From Sharne Wolff…
Superb mimic, top firefighter and star of our silver ten-cent piece, the Australian lyrebird features in Martin King’s Dawn Survey #3. With over 40 solo shows under his belt, King’s work has often drawn inspiration from native birds. The hero image for this show, Green Mist Black retouched adapts a valuable mid-20th century postage stamp. Here, the artist’s interventions result in lyrebird becoming ‘liarbird’ as postage turns ‘Hostage’ and small skulls mysteriously appear at either end of the bird’s lyre-shaped tail. Other large drawings (comprised of graphite, watercolour and wax on drafting film) and relief etchings highlight the elegant fan display of the bird’s tail feathers – setting the record straight on the tail’s true shape. Despite the beauty of King’s subjects, an unsettling atmosphere lingers as the skulls – alluding to death and mortality –show up in every picture.
By contrast, Jan King’s exhibition of New Works opens with two bright yellow sculptures entitled Frolic and Carilion. Constructed from an abstract arrangement of unyielding steel rods and ribbons these spirited, lyrical works defy the material from which they’re made. In other small abstract sculptures and relief works composed of dark waxed steel, the medium and (what must be) a demanding manufacture are again eclipsed by the malleable appearance of bent steel bands that wrap over and around the works like shiny strips of leather. Variously referencing “aspects of architecture, calligraphy and the conventions of baroque painting” King’s sculptures involve the viewer in all their twists and turns.
Until August 22
King Street Gallery on William, Darlinghurst
Pic: Jan King, Trommel 2015, waxed steel, 30.5x37x15.5cm. Courtesy the artist and King Street Gallery.