Saturday, January 5, 2019

New hang at the Art Gallery of Ballarat

As 2018 was drawing to a close, curator Julie McLaren and her crack team undertook the mammoth task of rehanging the staircase area overlooking the foyer of the Art Gallery of Ballarat. I'm a long-time advocate of the salon-style hang, both for aesthetic and practical reasons (Shane Jones and I employ it extensively in our Melbourne and Ballarat homes and studios), and find the finished result, highlighted in this post, quite stunning.

The installation focuses entirely on figurative works. I'm honoured to have my painting Vorticist 2 (pictured above, top row, fourth from right) included, particularly as it is surrounded by so many works from the collection that I hugely admire. Among them is former From the Bower colleague Loris Button's poignant self-portrait The artist in her middle years: Memento 1, 1995 (pictured above, third row from top, second left).

Vorticist 2 was first exhibited in the solo show Tease (2004) at Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne. In 2008 it was part of the touring survey show Deborah Klein: Out of the Past 1995 - 2007 and the work is featured in the standard school text book Art Detective by Michelle Stockley (2017).

When Vorticist 2 was acquired back in 2005, I never dreamed that one day I would be living in Ballarat and, as Shane and I tentatively start the slow, complex process of cutting ties with Melbourne, that we’d come to regard it as home.

Vorticist 2, 2004, oil and acrylic on linen, 122 x 91 cm. Collection: Art Gallery of Ballarat.

This group hang extends an invitation to engage with the works, both singly and collectively, something not all salon-style arrangements successfully achieve. It's virtually impossible to do the new installation justice here, or to more than suggest the myriad of connections and dialogues between works that it instigates.

The staircase area is directly opposite the main entrance to the Art Gallery of Ballarat, providing a tantalising indication of what is in store. On several occasions I've spoken to past visitors who admit they've never climbed the staircase to the second level, which is where some of the finest works in the collection, as well as some terrific curated shows, are displayed. I've no doubt that this striking new hang will lead all but the chronically uncurious irresistibly upwards and onwards.

To read a short essay on the history of the salon-style hang, visit the Polk Museum of Art HERE.

Admiring the new hang at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Photo credit: Shane Jones

View from the top of the stairs (left)

View from the top of the stairs (right)

A list of the above works, section by section, follows directly. Click on individual pages for a clearer view.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Everything's coming up roses

Pictured above: the view of (and from) my drawing board on this second day of 2019

I'm not usually one for omens, but on the last day of the old year, our little rose bush, which in recent years has had numerous near-death experiences, began to flower for the very first time. The rose was a gift from Carole Wilson (one of my fellow artists in the 2018 show PATTERNS OF COLLECTING: From the Bower at the Johnston Collection and its two previous iterations in 2017). By New Year's Day the rose was in full, glorious bloom. If that's not a propitious omen for the year ahead, I don't know what is. At least, that's what I choose to believe.

In another omen of sorts, the colours of its petals are uncannily like those in my current painting-in-progress (pictured above), particularly in - dare I say it - my subject's rosy cheek. 

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope that 2019 will be a rosy year for all of us.

Our rose opens its petals on New Year's Eve

The rose in full bloom on New Year's Day

Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018

There are several #bestnine apps designed for Instagram wherein your most popular nine posts for the year are gathered together and displayed in grid form. I decided to give it a try, and, as this is the last day of the year, thought I’d share the results here.

My nine for 2018 were not chosen by a robot, however, but by me. Whether these are actually my best nine is subjective, but they’re fairly indicative of where the work is right now and where it’s potentially heading from here. 

Enjoy the final hours of 2018, everyone. I have a feeling that 2019 is going to be a fantastic year!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Prelude and Lookout

Prelude, acrylic on linen 40.5 x 30.5 cm (progress view). Photo credit: Tim Gresham

Prelude, pictured above, is part of a growing body of work, collectively titled Back Story. This and Lookout, also featured in this post, were started back in April, and were the first and second paintings undertaken for the new series. In this year's avalanche of activities, however, I never got around to posting them here, and have barely managed to squeeze them in now, just as 2018 is nearing its end.

