No matter how many times you’ve strolled along William Street, chances are you’ve probably never spotted Chalk Horse gallery. I’ll admit that it took me a few minutes of wandering around and re-checking the address on my phone to confirm that I was in the right place.
After pressing a buzzer to enter an office building and taking the lift down to Level -1, I found myself in a stark white room taking in the striking works of André Hemer.
The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location of the Chalk Horse is in some ways representative of its approach to exhibiting. The gallery focuses on providing opportunities for up-and-coming arts to show their work, particularly through solo exhibitions.
... the space around each picture provides an opportunity to digest the interplay between the paint and that which masquerades as paint.
André Hemer’s New Representation and Elliott Bryce Foulkes’ Circuit are the two exhibitions currently on show.
Hemer’s works are spread out across Chalk Horse’s expanse of white walls. It’s an ideal approach because New Representation is a conversation between digital art making and painting, and the space around each picture provides an opportunity to digest the interplay between the paint and that which masquerades as paint.
The materiality of painting is something that appeals to Hemer; paint is the subject of his works rather than the vehicle that communicates other subject matter, and the fact that his very sexy, textured paint is digitally rendered does weird optical things with your eyes and your mind.
Hemer’s works slows us down and require intense looking. His painting tells us much more about the world than we might initially think. He allows us to see it in an old-fashioned way and we’re reminded that looking at representations of things in our world, fundamentally alters our experience of it.
The works are so heavily textured and alive that your fingers itch to reach out and touch. Galleries tend to frown on this, but artists like Hemer make such self-control a challenge for audiences!
In the adjoining room, Foulkes’ pieces are clustered and displayed in groups in contrast to the open space of New Representations. Foulkes links together selected motifs, typographies and logos from the graphic designer’s arsenal to uncover the meaning behind some of our most familiar visual imagery.
Foulkes seeks to celebrate the ‘objecthood’ of much of this imagery – his process connects the ancient Greek statues of Nike of Samothrace – you know the ones with wings thrown back, head and arms held aloft in victory – to sportswear marketers Nike and their modern swoosh logo, and suggests that our attraction to the logo comes from the idea of victory – albeit on the sportsfield –being deeply embedded in the logo. In this way the title of the show, Circuit, is an excellent descriptor.
The collage-inspired images have a power that both advertising and art borrows from equally. Works are punctuated with playful neon and bright and abstract wall decals. It’s an exhibition that’s bold and archive-like in quality.
So do some urban exploring this weekend; Chalk Horse and everything on their white walls is sure to brighten your day. New Representation and Circuit close on Saturday 7 March 2015.
Meet Kat Crossley; law graduate, writer, florist, and museum and gallery lover. We call her Gallerina, and she’s one of our Roving Reporters. She’ll be giving us her insights every month in M&Gazine as she flounces around the state from museum to gallery, so stay tuned. You can find her on Twitter at @kat_crossley or exploring an exhibition near you.