Master Makers is an exhibition at RMIT Gallery. I have work in the exhibition both made in and inspired by a workshop I did in 2005 with Peter Bauhuis called Casting the Vessel
To truly understand the impact of Peter’s workshop on my art practice you need to cast your mind back in time to the world pre-Bauhuis and pre-Fritch, which may or may not be possible. Everything was different then. There was no social media: the library at RMIT and the art section in bookshops were the treasure troves of images, ideas and inspiration mined by us art students. And Gallery Funaki. And the lectures with the projector gently whirring in the dark as the slides double clacked through the carousel, revealing a wunderkammer of jewellery and many other things. As a visiting artist Peter prised our minds open to a totally new way of approaching making in the studio, intellectually and tacitly. A new way of seeing, feeling and experiencing materials and techniques. In the workshop we were exploring the vessel in every way and struggled to master the old centrifugal casting equipment. I was at that time researching botanical imagery in my work, and this little test piece I made that day was looking at the sexual parts of flowers that act as a vessel, in this case a poppy.
“The colours which approach the dark side, and consequently, blue in particular, can be made to approximate to black; in fact, a very perfect Prussian blue, or an indigo acted on by vitriolic acid appears almost as a black.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Theory of Colours 1840
Recent studio vibes making work for my solo exhibition New Work at Five Walls Gallery
Bang! Records. I made a radio show on 102.7 3RRR FM about the Spanish/Basque label Bang! Records with my friend Sara Bosch, and then wrote a story about the label for Swampland Magazine. It’s a curious story about contemporary independent Australian music in Spain and how it arrived there. The image below is detail of the microphone in studio three at 3RRR: out of focus sparkles
Coinciding with The Field Revisited at The National Gallery of Victoria (an exhibition that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the landmark exhibition The Field), Abstraction 2018 is a constellation of exhibitions showcasing abstract and non-objective art at galleries in Melbourne and Sydney. I have a work on paper called Untitled (Blue/Grey) at Five Walls Gallery in Footscray
Calligraphy lesson in Tokyo
Almond grove studies Cortijada Los Gázquez, Vélez Blanco, Almería
Light-filled studio scenes and new palette. Cortijada Los Gázquez, Almería
We dream of time to concentrate on our artwork. Reading, thinking, experimenting and playing with ideas without the pressure or weight of daily existence and chores as a distraction. I have been afforded the realisation of that dream as an artist in residence at the beautiful Cortijada Los Gázquez: Joya Arte y Ecología, near the village of Vélez Blanco in Almería, España. The arid landscape here is stunning and inspiring, patterns created by humans and animals criss-cross the rocky, white albariza soils. Drought resistant pine, Spanish juniper, wild rosemary, thyme, santolina and euphorbia grow among the almond trees, perfuming the air.
Collage details. Re-purposed etchings and drawings
Public Art Paste Up at Bakehouse Studios September 2016
This paste-up on the billboards on Hoddle Street Richmond is a snap shot of my studio wall in Brunswick. Finished pieces, works in progress. It’s about process: ideas that evolve into drawings and sketches on paper or three-dimensional objects. For me this is the joyous part of being an artist; I love it. Mostly my work is deeply inspired by nature and what I see around me; but it’s becoming generative and increasingly abstract. Sometimes there aren’t really ideas, I just work in an almost meditative state and see what happens… playing with textures, surfaces, scale and materials such as watercolour, gouache, pencil and ink. Collages, small sculptures made from wood, glass beads, textiles and metal. There is rarely any obvious narrative or commentary in my work, but black coal and coral have found their way in here … what are we doing? I am appalled by the lack of real political engagement and action to protect all our marine environments and The Great Barrier Reef.
Usually my work is quite small, so seeing it this big is really exciting, the billboards are more than three metres wide and over two metres high. Rather than using a single finished art work for my billboard paste up I wanted some sort of connection between the exterior of the building and all that is happening inside: composing, writing, experimenting, playing with ideas and creating music, art, poetry.
Second day of Spring. Artichoke seeds in front of some new drawings I am working on.
Playing with ideas for a wine label, the first wine from Jasmine Wakely. Le Timbre 2015 from Kilmore, Victoria Australia. Minimal intervention, fresh, pure and delicious. ‘Timbre’ is a music term that basically describes everything that is not pitch or loudness… it is the texture, the colour of music. For example you could the same note on a piano and a clarinet and they sound different even though it is the same note. The top image here is painted with a tank sample of the wine, a beautiful rich purple that will slowly fade over time. http://www.letimbre.com.au/
Radiant Pavilion starts next week! http://www.radiantpavilion.com.au/
In Spanish ‘bosquejo’ is a sketch, or the rough outline of an idea. Shortly after the acceptance of my proposal for Radiant Pavilion I developed tendonitis in my elbow. Such bad timing, I could not work. Rather than withdraw due to injury I decided to present what I think of as three-dimensional drawings or sketches. Maquettes, pieces in progress, objects and experiments using light materials that would not hurt my arm such as balsa wood, Tasmanian oak dowel, string, ink, encaustic paint and a glue gun. Plaster, brass tube, wax cast into bronze. Steel wire and bamboo beads salvaged from the hard rubbish collection on the street. Sheep’s appendix, bone and pigment. Glass beads, waxed linen thread from Japan. Bosquejo has been an opportunity to search and play with ideas and materials in the studio. I made many things, some successful, others less so. Limited by the window space I have presented a small selection of work made during this frustrating but fun time in the studio!
Studio Monday morning
Work in progress for Bosquejo. Wood, string, ink, plaster, bronze and a Donati’s cotechino.
Bosquejo. A sketch, rough outline of an idea, a working drawing.
Aotearoa. New Zealand, South Island. The longest white clouds, July 2014
Often when I look at work I have made in the past I wonder how and why I did it, so complex, difficult and time consuming. Sometime ago I resolved not to use environmentally unsound methods such as plating anymore. This work was for an exhibition in Itami, Japan 2010.
National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Lichen, twigs and wombat vertebrae
The appropriate tool for the task
A new studio in Brunswick! Bronze magnolias in progress…
David Nash sculpture and wood quarry at Kew Gardens, autumn last year
On April 3, 1963, the Columbia Broadcasting System’s television series “C.B.S. Reports” presented the program “The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson.” In it, Miss Carson said:
“It is the public that is being asked to assume the risks that the insect controllers calculate. The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts.
“We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature.
But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself. The rains have become an instrument to bring down from the atmosphere the deadly products of atomic explosions. Water, which is probably our most important natural resource, is now used and re-used with incredible recklessness.
“Now, I truly believe, that we in this generation, must come to terms with nature, and I think we’re challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves.”
Lantziego La Rioja
Amapola, Ribera del Duero
López de Heredia, Haro
Studio in East Brunswick 2010 : models, sticks and waxes
Studio at Carlier’s 2009, Fitzroy
Atelier Brancusi, Paris… Atelier de mes rêves!
Etching at the Australian Print Workshop Melbourne, for Impressions exhibition