There are a lot of galleries out there, yet it never seems like there’s enough. We imagine that if you took all of Melbourne’s galleries and artist run spaces and moved them to Sydney, that would be about the right number. You could put Gertrude Street and ACCA in Paddington and Tolarno and Anna Schwartz Gallery in Surry Hills and then take First Floor and Flinders Lane and put ‘em in Bondi Junction and sprinkle all the rest around Darlinghurst and this town would really be happening.
Until that day when the Australian art world comes together in a sun drenched utopia, we have a new gallery to contend with in Paddington called Sullivan + Strumpf Fine Art, a new contemporary space with a start up stable of seven artists. The gallery’s opening group show brought together Alasdair Macintyre, Sydney Ball, Darren Sylvester, Sherry Knipe, VR Morrison, Emily Portman and Elena Vlassova. Macintyre has the first solo show for the gallery opening on March 29 called Infiltration and let us be the first to say about his work – Ricky Swallow, Ricky Swallow, Ricky Swallow. Now that that’s done with, you might like to consider Macintyre’s own obsessions with models and sci-fi figurines in art world situations – Cylons from Battlestar Gallactica breaking down a wall to get into an art museum or some storm troopers from Return of The Jedi in a drawing class. Or not. It’s up to you.
Sylvester joins the gallery after his stint with Boutwell Draper, a gallery becoming famous for the artists who have left it rather than the ones who have stayed. With Sylvester selling a reported nine prints of his sooky girl photos from the opening show at S+SFA, Boutwell Draper may end up as pissed off as they were over the departure of Shaun Galdwell to Shermans. Sydney Ball needs no introduction, but his latest work is simply staggering, while Knipe does carved pine objects and VR Morrison paints in a hyper realist style a bit like Anne Wallace, only better. Portman works in a familiar moderne photo style using young girls, but is way better than most, and Vlassova, another photographer, makes Australia look like Finland. The gallery is also doing a nice line in secondary market resale with pieces by Matt Calvert, Anne Wallace, Melinda Harper, Stephen Bush and Julie Dowling.