First of all let me categorically say that I am not an Art critic, however, I am a fan of Steve Cohen and Ben Brown‘s artwork. So you won’t be reading about how the artist’s pays ‘homage’ to master artisan that have come before them, or that the mediums and processes show the parallel discourse to the restraints of modern society. Rather this review on the opening night and the artwork that Steve Cohen and Ben Brown have produced has informed me as a music fan, art enthusiast and begrudging graphic designer both knowingly and totally subconsciously.
My mind drifts back to the first time I came across the artwork of theses 2 artists. It was my first week into living in Fitzroy after moving from sunny Queensland in the middle of winter being jobless and looking for something to take up my Saturday afternoon. I happened across Poison City Records Weekender Art Show and was instantly taken aback by Ben Brown and Steve Cohen’s artwork. I was faced with having to weigh up spending my first weeks rent on a piece to cover the bare walls of my newly rented room or grovel to my parents to give me money to pay rent. Obviously, I choose the latter. Smarting at what I considered a grand investment with the added bonus that I no longer had to stare at blank cream walls. I was hooked. I started following them on Instagram that lead me to the opening of night of ‘Left Of TheDial
I strolled down Smith then Stanley Street on Friday evening to check out the exhibition. I approached the bottom of the street and noticed ahead a group of tattoo clad people with skateboards in toe and felt assured that I was heading in the right direction. The exhibition was wall to wall jam-packed with onlookers. I struggled in and proceed to shimmy past people to check out the artwork. The first piece to grab my attention was a colour print by Ben Brown depicting a number of fallen rock icons in an almost zombie state (as seen in the gallery above). It left me feeling mournfully reflective for the loses of modern rock. Lucky for me it was conveniently placed next to the bar. I grabbed a beer and raised my own individual toast to the legends of rock before proceeding.
As I consumed each piece around the room I couldn’t help but feel the déjà vu. I had certainly seen these gig posters plastered around the inner north. I had already subconsciously taken in a lot of Steve Cohen’s artwork previously on my daily strolls around Fitzroy and Collingwood. The last exhibit to grab me is in the corner of the room. It depicts a mock set up of a lounge room with empty beer cans and full ashtray’s cast around the set. It resonates with my share house experience of after-weekend carnage with the added bonus of posters designed by Steve Cohen and Ben Brown as an accompaniment. Posters the likes of ‘Nirvana’s – Never Mind tour’, punk legends like ‘Danzig’ and Aussie festival favorite’s ‘Frenzal Rhomb’. It created a sense that it’s not just about the music. It is all inclusive of the look, the attitude and the music. It frames the lives of those that partake in the seen.
With a number of prominent people in the Australian music seen in attendance it hammered home the beautiful marriage that forward thinking music and art share and the importance of them running in parallel.
‘Left of the Dial’ runs until 15th February open 11am – 4pm Friday, Saturdays and Sundays at RVCA Corner Gallery in Collingwood.