Saturday, July 14, 2018

Last Day of Melbourne Athenaeum Library Residency

At the dawning of my last day as artist-in-residence at Melbourne Athenaeum Library, here is my artist book Progeny in its final stages of completion. (Fortunately the hand-stitching went without a hitch).

Following directly below are ‘shelfies’ of the completed work (aside from binding) and finally, portraits of the women who inspired the work: Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein (1818) and Elsa Lanchester, whose astonishing, all too brief performance in James Whales’s film The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) was the point of departure for my artist book. 

In Shelley’s novel Frankenstein builds a bride for his ‘monster’ but just before giving her life, he destroys her. (Well before this stage, we’re seriously questioning who the real monster is).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Walking and Talking at The Johnston Collection

Pictured above: A corner of the Natural History Room created for PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at the Johnston CollectionIn colonial times the 'picturesque pursuit' of natural history illustration was considered a respectable pastime for amateur women artists much like those imagined here. In fact, numerous women, among them Elizabeth Gould, Margaret Flockton, Harriet and Helena Scott, Sarah Stone, Louisa Anne Meredith and Rosa Fiveash were invaluable contributors to the field.

The European Butterflies and Moths book is a treasured gift from recently retired Art Gallery of Ballarat Director, Gordon Morrison. In fact, the Natural History Room was essentially built around it. Gordon has just reminded me (and I quote):  'Don't forget Margaret Stockton who apart from being an exceptional artist, managed the unthinkable and became the first salaried artist at the Sydney Botanical Gardens'. 

This morning between 10 am - 12 pm fellow Bower artist Loris Button and I are leading an informal Walk-and-Talk through the treasure-laden rooms of of Fairhall Exhibition House at The Johnston Collection House Museum. We’d love to see you there.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Extension of Melbourne Athenaeum Library Residency

 At work in Melbourne Athenaeum Library amidst an array of Moth Woman Press publications. Photo credit: Shane Jones

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to extend my residency at Melbourne Athenaeum Library, so am back in the library for the remainder of this week. Because of a couple of other commitments, however, my hours are slightly different.

Monday and Tuesday: 10.30 am - 5.00 pm

Wednesday: 3 pm - 6 pm 
Thursday: 1 - 5 pm 
Friday: 10.30 am - 4pm 
Saturday: 10.30 - 2 pm.

If you come outside of those times, it’s likely I won’t be there, but my work will be. 

Library hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 10 am - 6 pm
Wednesday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 10 am - 4 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 2 pm

For selected highlights from the first part of the residency, visit Moth Woman Press HERE.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

MULTIDISCIPLINARY ART MAKING, an artist talk for Melbourne Rare Book Week

Melbourne Athenaeum Library, my principal place of work during Melbourne Rare Book Week 2018

My residency at Melbourne Athenaeum Library is well and truly up and running. I've already met some terrific people, had many lively conversations and been gratified by the positive response to the work. At present I'm working on an artist book titled Progeny, one of two projects inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: a Modern Prometheus.

On Wednesday, July 4, from 6 - 7 pm I'm presenting an informal talk. My artist book, Leaves of Absence (2017) acquired last year by the library, will take centre stage, alongside Fallen Women, a small companion volume published early this year. (To preview Fallen Women, go HERE).

Tomorrow evening I'll discuss these and other Moth Woman Press publications, past, present and future. The event is part of Melbourne Rare Book Week. Attendance is free, but due to space restrictions, bookings are essential. For more about the talk, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 4, 6 - 7 pm
Speaker: Deborah Klein
Presented by Melbourne Athenaeum Library
Level 1
188 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000
Phone (03) 9650 3100
Or book online HERE.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Farewell, Exquisite Palette Show

Shane and I with our respective palettes. Photo credit: Louise Blyton

Yesterday afternoon Shane Jones and I called into Tacit Galleries for a last look at the St Luke Artist Colourmen Exquisite Palette Show during its final hours. (It was virtually impossible to see the works on the lively, but jam-packed opening night). I also wanted to bid a fond farewell to my palette, which I’ll very likely never see again. 

My Reflection, 2018, acrylic on wooden palette

It was great bumping into St Luke's Co-founder and Co-director, artist Louise Blyton, who took the photo of us with our palettes. Shane’s “ink drawing” of our cat Alice on a sketchbook page that’s apparently taped to his palette is an illusionistic work which fooled the majority of viewers, even in extreme closeup. Aside from the natural wood of the palette, the entire work, including the masking tape and slightly creased overhanging corner of the “paper,” is an oil painting. 

