I recently spent the weekend at a cottage in Hepburn Springs with a beautiful garden at the edge of the forest. I was especially struck by a bare tree covered by a net which reminded me of a bridal veil.
My response to the violent attacks on citizens in Paris, and the military strikes in Syria and racist warmongering rhetoric which seems to be drowning out truth and common sense, is the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr –
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
– and also to remember that the majority of people in the world are good and doing no harm to others.
With all the talk about terrorism and ‘ISIS’ in the media recently, my favourite astrologer posted about the goddess ‘Isis’ and this reminded me of my love of ancient egyptian art and mythology. [note that the terrorist organisation should be referred to as ‘Daesh’].
Isis the goddess is a timeless expression of the Divine Feminine, also known as Aphrodite, Hera and Artemis, and is devoted to empowering others. Read the full post by Mystic Medusa here.
These paintings are from 2011.
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. Andy Warhol
I love this quote from one of my favourite artists. Lately I haven’t been doing any art, and I’ve been thinking about that elusive thing ‘inspiration’.
Pablo Picasso said, and I agree:
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
He was a very prolific artist, constantly drawing and painting, and I think this is a great artistic method. But what if you don’t ‘feel like’ doing art?
In my second year of art school I realised that some of my fellow students were too scared to actually start a painting. That blank canvas or sheet of paper is intimidating. And we rarely, if ever, make a painting that is as good as we imagine.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath
We have to allow ourselves to make bad paintings, terrible drawings, stifle our inner critics, and keep going.
Sometimes, just going to the studio, ‘showing up’, and starting to play around with colour, scribbling something, flicking through books and images I’ve collected, will give me an idea for a painting. And sometimes I will just start painting without have a clear idea of where I’m going. This can lead to an unexpectedly good painting, and also to a shit painting that I’ll turn to the wall, to maybe paint over another day.
I believe Charles Baudelaire was right when he said Inspiration comes of working every day. Unfortunately, there’s no quick or magical solution to not being inspired. I think you just have to keep working.
And I love this quote from Banksy: Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a f**king sharp knife to it.
I came across a wonderful commencement speech that talks about gaps in your resumé, fallow periods in creativity, and life not going according to plan.
How can we learn not to panic as future ministers or scholars or mothers when we are “not getting any work done” or when we lose direction altogether, when there is no plan, when the manuscript is delayed or the child is ill, when the love affair sours and there is no point in getting up, … Or when the sheer cruelty, racism, and blindness of the world can be kept at bay no longer, but storm our inner barriers, making normal productive life impossible? Yet in these … career detours, lie gestation and receptivity, what the Japanese call “hollowness” to the divine. In these nonproductive times, new things are hatching, being born in the darkness…
The full text is here.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Big yam Dreaming is one of my favourite paintings by an Australian artist. It’s a powerful and huge (8 metres x 3 metres) painting covered with a tangle of curving white brushstrokes, forming an organic pattern that represents the roots of the yam and the cracks of the earth in desert country, and also the spiritual sense of country of this indigenous artist.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye was born in 1910 in a remote desert area known as Utopia, 230 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. Her work was inspired by her cultural life as an Anmatyerre elder, and her lifelong custodianship of the women’s Dreaming sites in her clan country, Alhalkere.
Although Emily only started painting when she was in her late 70s, she produced over 3,000 paintings in the course of her eight-year painting career. For most of her life she had only sporadic contact with the outside world. It was not until she was 80 that she became, almost overnight, an artist of national and international standing.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s visions of Alhalkere are her personal cultural legacy to the world. Whenever Emily was asked to explain her paintings, regardless of whether the images were a shimmering veil of dots, raw stripes seared across the surface or elegant black lines, her answer was always the same:
Whole lot, that’s whole lot, Awelye (my Dreaming), Arlatyeye (pencil yam), Arkerrthe (mountain devil lizard), Ntange (grass seed), Tingu (Dreamtime pup), Ankerre (emu), Intekwe (favourite food of emus, a small plant), Atnwerle (green bean), and Kame (yam seed). That’s what I paint,
Big yam Dreaming (Anwerlarr anganenty), 1995, synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Emily completed Big yam Dreaming in only two days, the same time it took assistants to prime the canvas black. She sat cross-legged on the three-by-eight metre canvas spread flat on the ground and painted her way to the edges, ‘knitting’ one section onto another without preliminary sketching, scaling or reworking.
