Francis Plagne
Spencer Lai: A smile forms into a grimace | Matilda Davis: Too Many Dinner Parties

Spencer Lai, A smile forms into a grimace mid-slumber as the earth spins—it's funny, such is the sound of laughter—it is like god's hands on the shoulders of a troubled world


Matilda Davis, Too Many Dinner Parties

Bus Projects
31 October – 24 November 2018

By Francis Plagne

The fascination of bad taste continues to exert its somewhat mysterious pull on certain sub-scenes in the Melbourne artworld. Spencer Lai's current show in the front room at Bus Projects—part of the gallery's 'Wi...

Francis Plagne
Robert Smithson: Time Crystals

Double Issue

This week Memo Review publishes two separate reviews of Robert Smithson: Time Crystals at Monash University Museum of Art.

Below Francis Plagne considers the show as a whole, including an in-depth engagement with the curators' positioning of Smithson's practice.

Philip Brophy, whose review is available by clicking here, considers the sound that lightly floats throughout the gallery's spaces, emanating from two films: Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970) and Nancy Holt an...

Francis Plagne
Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968

Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968

Charles Nodrum Gallery, Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968, 26 April - 19 May, 2018.

By Francis Plagne

What is the art museum for? What is its distinctive function? Is it, as the traditional humanist explanation holds, to preserve the treasures of humanity embodied in art works, collective treasures to which the public has the right of access as a source of ‘ennobling enjoyment’ (as a Parliamentary Commission in 1857 explained the ro...

Francis Plagne
Tony Clark: Chinoiserie Landscape 1987 - 2017

Tony Clark, Chinoiserie Landscape 1987 - 2017

Murray White Room, Melbournee, 16 February – 29 March 2018

By Francis Plagne

Paul Taylor’s famous ‘Popism’ manifesto of 1982 included an exhortation to Australian artists to embrace the gulf separating them from the traditional centres of Western art history, to craft an art ‘born in mediation, gestated within the camera, where things are naturally upside-down, and expressed in a carnivalesque array of copies, inversions and negatives’. The sa...

Francis Plagne
Douglas Lance Gibson: What Was Once Yesterday Today & Tomorrow

Douglas Lance Gibson, What Was Once Yesterday Today & Tomorrow

Tolarno Galleries, Level 4/104 Exhibition St, Melbourne, 16 November 2017 - 16 December 2017

By Francis Plagne

As I was about to leave Tolarno Galleries after spending some time with Douglas Lance Gibson’s What Was Once Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, his first show with the gallery, I was stopped by two men. One, who I assume was some sort of building manager, informed me that a theft in the gallery had just been reported and...

Francis Plagne
Smallness: Trevelyan Clay & Kate Smith

Smallness

Trevelyan Clay, Moments Today

Neon Parc, 31 August – 7 October 2017

Kate Smith, An Impression of an impression

Sutton Gallery, 8 September – 7 October 2017

By Francis Plagne

I confess to being a sucker for bad painting. Not, that is, for all painting that fails in whatever way to be good, but for the particular style of offhand, deliberately underwhelming sub-expressionist painting most closely associated with a number of artists from Cologne who rose to prominence in the...

Francis Plagne
Every Brilliant Eye

Every Brilliant Eye

Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria

By Francis Plagne

Walking through Every Brilliant Eye—a large survey of the NGV's holdings of Australian Art from the 1990s curated by Jane Devery and Pip Wallis—I was struck by how much it look like parts of Melbourne Now, the NGV's sprawling 2013-2014 snapshot of contemporary art practices in Melbourne. It is not only that many of the same names reappear, sometimes with work little changed by the twenty years separat...

Francis Plagne
David Hockney: Current

David Hockney: Current

National Gallery of Victoria, 11 November 2016 – 13 March 2017

By Francis Plagne

With David Hockney: Current, the NGV has made the unusual decision to devote a major exhibition to a selection of work from the last decade by a 79 year-old artist active since the early 1960s. Perhaps this can be explained by the popular appeal of the iPhone and iPad drawings that make up much of David Hockney's output in this period, but the choice is interesting insofar as the narro...