“The Gaze”. An exhibition by women about women. “Hang Dada”. An exhibition about being male and gay by a gay man. Both kicked off the year for us with pizzaz, nudity, confrontation, fun and big volume [ Monster Zoku Onsomb ]! Loud and proud comes to mind.
Monster Boku Onsomb in full flight on Saturday.
On Saturday night [ Hang Dada] Ethan Waghorn’s first solo opened to a big crowd of around 150 while Dorothy Lau [ Curator of The Gaze] opened her eclectic series of multi-media installations from a range of all female artists [ Primary Arcade Collective]with 60 multi-media works on Friday.
Opening Night: The Gaze
The impact of both shows was viscerally and visually engaging. Ethan’s A3 framed digital prints, posters, life size adhesive prints and post cards embellished with strobe lights and male mannequins in the Level 1 Gallery space were drawn from a range of typical gay erotica imagery pop art style.
Hang Dada in the upstairs gallery space at Jugglers.
The Gaze collection of works while more subtle – apart from the two topless female video films in the Jugglers entrance bar space- were installed in a combination of salon and traditional placements in the downstairs gallery. The consecutive exhibition openings [ Friday and Saturday nights] worked well particularly for the gallery staff’s management of the big crowd at Hung Dada and The Gaze exhibition’s double exposure. Ethan’s inclusion of strobe lights, though effective as a scene setter, seemed to limit viewers time in the space. At least it did mine and I noticed that the space was not populated with many viewers during the night. Perhaps that was Ethan’s intent and that a short sharp walk around in such a highly charged room was part of his invitation. The big energetic crowd, however, were exposed to a wide range of art and a party atmosphere, particularly with the techno “crazy” Monster Zoku Onsomb. Sales of both Ethan’s and The Gaze’s works was encouraging.
The educational impact of both of these exhibitions by these young artists was one of the strongest I have experienced for a while at Jugglers. It reminded me that young artists with talent, hard work and the intent to thumb their noses at the establishment change the world. It wasn’t so much that in general the works were aesthetically pleasing but that their work was drawn from an intelligent reflection and response to current cultural, image and lifestyle issues.
What does it mean to be a gay man in Brisbane?
Can I let others in on the edge of my world?
How can I send a message to viewers, how can I tell my story about what it means to be a young woman in Brisbane, about image, beauty, body, emotions and feelings?
I don’t thing it is necessarily of any great significance that one young man prepared and presented a show (Hang Dada)and that a group of young women prepared and presented a show (The Gaze) but maybe in respect of how some of the issues raised – body image, freedom, sexual identity – do impact on mental health for a growing number of gay men in particular, it is worth considering that support from others can be a life saver in times of self doubt, depression and anxiety. Ethan had a very supportive group of friends who worked with him on the installation of his works.