|Still from 'The Other North' RMIT. Photo: Julie Clarke 2016|
Thursday, September 29, 2016
John Olsen, Jesse Jones, St Patrick's Cathedral
I've spent the past week or so contending with inflammation of major tendons in both feet, which left them with a burning sensation. The doctor couldn't tell me why this has happened, but it may be due to the fact that I undertake so much walking. I've weeded, swept up seeds and been Spring cleaning after a fashion. Thank goodness for art.
You've got to love John Olsen's expressive, colorful, kinetic, large-scale paintings. I was mesmerised when I saw the 'You Beaut Country', a major retrospective of his work on the ground level at NGV, Federation Square on the weekend. Although I appreciated all the works on show I was particularly drawn to two paintings that seemed to defy his style, namely a fish head that appeared to emerge from dark, murky waters, and a shower head positioned over a large old fashioned bath with decorative legs abandoned on red earth. I spent about 45 minutes sitting in front of his works and at one stage I attempted to plot the trajectory of the many lines that traverse each canvas. It turned out to be an impossible task.
This afternoon I was just as enamoured with Jessie Jones 'The Other North' video installation that forms part of the Radical Actions exhibition now showing at RMIT Gallery (and on show until 22 October). It was unnerving, but fascinating to see and hear the words of North Korean actors who were re-enacting scenes from a conflict resolution session in the 1970s, which addressed conflict in Northern Ireland. More engaging was watching their different facial expressions and body language, which exhibited evidence of boredom (one woman plays with her hair and looks at her nails, frustration (another takes a cigarette and smokes it), indifference as well as engagement.
Earlier today I met up with Leonie and we took a long, slow walk through St. Patrick's Cathedral. The excursion was less to do with religion and more an appreciation of the light flowing through the golden leadlight windows, the exquisite gold-leaf adorned paintings and the peacefullnness that's engendered just by being inside such a beautiful place. We walked quietly past a few people who were clustered together in the front seats, however as we passed we discovered they were not praying or engaging in quite solitude, their were heads down and they were engrossed in their mobile phones, which seemed to match the fact that the only other people in the church were Asian tourists taking selfies.The wind was fresh outside and the hot soup for lunch was welcome. Vicky, if you are reading this it was lovely to pump into you today. Please do contact me for that well overdue coffee catchup.