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Indepth Arts News:

"Propulsion: John Meade / Gentle: Pat Brassington"
2001-06-09 until 2001-07-19
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
South Yarra, VI, AU

John Meades concerns with the figure as a sculptor are translated here into large-scale, simultaneous video projections. Propulsion depicts two male bodies in different kinds of motion: the first riding a motorbike at high speed where upon the camera zooms in to focus upon a tear forming in the corner of the mans eye; the second, on a moving walkway which is in fact moving so fast that the man loses his footing and does all he can to simply hang on.

The images are projected on to suspended screens which can be viewed from either side; like two floating picture planes. They alternately appear like isloated stills from various popular films we may have seen at some time (from slapstick to action film); the image is arrested from a larger narrative at a crucial moment and were left to wonder what is going on, what will happen; truly a suspended moment on screen.

But although its an image, the work nonetheless deals with various formal issues around scale, volume, texture, and movement as they apply to sculpture. As Meade says: the body is presented as a permeable object in space: breathing, feeling, weeping and moving through time. Propulsion is a joint project between ACCA and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, supported by the Besen Family Foundation.

In the grand and long tradition of surrealism in photography, one of Australias foremost photographers Pat Brassington exhibits her latest series of doctored, digital prints in Gentle; images of some familiar things gently but profoundly altered.

A plastic dolls profile brought into close focus in one image can reveal some of the sinister conceits of mass marketed femininity. Likewise, the raised skirts in another image reveal not one but two sets of impossibly, straightened female legs. Of course, new technologies have added another dimension to the project of making things strange to reveal the alternate psychological significance of everyday events and objects. Just look at advertising to see some of this potential: one thing becoming another, all kinds of shapes shifting and blending.

However Brassingtons images are more subtle and pointed. She uses the technology sparingly, to lull rather than shock the viewer into disbelief. Indeed, Brassington arguably has the finest, gentlest touch of any Australian digital artist at work today.

Her work was recently shown at Stills Gallery in Sydney, and included in the 20th century survey exhibition End of the World at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Pat Brassington

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