Prelude was also the basis for the eponymous linocut I created for IMPRESSIONS 2018, the Australian Print Workshop's biennial fundraiser, and Lookout appears on my 2018 Christmas card.

The painting component of Back Story was placed on hold when I undertook a term as Artist-in Residence at Melbourne Athenaeum Library as part of Melbourne Rare Book Week in July. During the residency I worked on several projects, including a suite of linocuts inspired by the women in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, and continued to develop them after the residency had ended. These too are part of Back Story.

Now that carving of the linocuts is near completion, my energies are predominantly concentrated on the paintings that are the backbone of Back Story. A series of 20 is initially planned, each measuring 40.5 x 30.5 cm. These will be the forerunners of larger works.

Directly below are selected progress views of Prelude. (Note the transition from warm to cool greys).

Directly below: Lookout, followed by earlier developmental views.

Lookout, acrylic on linen 40.5 x 30.5 cm (progress view). Photo credit: Tim Gresham

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Guide (work in progress), acrylic on linen 40.5 x 30.5 cm. Photo credit: Tim Gresham

A recent work, near completion, followed by a series of progress views.

In the background (above centre) is Sybil, another work in this ongoing series. For a closer look at Sybil, go HERE.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Compliments of the Season

On the night before Christmas, all is calm, all is bright. Not a creature is stirring, not even in my studio.

Entering into the Yuletide spirit, Alice has decided not to fell the Christmas tree after all.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and nothing but the best for the coming year.   

Thursday, December 20, 2018

DRAWING STRENGTH - final weeks

Pictured top: pages from a recent sketchbook with ideas for future works mapped out. The centre drawing is the basis for one of the paintings I’m working on at present.

Meanwhile, the sketchbook is currently part of DRAWING STRENGTH, a visionary show curated by Jo Lane that celebrates the art of drawing in its myriad shapes and forms.

Now in its final weeks, DRAWING STRENGTH can be seen at the Barn Gallery, Montsalvat until January 6, 2019. Afterwards, a stroll around Montsalvat’s magnificent grounds is also highly recommended, especially if you’re seeking respite from the Silly Season that’s currently upon us.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


Sybil, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm (work in progress). Photo credit: Tim Gresham 

With so much happening in recent weeks, I've been somewhat remiss about posting updates from my own studio.

Pictured top is Sybil, one of several works currently in development for an expansive project with the umbrella title Back Story.

The initial studies for Back Story were created in 2017, many of them during a residency at The Art Vault. The subsequent intrusion of other projects, however, made it virtually impossible to develop the imagery with any real consistency. The series, which will comprise paintings, prints, drawings and artist books, is now well and truly underway and will be my primary focus for the foreseeable future.

The following photos, snapped in my Ballarat studio, show Sybil in key stages of its development.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Some recent events

The Goldfields Printmakers end of year meeting in Kittelty's at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
Left: GP Treasurer, Anne Langdon, centre: James Pasakos; far right: Loris Button. 

On Saturday, 1 December, the Goldfields Printmakers held their final meeting for 2018 over an early pre-Christmas brunch at Kittelty's, the Art Gallery of Ballarat's splendid cafe.

After our meeting, the Goldfields Printmakers visited the Arts Academy, where we viewed
  Encounter, our portfolio of prints exhibited in the Open Folio section of IMPACT 10  

In recent weeks, GP founder James Pasakos and GP member Loris Button returned from IMPACT 10, the international print conference in Santander, Spain. Our group exhibited in the Open Folio section and some members, including James and Loris, also held major shows. Other members, including myself, participated in group exhibitions - in my case, Thinking of Place ll.

The meeting was a timely opportunity to share the news of the acquisition of my artist book Leaves of Absence by the National Gallery of Australia. The first archival pigment prints I ever made were for Not Born Digital, the Goldfields Printmakers project created for IMPACT 9 in Hangzhou, China in 2015. They sowed the seeds for a completely new direction in my work that over the following two years culminated in Leaves of Absence and, more recently, the archival pigment print Bell Jar, 2018. (See following image).

