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Sunday, December 5, 2021

A landmark birthday


Thank you all so much for the warm birthday wishes I received yesterday. They meant the world - I’m truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends. It’s not every day a girl turns 70. Huge thanks to my love and life partner, Shane Jones, not just for making the day especially memorable, but for his strength and support, particularly over the past 12 months. I couldn’t have managed a quarter of what I’ve achieved without him. Needless to add, Alice was on hand to help us celebrate. Although Shane and I did get out and about (our very full day was sandwiched between breakfast at the Yacht Club on Lake Wendouree and dinner at historic Craig’s Hotel) these photos were snapped in our upstairs cinema room. The flowers are from Sue and Barbara, two very dear friends in London. For health reasons, I’m not supposed to be going overboard with cake, so we comprised with two cupcakes. They are rather dwarfed by the candles - after all, 70 is a big number. 





A true Renaissance man, Shane has been studying guitar and musical composition over the past year. As a surprise birthday gift, he composed a short, exquisite work for guitar, Deborah’s Pictures, and commissioned his music teacher, guitar virtuoso Daniel Nistico, to perform the work against a backdrop of my prints and paintings, thanks to the wonders of technology. Directly below is a fragment of the music, followed by a screenshot of the recital. The link to Daniel’s superb performance is here: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdCwXi3bdLI 




Thanks again, everyone.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Jazz age memories

I’m delighted to learn that two of my early, rarely seen relief prints, Jazz age memories and Sunny Sunday afternoon (not pictured), both 1985, are now part of the permanent collection at Geelong Gallery, thanks to the generosity of donors Conrad O'Donohue and Rosemarie Kiss.

Both works were made shortly after I graduated from art school and are a continuation and development of the still lifes and interiors on which I was primarily focused in my final year of undergraduate study. The subject matter was drawn from my immediate surroundings. When I began the series, I was living in an early 1940s apartment in Westbury Street, St Kilda East

As shown in the following photos, snapped in the living room of our house in Ballarat, the Art Deco clock and vase, together with the wind-up gramophone and record cabinet are still treasured possessions. All were purchased in London, where I was based for most of the 1970s - the clock, vase and gramophone cabinet at Portobello Road Market and the gramophone at an antiques fair in Alexandra Palace. I remember the gramophone came complete with a scratchy 78 rpm record on the turntable - Mel Torme’s classic recording of Rodgers and Hart’s Mountain Greenery, which I love to this day. I wouldn’t have paid more than a few pounds for any of these objects, but purely for the precious memories they hold, each and every one is priceless. 




The two ceramic sculptures seen in the preceding three photos are by Melbourne-based artist, David Pearson. Aside from a fragmentary view of Untitled 17, Shane Jones’s surrealist  glove painting directly above, top right, remaining artworks are by me. Click on images for a clearer view.

Pictured top: Deborah Klein,
Jazz age memories, 1985, linocut on handmade paper; edition 4/25. Geelong Gallery, Gift of Conrad O’Donohue and Rosemarie Kiss, 2010. © Courtesy of the artist.

Monday, November 29, 2021

LACED

 

Pictured top: A hand-held view (to indicate scale) of the recently completed Laced, destined for my solo show, Rückenfigur, at Queenscliff Gallery in 2022. 

Laced, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 12.5 x 12.5 cm


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Vale Stephen Sondheim


Look at what you’ve done,

Then at what you want,

Not at where you are,


What you’ll be


Look at all the things


You gave to me.


- Move On, from Sunday in the Park with George, 1984music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/26/theater/stephen-sondheim-dead.html

Sometimes people leave you


halfway through the wood.


Do not let it grieve you.


No one leaves for good.


- No one is Alone, from Into the Woods, 1986, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.


In memory of Stephen Sondheim, March 22, 1930 - November 26, 2021. 


Thank you for the words and music and for enriching our lives beyond measure.


Rest in Peace, Mr. Sondheim. 


Pictured top: Stephen Sondheim in rehearsal for Merrily We Roll Along in 1980. (Photo credit: Martha Swope/New York Public Library).


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

MOTH revisited

With a new drawing in mind, I’ve been searching through my reference books for an image of a Luna moth and have just rediscovered the excellent Moth, by Matthew Gandy. Published by Reaktion Books, London in 2016, it includes a reproduction of my painting, Argina astrea Moth Mask, 2007.  

Coincidentally, soon after I dusted off my copy of Moth (see below) the first two photos shown here appeared in my iPhone memories. Dating from July 2016, they were snapped by Shane Jones in Dymocks bookshop, Melbourne, where we were thrilled to find copies of the newly published Moth

Monday, November 22, 2021

Attuned

 

I’m delighted to have been curated by Stephen McLaughlan into the forthcoming group exhibition, Attuned. The show runs from January 19 - February 5, which, although it’s not until next year, is not so very far away. 

Pictured above: Songstress, pigmented drawing ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 15.5 x 11 cm, one of my works that will be part of Attuned at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery in 2022.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Fine-tuning

 


We’re constantly trying to make our place more liveable and workable. While this is something that tends to happen in fits and starts, it does add up. This week Shane Jones lugged a tall plan cabinet that was formerly cluttering up our very tiny ground floor office upstairs to the first floor cinema room. It now resides outside my studio, where it will effectively double my storage space for small works on paper. The cabinet replaces a white plinth on which the small set of drawers also shown here was formerly displayed. 


