<i>American Colour</i>.

American Colour.

BRENT HARRIS: THE FALL

AN EXHIBITION called The Fall conjures some fairly dire associations. And if you're looking for a dose of gloom and despair, then Brent Harris's vast new collection of monotypes – not to mention a lone, colossally scaled painting – might just fit the bill. Featuring more than70 individual prints, this series possesses an almost narrative sensibility (however non-linear that narrative may be), with Harris's ghoulish, other-worldly figures, disembodied heads, fireside gatherings and skull stacks leading the viewer on a furtive dance through dingy netherworlds, stripped of all but bodies, stone, wood and fire. It's not as sinister as it all sounds. While certainly dark, Harris's characterisation and treatment of the human form can hint at the playfully absurdist and illustrative. It's an equally jarring and magnetic binary, made even more intriguing by the artist's treatment of the monotype, which, influenced by Edgar Degas, is heavy on ink, texture and supposed imperfections. Unlike the clean, line-based forms that marked Harris's earlier forays into printmaking, these works beckon the clouded, dappled contours, surfaces and textures that made his recent, colour-rich gouache paintings so striking, visceral and elusive.
Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 1pm-5pm, until December 15, Tolarno Galleries, level 4, 104 Exhibition Street, city, 9654 6000, www.tolarnogalleries.com

DEIDRE BUT-HUSAIM: PROVENANCE

DEIDRE But-Husaim's soft, photorealist oils have long dealt with the notion of surface as artifice. Earlier series such as 2010's Swan Hunters saw her render youthful models with flourishing Baroque facial tattoos, creating a striking dynamic between contemporary and historic understandings of beauty and musing on the symbology of the skin. In this series the artist turns the gaze back on herself, delving beneath the patina to expose the context and setting in which she creates her art. These technically astute paintings capture the interiors of her studio in suburban Adelaide, be it her thinking chair, collection desk or pigment-strewn succulent palette. While all her work is well executed, it's the more playful (and less earnest) pieces that really shine. Her still life, featuring an artful stack of erasers and jutting, totemic scalpel, avoids the pensive artistic cliches that some of the other works risk sidling towards.
Wed-Sat 11am-5pm, until December 8, Helen Gory Galerie, 25 St Edmonds Road, Prahran, 9525 2808, helengory.com

JOSHUA BONNETTA: AMERICAN COLOUR

CANADIAN artist Joshua Bonnetta's twin-channel video and sound work American Colour (pictured) might be categorised as an economised, abstracted take on the road movie genre. Shot on old rolls of 16mm Kodachrome film, the work juxtaposes the rhythmic flicker of flat monochromatic colours with intermittent handheld shots picturing the landscapes, highways and industrial detritus that spans from Rochester, New York (where Kodachrome was first created and manufactured) to Kansas (where the final rolls of the iconic film stock were processed in 2010). Though a clear eulogy to a medium made obsolete not by its image quality but by commerce, American Colour also serves as an allegory for the death of American manufacturing. Backed by a soundtrack comprising treated violin, tape loops and shortwave radio recorded on the road trip, this rhythmic, atmospheric work is telling example of the poetic and evocative potentialities of film and what it means for us to lose it.
Thurs-Sat noon-6pm, until December 15, Screen Space, 30 Guildford Lane, city, 9012 5351, screenspace.com

JULIE FRAGAR: POKING THE GHOST SKIN

JULIE Fragar's wonderfully odd oil-on-board paintings harbour a grittiness, volume and lightness of touch in equal measure. Her surfaces are heavily laden with short, energetic strokes, yet the images she invokes are at moments light, transparent and vaporous. They seem psychotropic, as images, gestures and thoughts merge and coalesce, the curious motif of the levitating, sheet-covered figure playing "ghost" ever-present. Indeed, there's as much cheek and impishness here as there are journeys to the other side. If we're to stare long enough at what appears to be straightforward, picturesque landscape, Fragar will show her true colours. In among the towering mountains and babbling brook, a giant, dominating apparition of a middle finger salute emerges in defiance. Fragar knows how to paint, but she isn't about to conform to the canon.
Wed-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 11am-4pm, Sun noon-4pm, until December 8, Blockprojects, 79 Stephenson Street, Richmond, 9429 0660, blockprojects.com

Elswhere

ARTIST WORKSHOP

LOCAL new media and conceptual artist Ilona Nelson shares her insider knowledge on hosting a successful art exhibition in The White Cube Workshop (pictured). The one-day session will cover topics such as finding a space, preparing proposals and grant applications, marketing and resources. Nelson has exhibited for 15 years and her work has featured in Trouble magazine, Art Almanac, Art Guide and frankie. Lunch will be provided, artists are encouraged to bring along work for a portfolio review, and the cost includes ongoing mentoring after the workshop.
Today 10am-5pm, The Cotton Mills, 56/91 Moreland Street, Footscray, $250, ilonanelson.com

FUNDRAISER WALK

TAKE a stroll around the park for a good cause tomorrow as part of The Royal Walk. It's a fundraiser event for The Royal Melbourne Hospital, intended to remember and honour friends and family who have suffered illness or injury and received care over the years. Dogs are welcome to join the four-kilometre walk ($5 per pooch), and there's live entertainment, rides, food stalls and a visit from Santa afterwards.
Tomorrow 11am, Gate 4, Princes Park, Carlton, $25, 1300 798 768, theroyalwalk.org.au

OPEN DAY

KEW'S Villa Alba was built by William Greenlaw, general manager of the Colonial Bank of Australasia, between 1882 and 1884. After the market panic of the 1890s left Greenlaw bankrupt, the house changed hands several times. The historic mansion is elaborately decorated with busts, friezes and murals, and is now being restored as a museum. Check it out during a public opening tomorrow afternoon.
Tomorrow 1pm-4pm, Villa Alba, 44 Walmer Street, Kew, $8-$10, 9852 8886, villaalbamuseum.org

EXHIBITION

NILLUMBIK has an enviable pedigree in art. The area is home to the artist colonies of Montsalvat and Dunmoochin, with ties to artists including Clifton Pugh, Arthur Boyd, Walter Withers and Albert Tucker. This year's open studios exhibition features pieces from 38 artists working in the area and includes a wide range of mediums such as painting, ceramics, photography, printmaking, textile and glass art, jewellery and sculpture.
Today and tomorrow, 11am-4.30 pm, The Light Factory Gallery, 21 Brougham Street, Eltham, free, 9439 1206, thelightfactorygallery.com.au

ARCHITECTURE

TOMORROW, explore a variety of beautiful homes around South Yarra and Toorak in which courtyards play a key role. The open day is presented by the Robin Boyd Foundation, featuring houses built between 1928 and 2002. They include Walter Burley Griffin's Salter House, Robin Boyd's iconic Walsh Street house and Michael Markham's 1/2 House. Address details for the self-guided tour are supplied upon booking.
Tomorrow 10am-4pm, various locations, $40-$90, robinboyd.org.au

DESIGN

LOCAL lighting and homewares label Lightly is curating a product design sale at its studio this weekend. Crop gathers homewares, accessories, jewellery, furniture, glassware, lighting and toys from 25 Australian designers including jewellery by Dani M and Phoebe Porter, Flatout Frankie flat-packed kids' toys, Relax socks and signed books, seeds and DVDs from Stephanie Alexander. Yarra Valley winery Jamsheed has a wine-tasting table operating all weekend and Black Coffee supplies the caffeine.
Today and tomorrow 10am-6pm, 3 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood, free, lightly.com.au