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The Lizard Queen

The Lizard Queen Visits Art Walk in Denver 2008
Crypotzoology at the Toyota Community Spirit Gallery 2008
 Fight to make War Unsexy
The Importance of Narrative
The Lizard Queen Remembers
The Lizard Queen travels to 11th Shanghai Art Fair
The Lizard Queen visits the Black & White Exhibition in Inverell
The Lizard Queen Visits Denver
The Gold Coast to the Swell Sculpture Festival 06
T
he Lizard Queen goes to The Masquerade Art Expo April 1, 2007
The Lizard Queen goes to The 5
th Asia-Pacific Triennial Brisbane
The Lizard Queen visits Tamworth Regional Gallery 
The Lizard Queen visits the Cadaver Display in Sydney 

 

 

 The Lizard Queen! - Ceramic Break Sculpture Park

Ceramic Break Sculpture Park apologises in advance for the views of The Lizard Queen
- once a cheap bitch, always a cheap bitch.

I am The Lizard Queen, I canít do nothing! 

            Hi sweethearts.  Hi you motivated artists that the critics ignore because theyíre too busy taking care of their mates or just having a good wank on an easy target.  Need a critic?  Iíll try to fit it into my busy schedule, but I warn you The Queen can stroke, but she can scratch too.  Scratch, stroke, scratch those with suicidal tendencies need not apply.

The Lizard Queen Goes to New York

Bright lights, big city - Little Italy, The Village, Uptown, Midtown, Downtown-

itís Manhattan dawling!  Full of skyscrapers, art, fun and Puerto Ricanish boys with swaggering hips and dark tan faces punctuated by deep strawberry lips. The Lizard Queen is mad about a cheap Spanish accent, Pakistani?  Well these Mediterranean types do have a style about them no matter what their language(s)!   So I asked my lovely boy Abdul where to for the hottest and I mean spicy-hot Bangladeshi restaurant?  He taxied me over to Queens to his motherís place where he introduced me to Mum. And wife. And three young children! (he didnít look like he was even fifteen). The food was excellent, but not the exotic cuisine one really had in mind!

If youíve never seen New York City, it is mind bogglingly clever.  How do they fit all those tall buildings on one island?  Itís chock a block with blocks end to end broken only by one gaping hole- Ground Zero.  Lovely traffic, pungent smells, exotic food and life - life everywhere!

So where does one start the art tour?  Chelsea dawling, home to hundreds of marvellous galleries, not just on ground level, but up in the air. There youíll find really fine art next to first time art galleries and everything in between.  The Lizard Queen confesses she was planning to spend 2 days in the art district and see everything, but most of the galleries didnít open until 11 and closed at 5 so there just wasnít enough time!

I saw only two of the many streets of galleries. The gallery workers seemed glued to their flashing computers and oblivious to the visitors that have come from all over the world to share the art.  It seems to be the same anywhere you go-the snooty bastards in their smart clothes-Misses Mucks -just doing ďtheir jobĒ in the worst kind of way.  I loath them.  There were few exceptions like The Betty Cunningham Gallery where the nicely dressed lady was on her feet telling everyone all about the French artist on display.

My highlights in Chelsea were both featured in the NYC Gallery guide. Rani Carsonís paintings from Jamaica took me back to those happy times of Red Stripe and ganja.  I was expecting to see a Rasta man, but Rani is a Rasta woman who seems to know a lot of the hairy beauties-nice colourful paintings.  Oi Sawaís painted metal pictures in the Viridian Gallery were unique.  The show was a nice find in an obscure gallery up many flights of stairs.  The paintings are beautiful architectural creations with nice colour schemes and a bright sheen- very easy to live with.

There was an outstanding Picasso ďMosqueterosĒ exhibition at Gagosian Gallery with queuing outside (do you mind!).  Well worth the wait I might add.  Chuck Close had a portraiture exhibition at Pace Wildenstein that was excellent-although the Lizard Queen must confess that she abhors portraits.  Heads with shoulders are an uninteresting shape usually on an uninteresting background- Iíd rather take a taxi!  After 2 days in Chelsea thatís exactly what I did- I headed to the high profile districts.

Ricardo, Aziz, Manuel whatever his strong brown long muscled name is, dropped me uptown after a feed of goulash in a SOHO bungalow that had the distinction of a clean toilet and mouthwash. I thought he would cry when I slammed the taxiís door. He refused the tip and that made me cry as he zoomed off.

The Met is the American equivalent to The British Museum. Not only a realm of antiquities, but also galleries of fine art. Plan on spending all day there and youíll see art that is standard in most art history books. The lunch room however is a dismal expensive affair where people are herded, fed and excreted out in a hurry. Itís better to eat first. 

The Whitney Museum was a disappointment.  There was an amazing installation of lights by Jenny Holzer called Protect Protect that took up an entire floor.  The Lizard Queen usually has a lot of time for political art and the flashing messages about the atrocities in Iraq and the issues of homeland security seemed quite current and relevant, but the installation was hard on the eyes and perhaps a bit too in your face. 

