Contemporary Showcase I

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

3 May - 24 June 2011

Our first Contemporary Showcase of CAS Inc. members' works consisted of 25 works, mostly from our recent exhibition, Contemporary By Nature, which was part of the annual Herring Island Summer Arts Festival 2011 in February - March. Most of the works followed natural themes: landscapes, forests, bodies of water, creatures, light and weather effects.


Many of the larger works graced the spacious walls of Decoy's elegant upstairs dining room. These included two oil paintings - Paul Emons' colourful abstract Chicken and John Kodric's surreal Dinner For Two - and Mandy Hopkins' acrylic and mixed media work, Land & Sea, Beauty & Terror, a striking work which looked to me like an aerial view of water striking land. It could have been a tidal wave, a storm, or a tsunami, a powerful work depicting an unstoppable force of nature.

One of the many nice things about Decoy is the choice of dining areas, from cosy, intimate spaces downstairs, to spacious areas for small to large groups upstairs. The restaurant's large clientele use all of these areas.

The mostly small to medium sized works, such as Shelley Vincent's small abstract works in acrylics on paper on canvas, looked good on the downstairs walls. Into the Light looked like it could be the growth of plant shoots, having burst from the earth and reaching into air and light. Curled in the Sun, with its pleasing textural blue and gold forms, could have been plant or creature.


Also downstairs was Robyn Shannon's oil on canvas, In the Shade. It depicted a scene straight from Herring Island: a girl standing in the shade of trees and shrubs, looking at one of the island's permanent sculptures. Although just one corner of the sculpture was visible, it was easily recognisable as Ellen José's Tanderrum.

In the area next to Robyn's work, sits Decoy's coffee grinder. They specialise in freshly ground coffees from all over the world. Many thanks Decoy owners Bill and Chris, for hanging this enjoyable show, and for making great coffee!

Review by Cressida Fox

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