We have had ideas to take Jugglers overseas. An Indian visitor urged us to bring our colour and graffiti to beautify his city. “Everyone will love your graffiti. It is beautification for us”.This weekend in Toowoomba “First Coat” is a courageous beautification project jointly funded by Graffiti Stop and Ironlak with some of the big names getting their signature line and colour brand onto lane-way walls in a conservative Queensland town. Congratulations Toowoomba and notably The Grid Artist Collective and Contraband.
Last night at Jugglers the “Linear” group show continued this idea of the imposition of random and predetermined lines, shapes and colours into our conservative white cube minds. In my experience in Brisbane we are conditioned to and still partly stuck in a two dimensional no touch white cube gallery art oeuvre. But the change towards a more organic vision and praxis is becoming palpable.
Last night’s group show included cacophonous arrangements of a large collection of detritus – for example, the arrangement of random lonely plastic tombstone flowers and a bower- birdesque blue work, trigonometric and anatomical pen and ink line drawings on paper, female figures on stretched paper over canvas, illuminated beer bottles, a pulsing suspended skin “carcass” and Fasi* graffiti on the front window. My good friend Sha Sawari graffitied his support for Jugglers Art Space in his native Persian [Fasi] calligraphic text in chalk on the front window.
This was not a themed show in respect of media or subject matter but one that created strong dissonant responses for viewers. In this sense, the theme that emerged was dissonance, a fractured emotional distancing from the confronting nature of the juxtapositions of the works and one that invited engagement and reflection. Perhaps the question being framed was “Where is the beauty here?” Taken on their own, each artist’s work was resolved with a well developed and careful attention to concept and execution in the chosen medium evoking beauty and inspiration. When viewers were jostled between such different conceptual expressions however, the resounding effect was a kind of dislocation even though each artist and the curators at Jugglers carefully considered the placement of all the works.
Someone has said that there is only good and bad art. Whether that is a truism or not, I consider art as story telling that needs to be good. Linear was a series of very good chapters in a story book still to be understood and in that sense there is a profound sense about this show. As with Virginia Wolf’s sometimes mystical writing, this show is a mysterious beauty. Alice Weinthall’s haunting female figures seem to be questioning Joey Gracia’s multiple inflated goon bags and wall of collapsed balloons. Matt’s and Zoe’s exquisite line drawings have withdrawn in a kind of questioning navel gazing wonderment about everything while Joey’s other detritus installations have a semi permanent insecurity around them. All the while a pulsing skin carcass implanted with fairy lights was alive in the tunnel and a former Hazara refugee wrote on the front window expressing his support for Jugglers Art Space. This was a show about as organic as art can get and the essence is still evolving.
*Persian[Fasi] is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and other countries which historically came under Persian influence.