Thursday, October 14, 2021

Rückenfigur rescheduled

In recent news, I have postponed Rückenfigur, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery. It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly, but uncertainty about the transition out of lockdown coupled with some health-related issues led to the realisation that I had little choice. Fortunately Queenscliff Gallery’s Soula and Theo Montalvanos have been able to slot me in for May/June 2022 and I thank them for their continued support, understanding and flexibility.

The upside of this is that I will now have considerably more time to create works for the show, which will be all the stronger for it. I’ll be sharing a selection of these over the coming months, beginning with the work featured here.

Pictured top: Recollection, 2021, diptych, acrylic on canvas, top panel: 20 x 15 cm; bottom panel: 17.5 x 12.5 cm.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

On the table easel


Pictured above: my present work in progress, followed by earlier developmental views. The lace collar was initially sketched in with a white watercolour pencil, enabling marks to be easily erased and altered during the drawing process. As yet untitled, the diptych is acrylic on canvas and measures 35 x 12.5 cm.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

WAMA Art Prize Finalist

This afternoon I had an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. My drawing, Swan Song 2, is a finalist in the inaugural WAMA Art Prize Works on Paper Award: Where Art Meets Nature. I had assumed my entry was unsuccessful, because aside from initial acknowledgment of the entry form, I received no further correspondence from WAMA*. Only 40 finalists were selected from over 500 entries, so I’m still in a state of numb but happy disbelief. Felicitations to the prize winners, including overall winner Melissa Smith and all the other finalists. 

Many thanks to Arts & Culture Ballarat for tagging me in their Facebook post about the WAMA Art Prize today, otherwise I might never have known that my work had been shortlisted.*

The finalists’ works are on the WAMA website, where you can also vote for the People's Choice Award.

*(I’ve since had a phone call from WAMA. It seems an email informing me of my selection was sent last week. This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with emails; very possibly it landed in my junk mail). 

Pictured top: Swan Song 2, 2021, pigmented drawing ink, watercolour and acrylic on paper, 76h x 56w cm. Photo credit: Tim Gresham.

Monday, September 20, 2021

A Salon Hang by Team Alice


A recent project for Shane Jones and I was hanging
Spiral Tower, the Leigh Hobbs painting I purchased last May from his two-person show with Jim Pavlidis at Queenscliff Gallery. The greatest challenge was finding a spot for it. Through the years, we have accumulated a sizeable collection of artworks and a salon hang isn’t just an aesthetic choice, it’s a necessity. 

Fortunately Alice was on hand to lend assistance and advice. In the hallway to our side entrance, a work on paper by Lisa Barmby was moved to the right in order to make room for Leigh’s painting. From the time we moved here, Alice has overseen the placement of each and every work that graces our walls.

Throughout our house the walls are laden with works by artists who have touched our lives. Many of them are old friends. In these times of long separations, it brings them that much closer. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Current work

Pictured above and below are a series of progress views of my current painting, a diptych, acrylic on canvas, 55 x 20 cm. The work is intended for Rückenfigur, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery. An update on the exhibition will be posted shortly.

In the top view, the work is all but complete, save for some tweaking here and there and an appropriate title - something that doesn’t always come easy. The lace pattern in the second panel is loosely based on a vintage collar in one of several reference books I’ve accumulated through the years. It was drawn on the canvas freehand. This can sometimes do my head in, but in this instance, I found the entire process surprisingly meditative, particularly when it came to adding the areas of fine detail. 

Click on images to enlarge. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The week that was: works in progress, daily walks and a birthday celebration

Sunshine came softly through my window today - followed by a walk amongst the wattles and back to our own backyard, where Alice is cultivating a penchant for parsley. Then the rains came.

In other news, on Wednesday, September 8, Shane marked his second birthday in lockdown with bubbles and a spectacular orange cake. We would have loved to share it with friends and family, but sadly restrictions forbade it. Hopefully next year… 


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Primavera II


Pictured above: Primavera II, acrylic on two canvases, 37.5 x 15 cm. The vintage embroidery on the left by my late Aunt, Eileen Klein, was the basis for the motif on the subject’s collar. The painting is near completion, save some minor tweaking. 

A progress view is below.

