Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
The George Collie APW Award Exhibition at the Australian Print Workshop, a joint survey of my prints and those of fellow award recipient, the late Barbara Hanrahan, has now been confirmed for Saturday, 6 March - Saturday, 3 April 2021.
Revised dates for Backstories, my solo show at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, were also recently confirmed. The exhibition will run from Wednesday, 7 April - Friday, 23 April. The opening event is on Saturday, April 10 2021.
My residency at Geelong Grammar remains penciled in for May 2021, dates TBC.
As previously posted, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery will run from Sunday, June 3 - Monday, June 21 2021.
Dates for a third solo show, at Gallery on Sturt in the second half of 2021, are still TBC.
The above information may be subject to further changes. Nevertheless, as things gradually open up in this part of the world, it’s heartening to have something more concrete to work towards.
In that spirit, pictured top is my newly completed drawing, Looking forward, 2020, ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 21 x 15 cm.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
|Deborah Klein, current work in progress, a triptych as yet untitled.|
Acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm (each panel).
I have to stay alone in order to fully contemplate and feel nature. The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself.
- Caspar David Friedrich
Recently I discovered by sheer chance that the dominant motif in my work for well over two decades has a name. It’s “Rückenfigur”, or “figure seen from the back”. Why did I not know this before? The subject dates from antiquity, but the term originated in the German Romantic Movement of the 19th century and is most closely associated with the painter Caspar David Friedrich, whose work I’ve long admired. In fact, his paintings were the main catalyst for my current body of work, a series of anonymous figures I call “Journeywomen”.
|Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818.|
Oil on canvas, 94.8 x 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg.
The history of figures viewed from behind spans the entirety of visual culture, including graphics, cinema and photography. Among the painters who have employed the Rückenfigur in their works are Rene Magritte, Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Gustave Courbet, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and, most notably and consistently, another of my favourite artists, Vilhelm Hammershøi.
|Vilhelm Hammershoi, Interior with Young Woman Seen from the Back, 1904.|
Oil on canvas, 60.5 x 50.5 cm, Randers Museum of Art.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, ca 1597.
I’m fairly well versed in the ever-evolving history of “rear view portraits,” yet this feels like a real light bulb moment. I am amazed at how empowering it is to to know that there is a collective name for them. To my mind, it validates and unifies this somewhat scattered tradition. Moreover, the Rückenfigur addresses a particularly divisive time in our history, when our state of disconnection - from ourselves, from each other and from the natural world - seems greater than ever before.
Only connect! That was her whole sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
– E. M. Forster, Howards End, 1910.
Photo credit for above image: Shane Jones.
Sunday, November 1, 2020
This painting was missing, presumed lost, for a couple of years. In the months following last year’s move, I discovered it in a storage box we had believed to contain packaging materials. (It did, but the individual components of the painting were safely packed underneath).
The work was a finalist in the Geelong Painting Prize in 2002 and toured in the curated group show, ‘The enchanted forest - new gothic storytellers,’ in 2008-2009.
I even wrote a fairy tale based on it. An early draft of the story was published in my first blog post. You can read it HERE. The final version of the tale was subsequently included in my book, There was once... the collected fairy tales (2009).
I’d more or less resigned myself to never seeing the painting again, so much so, that I still find it hard to believe it’s back in my possession.
Pictured top: Swarm, 2002, acrylic on 32 oval canvases, paired. Large: 25 x 20 cm each; small: 15 x 20 cm each. Overall dimensions approx. 172 x 194 cm.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Today’s blog post brings news I’ve been remiss about sharing earlier: the group exhibition, THINKING OF PLACE II, originally conceived for the international print symposium IMPACT 10 in Santander, Spain in 2018, is currently on exhibit at Northsite Contemporary Arts in Cairns, Far North Queensland. The show opened in September and continues to November 7.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Pictured above: Wallpaper Rose, the Disappearing Woman, linocut, 15 x 10 cm.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Friday, October 2, 2020
Lace collars have been a recurring part of my personal iconography for over two decades. The works featured here and several others not pictured were made at different times and in varying contexts. Art is often prescient, however. Nowadays I can’t look at any of them without thinking of “The Notorious RGB”. It feels as if they were always about her, even before I was aware of her existence. The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconic collection of collars were more than mere fashion accessories. Through them, she staked her claim on a traditionally male garment and at the same time, feminized it.
