THE Lock-Up’s current exhibition until September 17 is a coup, the first site for a state-wide tour of Relay League, the most recent project by Angelica Mesiti. This widely exhibited artist works in video, documenting and embellishing specially commissioned performances in which sound, dance and politically charged environment play central roles.
For the present three-part work, the first segment is the mesmerising rhythms of virtuoso drumming, rooted in the dots and dashes of now obsolete Morse code. Means of non-verbal communication inform the second work in which an inert blind brother is physically manipulated into dance poses by his animated sister. This touching duet is opened up in the final segment to include a passionate male dancer moving to the distant drumming, sometimes mirrored in the dance studio, while enveloped by a panoramic bird’s-eye view of urban sprawl. This is Paris, where the Sydney-trained artist now lives.
Communication on a human level involves a form of translation. It becomes a global issue, with similar works by Mesiti shown from Berlin and London to Tokyo and Sao Paulo.
The Lock-Up underlines the importance of the exhibition by reconfiguring its spaces with a labyrinth of silken screens leading in to the three videos.
OLIVIA Parsonage’s charming exhibition at Gallery 139 has two dozen small fabric pictures on paper exploring the human condition with wit and whimsy. There are cold and grumpy morning walkers, bathers submerged in a forest pool, earnest conversations between red and fawn personages and various forms of unstable transport, all featuring animated embroidered faces.
Of course, charm is only the tip of the iceberg. Olivia Parsonage is vastly skilled at creating fabric collage, often using the most unpromising materials to dramatic effect. Somehow she manipulates the sewing machine to work on a minute scale. Somehow she is able to keep the work flat and the edges crisp.
It is good news that this self-effacing artist is now part of the Gallery 139 stable, which has the means to promote and exhibit its artists well beyond Newcastle.
Newcastle Art Space
THE new home of Newcastle Art Space is not actually inside the Tighes Hill TAFE complex. Building O fronts onto Chinchen Street, Islington, backing on to the main campus. There are pennants and visitor parking.
At the moment, the transformation of the plastering workshop into an arts centre is a work in progress, creating many individual studios for the artist tenants, many of them new to the centre. Some former occupants have found studio spaces elsewhere in the many months since the Parry Street location closed its doors. Among the present artists there is a wide mix of subject areas. The official opening is not until October.
The new building already had a suitable space for a photographic studio and appropriately photomedia is the first exhibition in the rather narrow area on the car park side of the building, with a tiny red door about halfway down.
Joerg Lehmann has had work in many NAS shows. His black and white studies of nubile young women are also studies in tone, light and sophisticated composition.
Another moonlighting academic, Stuart Marlin, seeks out buildings worldwide for soaring geometrical surprises, but he also has an eye for the surreal. We find here a vista of an elaborate 19th-century museum hall lined with prehistoric skeletons as well as a tree-filled hulk in Sydney Harbour.
Nerissa Lowe, the third exhibitor, comes from a design background. While her manipulated photomedia appear in various contexts, the works on view here celebrate the extraordinary elemental landscape of Norway, the colourful buildings and the vertiginous rocky peaks. Closes tomorrow.
OPENING tomorrow at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery is the next of Curator Meryl Ryan’s thematic visual essays.
Her subject on this occasion is the Book, explored by a distinguished line-up of artists. Lezlie Tilley’s latest work with augmented text incorporates a musical dimension. Rarely does an artist go on to explore the possibilities inherent in a body of work, taking it into a totally new dimension.
In last week’s column Christine Ross’s image of Mt Fuji was tipped on its side. Apologies.