Can of Jewels : Nick Austin. 21 August - 7 September 2004

Austin's show was great. In one room he had this great piece of papper that he'd gotten tanned at the salon which he'd then thrown a bunch polished up 'oracle' pepples onto. The whole thing felt a little forlorn, or at least a little shy. Austin's sculptres acted out this token gesture, as though to reinforce the whole-peeled nature of his alleyway consrcipt of the raw and leftover materials of a consumer drenched flotsam. These sculptures sit out as oracular nodes in an attempt to redesigbn or missapply a token fetish of leisure as a limbotic experience of deferral and self-conscious deciet. The whole insinutation of the show seems to reinforce the notion of the gallery as convenience store, a proto-generic consumable alley in which items are hustked up for that insatible consumer desire of the last minute additions of the what to i need, what do i want, fake anticipation and paranoid variety. Austin hustles his paper at the tanning salon. He warps them with a tan made for man. The paper gets wrinkled like we're told old people do, and it roles up at the edges like the holy scroll. The paper has no words on it though, just flecks of tan juice staines, and now it's got some polished up pebbles to keep it compnany. The whole thing felt like a furtive and clandestine futurology machine. Only of course we can't decode it, only magicians know codes like that - 'stupid shiny rocks' is all we can say. There was also this beautiful box full of onion peels that had a copper rod pushed through it and a really forlorn bag full of broken records. But the other thing we should really draw your attention to is the video work. Austin made this hugh ball which he took down to the beach. Luckily he video'd that escapade as the incoming tide washed it out to sea. The video's a great watch though. It shows a large fibre class ball getting rolled along the beach. Everybody doing the pushing is doing their best to stay out of the camera's sights and yet they're consistently failing, bobbing in an out of the shot as ordinarily as the trusty boom shot of b-movies. The hide and seek phenomena of all this flummoxing seems riduclous given its eventual outcome. Not only reistsing and forcing the manipulators (read rollers) into the shot, the ball breaks loose of the foreshore and settles for a swim all of its own. The film fades out with the ball's quest for freedom as flailing figures unhappily wave it goodbye'.
- Harold Grieves, 2004.