After The Met the modern collection at The Whitney didnít seem to stack up.  The Claes Oldenburg exhibition was a good collection, but am I getting jaded thinking that works such as this just donít deserve to be in the realm of fine art?  It is different, but not very nice.  I heard his giant hamburger in Central Park was very popular and maybe outside is a better place for this kind of ďartĒ.

The works by Edward Hopper also disappointed.  Iíve loved this artist from afar for so long that perhaps my expectations were a bit daft.  Some of his landscapes were exceptional, but the figurative paintings werenít at all as special as some of the art books would suggest.

The incredible Frick Museum, once home to the robber baron Henry Clay Frick, is a bit like a palace and a bit like a residence. It houses the most amazing collection of art that youíll see anywhere.  Rembrandt, Goya, Gainsborough, Vermeer etc. interlaced with bronze sculpture and a wonderful terracotta nude.  Large halls, library, courtyard with pool, itís awe-inspiring and rich-very rich.

The Museum of Modern Art is a must see in NYC.  There are many famous works, my favourite being three large abstract Kandinskyísí.  Youíll also see a potpourri of art that you might not like-architecture, a floor of post modern, minimalist, uninspiring rubbish, design displays-all interesting but not necessarily beautiful.  There was a notable omission in the MOMA collection-Blue Poles.  These NY collections have Pollock paintings, but none that resonate with the same vitality of colour, form and might I say the perfect size of our national Australian masterpiece.  We got the best one dawling!

The Martin Kippenberger exhibition was notable as there was nothing there worth hanging on your wall or anything that you would even remotely like to be associated with.  Where does the art world come up with these people and why do they try to ram them down our throats?  One patron summed it up when he said, ďKlippenberger was definitely a genius!  Itís amazing!Ē

The courtyard at the museum was a bit sleazy, but it had a nice collection of figurative and abstract sculptures- a good place to people watch and rest oneís feet.  Not too much talent however and what there was seemed to be attached with children.

The Museum of Arts and Design had a restaurant that wasnít open.  Luckily there was a mall next door where two large Botero corpulent nudes-man and woman guard the escalator to the restaurant on the first floor.  Only in NY dawling! 

The museum is a lovely space with different themes on each floor like ceramics, jewellery, glass etc. Iím not sure if I can add much to the Craft Arts International #76 article on the museum, except to say that sometimes craft isnít what itís made up to be.  Bega, NSW artist Klaus Mojeís glass exhibition was displayed beautifully and was a good sample of his works, but it didnít look like glass!  It might have been painted pottery or canvas-nice, but a bit strange.

The Lizard Queen had a lot of time for the jewellery display.  There are gorgeous things here in tasteful arrangements and drawers enclosed in Perspex glass with some of the most amazing little gems in the world.  A must see.

The guards in The Design Building were large and black and very smart in their pressed blue uniforms.  They were polite and helpful, but were intent on their jobs and had no time for dangling worms or other such mischief.  They showed me how to use the state of the art collection display.  You just touch the big screen and there it is!  Zoom in; zoom out anything in the collection is at your fingertips!

The Isamu Noguchi Museum just over the bridge in Queens was the place for large hard rock sculpture.  Socrates, Aziz, Ishmael or whatever your name is was replaced by a rather jovial polish ťmigrť cab driver of questionable hygiene.  He pitched and struck out-even The Lizard Queen has some standards sweetie!   The museum is a practical display space with a courtyard and gift shop.   There are some very nice marble and steel pieces that are also thoughtfully shown.

Too much city life got to this little country girl after awhile so she set off on the day journey to Storm King Art Centre.  The bus leaves from the terminus just off Broadway, drops you at the gate of the sculpture park and then picks you up about 6 hours later.  There is a sexy Storm King bus that drives you around the sculpture sites and you can go off on your own feet to explore the 500 acres of sculpture!

Momo Taro, Noguchiís wonderful abstract work, has pride of place on top of a small knoll by the visitor centre.  This sculpture was very popular with school groups that interacted in and out of the granite pieces.  It is getting a bit dwarfed these days by all the other surrounding sculpture.  David Smith was well represented although his figurative and abstract works seemed in conflict in their display area.  George Rickyís amazing kinetic sculptures were unfortunately marginalized.

Iím I being too hard?  Actually the Lizard Queen loved almost everything she saw at Storm King.  The danger she sees is that even with 500 acres the space around the sculptures will start to shrink until it gets too busy.  Have you been to the McClellan Gallery in Victoria lately?  Sometimes less is indeed more.

Storm King overall had a strong blokey feel to it.  Most of the sculptures were mannish, made by gristly, tattooed, Neanderthals welding their hot metal and drinking their thick stout.  The landscape was dominated by huge metallic monoliths by Mark di Suvero.  These sculptures look solid and have interesting kinetic dangly bits, but are very in your face.

