Contemporary Showcase 9

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

12 November 2013 - 14 February 2014

Review by Shelley Vincent

 At this show there is plenty to see so I’ve decided to provide you with a plan of attack.

Step 1: Say “Hi” to Mates, by Dawn Cole, just inside the door to the cafe. These two friends are brought to life with bright and pale lines on a black background. They look like they are going out for a walk – perhaps to get a coffee.


Mates, mixed media, 89 x 68 cm, by Dawn Cole

Step 2: While you are on the ground floor you can have a look at two digital prints by Ray Farrugia. St Kilda Dreams has something about it that makes me think of Peter Pan (stay with me). It shows another world that we could fly to if only we had a pinch of fairy dust. As Far as the Eye Can See is also interesting. The serried ranks of weathered wooden stumps seem to be forgotten sentinels waiting through dark nights and stormy seas for someone to remember that they once were trees. They glow faintly in their myriad greys at twilight.


As Far as the Eye Can See, original digital print, 80 x 61 cm, by Ray Farrugia

Step 3: Have a browse around the other pieces on the ground floor and see what else catches your eye. There are works hung at various levels so remember to look above the door to the kitchen to see Tulips - the black and white linocut by Karen Foley. And above the kitchen hatchway is The Ibis Nest by Celia Gant which may remind you of dyed cloth that has had lines of wax resist drawn on it.


Tulips, linocut on archival paper, 68 x 50 cm, by Karen Foley

Step 4: Make your way up the stairs pausing to admire the various pieces there. Beware of the masked woman in Neda Starac’s Cat Woman. Is she trying to seduce you or scare you off? Which would you prefer?


Cat Woman, oil, 39 x 31 cm, by Neda Starac

Step 5: Now you are on the second floor where you can wonder at the layered calligraphic marks in works by Rosemary Mangiamele – White Line Wanderings and The Transformation of Silence.

Step 6: Say “Hi” to Dawn Cole’s Mystical Sea Dragon. The richly rendered creature floats serenely in space. Make a wish – it might be granted.

Step 7: As it is usually less busy on the second floor you can spend some time contemplating Peter Wendt’s Flinders Ranges and Bonnie Doon. Each is a wonderful conglomeration of textures, marks and colours that resolve into an abstract landscape. They are landscapes that you could explore for days.


Bonnie Doon, acrylic & oil stick on canvas, 110 x 100 cm, by Peter Wendt

Step 8: But you don’t have days to mooch around in a cafe and there are plenty of other works to see. There is a lot of scenery on these walls – both the literal landscapes and the topography of the mind.


Upstairs view, Decoy Café Bar Gallery

Step 9: Find a table where you can view your favourite piece(s) and order steaming beverage of your choice. Sip and dream a while.

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