At Gallerysmith, in North Melbourne, Dena Kahan is exhibiting, with an opening tomorrow night (October 12) from 6-8 pm.
Paintings are already on display, however, and will be so till November 3rd (CORRECTION - not the 1oth as I mistakenly posted earlier on).
The show carries the evocative title, The Provisional Sublime.
UPDATE: Having seen this last night, I resolve to return. It is a stunning exhibition. The subjects of these oils are from the Glass Flowers Collection at the Harvard Museum of Modern History.
Kahan's interest in the Glass Flowers collection , however, is optical rather than botanical, and reflects a longstanding fascination with the qualities and nature of glass. Glass was used to create these models so that they might be exactly reproduced and perfectly fixed in time and place. Yet, in these paintings, the order and perfection of the display is subverted: ambiguities of space and reflection undermine the clear containment and neat taxonomy of the museum case. (Gallerysmith notes).
The exhibition was also reviewed in the gallery roundup in last Saturday's Age:
DENA KAHAN: THE PROVISIONAL SUBLIME
THEY are life-like, life-size and always in bloom. Made by father-and-son German artisans from 1887 to 1936, the glass flowers (more than 3000 in total) are one of the biggest attractions of the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Step in Dena Kahan, whose paintings have long dwelled on the assemblage of glass in museums and the way the medium reflects and refracts. Kahan takes the Harvard models with their accurate anatomical sections and faithful flower parts and plays up their optical tricks. For a start, she makes them much bigger, which also serves to emphasise their transparency and how — for all their scientific truth — they reflect and dissolve into all that is around them. Then Kahan also plays up the museum context — with vast but hazy interior spaces — so that you will never be fooled that these shimmering, gauzy exotic plants might actually be growing.
Gallerysmith is at 170-174 Abbotsford St., North Melbourne, and open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-5pm.