The bright lights of Sydney’s Vivid festival drew moths to flaming landmarks around the city. It is spectacular, the harbour dark and cold brought to life reflecting the hyper flickering. The Museum of Contemporary Art was perfectly packaged in light on the outside by Gemma Smith and the Spinifex Group. Inside two major exhibitions made the lights seem frivolous somehow.
The first show was Wangechi Mutu, an American based Kenyan artist whose work felt dark and heavy behind the facade of lights. A reminder that not all the world is beautiful.
The other show was Jeff Wall: Photographs. This was a remarkable exhibition and once again proves that visiting a gallery with no specific purpose can sometimes be for the best. I don’t know a lot about photography but was curious to find out more from his work. There was an overriding feeling for me that I could use these works as a basis for a painting, especially so with Diagonal Composition. A simple photo but so right in all aspects. It reminded me of photographs I have taken prior to developing a painting, the subject almost irrelevant and the focus more about the shapes within that area and how or whether the colour could be used at all.
His larger highly staged works such as After the Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) feel effortless. Once again the lights outside seemed a flash outside of reality compared to the world of Jeff Wall.