Saturday, February 6, 2010

Linden Art is Open

Today we went to the opening of the Linden Postcard Show with a group of Bev's friends who very nicely also talked to James as well. It was a beautiful day, and a great day out.

With over 1,700 works submitted, there was a great turnout of artists and friends for the pretty brief speeches and prize hand outs. As you can see, the gallery is in a beautiful colonial Melbourne house. Sympathy moment goes to the prize winner who kicked over and broke a (hopefully empty) wineglass while going to collect her prize!

After the talk, everyone surged in to check out the art. It was packed - both on the walls and with people.

Initially it was overwhelming, but when you realised that this stage was best used to look at the people who'd come to be looked at in the opening, and save the pics for later, it became a lot more fun.

There were people of all ages, and it seemed quite a variety of backgrounds, from the "Eye em en artiste" brigade to those you don't normally expect to see in a gallery without bolt cutters and an eye mask.

On an initial glance, the sheer volume of artworks was overwhelming, but once it's clear what it's about, it's actually very straightforward. So here are the headlines:

  • It's a completely open show - any entry submitted and paid for will be exhibited.
  • Every piece has to fit within a 30cm (nearly 12 inch) cube.
  • Any artist can submit work, no more than three pieces.
  • Several will be chosen by the gallery to become postcard subjects - printed for sale - hence the name of the show.
  • Most are for sale from $100 - $400 dollars (£55 -£222, or US$86 - US$347) although one that we really liked turned out to be marked at $7,000 (£3,800, US$6,000)!
(Official stuff here.)

We really enjoyed looking around, and we intend to go back for a later, more considered look. Who knows, we may take the Piggy Bank and buy something! Discussing it between the two of us and with Bev's friends, we felt that the vast majority of the works were both well executed and presented; most had been well framed or mounted. There was very little pretentious art twaddle or kittens & flower paintings, while there was a lot of humour from the 'laugh lightly once and move on' level, to some quite challenging ideas; and another neat thing was that (obviously) within a 30 cm 'box' there were no big pictures that yelled 'look at me' just because of their size. Something else had to be good: the idea or the execution.

In fact, within a tight set of technical parameters, but completely open subject and media, the artist's challenge was to catch the viewer's eye and then to hold it. No mean feat, but as you may see from the pictures here, any four people would probably pick completely different artworks from the same wall space.

And entertainment was provided by two (pretend) Hawaiian Hula girls on ukuleles - certainly the first time I can remember that type of serenade at an art event!

And then we went off to have coffee and cake, where cake and forthright views on art were shared. James marked it the best gallery experience he can recall for quite a while, and there was plenty of material for the patent RK Gallery Game (which may be explained in a forthcoming blog-post. Or not.)

All in all a good day out, and for those that are in reach of St Kilda ("Isn't everyone, Dahling?") we urge you to get down there. The show is on until 27 March 2010.

James & Bev

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