Brain Storm / Cut To The Chase / Further Alphabetising

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Over at Satellite Gallery at the moment is an exhibition of work by Andrew Blythe, a self-taught artist based here in Auckland. His work is a mix of pencil, acrylic, charcoal, crayon and even woodblock prints. While some of the pieces in Brain Storm are text-based, like bits of Colin McCahon or the guy who did the cover to Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief, it also includes some self-portraits. These by far were the highlights for me. Big, distorted faces with staring eyes and ambiguous expressions, they kind of reminded me of German Expressionist woodcuts, Kirchner or Felixmüller or the like. Or Egon Schiele, except not obsessed with prostitutes. These pictures aren’t nice, by any stretch of semantics, but do they have to be? I’m always down for a bit of bleak grimness now and then, and these portraits are certainly gripping.

Brain Storm is presented by Toi Ora Live Art Trust, a support network and creative space for adults using mental health services. I couldn’t find a website address for them on any of the promotional stuff so I thought I’d put it here.

Brain Storm
Andrew Blythe
19th May – 30th May 2009
Satellite Gallery
Cnr Saint Benedicts St and Newton Rd

Don’t like painting? Photography more your thing? Well rest easy, because the Auckland Festival of Photography is coming up in June, with exhibitions and stuff galore. Keep an eye out here for some particular treats.

Having investigated Brain Storm I then had the rare pleasure of sitting in on a rehearsal of Reverend Jellie’s upcoming Cut To The Chase show. Reverend Jellie are a group of improvisors who will be performing as part of the comedy festival.
But wait, rehearsal? Improv? Aren’t these mutually exclusive concepts, you ask? Yeah, probably. Maybe rehearsal is the wrong word. Each of the CTTC performances will be scenes and sketches that are made up right then and there, taking cues and suggestions from the audience. And that’s what they did at the rehearsal, albeit with topics and props suggested by an audience of two. If what I saw there is anything to go by (and, for that matter, their season last year, which I also saw) then this looks to be a hugely entertaining show and very, very funny. Of course, it is improv, so it could be a disaster. There’s always that chance. But even then it’d still probably be entertaining, though maybe for different reasons.

Cut To The Chase runs from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd of May, 7pm each night, at Cross Street Studios, 27 Cross St, Newton.

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