FRINGE 2013 – Helpmann Academy Grad Exhibition – Drill Hall – 3.5K

100 rocks by Tom Borgas

100 rocks by Tom Borgas

By Peter Maddern

The annual Helpmann Academy Graduate exhibition, on again at the Drill Hall at the Parade Grounds, show cases the very best of Adelaide’s student artists. Also as per usual, there is an eclectic collection on display with everything from photographs and moving pictures to large installations, ceramics and glass.

Rightfully, much attention has been focused on Kate Kurucz’s luscious and traditional portrait, mischievously entitled Casual Friday. The colours are absorbing and the work stands somewhat in contrast to many of the modern and grungy styles adopted elsewhere in the show.

Also of interest with the brush are Ellie Noir’s works, especially her Myself As Alice where a cowering frightened Alice is seen squeezed into a very confined space. Her mastery of the human form is very evident and her work is accomplished. Kurucz’s other work Pleasuredome Palindrome, (partial below) (again a delicious name) is homage to self-indulgence and its therapeutic effects on our psyche.

csA favourite from last year, Carly Snoswell, is back with her plastic loop ties, this time (in Untitled – left) as intensely spun balls in all manner of colours that seem to be exploding apart as you view them. The magic in her work is the shock one gets from seeing what constitutes her seemingly simple figures.

There is also something alluring to Tom Borgas’ 100 Rocks (above) that are presented, precisely, as cross-sections in graduating sizes and shades of purples to reds. A no doubt unintended impact it may have is to conjure up finely cooked pieces of prime beef or lamb.

Sure to amuse is Victor Waclawik’s Footstool (with accompanying Armchair), both done in black rubber and imitation leather – the former with the soles of feet protruding, the latter with arms doing similarly.

There are also a number of objects whose creators have obviously revelled in the creative process as much as the outcomes. The useful exhibition catalogue confirms that for us and the works of Russell O’Brien, Lucy Palmer and Kel Chester are well worth pausing at to study on this count.

Pleasuredome Palindrome by Kate Kurucz (partial)

Pleasuredome Palindrome by Kate Kurucz (partial)

On that reference source, the catalogue provides most valuable guidance for viewers as it includes the individual artists’ statements that do no end of good to explain what has been attempted and thus what it is we should look at in their work and how well they have achieved their aims. The arrogance of ‘art is what is what I have called it and it is for you to interpret it’ is thankfully put on hold in this environment.

I am uncertain whether this year’s exhibition matches that of last year’s which was somewhat of a stand out with more than a few of those artists already making a name for themselves out in the real world. And perhaps that is best how we regard this exhibition. It is that final moment for the student artists between the constraints and support of the educational institution and its teaching methods and requirements and that first day beyond when full freedom of expression is allowed in a dog eat dog world.

But as always, there is much to admire and be fascinated by with Samela Harris’ Art For The Looking essay in the catalogue a most useful starting point for appreciating the works within.

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