A wall by Andy Goldsworthy had a more sinuous feminine feel to it as it snaked out of the pond, around the trees and up the hill.  It was almost impossible to photograph.  The Arch by Alexander Calder was a magnificent sculpture that looked radically different from all angles-very pleasing.  Perhaps my favourite piece was called Sea Change by George Cutts.  This sculpture consisted of two twisted shiny steel poles that rotated with a motor.  They looked interesting from every angle and evolved with each movement in the rotation -such a simple brilliant idea!

Storm King is a top venue well worth the bus trip.  The pleasure tour on the Storm King bus is erotic and satisfying.  But call me a bitch, Iíd like to see more colourful and girly sculptures around.  I think there are areas suitable for figurative works that wouldnít conflict with the overall theme of abstraction.  And the toilets are divine dawling!

 

 

 

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The Lizard Queen Visits Art Walk in Denver 2008

Denver is the mile high city dawling.   A place that was often as provincial as the stubborn Americans and their rejection of the metric system.  5280 feet is too onerous a task for even a girl as clever as me to decipher in the friendly tens and as American Gridiron is purported to be a game of inches- really dawling!- does size matter in the final analysis as long as we can ad lib with sign language?

Although the biggest news story in Denver is always the Denver Broncos, at least the popularity of the National Western Stock Show is definitely on the wane.  And what chance does Denverís little rodeo have when all the money is in Las Vegas?  And yes the Las Vegas National Rodeo Finals were on in glittering colour in my motel room.  Thereís something about a man straddling an animal that gives a girl a not so insignificant tingle-Ride em cowboy!

Art walk is the first Friday of every month in Denver.  The galleries stay open until 10 pm and there is a huge crowd of mostly young people out for fun.  And although there wasnít much in the way of selling going on, just to see so much activity, is a wonderful endorsement of the vibrant Denver art scene. 

The walk is centred in the gallery district along Santa Fe Street.  This was a gentrified Hispanic neighbourhood that the city thought could use a revamp.  Buildings were bought up and leased out at concession rates and the galleries  all moved in!  There are over 40 display spaces and many artist studios with all styles represented.  A map wouldnít have gone astray as there were a lot of nooks and crannies with some back walkways leading from one gallery building to the next.

The atmosphere was electrifying with busking and performance art as well as the local Karate Club putting on a window front display.  Mostly big hunks kicking and tumbling in their comfortable loose fitting whites with significant skin and chest hair peeking through the V-crack below their strong jaws.  There was chanting and gorgeous fellowship seen through the misty glass.  Kung Fu-ooh.  Ooh!

Most of Denverís major galleries were represented in the art district including the newly reopened Ron Judas Gallery and Sandy Carsonís Gallery.  Inside there were works by Kiki Smith and Damien Hirst  and other high flying artists.  I especially loved the Hispanic Museum with its visiting display of  Mexican artists. 

Other Denver galleries outside the district also take part in the Friday extended hours.  The newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art had a  Damien Hirst display including Saint Sebastian in bovine form swimming in a vat of formaldehyde.  Thatís art dal! 

Another Art Walk area is located by the old Denver Coliseum.  In the Coliseum, The National Western Stock Show may frown upon this new art district, but Denver seems to be embracing it.

 Crypotzoology at the Toyota Community Spirit Gallery 2008

Melbourne dawling!  Home of the Collingwood Magpies, but donít tell anyone Iím a league girl at heart with my allegiances on the other side of the far north line despite their rough treatment of women.  Where would Australia be without its violent sports and much beloved alcohol?  Probably a lot artier and a lot more boring!

Australian sculpture can be so quirky dawling and when I was invited to The Toyota Headquarters in Port Melbourne I was skeptical.  Wonít the big corporate atmosphere dilute all the fun in the exhibition?  And certainly there was some amazing young talent around in their gorgeous suits that needless to say wanted to have nothing to do with an old hag like me, but alcohol mixed with experience is a potent aphrodisiac sweety.  Do people get laid at art openings?  If one knows how to finesse oneís cards, one can do well with even a short hand and The Lizard Queen did just fine on the night.

If there is one criticism with Cryptozoology it is that it is overwhelming!  There were sculptures in the foyer, sculptures in the hallways and sculptures in the park outside.  Sculptures everywhere dawling- all made from different materials and most intriguing.  There were lewd pieces and cute pieces and a catalogue to die for, but no road signs!  And it seemed like every road at the opening led back to the bar and bubbles!

Usually art presentations are appallingly dull and esoteric, but the atmosphere at Toyota was so appreciative-almost as if the party goers really liked art.  Darren McGinnís talk about buoys around Port Phillip Bay and Tasmania reminds one that Australia is not just a pretty face, but has a unique culture and you donít have to look very far to find it.

