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

mona selfie warhol styleYou don’t know me, but I recently visited MONA for the first time.

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!

Yours sincerely
Keryn

p.s. I loved the Ultimate Suicide Machine.
p.s. I hated the poo machine. I know humans are sophisticated poo machines. But we also have souls. Some of us are looking at the stars…
egyptian tablet

infinite

lights installation

These pics were taken in a small laneway off Footscray’s Nicholson Street Mall. I liked the graffiti and tagging beside the official mural art, demonstrating the ephemeral nature of street art.
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Lifesong 2010

Lifesong, 2010 (collagraph)

Charles Blackman (1928–) is regarded as one of the most important Australian figurative artists of the late 20th century. Stylised images of children, women, flowers, butterflies and cats recur in his work.

Blackman is a prolific artist and has produced hundreds of paintings, etchings, lithographs and drawings each year. In the 1950s he painted his famous schoolgirl series, followed by the Alice in Wonderland series. In 1951 Blackman married poet Barbara Patterson, who became his muse and inspired many of his works.

Always tea time 2001

Always tea time, 2001


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Niki de Saint PhalleBorn at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1930, the painter and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle grew up in New York. At 18 she eloped with writer and childhood friend Harry Matthews, and they had two children together. Niki didn’t fit the domesticated wife mould, and after a nervous breakdown she started painting as therapy. In 1960 Niki left her husband and children to devote herself to her art. She lived with sculptor Jean Tinguely, and became a member of the Paris group of artists the ‘Nouveaux Réalistes’.
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In their group exhibition Niki presented her “shooting” paintings for the first time. She filled polythene bags with paint and enclosed them within plaster on a board backing. She, or spectators, then shot at the painting, releasing the paint in random explosions of colour.
I Shot Against
From 1964 came her monumental goddess sculptures, the Nanas (‘nana’ is French for ‘chick’). The buxom, colorful female figures, inspired by a friend’s pregnancy, and first made of yarn, paper-maché and wire and later made of polyester, represent happy, freed women and harbingers of a new matriarchic age.
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Yarraville park
Yarraville park, watercolour on paper, 2014

'Waste Not' Song Dong
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In 2009 at MoMA, the Chinese artist Song Dong exhibited a collection of objects: furniture, books, kitchen utensils, shopping bags, clothes, plastic bottles, shoes, empty toothpaste tubes; in fact, everything that had accumulated in his mother’s house in Beijing over a period of nearly 60 years.

His mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, lived in a tiny house with her husband and two children. She came from a wealthy family that lost everything when one of it’s members was imprisoned as an anti-Communist spy, and lived through the poverty of the 60s and the Cultural Revolution. She was obsessively frugal and refused to throw anything away, or move out and part with her possessions, until Song Dong proposed an art project to meaningfully recycle and preserve them. Read the rest of this entry »

Standouts from a short visit to Melbourne Now at NGV St Kilda Road:

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Agatha Gothe-Snape’s video screens installation Powerpoints (above). This work looks very much like advertising with ‘slogans’ and snippets of text that cycle continuously. I liked it a lot.

Daniel Crooks’ video work An embroidery of voids 2013, was also a favourite. Spliced footage of Melbourne laneways and back alleys takes you on an imaginary tour. It is mesmerising. There’s a sense of menace that seems to be building up to a violent conclusion due to the atmospheric soundtrack, but nothing happens.

Anastasia Klose’s Popup Shop, where she is selling Tshirts and other merchandise. Playing with the idea of the artist as a product and ‘selling out’, Klose is a charming salesperson for her ‘souvenirs’.

The volume of work means this is a show to return to several times. The show runs until 23 March 2014.

 

I was excited to attend the opening of the Substation Contemporary Art Prize last month because my friend David Thomson was one of 50 finalists in the exhibition.

Overall I was disappointed with the exhibition. The three prizes awarded were all for video works. There were about 13 videos in the show. The SCAP is intended to ‘recognise and encourage innovation in contemporary art practice’.

A video work has to grab my attention or entertain me in the first minute or I turn off. We are so bombarded by video, TV, advertising,  movies, music clips, youtube, that video art has to be really clever or beautiful to stand out (and preferably short!) I dislike work with an obscure conceptual artist statement full of big words that I can’t understand, that I suspect is actually meaningless art wank.

You shouldn’t have to study art theory or have specialist knowledge to appreciate an artwork. I love art, and have studied it for four years, so if I can’t understand the concept behind an artwork, how is the average viewer supposed to understand it?

In the project, by Eric Bridgeman, was a video diary filmed during a artist residency in Canada in 2011. Bridgeman dressed up as a golliwog character and cavorted around his studio in front of a camera. I thought it was self-indulgent narcissism, and I couldn’t believe it when it won first prize and the judge described it as a ‘layered work’ about being an outsider. I don’t understand how this work has any more artistic merit than, say, reality TV footage or an amateur video diary on Youtube. I couldn’t watch the whole thing, I found it repetitive and boring.

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Still from In the project, Eric Bridgeman, video/DVD, 2012

I think that in 100 years time, video art may be seen as a fad in modern art from the 1960s until now, especially popular since the 1990s. After several decades, the medium is hardly ‘innovative’. The art world is cyclical. It depends on what the art schools are encouraging students to do, and critics and curators are promoting, and it seems they are still pushing video and multi-media work rather than traditional painting, drawing and printmaking. Read the rest of this entry »

Interior in Yellow, oil, 1964

‘My chief interest, I think, has always been colour, but not flat crude colour, it must be colour within colour, it has to shine; light must be in it… The room is in my own home here, and the sunlight did not come in a definite way but the whole room seemed to be full of light, which is what I want to do more than the actual sunlight. I feel that even the shadows are subdued light and they must have light in them as well.’ 

Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984) was one of the most innovative Australian artists of the twentieth century. An early modernist, her fascination with light and colour and her  interest in what she saw around her developed throughout the many phases of her work, culminating in the luminous interiors she painted in the 1950s and 1960s. Members of her family’s comfortable suburban milieu might have perceived her as a ladylike amateur; her fellow modernist painters, especially Roland Wakelin and Roy de Maistre, who were also students of Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo in Sydney, greatly respected her art. Dattilo-Rubbo was a passionate enthusiast of modernism and post-impressionism, introducing his students to the work of Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Interior with Wardrobe Mirror, oil, 1955I saw her Interior with Wardrobe Mirror, 1955, at the Art Gallery of NSW a couple of years ago and was struck by the vibrant colours and large rectangular flat brushstrokes that gave the work a mosaic quality. The juxaposition of pure colour is absolutely stunning in real life. I admire the way she uses colour fearlessly and the strong brushstrokes that seem to ‘dance’ on the canvas. Read the rest of this entry »

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