The wider significance of her collars is detailed in Vanessa Friedman’s article, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Lace Collar Wasn’t an Accessory, It Was a Gauntlet, The New York Times, first published September 20, 2020:
When he was commissioned to design a visual tribute to RGB for the front cover of THE NEW YORKER, October 5, 2020, illustrator Bob Starke created the following work:
Remnants, 1999, acrylic on two canvases, 75.5 x 12.5 cm (top), 12.5 x 12.5 cm
Icons, Rob Starke, cover illustration, THE NEW YORKER, October 5, 2020
Regeneration, 2020, linocut in progress, lino block 42.5 x 26.5 cm
Anonyme, 1998, linocut printed from three blocks on Japanese mending tissue, 73 x 62 cm
Untitled, 1998, linocut printed from two blocks on Japanese mending tissue, 73 x 62 cm
Coil, 2001, acrylic on seven canvases, 60 x 55.5 cm
Still Life with Lace collar, 2001, acrylic on three canvases (detail) 131.5 x 40.5 cm
Page from an Album, 2000, linocut printed from three blocks on Japanese mending tissue, 63 x 74 cm
Lace, 2000, acrylic on two canvases, 23.5 x 30 cm (upper) 20 x 25 cm (lower)
Web, 2000 - 2020, acrylic on 4 canvases, 35 x 25 cm
For more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, go here:
The acclaimed documentary, RBG, 2018, is also highly recommended:
The trailer for RBG is here:
R.I.P., RBG. Long may your legacy continue.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
This morning I received a call from Creative Framing to say my works for the George Collie APW Award exhibition were ready for collection (see previous post) and we stopped by this afternoon. Predictably, they’ve done a brilliant job. It was also a perfect opportunity to drop in Deborah’s etchings, both of which were very much admired by everyone.
On the advice of Ian, who will be framing them, I’ve chosen a slightly different frame for each work, and both will be window-mounted in the cream museum board shown below. I hope Deborah will approve!
For some time I’ve been considering devoting an occasional blog post to one or two my favourite things. It seems there’s no time like the present to start right now with Capes Wrapped Tight and Rain I, both of which, incidentally, are very much in keeping with today’s weather!
Thank you, Deborah. Shane and I will treasure them.
Monday, September 28, 2020
We are very fortunate to have a picture framer of this calibre here in Ballarat. I may not know when the APW show will run, but at least I'll be ready for when it does.
Looking further forward, Backstories, my solo exhibition at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery in Melbourne has now been confirmed for April 2021, roughly a year after it was originally scheduled. Precise dates will be provided shortly.
My residency at Geelong Grammar remains penciled in for May 2021, dates TBC.
For those who may have missed the post of Saturday August 29, RECENT PRINTMAKING NEWS, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery* has been rescheduled to run from June 3 -21, 2021.
*PLEASE NOTE: the former Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop (QG&W) recently transformed its workshop mezzanine to an exclusive preview and exhibition space. Accordingly, the gallery has been renamed Queenscliff Gallery (QG).
QG's updated url is: https://qgallery.com.au.
The gallery's new email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other recent news, I've been offered a show at Gallery on Sturt in Ballarat. Again, dates have yet to be confirmed, but it will most likely take place in the latter half of 2021.
Monday, September 14, 2020
|Official poster for THE BIG KITTY|
Top right-hand corner, L-R: Lewis Miller, Deborah Klein and Gavin Brown
Far right: stars of THE BIG KITTY, Tom Alberts and Lisa Barmby
My Blog Post of August 25, Through the Eyes of Film, focused on several older works that were partly inspired by Film Noir.
It never occurred to me that soon afterwards I would again be raising the subject, but in an entirely different context. This post is about a noir-inspired film in which I actually appear.
The film has yet to be released, and up until now, few, if any of us, have seen it. My own life partner, Shane Jones, appears as an Irish cop, Sean O'Connery, and in my cameo appearance, I play a bogus fortune teller, Madame F.
At this stage, most of us have only the vaguest idea of the plot as a whole, except that it involves a kidnapped cat, played by Tom and Lisa's beloved feline, Monsieur Baptiste, and a colourful cast of supporting characters portrayed by shady inhabitants of the Melbourne art world.
The good news is that we won't be kept in suspense for too much longer. On Sunday, September 20, direct from Paris where they're currently based, Tom and Lisa are streaming an official cast and crew screening, followed by an after-party via Zoom. Hopefully further screenings won't be too far behind.
I for one foresee an instant classic. They don't call me Madame F for nothing.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Fortunately, as far as eateries go, we’re spoilt for choice in Ballarat. Shane’s spectacular birthday cake from Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse was even more delicious than it looks.
Alice wouldn’t be deterred from joining in the celebrations although the FAQ, “Should you be on the table, Alice?” fell repeatedly on deaf ears.
In the evening we got takeaway from our favourite restaurant, Carboni’s, which just happens to be walking distance from the house. They excelled themselves.
Today he cut the last two slices (below) while Alice, who is all partied out, slept it off under the table (above).
Thank you so much to everyone who sent birthday greetings. Next year we hope you can join us for a slice of cake.