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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The 47th annual St Kevins College Art Show

I’m very much looking forward to my mini-solo show as feature artist of the 47th annual St Kevin's College Art Show, which opens this Friday evening, 26 May and runs until Sunday, 29 May. I'll be exhibiting alongside a fantastic group of contemporary artists, including my partner Shane Jones, who has two works in the exhibition.


I've donated an oil pastel, Euchloron megaera Moth Mask, as the prize for the fund raising raffle running in tandem with the exhibition (see invitation above). Tickets are $2 each or $20 for a book of 10 and can be purchased on opening night and throughout the run of the show.

The drawing (artfully cropped) appears on several billboards dotted across town. We chanced upon the following one on the corner of St. Georges and Grange Roads, Toorak and the temptation to leap from the car for a mug shot proved too much.



Since then, we’ve come across several others, including this one at the entrance to the school grounds, on the day we delivered our artworks.


On the way home we also discovered the following board. Shane encouraged me to seize the opportunity for one last photo shoot before this Moth Woman's fleeting time in the sun comes to an end and she flits out of my life forever.


Photo credits: Shane Jones. 

For more about St. Kevin's College Art Show 2017, including the purchase of raffle tickets and tickets for opening night, visit their website HERE

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cabaret

The stage as viewed from our seats in the stalls, second row centre

It's not every day you get to meet not one, but three theatre legends. Last night, in the company of Shane Jones and Paul Compton, I attended an electrifying production of the Bob Kander and Fred Ebb musical Cabaret at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. It's here for an all too brief time after a sellout season at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney. The production is far closer in spirit to its source material, Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin and Mr Norris Changes Trains, than Bob Fosse's 1972 movie - although I do admire much of it, and Fosse too. 

Afterwards, still in a state of exhilaration, we had a celebratory drink in the theatre bar. Most of the other theatre patrons had left, but one by one we were gradually joined by members of the equally superb cast, including Chelsea Gibb, who was an unforgettable Sally Bowles. Shane, Paul and I had a lively conversations with John O'May, Kate Fitzpatrick and the great Paul Capsis - theatre royalty, all of them, and lovely people to boot. Kate Fitzpatrick played Fräulein Schneider and John O'May, Herr Schultz, two key roles that were inexplicably (and in my opinion, unforgivably) written out of Bob Fosse's film, along with a number of the finest songs. Their performances moved me to tears. Paul Capsis was astounding as the emcee. I challenge anyone who sees this (and you really should) to be able to take their eyes off him for even a moment. Until last night, I thought no one could inhabit the role as completely as its legendary originator, Joel Grey. Capsis proved me wrong. 


It was an evening Shane, Paul and I will never forget. Due to popular demand, the season has been extended to May 27. For further information, including a short trailer of the show, visit the website HERE.



L - R: Myself, Paul Capsis and Shane Jones in the bar of the Athenaeum Theatre

L - R: Paul Compton and Paul Capsis

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Floor Talk at Warrnambool Art Gallery


What a wonderful turnout we had for our artist talk on From the bower - patterns of collecting at Warrnambool Art Gallery on Saturday, May 13. Even with the addition of extra seating, it was standing room only. Loris Button, Carole Wilson and I couldn't have been more delighted. Warmest thanks to all who came, to WAG's Curator of Collections Agostina Hawkins for a fantastic introductory address and to Warrnambool Art Gallery for having us. 

Pictured above in front of the collaborative collections wall, comprising the collection objects and artworks of Carole, Loris, Louise Saxton and I, are (L - R) Agostina Hawkins, Carole Wilson, Loris Button and myself. 

Photos of the floor talk are by Shane Jones. The rest are by me.



Carole Wilson opens with some background information about the show. That's my Vignette Vitrine in the foreground.

Loris Button outlines the collection objects depicted in one of her multi-paneled works, including her Swiss SABA
clown doll (c 1925) in the display case to her right.

My insect collection, some of which features on the combined collections wall, has provided rich
source material for much of my work over the past several years

Centre: Louise Saxton's Marianne's clianthus, after Marianne Collison Campbell 1800s, 2014, reclaimed needlework
Far right: Loris Button's Western Australian seed pods presented in a glass dome atop a vintage wrought iron stand

Here I'm speaking about my suite of cut-out linocuts, Iron Butterflies. On the far right, among the objects in
 the combined collections installation, are some of the vintage and antique hair ornaments that inspired them 

I was as fascinated as the rest of the audience as Loris spoke about her exquisite Traveller's Tales,
a series of relief prints on tea bags


Talking about my linocut, Tattooed Faces Sampler. All of the artists have works or collection objects in the show
that relate to sewing, most of them connected to their family histories

Discussing my artist book, Leaves of Absence, along with the collection of Eucalyptus leaves that evolved into
the archival pigment prints that appear in the book and the antique flower presses in which they are stored.

