I'm worse at what I do best

The new exhibition at Parramatta Artist Studios has been curated by Tom Polo, a Sydney-based artist. I’m worse at what I do best is an exhibition of ten Australian artists using text and humour to explore notions of success and failure, and in doing so express a corrosive anxiety about the human condition. The works contribute to a greater dialogue in the form of colloquialisms, statements and slogans - often laden with self-deprecation and irony, as a way of coping and relating to personal and social issues.

Simon Pericich, a Melbourne-based artist, exhibits an uprooted signpost on the floor of the gallery. At closer inspection the text on the street sign has been altered. It advises that: IN THE CIRUMSTANCE OF CIVIL UNREST THIS SIGN MAY BE USED AS A BATTERING RAM – IN THE MEANTIME TRY AND BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER. This object undermines the authority of the state and presents us with a playful interpretation of upheaval and its aftermath.

Another Melbourne-based artist, Anastasia Klose screens a video entitled ‘Film for my Nanna’. The artist is seen wearing a white wedding dress and walking through the streets of a city. She is holding a handwritten sign that reads ‘Nanna I’m still alone’. The video is accompanied by a melancholy, country-style, love song. She encounters people, some stare, some take photographs and others engage in conversation. At the end of the video the artist thanks her mother for buying her an ice cream and credits her for filming the work. The artist confronts the public by exposing her vulnerability. She becomes a spectacle and questions society’s aspirations and frustrations.

Andrew Frost presents a letter of complaint written about him and sent to his boss whilst employed as a library assistant. The letter is an enlarged Xerox copy pinned to the gallery wall. A member of the public is commenting on their recent ‘unpleasant dealings’ at the library and describes Frost as having a: ‘disagreeable attitude, lack of politeness and unwillingness to help’ and suggests that he be ‘retrained in customer service’ or removed. The artist provides us with evidence of his apathy towards the necessity of a day job. It highlights the tensions surrounding his role as an artist and his attempt to resist the need to conform.
A pocket-sized publication accompanies the exhibition with short stories written by Andrew Frost and inspired by the works included in the show. Andrew Frost is a writer, art critic, journalist, co-founder and editor of artlife.blogspot.com.