Tuesday, September 12, 2006

See Anything Suspicious

Rose Nolan
(Sourced from Sarah Cottier Gallery website)

Welcome back Sarah Cottier Gallery. Elegance returns yet again to the Sydney artscape. Reading an article in the latest Australian Art Collector (issue 27) which interviewed Sarah about the re-opening of her gallery, I experienced a curious sensation of porous nostlagia. As you all know, Artswipe lives for nostalgia, so the news about Sarah's new chic Paddington digs just took me back to those heady days in Newtown (November 1993 - April 1997) when Sarah (and partner Ashley Barber) reigned supreme with a stable of artists that included the likes of Mikala Dwyer, Hany Armanious and Matthys Gerber. When Sarah exhibited Sylvie Fleury's haute-couture rocket ship in December 1994 I was in some kind of transubstantiated heaven. Then they moved to a very epic space in Redfern (December 1998 - November 2003). It was there I got dizzy in John Nixon's monochromes and Maria Cruz's cryptic word play.

So an email is forwarded to me a few weeks ago from an Artswipe fan. Attached is a PDF invite to view the first Sarah Cottier phase three exhibition featuring work by Simon Barney, Stephen Bram, Marco Fusinato, Matthys Gerber, Rueben Keehan, John Nixon, Rose Nolan, Elizabeth Pulie, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Koji Ryui, Gemma Smith and John Spiteri.

Cool. Love them all. Can't wait for the opening. Artswipe, like all serious bloggers, is a major art opening fuckslut. You could never ever know how disappointed I was when I read the next line of the feline-grey-type-on-white-PDF, which said "No opening, but we're open."

Surely, that can't be true. How could I possibly attend during gallery hours? The thought of going to an exhibition and not seeing the work through a haze of overcrowded piss-elegance is just too impossible to fathom. How could I actually claim to have seen art in its true context: through a filter of air kisses, knowing nods, art market mayhem, Fiorelli fashion frenzies, literacies in text-art alliteration.

"Turn your frown upside down," said my therapist when I bared my heart and soul during one vulnerable hour of psychic power. "Being seen at art openings speaks to your inability to let go of being seen seeing, looking at being looked at, among many other cross pollinating circuits of spectatorial desire … And really, you can always go to the Primavera opening." It wasn't until much later that I realised how my therapist, once again, couldn't be more on the money. It's like my therapist looked into my black little heart and saw a desperate pit of nothingness consumed by viewing art through a scrim of mass body contact. Shame on me for being so into group dynamics.

How did I become such a fucking mess? Where did life begin, where does it end if not for a few quality opening nights lightly salted with some shit hot abstraction? How am I expected to engage with meaning without feeling part of a mingling audience that rims the champagne glass of light and dark, court and spark? Never one to brave my own paranoia that serious art commentary is best served with crab cakes and wasabi peas, I decided to visit the gallery, braving the white walls, fearing the slow burning echo of my own shallow presence. And low and behold, Rose Nolan, that brave pioneer of all things red and white, said with finite clarity in three words what most of say in at least ten:

See Anything Suspicious

1 comment:

Skanky Jane said...

I haven't anything worthwhile to add about the show or the artists as I am not that familiar with either.

(Although - I did see Mathys Gerber's "Paintings 1972-97" at CACSA in 1998 and recall Gerber saying that he makes choices in order not to choose and that paintings could, and perhaps should, be a hiccup of thought.)

I did want to say however that I think this could be your best ever post. Your trademark bite sized 'rants' and trenchant wit are perfectly suited to this medium.

SJ xx