Contemporary Showcase 10

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

18 February - 16 May 2014

Review by Shelley Vincent

When you look at a work of art you are seeing the result of the passage of time. The hours spent creating the layers, finely drafting a shape or evoking an atmosphere. The hours spent producing a printing plate and then the instant that the successful print is finally revealed. The time taken to visit places both physically and metaphorically. The hours spent working on a piece and the moment when you realise that it is finished. Then further hours as you wonder, "Am I sure? Is it really finished?" The hours spent discovering a title and the moment when you know you have the right one. The hours spent looking and thinking and dreaming. The instant when a little fresh jot of inspiration arrives. Artists are often asked how long a piece took to create. The answer is, "Hours and instants". And the Contemporary Showcase 10 exhibition at Decoy Cafe is a good example of the result of many hours and instants.


Gauzian Knot, acrylic, 51 x 204 cm, by Heather King

The time it took to make the many ellipses in Heather King's Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and Gauzian Knot. The cumulative effect of many brushstrokes that are placed in a jiffy but build up into hours, such as Seeing the Unseen and Nexus by Rosemary Mangiamele. The time to develop the rich creamy texture of Delatite and Near Yark by Peter Wendt. The time to form the fine details in Betty Collier's print and ink drawing works (Frogs Out on a Limb and Sitting Frogs), and Nili Palti's pieces on vivid pink rice paper (Under the Umbrella and Hands). And the time to create an intaglio etching such as the delicate nude in Eve by Deidre Edwards.


Sitting Frogs, print & ink drawing on cotton rag, 1/10, 60 x 65 cm, by Betty Collier

Eve, intaglio etching 1/6, 40 x 38 cm, by Deirdre Edwards


There are also the hours that form a lifetime that it takes for symbols and meanings to become apparent to the artist. This may be the case with the symbolism of the bunch of grapes in Mandy Hopkins' Stem Cells and the shapes in Anna Wilson's Conception.


Stem Cells, acrylic & oil on canvas, 106 x 90 cm, by Mandy Hopkins

Some works capture a moment of time, such as the passing expression on the person's face in Wounded Spirit by Neda Starac. Spanish Dancers by Sarah Friedman captures the swirl of a full skirt during a dance, while her Spanish Dancer depicts a dramatic pause during a performance.


Wounded Spirit, oils, 39 x 31 cm, by Neda Starac

Then there are those works that look to the future. In The Canopy - Heat Rising, by Deirdre Edwards, the deep orange glow under the black trees predicts another hot day. In Ian Banksmith's The Spill, the stencilled outlines of a table setting are interrupted by a splash of something spilt. In a flash the niceties are gone; there is a gasp, embarrassment and a general groping for something to wipe it up with.


The Spill, enamel on canvas, 79 x 125 cm, by Ian Banksmith

All the works in this exhibition have taken the artists much time to create them. Take some time to see them.

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