Review: Damon Kowarsky’s ‘Traveling Without Moving’ Is Tied With Mysterious Mystery | Canberra time


whats-on, theatre-and-arts, Damon Kowarsky, Traveling without moving, art critic, Megalo Print Gallery

Damon Kowarsky: Traveling without moving. Megalo Print Studio, 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston. Until March 19. megalo.org. Traveling Without Moving is the name of the best-selling funk album in history released by English band Jamiroquai in 1996 and, if you’re of a certain vintage, tracks like Virtual Insanity, Cosmic Girl and Alright are deeply etched in your memory. Not wishing to rekindle controversy over frontman Jay Kay’s green credentials while flaunting his purple Lamborghini, I could find no clear match between Jamiroquai’s famous essay in funky acid jazz and the seriously executed etchings of Damon Kowarsky in a tactile sea of ​​aquatint. Kowarsky, at least before COVID, was a traveling man who was constantly on the move and who observed closely, in this exhibition, Jodhpur, Xian, Lyon, Angkor Wat, Ho Chi Minh City and Central Park, among many other places in worldwide. . He is a skilled draftsman and keen observer of exotic cities, people and patterns of human behavior. He also keeps many sketchbooks in the places he visits and he selectively translates them into prints. The etchings in this exhibition, all made between 2018 and 2021, are united by palette – a faded green or a rusty red – and a certain uniformity of technique with precise details chosen with short fine lines and passages of carefully checked aquatint. As an artist, he uses eccentric perspective angles from which he views his subjects. This is often a bird’s eye view or the “Peeping Tom” perspective of an intrusive drone, but sometimes objects are also seen from below. In places, Kowarsky’s exhibition is tinged with dry humor as in Europa, 2021, where the reclining couple in love literally holds a bull by the horns, invoking the myth of Europa and the bull. On other occasions, the artist is a moralist. The engraving The Diameter of the Bomb, 2019, is a complex image that appears as a triptych. The object shown is the remains of a bomb which is related to the verse of Yehuda Amichai where the final diameter of a bomb is “howling of orphans who reach the throne of God and beyond, making an endless circle and without God”. Two of the most accomplished etchings in the exhibition are Jodhpur II, 2019, and Amber palace, 2021, two etchings with aquatint of two copper plates. Both prints accurately capture two famous architectural sites in Rajasthan, now depicted empty of residents or tourists. Desert cityscapes are devoid of people but populated by circling birds – slightly eerie, tangible but somehow unreal. Many of Kowarsky’s etchings touch on this sense of strangeness where the boundaries between buildings and foliage seem eroded, where the nudity seems troubled by the voyeuristic gaze, and the depicted reality echoes a kind of landscape. dreamlike. Kowarsky has the unusual ability to create refined, beautifully crafted prints that are initially alluring in their realism but are also open to other interpretations that do not conveniently match our anticipations. The attractive, almost tactile surfaces seem to hide other realities and we are drawn into a game of decoding its images where, as spectators, we are suspended between observing a known reality while feeling a mysterious truth. beyond. There is a certain disjunction in the universe of his engravings, a possible parallel with the words of Jamiroquai in Virtual Insanity, “And I’m give all my love to this world/ Only to be said I can’t see, I can’tbreath . We will be no more.”

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REVIEW

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