On the cold and rainy night of Friday the 15th of February 2013, a crowd of people milled around in the comfort of the Art and Design Precinct Bailey Street studio for the opening of the "50 Shades of Gray" art exhibition.
Much like the novel, the display of art work was certain to cause a bit of a stir among both art enthusiasts and fans of the novel. Following the story of a book driven by submission/domination themes, damaged men and the on-going theme of virginal purity, concepts that are far from new to our ever-experimenting and over-stimulated culture, the art work managed to bring different perspectives to the table and found a way to both expand and elaborate on aspects of the original text.
The use of different mediums was subtle in the perfect way and added dimension and depth to a topic that could easily be, and often usually is, conveyed in a much more crass way. Some of the drawings are almost innocent and drawn in a very raw and child-like way, and this conveys both a sense of naivety and a sense of the growth and change that age and the exploration of sexuality bring.
Artists who chose a more surreal, abstract approach to the subject matter managed to draw a lot of emotion from those viewing the paintings and seemed to draw out a lot of the darker aspects of the domination themes, and the control of both mind and body that the male protagonist in the novel has over the woman in a way that more obvious depictions didn't quite manage to do.
The patrons at the opening night all had wonderful feedback and I believe the exhibitions aspect of expression through talent and an obvious passion for the work, rather than attempting to go for shock-value alone really contributed to this.
The nibbles, champagne and music certainly added to the wonderful atmosphere and not only was it an intriguing look into the world of some very talented local artists, but it was also a lovely night out for those who attended.
The Art and Design Precint in West End runs the "50 Shades of Gray" exhibition until the 13th of March and more details can be found at www.artdesignprecinct.wordpress.com, or enquiries can be directed to email@example.com.