Sculpture in the Park

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Forest Birdsong Gary Christian

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Coal Andreas Buisman

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Plume No2 Didier Balez & Paulineke Polkamp

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Nascentias Blades of Grass Sallie Portnoy

It’s a long stretch from November to November for Sculpture By The Sea.  Today I got some mid-session sculpture in the park at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens.  It was good to see some home-grown sculpture and for the first year, well put together. I’m sure it will only get bigger each year as more sculptors get wind.  Anyway, it was a lovely day for it, brilliant blue skies, overwhelming scent of honey, and very few crowds with a spectacular backdrop of Mount Kiera. I love this time of the year.

It was beautiful to capture some nature shots between – spiders hung delicately against the sky, the brilliant green mossy ponds and spears of grass trees piercing the sky – I think Felix Allens work Forests of Ancient Illawarra – his coal laden steel poles felt right – they seem to reference the area, the site and the history in an interesting way.

The Clearing Catriona Stanton

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Path

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Not a sculpture!

Spider

Spider

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Mossy Pond

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Forests of Ancient Illawarra Felix Allen

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Collocation Hale and Farrell

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The Architecture of Diversity: Illawarra 400

It Was You I Saw Up Ahead

It Was You I Saw Up Ahead Tamsin Salehian

 

Into the Future Ralph Tikerpae

Into the Future Ralph Tikerpae

The Illumina-trope David Hashimoto & Gabrielle Bates

The Illumina-trope David Hashimoto & Gabrielle Bates

Solsitice Bench Trent Jansen

Solsitice Bench Trent Jansen

King Coal Louis Pratt THE WINNER

King Coal Louis Pratt

Juggling Jellyblubbers

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One painting leads to another, and another, and another. Velasquez started it, John Olsen changed it, and I melded it into a slippery oozy painterly mess.  Somehow the egg and the jellyfish became a transluscent clue into my painting re-birth.  Jellyfish have emerged in my drawings of the past, they are at the end of the jetty, gliding just below the surface – transparent water, transparent flesh, ungrabbable.

An old sketch- they were there in the past.

An old sketch- they were there in the past.

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Pink, Play, Print and Black

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Everything old is new again at the National Gallery of Australia. A trip to see Tom Roberts meant an additional opportunity to take in old favourites in new spots. What a difference a re-hang can make! We missed some familiar faces but there was a chance to see what a wall and light can do for a work.

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Sculptor Inge King exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Playroom

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“All Australian paintings are in some way a homage to Tom Roberts”.  Arthur Boyd

Starting with Tom Roberts, we avoided the increasing crowds and got in early so we had him all to ourselves.  This advantage meant we could go into the kids interactive room with no kids. I just wish there was a space like this for adults. Little easels for re-creating portraits, dress-up, saddled lambs and an app projected onto a wall to allow movement of figures into the landscape in a playful way.  Simply playing opens new and wonderful ways of working. Why do we have to stop? Standing in front of works studying the paint and structure is a wonderful opportunity to examine Roberts underglazing of luminous pink peeking from under the cracks, but how wonderful would it be to have a room to express that on the spot, to sketch without feeling slightly wanker-ish in front of gallery on-lookers.

“Here is a workshop, there are no rules, do what you want to do.”   Kenneth Tyler

Stella: The Fountain

Stella: The Fountain

Upstairs the Tyler Graphics exhibition: Behind the Scenes, showed play at an expert and amplified level. Extraordinary works of printing and the use of paper pulp by Rosenquist and Caro left me wanting to shred, pulp and construct.  The fabulous line and strength of Joan Mitchell’s marks showed the ability to translate freshness into print. A sequence of short films gave an insight into the complexity and flexibility of printmaking and the process to produce Frank Stella’s  “The Fountain” left me feeling nervous, exhausted and a newfound respect for prints of multiple techniques at this size.

Caro Angle#8

Caro: Angle #8

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the intensity of Roberts and Tyler, a small unobtrusive exhibition simply called BLACK pared it all back. The entrance lured us in with a glimpse of too abstract expressionist giants: Motherwell and Guston side by side. Inside Serra sat comfortably alongside ancient forms, the “ground breaking” blackness of Malevich and the light inside the darkness of Soulages. This exhibition was a fabulous use of stored masterpieces within the NGA collection. Darkness all aired out.

