Biggie Smalls

Art Life , Exhibitions May 25, 2015 No Comments

From Stella Rosa McDonald

In 1997 an unknown assailant killed Notorious B.I.G in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The rapper, otherwise known as Biggie Smalls, was noted for his relaxed style, dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and his storytelling abilities. Notorious B.I.G was OG, considered by some to be the greatest rapper of all time and by others as the eighth Wonder of the World. Without the tyranny of a press release we can’t be sure if the Casula Powerhouse show of the same name has anything to do with Biggie, but in keeping with the irreverent mood of the show let’s imagine that the exhibition subtly pursues similar narrative paths.

Biggie smalls_Louise Zhang

With a nod to the kitsch and handmade the group show features artists who appropriate craft practices such as Marc Etherington, Lynda Draper and Paul Williams. As in the discography of Biggie Smalls autobiographical and social commentary prevails. Made in the style of a decorative ceramic figurine, Chris Dolman’s Balancing Act (2015) is an impossible portrait of the one-handed artist juggling plates, Josie Cavallaro’s idiosyncratic work Texting Pigeons (2010)featuring a series of pigeon thumb puppets whose heads bob when worn while texting—looks at shared social choreographies. Kevin Platt’s Nostalgia for the Never Known (2008 -2009) documents the single journey that the artist took in a pine boat made in the traditional style. The boat sits in the space next to a video documentation of the journey. In a gesture that seems to exalt the act of making-by-hand the artist stresses that this will be the vessels only voyage. Works by Rosie Deacon and Tarik Ahlip span the spectrum of subtlety to suggest novel and fictional landscapes. Deacon’s Technicolor installation Kiss Me Koala Superbabes (with Minibabes) (2015) features a human-scale Koala made from fun-foam and paper mâché while Ahlip’s elegant Western Ward series (2015), made from plaster and lightweight concrete, hints at an abstract or potential architecture known only to the artist. Biggie would have approved.

Until July 5th
Casula Powerhouse, Casula
Pic: Louise Zhang, Pamela (New and Improved) (2013), expanding foam, plaster, enamel, resin, courtesy the artist and Casula Powerhouse.

Stella Rosa McDonald

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