Smoke and Mirrors

3 May - 2 June 2012

The term 'smoke and mirrors' refers to the kind of trickery originally used by magicians as a way of deceiving the audience. Billowing smoke would be used as a fascinating screen to mesmerise the audience; the multiple reflections of mirrors made it difficult to perceive the difference between the artificial and the real.

This installation of Pat's plays with those devices with a very acute understanding of the site. SLOTs window can often pose a difficult scenario with its heavy reflections immersing the very activity of the street within an artist's work. Pat has used this layering of reflections, whereby the mirrors, placed as punctuations on the back wall, hone and isolate the street's activity into fragments of stillness and clarity.  They offer a connectivity for the viewer, but also metaphorically position the viewer within this narrative of the displacement and journey.

These drawings were taken from photographs of refugee vessels.  But at the same time they are simple images of tiny craft being 'lost at sea'. The skies seem endless, the seas seem vast, and the mirrors cast our own reflections back at us. Furthermore, the mirror seemingly perforate the gallery wall like portals to a promised land glimpsed beyond. There is a wonderful energy between the velvety charcoal moments and the mirrors, their regular meter across the space speaking to an endlessness of the tale it presents.

'Smoke and Mirrors' is often used with reference to political spin, to the ways the public is told to pay attention to one story while more important events are permitted to unfold without critical scrutiny. Like magicians and some spin doctors, artists too can lure their audience to focus on certain images and surfaces while at the same time slipping in suggestions and ideas and possibilities that respond to everyday experiences.   Pat's wonderful pantomime of reflections capture our attention, and slowly, a more serious engagement emerges from her field of charcoal 'abstractions'.

Pat Hoffie is a Brisbane-based artist and Professor at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.



26 March - 3 May 2012

Our urban landscape is full of words. Be it advertising, signage or graffiti, text permeates our conscious through its repetition and banal presence. Sarah Nolan plays on these ideas with the installation NEARLYTHERE - the density of the words stacked within the gallery space seemingly vibrating with the hum of the traffic.

It reminds us of the drag of lights as one passes quickly in the traffic, only half recognisable reduced to blazing trails of colour. And yet upon closer inspection, Sarah's font is meticulously crafted from fabric remnants. NEARLYTHERE is the collision of domestic and public space.

Hovering on strings there is something tenuous about this installation. Is it meant to be read? Or just absorbed for its obsessive aesthetic play?  The process in making this work and installing it was a laborious one and not unlike a piece of embroidery, Sarah found herself consumed by its intricacy. It is an interesting place for an artists to engage with an artwork on a very intimate or micro level, and yet remain alert to its spatial engagement with the scale of the street. Simply NEARLYTHERE is a mantra is a mantra of persistence in our urban grind.


13 - 24 March 2012

For just a short two weeks SLOT will partner with fellow Redfern gallery - Damien Minton Gallery - and Beijing's iconic Red Gate Gallery, to present the work of Shanghai-based painter Jiang Weitao and the artist collective island6 as part of the Australian national touring exhibition Two Generations.

Established twenty years ago by Australian director, Brian Wallace, Two Generations marks the anniversary of Red Gate Gallery by featuring the work of senior Red Gate artists who have each nominated a young emerging artist. We are delighted to show two at SLOT continuing our own outreach to Asia
island6's striking LED animation Personal Revolution sits in conversation with the lights and signage of SLOTs environs. The collective of 10 Chinese and International artists founded by the French producer Thomas Charveriat, is a creative synergy of East meets Wes, old and new, perfectly captured in this classical Chinese fan dance enlivened with a digital twist.

Jiang Weitao similarly captures the resonance of the street in his paintings. He celebrates his love of classical Chinese calligraphy with a contemporary vision, fusing Eastern and Western painting techniques in his abstractions. Created through multiple coast of thin glaze finished with lacquer, the luminosity and palette of Jang's paintings reference Shanghai's neons.
For this painting he uses the Chinese character kou meaning 'mouth', 'entry point' or 'window' that is abstracted and repeated. As an ideogram it alludes to the opening of China as it enters a new era of economic prosperity. It also has a particular resonance to SLOT as a 'window facing the world'.

The national tour Two Generations has been curated by Brian Wallace, Catherine Croll and Liu Life.


A collaboration between Anwyn Crawford & Emma Davidson

13 February - 10 March 2012

Taking their cue from the Redfern-Waterloo Authority Built Environment Plan, Anwyn Crawford and Emma Davidson have plucked out words that ring with bureaucratic jargon; feel-good triggers that are rendered meaningless by their lack of concrete appreciation. Words such as revitalise, leverage empowerment, and upward mobility are paired with graphic collages that play on a nostalgic utopia fantasy. Anwyn commented wryly, "...the plan was plundered for its prose style."  She continued, "We like bad puns!"

Walking a line between pedantic and serious consideration, Emma and Anwyn have used the language of the 'mind map', charting flows and connectivity in a perpetual circle of buzz that feeds little but itself. They echoe the modernist zeal of the early 20th century and its 'machine for living', in a voice lifted from Russian avant-garde's use of shop front windows to present a dissident comment on our current situation.

They have collaborated since 2004 often using the photocopier, their preferred mode of production, to create installation works and zines. Growing up in Sydney's Inner West, both artists have experienced first hand the rhetoric of development that has effectively denied them a place in the city. Here their alert and engaging installation offers an alternative reading of our local 'utopian plan'.


Regent Street Figures

9 January - 11 February 2012

The director's of SLOT presented a proposition to Sydney artist Joe Frost - to paint the environs of SLOT in a single painting session. An artist who works in the plein air tradition, Joe embraced the challenge. He says of the painting:

"This painting is free representation of the stretch of Regent Street immediately surrounding SLOT. The viewer might not recognise specific shops or landmarks, but I hope they recognise a sense of liveliness that is appropriate to the subject, and one that affirms life.

This was not an easy painting to do. Painting rapidly in a narrow working space for 7 continuous hours required determined concentration. Also, the window reflections complicate the picture. But I have tried to allow for this. It should work from any vantage point: up close, or from across the street, in the morning and at night. It was my intention that the passing cars and people would complete the picture. The three figures do not represent any particular people or relationship. Their features were formed under the brush, as surprising and mysterious to me as they might be to the viewer."

Joe Frost is represented by Watters Gallery Sydney.




Next year SLOT will be 10. As part of looking at where we have come from and towards our future, we have decided to give our website a facelift. Until the new site is up on line, we want to continue to offer SLOT artists an avenue to share their exhibitions. This blog will provide that interim virtual venue. 

SLOT is a window gallery located at one of Sydney's busiest traffic intersections in the emerging art suburb of Redfern at 38 Botany Road - just before the Henderson Road traffic lights - SLOT occupies an old shop dating from 1887. Exhibitions can be viewed 24 hours a day from the street. Measuring 5 meters wide by 3 meters high and 1 meter deep, we have shown everything from site-responsive installations, performance works, new media, painting, drawing and sculpture.  To view exhibitions prior to 2012 please visit our current website