Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Interview in UNTITLED

Pages 32-33, Untitled, Issue 3, ART GALLERY OF BALLARAT ASSOCIATION, Autumn 2020.
Click on image for a clearer view.

Back in January, Shane and I were interviewed by Amanda McGraw for the Autumn issue of Untitled, the magazine of the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association. A great deal has happened between then and late last week, when we received our copy. The life we once knew has changed beyond recognition. Like museums and galleries world-wide, the Art Gallery of Ballarat has recently closed until further notice and the rest of us are still adjusting to life in lockdown. 

Shane and I thoroughly enjoyed our chat with Amanda. We miss the gallery already and look forward to resuming our visits in happier times. Until then, we'll content ourselves with virtual visits via the AGB website HERE
The transcript of our interview in Untitled is below.

In the Gallery with Deborah Klein and Shane Jones
Interview by Amanda McGraw
21 January 2020

Amanda: Let’s talk about your connection to Ballarat and to the Art Gallery.
Shane: We were half-Ballarat and half-Melbourne for about 10 years. Recently we bought an Art Deco house together in Ballarat, so we’re now permanent Ballaratians. It was like a chapter in a book. We knew our time in Melbourne was over.
Deborah: We found ourselves starting to spend more time here. The development going on in Melbourne was making the city unrecognisable. Ballarat has everything we love. It’s got a great cinema – we both love film – and the Art Gallery of Ballarat has a superb collection. My connection with the Gallery started at art school in the early 1980s. After graduation I worked at the Print Council of Australia, then located in a basement in Collins Street. One day a man came down the stairs and we started talking. His name was Roger Butler and it was only after he left that I realised he had written the catalogue for Melbourne woodcuts and linocuts of the 1920s and 1930s, published in 1981 by the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which was my bible. I taught myself relief printmaking from it because at art school linocutting wasn’t considered sophisticated enough and we received very little instruction.
Shane: My connection to the Gallery began in 2009 when I had a solo show here. I think it has the best collection outside the State galleries, with some of my favourite works. I’ve always been inspired by Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, by the Heidelberg School era – at the moment I’m doing a series of profile portrait drawings inspired by Tom Roberts’s profile portraits. You’ve had a solo show here too, Deborah.
Deborah: Yes, I had a survey show here in 2008 that originated in Castlemaine, called Out of the Past.
Amanda: Do you classify yourselves as mid-career artists?
Shane: Assuming I live for another 20 years, this is my mid-career, if it’s all about time, but it’s an interesting concept. Raphael died at 37, so his mid-career was in his twenties. Late Basquiat artworks were painted in his mid-twenties. Artists develop at different rates and some artists do their best work in their youth, so by the time they get to ‘mid-career’ their best work is behind them.
Deborah: And then you have artists like Rosalie Gascoigne, who had her first exhibition when she was 57.
Shane: Having a career and what you do in the studio can be two separate things. What you do in the studio is up to the artist – your career is given to you by others. You can’t give yourself art prizes, or make someone buy your work, or make reviewers write about you. All you can do is your best work in the way you think it should be done – you can’t control anything else.
Deborah: It’s a title that’s superimposed afterwards by others. I think for any artist, if you’re still working after many years then that’s a measure of success. I do feel that I’m at a stage in my life where I’m gathering pieces together and seeing the aspects of my work that are most important to me. For example, I’ve been painting ‘non-portraits’ – the backs of women’s heads – for many years, and I’ve also used the iconography of tattooing in my work. Now I’m drawing those aspects together, revisiting and combining elements to take them somewhere else.
Shane: Because of this house we’ve bought in Ballarat we’ve been getting our work out of storage, which forces us to look back. It’s great to put those earlier works out because it’s where you’ve come from, where you started.
Deborah: Sometimes old work should stay buried, but I’ve been looking at a self-portrait I did in art school that’s interesting because it shows where some of the later work sprang from.
Amanda: Do you have a favourite artwork in the Gallery collection?
Deborah: I admire Clarice Beckett and Margaret Preston, but I have a lot of favourites. Anything from last year’s Becoming Modern show – I’ve always loved that period. I think it comes from growing up as an only child in St Kilda and my aunt, who lived next door, would play Fats Waller and Bing Crosby recordings for me, so I grew up loving that era and its music. The Modernist period has definitely influenced my own work, including my palette.
Shane: I love Tom Roberts’ Charcoal Burners, which is as much about the artist as the artwork. Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton are the two artists who inspired me most in my early 20s when I started painting, even to the brush work and what colours to choose. When I looked at their work it was a revelation – they led me to look more closely at nature.
Deborah: Many of my favourite pictures are in the salon hang on the stairs. It’s been exciting seeing this and other new directions of the Gallery unfold.
Amanda: What about a favourite colour?
Shane: I don’t have a favourite colour, although I do have favourite combinations of colour like red, white and black; blue and yellow; brown, white and blue; black, white, green and pink; green, white and purple. I was a jockey when I was in my late teens and I always loved the colour combinations on the jockeys’ outfits. When I see certain colours together they do something to me – they stir something and set it alight.
Deborah: It’s intuitive. My colour is red, somewhere between crimson and scarlet – that’s the colour I use a lot in my work. Red is visually arresting and its meanings are many-layered and sometimes contradictory. It can indicate danger but also be joyous. Its connection with both the human body and the natural world is often reflected in my imagery.