Primavera II and its companion work, Primavera I, as it’s now titled, were developed in between the films we streamed from the recent Melbourne International Film Festival

Primavera I has since been completed, and work on Primavera II proceeded without incident or interruption, with one exception - the takeover of my work chair by Alice (see below). Sucker that I am, I didn’t have the heart to move her. Instead, I rearranged the studio chairs, while Alice steadfastly refused to vacate “her” seat. In my small, cluttered space, it was a lot more complicated than it looks. Alice was not impressed. Her expression (third photo below) says it all. 

Visit Spring is hereBlog Post Wednesday, September 1, to see the then-untitled Primavera I and developmental views of both works.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Father’s Day Revisited


Some of you may remember my post on Father’s Day 2020, featuring this photograph of my very young self snapped at a then unknown location in central Melbourne.

This is an excerpt from the original post:

Recently I made the most wonderful discovery. Hovering in the top left-hand corner, barely in the picture plane, is the profile of my late father, Ron Klein. Evidently his head was concealed by the frame that usually houses the photo. He died suddenly in 1978, when I was still living in London. It’s as if he’s been watching over me all these years and I never knew it. Well, I do now. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. 

At the time, I posted the photo on social media, asking if anyone recognised its location. It dates from around the mid-1950s and I’m standing outside what looks like an art gallery, which you could say is something of a portent. Several people helpfully weighed in with interesting suggestions, but only gallery director Stephen McLaughlan was able come to my rescue. I’ve since become aware of Stephen’s phenomenal knowledge of Melbourne’s architecture, so it’s not surprising he was the one to answer the question that has perplexed me for years. The building is one of Melbourne’s most beautiful and historically significant - the Block Arcade,* pictured below.

From late 2007 to mid 2011, I rented a studio only minutes away, on the top floor of the fine, but now decidedly dilapidated City of Melbourne Building that stands on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets (see below) and used to cut through the Block Arcade all the time. 

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery in the iconic Nicholas Building on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane is also very close by. In fact, my current exhibition still hangs in the gallery, albeit in lockdown.

Somehow I never got around to publishing a follow-up post about the solution to the mystery location, and with Father’s Day upon us once more, now seems like a good time, if a tad belated. Recently I did an online search for a high resolution shot of the Block Arcade and found the vintage photo second from top on the State Library of Victoria website. Click on the image for an enlarged view.

My partner, Shane Jones, wishes he’d met you, Dad. I wish you’d met too. In fact, I wish all the Jones family had gotten to know you - and vice-versa. After all these years, I still miss you. Happy Father’s Day.

*The State Library of Victoria is duly acknowledged as the source of the photograph of the Block Arcade. There are no copyright restrictions on the work and its creator is unknown. The following information is from the SLV’s website:
Title: The Block Arcade, 280-286 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, ca. 1930-1939.
Contents/Summary: The Block Arcade on north side of Collins Street, between Elizabeth Street and Swanston Street. Window displays for Kodak and Singer Sewing Machines.
Description: 1 photographic print, gelatin silver, 26 x 21 cm. approx.

Photo credit for the City of Melbourne Building: Deborah Klein.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Spring is here

Pictured above: a new work for a new season, as yet untitled and not quite finished in time for the first day of spring, but close to it. 

The work is acrylic on two canvases and its dimensions are 37.5 x 15 cm. The vintage needlework to its left is by my late aunt, Eileen Elizabeth Klein. I inherited many of her doilies and placemats (but sadly, not her sewing skills) and have incorporated design motifs from several of them into recent works. One of them is HERE. These and other related paintings will be exhibited at Queenscliff Gallery in the near future. 

A series of progress views of the diptych follow directly. They include its sister work (also currently untitled and considerably further away from resolution).

Friday, August 27, 2021

Ladies in Lockdown 3: Droplet


…She left the web, she left the loom, 
She made three paces through the 
She saw the water-lily bloom, 
She saw the helmet and the plume, 
She look'd down to Camelot. 
Out flew the web and floated wide; 
The mirror crack'd from side to side; 
"The curse is come upon me," cried 
The Lady of Shalott…

- from The Lady of Shalott (1833, Alfred, Lord Tennyson) 

Pictured: Droplet, 2018, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm, another lady in lockdown dying to break free. One of the first works made for BACKSTORIES at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, current to September 5. 🔐 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Ladies in Lockdown 2: Pathfinder

…By the margin, willow veil'd,

Slide the heavy barges trail'd 

By slow horses; and unhail'd 

The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd

Skimming down to Camelot: 

But who hath seen her wave her 


Or at the casement seen her stand? 

