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.

Brilliant Dilletantes

Brilliant Dilletantes, Subculture in Germany, in the 1980’s,  is on at RMIT Storey Hall Gallery now until 27 February 2016. I liked what I saw. Tonight, 3rd December at 5.30pm a talk is being given about a new book by Australian writer and Berlin resident, Stuart Braun, discussing his new book  “City of Exiles:Berlin from the Outside In” with Dr Peter Milne.

Brilliant Dilletantes
Brilliant Dilletantes

I believe both are worth a look.

Subculture in Germany in the 1980's
Subculture in Germany in the 1980’s

MADA Graduate Show 2015

I walked to Caulfield, from my home in Elsternwick to see the MADA Graduate Fine Art and Visual Art Exhibition. I wasn’t disappointed. The work on display was extremely innovative, explorative, and visually stunning. It covered a diverse range of visual practice including installation, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and drawing.

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

Spread over the entire floors of the old, iconic, former CIT Building, in Dandenong Rd, it embraced a fine visual aesthetic and displayed a comprehensive skill base of the newly graduated practitioners.

Of particular interest was the area where the Honours Students were exhibiting. This is the proposed 2016 studio space for the first year, Bachelor of Fine Art Degree students.

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

The Boyd Show

This comprehensive exhibition centred on the Boyd family, and their work, is informative and diverse. Historically interesting, it chronicles the work of one of the most influential, and significant Australian Art families. Working in the fields of painting, sculpture,pottery, ceramics, literature, architecture, poetry and music, there is much to see in the exhibition. Metric Boyd, Earthernware Vase, 1931

 

 Arthur Boyd, My father, Merric Boyd’s pottery and kiln, 1934

 

polly

‘Polly’ , Arthur Boyd, oil painting, 1951

ab landscapeArthur Boyd, Landscape, oil painting, 1969

For fifty years, they resided in an area of Murrumbeena, a South Eastern suburb of Melbourne, in an idyllic bush setting which inspired much of their work.

VCA School of Art 2015 Graduate Exhibition

Graduation Show 15
Graduation Show 15

The VCA School of Art 2015 Graduate Exhibition  opened tonight and I went along, preparing to be

En En See " Fold Paintings"oil on linen and hessian
En En See ” Fold Paintings”oil on linen and hessian

dazzled. I wasn’t disappointed. There was a massive array of work on display, which attracted a large crowd. Seen lurking in the distance was Paul Borg, ex VU teacher, the enigmatic Louise Hall, current VU teacher but the mercurial Peter Burke was nowhere in sight! Perhaps still frantically installing the Graduate 2015 VU Exhibition?

Emma White "Six Mile", acrylic paint and fluorescent lights
Emma White “Six Mile”, acrylic paint and fluorescent lights
Emma White "Six Mile", acrylic paint and fluorescent lights
Emma White “Six Mile”, acrylic paint and fluorescent lights

The work was varied, innovative and skillful. Of particular interest were the large canvases, of either acrylic or oil paint, placed onto stretchers, displaying a variety of subject matter and painting styles. Several were figurative and realistic, but my favourites were abstract compositions, executed in a very painterly fashion, employing a bold colour palette. It is a method I have adopted in my own artistic practice in the latter half of the year, specifically following my Detroit field trip. My canvases were not stretched as I worked spontaneously off a roll of canvas I bought for my entry into the Basil Sellers Prize.

En En See " Cut Diamond"oil on linen, steel
En En See ” Cut Diamond”oil on linen, steel

I attended an interview, in these esteemed premises last week, in my pursuit of further visual art training, and anxiously await its

En En See " Cut Diamond"oil on linen, steel
En En See ” Cut Diamond”oil on linen, steel

outcome.

 

The exhibition was too vast to see it all in much detail, I will return when the crowds have abated and I am easily able to view all works more thoroughly.

 

Battling

The end is in sight. It’s been two heady years at Victoria University, highs and lows, friendships forged and help given. I’ve loved it. I am eternally grateful to the chance I’ve been given, to return to my constant love, that of painting. Sometimes hidden in the background, but always on my mind, she is the constant nagging ache, that never quite goes away. I have embraced her these last few years after turning my back on her, for what I thought were more pressing demands on my time.

I’m loving what I do. Inspired, thankful, challenged, desperate, energised, I move onto the next phase of my artistic journey, hopefully receiving more brilliant tuition and networking opportunities with fellow visual artists.

studio
studio

The sleeping giant is awakened, but underneath I’m still a grateful, humble,

studio floor
studio floor

nervous, country kid.

 

Vale VU, couldn’t have done it without you.

 

 

 

Open Studios in Dumbo

I participated in DUMBO’s First Thursday Gallery Walk October 1. All of DUMBO’s amazing galleries were open. It included twelve galleries, four neighbourhood spots, and the work of eighteen artists on display.

Water NYC
Water NYC

After dining on the obligatory American/ Italian Pizza Experience at Grimaldi”s,  I went to this on a dark, wet night in Dumbo, Brooklyn, under the bridge and was impressed by what I saw.

Bridge New York
Bridge New York

A lot of the gallery spaces were shiny, commercial enterprises with expensive art hung on the walls. One had a Shepard Fairey, of street art fame, piece that had already been sold, but giving no indication to its price. I also visited artists studios, including the Triangle Residency, who provide a fantastic program to engage in artistic practice in Brooklyn,  for international artists. Whilst many of the galleries were all about selling the work, some were artist run and owned, as they were literally just selling their pieces from their workshops or studios. It gave a valuable insight into the working artists life, in the crowded New York Art Scene, and was inspiring and informative to talk to the actual artist, and not to just to view the end product, in a commercial gallery space.

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge