Anna Pappas Gallery

Words – Nick Tapscott

Photos – J Forsyth

Make Believe – Bonnie Lane and All That is Solid Melts Into Air – Simon MacEwan, at Anna Pappas Gallery, 2-4 Carlton Street, Prahan, until August 18th.

‘Nick Speaking’

‘Nick, It’s J. We’ve got a show for you to revue’

‘(Sigh) Not another Fitzroy gig is it?’

‘Ah, ha ha, well, no it isn’t in…’

‘Ohhhh, Collingwood then. That’s cool I guess. Where ’bouts?’

‘Nick. It’s not in Collingwood.’

‘CBD? Brunswick? J? J. Is it the CBD or Brunswick? J? J! TELL ME IT’S THE CBD J!’

There’s an unplanned pregnancy pause.

‘It’s South of the river isn’t it. You’re sending me south of the river.’

‘It’s South of the river, yeah.’

So for the first time in a while I travelled in a car not owned by a taxi company down Chapel Street to Anna Pappas Gallery for the shows ‘All That is Solid Melts Into Air’ and Make Believe and actually had a really pleasant time. The gallery itself is really sleek and oiled with cash, and it’s refreshing to stand in a heated room and be served from an actual bar. J told me they sometimes have waiters with trays of drinks weaving through older-ish crowds, and the space upstairs is what I imagine a New York loft to look like, but with projection equipment and speakers permanently built into the room and functioning perfectly. ‘All that is solid melts into air’ by Simon MacEwan is in my opinion (that I’ve stolen from someone else) an attempt to visually articulate the unseen and temporal human circumstance into otherwise benign scenarios. The ‘what if’s’ and ‘what could’ of human structures and behaviours, like the internalisation of the Myer facade of the CBD or the unseen underground crystalline polygon underneath the Chernobyl reactor. What strikes first about the work is the quality of the craft. The vivid colours underneath black and white denotes a keen eye and even the model made which the drawing seems to be of clearly represents hours of painstaking detail. The quality of scetchman-ship on the two bird pieces and the wounded man is impressive, but it’s the attention to detail that makes the work as rich: sucking the viewer into a Where’s Wally world of technicolour, nukes and frowning televisions. I spent longer looking closer at these pieces than I have looked at other work in a long time.

‘Make Believe’ is a series of still images captured and printed from a central kaleidoscopic film shown in a separate darkened room and dominating almost the entirety of one wall. It features a young and beautiful ballerina in pink and blonde twirling and dancing on an infinite loop, her beauty and movement spinning in a void and free from the decay of nature and time. The viewer is presented the still images first before they see the film as the stills are displayed onto the entry hallway and causes one to wonder as they don’t resemble a person: More a flower or blossom of human movement in a moment in time. Overall these two shows down at Anna Pappas were highly rewarding experiences for their craft, colour and tone. The crowd seemed distinguished but not stuck-up and the gallery staff friendly. I had fun on the south-side. Don’t tell anyone.