Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jackson Slattery

Currently living and working in Montreal, Jackson Slattery held his second solo exhibition at Sutton Gallery in August. 

Your current exhibition at Sutton Gallery in Melbourne, Wrong Formalism, is process driven; focusing on the surface of the painting and the formal composition of painting. Have you always been interested in exploring formalism? 
For this particular exhibition I really wanted to reduce my practice to its bare essentials.  My aim was to create a body of work that used formal elements to create a sense of time and narrative.  I'd recently read an interview with Gerhard Richter and the interviewer asked him whether it was possible to create an abstract work that dealt with narrative.  Whilst he cleverly evaded the question I really liked the idea of these binary elements somehow coming together.  From that point my intention was to find a common ground between my particular painting approach and formalism.

These works have an abstract quality that I have not seen in your previous watercolours. Can you tell us a little about how this project differs from previous shows?    
I figured that if I wanted to reduce time and narrative down then I'd have to erase subject matter.  I bought a couple of pieces of safety glass and carried them around with me for almost a year.  I chose safety glass specifically because I wanted to essentially erase the subject matter by using a semi-transparent glass and abstracting any objects which might be behind the glass. I also grabbed an fake Ikea rose to help establish formal compositions.  The choice of the rose was mainly arbitrary though it interested me to use such a romantic prop to create such specifically cold and emotionless "formalist" works.  My intention was to photograph those pieces of glass and the rose in all the countries that I visited that year.  As a result, I was left with images conveyed time only though formal suggestions, such as light, colour and composition. 

You have a sculptural practice that is not present in this current exhibition. Can you share with us your interest in sculpture and whether it has a direct relationship to your 2D practice or runs along side of it? 
For the last couple of years I've been making sculptural works to coincide with my 2D practice although for this show I really wanted to strip as much back as possible.  That meant both conceptually and physically.  I really wanted to see if the paintings could hold their own and not have to rely on 3D works.

You have been living in Montreal for the past few years, has this changed your practice?
It's difficult to gauge how Montreal has affected my practice.  Practically speaking, I don't have the extended support network that I had in Melbourne which is both good and bad.  It forces me to scrutinize my work more thoroughly than before because I can't as easily bounce my ideas off other people.

What has been the most exciting this you have see in art this year?
Alex Vivian, Campbell Patterson and Kieren Seymour are all making pretty incredible work.

What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
Next up are some group shows in Melbourne and Vienna, and then I'm off to New York at the beginning of 2013 for the ISCP residency.

All images courtesy Jackson Slattery and Sutton Gallery  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sean Crossley

Sean Crossley is an Australian artists currently living and working in Paris. He is part of the curated satellite art fair NotFair 2012.

Tell us a little about your practice.
My practice alternates between drawing, video and painting to explore and experiment with ideas of language, materialism and image making. I use my studio like a laboratory where I search for works through separating and fusing concepts and materials.

Oil on linen, 112 x 110 cms, 2012

Do you use models for your work or find inspiration from found material like images from web/magazine, ect?
I use quite a lot of source material, coming from photos that I find  or take sometimes, fashion magazines and books, film screenshots and Google. Anything is fair game. I like to change, mix and play with the images I work from. I used to use models and drawing from life, which I do often use for drawing and video works, but for the paintings I prefer to work from images. Sometimes I take diagrams and texts and put them into the work, which I might find in maps, medical journals or even Ikea handbooks. I also look at a lot of work at galleries and on the internet. Recently for the Notfair works it’s been Nabi painting, 19th century French neoclassical paintings, minimalist works and colour field paintings.

Carte rotation
Oil on linen, 100 x 91 cms, 2012

Do you find that the variety of mediums (painting, drawing, projection) allows you to investigate your interest in the body in different ways?
I kind of feel like my work is investigating language and materialism more than the body at the moment, but I think that will become a little more obvious in the next body of work. The body has played a big part in developing the ideas within my practice. I like working across video, drawing and painting as these three practices give me enough flexibility to interchange and develop certain ideas. Ideas and processes are exchanged between the media, they feed each other.

