Artwork by Kirstin Berg.
SALLY Ross has been painting her vibrantly coloured, pointillist renderings of the picturesque for quite some time now. But while one might think that there are only so many pretty landscapes one can stomach, Ross proves that the genre – or rather, her particular take on it – has plenty to offer. It's probably more appropriate to consider the Melbourne artist's engagement with the picturesque as that of a set of parameters via which she frames her experiments and progressions. These landscapes are far more studies of formalist building blocks and abstract textures and gestures than they are invocations of place. There's a darker sensibility to this new series, but there's also an electric new addition in the form of snaking, juddering ribbons of interlocked greens and blues, which invoke expanses of pasture and water respectively. So vigorously do they echo, clash and coalesce that they complicate and subvert both figure and ground.
Tues–Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 1pm-5pm, until December 22; Murray White Room, Sargood Lane (off Exhibition Street, between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane), city, 9663 3204, murraywhiteroom.com
Artwork by Sally Ross.
BASED ON A TRUE STORY: GEOFF LOWE 1972-1992 AND A CONSTRUCTED WORLD 1993-2012
Based on a True Story is a brilliant survey of the work of Paris-based Australian artist Geoff Lowe and his collaborative output with Jacqueline Riva as A Constructed World. For all the eras, mediums, authors, collaborative and non-collaborative contexts this show broaches, it is the volume and dimension of content that makes this collection of work such a rich, often humorous experience. Politics, consumerism, friendship, post-colonialism, art history and porn bump heads across scrawled notes, wonderfully loose paintings and tarpaulins covered in junky sculptural objects. Lowe's 1983 painting Impersonation – which depicts a white man dressed in black mask and the regalia and pose of the "noble savage" – is particularly poignant in its negotiation of colonialist Australian art.
Tues–Fri 10am-5pm, Sat–Sun noon-5pm, until February 24; The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, Swanston Street (between Faraday and Elgin streets), Parkville, 8344 5148,
MEREDITH TURNBULL: THE EDIBLE WOMAN
SET in the largest of West Space's five zones, Meredith Turnbull's The Edible Woman has a wonderfully measured, almost rhythmic, sense of spatiality. Turnbull's sculptural columns, wall paintings, suspended discs and collaged panels punctuate and activate the gallery's surfaces and spaces in a manner that seems natural and unforced. Each work has both a presence of its own and a dialogue with the others that surround. But there's far more at play here than spatial dynamics. Turnbull's work is nothing if not layered. While the show's title cites the 1969 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, and by association, early feminist discourses, her sculptural columns – rendered in notched and chiselled timber, papier-mache and what seems to be painted steel – in part recall the elegant modernist sculptures of late Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi, who Turnbull references in her notes. Her wall painting, meanwhile, could almost pass for a Scandinavian print design from the '60s or '70s, its understated palette and simple pattern both echoing and subverting the show’s other pillars with its seemingly ornamental function.
Wed–Fri noon-6pm, Sat noon-5pm, until November 16, West Space, level 1, 225 Bourke Street, city, 9662 3297, westspace.org.au
KIRSTIN BERG: MONUMENT
THE monument Kirstin Berg's new body of two-dimensional works refers to isn’t so much in the representational sense. Comprising torn shards of paper, enveloped with charcoal and ash and pinned into powerful, undulating arrangements, these works evoke the power and palette of landscape ahead of anything else. There are hints and traces; forms threaten to materialise only to submerge into abstraction. But while immense and powerful, these works are anything but theatrical in their drama. To the contrary, there's a sense of melancholy that hangs low and heavy here, with Berg seeming to channel the aftermath of volatility and violence, be it storm, flood or fire. In the natural world, things of the greatest beauty are often the most dangerous.
Tues–Sat 11am-5pm, until December 8; Gallerysmith, 170-174 Abbotsford Street, North Melbourne, 9329 1860, gallerysmith.com.au