Amanda McGraw, In the Gallery with Deborah Klein & Shane Jones (Untitled, Issue 3, ART GALLERY OF BALLARAT ASSOCIATION, Autumn 2020, pages 32-33).

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Hope, 2018, pigmented drawing ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 21 x 15 cm (unframed)

To those who have told me how much they are looking forward to BACKSTORIES, my forthcoming solo show at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, a sincere thank you. 

I’m looking forward to it too, only now it will happen a little later than originally planned. For the well-being of all concerned, the exhibition, which was due to run from 15 April - 2 May, will be rescheduled for a happier, healthier time that is still to be determined. 

Meanwhile, pictured top is one of my newly framed works that wait in readiness. Its title is Hope

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Keep safe, everyone.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Putting it together on Sondheim’s 90th

‘...The art of making art
Is putting it together...
Bit by bit,
Putting it together...
Piece by piece -
Only way to make a work of art.
Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part.
Having just a vision's no solution,
Everything depends on execution:
Putting it together-
That's what counts...’
Putting it Together (excerpt) from Sunday in the Park with George, 1984, music and lyrics by Stephen SondheimHappy 90th birthday, Mr. Sondheim. 🎂

Pictured above: Stephen Sondheim
Pictured top: Sunday, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm (progress view)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Travelling Light

Pictured above: my survival strategy for these troubled times: Travelling Light (1996, linocut, 30 x 30 cm. Collections: Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, Vic., National Gallery of Australia, ACT., Art Gallery of Ballarat, Vic and others).

It's been many years since I've set eyes on this print. Recently I came upon it whilst going through the archive of my work at the Australian Print Workshop. On the far left are Dorothy Parker and Diva, our two much loved cats at the time this work was made.

Stay safe, everyone.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

APW George Collie Memorial Print Award recipient

With profound gratitude to the Australian Print Workshop, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been awarded the 2020 APW George Collie Memorial Print Award.

"The Australian Print Workshop has administered the APW George Collie Memorial Award on behalf of the Collie Print Trust since 2014. The Australian Print Workshop is delighted to have this opportunity to recognise important and lifelong contributions to fine art printmaking. The annual Award presentation is accompanied by an exhibition of the recipients’ work in the APW Gallery".

The 2020 George Collie Memorial Print Award exhibition will also honour the work of one of my printmaking muses, the late Barbara Hanrahana selection of whose works are HERE. I’m honoured to have my name linked with hers and distinguished past recipients Alun Leach-Jones and Kevin Lincoln (2019), Graham Fransella and Euan Heng (2018), Kitty Kantilla and John Wolseley (2017), Bea Maddock and Jennifer Marshall (2016), Grahame King and Jan Senbergs (2015) and Rick Amor and Noel Counihan (2014).

The George Collie Memorial Print Award exhibition opens ‪on Saturday ‪13 June 2020.

Image top: Mildred Pierce on St. Kilda Pier (1995, linocut, 65 x 46 cm. Collections: Australian Print Workshop, Vic., National Gallery of Australia, ACT., Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Vic., Monash University, Vic.
 and others).

