The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Sydney Travel Blog› entry 17 of 206 › view all entries
Today I decided to explore a little further afield. I am trying to eke out my sight-seeing till my travel partner arrives next week, but I have no idea whether in fact she has done her sight-seeing already on her previous trip out here or whether she will prefer to sun-worship on Bondi, but nevertheless I have been taking it easy rather than trying to do everything at once.
I got off an Wynyard and exited onto George Street from where it is a few blocks walk directly down to Circular Quay. I ambled around, making mental notes of pubs and eateries, and enjoying the general spring-like feel. I got an ice-cream from the Royal Copenhagan shop and sat down at the edge of some gardens to watch a folk singer and guitarist (Dave Calandra) wired up to speakers and playing to the lunchtime crowd.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is free, much like the Tate Modern/Britain at home. It's nice to find some quality entertainment is free, as I know we are quite spoiled in London where almost 80 museums in the capital are paid for by government subsidy, private sponsorship and voluntary donation only. The two exhibitions I saw were 'Primavera 07: Exhibition by Young Australian Artists', and 'Cross Currents: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art'. I had a wonderful couple of hours here!
My favourite artists from the first exhibition were Amanda Marburg, who did beautiful paintings of offbeat clay models (two types of art in one piece), Martin Smith, who punched out excerpts of books or songs in type face on photographs of urban landscapes, and Honor Freeman who made the most exquisite ceramic casts of things like tupperware, and sponges.
My favourites from the second were Vivienne Binns who had made paintings of fabric or linoleum patterns that she had unearthed in her role working with communities as a memorial to the original unknown artists. (In memory of Unknown Artist) Debra Dawes who created giant paintings of geometric lines of triangles in garish colours that look 3D, like a magic eye picture. Stuart Elliot who created fictional 3D industrial city-scapes. Dale Hickey, who I especially loved, who creates hard-edged flat pop-art paintings (I want one!). Hilarie Mais who created human-sized wooden painted grids that change as you walk round them and cast moving shadows on the room you walk through. Helen Maudsley who created astonishingly complex paintings; the only way I can describe them is like a combination of Escher and Kandinsky. I don't doubt if I was better versed in art then I could make a better more accurate comparison but since I'm not, I can't. Rosslynd Piggott who designs beautiful large canvases of repeating patterns that draw you in whilst being almost of nothing. One of her paintings, pink and of repeating concentric circles within circles gave me the distinct impression of the sparkle effect you get just before you pass out. Most disconcerting, but also quite lovely! David Stephenson, who my ex would just love makes star pictures from photographing the star lines created as the earth turns. Karl Wiebke whose paintings (or are they pen lines?) are so finely drawn that the effect is like looking at a thinly woven blanket. Finally, Ah Xian created busts of people in a variety of asian styles; for instance in lotus-leaf lacquer, or willow-pattern, or dragon motif laquer.
After that (well, and about half an hour spent perusing MCA's amazing shop) I wandered up to the Sydney Opera House but it was getting kinda chilly so I just took an info leaflet and then on my way back to the station popped into a few shops getting Xmas present ideas for my family. I know it's crazy, but post is slow from the other side of the planet and I might as well stagger the cost of Xmas starting from now!
Back at North Sydney I bumped into Cody, and we wandered up to the Station Hotel on the corner where some of his ex-work colleagues were meeting for drinks to present him with his present of a highly expensive ($250) All Blacks shirt. We had a bit of dinner and a few pints and then I headed back to the house.