Day One Ground Monash

I survived day one ground Monash. Battling incomprehensible acrynoms timetable confusion, a room full of strangers,  and unintelligible requests from the academic cohort, I staggered blindly around the Monash Fine Art Department for most of the day.

project
project

Studios are cramped, my timetable is not user friendly and my first subject choice denied but I’ll work it out. I got to spend the day with inspirational arts practitioners who will train me, and I colloborated on a joint project the results of which are seen here. The piece was inspired by a visit to Francis UPritchard’s exhibition imaginatively titled ” Jealous Saboteurs ” and the piece we chose was part of the ” What Happens Next” installation of clay figures. Whilst not specifically the end product I would have desired,  it made me think in a team mentality, utilise others skills, and assess how I think and work. It also made me talk about and question my aims of production.

What Happens Next
What Happens Next

 

We viewed a unique exhibition by Francis UPritchard at MUMA. It was  a retrospective show which included work from her student days. I particularly loved the installation piece of seven identical glasses cases. They were possibly gleaned from an elderly relative over a period of time and assembled devoid of glasses but fitted with tiny volcanic ranges of green velvet echoing her New Zealand home.

 

 

What Happens Next
What Happens Next

Its a definitive exhibition of many pieces, sculptural figures, refashioned found objects, childhood possessions transformed and dainty watercolours and incorporation of textiles. Her colour use is superb and the sense of scale challenging, as the pieces are diminutive but perfectly formed in a crouching, defensive position.

What Happens Next
What Happens Next

What I loved is the specific gathering of objects, but the casual way they are treated, indicating Francis UPritchard is not precious about her collection but rather sees it as a living, ephemeral body prevailed upon by human intervention and interpretation.

Class mates work "Amplify"
Class mates work “Amplify”

 

An enlightening footnote was the discovery of a pendulous, spindly spider web on the sculpture ” The Tourist”. The spider had invaded the gallery and added its own signature to the piece, perhaps unconsciously reinforcing the aims of the artist. It was specifically relevant to our piece, “what happens next”. The webs presence caused much consternation amongst the gallery curatorial staff, as did, apparently the renegade spiders presence in the gallery space the day before.

 

 

 

 

Manifesto

Aussie Actress, Cate Blanchett, is presenting a monologue of thirteen manifestos in Julian Rosefeldt’s current show, Manifesto, running until 13 March at ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne.

Manifesto
Manifesto

Each short film has a different theme, character and exploration of a different manifesto. Rosefeldt has edited and reassembled a collage of artists’ manifestos. The work draws on the work of Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Situtationists and Futurists , and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers. 

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

I particularly liked the reading of the Dada manifesto intoned by Blanchett, dressed as a middle aged, middle class woman mourner complete with sombre clothing, hat, and makeup standing beside a coffin at a funeral which was about to be lowered for burial. It was an effective juxtaposition of images, the positive yet absurd nature and clarity of the doctrine, against the ostentatiousness of the funeral and the ridiculousness of the burial process.

Manifesto
Manifesto

Her adoption of the persona of the homeless man, at the site of the abandoned German Spy Towers in Berlin, is powerful.

ACMI
ACMI

Its an exceptional installation, one I would recommend seeing.

Neon Benders

standing man
standing man

My fellow artist Lauren Kennedy, was exhibiting her four piece neon installation at Ne Art Exhibition 2016. Its located in downtown Collingwood at the gritty end of Smith St.  I caught the packed 86 tram along gertrude st to make a foray northside. An old converted shop space with upstairs rooms its an artist run initiative. I talked to several of the exhibiting artists including “Teloc” a diminutive vocal man who expounded on the virtues of neon.

The man whose factory made all the artists neon pieces, Steven Cole, is a third generation “bender”, industry speak for manufacture of neon. He said his industries early work was in signage but laterally it has been in art installation, and he shyly showed me his piece.

Lauren’s panels were proudly on display in the third room placed strategically next to the “Ziggy Stardust” piece. I wondered if this piece had been created prior to the great man’s demise. Her work brightened the dim space, gleaming iridescently and invitingly in the small space. As a body of four panels it made a bold statement addressing her creative intentions of depicting the inner angst a  creative mind struggles with.

Lauren Kennedy
Lauren Kennedy

 

I also admired the work of Konstantin Dimopolous , Standing Man, a neon study in life drawing and Ally Pyers piece, “Selfie” epitomising the current obsession with phone self portraiture.

selfie
selfie

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.

Punk

I am going to Brightspace Gallery, St Kilda, to see an exhibition called “Punk Journey, St Kilda + Beyond . I am excited. It was a movement I first encountered in London in 1979, where it spawned a vibrant and dynamic art, and music culture . At home in Melbourne, and as a Stkilda resident of the early 80’s, I loved going to the now defunct Crystal Ballroom, in Fitzroy st, part of the Seaview Hotel. It was seedy, distressed, dirty, dingy, but with exhilarating music, and outlandish costumes, I loved it. Heady times, exuberant passions, and visually stimulating art, I was part of a movement. It was a movement without peer, its like not seen again, and it spawned many talented Australian artists eg Rowland. S .Howard, and  Nick Cave , from the band, “The Birthday Party”.

punk
punk

 

Fashion was sublime in this period, and dress sense was avant garde, and personal, anything goes, with safety pins, studs, chains, and tartans abounding. In the UK, Vivienne Westwood ruled, and as one time partner of Malcolm Mc Laren, original punk god, she had her finger on the pulse, of all things punk! In Australia, Jenny Bannister officiated, and I was disappointed I was unable to book into a free workshop, at Brightspace, to punk up an item of clothing. It’s booked out by all the dormant punks in StKilda.!