The opening featured a youthful choir that performed their rendition of John Lennonís song- Love.  The Lizard Queen confesses that she is no Beatles fan and that yes she is deep down a Stones girl.  Stray Cat Blues is still her most favourite and yes most hated Stones song, but this exhibition had very little of the edginess that often turns people away from art and turns critics onto it.  Most of the show was just engagingly beautiful objects and sounds.

My exhibition favourites were: Sam Andersonís weather vane shark, purported to be a bronze whaler and very nicely rendered. Shannon Bakerís mosaiced Toyota Corona- a real labour of love. Monica Finch and her lovely ceramic female fetish replica, which was sold under my nose when I went for more bubbles! Geoffrey Ricardoís wonderful painted copper elephants which lent atmosphere to the African musiciansí performances. The catalogue poster boy Vipoo Srivilasa and his wonderful ceramics.  And my personal favourite Natalie Ryanís taxidermy modeled replica of a black sheep that looked quite startling without any ears. (You must see this one!).

Thatís about it for me dawling!  Iím back home now, on a detox diet and might I say on the wagon trying to recover from all that good Victoria wine. Melbourne really is too much fun.

Fight to make War Unsexy

Theyíre trying to make war sexy in Australia.  Instead of legitimate roles like trying to maintain the peace in the immediate region, Australia is glorifying the brave diggers in Afghanistan and Iraq and is determined to expand its military in new exciting ways.  I donít like it.  I reckon Oz has no business playing in the Middle East and that eventually this dangerous game will probably have dire consequences here at home, but hopefully not in my lifetime.

You ex diggers- was war the greatest adventure of your life?  Was mateship and patriotism worth the youth that was stolen from you?  Do you at times feel empty about being exploited by politicians and those c#%@ s   that make the bombs and uniforms and feed off the misery of others?  Strike a blow against these vampires and help me make war unsexy again.

Since coming to this country 10 years ago, Iíve been dismayed by the energy expended remembering The Great War.  The war memorials that dot almost every village and the ghost trees marking the entryways are the stark reminders of the hellish event.  Lately, however, Iíve noticed that the tone is more nostalgic than remorseful, instead of the Great War being a travesty it was a great adventure and a defining moment for the Australian character.  And maybe the war wasnít such a bad thing after allÖ

Time is a great healer, but it is also the great clouder.  War memorials loose their memories with time.  Who were those people that died?  And why is that ugly obelisk there anyway?

People see the memorials, but they donít see them.   Theyíre there, but they are invisible.  The stark reminder of the horrors of war is ignored.

I think itís time to up date the Australian war memorials and make them relevant again.  Revisit the engraved names, find out who they were and write it out in longhand.  Make the memorial a place of contemplation and interaction where people go on a weekly or even daily basis instead of once a year.  And most of all, make the memorials visible, not just from the road, but for miles around.  Help me make war unsexy.  Email me to find out how.  kerry@cbreaksculpturepark.com.au
 

 The Importance of Narrative

by Kerry Cannon

            I consider myself a narrative artist opposed to a figurative artist.  Certainly figures are important in the art I create, but arenít the art itself but a conduit to tell stories.  A good story teller like a good poker player doesnít let on about his hand.  The story even in its final form may remain ambiguous leaving room for other interpretations than what the artist had in mind.  And many times these interpretations are more interesting than the original idea.

            A good example of what I strive towards is the Los Caprichos etchings by Goya.  They are inundated with Spanish folklore and superstition, yet hold a freshness and resonance that touches our world two hundred years after their creation.  The archaic puns in the series take on new meanings in the modern world and the chistes (jokes) are still funny.  Goyaís observations about human nature and the caprices of relationships are timeless.  There is a universality and immortality in the narratives of Los Caprichos.

            These are the most interesting times in human history.  The world seems to be on a rollercoaster ride that is moving too fast to take it all in.  What I observe are the unusual glances that appear for a moment before the thing goes careening around the next bend.  Are we all hell bent on destruction or are people just becoming ridiculously alarmist?  Are mass species extinctions and the green house effect really something to worry about?  What about war, religion and world trade?  A cursory flick through the television channels leaves me feeling mediocre and empty.  Is this the pinnacle of our civilization?  Well if this is the best we have to offer, itís not much.

            What is the roll of the artist in this cacophony of images- to produce art?  All those beautiful female nudes and still lifeís, landscapes-I have a lot of time for beauty.  Or maybe the artist should be an activist and chronicle the injustices and problems in the world and even offer up solutions.  And maybe these outcries will one day reach the rich and powerful and become a force for real change in the world-I have a lot of time for reformers.  Or, closer to my heart, the artist should be a biased observer who offers a point of view, but in the end leaves the art lover to make the last judgement call.  But why make distinctions; shouldnít all artists strive to take on all three rolls and more?  To do less would be to ignore the most interesting times in history and ultimately sell ourselves short.