When you consider that she never studied art, never came into contact with the great artists of her time and did not begin painting until she was almost 80 years of age, there can only be one way to describe her. She was just a genius.
– Akira Tatehata – Director, National Museum of Art, Osaka
I visited the Bendigo Art Gallery last week to see the Ben Quilty show. I’ve been a fan of his painting since I saw one of his car crash paintings and a documentary about him where he spoke about Australian masculinity and what inspired him. European settlement and the plight of Indigenous Australians are ongoing themes in his work.
What fascinates me is the amount of paint he uses! When I look closely I always wonder how long his work must take to dry. I love his dramatically rough painterly style.
Three of his Rorschach series of large landscapes are almost symmetrical mirror images, reflected from a central vertical axis.
Fairy Bower Rorschach, 2012, oil on linen (detail) Read the rest of this entry »
David Shrigley’s black humour is on display at NGV International until 1 March and I highly recommend the show for those who like a bit of absurdity in art. You will LOL (I did). His crude cartoon-y drawings comment on the everyday banality of modern life.
I particularly enjoyed the ‘general store’ and merchandise, including several wonderful books explaining his dystopian world view. Just reading the titles was amusing. Unfortunately, the tshirts were not for sale.
I did, however, buy a postcard:
Twenty-two of Tony Tuckson’s beautiful abstract paintings have been bequeathed to our public art galleries by his widow Margaret, who passed away in September.
Tuckson was deputy director at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1957 until his death in 1973, and the conflict he perceived between this position and his art practice made him reticent about exhibiting his work.
Read the rest of this entry »
I visited the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize recently. Forty-two painters make up a diverse show ranging from figurative and photorealistic painting to text-based and abstract work. I love painting and I enjoyed the wide range of styles and techniques used.
Adam Pyett’s Flowering Gum had deliciously thick paint and brushstrokes, scrapes and roughly applied patches of colour showing some of the underpainted canvas. I loved the sketchy and spontaneous quality of the work.
A couple of weeks ago, I approached a local real estate agent about some empty shops in my local area. I’d been thinking they would be great for a pop-up art show. I was thrilled when he agreed to let me use the space for a reduced rent.
I called my artist friends and said ‘We’re having a show! in Yarraville!!’ One friend immediately asked ‘What’s the theme?’ to which I replied ‘We’re not from the VCA*! We don’t need a theme! We’re having a show! Bring your work!!
The show is opening on Friday night, and about one third of the work is at the space. Now comes the challenge of curating – deciding which works to put together in which rooms. The space is large and there are 18 artists involved, most of whom I met while studying Visual Art at Victoria University. It’s difficult to get a show when you’re an emerging (unknown) artist, so this is a great opportunity to show our work. It’s so exciting!
Lo-fi: new art collective is at 130 Gamon Street, Yarraville from 1–4 August, opening 6pm on Friday 1 August. Everyone is welcome to come and have a glass of wine and celebrate with us at the opening!
*VCA = Victorian College of the Arts
Everything I’ve read and heard made me very curious to see this ‘maverick’ gambling millionaire’s folly/art extravanganza.
I spent Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday wandering around in awe (with breaks for food and drink, obvs) and I’m writing to offer my services to MONA. I’m an artist, graphic designer, proofreader/writer, and I’m convinced that working at MONA is my dream job! I’m happy to relocate to Hobart.
I feel we would get on well; the thing is most admire about you is the way you’ve got up the noses of the Art Establishment. Yay! I think art should be for the people, not the elite. And I agree that you don’t need a degree or specialist knowledge to appreciate art.
Love your work!