BLACK: Motherwell & Guston

BLACK: Motherwell & Guston

 

 

Above all the new hang and the changes within the NGA have been wonderful, a breath of fresh paint.

Grayson Perry Sailing out of the Dodgy Art Pool

GP Opera House 2015Sometimes our very human desire for meaning can get in the way of having a good experience of the world” Grayson Perry.

Detail You are Here pot

Detail You are Here pot

Not much scares an Essex transvestite potter except the “dodgy art pool”.

I spent the day visiting a great exhibition Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. I had a marvellous lunch atop the MCA, overlooking the Opera House where Perry would give a talk later in the day on How To Be an Artist Just Like Me. I think as an artist you tend to look for talks, trawl art magazines and even attend art workshops in the hope that you understand the artist better and even anticipate that a little bit of magic will rub off.

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The greatest piece of advice came from Perry, who had fearlessly donned flamboyant orange tights, pink perilous platforms and a shimmery blue nappy-like costume, that he was frightened of ending up in a craft store.  We all are familiar with the type of store, coloured glass platters, decorator cushions, crafty wood items and pottery. His advice to sail out of that world, be brave and head for open waters to explore the world beyond. Take risks, make mistakes. After seeing the work in this mammoth exhibition I don’t think there was ever a danger of Perry being moored on the fatal shore of the dodgy art pool.

 

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Prep sketches for the Tomb

Prep sketches for the Tomb

Shrine to Alan Measles 2007

Shrine to Alan Measles 2007

Sketches for The Upper Class at Bay tapestry

Sketches for The Upper Class at Bay tapestry

 

 

 

 

Velasquez and I Cook Eggs

IMG_3214Inspiration comes in packages of all shapes, sizes and compositions.  Recently I was gobsmacked by Velasquez Old Woman Cooking Eggs. There was a dynamism in the figures and objects and how they related to each other both in colour and shape.  As a result a new series of small works in gouache provided impetus for bigger and better things.  The serendipity of reading John Olsen’s biography whilst working on the series, also laid another level.

The egg, a symbol of hope and regeneration that he saw in Velasquez, carried into his work and as a result into mine. I could see a jelly-fish-like symbol in the slithery par-cooked egg whites that could transfer into compositions for my boatshed works.

 

Velasquez: Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

Velasquez: Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

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Country vs Western

SH Ervin: Country and Western

SH Ervin: Country and Western

With an exhibition titled Country and Western, I had expected more grit, more dust and more western instead I got colour and country.  The SH Ervin rarely disappoints when it comes to curation and quality of exhibitions and this collection of works were great. In this case the Country refers to the indigenous view of landscape, and Western the non-indigenous. The mix and meandering of cultural pull from a star-studded line-up is more than just names. The result is a thick blanket of landscape to wrap yourself in, sometimes prickly, sometimes light and comfortable, sometimes rich and heavy.

From Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Kintore NT to Gertie Huddleston in the Gulf to John Olsen at Lake Eyre

From Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Kintore NT to Gertie Huddleston in the Gulf to John Olsen at Lake Eyre

Gavin Wilson’s curation is insightful and delivers more than just a collection of landscape, it feels right, evenly weighted and nourishing.  He has impressed me before with his curation of fire-inspired art, Fireworks. At the moment I am reading John Olsen’s biography by Darleen Bungey so the Olsen work felt like a friend and his Lake Eyre work seemed to feel like a link between country and western somehow.

 

The artists are way too many to list but include Tracey Moffat, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, John Peart, Elisabeth Cummings, Rover Thomas, John R Walker, Ken Whisson, John Wolsley, Euan MacLeod, Ricky Maynard, Noel McKenna, Paddy Bedford. Check them out here

 

 

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J R Walker and Emily.

J R Walker and Emily.

People by the Sculpture by the Sea 2015

Dogs 20151Each year Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach gets a little more crowded. The works hold different people for different reasons. A couple of years back there seemed to be an abundance of animal themed works, another year environmental, lots of big red things, and this year had a distinct people focus. After reviewing an abundance of photos from two trips this year,  more shots for my dogs of Bondi collection and various hit and miss snaps, the ones I really like are the people interacting with the works and even better the people oblivious to the monumental pieces around them.

 

P1050217The walk from Tamarama to Bondi is spectacular, a backdrop of sea and rock. This year two pods of dolphins were launching themselves into the air and spinning on show whilst the crowd moved around the edge. I took a lot of sculptureless shots this year once again.

