Art on the streets of SA

SALA logo

It’s a specific time of year, SALA. Closed in by weather still a carnivalesque mood manages to emerge. Time for Adelaide’s inhabitants to show their Southern pluck and hardiness in facing down rain and freezing days in search of Art.

Elizabeth street Croydon hosted SALA’s best street party, ensuring an enthusiastic crush for every show and typifying that marriage of art, venue, entrepreneurship and grass roots enthusiasm that works so well. Curious Orange hosted ceramics and prints including Maria Parmenter’s murkily pastel stoneware plates pinpricked with the ghosts of cutlery, traces of times passing and the motions of the everyday, Marie Littlewood’s whimsical ceramics spoke of cosmonaut love and longing and glossy, abundant waratahs, Chris de Rosa’s prints of flowers on backgrounds of domestic fabrics call to mind both the private and public lives of women while Leesa Farrants fragile, dribbly ceramic lacework vessels evoked crunchy sugar and icing, the sweetness and ephemerality of some kinds of making.

Hype and Seek hosted Surplus with works by Tamsin Kemp and Sue Ninham distributed amongst the stock making it a treasure hunt of discovery. Tamsin Kemps framed collections of small, humble objects speak of memory’s persistence against erasure. Wrapped and bound in coloured thread these small discarded objects are raised to another kind of life. A series of shadow boxes are like puzzles of memory and a small flat box of tightly scrolled map fragments, an almanac of what is past. Sue Ninham’s goofily insouciant “surplus man” ranged around the walls in gloriously bright and free watercolours. One Small Room showed Naomi Murrells sweet and graphically clean screenprints, fitting seamlessly with their sleek 60’s aesthetic.

Time in its many forms pervaded works shown at Artroom 5. Tushar M Wahab’s series of photographs show lone figures in a soft dark, oddly lit and oddly self possessed they seem purposeful, in the midst of a process or purpose that isn’t intimated to the viewer. Time is spatialised here extending almost infinitely beyond the moment or the act, pushing at the boundaries of the frame. Bev Southcott’s long, almost panoramic photographs show transitional urban spaces of footpaths hemmed in by construction barriers or hazard tape. Here like Daniel Crooks time slice video works, time slows and stretches out, objects become charged with presence in this slowing and slippage of time and perception.

Sera Waters precisely embroidered small pieces reference different forms of time. Made in blackwork (black thread on fine linen ground) they speak of the time spent in the making, the persistence of materials and time itself. One depicts a digital clock face, the time 4.07, another a chop, gone, eaten but immortalised here, an entirely other sort of time or time rupture is contained in the cheerful “Semtex’. A quiet and cunning humour underlies and animates these small, precise offerings.

Here in the passing season that is SALA time is cut up, divided, stretched and preserved.

Point Blank .03

[Disclaimer: Tamsin Kemp is the author’s sister although she’s usually harder on her for that reason alone, and rightly so]