Review / Three exhibitions, one centre

Visual Arts / Paul Dumetz, Solomon Grainger and Joshua Sleeman-Taylor. At Belconnen Arts Centre, until July 5. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY

Details from a work from “Discomfort” by Joshua Sleeman-Taylor.

THREE exhibitions of Canberra-based artists with creations from distinctively different styles and mediums opened at Belconnen Arts Centre on June 1.

The black and white images in the exhibition titled “Discomfort” by Joshua Sleeman-Taylor, who specialises in the intaglio printmaking process, are images of multiple humans etched into uncomfortable positions. It’s hard not to feel empathy for these characters, who all look vulnerable and in a degree of discomfort.

Each work has an image of a person repeated multiple times in various positions. It appears there’s a narrative on the complex inter-relationship people have with themselves, and how they might change and evolve for others and circumstances.

The odd titles, such as “UM2” and “TS3” might be the initials of the sitter or hiding some deeper meaning, but they may be just the artist’s unique way of cataloguing his artworks.

Every person is naked in all six works on display, which adds to the feeling of exposure and aloneness they exude. The choice of using just black and white makes for a stark contrast that helps display the emotional grief that the people seem to be going through.

The human forms all blend into one another and they seem to grow out of themselves, which could represent a desire for the subject to move away from themselves or away from hurt or even a metamorphosis of some sort.

Sleeman-Taylor who graduated from the ANU School of Art in 2017 already shows the depth and skill of an artist who has been practising for many years.

Detail of a work by Solomon Grainger.

Solomon Grainger’s exhibition titled “Places”, is a selection of work that portrays the spirit of certain places in the world that have moved the artist. Over the 18 artworks on display, some not abstract, there’s a sense of unity that comes out in his choice of colours and also stylistically.

Some of the works are on canvas, on board, some are mixed media, but all exude a nervous energy. Each work has its own individual story, and most hold a complex statement of a particular view, sentiment or place. The large triptych titled “Hercules Torment, Megara Flees to the Sea”, which could remind a viewer of a Brett Whiteley work, stood out for its dramatic use of colour and its unique voice on how it captured a story of the greatest of all heroes in Greek mythology Hercules and his wife Megara.

Every place a person visits leaves something of that location in the person after they have left, and in these artworks, you can feel and see a memory of what the artist has experienced and how it has touched him.

Ceramics by Paul Dumetz.

Also launched on June 1 was the exhibition titled “On the Table” by Paul Dumetz, which explores functional ceramic ware in a highly designed and most stunning manner. The main table display is exquisite.

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