7 October, 2008
At first glance this exhibition looks like a row of upside-down fine glass vestibules, black, with the occasional flash of colour, in a stark white room characteristic of the Brenda May Gallery.
In fact, it is this very minimalism that allows you to really focus on these objects of distinct beauty and fluidity of form. Inside each glass an individual story is revealed, one which captures the imagination and allows the viewer an intensely private engagement where, subtly, the artist encourages you to run with your own interpretation.
Waratah Lahy, in creating this exhibition, set out to capture night life and how iconic Australian scenes are viewed in the darkness of night. It is not voyeuristic but almost provokes a sense of kinship, a "that could be me" response: barbecues, sheds, bonfires, sparklers, lone trees, dirt roads and simple window scenes.
In Nightlife (A Good Red) we see into the room of a man with his cherished glass of red wine and Nightlife (Time Out) a lone figure sitting outside on the grass obviously on the fringe of a party. In the 42 pieces that make up the collection there is a detail in the miniaturism that, as Lahy herself describes, "visually occupies as much space - if not more - than a work that is already physically big". A brilliant exhibition of our vernacular culture extremely worthy of visit.
Emma McGowan (7 October viewing)
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