Snake Oil: Chartwell Acquisitions 2002-5
Rob Gardiner established the Chartwell Collection back in 1974. It now includes more than 800 works by New Zealand and Australian contemporary artists, with more works being added constantly. It is a very contemporary collection, keeping pace with new developments. The Collection is a great resource in exploring the similarities, differences and interchange between the arts of the two countries. Indeed, the Collection has been a key player in fostering the integrated Australasian art scene we now take for granted.
Snake Oil showcases a selection of acquisitions made since 2002, with an emphasis on younger artists. It features work by Hany Armanious, Guy Benfield, Stephen Birch, Mladen Bizumic, Stella Brennan, Steve Carr, Michael Harrison, Sara Hughes, Simon Ingram, Giovanni Intra, Peter Madden, Liz Maw, p mule [dr] et al., Seung Yul Oh, Martin Thompson, Yvonne Todd, Ronnie Van Hout and Rohan Wealleans. The show takes its title from Hany Armanious' work Untitled Snake Oil. In this piece colourful objects recalling jellies, cupcakes and toadstools are displayed on top of unturned drinking glasses. They are in fact casts made from those glasses' interior spaces. They were made using the miraculous versatile casting medium Hot Melt vinyl, which Armanious has pet-named 'snake oil', suggesting an elixir, a wild-west cure-all, a hoax. Together the shapes on their stands operate as a family or community of comic characters: some blunt, some pointy; some graceful, some squat. Recalling the metallurgists, alchemists and charlatans of old, Armanious evokes the - possibly miraculous, possibly bogus - power of art.
- New Gallery
- Free entry