Oil on linen, 80 x 91 cms, 2012

How long have you been living in Paris and what bought you there?
I have only be living in Paris for about 6 months now, its quite new to me, then i had to fly back to Australia for this exhibition. I want to make my work in Europe and develop my practice there. There is so much art to see and work around, and also its great to think and make in different places with different people and languages.

Swatch couche #3
Oil on linen, 80 x 80 cms, 2012

What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
 Spending time developing a body of work in a new studio, going to Documenta in Germany, going back to summer in Paris next week!


NotFair Primal Mutation
Co-curated by Melissa Amore, Sam Leach and Ashley Crawford

Established in 2010 as a satellite event to the Melbourne Art Fair, this years NotFair unveils works on paper, painting, sculpture and video from over 30 artists working all around Australia. Held in the alternative arts venue of 1000 £ Bend in Little Lonsdale Street, this years install Primal Mutation, will do anything but disappoint.  Celebrating sleek painting and evocative works on paper; this cluster of artists are exciting, fresh and above all supremely talented. Standouts are the ghostly watercolours by Bethany O’Donnell and expressive paintings by Sean Crossley.

1 – 5 August
1000 £ Bend
361 Lt Lonsdale Street
Melbourne 3000
Entry via Heape Ct

NotFair Installation shot

NotFair Installation shot

NotFair Installation shot

NotFair Installation shot

NotFair Installation shot

NotFair Installation shot

Monday, July 2, 2012


Review Interview has moved to Melbourne! Stay in touch to read about the latest Melbourne art happenings and also read interviews from artists exhibiting in and around Cologne.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Alex Martinis Roe

Alex Martinis Roe’s practice involves bringing forth settings that allow viewers and participants to encounter contemporary challenges embedded within feminist histories.

You are quoted to have said ‘that it is more important to do feminism than be feminist…’[1] Can you expand on this?

When I said that I was thinking about useful attitudes toward participation in feminism as a collective politics. If feminism is collective through a culture of practices rather than because of a common identification – i.e. she practices a range of feminisms, rather than she is feminist – it places an emphasis on the relevance of diverse feminist projects to all sorts of people who need not have a common identity. I am interested in feminism because it is concerned with the feminine, which is a specific relationship to language, and the female sex, which is a specific embodiment. I think that a collective politics concerned with the feminine and the female can be a radical challenge to the violence of dominant language and power structures, if relations between participants are formed as-with-through an evolving language of difference among us.

Alex Martinis Roe, A Box for Vertical Relations, Acrylic glass, twenty-four borrowed library books by female authors who have had interpersonal and/or textual relations to the authors either side of her in the stack, 2012.  Image are courtesy of the artist.
Can you talk about the background behind your work Free Associations (2010) in which you had participants write with white chalk on white chalkboards, guaranteeing privacy, for the duration of 20 minutes?

The title of the work is the well-known psychoanalytic speech practice undertaken by the analysand, who agrees and attempts to say whatever comes into her/his mind in the psychoanalysis session. I have a desire to know, acknowledge and engage ethically (an ethics of sexual difference—of specificity) with each person who encounters my work. When I facilitated Free Associations I wanted to make art objects that provided a space for the participants’ own languages in their experience of my work. I also wanted to make some monochrome abstractions where any aura around my authorship was utterly dissipated and the significance of the marks on the surfaces were foregrounded as contingent upon my audience. These encounters took place in a public gallery so that this kind of specific engagement could itself be exhibited, but exhibited as a refusal to make a spectacle of individuality. As each iteration of the work required that there be five scheduled participants in order for the piece to go ahead, the participants are only ever visible to other museum visitors as a group of five people doing the same activity.

I can picture the experience for the participants to be quite powerful because of the engagement between the private and public. What kind of reaction did you get from the participants after their 20 minutes ended?

Most people commented on a kind of oscillation in their experience between being aware of their role as a performer for other gallery visitors and immersion in the task. Most participants stayed and talked to one another about their experiences after the 20 minutes. I found this easy formation of a group very interesting. Most people said they felt able to immerse themselves in the task because there were others doing it too.

