New Beginnings

Exhibiting three Detroit pieces from study trip in 2015 from 3 to 28 February at MetroWest Gallery , at 138 Nicholson St, Footscray.

Abandoned Factory Detroit USA September 2015 Photographic Image
Abandoned Factory Detroit USA September 2015 Photographic Image

dhonan, and others work is on for the month of February. Go along and see some inspirational work from denise honan, and other Australian Artists.

Fisher Plant 21 photographic image september 2015 dhonan
Fisher Plant 21 photographic image september 2015 dhonan
Abandoned Attic ,Masonic Temple, Detroit 9/15 photographic image
Abandoned Attic ,Masonic Temple, Detroit 9/15 photographic image

Surrealism and DaDa at NGV Federation Square

Joined together shoes, one long fingered glove, and a hat with a zip, all are absurdly silly pieces made by Barry Humphries, in the fifties whilst a dadaist studying at Melbourne University.

 

Barry Humphries
Barry Humphries, Dada pieces 1950’s

These and other pieces by working Australian artists are featured in the “Lurid Beauty Exhibition” currently showing at the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square. Many of my favourite Australian artists are showing including Pat Brassington, a Tasmanian photographer and printmaker whose work features disembodied parts of the female body.

Starlight 2001 colour digital print
Pat Brassington,Starlight 2001
colour digital print

Exhibitors include Rosslynd Piggot, whose massive white bed imposes an improbable and powerful presence above the space inviting all to dream.

High Bed, 1998 construction of painted wood, metal, cotton etc
High Bed, 1998
construction of painted wood, metal, cotton etc

The gorgeous black and white photography of Max Dupain of the 1950’s models portrays images of a graceful and bygone era.

 

Shadow of Ballet Dancer 1938 silver gelatin photograph
Shadow of Ballet Dancer
1938 silver gelatin photograph

Early collage work by Sidney Nolan and David Noonan are featured. A taxidermied black cat waves goodbye to us at the end of the show. It looks like a stage prop or TV show persona and not a gallery piece. Such is the depth and wonder of this show my eyes were opened to works by artists I knew but didn’t know were part of the Dada and Surrealism movements. Being removed from Europe and the USA these artists created their own version of the movement. It is a brilliant show and many of these influential artists are currently teaching and working in Australia.

Judith Wright 2011 Mixed Media A journey
Judith Wright, A journey (detail) 2011–12 mixed media – See more at: http://artguide.com.au/articles-page/show/judith-wright-

I found particularly poignant and whimsical the installations by Judith Wright in the foyer. They are assemblages of found objects of childhood relics eg horses heads, child’s toys and a rowboat. These works depict the loss of her child, and are the artists imaginings of how her child’s life would be if she had lived and grown through childhood.

This exhibition educated and exposed me to a vast area of work by Australian artists working in a wildly inventive field of exploration.

VU Connect 14

I went to the Opening Night of VU Connect 14, in Footscray Mall, 138 Nicholson st , Footscray, last night. Its a new gallery space, offices, co op bookshop, shopfront and coffee shop for Victoria University. The award is a biennial, and last night was its inaugural one.

 

Budapest
Footscray

Graduating, studying, and past and present students, were asked to submit works to exhibit and compete for two prizes. Six honourable mentions were made to other exhibitors. The prizes, were for $1000 and $500 respectively and were won by students, in the Creative industries Course, at Victoria University. The major prize winner was an impassioned painting, of outback Australia, a mountain range, executed in thick impasto paint, and even included the artists paint brushes. The other prizewinner was a more delicate watercolour, with a photo image transposed over the top. Both were worthy prize winners as were the honourable mentions.

 

 
The indefatigable curator was Peter Burke, who did an excellent job of hanging works with the assistance of local, emerging artist, Sarah Hayes. Megan Culhane, graduating VU student is exhibiting two lino cut prints, as am I.

show
show

Go along and have a look, see what others are doing, and what VU are up to in the West.

Blogs I follow

As a student at Victoria University, studying a Visual Arts Diploma, we read fellow students blog posts.

