I have loved the work of artist Pawet Althamer (his outlook and approach) after seeing his work in a couple of exhibitions. Anyway, an artist he referred to often to drive his own concepts was from an artist around in the 60s and 70s named Joseph Beuys (his explanation after the performance is very good if you watch this link). I had never actually looked his work up, but the teacher brought his work to our attention this week and I am loving it. Beuys sees every person as artist whereas Althamer moved away from the 'glorification of the uniqueness of the artist...because he is so well aware of his position within a system of relationships, and thus distanced from the myth of the isolated artist (Gioni, p.91,92). Boundaries shift between engagement, influence, history, community and constant learning. (Matt Saunders, “Paweł Althamer” in Frieze 107 (May 2007), p. 162, cited in Gioni (above))
I dropped into the gallery space of Polygone Cowboy, 34 Berwick Street, Fortitude Valley, last Friday night to see an exhibition by Lismore artists, Joanna Kambourian and Darren Bryant of Ms Browns Lounge print studio. The space was warm, comfortable and relaxed while the artworks were a colourful joy. Exhibition on until June 17th. I lived outside of Lismore for a while and love this region. Beautiful artwork is likely to come from such a gorgeous place in Australia. I imagine I'll move back that way some day.
Opening at the Webb Gallery, Queensland College of Art, Grey Street last Friday night (printmaking) for John Doyle, Lisa Pullen, Maren Gotzmann, Gwenn Tasker and Angela Gardner. Open until 16th May. The Spaces Between - The Nightladder Art Collective
I went to see the Webb Gallery and looked in on Luke Maninov's exhibition in the Project Gallery while I was there. Stunning photography and jewellery what looked like it was based around the body's nerve cells and synaptic transmissions. It was unusual, unexpected and quite lovely. Open until 30th May.
I saw this exhibition on the weekend at the National Gallery of Australia. His working medium is light. Brilliant
Sharon Okines from Print Council of Australia mentioned to me it has been five years since the last symposium. I am glad I made the effort to get to this one.
The morning began with collaborations and events that are happening at the moment. I think I will just write the names and match as many links as I can to things happening
Raquel Ormella - is another artist drawn to zine making, taking on a serious issue she has a passion for to create it. Ormella finds the zine process very open when she is unsure how connections and complexities between potential subjects will come about. Observations and stories inform her ideas and she distributes her zines during the process. Ormella would normally treat the photocopier like a printing press to test different ways of layering and experimenting, however her recent work done during a residency in Indonesia, she had to change this up a little because what we take for granted in the access to something as simple as a photocopier was not granted readily. The work has been focused on birds in Indonesia.
Marian Tubbs - I am not entirely sure I will get my summary near the truth of what this artists work is about to be honest. She used (her words) 'low grade photography' - an image as a thing in and of itself; as a representation of a present but unclear view; and as employment of understanding of other images not selected.....a fragment of the world just as each individual in the world is just a fragment. I am not an academic and so when there are too many words threaded together where I have to think about the actual meaning of the words......lets just say I got a bit lost....she finished up saying something similar to her aiming to create new insights - a kind of poetic ascension. Have a look at her website because it is looking far from low grade
Erica Seccombe - wow wow wow. Drawn to the natural and biological sciences, Erica has taken a journey into 3D printing, for example, created imagery of 3D seed germination in that the imagery captures aspects of the external structure as well as the internal. Like a CT scan but time lapsed to capture the growth. Very cool. Her aim is to connect ideas of science and emergent technologies. This is where artists work will have future applications in who knows what capacities. Seccombes work reflects the digital era we live in and sees the powerful microscopes she uses as symbolic of changing peoples perspectives. She says something similar to pushing boundaries of knowledge to promote factual truth and....is our aura our belief in technology and the next possible thing. She mentioned the world population and the declining health of the planets ability to grow enough food to feed these people. Something as simple as germinating a seed is possibly taken for granted and we may be relying on technologies of the future. This was good
I met others at the symposium who I was very grateful to for their company - Meredith, Pauline and Christine. I will be going to the next print symposium when it is on again. Bring it to Brisbane.......a student studying curating in Melbourne described Brisbane as a melting pot for experimentation.
Looking through the galleries during the breaks was not long enough during the symposium. Art from this part of the world, that is Australia and its neighbours, is better than anywhere on my eyes.
The Chase, 2008. Leather, tea tree wood and steel pins. Julie Gough. On the right is what is written in pins on the chair.
Sydney Sun, 1965. Oil on three plywood panels. John Olsen
I met a Darwin artist on the second day of the symposium whose passion in art is the paper making, first love, then printing on it, second love. Her work looked beautiful from a catalogue she showed me. I'll bet it is even better in the real. 1/3 Vickers Street, Parap, NT, 0820. www.nomadart.com.au . Also on Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory
Again, the following is what I took from the speakers. Artists from both yesterday and today, and I guess in general, seem to emphasise the use of experimentation or play and the importance of this in taking work from ordinary to extraordinary.
