Contemporary Showcase 16

A selection of recent works by CAS Inc. Members

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

8 February to 5 May 2016

Review by Shelley Vincent

There is much on offer in this exhibition from small jewels to large expressive works. “Creation” by Monika Alston reminds me of photos taken by the Hubble telescope of a star nursery – unimaginably vast clouds of matter that are the precursor to new stars. I was moved by the sense of a process that is beyond human scale or influence. The thrilling majesty and complete indifference of it. This is conveyed by the large looming misty areas of cool colours bound into rounded forms by a semi-transparent layer of rich magenta. For me this piece alone made the visit worthwhile. Monika’s other 2 pieces also have rich dramatic colour combinations. In “On Fire” the lively brushstrokes also add to a surface that sizzles and pops.

The use of mixed media in some pieces enhances the works in various ways. A piece of fabric has been used in Cheryl Bannon’s “Contemplation” to add texture to the hair of the main figure. She is partly in the scene she is thinking of but her 3-dimensional hair grounds her in reality.

Cressida Fox’s use of altered and embellished “how to vote” cards in her work “9 Characters – The Vote” is another effective use of mixed media. The characters depicted could well be those of the people handing out the cards.

Struggling with Gravity” by Jan Delaney is another interesting piece. The white lines of dripped paint show where gravity has won. But then the artist has subverted this by turning the canvas upside-down. The yellow and orange forms below are, to me, the stresses and minor triumphs of trying to stay on an even keel with a frail body.

In Karen Foley’s “Seascape Lighthouse” I get a feeling for the isolation of a lighthouse on a distant promontory. The sea is all a-dazzle in the strong sunlight.

Heather King has created the best colouring book in the world with her “From My Colouring Book” series. Numbers 4, 5 and 6 are on display here. Each is a complex bejewelled world – as if one had opened a casket of precious stones. Possibly precious stones with magical properties.

Carin Lavery’s use of watercolours brings to life the aftermath of a storm in “The Storm!”. The heavy clouds are just beginning to break up. Their ragged edges are dispensing a last shower in the distance.

The interactions between two pairs of cats are pictured in “Talk to Me” and “I Love You Too” by Kathe Bibi Ostermark. I especially liked “Talk to Me” just for showing how expressive the back of a sulking cat can be.

There are also many other pieces of interest in this exhibition of 28 works from 11 artists in a range of styles, subjects and media.


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