LET LOVE SHINE: AN ART EXHIBITION BY MINNA GILLIGAN
Daine Singer is a small but classy gallery on Flinders Lane. You walk down a flight of steps in order to enter the beautiful white walled environment that contains two art rooms. I have often wanted to see this gallery when there is no art on the walls at all. I feel it would be quite zen and centre finding. I wonder if they would ever let me sit in there with my laptop, in between exhibitions, so I can let the white walls envelope me in a hig that would make creativity simply poor out of me and burst through my finger tops and onto the a word document.
I arrived at ten to six pm and stepped down the stairs gingerly. I could hear only a mix of two or three voices. The exhibition did not open till 6. I was eager as I had missed Minna’s second book launch (also at Daine Singer) Due to being in hospital. I have been a fan of hers for a couple of years now. The fandom was cemented when I met her at an art show at West Space. She had been kind and amicable and easy to talk to.
A handsome young man smiled at me as I decended the stairs and stepped onto solid gallery ground.
”I hope its not too early.” I say shyly.
”No, not at all.” He says. It is later I am introduced to him as Minna’s boyfriend, Simon.
So, I ander. There is one other lone art lover, wandering the gallery with a back pack. We share a smile.
I let the art wash over me. I get drunk from the colours on the canvas. I get drunk on the joy that these art works instil in me. Unopologetically feminine and proud of it, these artworks do not subdue or diminish your place in the world, These works cement and expand once taken in through your eye balls, they are teleported straight to the heart and jump start it. These elecronic pulses of colour, light and brush strokes both assured and deliberate while remaining non linear, zoom throughout your nervouse systems and flood into your brain.
I stood a way away and then stood so close i could have touched the surface of the work with my tongue. From such close proximity you could see mere splashes of fabric that are underneath the paint and screen printed images that are taken from 1970’s magazines. Fabric that resembles wall paper from the 1960s. The kind of fabric that can only be described in words that are antiquated and dated and yet, still fun to say in jest or ironically. Words like ‘groovy’ and ‘dope’. To get close to the works and notice more than whats noticed at first glance, gives the art works mystery and a sense that they would be a source of constant joy and revelation, if taken home and hung up on a wall of somebody’s own personel refuge from the outside world.
One lap of the collection was far from enough. Once it became apparent that these works could not be taken home to enjoy forever, I wanted to commit them to my memory. This was personal to me. I knew that committing these to memory would not knock less pleasant visual memories completely out of existence. But, having this collection of wonder and jubilant beauty in my mental and emotional arsenal, would be greatly beneficial for me in the future. There is something galvinizing about this collection of work that really stood out to me as I wandered amongst the collection in near silence. The only sounds were those of subdued conversation between the artist and her partner. It was lovely to not have to ninja my way through throngs of people, in order to see the art. This would change 45 minutes later, when the gallery filled with well wishers and art enthusiasts. I was pleased to see the turn out and hope that Minna was relieved and pleased.
One of my favourite works is one that shows a young woman in a tight singlet dress of black and pink stripes, striking a pose that shows her thin but curvy silloete. Her face is facing out at the viewer but is covered by a giant and plump looking yellow fruit. The pose suggests confidence, aplomb and sensuality. The work also brings to mind a beloved lost article of clothing that I still morn. I had a black and hot pink striped singlet almost ten years ago. It was lost through a break up that resulted in me needing to move out very quickly. I still think of that treasured item. This is the power of Minna’s work: she reminds you of what you are capable of and creates a visual representation of the rallying cry of what you can achieve by being true to your creative self. The title of her exhibition is not simply a Madonna song lyric. It is a mantra to all that wander amongst her works of surface and trancendental positivity, of bright and unabashed buoyant glee.
This show inspires us all to share what makes our love shine and discuss the why. How much fun is it to share why you love something? To loose track of time as a friend gushes articulately why they love a book or a certain time of day. To explain why you love a certain band or a song in particular. I spend so much time explaining why patriarchy is bad and damaging (never do not want to do this. It is a good fight) That Minna’s exhibition was a celebration and homage to the strength and creativity of young women. It was actually incredibly moving. A wonderful cherry on top of the delicious sundae of literary and musical women that I was lucky enough to have experienced over the past week, including.
The All About Women Festival in Sydney.
Seeing Sleater Kinney at The Croxton
Seeing the breath taking French/Cuban young twin sister duo: Ibeyi at what was formally known as The Hifi.
Not all art exhibitions can include the adorableness and unifying addition of a small dog. It is not something you should require in order to enjoy an art show. It must be conceded though, that if you already love art and got to enjoy the show in the pre opening quiet, the surprise addition of a small and lovingly playful animal, will tip your emotional equilibrium from happy to ecstatic. His name was Ian Curtis and was a 12 week old Jack Russell puppy. He had aJackson Pollock inspired bow tie and everything. He was an excited but not painful biter. When I crouched down to pat as i squealed at him, the little scamp scurried under my skirt and bit the part of my leg that turned into my bottom.
It was awesome.
There was a series of three art works placed side by side on far right wall that worked seamlessy together but I imagined would work alone as well. These were undulating lines of bright colours and bleach. The soft rounding of the green and varying shades of red and yellow looked very much like the close up and expanded image that made you think of summer holidays and visits to the beach that would include the treat of a rainbow ice cream. i stood infront of these particular images for quite an extended period of time. I was overwhelmed by a desire to simply go up and lick the painting. This could also be attributed to the fact that by this time, the gallery was full and the temperature had risen significantly. It really did feel like a hot summer day all of a sudden. No refreshing sea breeze. I refrained from licking the paintings, it will please you to know.
I made some lovely friends at this opening including the shy young art enthusiast who i met at the beginning. he shared with me his favourite (not mine) and he explained in a soft and well spoken way why he loved it. ”I just feel like this is the one that would continue to bring me the most joy, if i had it at home.”
My other friend was a tall and beautiful woman with long and curly hair that was all kinds of different shades of red and orange. She explained how much she loved Minna’s work and how badly she wanted to tell the artist herself, fuelled by my one Asahi on a stomach that was creating the first pangs of hunger, I looked around for the artist and waited for a good moment to introduce my new friend to her. ”Minna, this is Dee. She is a huge fan.” Once the conversation got rolling, I slipped away with a satisfied smile.
My work here is done. I thought.