Friday, August 06, 2010

Self Vs. Self Vs. Salesroom

I have written before about my disappointment when early works of mine go to auction in poor condition. I have also written about the inflated expectations of those who try to sell my earliest and least accomplished works at prices that represent more than 1,000 per cent profit in less than a decade.
The Self Vs. Self paintings were exhibited at John Buckley Gallery in Melbourne, in 2004. Large (each 100cm by 150cm), aggressive, in high gloss and reflective vinyl on board, they sold slowly but were well received by critics. More importantly, they represented the first time in my work in which an intensely felt (if a little obvious) psycho-social 'high concept' managed to break through the brittle surface appeal of the proto-Pop images to arrest the viewer's attention and make them to think twice about what they were seeing.
I am still proud enough of the series to have named this blog after it, even if the show itself almost broke me.
The individual works, which are all in private collections, have been closely held for half a decade and hard to come by. Before my bankruptcy, I tried to buy one back but my offer of $A15,000 was rebuffed.
Which only made it all the more frustrating when, this week, Leonard Joel, a Melbourne auction house, accepted Self Vs Self No. 3 for sale and advertised a pre-sale valuation of $A7,000 to $A10,000. As an American collector of my work joked, "It's one thing to offer a bit of a come-on, quite another to invite buyers to steal."
In March, this year, a smaller, older enamel on canvas, Every-Ready (Fresh Out Of Bed), 105cm x 147cm, was sold at auction at Menzies Art Brands in Sydney and for $A16,800.
Self Vs. Self No. 3 will go under the hammer at 2pm, on Sunday, 29th August, at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria. For further information, 'phone 03 9826 4333. It can be viewed at the same address on: Wednesday, 25th August, 9am - 8pm; Thursday, 26th and Friday, 27th August, 9am - 5pm; Saturday 28th August, 10am - 5pm; Sunday 29th August, from 10am until the auction starts.
Two other works of mine from the mid-2000s, both acrylic on 100 percent cotton museum board, 40cm x 60cm, are also in the catalogue: Jump and Lick, Sip, Suck. Their pre-sale estimates compare well with the values of my most recent studies: $A2,000 to $A3,000.

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