I headed down the coast today with fellow artist Helena Lloyd for an afternoon of gallery viewing, with first stop at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery. Here we viewed the 27th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award, a wonderful diverse selection of works utilising ceramic in many forms and techniques. My favourite work was 'Visceral tableau 3' by Leo Neuhofer, a pink and grey work that immediately made me think of internal organs and guts, charming I know, but in a rather beautiful way. John Rigby's 'Bushtucker Toyota Dreaming' was expressive and fun, a mud splattered 4WD complete with kangaroo tied to the roof rack. I also liked the enigmatic form of Susan Robey's work 'Untitled (cone head pair)' a work with beautiful, subtle quality of surface and form. Peter Cooley's 'Tree with busted guts and galahs' won the overall award.
Down stairs we viewed a collection of botanical prints focused on specimens collected on the east coast of Australia during James Cook's first Pacific voyage in 1768. The skill of artist and engraver can be seen in the minute details captured in the prints.
Then the surprise, an installation by Linelle Stepto titled 'Colonise'. A number of floral 'bouquet' type arrangements are fixed to the walls, they appeared brown like dried arrangements, but closer inspection reveals leather and fur like material. The sculptural works are made using the skins of feral animals such as cane toad and feral cat. I found the cane toad skin visually interesting with varied patterns and grain working in the leaf and flower forms of the sculptures. Linelle's statements reads of a reference on one level to the colonisation of native species by introduced species, and on another to the dangers of globalisation and the loss of the unique and the local. It is certainly a unique choice of material and at the same time for me presented a distinctly Australian quality.
We finished off the afternoon at Anthea Polson Gallery, with a wide range of contemporary art on show.