Shane with Sketch of Alice, 2018, oil on wooden palette

Directly below, the lovely Louise stands alongside the St Luke Artist Colourmen Exquisite Palette Manifesto, while her elegant wrap-around palette What's Arp? hovers above it. 

Louise Blyton with her palette What's Arp? 2018 (detail), one of my favourite works in the show

Sunday, July 1, 2018

My Monsters at RMIT Gallery

Shortly before My Monster: the Human-Animal Hybrid officially opened its doors (to a queue of 1,400 people, I'm reliably informed!) we were invited to a special curator's talk. During that relatively quiet time we seized the moment to take these photos. That's me above, pictured with two of my monstrous creations. (Photo credit: Shane Jones).

I'm delighted with the way my works are presented. Ordinarily I'm not a huge admirer of patterned walls in contemporary art exhibitions - they have a tendency to overpower the work - but in this case, I think it works brilliantly.

Actinus imperialis Beetle Woman, watercolour (installation view at RMIT Gallery)

Ladybird Woman, watercolour (installation view at RMIT Gallery)

There is a substantial article about the show in yesterday's Age newspaper (Saturday, June 30). My watercolour Actinus imperialis Beetle Woman (also pictured above, third from top) is reproduced, along with works by Kate Clark, Peter Ellis, Rona Green and a photographic portrait of My Monster curator Evelyn Tsitas.

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Pictured top: Deborah Klein, Actinus imperialis Beetle Woman,
watercolour on Khadi rag paper, 41.91 x 29.72 cm. (Photo credit: Tim Gresham).

In the two hundred years since Mary Shelley documented the creation of Frankenstein’s monster and its aftermath, our fascination with the hybrid has never wavered. 

Opening tonight 6 - 8 pm:
My Monster: The Human-Animal Hybrid
Curated by Evelyn Tsitas 
RMIT Gallery
344 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

Gallery hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 5pm 
Thursday 11am – 7pm
Saturday 12pm – 5pm 
Closed public holidays 
Free entry

My Monster runs from 29 June - 18 August. For further information, click HERE.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Homo-insecta at Melbourne Athenaeum Library

Homo-insecta: An unnatural history portfolio, 2013, hand-coloured linocuts and text

In celebration of the bicentenary year of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the inmates of Homo-insecta: An unnatural history portfolio will shortly spread their wings in readiness for flight to Melbourne Athenaeum Library.

The unbound artist book is part of the solo exhibition accompanying my residency at the library for Melbourne Rare Book Week.

The residency runs from Saturday 30 June - Saturday 7 July.

Library hours :
Saturday: 10 am - 2 pm
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 10 am - 6 pm
Wednesday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 10 am - 4 pm
Artist talk: Wednesday 4 July, 6 -7 pm

For information about related events and inside views of Homo-insecta: An unnatural history portfolio, visit Moth Woman Press HERE.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Melbourne Athenaeum Library Artist-in-Residence for Melbourne Rare Book Week

Photo credit: Melbourne Athenaeum Library

Melbourne Rare Book Week 2018 is nearly upon us, and for some weeks I’ve been gearing up for my stint as Artist-in-Residence at marvellous Melbourne Athenaeum Library. 

A selection of my artist books and zines will be on display during the residency and I’ll be working on a couple of projects focusing on women in gothic fiction, in particular, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. (Shelley’s novel and Brontë herself both celebrate bicentenaries in 2018). 

My unbound artist book Leaves of Absence, 2017 (collection: Melbourne Athenaeum Library)
pictured during  its launch at the library in December, 2017. The book will also be exhibited during my residency.

Portrait of Emily Brontë by Branwell Brontë (fragment) C. 1833

Portrait miniature of Mary Shelley
by Reginald Easton, C. 1857

On Wednesday, July 4 at 6 pm I’m giving an informal talk on multi-disciplinary art-making, with a particular focus on book art and the importance of storytelling in my work. The event is free, but bookings are essential. 

