Contemporary Showcase IV

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

21 February - 13 April 2012

The 27 works by 16 CAS Members looked great on the walls of Decoy: paintings, etchings, drawings and mixed media. Many were on natural themes, such as landscapes, bodies of water, seasons and weather effects. Others took on more human elements: figures, buildings, dwellings. John Gambardella's striking oil and acrylic, Late Sunset - City Bound (West Gate Bridge), was a combination of these themes – a man-man structure against a background of fading daylight. The bridge stood out in stark black, against a prysmatic display of light, in deep blues to warm oranges.

Mary-Lin Litchfield's small oil on linen, Shadow River, showed a different approach. A mysterious, gossamer-like ribbon floated above the swirling waters and dark banks. Very different again, and also mysterious, was By the Rivers of Babylon, an acrylic on canvas, by Pam Karouni. She had tilted the scene on an angle, and limited her palette to black, white and blue-grey, to create dramatic effects of light and dark, and balance / imbalance. The black forms rising skyward could have been remnants of vegetation or buildings.

Carmel Ritchie's two acrylics, Shadows and Water Poppies, were more calm and serene, the canvases entirely filled with pond waters and aquatic plants, with bright red flashes of goldfish. Deirdre Edwards incorporated female forms in her two etchings, as did Neda Starac in her small mixed media works on canvas. Neither animal or vegetable was Farimah Eshraghi's, Abstract in Red and Blue, a collage, painted and drizzled in acrylics, beautifully coloured. The materials she had used included a cardboard fruit holder, to create a surface of rounded forms.

I could go on, but space does not permit! I enjoyed this exhibition, as did the many patrons of Decoy as they sat at their breakfasts or waited for coffee. The proprietors and staff enjoyed it too!

Reviewed by Cressida Fox

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