By Peter Maddern
The visual arts program of the Fringe seems to be getting smaller and smaller as each year passes. No doubt the success of SALA in August contributes to this but trying to garner an audience via the voluminous Fringe guide gets harder and harder and having to fork out $395 for the privilege starts to get expensive as well.
There are a few exhibitions dedicated solely to photography of which Grit at the Hart’s Mill Packing Shed at Port Adelaide is the standout.
Saved from an on-the-nose developer in 2012, once opened to those dedicated to its saviour and preservation the Packing Shed revealed a treasure trove of a world now mostly of another era. Grit is the theme of the works on display by a range of local artists including some of those who were originally bestowed with the honour of first dibs at recording the shed.
Of these Tony Kearney’s works are the stand out, most particularly those from 2012 re-presented here of the interior of the building. Kearney’s masterful control of the tonal range take us back revealing immense detail of the engineering that originally made the place operational. One just senses that the workers will soon enter and take up their places again as each view plays itself out in the mind. My favourite of the interior scenes was that of the wired window that welcomed in brilliant light onto some wooden structures just within. His external panorama of the adjoining building taken from Hart Street is also a gem.
Brent Leideritz is a portrait photographer and his Revelation6 at the Gusto Hair Salon on Waymouth Street is worth a visit. Drawing inspiration from the Bible’s Revelation 6 v1-17, Leiderwitz presents five panels containing 4×4 heads, mostly of younger people but also the occasional horse’s head, all in black and white.
There are beards and breasts, some passive, others up for a fight, a few seemingly beaten by their day. The quizzical, the spirited, the sexy, the demonic and the modest all look out at the viewer through their port holes as a passing parade of humanity, each albeit reduced to a face but in actuality full bodies of life carrying with them its vicissitudes of hopes and challenges.
Finally, at the Exeter, which always opens its doors to smaller art exhibitions, is Edge of Insanity presented by the Cut Snake Collective. Not much there of much appeal to this reviewer other a stunning work by Amanda Bramwell entitled The Traveller. In it a spiffy looking young gent in the bottom right corner with a coat watch looks out on the passing parade of folk of a much later era than his demeanour and attire would suggest. The sepia tone may have one immediately feeling this is taken in India or somewhere in the Middle East but it’s not; it’s from one of those popular bustling lanes in Melbourne that this town longs to possess. The light, ambience and perspective make this one print worth taking in a pint or two to enjoy during the Fringe.