Cameron Platter at João Ferreira
Perhaps the analogy is crude, but I can't help but use it to negotiate my way through Cameron Platter's first one-person exhibition since his graduation in 2001. There is a view that holds that language is a medium for communication, that grammatical accuracy and pronunciation are not important so long as information is successfully conveyed. The more traditional, conservative view holds that perfect grammar and expression should be maintained at all costs. Platter clearly belongs to the first camp - his crude colours, lines, shapes and conventions obey no rules and hold nothing precious in their relentless desire to act out the simple narratives he has composed for 'The Love is Approaching'.
Now, before you call me old and crotchety, I must state that this makes the work no less delightful. I must add though, that I do approach it with a degree of caution - I am ultimately unable to decide if Platter really has the 'chops' his willing abandonment of which is inevitably implied by such a self-consciously primitive technique. But, perhaps that's a good thing.
The show comprises five short videos collectively entitled Five Easy Pieces along with a series of small prints and five large drawings which derive from the video pieces. The show's press release relays an eclectic, stream-of-consciousness type list of influences from African woodcut artists to zebras in spaceships, and everything he mentions is there. Without Platter's wayward imagination though, it's difficult to imagine any connection between most of the items.
The videos were created from Photoshop drawings, in loud primary and tertiary colours that are pulled into shape by a crude, jumpy hand. The stop-animation lurches and flashes as Platter pulls out numerous simple conventions to depict action, movement and narrative. Through the film noir-like voice of Strangers in the (dark and stormy) night, and the disjointed dialogue of The love is approaching but too much of anything is very dangerous, Platter relates the trials and tribulations of an odd assortment of protagonists. The videos are amusing, delightful, tragic and just plain absurd at times.
Both the drawings and prints he has produced appear more carefully designed I feel. The drawings, measuring 2100 x 1450mm, are done in coloured pencil crayon. Here Platter displays a competence and confidence that serve the video pieces well. I for one, though, would be cautious about putting one on my wall because I'm not that sure how well they will function outside of their original context. Possibly an intimately scaled print would be a better bet.
Having both sat on the fence and stood on either side at various times during this review, I feel compelled to add one unequivocal statement. I enjoyed the show, particularly on a second visit, and perhaps you'd do better not to get tangled up in the issues I outlined in my opening paragraph. It's a good, fresh summer show, and a fine way to start the year.
January 8 - 31