic on linen
61 x 45.7 cm
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

David Clarke (on plinth)
50/50, 2015
lead and pewter
dimensions variable, 15 x 15 x 15 cm 
courtesy of the artist


Adrienne Gaha
Myth, 2015
oil on linen
100 x 100 cm
courtesy of the artist and Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art, Melbourne

(installation view/left to right)
Jonny Niesche
Logicstick # 3, 2014 
wood, glitter and acrylic
300 x 5 cm
Private Collection, Melbourne, courtesy Station Gallery, Melbourne


Helen Johnson
I’m a particle but now I’m a wave, 2015
acrylic on linen
61 x 45.7 cm
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

David Clarke (on plinth)
50/50, 2015
lead and pewter
dimensions variable, 15 x 15 x 15 cm 
courtesy of the artist


Adrienne Gaha 
Myth, 2015
oil on linen
100 x 100 cm
courtesy of the artist and Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art, Melbourne
Mikala Dwyer
mask and costume from; The Garden of Half Life, 2014
plastic, paint, fabric
dimensions variable, 2 pieces each 250 x70 x 80 cm 
approximately 
courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney



Helen Johnson
I’m a particle but now I’m a wave, 2015
acrylic on linen
61 x 45.7 cm
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

(detail) Mikala Dwyer

mask and costume from; The Garden of Half Life, 2014
plastic, paint, fabric
dimensions variable, 2 pieces each 250 x70 x 80 cm 
approximately 
courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
mask and costume from; The Garden of Half Life, 2014
plastic, paint, fabric
dimensions variable, 2 pieces each 250 x70 x 80 cm 
approximately 
courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
David Clarke
50/50, 2015
lead and pewter
dimensions variable, 15 x 15 x 15 cm 
courtesy of the artist



(installation view/left to right)
Jonny Niesche
Logicstick # 3, 2014 
wood, glitter and acrylic
300 x 5 cm
Private Collection, Melbourne, courtesy Station Gallery, Melbourne

Helen Johnson
I’m a particle but now I’m a wave, 2015
acrylic on linen
61 x 45.7 cm
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It’s a grand narrative that plays out in the story Of Deceit


It’s a grand narrative that plays out in the story Of Deceit.  It’s one full of plot twists, white lies and half-truths. Concealing a face of good intentions and delusions.  Of Deceit is an exhibition yielding objects that offer a commentary on the wider discussion of contemporary art and the connotations of deceit.  We are treated to artworks that expand the creative muscle. They fill its capacity for deceit and run through a mass of narratives, representations, and histories.

Of Deceit is a lesson in story telling, and each artwork has a story or history to tell.  It’s a muddle of recollections and memories and unknown consequences.

This is not to relate to the deceit of forgery, fabrication, and misrepresentation: that is a distinction that is best suited to the likes of  Inganno – The Art of Deception, for a comprehensive study. 1

Deception I place as a moral quandary and is where I can find this already pre-loaded and malleable concept: taking hold of the audience’s perceptions and questions.  It is the capacity for deceit, and how art can be representative and really become entangled in a person’s experience of the work, is what pulls me in as a viewer.  We appreciate that an artwork has duality of meaning, for both artist and viewer.  An object for the artists may mean everything to them and nothing, or everything to the individual viewing the work as an outsider. 

We are presented with deceit as this otherworld, the other fiction that deals primarily with the community use of storytelling, the folklore, the superstition and the pantomime of deceit. Acting as a concoction of lies, and exaggerated truths is exposed by Mikala Dwyer’s masks from The Garden of Half-Life, from an exhibition of work that speaks to the pantomime of both history and futures to be told and exposed. 

In the narrative of deceit, I am reminded that artworks can be created by pure fiction, fantasy and by illusion.  I find myself questioning the intentions and story that is willingly being told, alluded to.  I am reminded of Metzger saying   ‘Boxes of deceit. Events happenings. Artists can not compete with reality. The increasing quantity of events, happenings. Artists cannot integrate within himself all the experience of the present. He cannot render it in painting and sculpture’. 

When I am physically present and engaged with a work, I am then forced to confront that I don’t necessarily agree that an artist cannot fully represent the history in their works; history is malleable, dependent on the storyteller, through false truths and half-truths.  Part of the story of contemporary art is that it is not just about the artists’ history in a work, or the narrative they expose or wish to tell.  It is to remind the viewer that they too can participate in this story through their own associated histories, create new fictions, and create their own faction of deceit. 

