Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bevan Honey @ Galerie Düsseldorf, Perth

I try not to 'formally' talk/write about shows but I found the exhibition very thought provoking and more than worthy of some wordsmithing.

Bevan Honey is a bit of a star in Perth and his new show reminded me of some sport/art crossover work we've seen recently.

There's a genuine rivalry in Australia between people who drive particular types cars - mainly Holden and Ford. Motifs abound that are distinguishable (for most Australian-based Males that is) as parts/colours of various models. Grey & orange, lemon yellow and various fluorescents, for example, are very popular paint schemes with some of these cars.

The majority of the artworks in Bevan's show are made out of plywood and are exquisitely and lovingly crafted. They are prepped and painted as if they were part of a car and have a depthless, flawless enamel finish.

The holes in various pieces are as dark as a human iris and appear at first glance to be a surface feature rather than structural. They imply a point of attachment or access but also as a release of tension in the surface during the 'panel beating' process.

The 'works in progress' aspect is interesting in that you are unsure if they celebrate the aesthetic of the process they are replicating or if they are in themselves (as artworks) incomplete.

Did the artist, as many who work on their own vehicles, get to a point where it was 'enough' - ie. driveable - rather than perfect? Would perfection mean that they are 'ready to be judged'? Would perfection mean the completion of an aspect of their lives? What happens after that completion? Is the process more significant that the result?

There is also an interesting series of 'sketches' that resemble poker work on ply. They are however digitally printed and sealed.

Instead of the surface being burnt, it is rather just the illusion of it being burnt - a significant difference. They have a disconcerting quality to them as they are slightly blurred. You'd expect the obvious computer schematics to be clean and perfect on pure white paper, but they instead celebrate their imperfections and 'return' to the material that they supposedly define.

I could write much, MUCH more (ie. metal as fetish, the feminine aspect to shape selection, the 'cutting' concept, etc) about what I got out of this show but I'd rather not over think the work.

I can only say that Bevan should be celebrated as his show is refreshingly honest and quite unique in that it blurs seemingly disparate aspects of Australian culture.

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