Flash, a student group show featured sculpture of varying
quality packed like sardines into the dingy old pistol range on
Manchester Street. Many of the works tended to be on the clever
touchy feely side, with lots of catchy sound and kinetic pieces,
these along with a proliferation of quirky assemblages served to
demonstrate Andrew Drumond's influence as mentor to many of the
Kathleen Peacock produced a piece distinctly different from her
fellow students. A Storm was blowing from Paradise was one
of the few works to really make effective concessions to traditional
concepts of beauty. The shadow cast by this elegant bent cane boat
formed interesting play of light. The kontiki like pyprus boat did
not appear particularly at home in its industrial surroundings,
it felt more like a museum miniature.
The rest of the main space is dominated by two works, Gavin Buxton's
Long White Cloud, and Daniel Arps's BL 2000. The formica
coffee table of the Long White Cloud is an amusing dialogue
on our nations favourite carsonagenic habit. The cork tiles littered
in cigarette butts and table are skilfully crafted in the shape
of our great country. The work whiffs of cheap smokers cafè
culture, well balanced and texturally amusing. The Banana Lounger
also plays on pathetic ironies. This spastic exercise machine has
appealing leather upholstery, it gives the feel that one was intended
to lie back may be to perform some sort of all-over body workout.
However, the machine is impossible to deploy in any practical fashion
rather it seems to be an object of frustration. The golf course
is comparatively like the bonus free gift that the first fifty callers
receive absolutely free. The club, an assemblage of a golf club
shaft and an iron is well produced, but the course itself appears
rushed, the maroon carpet hardly had a shape indicative of golf
green, its construction lacks the polish of the rest of the piece.
"Did the earth move for you?". The question forms the alternate
title for Julaine Stephenson's sound and movement piece the Seismophone.
The work certainly contains shock impact it's interesting mechanical
appearance drew one in but those foolish enough to play with it
were barraged by unpleasant noise, sent the Seismophonic clattering
in it's yaunic glass jar. Stephenson plays on the old metaphor of
sexuality reduce to mechanical pseudoscience. However unsubtle the
title the work itself is quite controlled in its sexual allusions.
The same could not be said for Rachel Brown's perverse doll. Looking
like some mutant hermaphrodite drag queen Barbie with a bad case
of dermatitis, the doll stands at the top of a flight of stairs
bathed in light with the red carpet rolled out. Like many of the
smaller more intimate works, the piece was pleasant discovery in
an unexpected place. The work was a welcome relief; at least somebody
was prepared to score laughs with a cheap kitsch gag that seemed
to have some real world content. Some other works seemed to trip
over themselves trying to be clever. Particularly guilty of this
was the problematic Monitor. Grant Wylie's work was playfully
interactive and almost as entertaining as a ride at science alive.
I felt it suffered from an over emphasis on technical contrivances.
It had the potential to be quite sinister if the work had been resolved
with a tad more refinement, and equal emphasis on the visual design
as much as technical concept.
It is intrinsically impossible sum up a collection of 23 artists
work, all with their own tangents, however, a friend wryly commented
that the show was like a retrospective of one artist's entire career.
Perhaps that says something about the amount of mutual appreciation
and criticism practised in the university fine arts department.
20 August 1998