Review of Kirrily Hammond: Suburbia, with menace in the air
November 14, 2014 – 11:45PM
Kirrily Hammond: Suburbia
Beaver Galleries, 81 Denison Street, Deakin
Closes November 25, Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm
Although most Australians live in the suburbs, Australian artists have generally been a little shy of this subject. There have been notable exceptions, for example, the early works of John Brack and the art of Howard Arkley, but these hardly constitute a major tradition in Australian art, as do the landscape, the outback or still life compositions.
Kirrily Hammond, now a Melbourne-based artist but until about a decade ago living in Canberra, is fundamentally a printmaker with a romantic predisposition. Her images are moody, frequently set at dusk, and often touched by the sense of awe and embracing the sublime in nature. She has now brought this sensibility to the streetscapes of her adopted city of Melbourne and its tightly packed inner northern suburbs.
In terms of their sense of presence, her work brings to mind those melting tonal visions of Clarice Beckett and her watery images of dawn and dusk in her particular patch of Melbourne, the suburb of Beaumaris. Except I find something slightly menacing about Hammond’s vision of Melbourne suburbia, particularly the suburb of Brunswick, from which come virtually all of the small oil paintings and charcoal drawings in this exhibition.
The paintings Laneway, Brunswick East, Bladen Ave, Brunswick East, Canberra St, Brunswick and the drawing Street signs, Brunswick East, all imply an exactitude of location through their titles, yet appear to be devoid of human inhabitants. There is an anonymity in this suburbia, where danger is not depicted, but seems to lurk somewhere behind the facades of suburban houses. It was in Brunswick that the 29-year-old Jill Meagher was brutally raped and murdered in 2012, an incident which deeply scarred the whole Brunswick community.
There is nothing in Hammond’s quiet observations of suburbia at dusk that would link them to these horrific events, but it is a slightly menacing and foreboding atmosphere that pervades in many of the scenes. For me the most successful work at this exhibition is the monochrome drawing Street Signs, Brunswick East. The signs themselves are left deliberately illegible, the facade of the house is thickly veiled in shadows, while the framing foreground space is dominated by a number of fleeting reflections. Although there is a simplicity in the general compositional structure, the notion of ambiguity gives that slightly unnerving note to the drawing. As far as the viewer knows, nothing bad has ever happened here, but the note of foreboding suggests invisible evil forces at play in the air.
As with most of Hammond’s exhibitions, this one is quite small, only a dozen pieces, tightly united thematically, but possessing the quality of “otherness”.
Looking forward to putting the exhibition up in Canberra this week, it will be nice to be under those clear Canberra skies again.
Thanks to Art Collector for the mention: http://www.artcollector.net.au/KirrilyHammondSuburbia
FIGURATIVE WORKS FROM THE LATROBE REGIONAL GALLERY COLLECTION
14 JUNE – 12 OCTOBER 2014
Two of my paintings held in the Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection are currently on display in a group show that explores the ‘darker side’..
|Latrobe Regional Gallery
138 Commercial Road Morwell VIC 3840
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday; 11am – 4pm Saturday & Sunday
I have some paintings in a Christmas group show at Beaver Galleries titled ‘Small works‘. It also features the work of Crispin Akerman, Peter Boggs, Nicola Dickson, Mel Douglas, Graeme Drendel, Benjamin Edols & Kathy Elliot, Neville French, Fiona Hiscock, Waratah Lahy, Bruno Leti, Adrian Lockhart, Mandy Martin, Alicia Mozqueira, Denese Oates, Jenny Orchard, David Pottinger, Amanda Shelsher, Avital Sheffer and Wayne Viney.
The show runs from 28 November until 24 December – I hope you get a chance to see it if you’re in the area.
I have some work in a group exhibition at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.
Curated by Meryl Ryan and Stephen Goddard, the exhibition also features the work of Jane Burton, Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy, Georgina Cue, Dong Yuan, Roger Hanley, David Lawrey and Jaki Middleton, Callum Morton, Scan, Justine Varga, Craig Walsh and Yuendumu Door artists Paddy Jupurrurla Nelson and Paddy Japaljarri Stewart.
My work is a series of artist books titled Journals I-V 1997, which are 5 hand-bound journals made from drawings and prints.
I hope you get a chance to see the show – it runs from 23 Nov 2013 – 9 Feb 2014.
Two paintings from my recent show at Gallerysmith were purchased by The M Collection, Melbourne. They are currently on display as part of an exhibition of works from The M Collection at Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Opening: Thursday 3 October, 6-8pm
108 -110 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Saturday 12-5pm
Doubtful Sound 2009, oil on linen, 30 x 30 cm
Two of my paintings are included in a group show at Gallerysmith, Melbourne, also featuring work by Guy Maestri, Catherine Nelson, Charmaine Pike, Paul Ryan, Sarah Tomasetti & Greg Wood. As you may guess from the Keats title, it’s a landscape exhibition and I hope you can make it.
Opening Friday 6 September, 6-8pm
I was invited to curate an exhibition for Arts Project Australia, Melbourne, and it was a fantastic opportunity to work with some amazing people and inspiring art from Arts Project Australia and more broadly by artists from Melbourne and Sydney.
Titled Nocturne, the exhibition features the work of Fulli Andrinopoulos, Dionne Canzano, Alan Constable, Leo Cussen, Emily Ferretti, Peter Graham, Brent Harris, Kelvin Heffernan, Jess Johnson, Nhan Nguyen, Cameron Noble, Warren O’Brien, Caleb Shea, Jelena Telecki and Terry Williams.
Exhibition dates: 13 July – 17 August 2013 Download Catalogue
Dionne Canzano, Not titled 2007, pastel 43.5 x 56 cm, Private Collection
Peter Graham, it is seeded in futility, it is imbedded in dry loam 2003, oil on linen, 80 x 60cm, Private Collection
Jelena Telecki, Nurse Smoking 2012, oil on canvas, 51 x 41 cm, Image courtesy of the artist and Gallery9, Sydney.
Great to receive a mention in The Age by Dan Rule – I hope you get a chance to see the show. For further info: Arts Project Australia
I’ve been working on some new paintings for a forthcoming exhibition at Gallerysmith, Melbourne. They are images of my local neighbourhood, when the sun goes down and the shadows become mysteriously inspiring. The show will be on from 24 July – 31 August.. More info soon
Look, new website!!
Thanks to the bestest ever website designer Mik Efford