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Canberra Today 16°/18° | Sunday, December 10, 2023 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

A happy, bright and hopeful exhibition

Installation of “memphis now” featuring works by April Phillips, Drew Spangenberg, Judi Elliott, Kate Banazi and Gibson Karlo. Photo: Brenton McGeachie

Craft / “memphis now”, Canberra Glassworks, until December 16. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

THE Memphis Group was a short-lived yet influential design movement that emerged in Milan in the early 1980s, founded by Italian designer and architect Ettore Sottass and a small group of artists and designers. It fostered artistic freedom and was based on celebration, experimentation and modification.

This exhibition – “Memphis Now” – was co-curated by Aimee Frodsham from Canberra Glassworks and Stephen Payne from Megalo Print Studio, both of which are based in Kingston. An excellent initiative from these two organisations.

When you visiting this show, look for bright colours, sharp lines and circles.

As you enter the gallery, don’t forget to look up as Ham Darroch has painted “Piscina”, which wraps arounds around the top of the entrance to the shop and gallery, and continues into the gallery itself. Circles, lines, zig zags are all there painted in bright colours on brighter grounds. Purple, red, blue, black and white, yellow and green all bounce off each other, beginning your journey through the gallery with joy.

Judi Elliott, “Come Fly a Kite”, 2018, kiln-formed glass, ribbons. Photo: Rob Little

The senior artist, Judi Elliott, is showing works from her prolific career as an artist working in glass. “Come Fly a Kite” is a joyful work with coloured ribbons falling from the bottom of the two triangular kite forms. Smaller triangles are repeated in the coloured motifs in the yellow ground. She is also showing two other works, one of which is a mirror. The mirror reflects the brightness of the colours of other exhibits, adding to the overall delight of this exhibition.

April Phillips is showing lighting pendants – which are colourful and fun – and a triptych titled “Moments”. I am not much of a fan of QR codes, but I was assisted to download this QR code and shown what to do and it was like magic on my phone’s screen. Green zig zag lines, crossed lines, blue balloon shapes and little creatures with black whiskers came to life and danced around. This work was screen and woodblock printed on handmade paper produced by dodgy paper from artists’ paper waste and printed at Megalo.

Acrylic square and circular panels in Fluro colours intersect with each other in several works by Kate Banazi. These are fun and create colourful shadows behind them. Banazi is also showing three framed works from acrylic panels and acrylic paint on linen. Their titles are intriguing:  they all include the word “Rerouted” as for example, “Rerouted Narwee to Kogarah”.

Many of the objects are displayed on “Confetti Collection” furniture, created by Gibson Karlo, a design duo. Recycled plastic is formed into tubular forms speckled with colour. Black compact laminate forms the table tops. These minimalist pieces are perfect for the bright objects they carry.

SA artist Drew Spangenberg, is showing a range of objects inspired by domestic settings, and perhaps kitchenware from the ’50s and ’60s. Simple, straight-sided forms, or curved in bright, shiny colours, they evoke my grandmother’s kitchen. They sing and it was hard not to pick up the “Continental Champagne” (glass) and take it to the bar to be filled.

This is a happy, bright and hopeful exhibition.


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