Heidi Harrington-Johnson

  • Heath Franco, VALLEY, 2019. Installation view, Cement Fondu, Paddington, New South Wales.
    picks September 09, 2019

    Heath Franco

    With “VALLEY,” an exhibition of a 2019 walk-in installation of the same name, Heath Franco stages a bold physical extension of the video-based work for which he’s best known. Entering Passage, 2018–19, a carpeted A-frame walkway, feels like stepping into a sinister gated garden, a portal to a dark dimension. Indeed, artificial foliage at the tunnel’s entrance partially shields the viewer from a speaker that loops through a distorted greeting: “I’m not doing anything.”

    The world one enters is a post-consumerist one. Franco has crafted a phallic pyre, which he calls Pile Circus, 2019, upon which

  • Nick Cave, Crystal Cloudscape, 2015–16, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks December 07, 2018

    Nick Cave

    Walking into the cavernous space that holds Nick Cave's “Until”—as in, innocent until proven guilty—those unfamiliar with the artist’s work might not suspect that the exhibition is about racial profiling, gender politics, and gun violence in the United States. Then we see the cues-the small cutouts of guns, teardrops, and bullets that make up the diorama spanning the length and width of the entrance hall, Kinetic Spinner Forest, 2016, and the slogans of peace and power in Beaded Cliff Wall, 2015–16, in the neighboring room. Still, these works are of a whimsical, inviting nature. In Beaded Cliff

  • View of “Valerie Hegarty: American Berserk,” 2016.
    picks October 21, 2016

    Valerie Hegarty

    Rotting, wounded, smiling—watermelons, in Valerie Hegarty’s latest exhibition of paintings and sculptures, are depicted as sentient objects: carnal, threatening. Several wedges of the fruit, done in ceramics, rest on a plinth, their pink flesh resembling gums and growing teeth, tongues, ribs, stalagmites, barnacles. They make one think of the chemically modified watermelons that spontaneously exploded across fields in China in 2011—a warning about the perils of mutant capitalism.

    The title of Hegarty’s exhibition, “American Berserk,” comes from Philip Roth’s 1997 novel American Pastoral, where

  • Yorgo Alexopoulos, The Way to the Sea, 2015–16, digital animation on HD translucent LCD display, Thassos marble, gypsum 3-D print, aluminum, steel, glass, C-print on brushed aluminum, mixed-media diorama, LEDs, polished stainless steel, custom electronics, 10-minute infinite loop, 31 1/2 x 47 x 9''.
    picks May 27, 2016

    Yorgo Alexopoulos

    The most striking piece in Yorgo Alexopoulos’s latest show is Act of Nature: In Eight Chapters, 2015–16. Ten minutes of footage loops infinitely across eight synchronized LCD screens positioned at right angles to one another along the gallery’s back wall. Time-lapse photographs of landscapes merge with images both still and filmed; a blue triangle meets its translucent counterpart as a waterfall fades in and out of a densely populated forest.

    Water undulates on seven screens in the similarly hypnotic Split Swell, 2016. Here, we experience an ocean rendered digitally, and we watch it at eye level,

  • View of “Bea Schlingelhoff,” 2016.
    picks February 26, 2016

    Bea Schlingelhoff

    You may think, standing in the empty, bleached space of Bea Schlingelhoff’s latest solo show, that it’s 1984 instead of 2016. From four small black speakers installed in each corner comes: “They made it clear from the start that the slightest deviation from the norm would be punished. They turned everything into prisons, even our own bodies.” This rhetoric, reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopic book, is read from Abigail Bray’s more recent novel Misogyny Re-loaded.

    Winston Smith, Orwell’s central character, is referred to in Bray’s text, as is his torture in the infamous Room 101. The aim:

  • View of “Louise Despont,” 2016.
    picks January 29, 2016

    Louise Despont

    Louise Despont’s “Energy Scaffolds and Information Architecture” has a religious atmosphere. Visitors are asked to remove their shoes upon entering the museum. Despont’s installation, an alternate universe containing two wooden chambers, is accompanied by a soft, live soundscape, courtesy of artist and musician Aaron Taylor Kuffner. Hung on the walls, Kuffner’s robotic gongs, drums, chimes, and bells—collectively titled The Gamelatron Roh Ageng, 2013—play continuously to mimic the gamelan, orchestral music traditional to Despont’s new home in Bali.

    Despont’s sacred spaces serve as elaborate

  • Marina Abramović, Counting the Rice, 2015. Performance view; table, chairs, pencils, paper, white rice, black lentils, instructions.
    picks September 18, 2015

    Marina Abramović

    Marina Abramović first came to Australia in 1979, with her partner and then collaborator Frank Uwe Laysiepen (Ulay), but it was the trip taken the following year, to spend seven months with the Pitjantjatjara people in the Great Victorian Desert, that was to inspire and inform much of her subsequent performance work as well as interest in immateriality and mindfulness. Abramović is not present in this exhibition, “Private Archeology,” but her image is everywhere, encouraging viewers to dig deeper and deconstruct the mythmaking integral to her artistic legacy.

    The masochism that pervades her

  • David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, Geology, 2015, two HD video projections, real-time 3-D environment, game engine, motion sensor, spatial 3-D audio, dimensions variable.
    picks August 10, 2015

    David Haines and Joyce Hinterding

    What might the sun smell like? David Haines imagines it as something like the charred remains of electrical wire, or the dry mustiness of a lake bed, perhaps even raw egg. Ozone One: Ionization and Ozone Two: Terrestrial, the two scents he concocted in his private perfumery for the work EarthStar, 2008, seep from slips of white paper sprouting from two beakers in the corner of a darkened room. The sun’s surface glares from a video projection nearby, its electromagnetic waves radiating an audible static that’s caught by two large copper antennae laid side by side. Suspend your disbelief and you

  • Lorraine O'Grady, Rivers, First Draft, 1982/2015, digital C-print in 48 parts, 16 x 20".
    picks June 24, 2015

    Lorraine O’Grady

    Artist and critic Lorraine O’Grady’s latest exhibition, a pairing of two previously seen series, is an exploration of how narrative is used to make sense of the world. Spread over the gallery’s street-level space, “Cutting Out of the New York Times,” 1977/2015, contains elements of memoir, journalism, and social critique. First exhibited in 2006, photocopied sections from O’Grady’s first poems stick to the walls, resembling vertical and horizontal scrolls of text cut from the New York Times over twenty-six Sundays in 1977. “White and Black and / The Sound That Shook Hollywood / The Crisis Deepens

  • Anna K.E., Gloss of a Forehead, 2015, digital video, 9 minutes 32 seconds.
    picks May 22, 2015

    “Enchanted Space”

    A woman’s tongue licks and slurps brightly colored candy and cake decorations off a pane of glass positioned above the camera lens in Marilyn Minter’s eight-minute video Green Pink Caviar, 2009. The fluorescent hues of the film illuminate the darkened gallery, as meditative music plays through headphones hanging nearby. Dana Levy’s palette in the video Everglades, 2014, projected onto the back wall, is less obnoxious but equally provocative, toying with the viewer as voyeur. The video was shot at night in Florida’s Everglades National Park: A full spectrum of colored lights permeates the park’s