 

I hope to meet Lauren, my ex VU Buddy, and we will enjoy the exhibition together.

Cheers!

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.

 

Reflection

My time at Victoria University, studying the Visual Arts Diploma 2014, is drawing to a close. The studios are swept, work is displayed, and final submissions are being pulled together. Tomorrow is the Final Assessment Day, other assessments having already taken place last week. Relief washes over most, as the door is closed on a years work. A period of nervousness will ensue, indecision being the lot of most visual artists

 Prize
Prize
no limit
no limit

Hope is writ large as we scramble to secure one of the Fiona Myer Travel, or folio awards. It is with some sadness I will bid farewell to my fellow classmates. Much of their work is exemplary, and I expect their imagery will stay with me through the years. I hope to see their trajectory rise, all of these “bright stars”. I will retain my fond memories of them as VU collaborators, and thank them all, they have taught me much.

My Artistic Practice 2014

In this blog I want to describe my artistic practice at the beginning of 2014, and my artistic practice at the conclusion of 2014.
studio vu1
studio vu1
I am an inveterate collector. I  use found objects in my art, and to inspire me. My visual diaries, are a record of my daily journeys. They record, and sometimes act as a repository of my found objects. The focus of my artistic practice in 2014, has been beach washed detritus. Specifically I have used destroyed, aged, sea washed,rusted, crushed, and tattered cans. My work has involved sculptural pieces, using plaster, and metal frameworks amongst other found objects. I have completed a folio of many paintings, drawings and prints, based on cans, at various levels of decay. My printmaking work has also embraced the theme of destroyed, abandoned, and deserted post industrial landscapes, such as Detroit, USA , Cockatoo Island, Australia, and Hashima Island, Japan.
studio vu2
studio vu2
At the completion of my 2014 studies, I believe I have produced a cohesive body of work, that addresses my principles of the use of the damaged found object, ie cans, and has directed a burgeoning interest in the post industrial landscape. I have learnt many new skills, eg; drypoint, intaglio printmaking, and re-awakened old ones of life drawing, and perspective placement. Involving myself in a daily training environment has been most beneficial, as has access to a brilliant studio space. I look forward to completing my studies in 2015, particularly in the area of painting.

Final Submission

VU Now 2014 Invitation
VU Now 2014 Invitation

It has finally arrived. Our final folio submission. Months of hard work, dedication, studio toil , self doubt and creative output are drawing to a close.

my studio work
my studio work

Gruelling final hours, are being put in at the studios, as final touches are added to works, tweaking of folios, and stretching ourselves to the limit is occurring, in a final, vain, effort to get our work just right. Its a long, difficult, and laborious process and one that doesn’t come easily. Mountains of work has to be sifted through, pieces selected and finals displayed in our cramped, newly cleaned studio spaces. I spent the better part of my Saturday cleaning, choosing, tweaking and self doubting. Pinning countless pieces to the walls, I marvel at my huge output but obsessively question the value of the work and the validity  of my artistic statement. An inveterate collector, recycler and re-houser, my work tends to overwhelm even me and I find my creative output massive and un-harnessable. Its excruciatingly difficult putting your life on the line, figuratively not actually. Always questioning, seeking solution and completion, whilst  perpetually searching and depicting, is the artists lot. No arrogance or bravado for this mature age student, just hard graft, my resilient work ethic pushed to the limit. Whilst I envy the exuberance and arrogance of the young practitioners on my course, I value my experience, my compulsion for my work, and my questioning, and restless mind. I am impatient now, want the assessment to be over, and want to house my work and establish a working space over the long summer break. I have enrolled in a framing course at the CAE, over the next month as I wind down, and share my burgeoning mound of prints, drawings and paintings, with friends  and family.

Mawkish sentimentality aside, goodbye VU, 17th Floor Studio Space, its been a bumpy ride, you’ve taught me a lot, and witnessed many upheavals in my daily life, and whilst I’ll miss you, I am lucky enough to be re-visiting you in 2015.

Final Essay

A plan was formulated, some time ago, to plan, and write my final essay for Context and Culture, a second semester subject of my Diploma of Visual Art.

 

Time to write
Time to write

I believe I chose a suitable topic, but research proved problematic, as not much documentation,  of the art work produced in this period, was recorded. Still sticking with the original topic another attempt has been forged, but I am stuck. First and second paragraphs are written, but the stumbling block is the next two paragraphs and conclusion.I want it done, it has hung around too long and invaded the edges of my conscience, an unwelcome intrusion when all I really want to do is spend time in my studio and complete pieces for my final folio assessment.

 

tunnel 3
tunnel 3

I am frustrated and bored with it but seem locked into inaction, a paralysis of the brain, preventing my arm from piecing it all together. I know I will just need to sit down and give it a bit more time. I will myself to get organised, collate my notes, marshall my thoughts, and produce a cohesive piece of writing. I just can’t seem to pull it together, with so many other demands on my time to complete my final drawing folio and display it in a cleaned studio,  the essay keeps getting relegated to the ” to do ” pile. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow! Watch this space.