I'd like to share some scenes from a fabulous little show at the ANU School of Art Foyer Gallery called Push Your Buttons.
A badge show, featuring ten local contemporary artists: Al Munro, Barbara McConchie, Bernie Slater, Charlie Sofo, David Wills, Ivo Lovric, Lucy Quinn, Silvia Velez, Stephanie Jones and Waratah Lahy. They all made a heap of badges of their own design, and set up fab little installations, and then on the weekend they held a badge-making workshop (attended by many, including Ellis Hutch).
Forgive me for not going into this in depth (or favouring some artists over others), I'm chewing through my lunchtime here. But there is some pretty cool stuff:
In the foreground here is David Wills, with his row of baby singlets; on the wall behind is Bernie Slater's life-size drawings of a Cronulla rioter and a detainee.
Each DW singlet has a variety of badges. This is an example.
The drawn detainee wears real badges of blindfolded famous and ordinary people...
The Cronulla rioter (or maybe ordinary Australian bloke) has Australian flag pins on his body...
... as you can see. I really like these works.
Another favorite is by Stephanie Jones. She habitually works with children's lollies and domestic imagery, like bubblegum used to reproduce decorative railings on federation houses. In this case, she has made badges using those loveheart lollies as her basic imagery, and then used every euphemism for breasts and vaginas that she could find (well, the ones that would fit within the loveheart parameters) and then used the badges to write with:
Here's a close-up:
Hopefully you can read some of the words!
Charlie Sofo made categories of badges of all kinds, from vintage designs downloaded from teh web to comments on his favorite cultural icons, to more domestic ideas like from scraps of orange bag net and bits of his favorite shirt. In his installation there are things to listen to, folders to open, categories to explore and relate to. The bloke in the excellent jacket is making the most of his time with the badges, he's not part of the piece.
Waratah Lahy is another favorite artist; she makes very wry and affection Australian observations within her painting practice. These badges all incorporate flies.
I want this one, which is a fly on the National Library. I'm such a covetous wench.
Lucy Quinn, a printmaker, made her badges into a flow of consciousness:
Alison Munro, another printmaker who sets up sticky questions about humans and nature, made odd bunnies which made my eyes go squiffy (in a good way). It's the combination of pattern and greenness.
Barb McConchie made weather patterns. The clouds are excellent, and so are the badges, which speak not only of earth's climate, but also our political climate.
Ivo Lovric pulls no punches with his observations about war and society. He used his badges like medals and chess pieces.
I just realised that I forgot to upload a shot of Silvia Velez's piece, damn. But you can see it in the background of the first image -- it's a peace sign, and each badge has a segment of drawings on post-it notes about peace rallies.
Finally, I'll give you a shot of some of the badges I bought from the show. They have bowls of badges for sale for $2 and it's been very tempting, so I've bought lots. here's a selection.
Can you see the one that made me do a double take? It's the name of one of my cats, which is apparently an American euphemism for a vagina. I went home and apologised to Mr Pooter, but he didn't seem to mind very much. He is a pussy, after all.
Push Your Buttons is on at the ANU School of Art Foyer Gallery until 5 May. Worth seeing, if you're in the area!