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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

c3 Contemporary Art Space Exhibition 51

C3 Contemporary Art Space opens their year with a dense group show featuring young Victorian artists.
By Zac Millner-Cretney
February 05, 2013
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By Zac Millner-Cretney
February 05, 2013
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Last Wednesday night, C3 Contemporary Art Space opened the year with a dense group show featuring young Victorian artists. If you were looking for a common theme, you might say that urban environments are a loose thread tying the six separate exhibits together, but the show is almost too diverse to group the art under one single umbrella.

The first piece on display is Marble Run 2, a fragile Rube Goldberg machine put together from objects both found and carefully constructed. While a video screen demonstrates what the contraption would look like if a marble was running through it, the actual sculpture is still and unused: an inviting piece of suspended animation that encourages closer examination.

In I Thought I Was Where I Wasn't, Shannon Smiley and Helen Nodding explore scenes of urban decay in intricate detail. Drawings of machinery and dilapidation are leeched of all but texture, a bleak vision of our surroundings, but punctuated occasionally with delicately coloured paintings of wildlife growing amongst the debris. A piece with a mood that takes time to absorb, the artwork is testament to the ability to find beauty in even the most desolate environments.

Moderator adds four new artists to the exhibition's already extensive list. This mini group show is the most strongly aesthetic of the six exhibits, with an emphasis on simplicity and staging that provides nice relief from the busier, realistic stylings of the works before it. A gentle sense of humour and a hint of pop-culture reference rounds out this series of sparse photographs and objects.

Lauren Bamford's Field Notes collects images of displaced objects and urban snapshots, framing them in an on-the-spot, pseudo-amateurish style of photography. In the next room, Kevin Chin's Better Than Here explores similar obsessions with objects, albeit executed in a thoroughly different style — kitch, colourful oil paintings depict consumerism and disenfranchisement with a smile.

The final collection, right at the back of the gallery, is the best one: Matthew Clarke's Turtle Time. A series of brashly colourful paintings that all depict turtles and windfarms, Clarke's paintings are eye-catching and fun in a way that makes them stand out entirely from the other exhibits. An environmental message lurks behind the deceptively whimsical paintings, but their strongly geometric construction means you will be spending more time enjoying the works in the moment than thinking about their motivation. These paintings are full of life and feel as if they've been painted straight from the heart.

Image by Lauren Bamford.

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