Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Long weekend in Sydney

MCA with sculptural work by artist Roxy Paine.

Cockatoo Island.

The absence of posts on my blog lately has resulted from a jam-packed full month of work in May extending into June. It's been an exciting time with installation of a public artwork at Woolloongabba (more on this in a couple of weeks) and completion of works for my upcoming solo exhibition, Plant-Life, at Redland Art Gallery. A short, well deserved, if I may say so, break in Sydney over the long weekend was in order, taking in the Biennale, Vivid light show and as it happened a little retail therapy. Meeting with fellow artist Susan Buret we spent the best part of a full day at MCA viewing a range of great work as part of the 17th Biennale of Sydney. Some stand outs for me include the work of Shane Cotton, Claudio Dicochea, Shirazeh Houshiary, Angela Su, Penny Siopis and the amazing collection of memorial poles by Yolngu artists. There is a mix of interesting video works and sculpture installation that I also enjoyed.

Part of what made the experience rewarding was sharing the viewing with another artist, there were no time constraints in viewing, each of us brought a fresh visual perception to the works, and a bit like Margaret and David on the Movie show, we could agree to disagree, though not that often. Susan also recommended lunch at the MCA cafe, which was delicious, all making for a great day. On departing Susan mentioned I might like to check out Parkers art supplies off Argyle Street. Oh My!! This is one of the best stocked art shops I have been in, so I had no trouble partaking in some retail therapy in exchange for brightly pigmented tubes of paint and dovetailed timber panels.

Next day off to Cockatoo Island, after a substantial wait for the Biennale ferry, which I decided would be part of the experience in preference to a water taxi. A long weekend of brilliant sunshine brought a large crowd to the Island which had not trouble catering, except at the ferry queue. Scale played a large role in works shown here, pierced cars in the Turbine Hall by artist Cai Guo-Qiang lived up to expectation. The shanty roof top installation by Kader Attia was poignant; while the scale and detail of Peter Hennessey's Hubble Space Telescope was engaging. I watched some creepy video works and after several hours had still only seen about half of what is on show on Cockatoo Island, but felt satisfied. The Island itself and many varied buildings provided an added and unexpected visual feast. To finish off my Biennale expedition a quick tour of the Art Gallery of New South Wales took in a few interesting works, followed by a walk through the Sydney Botanic Gardens. Not exactly a restful weekend but well worth the effort.


  1. Glad you had a good weekend and shopping.

  2. Sounds like a fab weekend Nicola.Seeing all that art.Best of luck with Plant life.

  3. Hi Nicola,
    cant believe where time's going at the moment. Late friday night I started writing you a thank you and when I realised how overtired I was I left off and now am finally back at the computer and was going to pick up where I left off and write a note again... but decided to first visit your blog and consequently became way-laid reading your wonderful post about time out in Sydney and your adventures there. Im a huge fan of Shane Cotton's work and would love to get to see the Biennale sometime.... August? It opened the week after i left Sydney on my recent trip... disappointed...but timing was tight!

    Sounds like a lot of fun gazing at work with Susan and taking in lunch there. Shall look forward to se more on what's coming soon...and catching properly.