Patsy Payne - articulate and wonderful. Payne sees the physical body as our most constant companion that holds our consciousness. Referring to Paul Valery's 1943 essay 'some simple reflections on the body' she produced work such as 'Inside out' using the physical body's form of internal structures of patterning and networking to create her 'blood work' of edges and boundaries. The aim of her shapes is to reflect the permeability of letting the outside world in and the inside world out. She uses a variety of materials and has chosen structural materials among other things .e.g. steel in 'inside out' that rusted quickly in the humidity of Bangkok, where she created the work, to then be able to take prints from the structures.
Richard Harding - uses print media, analogue and digital processes to explore gay masculinity, identity and its relationship to the closet, using the reproduced image. He finds a curiosity in the way we present ourselves, where tension arises between public and private disclosure and the com modification of homosexuality. He has referred to two texts ie Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's (theorist) 1999 'Epistemology of the Closet' which Harding describes as a liberating read and Gilles Deleuze's 1968 'Difference and Repetition 4 illusions of representation'. Harding covers many concepts in his work such as the search for print sameness aligning with homo 'normality', patterns of behaviour, the invisible man ie, straight acting by gay men, speech, posture, gesture. He has created a striking work "This is not a drill" loaded with meaning and yet crisp and clean and refined imagery. He mentioned something like reproduction always creates anguish.....this work looked powerful and I would have loved to see it in the gallery.
Hunters and Collectors: active history
Joan Ross - creates animation work and using printmaking as one of a number of vehicles to further her animations. One of the signatures of her work is using the fluorescent colour yellow. She describes the colour as having both positive and negative effects on her and uses it as a layered meaning or representation of fear, safety, alienation and as a connotation of colonisation. She references paintings by John Glover and Jospeh Lysart having enjoyed Lysarts work for many years and always imagining the artwork to come to life.
Eamon Donnelly - I loved, loved loved this presentation. He was a child of the 80s like I was and the memories of warmth and sun came flooding back while his slide show moved through images he had from his huge collection of food packaging, books, souvenirs signage and advertising he has collected from that time period. The bright and gaudy colours commonly used in the 80s, that became unpopular after the eighties, considered kitsch and ugly, I guess until now, like Joan Ross is a signature of his work. He has a strong and successful illustration background and has created a digital archive called 'The Island Continent'...look at it. His current photographic work has focused on the local milkbars of the Australian suburbs and the good memories it represents for him and many others, the families that ran them (often immigrants) and what this era represented.
Next were three representatives of contemporary print workshops and the roles they play.
1. Negative Press - independent publishing house in Melbourne. Fred spoke of a few of the joys and challenges of their journeys. One example was the seemingly ongoing trouble getting the artwork of Stuart Ringholt off the ground. I can't remember the name of the work but I am going to say I saw it and appreciated when it was exhibited at Brisbane's IMA at the end of last year.
2. Tooth and Nail - in Adelaide born from the vision and persistence of Jake and Cassie. It appears the space is strengthening over time. They have established Print Cult - art for the people. Look it up.
3. Canopy Art Centre - In Cairns and represented by Theo Tremblay who seems to be the heart of the space. There seemed to be a ripple of respect for this man throughout those attending the symposium. I don't know much about him but when people react toward a person like this, he must have done some good along the way.
Tony Kanellos - Adelaide artist spoke of his interest in the Museum of economic botany and began to collect post cards from the Edwardian era (1900-1914) with images on the front of the cards of different aspects and activities within the botanical gardens. He found as much interest in the notes written on the back of the cards which he likened to the personal e-mails of today being the cheapest and most efficient way to communicate.
Clint Harvey - #strongarmpress Works at Design College Australia and began The Bacon Factory in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, keeping letterpress print alive with contemporary flavour. He mentioned his belief in the physicality of this printing method helps to slow the pace of modern society and develop the mind while re-inventing analogue processes. Actually I looked up Clints website before going to the symposium and on his page is a fantastic quote that I wish every artist from every discipline could string around their neck, with no explanation required...'Designers are meant to be loved, not understood' Fabien Barral
Penny Roger - a unique and intriguing character so passionate for her written art that you cannot help but be inspired to create when listening to her jump from her topic sideways and back again, while being entertaining and delivering her love for writing and her publishing business The Good Copy (co founder).
There was an array of speakers today and I took something from each one
Dr Ann Stephen spoke of how the Bauhaus model impacted Australian art particularly on printmaking and how threads can be drawn from initial artists that brought the model to Australia such as Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, Harry Seidler, Anni and Joseph Albers to Contemporary artists such as Emily Floyd's (Whitlam era) abstract work referencing the Bauhaus toys as an example or Alison Alders decorative patterns reference Anni Albers weaved designs. Dr Stephens referred to them as something similar to " reinvented pleasures for different uses ".
Kate Sweetapple - incorporates data from varied sources from the white Pages to knowledge from individuals of other disciplines to create maps that seek to record more than what a map is traditionally referred to for. Maps are beautiful in and of themselves and the idea of recording the unnecessary elements of life for the sake of fleeting interests is really interesting and holds that element of play.
