Cartel Culture Club 02- Laura Ives Solo Show


A couple of weeks ago we ventured by ferry across to Manly for Laura’s first solo art show.  I mentioned Laura in the last post, she is my mate that lives in the Fonzie Flat and takes the task of being artistically awesome fairly seriously, all the time, sometimes to the point where I have to forcibly remove paint brushes from her hand and carefully broach the topic of sleep, or better still coffee.

The result of this little adventure?  Instant Manly crush. It’s no secret that Manly is on the up and up, Broadsheet is onto it and have given a good lowdown on what’s what and who’s who in this trendy little seaside corner of Sydney (good if you are from the ‘other side’ like me).  Personally I love Manly for its Muscle Beach style long public promenade where fit types get to strut their stuff.  And for its pine trees.  And for the feeling of instant relaxation that hits you as soon as you step off the ferry.  The beer-ologist in me is yearning to go back and check out the 4 Pines Brewery, in every way that a brewery can be checked out.

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But the show! Laura’s show is part of a series events called Cartel Culture Club hosted at cafe/bar Belgrave Cartel and organised by Cha-Ching Art.  Bryan Dalli (grinning below) is one of the faces behind Cha-Ching Art and was the key facilitator in making it all happen.


Cha-Ching Art are an arts collective who also make heaps of other art events and exhibitions happen, keep an eye on their facebook page for news.  What I like about Cha-Ching is they are not permanently placed at any one gallery, so each event or exhibition has a unique and exciting feel- which keeps both artists and audiences on their toes!

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In terms of the work itself, ‘Cartel’ was definitely appropriate because Laura’s subject matter all of a sudden got attitude! In the past she has painted more whimsically and mythologically but in this show gangsters rule the roost.  There were still some Adonis types haunting the back room in with their sculptural poses but I think everyone really loved the swagger that shows in this new direction.

If Laura’s paintings were the star of the show, the Cartel as a venue wins best supporting artist.  I was told the owner’s family is Sicilian, so they wanted the place to feel like a WWII Italian bunker.  With its textured walls, marble tables and lead-pressed ceilings  it does feel Roman and with the string lights & al fresco drinking corridor it even reminded me of some of the bars I visited whilst in Barcelona last year.  But the food is definitely Italian- meatballs in sauce, crunchy polenta chips, calamari, bruschetta (plus really good strong coffee) – perfect drinking and sharing food brought out speedily with a smile.





The good news is the show is on until August 14, the bad (but good for Laura!) news is that a lot of the work has already sold out.  Check out this little reel Bryan made of the night:

And for more Ives related visual feasting go to:

All photos in this post are by Sarah Christensen, Culture Club partner in crime and courtesy of Cha-Ching Art.

Till next time !


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