Archives for category: exhibition

tree trunks and dandelionsI think of Van Gogh primarily as a colourist, although his vivid colourful paintings were mostly painted in the last couple of years of his art career. His detailed descriptions of nature and his paintings can be found in his letters to Theo, his brother. Here he describes a landscape he painted at Arles in 1888:

A meadow full of very yellow buttercups, a ditch with iris plants with green leaves, with purple flowers, the town in the background, some grey willow trees — a strip of blue sky.
If they don’t mow the meadow I’d like to do this study again, because the subject matter was really beautiful…A little town surrounded by countryside entirely covered in yellow and purple flowers. That would really be a Japanese dream, you know.

And a beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer:

I took a walk along the seashore one night, on the deserted beach. It wasn’t cheerful, but not sad either, it was — beautiful.

The sky, a deep blue, was flecked with clouds of a deeper blue than primary blue, an intense cobalt, and with others that were a lighter blue — like the blue whiteness of milky ways. Against the blue background stars twinkled, bright, greenish, white, light pink — brighter, more glittering, more like precious stones than at home — even in Paris. So it seems fair to talk about opals, emeralds, lapis, rubies, sapphires. The sea a very deep ultramarine — the beach a mauvish and pale reddish shade, it seemed to me — with bushes.

At Arles he painted the same subjects over and over — wheat fields, fruit trees, olive trees, flowers, cypresses. One of my favourite paintings from the show is an olive grove. The sky is a delightful pale green with orange, yellow and blue accents, and the ground lavender blue, orange, green and pale brown.

olive grove with 2 olive pickers

It’s hard to imagine how revolutionary these paintings were at the time. They influenced many painters including Matisse and the Fauves. His vision was unique and the bold and surprising way he used colour is still amazing.

Van Gogh and the seasons is at the NGV Melbourne until July 9.

2_art_show_sign4A 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

I researched Louise Bourgeois for an assignment a while back, but I didn’t particularly like her work. But when I recently saw her work in the flesh at Heide Museum of Modern Art, I was impressed and moved.

Her large sculpture Spider (1997) – a huge metal spider enclosing a cage containing a chair, pieces of tapestry, an old fashioned perfume bottle, darning needles and hatpins, small bones, and a cameo, which seemed like personal objects from her past – lurked in the gloom, resonating with psychological unease. The more I looked at it, the more details I noticed. It’s like a strange museum exhibit of Bourgeois’s traumatic childhood.
Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1997

Every day you have to abandon your past or accept it, and then, if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor. L. Bourgeois

The headless and partially limbless torsos, made of bandages, fabric and wood, one with a knife instead of a head, and the headless, deformed couple apparently having sex, were a disturbing embodiment of dysfunction, desire, fear and sexuality. I also found the black female figure hanging upside down like a carcass quite confronting.
L_Bourgeois_Knife_figure
L_Bourgeois_Couple-IV

Blue Days (1996) – a collection of Bourgeois’ dresses and shirts, on stuffed headless torsos like dressmakers forms, hanging on hooks on metal rods – felt merely nostalgic and ‘lighter’ than some of the other work. A welcome respite from the psychological darkness.
L_Bourgeois_Blue_Days

Cinq is five stuffed fabric heads hanging from the same hook. It was suggested that they might represent Bourgeois’s family. I liked the simplicity and tenderness of this work.
L_Bourgeois_Cinq

There was also a collection of lithographs of drawings and text. I liked the phrase ‘To unravel a torment you must begin somewhere’. The word unravel continues the sewing metaphor which pervades the work.

