THE DARK GARDEN
A lovely Thursday evening of wine guzzling, air kissing and chit chat started out with Paul McDermott’s exhibition The Dark Garden at M16 Artspace. I know you will be asking … is there nothing this man can’t do and the answer appears to be no ! So having got that out of the way, multi-talented and multi skilled McDermott, who attended ANU Art School several years ago is back in Canberra with an exhibition that is destined to knock the socks off a broad church of gothic art lovers armed with sense of humour and the ability to see beauty in abject imagery and objects. Its like the Adams Family meets Hieronymus Bosch but let’s not peak to early. The Dark Garden spares no space as M16 is filled to the max with paintings, sculptures, things … and 2 short films in an epic installation that reveals a “private meta-universe of lost innocence”. Its an all encompassing (some would say immersive) black but never really gloomy vision of, to steal another quote from the catalogue, “a post apocalyptic future: a bleak black EDEN, ravaged by avarice, diseased, destroyed and yet, thriving.” What’s cool about this garden is the way it generates a sinister atmosphere that causes even the most “innocent” * amongst its audience to reflect macabre airs, if not graces. The Dark Garden is undoubtedly the stuff of a fevered imagination where artist and audience can meet in a space of mutual menace and … jolly good fun. Make sure you have time to watch the films in the back room, The Girl Who Swallowed Bees and The Scree. At M16 Artspace until 29 September.
* innocence being a bit thin on the ground at this opening ….