            Itís calm in my studio in the bush.  Itís an open shed that offers little joy from the elements and nasty mosquito and fly bits, yet even with all the at times physical discomfort, something extraordinary happens there everyday.  I strive to marry literature and art.  Iím the biased observer playing with his wax dolls.  I line them up on the window sill and bend and shape them in an effort to recite my stories.  Quickly- before they melt!

The Lizard Queen Remembers

A cursory glance through the artist index of Art Almanac fails to find Mary Kiriakoudis.  Where has she gone?  Could it be that my random sample of the issues: April 2003, Oct 2007, Jan 2008, Feb 2008 and April 2008 was too small?  Maybe Mary married and changed her name or maybe she decided sculpture was just too hard and moved onward.  Or maybe I imagined...

            No dawling!  Out of my archival box emerges the Oct. 24, 2001 invitation to her exhibition Small Voices at Mira Fine Art Gallery, Melbourne.  The images on the invite and in the profile section of the Oct Art Almanac are sharp and professional.  Mira Fine Art has long since moved on and its artist-friendly Director, Yvonne Werner, also seems to have vanished into the ether.  Maybe the desertion of Wendy Stavrianos to Metro5 Gallery drove Ms Werner to despair or maybe Miraís Dec 2001 sculpture show, in3Door/out3Door, was the last straw (The show was a critical failure).  Sculpture was/is a dead end street and is often the bane of commercial galleries.

Mary Kiriakoudisí white resin sculptures were wonderfully well rendered and enigmatic.  I remember feeling a certain gruesomeness looking at her sculptures.  The children with their faces covered in cloth or pillows for heads reminded one of a dark place.  Yet, there is no threat implied in the artist statement-itís all about childhood, vulnerability etc.

Sculpture seldom intrigues me these days.  Exhibitions seem to be full of giant monkeys, geometric shapes and found objects often displayed in the same room.  While The Lizard Queen assents that it is all sculpture, she would be loath to call most of it fine art.  Yet, it is displayed as if it is all intrinsically valuable often with a beautiful bronze adjacent to abhorrent kitsch.

Small Voices was a situational display.  It wasnít quite sculpture and not quite installation.  The objects-toys, boots, clothing- through their groupings communicated the messages about the intent of the show.  Yet, individually the objects were strong enough to stand on their own!  Placement of the objects in space was painstakingly considered.  The look was fresh, but its simplicity belied the planning behind the crisp presentation.  This kind of sculpting is hard yakka.

So please dawling bring back the intelligence weíve lost in our sculptural evolution here in OZ.  Take away the kitschy cultural references onto which we cling.  Those things, Sweetie, that we feel make us culturally unique from the rest of the world.  Loose the bushrangers, the kangaroos and forget about the blasť obsession with the Australian landscape.  Our landscape is interesting, but certainly not unique.  Bring back intelligent sculpture-Mary Kiriakoudis come home!

The Lizard Queen travels to 11th Shanghai Art Fair

Dawling!  International travel broadens the mind and stimulates the senses and on Singapore Airlines even in economy one receives copious stimulation.  Whites and if one is so inclined reds.  Tiger too?  Well perhaps just the tip of the tail to celebrate an excursion into Asia!

Shanghai is a gorgeous city with new high-rises around every bend.  The export money from manufactured white goods is creating towers one can only dream of!  They emerge from the brown haze of smoke, traffic congestion and people.  People everywhere dawling!  Well dressed, fashionable and congenial people- Shanghai is the worldís ultimate, ultra modern, unbelievable city!

Philistines might say that the air in Shanghai stinks.  They might whinge about how they spent most of the day in gridlock and how no one speaks English etc.  Well I say-Get a life!  When in Rome do as the Romans do.  Head down to the Mansion Hotel in the French Concession and dip your chopsticks into some of that Shanghai Duck!

The art fair was ginormous!  It had the best of Chinese culture on display as well as galleries from all over the world.  There were traditional Tao paintings featuring the effervescent ying and the yang in cohort somewhere in the Sino- wilderness.  And large booths of calligraphy and not knowing my character alphabet-itís all Japanese to me dawling!-I was intrigued but not impressed.  The Chinese modern art, on the other hand, seems to be of high standard and interest.

There was a huge porcelain display on the first floor.  The Lizard Queen usually abhors the pretension of these shining, smiling figurines- probably from spending a portion of my youth in Jamaica where porcelain is revered as the pinnacle of good taste-but even I was impressed not perhaps by the objects but how they were arranged as a postiche of a Chinese Village.  It was charming.

The Australian posse included first generation immigrants from Bulgaria, England, United States, Iran and China.  One of the big draws was Steve who was showing paintings from Cuba, which the Chinese seemed to enjoy.  We really are a diverse group down under!  My personal favourite was Anna Glynn and her wonderful painting of a tree from an unusual perspective and Feng Tan whose technique is superb.  Oi! Oi! Oi!

