A photograph from Kristian Haggblom's <i>Viewing Platforms</i>.

A photograph from Kristian Haggblom's Viewing Platforms.

KRISTIAN HAGGBLOM: VIEWING PLATFORMS

WHILE a good few photographs from Kristian Haggblom's ongoing Viewing Platforms series refer quite literally to their collective title, this body of work deals with wider notions of the Australian tourist experience and our modes, vantages and interfaces with the natural world. There's plenty of humour here – including the view of a pair of women in Islamic dress, perched on a viewing platform, each taking photographs of the lush rainforest vista that falls before them, and the pair of elderly couples taking in the desolate view from a platform plonked obliquely in an oppressive desert environment. But there is also more peripheral evidence of our presence on the tourist trail, be it an obliterated caravan on the side of the highway or a scrawled note left at a highway rest stop, pleading for information about a lost dog. Refreshingly, there's no clear moral compass or stance to these works. Haggblom seems content to present these disparate images as more of a proposition as to the impact and evidence we leave in the great outdoors.
Wed-Sat 11am–5pm, until December 15, Edmund Pearce, level 2, Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street, city, 9023 5775, edmundpearce.com.au

TREVELYAN CLAY: ALTAR

THERE'S a lot at play within Trevelyan Clay's new suite of three large-scale paintings. While dealing with chiefly geometric forms and bright colour palettes, there are some more interesting and not altogether obvious tensions at play. Indeed, while these works reference hard-edged abstraction and perhaps even futurism with their dimensional layers and planes, they also sport plenty of evidence of the hand. With proximity, the lines skirting Clay's colour panels are ever so slightly (and indeed satisfyingly) uneven; flat stretches of colour reveal brushstrokes and textures. Though far from groundbreaking, it all makes for a happy repost to the often dehumanising whims of futurism and technology.
Wed-Sat noon–6pm, until December 21, Neon Parc, level 1, 53 Bourke Street, city, 9663 0911, neonparc.com.au

TOBY POLA: NO DEPOSIT NO RETURN

SHOWING in the Utopian Slumps Project Room alongside Nathan Gray's playful new exhibition in the main space, Toby Pola's No Deposit No Return is as hilarious as it is glum. Taking the form of garish articles of clothing and bags, his balsawood sculptures are like a wardrobe of our collective national failings. A bikini adorned with the Australian flag carries the title Fit in or f*** off, while a singlet sporting the insignia from Melbourne's failed bid for the 1996 Olympics is titled New Dreams Broken. A plastic bag promoting the failed Southern Star ferris wheel at Docklands (complete with banana poking through a hole in the base) is dubbed Death Star. It offers a little of the best and worst of Australian culture. We might tend to make a meal of things, but at least we can have a laugh at ourselves.
Last day today noon–6pm, Utopian Slumps, 33 Guildford Lane, city, 9077 9918, utopianslumps.com

TEMPERAMENT SPECTRUM: THE FIRST TWENTY-ONE YEARS 1992–2012

FEW immediately perceptible thematic or conceptual threads emerge when wandering Temperament Spectrum, the new group exhibition featuring Sutton Gallery's stable of artists in celebration of its 21st year. What it does show is the sheer diversity of the gallery's talent, from Elizabeth Gower's geometric collages and Stephen Bush's collisions between realism and surrealism to Jackson Slattery's photorealist watercolours, Arlo Mountford's oddly incisive animations and Raafat Ishak's distinctive negotiation of cubism, cultural symbology, text and shard-like figuration. One particular aspect this exhibition articulates is that of dynamism and discord.
Tues-Sat 11am–5pm, until December 15, Sutton Gallery, 254 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 9416 0727, suttongallery.com.au