 

Culhane, Megan – mjculhane
Daly, Quinn – art-school-dropkick
Day, Kara – sillygillian
Gommers, Kate – cultural-inspiration
Heaton, Sarah – sarahjaneheaton
Jovel, Amanda – gothicaya
Loukas, Andrew – youinterpretit
Pompei, Ebony – facelesswolf
Posavec, Sarah – eroticsloth
Reid, Alexandra – alexreidart
Rezaie, Zakir – zacrezaie
Ritzert, Yvonne – yvonneritzert
Rovacsek, Georgia – georgiarovacsek
Shingles, Sophie – i-didnt-kill-yoko-ono
Stringa, Shai – shaistringa
Sullivan, Elizabeth – libbiesullivan
Thwin, John – thwinblog

Makes for interesting reading. Its a great way to view the past, and current work of the students, and to find out what inspires them. I have made comments on some of the blog posts.

The blogs are innovatively designed, are visually stunning, with matching soundtracks and imagery. It is a great way to keep in touch with fellow students.

 

Printmaking Sweatbox

The day had arrived, we were to submit our final printmaking folio. Despite many instructions and warnings, last minute printing was still to be done, under the close scrutiny of our class mates, also anxious to use the printing presses. We scarpered from the Context and Culture Class, without a backward glance or word of apology to our teacher, as we raced toward the print room, to grasp our elusive final submission.

pride
pride

Work benches were cluttered, students clustered around any remaining, scant work space, and the queue for the printing presses peaked at six workers in tandem, churning the lino-cut relief prints out. Prints were spread over table tops, in  drying racks, between drying boards and across benches. Exclamations of surprise, or groans of anguish accompanied each print as it rolled off the presses. The maker was either thrilled with the result, or in the deepest of despair with the outcome. The back of the room saw students curled over visual diaries pasting and writing, fulfilling the brief fastidiously.

 

The submission deadline grew steadily closer, with notes being scribbled frantically, prints collated, and half dry prints being wrenched from their repository. One of our number needed assistance, and we all banded together and collated his many prints. To no avail, as he confided later he forgot to submit his visual diary. Grr! Safely stowing our work, we exited the print-room gleefully, stumbling towards our homes or studios in a post production daze of exhaustion. A job well done we are now at the mercy of the assessors. Its now time to concentrate on our final folio submissions, for painting and drawing.

The Palais

scaffold
scaffold

Much loved local icon, the Palais Theatre is under threat! Local rocker and frontman of the Dark Horses, Tex Perkins has stepped up to its defence. Mysterious scaffolding has encased the mighty structure for some time now. Apparently this is not a renovation precaution, but is in place to prevent bits falling off and striking the general public, and theatre goers.

 

Luna Park
Luna Par

 

 

She is a much loved piece of the St Kilda landscape, and integral part of the Melbourne theatre, and performance scene. Concerts are regularly held there, and she continues to host local and international acts. Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer, referred to the Palais in his recent Melbourne Show saying they performed at the Palais in 1966 and urged fans to save the venue.

I have attended many memorable performances there. Annually the Sacred Heart mission’s, Heart of St Kilda Concert, to raise funds for the local homeless, Missy Higgins, Rockwiz tribute night to Vanda and Young, Birdy, and Boz Scaggs.

 

palais
palais

 

In 2010, I was privileged to win a ballot to tickets to a guided tour of the Palais, as part of the StKilda Festival. We got to go backstage, stand on the rolling stage, check out the dressing rooms, view the juliet window, site the projectionist room, and even climb up into the roof to inspect the domes, and building structure. A memorable tour, firmly etched in my memory, and probably not possible now, due to Health and Safety regulations. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and sheer beauty of the grand old dame, a fine example of art deco architecture, was breathtaking. It was also sad to see how much she had fallen into disrepair through neglect and lack of maintenance. Impossible to believe she was still exisitng at all, but she has a tenacious hold on StKilda, our hearts and minds, and is the venue of our dreams. She’s not going down without a fight, and the locals are just passionate enough to save her. Prepared to take on both the local and state governments they will fight for her survival. The infamous triangle site fiasco is brought to mind, where they repelled the attempts to build a Chadstone style complex, on the vacant land around the Palais Theatre, abutting Luna Park, and the St Kilda Foreshore

 

 

palais side
palais side

. A virulent battle between protestors, and developers, and local and state government ensued, which saw the protestors victorious, and the site remains vacant until a suitable compromise can be reached.The StKilda Pier Kiosk was burnt down, the StKilda Sea Vaults closed, St Moritz demolished, and it would appear the Astor Theatre is beyond redemption, but the Palais is hanging in there and we will save her, wrangling a truculent Local and State Government to assist.

