Charles Green

  • Anne Zahalka

    Anne Zahalka’s portrait series “Artists, 1989–90,” records members of the upmarket avant-garde posed within fabricated three-dimensional studio reconstructions, which evoke the artistic sensibilities of the sitters. The resulting large, glossy color prints, are loaded with telling detail to the point that they virtually burst at the seams with hidden significance, and the visual plenitude obfuscates their legibility. Artist #12 (David O’Halloran) is the bohemian in his garret: he sits in bed writing. The accessories are suitably spartan: a telephone on a red plastic milk crate, and a book by

  • Jon Cattapan

    In Jon Cattapan’s paintings, nocturnal suburban landscapes bathed in an aqueous greenish light provide a dreamlike setting for various sexual transactions and crimes. J.G. Ballard sketched an entropic greenhouse world in his early short stories peopled by isolated neurotics charting courses across environmentally ruined landscapes. Like Ballard’s four-dimensional nightmare,Cattapan’s paintings are only apparently ruled by narrative; though observed from a bird’s-eye perspective, they avoid grandiose overviews.

    The fragmentation of action in these paintings blocks epic interpretation. There is no

  • Philip Hunter

    Philip Hunter’s landscapes based on the tropical Kakadu region of Australia emerge from webs and swaths of painterly brushwork. His forms are more the result of automatism than description, and his paint disguises as much as it reveals. That these paintings are landscapes is largely a matter of agreement between the artist and his audience since there are no precise counterparts for these images in the real world. Their coherence is less the byproduct of their verisimilitude than the result of the artist’s vision. Hunter’s work shares marked affinities with Surrealist painting and, like such

  • Eric Cameron

    The moment one enters Eric Cameron’s installation, “The Divine Comedy,” the space is plunged into darkness. After a minute of tape-recorded laughter, a slide projector’s flashing strobe and intermittent glimpses of ghosts in museum vitrines, the lights come on. Though Cameron advises his audience to attend to the material reality of the sculptures, his wraithlike white shapes look more like manifestations at a séance than the result of the mind-numbing project he initiated a decade ago. Cameron applies thousands of half-coats of acrylic gesso to ordinary objects in his apartment and the “thick

  • Juan Davila

    Although Juan Davila cannibalizes the body of art, his paintings do not show art consumed by desire, but desire by art. Most commentary on Davila is flawed by a fixation on his appropriative method, which should be distinguished from quotation as another bibliophile’s vice. In these paintings sexual fantasy appears as permanent reality; here, the studio stands in for all of culture, and sex is the center of the universe.

    Davila’s overheated painting is undeniably powerful; one wishes it were possible to feel some interest or empathy for his characters, but Davila doesn’t tell us anything about

  • Davida Allen

    Thick paint usually signifies a belief in cathartic self-expression. As the tidal wave of a return to painting has subsided, the link between brushy rhetoric and autobiography has now become such a cliché that artists who wish to demonstrate their awareness of the self’s contemporary erasure are expected to work clinically. Yet Davida Allen’s reputation within Australia has so far escaped question, even though she is above all a self-consciously autobiographical artist. Her paintings are about her private life as the mother of several children and about her role as a housewife who paints. She

  • Mike Parr

    Mike Parr first achieved notoriety in the early ’70s as a performance artist whose works involved tests of endurance and self-mutilation. Though the themes now seem familiar, the way Parr explored his relationship with an audience––shocking or trapping them into an often brutal complicity––had considerable impact. In one performance, the loss of innocence was equated with the artist’s childhood loss of an arm. Parr exorcised that trauma by hacking off an imitation limb before a horrified audience. For the last few years Parr has been creating a voluminous series of self-portraits, drawn on huge

  • Joan Letcher

    Joan Letcher steals from old master paintings and Hollywood movie stills, photocopying, enlarging, and recombining them into collages on canvas, and improving on the originals in every way. Before, these motifs were enveloped in the monochromatic fog of art-book reproductions or grainy film stills. In books, they were mere patterns of textured tone; through her interventions, a curious atmosphere and complexity is retrieved. By manipulating photocopy paper through lightening and darkening, she simulates the distorted view through a keyhole, an essential voyeurism. Letcher’s figures, freed from

  • Nikolaus Lang

    Nikolaus Lang is a West German artist who has been working for the last three years in Australia. His works reenact an evident fascination with primitive culture, archeology, and science. Lang’s origins are firmly in the process-minded ’70s; affinities might be drawn with Robert Smithson or, more recently, Anne and Patrick Poirier and Lothar Baumgarten. All these artists assemble the illusion of recovered knowledge; their work hinges on that apparent availability, and the fact of its denial is significant. Legibility and moral education become visual tropes as well as commitments; thus, the

  • Graeme Hare

    Graeme Hare’s recent photographs hover between abstraction and figuration. In this they are consistent with his earlier “Backgrounds” pieces, oddly blank works that mimic urban landscape’s background detail, yet deny sufficient referents to establish the narratives they so strongly suggest. The bichromate photographs in this exhibition oscillate between an anachronistic pleasure in landscape’s expressive potential and a fastidious and most contemporary retreat from any imaging of the real. Hare grouped his photographs in an installation of landscape tropes: trees against sky, city nocturnes,

  • Pansy Napangati

    Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of artistic activity in aboriginal communities across Australia. Western desert painting, in particular, has attracted the type of attention that in contemporary art simulates importance. Yet the reception of this art has been double-edged, since most observers have been responding to their own fantasies about an exotic and mysterious art, at the same time as a fascinated media has been talking about “Leonardos of the desert.” To paraphrase Sartre, it is particularly distressing to catch in the act something new, something we neither predicted