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January @ Counihan

Counihan Gallery in Brunswick – The Miracles, Deborah Kelly – Drawn Out, Magda Cebokli

The Miracles by Sydney-based artist Deborah Kelly is both new and familar. “The works engage with ‘Old Master’ painting – the Holy Family of the European Renaissance becomes a contemporary emblem of art, science and sexual politics, for each photograph depicts the family of a child conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ART), and posed as though for a Renaissance tondo.” (“Art, Irony and sexual politics: from Hey Hetro! To The Miracles” Prof. Pat Simons, Uni. of Michigan)

Families are dull subjects for photos but the Renaissance masters knew how to pose figures and the children obviously really got into the spirit of the image. Although the photos are modelled after Renaissance paintings these aren’t mawkish copies, Kelly’s images are referential, the contemporary world has not been removed. Kelly’s images are clearly from a different time.

I love post-modern art that engages with art history. Each of the photographs is titled after the Renaissance master that the photograph was based on and there was a slide show on the next wall of the paintings. I wished that a few of images were a bit larger, more the size of Renaissance painting paintings, as the round photos were only the size of plates (and I wanted a larger serve).

Drawn Out by Brunswick based artist Magda Cebokli is a drawn out minimalist experiment. “A simple theme. Four squares, on in each corner of a larger square. What are the possibilities?” (artist’s notes) Cebokli presents 24 possibilities, 15 mixed media on watercolour paper and 9 acrylic on linen. Most of the pieces are in greyscale with only a few colours introduced for dramatic effect in a few pieces. Minimalism can be boring but Cebokli saves us from that with intense optical effects in many of the pieces.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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