 Alex Martinis Roe, A Genealogical Encounter Among Carla Cruz, Jodi Dean and ‘The Three Marias’, Video projection of a recorded online video conversation between one of the artist’s interlocutors, Portuguese artist Carla Cruz, and one of Cruz’s authorial influences, North American political theorist Jodi Dean. The video is edited in consultation with Cruz and Dean and is exhibited with their consent, 23:33, 2011-2012. Image are courtesy of the artist.

You recently completed a residency at Artspace in Sydney; can you tell us about your time there?

I arrived during that very quiet time in summer when everyone has left the city, so I spent the first part of my residency doing some research in an art history library for the slideshow I made for the exhibition. As the city came back to life, it was time to install my exhibition, which was a large scale sound installation activated by performance-narrations of the slideshow to visitors one at a time. 

The slideshow is called Feminist and Feminine Appropriations of Abstract Art and is made up of twenty-one abstractions of famous abstract works. I erased all but the simple geometric outlines of works by artists who had appropriated masculinist abstract aesthetics, and then the works they had appropriated. I invited each visitor to the gallery to sit on a chair beside my desk and then proceeded to narrate the name of the artist, the title of each slide and its original date, all the while marking the time of the encounter with Hanne Darboven’s non-writing loops on a ream of computer paper. My desk was amplified using contact microphones and the sound projected through a massive speaker stack at the entrance to the space. Following the narration I asked the visitor for her/his name and wrote it at the bottom of the sheet of paper I had been marking. At the end of each day of performance-narrations, I pinned the still-connected sheets of marked paper to the wall. 

Around the opening of the exhibition I met some very interesting Sydney artists and curators, with whom I feel we now have an ongoing conversation and I also had some very enriching encounters with colleagues from around Australia and New Zealand who came to visit. 

 Alex Martinis Roe, non-writing histories, installation view, Artspace, Sydney, 2012. Photo: Silversalt photography. Image are courtesy of the artist.
You now live and work in Berlin, what brought you and keeps you there?

I like Berlin because it is a place I can do my work. My work is about conversation and exchange. I find that Berlin is not a city that jumps out at me and steals my attention away from my work – I can concentrate here – but it’s also a place where I can see a lot of different kinds of artwork and encounter different ideas. Here I am in conversation with other artists, creative practitioners, thinkers and writers who are engaged in projects and questions that are parallel and/or fascinating to my own. I just had an exhibition here that closed on Monday at a space called Bibliothekswohnung and the way people engaged with my exhibition is exactly what I hope for. The gallery, like many in Berlin, is in an apartment and its format is very much modelled on the Enlightenment salons. Most people who came spent time with the work and then also stayed to talk about it and engage in conversation with others.

Who inspires you?

Right now, Rahel Varnhagen, a Jewish salonière in Berlin in the late 1700s and early 1800s. And the people who engage in my projects! I just edited a recording of a conversation I set up between Portuguese artist Carla Cruz and North American political theorist Jodi Dean and I just keep finding more in it.

What are you looking forward to within the next 12 months?

This week I’m going to Utrecht to do a masterclass with artist, psychoanalyst and philosopher Bracha Ettinger, with whom I did a workshop in 2010. I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in her ideas again and to spending time with some people I am working with there. 

 Alex Martinis Roe, non-writing histories, installation detail, Artspace, Sydney, 2012. Photo: Silversalt photography. Image are courtesy of the artist.

