In her debut column as The Art Life’s bi-weekly art critic Wendy Meares visits Gallery Barry Keldoulis’s gallery and Sally Breen’s Breenspace gallery…
Eric had been complaining that when I go to galleries I never take him along. When I told him that I’d love him to come too, he unexpectedly said yes, ok, let’s go, and grabbed the keys to the 4WD. As we drove to Barry Keldoulis’s lovely gallery it occurred to me that his only reason for wanting to come was probably for a side trip to Fratelli Fresh. He loves the cakes there. I said darling, Barry’s moved down the road, and besides you don’t need to pack on any more weight. He became quite cross. Words were spoken. But after I relented and said we’d pop in for a latte and pana cotta he calmed down.
Sean Cordeiro and Clare Healy, T+85_red&blue, 2010.
LEGO,112 x 143 cm. Courtesy the artists and Gallery Barry Keldoulis.
I’d been quite looking forward to the new show by Sean Cordeiro and Clare Healy not just because they’re good artists but also because they’re such a lovely couple. We met them once at the College of Fine Arts and they were both wearing matching flat caps, which was very sweet, and Sean was very helpful to my son Roger who at that time was just thinking of going to art school. I’d also seen their big work at the Venice Biennale last time when we went over on a Friends of the MCA trip. They’d exhibited a very large plastic cube of video tapes that apparently would take as long to watch as it does to actually live. They’d decided that instead of wasting all that time they’d make the tapes into a sculpture which solves the storage problem that Eric has with all his video tapes. You should see them all in the garage – there must be 100 tapes of just the Comedy Company, let alone all those episodes of Hey Hey – which he never watches.
I must confess to always being a little bit nervous at Gallery Barry Keldoulis as I have to stop myself from calling Barry “Ballery”. Anyway, if you’re expecting to walk into GBK to see more clever storage solutions you’d better think again because Sean and Claire seem to have run out of old junk to show in an art gallery. Now they have a child they have made a lot of wall works using Lego. They have made images of the space shuttle Challenger exploding and it’s very colourful. Barry gave us both a mineral water and explained that the title of the show Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why was to be the title of a lesson a poor school teacher on board was to give but unfortunately she was blown up before she could ever give it. I know Roger hated sitting through lessons so I’m sure that certain children might have been very happy their school teacher got blown to bits, but I just kept thinking – how awful.
One thing you can say about Barry Keldoulis is that he’s a genial host and when Eric became very obviously bored he offered to take him round the back and show him some interesting video art. After they scampered off I had a closer look at the big works and marvelled at how much time the artists had spent and how many packets of Lego it took to make – and Lego is not cheap, not now with all the computers and whatnot. I suppose if they don’t sell the works they can always recycle the bits and bobs and let their child play with them but, as always, remember: choking hazard.
Eric reappeared saying that he’d seen a video work with a lot of words going around in a circle and it had reminded him of an advertisement for Panadol. We were about to get back in the car when I remembered that Breenspace is right next door and since it was open we ought to take a quick look. Inside was a stunning work by Nike Savvas, who Eric said he thought must be related to the shoe people. He’s quite funny sometimes even when he’s not trying to be.
Ms. Savvas has done an appealing sculpture work with lots of coloured string that keeps the eye moving, something I remember as being quite important from my days at NAS, and some smaller geometric pieces. We weren’t certain we were supposed to walk around inside the sculpture so we just stood there admiring it. There were no gallery people around and it was very quiet. I could see Eric wanted his dessert so we quickly left. Unfortunately by the time we got to Danks Street and parked Fratelli Fresh was already closed. I don’t need to tell you what happened next.