Or is she known in all the land, 

The Lady of Shalott?…

- from The Lady of Shalott (1833, Alfred, Lord Tennyson) 

Pictured: Pathfinder, 2018, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm, part of my solo show, BACKSTORIES, temporarily under lock and key at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery on the eighth floor of the Nicholas Building, Melbourne. 🔐 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Ladies in Lockdown 1: The Other

…Four gray walls and four gray towers,

Overlook a space of flowers,

And the silent isle imbowers

The Lady of Shalott…

- from The Lady of Shalott, (1833, Alfred, Lord Tennyson) 

Image: The Other, 2019, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm, part of my solo show, BACKSTORIES, currently in lockdown at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne. 🔐 

Monday, August 23, 2021

My MIFF 2021

On the morning after the Melbourne International Film Festival ended, Alice can’t control her excitement, as our attention will once again be focused completely on her. We find her attitude very shallow, while in her turn, she thinks we’re philistines for viewing all the MIFF 69 films on my iPad. But needs must - we couldn’t figure out how to stream them via our projector or even through our TV. After a few futile attempts came to nothing, rather than fight a war with technology we knew we couldn’t win, we decided to work with what we had. 

Shane and I enjoyed our annual MIFF experience immensely, small screen notwithstanding. We saw 32 films by the festival’s end. There were many standouts, high among them, Hopper/Welles, 2020, Orson Welles (see above), a cineaste’s dream come true and a wonderful potential companion piece to Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind, 2018, which we were fortunate to see at a private screening a couple of years ago. 

Meanwhile, in my temporary studio in our adjoining dining room, progress gradually continues on the two paintings I’ve been developing between MIFF screenings. (See above). The vintage needlework on the left is by my late Aunt Eileen and will form the basis for the bottom panels in the diptychs.

Here are our 32 films:

Bodies in Motion - Movement on Screen: As One, Bonanza!, Multiply, Poleng, The Prelude - Michelle (Short Films, Dance)

Hopper/Welles (2020, Orson Welles)

Sisters With Transistors (2020, Lisa Rovner)

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (2021, Kristina Lindstrom, Kristian Petri)

Set! (2021, Scott Gawlick)

The Village Detective: A Song Cycle (2021, Bill Morrison)

Come Back Anytime (2021, John Daschbach)

Girls I Museum (2020, Shelly Silver)

Topside (2020, Celine Held, Logan George)

Bandaranaike Band (2021, Manijey Hekmat)

Wojnarowicz (2020, Chris McKim)

The Gig is Up (2021, Shannon Walsh)

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar (2021, Luana Bajrami)

Sabaya (2021, Hogir Hirori) 

Nudo Mixteco (2021, Angeles Cruz)

Riders of Justice (2020, Anders Thomas Jensen)

Chess of the Wind (1976, Mohammad Reza Aslani)

The Night (2019, Kourosh Ahari)

Palazzo di Cozzo (2021, Madeleine Martiniello)

Wife of a Spy (2020, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

Gaza Mon Amour (2020, Arab Nasser, Tarzan Nasser)

Coda (2020, Sian Heder)

Queen of Glory (2021, Nanah Mensah)

Celts (2021, Milica Tomovic)

My Name is Pauli Murray (2021, Betsy West, Julie Cohen). 

What We See When We Look at the the Sky (2021, Alexandre Koberidze)

Wasteland (2020, Ahmad Bahrami) 

Dear Comrades (2021, Andrei Konchalovsky, Alisher Usmanov)

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: a History of Folk Horror (2021, Kier-La Janisse)

Night of the Kings (2021, Philippe Lacôte)

Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (2020, Richard Peete, Robert Yapkowitz)

James and Isey (2021, Florian Habicht)

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Slow progress


Recently I set up a temporary studio in our dining room, as it’s adjacent to the living room where we’ve been screening our selections from this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival. (See Blog Post Thursday, August 12). The paintings shown here will be diptychs. Elements of the designs in the two pieces of needlework, both hand-stitched in the last century (possibly the late 1930s) by my late aunt, Eileen Klein, will be incorporated into the bottom panels. 

Progress on the new work has been slow, partly because we’ve been streaming films all week, but mainly because my chair has been hijacked. The works will be completed in time for Rückenfigur, my upcoming solo show at Queenscliff Gallery, or Alice will have to answer to it.