[1] Alexie Glass, ‘Extimacy: A new generation of feminism’ in Art and Australia (Spring 2009)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marsha Cottrell

Marsha Cottrell is an American artist who currently has a solo exhibition at Petra Rinck Galerie in Düsseldorf.
You graduated from your Masters in 1990. Are you still exploring the same ideas you were interested in when you were studying?
When I was in school I was painting and drawing the landscape in a fairly traditional manner from life. I was also looking at odd bits of still-life material and painting them, which resulted in images that looked like they could be landscapes. Toward the end of graduate school I was inventing landscape-like images from my imagination, and the impulse to do that has continued to the present. Over years of working, and in the last fourteen with the computer, the conception of space has become more abstract, and the terrain more uncertain. 
IMPOSSIBLE NIGHT 2011, 62,4 x 97,9 cm Iron oxide on mulberry paper
Your landscapes are energetic, wild and lyrical mapped worlds and alternate universes. What does landscape mean to you?
These words are good. The first landscape images in art I connected with as a young person were da Vinci’s “deluge” drawings. I was attracted to the idea that they were not representations of actual places, but eternal/internal landscapes that might be found anywhere at any moment in time. Their energy, architecture, and intricacy—but not rigidity—always appealed to me. They seemed to present an open platform with which to interact, and I’ve always aspired for my own work operate in a similar way. I want people to be able to relate—to be able to respond on an immediate level—whether they have much experience with art or not.
There is an inherent rigidity to the platform of a home/office computer, and it naturally insists that one be deliberate and methodical. We all keep folders within folders within folders, and do things in orderly, procedural steps. The sense of energy and movement in some of the images I’m making results—in part—from my struggle to be improvisational (and physical) within a space that isn’t naturally set up for that.
Your works on paper look like intricate, obsessive and deliberate drawings. Can you tell us about your process?
I began using the computer about 14 years ago, and my interest in the subject of landscape went right along with it. With its limited environment of chair, desk, etc., the computer seemed to provide a kind of newfound freedom, despite the challenges of losing (for a time) a physical relationship with my work. My current process is a hybrid of digital and handmade. Inside the space of the computer I’m working with marks in much the same way one would with more traditional processes, except that they are manufactured and not inherently expressionistic. In the recent work, I manipulate the image outside of the computer as well, and in this way am forging a direct connection between human and machine elements.
This new body of work brings forth a different sense to that which we are familiar with. What do you feel are the main differences between the new body of work (white on black background) as opposed to your more common known black on white background?
I don’t really see them as all that different but because of the dark field, the new drawings may have some new and immediate connections for people. The night sky, for example, is dark and teeming with bright marks, so one can enter into these new drawings from the standpoint of that universal experience. The imagery in all of my work, however, is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. I’m still creating space with an endless array of bits and lines culled from my library of digital debris.
The primary difference for me is that I’m making the object myself now, and getting my hand back into the process in a direct and physical way. Because of that, there is now an integration of manufactured and handmade information in the drawings…so the object has the feeling of being old and new (or futuristic) at the same time. I think these qualities lend timelessness to the work and thereby invite a range of readings.
UNDER THE ILLUMINATING HYDROGEN 2012, 133 x 203,5 cm iron oxide on mulberry paper
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
My interest in making art has developed gradually and consistently over time so I’m unable to identify a particular moment when I decided to make it my life’s work. The first thing I ever thought I wanted to be was a dancer, and perhaps evidence of that can be felt in some of the drawings.
What are you looking forward to within the next 12 months?
Spending time with my daughter and continuing to work in the studio.
Marsha Cottrell
17 March – 5 May 2012
Ackerstrasse 199
40233 Düsseldorf

Saturday, March 24, 2012



John Stezaker
2 March – 7 April 2012

Water, waves, waterfalls and torrents feature in this new exhibition of collages by John Stezaker. Vintage publicity photographs of singers and singing groups from the 1940s and 50s are abstracted by a postcard image of water, giving old images new meaning. These works are fragmented and dislocated and explore the unknown and uncanny.

Particularly captivating was the portraiture series in which Stezaker erases the eyes of the subject by replacing them with the postcard of gushing and rolling water. Eerie and surreal, these images bring forth flashes of cavernous skulls and horror stills from films of a bygone era. 

Spanning three rooms and showing over forty works, this exhibition is a wonderful example of great collage and the practice of an important contemporary artist. A must see.

