Comedy lurks in Mico’s cosmic art

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“Eye of God”, 2019, oil on canvas.
Art / Domenic Mico’s “The Cosmos”, at m16artspace.com.au until April 5. Reviewed by PHILLIP MACKENZIE.

BEING a complacent, if not complicit, citizen, I was unable to attend the opening of Domenic Mico’s exhibition “The Cosmos” at M16 Artspace in Griffith.

As it turned out, thanks to COVID-19, the exhibition was never officially “launched”, but in those relatively liberal couple of days, the show was billed as being accessible to the public. In a stir-crazy demonstration of independence, therefore, a few days later I broke my self-imposed parole and went to M16.

There was an ominous sense of emptiness as I entered the lobby, and found the gallery closed against intruders. I was, however, able to peer through the mesh roller doors and get some impression of the impressive display of abstract bursts of cosmic splendour which, I knew, Mico had been building up since his 2018 exhibition at FORM Gallery in Queanbeyan.

While that collection can now be seen as a colourful and expressionist precursor to the works, its theme had been more terrestrial. Now, Mico is joyously swanning off among the nebulae.

“Pillars of Creation”, 2018, oil on canvas

On returning home, I was relieved to find that M16 had up-loaded the entire offering at m16artspace.com.au and I had all the time I could want to browse, visit and revisit these phantasmagorical images at my leisure.

The I-version did nothing to diminish my admiration for Mico, and for his sake I can only hope that the two sales noted therein are an indication only of the fear and caution with which we are all living in the time of COVID-19.

“Blue Planet”, 2018, oil on canvas.

I would happily put red stickers on “Pillars of Creation” and “Emissions” – in both of these I swear there is the vestige of the theatrical comedy mask lurking in the cosmic dust – a sly joke from Mico’s past life in theatre? Elsewhere, I might fantasise about vestigial images of the ubiquitous COVID-19 – but I doubt that even Mico’s imagination could have foreseen our present predicament.

I would also happily put red stickers on “Blue Planet”, which put me in mind of “Whale Nation”, a long poem by Heathcote Williams which Phil Roberts and later Neil Roach and I adapted for solo performance in the 1990s. It begins, “From space, the planet is blue. From space the planet is the territory not of humans but of the whale” and on my shelves I have a deep blue glass sphere by local artist Alan Aston which, for me, conjures up the same meme.

And, I would also put a red sticker on “Eye of God”– because, well, I just liked it.

Now that art galleries are off-limits for “the duration”, I hope they will follow M16’s example and upload their offerings for house-bound art lovers to regain some sense of the real world we have been forced to leave behind.

 

 

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