Sunday, March 8, 2020

International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I give you St. Kilda Warrior, 1996, linocut, 61.2 x 45.3 cm, edition 15. (Australian National Gallery, ACT; Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne; City of Port Phillip, Vic. and other collections).

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Opening night of 20[2020]

Featured here are two captured moments from last night’s opening of 20[2020] at Tacit Galleries(See also my previous post). 

In photo 1 (top), I’m pictured with my painting New Horizon. (Photographer: Dmetri Kakmi, with artistic direction from Megan Backhouse). 

Photo 2, above, shows artist Jim Pavlidis (left) and model Leigh Hobbs (right) flanking Jim’s portrait of Leigh. (Note the portrait-within-a-portrait of the subject's immortal creation, Mr Chicken).

20[2020] concludes on 15 March.

Friday, February 28, 2020

An invitation to 20[2020]

In celebration of 20 years of Tacit Galleries, Melbourne, 130 invited artists have created works on 20 x 20 inch canvases for the exhibition 20[2020]. 

A personal invitation from me to you is attached.

The opening event is next Wednesday, 4 March, from 6.30 pm -  8pm.

Exhibiting artists include: Helen Anderson, Jan Atyeo, TJ Bateson, Dave Behrens, Elena Berkovich, Cate Blackmore (Tas), Joe Blundell, Louise Blyton, Celia Bridle, Peter Brook, Terri Brooks, Jennifer Buntine, Robyn Burgess, Raymond Carter, Magda Cebokli, Jane Chandler, Elizabeth Colbert, David Coles, Helen Connell, Tim Craker, Sally D’Orsogna, Craig Daniels, Lana de Jager, Denise de Keyzer, Merrian Dennis, Lesley Dickman, Helen Edwards, Sharman Feinberg, Louise Foletta, Betsy Forster, Andrew Foster, Anne Forwood, David Gatiss, Christine Gibbs,  Jackie Gorring, Keiko Goto (Qld), Pete Gurrie, Julie Hall, Rosemary Harris-Arnott, Geoff Harrison, Jodi Heffernan, Barb Henderson, Beth Hulme, Anita Iacovella, Susan Illingworth, Ilona Jetmar, Shane Jones, Dinusha Joseph, Jessie Yvette Journoud-Ryan, Julie Keating, Wendy Kelly, Caroline Kennedy, Michele Kershaw (Qld), Hyun Ju Kim, Robyn Kinsela (NSW), Deborah Klein, Vietta Korren-Steele, Damon Kowarsky, Jo Lane, Nadeen Lovell (WA), Jennifer Marshall (Tas), Marina Mason, Mark McCarthy,  Janine McGuinness, Helen McInnis, Ruth McIntosh, David McLeod, Paula McLoughlin, Milan Milojevic (Tas), Mark Minty, Jesslyn Moss, Karen Neal, Elizabeth Nicholls, Kerrilee Ninnis, Lisa O’Keefe, Veronica O’Leary (NSW), Theo Papathomas, Yeonjoo Park, Gaye Paterson, Jim Pavlidis, Milos Pelikan, David Lee Pereira, Linda Pickering, Shirley Ploog, Cat Poljski, Belinda Pringle, Julie Puchalski, John Rabling, Bronwyn Rees, Nina Ryan, Virginia Ryan, Mark Seabrook, Lisa Sewards, Christopher Shelton, Bevan Shepherd, Trish Sidway, Rat Simpson, Beata Slifierz, Jennifer Smyth, Kristen Solury, Kerry Spokes, Susan Stevenson, Ali Stoner, Mary Sullivan, Liz Sullivan, Peter Summers, Annemarie Szeleczky, Trevor Tagliabue, Elizabeth Tarrant, Anna Taylor, Heather Telford, Jenani Therone, Lena Torikov, Eugene von Nagy, Susan Wald, Jenni Walker, Brenda Walsh, Steve Warburton, Andrew Weatherill, Michael Wedd, Linda Weil, Irene Wellm, and Katherine Westfold.

20[2020] continues until 15 March.

Tacit Galleries 
123a Gipps Street
Victoria 3066

Gallery hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11 - 5pm

(Image on invitation: New Horizon, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 inches (50.8 x 50.8 cm).
Photo credit: Tim Gresham).

