Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Fringe and other follies

G'day Possums
 Mrs Wombat and self have had a amble around the Ballarat International Foto  Biennale t'other day.
I didn't exhibit with "the Fringe" this time, wrongly assuming that the venue I had previously used having changed hands, was no longer available.
The original director of the biennale has stepped down and a new regime is in place so there was quite a difference in the emphasis of "the Core" program  that was refreshing,  particularly the works from Iran, Jordan, South Africa and Cambodia which expressed a different nuance of thinking and seeing.
The exhibition "Tell" at the Mining Exchange  featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists also showed different sensibilities and humour in their varied and expressive works.
I have with the past Biennales tried to cover all of the "Fringe" exhibits but this time both of us, frankly, were quite disappointed in a lot of the stuff exhibited and have opted this year to show just three examples and mention some others.... and we did not get to see all of the exhibits in two days viewing, perhaps only 50% of them.
Fairbanks Eye Gallery at 917 Sturt St  had three of what we considered  the best of the exhibits, Elaine Batton's "Vanitas Revisited", Ollie T Cool's "Un-Broken" and Silvi Glattauer's "La Puna Argentina".
Elaine Batton's "Vanitas Revisited"
Influenced by C17th Dutch painters and exploring the notion of "Vanitas" or our attempts to avoid the impermanence of life by vainly accumulating wealth and musing on death by the symbolic decay of flowers, Elaine Batton's works are rich in their density and beautifully printed and presented.. look for her delightful book, too.
Ollie T Cool's "Un-Broken"

Richly embalmed in wax and gold and preserved in ice,  Ollie T Cool's insects and animals are fragile emanations of life on the edge of decay. "Un-broken" presents another version of vanitas as the encapsulated subject matter becomes exquisite specimen.
"La Puna Argentina" are large beautifully printed landscapes from a blanched, arid volcanic desert area bordered by both Chile and Argentina. Surprisingly colourful in their virtual monotonality, Silvi Glattauers works breathe the monumentality of the huge space and evoke our human insignificance in such places.
Now for something completely different... if Wendy Beatty's "(Landscapes) 1.1" at Bar Wat, 32 Drummond St North Ballarat had been presented for exhibition 30 years ago I dare say she would have told to go away and learn the proper techniques of negative care, printing, enlarger handling and print spotting. These large distressed "arte-povera," traditionally processed, black and white landscapes prints are still impressive in their ( I suspect), tongue-in-cheek, single finger salute to the  exquisite perfection of computer aided digital contemporary photography.  Well worth a look.

Also worth getting to see but not photographed is Chris Sheils' "Time is an Illusion" at Art House Gallery City Centre Arcade, (Shop 6) 315-317 Sturt St Ballarat. redolent of the traditional  photographic forms of American, Jerry Uelsmann,  these works present an almost dystopian amalgamation of  disparate places in complex dreamlike detail.
...and a couple of mine from wandering the streets of Ballarat on those days...

Wombat Droppings  today are brief .
In signs that privatisation has been shown, as many of us suspected, to be the wrong path to travel down, Prime Miniature Truffles Turdball has announced what is probably only another thought-bubble: he wants to buy back a privatised Coal-fired power station and spend $50,000,000.00 shoring up the energy systems they have spent years selling off instead of devising a creative and forward thinking energy policy that would advantage Australia not just foreign capital.
On top of this insanity it also looks like the deregulation of the building industry is producing what could only be expected: shonky materials, dangerous buildings, Byzantine codes that no-one follows, rampant greed and no-one to take responsibility when the shit hits the fan.
And Dick Smith is being a real Dick, swiping away at the ABC 'cause they wont play his Noe Notion tune about population growth... it seems he wants to do to it what he did to aviation....
Let's hear it for unfettered capitalism, Petals.



  1. Aaww, you coulda rung when you were coming up, & we might have met up for a coffee and a thaw out! Maybe next time.