Friday, January 5, 2018

Starting here, starting now

Progress view of Non-portrait 1 and Non-portrait 2, miniature watercolours, together with the vintage
frames in which they will be displayed

I haven't made too many New Year Resolutions, but at the top of my short list is a solemn vow to take things a great deal more slowly than I have in past years, particularly in 2017. Towards this end, I've become extremely selective about taking on new commitments, particularly those that constantly interrupt precious studio time, with each disruption not only taking me further away from achieving my goals, but also leaving little time to pause and reflect, let alone spend quality time with friends and family.

There are, however, a handful of side-projects I'm particularly excited about, doubly so, as all of them are adjuncts to the longterm project I'm about to undertake.*

One of these is PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at the Johnston CollectionLouis LeVaillant, Director/Curator of the Johnston Collection in East Melbourne recently invited Loris Button, Louise Saxton, Carole Wilson and myself to exhibit a site specific version of From the bower - patterns of collecting at the Johnston Collection in 2018. The show enjoyed long and successful runs at Warrnambool Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ballarat during 2017.

The majority of our artworks and collections will respond to facets of the museum's wonderfully diverse permanent collection. Along with selected pieces from the show's previous incarnations, we've all elected to exhibit previously unseen collection objects and artworks, with most of the latter made specifically for the show.

For example, taking the museum's superb collection of portrait miniatures as a basis, I've begun a series of miniature watercolour paintings. True to the Bower Bird spirit, I have also amassed a substantial collection of vintage frames recalling those in which traditional portrait miniatures are housed. Progress views of the first two watercolours and their matching frames are pictured above and closeup views of the paintings are shown below.

The following information is from the Johnston Collection's website:

PATTERNS OF COLLECTING | From the Bower at The Johnston Collection

Monday 4 June 2018 - Tuesday 18 September 2018

An installation led by guest curator and artist, Carole Wilson as part of our ongoing ‘house of ideas’ series

PATTERNS OF COLLECTING presents artwork and items from the personal collections of four contemporary Victorian artists: Loris Button, Deborah Klein, Louise Saxton and Carole Wilson.

The artists, who make the Bower, are linked by their studio practice, their regional locations and connections, and their love of gleaning. Their studio collections range from curiosities, natural history specimens, memorabilia, discarded books and china, domestic textiles, carpet and linoleum, and old tools of trade.


L - R: Non-portrait 1, watercolour, 9 x 7 cm and Non-portrait 2, watercolour, 13 x 9 cm (progress view)

Non-portrait 1, slightly enlarged. (Progress view)

Non-portrait 2 (progress view)

In 2017 I was invited by the Melbourne Athenaeum Library to be their Artist-in-Residence for Melbourne Rare Book Week, which runs from 29 June - 8 July, 2018.

During that time, my limited edition artist book, Leaves of Absence, which was launched at the library in December, 2017 and subsequently acquired for their permanent collection, will be on view in the library, along with selected copies of Moth Woman Press books and zines.

Throughout the two-week residency, which commences in the week leading up to Melbourne Rare Book Week, I'll be working on a new artist book. Like my project for the Johnston Collection, it will revisit the Knots and Braids imagery that for many years has been central to much of my work. The artist book will also mark a return to linocutting, following a brief hiatus.

Needless to say, I'll have my head down preparing for both of these events.

Meanwhile, I'm delighted to have been invited by Charles Nodrum Gallery to participate in Heads and Bodies, a group exhibition exploring the depiction of the human head and body. Kate Nodrum has selected my oil pastel, The Secret Plait, for inclusion in the show. Full details will be supplied nearer the time.

Heads and Bodies will run from 1 - 17 March, 2018.

*In brief, my intention is to take up where I left off at the end of last year's short but fruitful residency at the Art Vault.