Here’s a clip of this years winner, Jorg Pickat.

 

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Light, Space, Time and a Wombat Hole

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Sometimes the order of exhibitions matter. Your head is in a space, ready for the onslaught. This time there was no plan as to who would be first.

Ann Thomson (detail)

Ann Thomson (detail)

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Ann Thomson’s exhibition Freehand was even higher than the expectations. Her works are full, yet light. Marks, space and colour give each other time. There is a lustfulness in the way she paints -a love of the space she creates by the marks with her body. It is not painting, it is not composing, it is absorption.

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The nearby James Turrell Retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra had a naked art night (no, I didn’t like the thought of bending over to put on the booties). The participants absorbed the light into their flesh. The Turrell show was a world away from paint using space, light and dark.

The show made me envious, why do I need a studio full of brushes and paint? A day earlier I was inspired by Ann Thomson’s work, it had made me want to paint again but the stripped down use of light as a material seemed to make sense. Marks seemed inconsequential.

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In between there were glimpses of Sidney Nolan, the Riverbend series at the Drill Hall ANU,  an assortment at the Canberra Museum and Gallery and the Kelly series at the NGA. Somehow his works still resonated. There was the myth of place, I wasn’t in the desert creating huge skyspaces and I wasn’t in a studio surrounded by dripping paintings on white walls. I am caught in time, like Ned painted into a story of what my life has become, headfirst down a wombat hole.

Policeman in a wombat hole 1946 Sidney Nolan

Policeman in a wombat hole 1946 Sidney Nolan

3 De Koonings, Olsen and Paella at the Beach

Happy Holidays, may your stockings bulge with art.

Happy Holidays, may your stockings bulge with art.

“…a surrealist scene of saffron coloured chickens…” John Olsen

Olsen's Culinaria Cuisine of the Sun

Olsen’s Culinaria Cuisine of the Sun

Christmas arrived early for me this year in three parcel post satchels. Not exactly Santa down the chute but those puffy square bags make me squeal like a little girl at Xmas. The benefits of being old is that I don’t have to wait for the big day to arrive.

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The first parcel was the biggest De Kooning book I’ve ever seen – the Malvern star of art books. Ensconced in a hard slip case and full of perfect coloured reproductions of his best.

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The second satchel held two De Kooning second hand treasures, one cloth bound with the library card still in slipped in the back pocket time-travelled from the sixties. The other professing to be the first De Kooning publication.

De Kooning Smith College Museum of Art 1965.

De Kooning Smith College Museum of Art 1965.

Willem De Kooning by Thomas Hess 1959.

Willem De Kooning by Thomas Hess 1959.

Borrowed by Shelley Rose on Feb 10 1966.

Borrowed by Shelley Rose on Feb 10 1966.

The third satchel held Culinaria by John Olsen. Cuisine of the Sun. This book was to be our Christmas dinner – drawing, painting and cooking in the sun – sand, saffron, cadmiums, paprika, burnt orange and paella.

The Hamptons 1953

The Hamptons 1953

Two great artists, De Kooning from the northern hemisphere where he spent Christmas in the Hamptons, and Olsen in the southern hemisphere comparing Watsons Bay to an Iberian fishing village, seem very relevant to this years sunny seafood xmas by the beach…with books.

The World Wide Scribble Pad


The One that started it all….

OK Enough is enough!  It’s been too long since my last post. I’ve had a few changes lately which has meant pulling out some old paintings, organising art stuff and documents etc. The tacky unglamorous side of art.  It was then that I realised what the original purpose of this blog was  – someone wanted to buy a painting, I had no website and my storage system was pretty much non-existent.

So I began the laborious task of putting each painting up, making notes on series but then I got a little excited.  Instead of scribbling notes about exhibitions in my sketchbooks, I began blogging. It was a huge worldwide scribble pad that visitors could like.

I helped friends set up their blogs, began making art quizzes and photographing.  In the sorting I have come across paintings I had forgotten and sketches that brought back memories of places and people.

Rocks Day 65- memories of places...

Rocks Day 65- memories of places…

I haven’t blogged for a while, my life has taken a turn recently. I miss blogging, I miss painting and yesterday I could feel the desperate need for drawing returning. I don’t know if that means I am getting better or trying to fill a need. Either way – charcoal and gouache is a good remedy and a nice way to scribble on my world-wide sketchbook.