Vanessa Berry - is interested in plotting or mapping personal and collective history but in the form of zines - where she is comfortable for experimentation. Currently she has focused on 'place' and particularly places within her life that she feels may be forgotten or unusual, or things that begin to stand out before they disappear because they are no longer kind on the eyes. Berry assembles her own interpretations of place as a literary and image assemblage. One of her works was part of the length of Parramatta road and the 'varicose vein' it is sometimes looked upon as.
Brian Robinson - his work is focused on finding his place in the world by starlight and the rhythm of the stars. A spiritual journey reflected from his Torres Strait Islander heritage that encourages people to look towards the heavens for seasonal, social and spiritual lessons. His work is stunning. There is a collision of signs and symbols from his traditional heritage and modern day influences. His work in stunning stunning stunning.
Down to Earth
Hertha Kluge-Pott - spoke of the need to organise the physical world around her into layers to create inward order and harmony. She spoke of breaking open the energies and connections to nature and reaching inwards, outwards and into the heavens. Her work reflects the very energetic vibrations and magnetic fields of earth. She spoke of the earth and elements of it e.g. The maleleuca tree as a close personal friend and she was having an intimate emotional response to it. There was a particularly beautiful work called 'Wanderlust', 1994 that was a reflection of her father and herself. Her father who took her into the bush and showed her how to be quiet, listen and see. It seemed magical.
Chris De Rosa - opened with what I think was a section of a Bjork track and images of floating seaweed and ocean that is a part of her everyday. Italian background, ocean and gardening. Her work was a response to many things but to me stood out the Herbal remedies found in her aunties handbooks and the work that image linked the herbal plant with the body part I suspect that plant affected in the body. She worked with images found in the Lino flooring of domestic settings and sea sponges found in her front yard. Physical being in her own world. I loved the way she worked.
John Wolseley - what a character! opened up by asking something similar to, do we impose our mental constructs or do we listen to and work with what is out there? He collaborates with nature, allowing nature in a variety of methods make its mark. For example, throwing his 'expensive' paper into the environment and collecting it weeks later then working with the marks left on the paper. He uses his'nature prints' or 'feral methods of mixing mediums' to make the gap between nature and paper an intimate connection. Inspirational work. Very beautiful.
Karen Kaese had an opening for her exhibition tonight at Impress, Kedron. Her work was beautiful, and each piece had so many interesting elements it was impossible to walk past any piece without walking closer into it to see what combinations were there to create the play of line, shape, print, colour, collage and textures. Part of her extended family were there to perform dance from her PNG/Islander background in cultural dress. Wonderful. Open until the 26th April. I could not help but be reminded a little of the work of Wangechi Mutu when looking at Karen's work but which had a more local or neighbouring resonance.
The opening to Warren Palmer (downstairs) and Sally Duhig's (upstairs) exhibition opened yesterday afternoon at the Wooloongabba Art Gallery, 613 Stanley Street. Ian Smith (artist) has written an essay of Warren's life and work that could sum it up better than I ever could, having known each other since the 70s. I was definitely drawn to the sculptures/assemblages and will have to go back to get a better look. It was a shoulder to shoulder turn-out and luckily I snapped these pictures before the crowd arrived.
I met Ian Smith outside Palmer's exhibition. Through conversation he mentioned that he has some work of his in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He also commented that he is known overseas but not in his own country. To be honest, I am not familiar with his work, then on looking through his accomplishments I wonder why. Is it my own lack of looking or should the established artists that are in our own backyard become part of the curriculum in our earlier understanding of art. Is it because he is of a different generation to me or that there is not a broader amount of published work (paper) and film documentary on our own artists. He has been a finalist in the Archibald prize several times and has also had his portrait painted for the Archibald prize. I am hoping he is known by a broader audience and it is just my own ignorance. Well I am now more knowledgeable about two more Queensland artists - Smith and Palmer.
Ian has an upcoming exhibition at the Heiser Gallery 90 Arthur Street, Fortitude Valley 14 April - 9th May 2015. Human Image.
I have just booked my place to attend the 8th Australian Print Symposium at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Speakers include Brian Robinson, Hertha Kluge-Pott, Chris De Rosa, John Wolseley, Patsy Payne, Lonnie Hutchinson, Rew Hanks and many more. Can't wait. Good thing I have good family that lives down south.
I was fortunate to be introduced to Warren Palmer. He has a fantastic art studio set up in an old shop front in Moorooka. I saw some of his works in pastels making a current affairs comment and his playful and meaningful mixed media sculptures. He gave me some insightful advice on my work which has opened my eyes to the further development of my arts practice. Being a teacher for many years and an artist committed to his work throughout his career, I took the advice very gratefully. He has an upcoming exhibition 'Now and Then' at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery from 7th April - 2nd May with the opening being Saturday the 11th April 2-4p.m. Sally Duhig will also be on show.
Visited the Tweed River Art Gallery with a group yesterday. These are two drawings from the Kedumba Drawing Collection and two prints from the galleries permanent collection that stood out to me.
Went to see the Christmas exhibition at Bosz Art Gallery with artworks from John Doyle, Gwen Tasker, Sue Pickford, Paula Quintela among others. Gorgeous works well worth the visit.
Brisbane visual artist