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Redback Spider Tattooed Woman

Pictured above and below: selected progress views of Redback Spider Tattooed Woman (2020, pencil, pigmented drawing ink and gouache on Khadi paper).

Even as work on the drawing continuedaided by a well-thumbed reference book and a plastic spider, downstairs in our back garden the real thing, spotted by Shane Jones, scurried into the undergrowth.

Redback Spider Tattooed Woman was the last drawing completed for Backstories, my solo show at  Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne, running from 15 April - 2 May. (See also previous post).

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Drawings for BACKSTORIES

A marathon signing session (top), followed by a trip to the framer (below) brings me another step closer to Backstories, my upcoming solo show at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne. The exhibition, which opens on 15 April, will comprise paintings and small works on paper.

Shane Jones and framer Jo at Omnus Framers, Melbourne

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


New Horizon, 2020, acrylic on linen, 50.8 x 50.8 cm, the first major work completed in my new studio, will be part of 20 [2020], an exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary  of Tacit Galleries, Melbourne. The show runs from 4 - 15 March.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Climate Crisis National Day of Action

State Library of Victoria
Saturday 22 February 

Another climate action rally, another terrific turnout. It was great to bump into fellow artist Theo Strasser and his wife, Heather (what were the chances?) and to be surrounded by so many like-minded people.

What do we want? Climate Action! When do we want it? Now!

Shane Jones (foreground, right)

Theo and Heather Strasser march towards Parliament House. 

Friday, February 21, 2020


Amidst preparations for my upcoming show at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery (more about that soon), Shane and I are still beavering away at the house and gradually making it our own. 

Despite a setback with the roof which has yet to be resolved, last weekend we enjoyed some first-time visits from old friends. On Saturday, our near neighbours Annie Drum and Carole Wilson came for lunch (unfortunately we neglected to take photos) and on Sunday afternoon the delightful Jazmina Cininas called in after her linocut workshop at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Tea in the sunroom was followed an impromptu evening meal before Jazmina headed home to Melbourne.

Jazmina's visit coincided with Alice's afternoon walk time.

In what was a weekend of firsts, the large cactus in our front garden burst unexpectedly into bloom. The results were spectacular.

All three of our guests remarked that it looked like we’ve been living in the house for years, which warmed the cockles of our hearts.

Just as I was about to publish this post, there was a knock at the door. It was Ballarat friends Christine and Gary Hickson, pictured below. This was also their first visit to the house. They came bearing a gift of Lindt chocolates. I love the packaging created by Christine (see final photo below), which is inscribed ‘Wishing you many wonderful times in your new house!’ Thanks to our lovely visitors, we’re off to a great start. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Burning Boat

Liberated from storage: Burning Boat, circa 1995, oil pastel on two sheets of Stonehenge paper

Back in the day, in this instance, around 1995, there was an autobiographical bent to much of my work, although I didn’t always admit to it and in many cases, was genuinely unaware of it. This is another work that has been stored away for decades, but which, thanks to Shane’s encouragement, now hangs in a prominent spot in our house. I’ve absolutely no recollection of the original narrative and its personal significance, but viewed today (at least, it seems to me) the drawing could be a response to these deeply troubled times. 

The dining room of our Ballarat East house with newly installed Burning Boat

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

WONDERMENT: last weeks

My Homo-insecta watercolours have been keeping great company in the Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop summer exhibition, Wonderment. (Other featured artists are Antonio Balletta, Christine Gibson, Lizzie Horne, Hyun Ju Kim, Michael Leunig, Soula Mantalvanos, David Moore, Geoffrey Ricardo, John Ryrie and Lucinda Tanner).  

Above left: Chrysochroa buqueti beetle woman

Chrysochroa buqueti beetle woman (detail 1)

Chrysochroa buqueti beetle woman (detail 2)

There’s not much time left to catch Wonderment before it finishes its long run on 23 February 2020, so do go along and see it if you can.

I’ll be sad when it’s over, but the way the year is starting to accelerate, Animalia paradoxa, my solo show at QG&W in November 2020, which I’m very excited about, will be up and running before I know it. (More about that in future posts).

A big thank you to Soula Mantalvanos of QG&W for the installation views and details of my work.
Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop (QG&W)
P 03 4202 0942 M 0438 866 068 A 81 Hesse Street Queenscliff VIC 3225