For more about to the talk, click HERE and scroll down. To secure a seat, contact Melbourne Athenaeum Library via telephone on 9650 3100, or email: 

Melbourne Rare Book Week runs from 29 June - 8 July. For the full program, go HERE.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Deborah Klein, Ladybird Woman, 2014, watercolour on Khadi rag paper, 41.91 x 29.72 cm
Photo credit: Tim Gresham

Three of my watercolours from the ongoing Homo-insecta series, including Ladybird Woman (pictured above) are part of this upcoming show.

MY MONSTER: THE HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRID explores our enduring fascination and revulsion with the merging of the human and animal, and coincides with the 200th anniversary year of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The hybrid is the ultimate metaphor. Its almost human image haunts us from horror films to mythology, fairy tales to folk lore, literature to all aspects of visual art. The trouble with hybrids is that they disturb our moral compass, reminding us that we are animals, and animals are like us. This is the power of the hybrid creature. When we look into its human eyes, we see ourselves looking back from the animal body we deny we inhabit.

Evelyn Tsitas
Curator, My Monster

Image on invitation: Kate Clark, Gallant, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable

Bringing together work by more than 25 Australian and international artists in diverse media from public and private collections, including several new works created for the exhibition, My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid is curated by Evelyn Tsitas, based on her widely published doctoral research in this field.

Opening speaker: Barbara Creed, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne and Honorary Professorial Fellow.

Creed is the author of five books on feminism, sexuality, film and media including the feminist classic, The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Routledge). Her recent research is on animal studies, the inhuman and social justice issues; and her latest publication Stray: Human–Animal Ethics in the Anthropocene (2017) explores the relationship between human and animal in the context of the stray.

A number of Public Programs are scheduled throughout the exhibition's run. On Thursday, 2 August, from 5.30 - 6.30 pm, Jazmina Cininas and I will be speaking of Metamorphosis & transformation. For a full list of artist talks, see the invitation above.

Exhibiting artists include: Jane Alexander (South Africa), Peter Booth, Jazmina Cininas, Kate Clark (USA), Catherine Clover, Beth Croce, Julia deVille, Peter Ellis, Rona Green, Moira Finucane, Deborah Kelly, Bharti Kher (IND), Deborah Klein, Oleg Kulik (Ukraine / Russia), Sam Leach, Norman Lindsay, Sidney Nolan, Kira O’Reilly & Jennifer Willet (Ireland / Canada), Lisa Roet, Geoffrey Ricardo, Mithu Sen (IND), Maja Smrekar (Slovenia) and Ronnie Van Hout.

Opening night: Thursday, June 28, 6 pm - 8 pm

RMIT Gallery
344 Swanston Street,
Victoria, Australia 3000

Open Monday – Friday 11am – 5pm
Thursday 11am – 7pm 
Saturday 12pm – 5pm 
Closed public holidays 
Free entry

The exhibition runs until 18 August.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Paul Guest Prize 2018 finalist

First shown back in March in the exhibition Heads and Bodies at Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne, The Secret Plait (2016-17, oil pastel and chinagraph pencil on Khadi rag paper, 76.5 x 56 cm), is one of fifty works shortlisted for the Paul Guest Prize 2018 at Bendigo Art Gallery.

I discovered the diagram for this Secret Plait (and yes, that really is what it’s called - I’ve no idea why, but the name serves my work well) many years ago in an old book in my local library.

The Paul Guest Prize 2018 runs from 30 June - 9 September

Photo credit: Tim Gresham.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


L - R: Angie Black, Shane Jones, myself, Leigh Hobbs and Paul Compton

A hearty thank you to everyone who came to yesterday evening’s launch of PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at The Johnston Collection (we had a full capacity audience, with a waiting list). Thanks also to Alison Inglis for her fantastic opening address, to TJC Director/Curator Louis Le Vaillant and the peerless volunteer guides, it was an evening to remember. 

L - R: Bower artists Louise Saxton, Loris Button, myself and Loris Button, with
Opening Night Speaker Alison Inglis 

L - R: Shane Jones, myself and Inga Walton

Friday, June 8, 2018


European Wasp Woman, watercolour, 41.91 x 29.72
Photo credit: Tim Gresham

My Monster is an exhibition that celebrates the 200th anniversary year of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and the enduring fascination with the human animal hybrid. Curator Evelyn Tsitas has selected three of my works for the show, including European Wasp Woman.

