R(ise) E(xist) D(emise)
Curated by Chloe Mandryk, the mysterious and ceremonial exhibition RED (Rise, Exist, Demise) focuses on physical, emotional and spatial binaries associated with the colour red. This provocative colour is connected to renewal and oppositional forces, for example birth, living with gusto, cycles and death.
I sauntered in late to the opening on 15 March to browse through some very talented and unique works, beer in hand. What I had missed was a spectacular commencement where spotlights gradually introduced the artists’ pieces while a naked guy drank paint. But I didn’t miss out altogether.
Not just a simple theme of the colour red represented through life and death, through a variety of mediums and textures, the artworks depict something more cohesive and, on first impression, a bit bizarre. Shannon Cranko’s creepy installation of babies caught my eye, indicating the direction of the exhibition; the idea that birth, life and death are intricately and possessively linked, such that one cannot function without the inevitability of all three elements. The beauty of such an approach is that this can mean and feel like a number of things to each observer.
I highly recommend this contemporary exhibition. Chloe has an eye for talent and identifies (seemingly with ease) those from whom we can expect more great art to emerge. RED showcases the works of very promising artists from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra including, Sabrina Baker, Hannah Beasley, Rowena Boyd, Alexander Boynes, Bill Brown & Caryn Griffin, Kieran Bryant, Shannon Cranko, EARS, Alexandra Frasersmith, Sacha Jeffrey, Elizabeth Kenway, Pamela Leung, Viola Nazario, Alexandra Orme, Adam Veikkanen and Celine Roberts.
In attempting to add some musical texture, very probably unnecessarily, I asked Chloe what kind of music might suit such an exhibition. She suggested artists which “have qualities that the show does; like a sense of change or demise (through gravelly or textured sound), a sense of isolation and aggression – anything that conveys the different manifestations of the body like fluids, emotional pain or awakening.”
I immediately thought of Queens of the Stone Age, whose music is at times aggressive and provokes a sinister feeling of departure. I personally felt that RED’s qualities could aptly describe the ritualistic eb and flow of relationships (though certainly not exclusively), so I’ve included below the more poppy Alex Winston, who sings of the return of an unwanted lover in Guts.