10 May 2014

Straight Face by Luke Chiswell

| Heather Lansdowne
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A new exhibition, “Straight Face” by Canberra artist and designer Luke Chiswell opened last night in the Nishi Gallery in New Acton.

“Straight Face” is a design Chiswell created in 2006. At that point he made the decision to continue to use the design unchanged, resisting the urge to reinvent it or try a completely new aesthetic altogether. In this way he challenges both the viewer and himself to overcome “the regret and doubt that comes with time”. Perhaps it’s also a shrewd move commercially; brands like Nivea, Coca-Cola and Heinz have all re-released products in vintage packaging over the last few years. There’s something to be said for simple, classic imagery.

That being said, Chiswell successfully injected a fresh element into his latest exhibition, using different colours and techniques to render over 100 versions of the original Straight Face design. Having seen some of Chiswell’s work before, I was expecting a minimal, mainly monochromatic exhibition, so I was surprised by both the pops of colour and the number of works. Some pieces were similar, painted in pastels or splashes of primary colours. Others were scribbled on, plastered over or even burned through the middle, and seemed to stand completely on their own. Each one could be seen as a reflection of a mood, a classic design modified to echo the artist’s inspirations on the day of its creation. However, despite the variances between each piece, they all came together beautifully and looked stunning arranged in a grid, lining the walls floor to ceiling.

The exhibition is well worth a look for anyone interested in local art. For those looking to buy, pieces can be purchased separately or in sets of three, and would look fantastic in any modern home or office space.

“Straight Face” will be running until 15 May 2014 at the Nishi Gallery, 17 Kendall Lane New Acton.


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I….don’t get it.

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