Off The Kerb is a Collingwood landmark, a busy, boutique art gallery just across from the Tote. Their hirsute new exhibition of paintings, sketches, animations and films celebrates their sixth anniversary. Men With Beards explores the mythic role of beards through time and space, across disciplines and in all their multi-varied forms.
I attended the opening celebration, and the small gallery was absolutely packed to the gills. The beer may have run dry but the artists and art enthusiasts were happily rubbing shoulders, if only because there was no room left to do anything else. Although it was cramped, the works on display were great. The front room of the gallery is filled with intricately-detailed surrealist pencil works, watercolours and street-art inspired prints. The back room held a couple of my favourite works: an evocative, graphic-style portrait of a beardo and several pen drawings that captured the essence of beardliness. Upstairs you can take your time and watch a short film and an animation.
Best of all, Men With Beards is an exhibition with a purpose. Peruse the gallery for the cost of a gold coin, or donate some non-perishable foodstuffs, and then absorb the aura of the art in the cool afterglow of altruism. All proceeds go to Melbourne City Mission, a charity that works with homeless and disadvantaged people across Victoria to break down economic barriers and defeat social exclusion.
Ladies and fellow beardless men, do no despair. Although there were many beards at the opening, my naked chin was welcomed with open arms.
The exhibition runs until 19 April 2013 at Off The Kerb, 66B Johnston St, Collingwood.