Thursday, 22 November 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art (Part II)

Here are some impressions from another recent trip to the wonderful MCA.


Rosalie Gascoigne: Tiger Tiger, 1987

This is made from road signs that are carved up and reassembled. Some critics refer to Gascoigne's work as visual poetry. It caught my eye because it is inspired by a poem I love, The Tyger, by William Blake:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Tim Johnson: Dewachin, 1987

This is inspired by Aboriginal dot paintings and is beautiful and shimmering in the original.

Nick Mangan: eXoecoaXis, 2005

The kids were impressed by the hand-made crystals poking out of the Persian rug, and I like the catchy title...

Robert Owen: Sunrise #3, 2005

Imagine this in your living room - minus the bucket! Love the combination of vibrant colours.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Angus Stone at the Enmore, 1 November 2012

It's like stepping into a fairytale: cut-out trees, a fake campfire in the corner, glittering light bulbs for stars. It fits the atmosphere this evening. People are sitting cross-legged, chatting quietly and waiting patiently for Angus Stone to appear. When he finally does, the crowd goes wild though; and when he calmly utters the profound words: "Hi, I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Angus", there is no stopping at least the female part of the audience. There is a lot of chanting his name and fervently shouted declarations of love. The man himself takes all this in his stride. He strokes his beard thoughtfully and answers carefully that, yeah, he loves us too, which sends the girls into another screaming frenzy.
But all that aside, there's the music. It's mostly stripped back, acoustic and folksy like River Love, the first song of the evening that has more than a hint of Bob Dylan to it, but there are also slightly edgier and darker pieces like It Was Blue and End of the World, which suit Stone's voice surprisingly well. This voice really is something: It's raw and emotional, and like his big sister he has that uncanny ability to give you the impression of sitting right next to you and singing gently into your ear.
For the encore Stone plays a song that he has written on the same day, something gloomy and acoustic about a beautiful French girl who makes him sad for some reason. If feels authentic, and I'm thinking that this is what people crave: that sense of a simple truth; a guy with shaggy hair and a guitar who sings softly about his feelings, his loneliness and his dreams. It certainly isn't new, but it is honest and beautiful - and it still gets the girls...