Exhibiting artists include Jane Alexander (South Africa), Rose Agnew, Janet Beckhouse, Peter Booth, Jazmina Cininas, Kate Clark (USA), Catherine Clover, Beth Croce, Julia deVille, Heri Dono (ID), Peter Ellis, Rona Green, Moira Finucane, Rayner Hoff, Ronnie van Hout, Sam Jinks, Deborah Kelly, Bharti  Kher (IND),  Deborah Klein, Oleg Kulik (Ukraine / Russia), Sam Leach, Norman Lindsay, Sidney Nolan,  Eko Nugroho (ID), Patricia Piccinini, Kira O’Reilly & Jennifer Willet (Ireland / Canada), Lisa Roet, Geoffrey Ricardo, Mithu Sen (IND) and Maja Smrekar (Slovenia).

My Monster: The Human-Animal Hybrid
29 June – 18 August 2018
RMIT Gallery
344 Swanston Street 
Melbourne VIC 3000 

Open Monday – Friday 11am – 5pm 
Thursday 11am – 7pm
Saturday 12pm – 5pm
Closed public holidays
Free entry

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

PATTERNS OF COLLECTING: Friends of the Johnston Collection Preview

Selected installation views of PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at The Johnston Collection, snapped on Monday evening just before guests arrived for the Friends of the Johnston Collection Preview (which we enjoyed very much) and shortly after it ended. Featured are collection items and artworks from and by myself, Carole Wilson, Loris Button and Louise Saxton. The most recent addition to the show is the ceramic Buddha, inherited many years ago from my Aunt Eileen and now installed in the Chinoiseries Room opposite Louise Saxton’s superb Buddha, painstakingly constructed from reclaimed needlework.

Monday, June 4, 2018

OPENING TODAY: PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at The Johnston Collection

FROM THE BOWER/Patterns of Collecting at The Johnston Collection opens today. 

In a series of specifically themed rooms, artworks and items from the bowers of myself and fellow artists Louise Saxton, Loris Button, Carole Wilson sit alongside corresponding artworks and items from the museum’s permanent collection. 


Join PATTERNS OF COLLECTING guest artists for a Walk and Talk as we discuss our work and the inspiration and processes behind the exhibition. 
Tuesday 19 June 2018 | 10:00 am - 11.30 am
Wednesday 11 July 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Thursday 9 August 2018 | 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm
Saturday 11 August 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Thursday 13 September 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am

The exhibition runs until Tuesday, 18 September.

Diary of an exhibition hang

As noted in my earlier post, PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at The Johnston Collection, opened to the public today. Hours before this evening's preview event for the Friends of the Johnston Collection, I look back on the week that was, wherein the show was installed over a period of 5 days.

Sunday, 27 May (Day 1): At our Abbotsford place as Alice watches on high, my packing is finally completed. After a late morning drop-off to the Johnston Collection, the placing of our artwork and collection objects within the Johnston Collection is still in the early stages, but progression has definitely been made. 

Monday, 28 May (Day 2): Seemingly endless unpacking and placement continues. By day’s end we’re all exhausted but feeling less overwhelmed as our collective vision starts to take form.

Tuesday, 29 May (Day 3): Gradual but definite progress is made, including the painstaking installation of the combined collections wall by Loris Button and Carole Wilson.

Wednesday, 30 May (Day 4): By day’s end, we’re just about done, and a collective sigh of relief is heaved. Tattooed Faces Sampler (1997), a seasoned veteran of our show’s tour, now hangs in the magnificent Passage to India Room. In the hall, a swarm of insect women hover outside the entrance to the Natural History Room directly opposite. Further down the hallway, through the Boudoir and into the adjoining Sitting Room, a life- sized linocut on fabric, Daughter of Time (1997) hangs alongside artwork by Carole Wilson, one of several of her works that directly reference the house and its collection. Down the staircase and into the Wunderkammer Room, where a glorious lace-filled dome by Louise Saxton is reflected in the mirror, as is the artist herself, along with museum director Louis Le Vaillant and Robbie and Dorothy, just two of the museum’s tireless workers who have played an enormous part in the installation of our show.

Thursday, 31 May (Day 5): In the Wunderkammer Room under the benevolent gaze of Baroque-era portrait painter Mary Beale, Louise, Loris, Carole and I begin the first of two walk-through sessions with the museum guides.