"as it is – as it can be"
Matt Bradley, Bridget Currie, Peter McKay, Mark Siebert
Curated by: Downtown Art Space (Adelaide)
Dates: 10-21 April 2007
At first glance this exhibition of four Adelaide artists might appear to be an unlikely grouping. Matt Bradley projects a video documenting an encounter between two eccentric custom bicycle clubs from Adelaide and Canberra respectively. Bridget Currie contributes candid photographs capturing shiny objects, such as a police vest at night or a sword clutched by a school girl, alongside a delicately crafted installation of metallicised grape stalks. Peter McKay presents dark, colourful photographs reminiscent of distant galaxies, though they are actually of glitter encrusted oil stains in car parks, as well as messages to aliens written in tea light candles. Lastly, Mark Siebert shows carefully selected album covers of bands he has studied thoroughly deftly reproduced in watercolour, hung alongside a large oil on canvas reworking of an iPod advertisement. What links these artists is something more fundamental than subject or medium: what links these artists is something of their belief in the world and in art.
In short, these artists share an interest in literalism, which is in turn also a quality in each of their practices. Each video, photograph, sculpture or painting is dry and direct; even the most grandiose works in this exhibition are relatively straight forward and matter of fact. The purpose of this approach is to focus the audience’s attention on the subject and its potential: the world as it is; the world as it can be.
This may sound dull. We are often tired of the world, bored of its regularity, routine and disappointments. But perhaps we are tired of the world not because of its lack, but because of our own: because we fail to look at it; because we fail to explore it; because we fail to refresh and expand our experience. This exhibition affirms both the value of art, and existence, through defining a few simple but unexpected pleasures of the imagination grounded very firmly in reality. Here the belief is that the world, as it is, and as it can be, is a world one and the same if we make it so.