David Clarke’s series 50/50.  A deadly combination of materials distilled down to loaded teacups of pewter and lead.  Deadly to the naked touch and to participate with at your own peril, with a touching story as the teacups are representational of the last tea and medicine cup his mother used before her death.  ‘There are only 2 outcomes to any kind of situation.  Can you trust anything?’

We swing from a symbolic offering of a personal deceit, to an object that has become more than a vessel, but the very instrument of death. 

We go on a journey of illusions from Adrienne Gaha’s paintings, with embellished glazes, the magical lure of shadows and figures. Gaha retraces the story of Venus and Adonis of Tiziano Vecellio, recreating an alternative visual narrative, altering the story, by ‘myth making’.

The Unravelling and re-creating of myths and fictions offer a different face of deceit, it offers self-invention, it is the malleable truth, and Helen Johnson described perfectly of her work:

‘Painting is a fabric woven from deceits: of permanence, of representation, of originality, of space, of vitality. In this regard it is also a space where it is possible to think beyond the bounds of the factual, without yet slipping into the warm bath of fiction.’

Deceit lies between the solid and fluid, between fact and fiction.  It lies between the glaze and wash of a painting, between the abstract lines of faces and bodies.  It also lies in the magical and otherworldly.  Jonny Niesche’s Logicstick proudly stands, offering to me what seems like triumphant truths, a magical experience, a glitter bomb waiting to go off, and inevitably get in your eye.  The glitter blinds you, distracts you from it physicality, and encourages you to create a new narrative for its existence. Of Deceit stares you right in the eye and challenges you to a fucking fight.

Catriona Black-Dinham, Melbourne, November 2015

________________________________________
1  Inganno – The Art of Deception, Immitation, Reception, and deceit in Early Modern Art, Edited by Sharon Gregory, St Francis Xavier University, Canada and Sally Anne Hickson, University of Guelph, Canada, 2012
Is not only a commentary of forgery, reproductions and misrepresentation, but also an analysis on the motivations, moral complications for artists and artworks and for me a larger commentary of modern art markets.
 2  Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings, Pg 403, para2, Gustav Metzger ‘Manifesto World’ (1962), in Metzger at 
AA {London: Destruction/Creation, 1965} By Kristine Stiles, Peter Howard Selz

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Of deceit: the practice of deceiving by concealing the truth.


Gleaning the boundaries of deceit is a game whose rules we skirt from a tender age. The stubby fingers of an infant caught concealing a forbidden morsel, the growing whites of her eyes nonetheless asserting her innocence. Very quickly the child learns: even if she were caught, had she stuffed the clandestine treat in her mouth faster, she would still have suffered the indignity of a scolding but the sweet after-taste would've been salve to her stinging pride. It's a risk worth the reward.

There is a certain arrogance required for successful deceit. Hauteur in the belief that one has the right, and confidence that they shall see it through to the end. In a way, it is an end. Think of it so: if inception, from the Latin in + capio , i.e. `to take in,’ 'to begin' – and now, de + capio , 'to take away': deception as the end.
Certainly, a means to an end.

Many practice deceit daily, particularly the deceit of others. Small lies as easy rituals; they lend gloss to an otherwise matt palette. Beauty, even contrived, has its own merit.

Reliably, deception has a half-life that lingers longer in the memory of the dupe, than in that of the deceiver. The perpetrator has already accepted the lie as true; it is a necessary part of the equation. Deceit requires consistency. For one to successfully deceive another, then one must sustain the act.

Actors make for sparkling dinner-party guests.

Should you find yourself on the acute end of deception, you likely think yourself a fool. How could I have been so gullible? It festers and you remain incredulous at your own vulnerability. Perhaps you learn. You surely remember.

But it is the deceit of self that is the most pernicious.

Who do you think you are?

It's not a question as to why you thought you could get away with 'it' in the first place. It's what led you to think you could side-step reality and somehow make fiction real. This new reality is slippery. Any fresh denuding would undermine your notion of self.

To admit to an act of deceit requires the admission of willful fraudulence. You too, wanted to believe. This betrays the revelation of a fragile, if artfully concocted membrane, where previously you thought the cloak thick enough, invisible perhaps, certainly impenetrable to others. Once you've shown your hand, your cover is blown.

The penitent deceiver muses: What was I thinking?

Because being caught deceiving is to admit a departure from the truth. Here lies the true pique and pang of deceit: the hubris that smacks and lingers long after being caught. Rarely do we feel guilt for the act of deceit; should that be the case we wouldn't attempt it in the first. Besides, ethics are relative. Yes the violent spike and puncture of the sheath may scald. Certainly, the blow of being caught indelibly burns. But the delicious afterglow of the conquest burns brighter still.


Gabrielle Longmate, Paris, November 2015.