John Stezaker Siren III, 2011 Collage 23,3 x 20,8 cm Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Köln

Sören Siebel
9 - 16 March 2012
Sören Siebel’s latest exhibition at Galerie Mela Chu is a fabulous example of incorporating audience participation. In the front window of the gallery, an enormous white plastic bag comes to life as an industrial-sized fan blows it toward the sidewalk audience. As the plastic bag waves and floats, passers by stop and become transfixed by the simplicity of the installation. Watching them is magnetic; confused, self-conscious, interested and entertained – the pedestrians were anything but bored.

Unfortunately the exhibition finished this week but look out for another amusing installation by Siebel!

Monica Hansebakken – Georg Küttinger
1 March – 12 April 2012

Art Galerie 7 is holding a two-person exhibition centred on the theme of landscape. Exhibiting the paintings by Monica Hansebakken together with photographs by Georg Küttinger gives a nice sample of both realist abstracted landscape practices.

Hansebakken’s abstract and colourful paintings of mountains and ranges are like sickly sweet cones of gelato. The forms, in lollypop colours, create high peaks that sit within an aqua sky. Even more enticing are the blocks of engraved surfaces throughout the works that show the raw wooden board beneath. Floral-engraved patterns together with the candy colours brings forth feminine and bright paintings that excite the eye.

Check it out if you enjoy decorative and fun painting.

Untitled (Jirishanca 1), 62 x 62cm, 2011 Courtesy Art Galerie 7

Thursday, March 15, 2012



Three Dimensional?
Artists: Baptiste Debombourg, Irena Eden/Stijn Lernout, Robert Kunec, Kristin Leko, Damir Radovic, Claudia Marcela Robles, Jon Shelton and Tobias Sternberg
27 January – 17 March 2012

A fascinating selection of artists curated together in a dynamic group show. This exhibition is thematically centred on contemporary investigations into concrete art.

Eden & Lernout’s 2D and 3D abstract paintings reference a long tradition in minimalism and formalism. Utilising a darkened pallet, these geometric works explore form, line and surface. 
In his Aggravure series, Baptiste Debobourg creates images by physically beating industrial staples into wood. Beautiful from a distance and violent up close, the works reference and reappropriate imagery from iconic renaissance paintings. Likewise, the works by Robert Kunec use the same kind of physicality and perspective. The artist exhibits sheets of aluminium that he has struck then scribed with a number and arrow pointing to the various marks. Just as Debobourg’s works read differently with distance, so too do Kunec’s – from afar they reveal battered landscapes.

 Baptiste Debombourg, Aggravure V, Staples on wood,114 x 78 cm, 2011 courtesy: krupic kersting galerie || kuk

Three Dimensional? is a group exhibition put together to coincide with the Brussels–Cologne event earlier in the year. Luckily it’s still on until Saturday 17 March so quickly get in to see it!


Lights, Camera, Action!
Anja Kirschner & David Panos, Laurence Kavanagh and Allan Hughes
Curated by Mary Cremin
25 February – 31 March 2012

This exhibition looks into artists and artwork that adopt the cinematic process to create a psychological tension synonymous in cinema. By deconstructing and reappropriating dialogue and scenes in film and the cine-novel, these artists illustrate how reinterpretation exposes and flips the original intent. The show is exhibited in a darkened gallery to replicate the feel of a cinema and majority of the works are moving images bar the exquisite sculptures by Laurence Kavanaghs.

Kavanaghs sculptures are based on Allain Robbe-Grillet’s novel Jealousy in which the repetitive description of objects and settings create psychological strain. A pair of lonely shoes on the floor is lit in the shadows of the exhibition by a lamp that is suspended by string. The string is weaved through the ceiling and attached to a shaving cabinet on the wall with a hairbrush inside. Intimate and abandoned objects suggest an unnerving story.

The multi-channel video installation Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances by Kirschner and Panos had me transfixed. I was mesmerised and hypnotised by the intense repetition and improvised emotional responses by the actors. Based on acting techniques by Sanford Meisner, this work involves young actors reciting and repeating dialogue, which allows dialogue to leap back and forth through the artists and, in turn, the viewer’s mind. Bouncing words off each other but with different emotional responses, these interchanges are sometimes genuine, sometimes shocking and sometimes comical.

