After leaving Anthropological Bricolage at Utopian Slumps (which I also loved; check out Georgina’s post if you haven’t already) we were drawn into to Guildford Lane Gallery a couple of doors down. I think it was the bright lights and sound of a concert piano that got us, and, after such a great opening at Utopian, we weren’t quite ready for our night to end there.

On the ground floor was an exhibition by Jodie Wadelton, titled Defaced. It didn’t take us too long to notice the artist was commenting on censorship in literature. Her work presented defaced, ripped and damaged books of those that had been banned or censored in the past, e.g. Lady Chatterly’s Lover, 1984, Alice in Wonderland, The Diary of Anne Frank and Lolita. Red and bloody, the installation looked like a violent murder of books had just taken place. Though the books are some of my favourites, the art wasn’t really doing it for me. It was far too literal.

On first impressions it seemed like the exhibition continued upstairs, but it was actually the opening for a separate group show; CENSORSHIP-Women & the Body. Here we found more books from an artist called Oscar Lopez, but this time as a symbol for the woman’s body. They were padlocked closed, bound by string and wire, nailed to a desk, burned, set in plaster and rotting inside laboratory jars. Hmmm. Apparently this work was attracting a lot of feminists to the gallery.

The most noteworthy part was a series of photographs from Magdalena Chahin, who studied fine arts in Chile and is enrolled in a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Barcelona for 2011. Magdalena’s photos were the opposite of censored and were actually quite erotic. See for yourself.

Overall not really something to rave about. But hey, it still gave us plenty to talk about over dinner; that we both loved reading Lolita.

Last night Georgina and I met up in Flinders Lane to check out Jeremy Kibel & Rhys Lee’s opening at Block Projects. This time we had the details completely wrong, and we found the space empty, both of people and art.

There was a girl waiting in the foyer who looked like she might know where an art opening was. We were told that Lindberg Galleries (in the same building) were actually hosting their own, for Herman Pekel’s New Paintings. So it wasn’t a complete failure on our part.

Walking into the gallery I was immediately struck by the iridescent quality of Pekel’s oil paintings. The way the whites seemed to shine we thought there must have been a light box behind them. Upon closer examination we noticed that the painting was on perspex and the effect was created simply with spotlights shining onto the picture. Impressive.

The urban and rural landscapes, depicted by Pekel’s fluid brush, were very familiar. The stringy gum trees reminded me of walking through the mud to my tent at Meredith Music Festival. One of the cityscapes gave me the feeling of overlooking Fitzroy from a warehouse window. It wasn’t surprising to discover the artist spent most of his life in Melbourne.

Though Pekel’s paintings were pretty conservative, and not something we would have ever rushed out to see, we could certainly appreciate his ability to capture the beauty of the Australian landscape and remind us of the emotional connection we have to our surroundings.


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