The verdict, doll, is that there is something at The Fair for everybody and everybody was there from every walk in life in China.  Iíve never been to an event so well attended by such an appreciative audience.  One of the off shoots of communism is that everyone gets the same opportunity to enjoy art in all its manifestations and judging from the intrigued faces of the camera toting crowds the revolution was a roaring success.

The Lizard Queen visits the Black & White Exhibition in Inverell

After catting around Denver, Colorado I couldnít help but indulge myself with a trip to Victoria.  The first few days were wonderful dawling with that hint of spring in the air and clear open evenings, but the trip soon turned ghastly with the return of the inevitable Victorian winter.  How I pined for the warmth of northern New South Wales as I shivered in a freezing shed in the pursuit of an art story that failed to materialize.    Indeed the story never had a chance as I satiated my pining by deserting that frozen region and drove through the roo-laden night to meet the Spring.

Strange to say dawling, but I was only back for a morning before the travel urge again took hold and I continued the sojourn to Inverell.  Have you ever been to Inverell?  There are a lot of pedestrian crossings and roundabouts and Coles and Woolyís and The Inverell City Gallery.

The Black and White show with photographs by Frank Leitner and pencil drawings by Annabel Cleeve was a breath of fresh air after seeing much non-traditional art over the last year.  You forget sometimes the work and skill involved in drawing and photography if youíre distracted by the latest thing passing for art these days.  This was a well put together effort for both artists with perhaps a few too many drawings and a few too few photos.

Frank Leitnerís photos were rich landscapes and some wonderful Sydney scenes.  Animals were prominent in a lot of photos usually dogs interacting with humans.  The Lizard Queen was a bit confused as to why there were no editions in this show and due to her Victorian detour had missed the opening and the opportunity of purchasing the crŤme of the unique photos.

I did manage to purchase two rather good compositions including a boy looking at two poodles and a dog marching with the flag in his mouth in an Anzac Parade with the old Diggers in the background.  Patriotic?  Pretentious?   Stunning composition and technique-Frank Leitner is a master of black and white.

The former Annabel Jeffrey of Tenterfield and now Annabel Cleeve of Texas has been practicing fine art since yonks.  She has a wonderful touch and always uses a very sharp pencil.  Her drawings of leaves and larger works of flowers were quite well rendered and presented.  There was a lot of effort and time put into these works and work is the appropriate description - there is nothing easy here.

The Lizard Queen makes no apologies when she says that these works by Annabel were not her thing.  The Queen can still appreciate the subtleties in Annabelís line.  One delicate drawing of a moth especially caught my eye and the good news is that itís still for sale Dawling.   Black and White runs through September.

The Lizard Queen Visits Denver

             Denver on the 4th of July, American Independence Day.  It is a pleasant 38 degrees- the perfect weather for indulgement in a present art venue and a future one.  You see the Feb 2007 issue of Art and America caught my eye Dawling!

The new wing of the Denver Art Museum is quite OK.  It juts out in interesting angles and is connected by a covered walkway across the street to the older parts of the museum.  What was it like inside?  Well it had large spaces and large spaces to get to those spaces.  I seem to recall a lot of metal and glass.

The display halls were well lit with a surprisingly good contemporary art show of mostly cutting edge Japanese and Chinese artists.  The busty Manga heroines were well represented in lavish bright colour.  Delicious

Although, it seemed that the locals preferred to frequent the western art display, which although was very good, was western art.  Might I say that it reminded me of all those dreary landscapes of the Australian bush and the colonial painting that seem to overly adorn our national galleries in Australia.  The locals also seemed to enjoy a display of baseball paraphernalia.

There was also another contemporary display on the top floor with a nice local, international and primitive flair including African and Oceania objects.  A recent bronze by Kiki Smith a nude woman with a wolf that I believe was displayed at the 2006 Venice Biennale was OK. 

The Lizard Queen was ready to strut across to the other side of the museum, but unfortunately my ride had to go kayaking.  I reckon I had enough, but more is always nice.

The new Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver has well and truly broken ground Dawling and is due for completion in October.  I donned pink hard hat with my kayaking driver and our guide Tony for the tour of the new 16 million USD facility.  The facility will have six galleries each dedicated to: photography, installation, an artist in residence, large works, works on paper and a childrenís display.

Tony expects to have about 22 shows per year with the first artist in residence a Maori who will build a traditional long house.   I believe he said the gallery is already booked for years in advance.  I made a couple of comments about how many Kiwis will fit in an All Blacks jersey that seemed to go well and truly over Tonyís head.

We were debriefed about the tour by the MCA Denver Executive Director Cydney Payton and Tony.  The Lizard Queen is not used to this royal treatment, but somehow deep inside it felt like it was entirely appropriate.  Good luck in October!

