Sunday, July 19, 2015

Unplugged Live: Anne-Marie May and Alexander Gow

Unplugged Live is back for a six week run on Sunday afternoons at the NGV Australia. Curated and hosted by Jae Laffer of The Panics, each session brings together a contemporary artist and musician for a discussion and performance in the gallery space. This afternoon's event began with Melbourne visual artist Anne-Marie May. She talked about the processes she goes through in creating her works, which are sculptural and utilise different materials. Anne-Marie has two pieces that currently feature in The Kaleidoscopic Turn exhibition: Untitled (Construction of coloured rays), which is made from felt, and RGB (Mobile), which is made from thermally formed acrylic.

The second half hour involved Alexander Gow from Oh Mercy. He and Jae have known each other for 8 years when a young Oh Mercy opened for The Panics, and their drummer Myles produced Oh Mercy's debut album Privileged Woes. Their chat covered a variety of topics, including the songwriting process, being creative and making something beautiful (which happens for Alex when is happy and healthy), the representations of himself at a certain age on each album, and the influence of Australia and his upbringing on his music.

Interspersed between the discussion segments were the songs "Cool Water," "Lady Eucalyptus," "Iron Cross" and "Let Me Be Him," which sounded heavenly in the acoustics of the room. Alex talked about the writing of these songs and others for the latest album When We Talk About Love in Nashville, and the benefits of being an outsider not writing country music there. The most interesting bit of the chat for me was towards the end when Alex spoke about his creative ambition to explore the essence of him and get that into a song, which is why he prefers to work by himself at this point in his career.

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