An excellent exhibition for moving-image lovers.

Nevin Aladag
City Language
23 February – 31 March 2012

Future, present and past is literally on view in the multi-channel video installation City Language, II. The installation comprises of a circle of individual monitors playing videos that capture a car review-mirror’s reflections. We can see the different places the driver has come from and is going to. Questioning the world we see versus the world we know and the memory of everyday meaning and personal history. 

City Language II Video installation with 8 monitors Videos from 2 min to 4 min each 2009  Courtesy the artist and mother's tankstation

Following on with the theme of personal history is City Language III, which features one pair of hands clapping to a beat. The pair of hands change, but the beat stays the same. Female, male, black, white, young and old – they all share the same song. 

A great chance to see the installation City Language II that first featured in the 11th Istanbul Biennale in 2009 alongside other works by Aladag.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Martha Parsey

Martha Parsey is a painter and film-maker living and working in Cologne, Germany. She currently has a solo exhibition being held at Die Kunstagentin in the Belgium Quarter, Cologne.

Your women have an intoxicating presence. They are powerful, enchanting, and feminine. Have women always been the focus of your work and what do they mean to you?

Women haven’t always been the focus of my work, in fact when I first started painting I painted almost exclusively men. But I read a quote the other day which read ‘The woman is not really a person, but an entity inhabiting spaces, commanding the gaze of those who surround her.’ And I thought about this that perhaps the women are a tool to trap the gaze of the viewer and entice their interest into the interior of the painting. I think my women have great feminine attributes that transcend the limitations of that phrase, because they not only attract the gaze of the viewer but command it, they not only inhabit the space of the picture but in a sense rule over it.

A strong sense of fashion and design are apparent in the paintings. Where does this interest come from?

From photography. Photography mimics painting, particularly fashion photography takes it’s aesthetic, framing and poses from classical painting, so I’m taking it back but in a much more abbreviated form.

You are also a filmmaker. How entwined are the two practices?

If you’re talking about ways of looking and perception, then film-making and painting are totally connected because we can’t talk about images anymore without thinking about how photography and film has completely altered our way of looking at and perceiving things visually.
But in actual practice, painting is a totally different and a much more physical and immediate process than making films. Making films is about teamwork, convincing people to give you the means to realise ideas and it has limitations because of it’s complexity and the amount of people involved that painting doesn’t have. I have an idea in painting and I can give that idea form almost instantly. I work fast, and it is an enormous pleasure to experience the image emerge and take on a life right before me. People forget when they look at painting the very physical nature of it, how physically involved you are while making it. There’s a relationship there, a struggle, and the whole process that is going on is far more unconscious, allowing room for accident. No one can allow you the freedom in film to experiment like I do with paint in the studio.

You move between London, Berlin and Cologne. Do you find the cities engage with your work differently?

Yes, definitely. In London they see the German influences, and in Berlin and Cologne, the English ones, which always really amuses me- the grass is always greener... There are things that are obviously easier for people in London to understand because of the familiarity with where I come from- the mixture of a long tradition in figurative/portrait painting with a design element from British pop art, and the titles lose some of their humour when you explain them. But Berlin has this marvellous openness, it’s a really open city that is very exciting and almost limitless, one that when I moved there opened me up completely. Cologne is where I turn this all into something real and work hard.

When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?

When I was a kid I was an actress and for a long time I was certain that’s what I wanted to do because I really enjoyed acting. I moved from acting into wanting to make films as I’d always been on set and seen how films were made. I made short films and then two documentaries about Francis Bacon and through them I got to know David Sylvester, who taught me about painting. I’d studied film and fine art so it was a natural and logical step for me to move into painting.

In 5 words describe your work:

Look at it and see...

What are you looking forward to within the next 12 months?

The summer! And completing a new series of work I’ve just embarked on which is really very exciting.

When I’m not painting I’m …

Having a laugh with my kids and enjoying life now.

Martha Parsey
'Out on a Limb' 
11 February - 15 March, 2012
Maastrichterstr. 26
Köln, Germany