    The Lizard Queen travels to:

The Gold Coast to the Swell Sculpture Festival 06

Itís always an adventure visiting The Gold Coast with its sordid motels that are being superseded by higher priced tourist apartments.  An end of an era or just another tacky change?  Some might argue(The Lizard Queen included) that The Gold Coast has been a disaster for years-from the creepy backpacker disco excursions to the constant traffic exacerbated by the 24 hour road works.  Why then are the people so friendly?  It defies logic.

Iím drawn to the slimy underbelly of the venues I choose for my art critics, not to imbibe some universal wisdom, but because Iím a cheap bitch.  Waiting a half hour with the rest of the ghouls to chew into that $5 breakfast at the Southport Workers Club only to find the ďspecialĒ was only for the weekends.   The ghouls sipping their suds at 9:00AM while the bitch that she is goes off in a huff preferring to fast until late afternoon than to pay an additional $2 for the same breakfast.

The Swell Sculpture Festival was impressive.  Held on Currumbin Beach, just north of where the old Gold Coast Highway meets the M1.  Traffic, traffic...personally I prefer the wild where I can stretch out my thighs. The highlight was Richard Moffattís sculpture ď392Ē.  Itís 9.7 meters tall made out of recycled steel.  Well engineered, it hardly wavered in the strong gales on the beach.  Itís hard to describe, but it was like a meandering string with a ball on the top-fantastic!

Another gem of a piece and the most expensive thing in the show was ďRadianĒ by Jan Kelder.  He used a wonderful combination of metals and materials; the sculpture was very refined and nicely finished.  ďFragmentationĒ by Scott Charles used steel and glass in a unique position on the beach point.  Scottís use of space between his objects really accentuated his designs.

The international artists from the UK, New Zealand and USA made nice contributions with Nick Horriganís ďPerpetual WaveĒ my favourite.  Itís a beautiful wave-shaped object made out of marine ply and inlayed with glass.

ďPull the PlugĒ by Cezary Stulgis, a giant steel bathplug added a bit of humour to an otherwise dry beach.  The pick of the figurative sculpture was a piece by Frederic Berjot much better than his entries to the 2005 Jupiter Prize and The Thursday Plantation Prize in my opinion.  His veiled women were tall and shapely with a nice sandy texture.

All in all Swell 06 was a good variety of sculpture from figurative to conceptual from fine arts to kitsch and well worth a visit.

I shall end my first critic with a report on the opening at the Currumbin RSL.  Bringing on the Ritz seems like a contradiction at an RSL, but after slurping down a half dozen oysters and champagne wellÖGold Coast people are so well groomed and attractive in their casual but chic outfits.  The queen fit right in, but could only take so much love before she had to drift down to join the riff raff below the party room.  In the dungeons the large beery punters punched their pokies over the roar of sports TV.  The daguerreotypes of diggers in their metals, the sign-in ritual at the front desk-the RSL is The Gold Coast is Sydney is Ballina is Australia.

 The Lizard Queen goes to The Masquerade Art Expo April 1, 2007

Itís been so long since weíve had a chat darling!  Iíve been engaged at my country estate pining for The Gold Coast so off I go.  Ah the pretensions!  The gigantic high-rises, the traffic noise, the seedy hotels and vibration.  There is nothing like it for a country girl looking for that little something...

Trade shows are weird.  Those poor vendors stacked to chokers trying to sell what is in many cases not worthy.  No one likes to make eye contact at these events which makes it difficult when youíre trying to ascertain art.

Usually the Lizard Queen abhors these art meat markets where the best on offer camps beside lowly quiche, but after a dozen oysters and a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc I was down right randy for a bit of fun. 

Most of the artists were masquerading in costumes and although stacked together like fishy-deans seemed to be enjoying themselves.  There was tribal drumming and dancing, but the part I liked the best was the full body painting.

Iím a big fan of nude bodies both male and female and with the paint...well, what can I say, I was enjoying myself.  I like watching the brush as it pigments those forbidden places, colouring around and aroundÖ

 I donít know what to tell you about the art dawling, except that it seemed good and there was a lot of it.  And yes- there were more artists than punters which was fine with me as it gave me more room to perv.

Ceramic Break has apologised in the past for the views of The Lizard Queen, but refuses to sink to that level anymore.  Read on as the wench from the west continues her tour of parts east.

The Lizard Queen goes to The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial Brisbane

Iíve had a lovely ride up the revamped M1 to Brisbane with continued wonderment at the mythical Logan Regional Art Gallery located somewhere in the city of Logan, but having no directions off the fabulous M1.  Does it really exist?  The Lizard Queen finds it very unlikely, especially on a Monday.

The Triennial is one of those displays that puts most other exhibitions in Australia to shame.  It is deeply political with a display of deformed smiling children, the result of chemical experimentation by multinational chemical companies (logos included!) during the Vietnam War.  It is humorous with film clips of Jackie Chansí best stunts.  Beauty and engaging themes around the region are given ample space to tell their tales in the lavish new Gallery of Modern Art.  