Vintage maps reflect Carole Wilson's love of travel and are a major component of her collecting habit.
They are also raw materials for her extraordinary cut out paper works, including Urn 1 and Urn 2, pictured left.

After the floor talk we adjourned for a beverage at historic Proudfoot's Boathouse (see below).  Pictured back, L-R: Shane Jones, Kathryn Ryan, Annie Drum, Loris Button, Agostina Hawkins and Peter. Foreground L-R: myself and Julie Keating.


On our recent trips to Warrnambool we've stayed with our old friend Kathryn Ryan. Kathryn truly is the Hostess with the Mostest. Once upon a time not so long ago, we were studio neighbours in central Melbourne and used to see each other on almost a daily basis. Geographic distance has since separated us, so it's been great to make up for lost time. An added bonus is that thanks to Kathryn, we've got to know Warrnambool, of which we've become increasingly fond, a lot better. On the evening after the talk Kathryn took us for a sunset walk by the Merri River. The light was just beautiful.




We returned to her house for this spectacular light show, courtesy of a full moon and Kathryn's fairy lights.


The following morning we were privileged to see some of Kathryn's new paintings, soon to be exhibited at Olsen Irwin Gallery in Sydney. To see more of Kathryn's work you can visit her website HERE.




Sunday, May 7, 2017

From little things big things grow


In a recent post, I described one of the Eucalyptus leaves in the Leaves of Absence series as Thumbelina sized. The same description applies to the leaves presented in this post. In fact, in its original form, the leaf featuring in the digital proof second from bottom below, is little bigger than my thumbnail.

As shown above, the tiny hand painted leaves reside in a miniature plan cabinet, one of three that I own. The first of these, acquired some years ago in a Melbourne thrift shop, contains a collection of miniature watercolours. It's titled A Cabinet of Insect Women and is part of the group exhibition From the Bower - patterns of collecting currently showing at Warrnambool Art Gallery.

I've developed this work since the show opened, but very much hope that the diminutive cabinet and its contents can be part of the Ballarat leg of the exhibition when it opens on July 29.


The digital proofs directly below are offshoots of this leaf art. They are all works in progress and will be exhibited at a later date.










Saturday, April 29, 2017

Prints for Portugal

One of this week's chores was packaging Memory 1 (2016, archival pigment print, 32 x 23 cm, ed. 1/20) for its flight to Portugal. The print will be part of 3rd GLOBAL PRINT 2017 in Douro, Portugal, which runs from 1 August - 30 September.




Memory 12 and Memory 14 (both 2016, archival pigment prints, 32 x 23 cm, ed. 1/20) - see below - are also on their way to Portugal, in this case for the 9th INTERNATIONAL PRINTMAKING EXHIBITION OF DOURO 2018. Although it's not until next year, the organisers of 3rd GLOBAL PRINT 2017 have offered the option of sending the prints now. Packing all the works together certainly saves on postage and handling, but best of all, in the midst (well, almost) of a particularly busy year, it gives me one less thing to have to think about!



Thank you to Nuno Canelas, Curator and Director of the Douro Biennial and Global Print for inviting me to participate in both events and thanks, as always, to Master Printer Luke Ingram at Arten.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pigment prints in progress

Step 1: 
After coating both sides of the Eucalyptus leaves with a thin layer of clear sealer, the silhouettes are painted on.



Step 2:
The embellished leaves are photographed and a series of filters applied, layer upon layer. I made dozens of digital proofs before arriving at the following images. The next step will be to proof them with master printer Luke Ingram at Arten.

The leaf in the image below was especially pleasing to work with. Thanks to some inspired chomping from my collaborator, a Eucalyptus tip bug, I was able to follow the contour of the altered leaf to create the shape and angle of my subject's head.


The leaf used in the following work is Thumbelina-sized, so I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it has adapted to a relatively extreme upscale (more about this in my next post). The completed archival pigment prints will be roughly A3 in size, possibly a little larger.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Tower Hill, Part 2

I'm still processing (both literally and figuratively) the results of recent visits to Tower Hill that prompted my first ventures into the landscape genre.

As previously noted, key points of reference for these archival pigment prints in progress are Romanticism (in particular, the works of Caspar David Friedrich) and Victorian era landscape photography and painting. Foremost among the latter is colonial artist Eugene von Guérard's Tower Hill (1855), presently hanging in Warrmanbool Art Gallery.









Gordon Morrison, Director of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, informs me that in 2018 the gallery will be mounting an extensive exhibition devoted to von Guérard, including rarely seen sketches and working drawings. I can hardly wait, although sadly this will be what Gordon calls his retirement show.

My own von Guérard-inspired project will soon have go on temporary hold as I move onto projects with more pressing deadlines. I'll certainly be returning to Tower Hill, however. Meanwhile, you can view other works from the series by clicking HERE. To see more of Eugene von Guérard's work, including exciting news of a painting that was recently rediscovered, click HERE.