Future Goldfields Printmakers shows will be announced in the New Year, once venues and dates have been confirmed.

At Tacit Galleries with my archival pigment print, Bell Jar, inspired by Sylvia Plath's semi-
autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. Photo credit: Shane Jones.

Blarney Books and Art's tenth annual Biblio Art Prize exhibition recently travelled from its home in Port Fairy to Tacit Galleries in Collingwood, where it continues until Sunday, 16 December. Two of my works, Bell Jar, an archival pigment print, and Progeny, a unique artist book, are finalists in this year's Biblio.

The photos directly above and below were taken at Tacit Galleries on opening night, Wednesday 5 December.

An installation view of my one-of-a-kind artist book Progeny, currently at Tacit Galleries as part of Biblio Art Prize 2018.
Progeny, which was highly commended, takes Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein as its point of departure.

In other recent news, on Friday, December 7, Shane Jones and I attended the Australian Print Workshop Artist's Party, thrown by the APW as a thank you to all the artists who donated print editions to IMPRESSIONS 2018, its biennial fundraising exhibition.

As in previous years, we were treated to some memorable musical interludes. Guitar duo Graeme Drendel and Rick Amor were a marvellous 'warm-up' act to the fabulous Press Gang, comprising Jazmina Cininas, Julie Forrester, Simon White, Martin King, Adrian Kellett and Graeme Drendel. Printmaking luminaries, all of them, and damned fine musicians too.

L-R: APW Director Anne Virgo, Rick Amor, Martin King and Graeme Drendel

The legendary Press Gang, from L-R: Jazmina Cininas, Simon White, Julie Forrester, Adrian Kellett, Martin King
 and Graeme Drendel

As if this weren't enough, there were also prizes. I never win door prizes, raffles and suchlike, so couldn't have been more surprised when my name was one of those drawn from a hat. I won a linocut 'hamper' that included a lino block of the exact size I'm using for a current project, a tube of Charbonnel (my favourite ink), a baren and a fine set of linocut tools. Coincidentally, Shane won an identical prize. We're both feeling rather chuffed.

Directly below are just some of the many prints on view in IMPRESSIONS 2018. My linocut, Prelude, is on the bottom row, centre.

For further details of IMPRESSIONS 2018, including a complete list of participating artists, go HERE.

The show continues to 16 February, 2019. To check the APW's hours over the Christmas break, go HERE.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Shane Jones and I each have an artwork and sketchbook in the group show DRAWING STRENGTH in the Barn Gallery at Montsalvat Arts Centre. We’re delighted with curator Jo Lane’s placement of our drawings, in a charming alcove flanking an oversized fireplace. Despite being part of the main gallery, the area feels quite self-contained, as if we are in our very own room. My concertina format sketchbook sits in front of the fireplace. Shane’s book, opened in the view below to sketches of our cat Alice, is grouped with other sketchbooks at the opposite end of the gallery.

DRAWING STRENGTH runs from November 17, 2018 - January 6, 2019.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Prelude (2018, linocut with chine-collé, 20 x 15 cm, edition: 20, printed by Simon White) is my contribution to IMPRESSIONS 2018, the Australian Print Workshop’s biennial fundraising exhibition.

It’s a great show, arguably their best yet, and an absolute must for lovers of print.