When I was growing up all the women in my house were using needles. I’ve always had a fascination with…the magic power of the needle. The needle is used to repair the damage.
L. Bourgeois, 1992

In a way I suppose Bourgeois was repairing the damage of her early trauma, using her needle, for most of her life.
L_Bourgeois_I am afraid

I recently visited Action/Abstraction. It was inspiring. If you like abstract painting I highly recommend seeing this exhibition. Five painters are represented: Jo Davenport, Sally Gabori, Todd Hunter, Ildiko Kovacs, and Aida Tomescu. Let’s start with Aida Tomescu, a painter I’m growing to love more and more. Tomescu layers paint, scrapes back, drips and splatters, draws into the work, and adds more layers. Her paintings have a strong physical presence and are bold, complex, and beautiful.

aida tomescu_crossgrain_12
Tomescu was a finalist in the Wynne Prize 2012 with Crossgrain.
What I wanted to get to was a unified presence, full and ordered with a light and clarity of its own.
Intensively worked, scraped back repeatedly, and reconsidered, Crossgrain is not a painting about texture. Nor is the image trying to create a special illusion of a representative world – though if you want to think in terms of earth, air, the soft steps of the sky, it is all of those things.
I think of Crossgrain more as a space where mood, movement, vibration, the linkages of marks across the surface and their special behaviour form a particular experience.

(from her artist statement)

The exhibition runs until 24 March.

Aida Tomescu, Aspen, 2010Aida Tomescu, Aspen, 2010

Aida Tomescu, Tethys II, 2010Aida Tomescu, Tethys II, 2010

Untitled, Shannon SmileyToday I visited I thought I was where I wasn’t at C3 gallery at Abbotsford Convent – paintings by Shannon Smiley and pen and ink drawings by Helen Nodding. Shannon’s paintings are of fragments and forgotten corners of vegetation in the urban landscape that demonstrate the power of nature to reclaim our city environment. I find his paintings inspiring and powerful.

Helen’s meticulous pen and ink drawings are detailed examinations of everyday scenes – tree branches reflected in a ditch or a weed breaking through a footpath – beautifully recorded.

The Unstoppable Polka Dot Princess, a doco about my favourite artist. She also just had a show at the Gagosian.
Dreaming pumpkin, 2012 Yayoi Kusama, Dreaming pumpkin, 2012
(Thanks, David)

I was so happy to see my Psychedelic pink coral painting hung on a wall with a fire extinguisher and fire sign. Danger! Fluoro colours!!

Today I went to Jo Davenport’s exhibition opening at Flinders Lane Gallery. Her paintings are large, abstract, loose and spontaneous. She uses strong colours, runny paint which bleeds into the canvas and drips, thick paint applied with a palette knife, brushstrokes and scrape marks that combine in a frenzy of colour. This series is based on landscapes inspired by a recent boat trip from Echuca to Adelaide on the Murray River. I loved the looseness, the variation of marks and the colours!

Last week our class visited a survey exhibition of photographic artist Pat Brassington at ACCA. Brassington uses photographs and photo collage to produce her images. Her work is influenced by surrealism, Freud and the language of dreams.

Recurring motifs in her work include interior and domestic spaces; carpets and wallpapers, furniture and curtains, figures with obscured faces (by masks or coverings), bodies (often cropped) and legs and feet. Themes are sexuality, domesticity, repression, for example images of taped and fabric-filled mouths, and deformity. Untitled VI, 2002, inkjet print, shows a young boy standing against a wall, his mouth taped up, and lines of tape crossing his body, restraining him. In my mother’s house, 1994, is a grainy photo of a young boy with his head tilted back to display two large goiterous lumps in his throat.

By the Way, 2010, pigment print, shows a woman walking away from the viewer, her head covered by a tall hat-like piece of pink fabric. The figure is very large and is walking along a path or road. Her clothing, a long skirt, jumper and sensible shoes, suggests a disapproving mother. The Secret, 2010, pigment print, is a black and white close up of a young girl’s face, her right eye crossed, and her mouth covered what looks like a piece of blue tape. A strand of hair like a rope hangs around her neck. It’s implied that her ‘secret’ has been censored.

I liked Untitled, 1989, a large triptych of black and white silver gelatin photographs, one showing a pre-Raphaelite looking woman with long tangled hair blowing in the wind, and a draped dress, the second palm trees on a beach bending in a gale next to a wild ocean, and the third a nude woman covering her face with her arms. There is a sense of drama of mystery about this and the feeling of some obscure narrative.

Brassington’s work is both disturbing and sinister, with its grotesque nudity, vulva-like wounds, and stretched tights. Her photographs blur the boundaries of the real and imagined, and have the strange logic of dream or fantasy.

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