When I was at the White on White opening I remembered an idea I’d had before when at exhibition openings — photographing a series of people’s shoes. The idea of portraits of people’s shoes interests me, and it’s interesting how many people feel braver in wearing colourful/wacky accessories like earrings or shoes than in their clothing. I think the photos give a good sense of the event as well…
Presenting the first installment of a series:
White on White: celebrating 20 years of the Fiona Myer Award at Victoria University, 18 November 2019.
I didn’t know what to expect but was told by a local to see the Teshima Museum. It is one of my favourite places I visited in Japan. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Seto inland sea are two white concrete dome structures. You follow a winding path and wait for your turn to enter. Finally you take off your shoes, put on slippers and walk into a large curved space with two round holes in the roof, open to the sky.
As you enter you notice pools and puddles of water on the floor. Drops of water seep out of tiny holes and join together, continually moving and merging. Long snake-like drops glide towards larger puddles. Small blobs grow larger until they start rolling along the floor and flowing into other blobs and becoming bigger puddles.
Being in the space is hypnotic and calming. You can see sky, clouds and trees through the roof openings. The museum is open to the air, sounds and natural light and when it rains, rain falls inside. I spent over an hour watching the water move and the light change.
The museum is a collaboration between artist Rei Naito and architect Ryue Nishizawa.
A selection of work from the Blake Prize is showing at Wangaratta Art Gallery until 8 January 2017. Highlights for me were 1. a marble sculpture by Robert Hague, ‘The Messenger’ which depicts a severed head veiled in drapery. It is reminiscent of funeral monuments and quite beautiful, and also a bit creepy. A small bird is carved the figure’s throat.
2. ‘Kenosis’ by Yardena Kurulkar, which won the prize. A series of photos showing the disintegration of a terracotta heart. The heart is a replica of a human heart and is shown in stages of weathering until it dissolves. An interesting and powerful concept.
3. ‘Kurtal’ by Tom Putuparri Lawford. I thought this looked like a cross, a traditional looking indigenous object with a black body and white feathers sticking out from the top. It’s made from human hair among other things, and is actually a headdress to be worn during rain bringing ceremonies in the desert.
4. A collaboration between an Australian and a Balinese artist. I didn’t take note of the name of the work or the artists, and I haven’t been able to find it online. The work is dominated by traditional Balinese paintings of the nine gods that protect the island. Small paintings of tourists have been added, basically ‘partying’ and exploiting the native population in their search of a good time. It shows the ugly side of Australian tourism to Bali, but it looks like a beautiful tapestry until you start looking more closely.
The Blake Prize was started in 1950 to encourage religious art, and conversations about faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non-belief. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but any work entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity.
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.
Kuta Rorschach No. 2, 2014, oil on canvas (detail)
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)Continue reading “Ben Quilty”
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!
On my last trip to my home town of Wangaratta, I visited the Albury Art Gallery for the first time.
A few things caught my eye: a lovely crayon and ink drawing by Charles Blackman from the Alice in Wonderland series, an early Fred Williams watercolour of the You Yangs, and some sumptous photographs by Richard Janson.
But my favourite work was really unusual and 3D. I’d not heard of the artist Frank Hinder (1906 – 1992) before, and he made this ‘luminal kinetic’ in 1968 using timber, glass, metal, and electric motor and lamp. The parts inside slowly moved, giving a hypnotic effect. It reminded me a bit of watching a lava lamp. Beautiful!
I visited the NGV St Kilda Road today with a friend from Adelaide and we spent some time lying on the couches in the Great Hall admiring the leadlight ceiling by Leonard French. The hall is a beautiful cathedral-like space bathed with light and the coloured glass mosaic reminds me of a kaleidoscope. It’s the largest stained glass ceiling in the world (according to Wikipedia).