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14° & PARTLY CLOUDY ON MONDAY 23 SEPTEMBER IN SYDNEY
By Zacha Rosen
October 09, 2011
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2 Exhibtions at Gaffa

Get cute — but not too cute — at Gaffa's latest offerings.
By Zacha Rosen
October 09, 2011
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Two of Gaffa's galleries are taken up at the moment by a single group show, Somewhere They Can't Find Me. In Dream Horse, Isabel Watt depicts a unicorn with felty pink hair, charcoal shadows, a sad eye and a pillowy texture. Her other drawings show unicorns stepping onto planes, a plane caught in deer antlers and stand offs with hummingbird or jellyfish. Her paintings are surreal, but with a vibe that's far more exploratory than dream-like. A series of tiny Japanese inspired red and pink squares nearby lay out her picaresques of snow monkeys, happy ramen and understated moments on the street.

The highlight of Nana Sakata's showings are her fabulous ink drawings. Meticulously plotted in tiny dots, they paint out dappled scenes of shadow puppets - larking rabbits, happy shades and vomiting deer. Later, she introduces her ink silhouettes to luscious blue cumulus, voluptuous green paint and an endless blue sea of cloud. Her creatures live an active life of childlike imagination, with eyes owning an aura of revelation. Seemingly free of danger, their existence seems nonetheless arduous. Anna Stenekes' paintings, meanwhile, sketch birds, cats and dogs on a large scale. Two 'chocolate boxes' take her abstraction to a strong, clean and shaded aesthetic.

Zombie Mash Up is more mashup than zombie. Kathryn Cowen's Zombie Mamma and the Night Bandit have the aura of a zombie flick underlaid by fifties science, her paintings a luminescent twenties pallet. Emma Cummings' TV India plots out Bollywood chic with bold shadows rippling on the surface and in Natalya Shinn's Kinder Mash Up plastic animals with the texture of boiled sweets sit in matchboxes, peeking out at classical statuary death match opponents. Each pair of nemeses have the same colour, and on paper, the feuding pairs are painted in clashing colours as statues, like the Winged Victory of Samothrace, stand off against casual fauna. The animals are completely non-plussed, scoring victory by disinterest.

Images by Nana Sakata and Emma Cummings.

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