IMPRESSIONS 2018 artists include: Greg Alexander, Penny Algar, Rick Amor, Brook Andrew, Stephen Armstrong, Rosalind Atkins, Susan Baran, Elizabeth Barnett, Alexis Beckett, Martin Bell, Kathy Boyle, Matthew Broughton, Peter Brown, Rob Brown, Peter Burgess, Kate Butler, Violeta Capovska, Lauren Carter, Raymond Carter, Jon Cattapan, Civil, Peter D Cole, Dianne Colk, Fabiana Comas, Timothy Cook, Warren Cooke, Brendan Cooper, Marisa Corral, Vicki Couzens, Beth Croce, Suzanne Danaher, Aleks Danko, Yvonne Day, Ex De Medici, David De Roach, Chris De Rosa, Clive Dickson, Louise Donovan, Graeme Drendel, Lesley Duxbury, Peter Ellis, Farimah Eshraghi, Kasia Fabijanska, Michael Fitzgerald, Angela Foley, Julie Forrester, Graham Fransella, Alex Game, Zoe Geyer, Shaun Gladwell, Janet Goldman, Kate Gorringe-Smith, Kaye Green, Andrew Gunnell, Gracia Haby &, Louise Jennison, Fred Hagstrom, Liam Haley, Richard Harding, Vicki Harman, Greg Harrison, Anton Hasell, Katherine Hattam, Jarmila Hava, Carolyn Hawkins, Euan Heng, Judy Holding, Alex Hotchin, Kate Hudson, Kyoko Imazu, Chris Ingham, Callum Jackson, Robyn Jackson, Georgia Janetzki, Shane Jones, Gina Kalabishis, Andrew Keall, Roslyn Kean, William Kelly, Hyun-Ju Kim, Luke Duncan King, Martin King, Jenny Kitchener, Barbie Kjar, Deborah Klein, Hertha Kluge-Pott, Helen Kocis-Edwards, Damon Kowarsky, Tim Lane, Jo Lankester, Georgia Laughton, Christine Lawry, Libby Letcher, Bruno Leti, Kevin Lincoln, Sorcha Mackenzie, Nina Magee, Margaret Manchee, Harley Manifold, Marion Manifold, Jennifer Marshall, Marie Mason, Terry Matassoni, George Matoulas, Malini Maunsell, Tommy May, Annalise Mayer, Janice McBride, David McCall, Stephen McCarthy, John McClumpha, Sarah McConnell, Danni McGrath, Laith McGregor, Paula McLoughlin, Justin McShane, Robert Mihajlovski, Lewis Miller, Louise Minahan, Allan Mitelman, Simon Moore, Hannah Murray, Janice Murray, Tom Nicholson, Liz Norris, Chris O’doherty, (Aka Reg Mombassa), Peter O’doherty, Emmet O’dwyer, Glenda Orr, Allison Orton, Laura Osborne, Jan Palethorpe, Margaret Parker, Larry Parkinson, Jon Paton, Patricia Piccinini, Kate Piekutowski, Brian Pieper, Catherine Pilgrim, Jaime Powell, Jutta Pryor, Stephanie Rampton, Julia Reed, Michael Rigg, Lisa Roet, Jennifer Rogers, Georgina Ross, Caroline Rothwell, Kate Ryan, Gwen Scott, Marianne Sebetti, Jan Senbergs, Simon Sherrin, Julia Silvester, Andrew Sinclair, Melissa Smith, Jennifer Smyth, Anne Spudvilas, Ruth Stanton, Anne Starling, Lisa Stebbing, Mervyn Street, Deb Tate, Deb Taylor, Andrew Taylor, Georgia Thorpe, Gera Tonge, Wayne Viney, Anne Virgo, Susan Wald, Deborah Walker, Thornton Walker, Lee Ward, Judy Watson, Louise Weaver, Peter Wegner, Sophie Westerman, Simon White, John Wolseley, Amanda Woodmansey, Chiara Zeta, and Kate Zizys.

Australian Print Workshop Gallery
210 Gertrude Street,
Fitzroy, Vic.

Gallery hours: 10 - 5 Tuesday to Saturday

The exhibition runs to 16 February 2019

Monday, November 19, 2018

Acquisition by National Gallery of Australia

Leaves of Absence, 2017, unbound artist book
31 archival pigment prints in Solander box
32.5 (H) x 25.5 (W) x 4 cm (D) edition: 10 plus one artist proof

In the midst of an exceptionally hectic period, I've received some marvellous news. My artist book LEAVES OF ABSENCE has been acquired for the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

For additional information and page views, visit Moth Woman Press HERE.

Page view from Leaves of Absence