As a visual artist, I have always found the old girl, aesthetically inspiring and have photographed, painted, and drawn her for many years. She is a big part of my local history, and I too will do whatever it takes to keep her standing. Too young to have seen the memorable 66′ Stones Concert within her hallowed walls, I remember a Dame Edna aka Barry Humphries, concert there of 30 years ago, where the grand old dame played host to the magenta haired, grand old Dame, and gladiolus, flew through the air in a floral frenzy.

The Palais will not go down without a fight, it will emerge from its encasing cocoon like a chrysalis,  and I expect to be along for its bumpy ride, to re-emergence.

Rolling Stones

They finally made it. Mick, Keith, Ron, and Charlie . I last saw them live in Melbourne at Kooyong Tennis Stadium in 1973, when I was a groovy  15 year old. The impression they made on me that fateful day was indelible, and confirmed my allegiance as a lifelong Stones fan . There was something magical about their raunchy rock and roll way back then . Tonight, 41 years later, the spindly legged Lizard King aka Mick Jagger, was at his best, Keef ( Keith Richards ) was clearly enjoying himself belting out the song ” Happy”, Charlie kept them all ticking over with his hypnotic drum beat, and Ronnie strutted the stage like a demented marionette . It was loud , it was funky , it was visually stimulating, with back-screen graphics flashing throughout all of their songs .

stones
stones

Rod Laver Arena, hosted an intimate crowd of 5,000. Not for us the big stadium affairs like the Adelaide Cricket Ground where they paid host to 40,000 fans. It was the spectacle of the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and I wanted to be able to see them, not gaze at some big screen where they appeared as a far off speck on the horizon .

It was worth the wait . The show was dynamic with  Mick gyrating his way around the podium with his accomplices also playing their part. I loved it and danced my way through ” tumbling dice ” like I was that 15 year old teenager again .

Thanks Mick and the boys for giving me a great night out, rekindling old memories and reminding

me you’ve still got it !

Spring

Spring’s gentle caress touches my face,

its time to put winter in its place,

rain is gone , squall and sleet,

now I want sun and blossom at my feet.

 

botanica
botanica

The grey, unforgiving, bleak streets, will be replaced by sun dappled, sweet smelling, welcoming greets.

I want spring and all its warmth, no more reference to winter henceforth.

Horse-racing, Cracker-Night, hedonistic joy,

A giddy round of comforts and delights,

Entice me from winters long toil.

 

Studio Space

A studio space has been enjoyed for the second half of 2014, by grateful VU students. It on the 17 th Floor, 300 Flinders St, commanding great views over the city, and giving us a taste of what its like to work in a commercial studio space. Most days it has provided a refuge, an escape, a study retreat, a repository of our efforts, and an inspiring place to work. A unique view of the CBD, is afforded us on three sides of the building.

 

nicholas building 1
nicholas building 1

Looking east across Swanston st , to Russell st and beyond , offers the interesting sight of the back of the dilapidated, iconic, Nicholas Building, resplendent with graffiti, and damaged fittings, and fixtures .

cbd
cbd

A northern aspect reveals, modern apartments, complete with swimming pool, shadowed by 1970’s high rises of rounded concrete and many windows .

My view, which I consider to be the best, is West facing, and also offers a corner view of the South. The river, bay, and riverbank are revealed. It foreshortens the Casino, exposes parts of South and Port Melbourne, and extends to ” Jeff’s Shed ” and beyond on a ceaseless horizon .

I have relished this studio space, made it my own, and installed the essence of my work, the found object. Alas , it is now time to begin to pack it up, clean the area for the final presentation of folios ,and bid goodbye .

Whilst I am sad to leave, I know it is not the final adieu. Being a part time student in 2014, I will return to complete my diploma in 2015. As a painting student, I will be afforded the luxury of again using a studio space, at VU.

Rain

sandcastle
sandcastle

Grey rain its Melbourne’s turn  to be bleak again
Windows streak
Rain turns to sleet
Gums wave in the night sky
Sodden branches flex and fly
Icy freezing artic winds make my coat spin
This winter has been grim
unrelenting cold has made me feel old
I yearn for summer
Her warm embraces and
Soft gentle touch that lanquidly grazes