Indeed, the new gallery has outstanding lighting and ample natural light. Views of the Brisbane River are superb from both levels and there is a bright watering hole and gift shop.

The emphasis of this exhibition for me seemed to be works from China, Vietnam and Japan, although the whole region is well represented.  I feel a pride of place as the Australian entries seem to complement our creative neighbours.  Iím still licking my lizard chops at the wonderful variety of cinema, installation, sculpture, drawing and painting.  Weíre a clever lot arenít we? 

Be sure to allow at least three hours to do the exhibition justice. Thereís plenty of displays for children, where one can ditch them and go have oneís own fun.  Also, try to coordinate a movie from the Triennial Asian film festival into your program.

As I left the exhibition, I was attracted by a small crowd around whom else, but Peter Beatty, the Premier of Queensland.  He is somewhat smaller than I thought, but quite sharp and engaging.  Where but Australia can you go down the street and see those from television land?  We have a lot to be proud of.

The Lizard Queen visits Tamworth Regional Gallery

Itís been awhile since I was in Tamworth dawling and the new gallery is a gem.  It was hard to find being located on the second level of the library and the signage wasnít the best, but once inside these minor distractions were lost in a lot of space.  The gallery is big with a welcome desk and gift shop the first thing you see.

There was a marvellous display of prints from the art gallery of New South Wales.  Donít ask me who they were by, I was too busy drinking champagne and flirting with the local talent.  I remember a nice hippopotamus and a Noahís Ark that caught my eye, but perhaps the problem was that the gallery was totally chokers with prints.  Too many prints perhaps for the space?  I am indeed a bitch.

In the side space, the friends of the gallery had a miniature display of over 270 works by local artists.  And why shouldnít regional galleries display regional works if the standard is high?  Donít local artists have a right to see their works displayed in a million dollar space?  The show was very well received by the local fans of fine art and the drinks were very welcomed by me.

I had the pleasure of mingling with some of the members of Gamilart, a Tamworth coop of indigenous and nonindigenous artists.  Some members were having their first show in that beautiful space.  What a wonderful start to an art career.

The Lizard Queen visits the Cadaver Display in Sydney

I have a thing for human bodies and The Amazing Human Body exhibition had dead ones of all sorts, but perhaps more an abundance of Chinese midgets than anything else.  It was definitely not for the squeamish and my grand daughter and I spent a pleasant afternoon looking at the afterlife.  After a while it gets to you, how could it not?  And I know the plasticine injected into the cadavers is supposed to prevent purification, but did I detect a faint odour or was it my own uncomfortable odour?

            It is fascinating to see bodies sawn in little sections both longitudinally and laterally, displays of nervous systems, digestive systems, artificial hips, knees and spine supports, skeletal displays, skulls and lips.  But the modelled look so unhappy sawn in two longitudinally taking a ski jump with all the ski gear on.  And the flayed Asian on the bicycle forever riding in a nonexistent race and the little Asian woman staring into space forever embarrassed as everyone stares at it all- is it anatomy, is it art or is it perversion?

            We took a break for drinks and my granddaughter said she had seen Doctor Gunther, the creator of the plasticine method, late at night performing autopsies.  She commented how sharp his knife was and how he never slipped even when it was covered with corruption (my words). The doctor wears a black hat reminiscent of another Doctor (Duvalier) as he chats in his jolly Bavarian accent while he cuts his meat.  Is it too much for a 9 year old?  They do grow up fast these days.

            I was a bit skeptical about the black-hatted doctor with the nimble knife, but the next evening there he was!  He was cleaning the large intestine of all its faecal material and yes it did stink clear through my TV.  Unperturbed, weeks later in a fit of insomnia, I again joined the good doctor as he castrated and then sliced a testicle longitudinally into parallel bits with a speed any Ginzu Master would be proud of.  My next fortnight was spent in delirium within fits of nightmares.

            Is it worth seeing?  Definitely.

Should I take the whole family?  Why not, they have to grow up sometime.

Do the cadavers really stink?

Why does he wear that black hat?

 

 Archive

The Lizard Queen Visits Art Walk in Denver 2008
Crypotzoology at the Toyota Community Spirit Gallery 2008
 Fight to make War Unsexy
The Importance of Narrative
The Lizard Queen Remembers
The Lizard Queen travels to 11th Shanghai Art Fair
The Lizard Queen visits the Black & White Exhibition in Inverell
The Lizard Queen Visits Denver
The Gold Coast to the Swell Sculpture Festival 06
T
he Lizard Queen goes to The Masquerade Art Expo April 1, 2007
The Lizard Queen goes to The 5
th Asia-Pacific Triennial Brisbane
The Lizard Queen visits Tamworth Regional Gallery 
The Lizard Queen visits the Cadaver Display in Sydney 

Crypotzoology at the Toyota Community Spirit Gallery 2008
 

 CV of Kerry Canon

kerry@cbreaksculpturepark.com.au
Ceramic Break Sculpture Park © 2005