A review of Liminal Transitions, ANU School of Art Gallery, Canberra, Jan 28-Feb 6, 2009
by Mitchell Whitelaw
Published in RealTime issue #91 June-July 2009 pg.30
As its title suggests, Chris Fortescue’s LiminalTransitions dwells in a poised threshold space: between randomness and order, information and noise, foreground and background, intention and accident. . .…READ ON…
A review of SLANTING, an artists book produced in 1994.
by the late (great) John Forbes
First published in Agenda #36, 1994.
At first glance, SLANTING looks like an exercise in vanity publishing, although without the usual aping of publishing conventions and self promotion that adorn poetry books produced in the same way. But a more careful reading shows that however pointless SLANTING may be, its author is at least serious in his intentions. Just what they are is hard to gauge – just because there are none of the conventional indicators as to what category we should put this book into. This is all to the good and it is a pity more books of ‘real’ poetry aren’t produced with the same austerity and self effacement. . .
The book consists of single words or, at most, simple sentences, set out on separate pages, with this isolation often emphasised by the facing page being blank. . .…READ ON…
Catalogue essay for Grave of My Own Undressing at Artspace, Sydney, April 1997.
by Jacqueline Millner,
The room is punctuated sharply by nine televisions, scattered in a loose grid on the floor, facing away from each other at oblique angles. Filtered sunlight drifts in from the window, the soothing sound of running water is barely discernible. Already, the distinction from the usual mode of experiencing the televisual is unmistakable. No cacophony, no mad montage of images, just calm austerity. The sets appear to be entirely mute, before a text ripples to the surface of a single screen for a few seconds. . .READ ON…
A review by Simon Barney of Between Three Sites, three simultaneously exhibited installations in Sydney during October 1993, at The Performance Space Gallery, First Draft (West) and Selenium.
The review was published in Agenda #35, 1994.
Installation is an art of deception. This is not a simple matter of trompe l’oeil, but the more burdensome residue of the promise that installation once offered. In a world where it is no more than another formal option, it struggles (usually unwittingly) with the grand claims that still stick. . . Visiting the three installations is like looking at the endgame of the old formal critique. The contradictory options available make a resolved view of the work unsustainable. . . Fundamentally, the work exists as a response to conditioned viewing. It offers the look of art, the format of an artwork, while deliberately failing to deliver on the expectation created. Everything is equivalent. The question it leaves is whether this is a mere reduction to sameness, ‘an inevitable failure consequent on our contemporary fixation with the artworld’, or more promisingly, ‘a theme unique to our time, a response to the seeming impossibility of progressing stylistically, of making something that at least for a moment, doesn’t look like art’. . . It is the over-familiarity of gestures and devices that makes something a parody of itself. In these rooms the uncertainty about what is mock and what is genuine turns potential sensory experience into a wry impenetrable game. Even the seemingly emotive elements are so displayed as to throw out a curious emptiness, even redundancy. . .
A review of untitled series 1990, exhibited at the Victorian Centre for Photography during 1992.
By Stuart Koop.
First published in Agenda # 20/21 January 1992.
In apparent homage, Chris Fortescue constructs photographic mise-en-scene or tableaux which conform to some of the more exemplary optical illusions within psychology: Schroder’s reversible staircase and Thiery’s contrary perspective figure; the Ponzo illusion; the impossible figures of Penrose and Penrose; and many more. . . It becomes possible, then, to dissociate the system from the practice of photography by identifying conventions derived from its social use or function, and to subvert the expectations which accompany those conventions. . . But perhaps Fortescue’s photographs have more in common with M. C. Escher than Rodchenko. The radical import of Escher’s art lies in forcing the viewer to acknowledge the limits of a system of representation by observing its dysfunction within the image. . .