TROUT   [ 2 ]

  Testrip 100 Bucks

It's ten to six and the gallery is full. I meant to get there earlier only the bus went past the stop and I had to run up the hill. I do a quick sweep of the walls, catalogue in hand and 'Paid' jumps out. It's a work by Billy Apple that says 'Artists have to live like everybody else'. I have a headache from trying to make up my mind.

Ok, I've made my choice and I'm second in the queue, nervously looking at my watch. A man pushes in front and is told to get in the queue. He wants Billy's work as well. At 5.55 we're allowed to start. The guy in front of me buys 'Paid' and money changes hands, receipts are given out. I'm second in line and I buy John Reynolds' work 'Swan Song On K-Rd'. A wonky, red watercolour star that reminds me of a Christmas card. There's some image in the background behind the star but I can't tell what it is. The man behind me buys a work by Ronnie van Hout called 'I Love Me, I Love Me Not' We sit next to each other on the vinyl sofa writing cheques. Ronnie's work is made of brightly coloured felt and reminds me of sewing classes at school, also a felt bookmark with a cat's face on it I once found in a library book. Someone is busy with the red stickers. They spread like a virus across the walls. The works are going fast. I wonder if I missed anything and decide I should have bought Peter Roche's work 'Untitled', a fluorescent tube with plastic fruit, but I didn't see it behind the door. Now it's too late. Julian buys Ani O'Neill's work 'Tangaroa', a stuffed doll with a huge penis. He says it's for Leo to play with.

Billy is wearing yellow glasses. He tells me about a sound work he is doing off Big Sur in California. The work will be under water. I imagine him in a wetsuit, tumbling backwards over the side of a boat. Instead of the yellow glasses he wears a diving mask. He has only just learned to dive. 'It's amazing the things I do for art,' he thinks to himself as he descends through bands of colour. He plans to make another work on Pitt Island in the Southern Ocean. 'I'm going there next month,' he says. 'This will be the first work of the millennium.' I notice he always wears his shirts buttoned up to the collar. I want to ask for more detail but decide against it. He smiles when I tell him the first three people in the queue wanted his work.

Tessa Laird has made a work called 'Chunky Pundit'. Hindu cards pinned to the walls. 'But how would you hang it?' asks Brett. Dick Frizzell's paint splotch 'Cosmic Yolk' has a red sticker next to it and Billy tells Brett to buy Denise Kum's 'Blot'. I drink a beer too quickly and stand in front of 'Swan Song On K-Rd'. I notice the fuchsia woman from Julian's opening is there. This time the fuchsia jacket is under her arm. I check to see if her nails are blue, but they're not. I wonder if she's bought anything?

Walking down Queen Street to catch the ferry, we notice someone has stolen a panel of the mural outside the Town Hall. A sign pasted to the mural says 'Could whoever stole Nigel Brown's panel please return it'.

�Virginia Were
   © 1997