All this fine-tuning, however necessary, can be somewhat daunting and disruptive. Sometimes it feels as if we’re tackling a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Fortunately, we have help. Without exaggeration, there’s not a single change we’ve made around here without the endlessly enthusiastic, paws-on participation of Alice B. Cat









Thursday, November 11, 2021

SUNFLOWER

 

Following directly from my previous post is an early progress view of Sunflower, the second in a suite of small linocuts I’ve just begun. At this stage, I’m planning to make six of them and will print a small edition of each one. Collectively titled Illustrated Women, they will possibly form the basis for an artist book too - in which case, I’ll also design a title page. Each block measures 15 x 11.5 cm, which means I will be able to print them on my small craft press, or alternatively, burnish them by hand. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

A new linocut


Pictured above: the completed design for the first of a planned series of linocuts, the first I’ve made in a long time. A key reference for the image was the centre panel of a three-fold screen designed by the prolific May Morris for Morris & Co, c. 1888 (see below).



As Alice attests, starting a new body of work can be exhausting. 






Monday, November 1, 2021

A fine send off for BACKSTORIES

Following are some treasured memories of the last day of Backstories at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery on Sunday, October 31.

Upon arrival, I paused to photograph the welcoming vase of flowers outside Stephen’s gallery, a touch I’ve always loved. Just as I pressed the shutter, the man himself appeared in the doorway. 

Catching up with friends (views 2 - 5) was the highlight of the afternoon. In the group shot below, L-R, are Shane Jones, John Waller, Vanessa Taylor, Stephen McLaughlan, Damon Kowarsky, Priscilla Ambrosini and James Harrison. It was also terrific to chat to some of the folk (not pictured) who dropped by to collect the works they had acquired. 





Before heading home, Shane and I had an impromptu meal upstairs at Chloe’s Bar in the historic pub Young and Jackson (final view below). We practically had the place to ourselves - there were more staff than patrons - but we did get to hang out with the infamous Chloépainted by Jules Joseph Lefebvre in 1875. Many thanks to the waiter who took the following shot.


Other photo credits for this post: myself, Shane Jones and James Harrison. 



All in all, it was a memorable day. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

THE SUN SETS ON BACKSTORIES

After several extensions, all of them thwarted by lockdowns, Backstories, my solo show at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, officially closes today.

Sunday, pictured above, takes its title from the song in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical drama, Sunday in the Park with George (1984, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine). The musical was inspired by the George Seurat painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-86). The song, Sunday, closes both its first and second acts. As some of you know, my partner Shane Jones and I are devotees of Sondheim’s work, as is Stephen McLaughlan. Accordingly, it seems doubly fitting to post the painting here, as a swansong to my own show. 

Stephen, Shane and I are all supporters of Watch This, a visionary Melbourne-based theatre company that specialises in Sondheim’s works. The company’s 2019 production of Sunday in the Park with George was unforgettable. I saw it twice and on both occasions, the song brought tears to my eyes.  

Coincidentally, Watch This held two preview events, including their 2019 season launch of Sunday in the Park with George at Stephen Mclaughlan Gallery. Pictured below is the company’s founder and first Artistic Director, Sonya Suares, who also co-directed the production. That’s Shane and I on the left in the following view. (Photos courtesy Sonya Suares via Stephen McLaughlan, reproduced with his kind permission).


We were delighted that Sonya Suares was able to join us at the gallery for the memorable Backstories Artist Celebration on Saturday afternoon, July 31, 2021. Sonya and I are pictured with Sunday in the last photo below. (Photo credit: Julie Keating). 

After several postponements, the next Watch This production, Into the Woods, will be performed early next year at Melbourne Meat Market, running from Saturday January 15 - Sunday January 23. While Sondheim’s extraordinary revisionist take on fairy tales didn’t directly inspire my own fairy tale-related works (including the anthology of feminist fairy tales, There was once)  it certainly added fuel to the fire. For further information about Into the Woods, including performance dates and times, visit Watch This HERE.

Before heading for Melbourne to farewell Backstories (see previous post) I’d like to extend one last thank you to Stephen McLaughlan, Shane Jones, the many people who visited the exhibition and those who have acquired works. Against all the odds, “on an ordinary Sunday”,* Backstories is finally having its fairy tale ending.

Backstories concludes today at 5pm.


*From Stephen Sondheim’s lyric for Sunday. To see the song performed in the original production of Sunday in the Park with George, go HERE.


Pictured top: Deborah Klein, Sunday, 2020, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm. Photo creditTim Gresham.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Journey’s end

From this evening, our little corner of the world is opening up again. Travel restrictions between Melbourne and Victorian regional areas are being lifted, so I will be able to bid Backstories, my exhibition at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, a final, fond farewell. I’ll be there on the last day of the show, Sunday October 31, from 3 pm, if you’d like to drop by and say hello.

Viewing times for the show’s final two days are below. 


Pictured: Lookout, 2018, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm. 


BACKSTORIES 

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery

Level 8 Room 16 Nicholas Building 37 Swanston Street Melbourne 3000

(On the corner of Flinders Lane)

T: 0407 317 323     E: st73599@bigpond.net.au 

www.stephenmclaughlangallery.com.au

Gallery Hours: 

Saturday October 3011 am - 5 pm

Sunday October 311 - 5 pm

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Happy Hallowe’en

Pictured top: a special Hallowe’en offering: Redback Spider Tattooed Woman*, part of my solo show, Backstories, at Stephen McLaughlan Galleryfollowed by a couple of progress views, including sleeping research assistant/familiar Alice B. Cat and assorted reference materials, notably a plastic Redback spider acquired from Bernard’s Magic Shop in Melbourne.🕷 



After a long spell in lockdown, Backstories will re-emerge for a final viewing opportunity this Hallowe’en weekend, October 30 - 31. Note the special viewing times below.🕷

BACKSTORIES 

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery

Level 8 Room 16 Nicholas Building 37 Swanston Street Melbourne 3000

(On the corner of Flinders Lane)

T: 0407 317 323     E: st73599@bigpond.net.au 

www.stephenmclaughlangallery.com.au

Gallery Hours: 

Saturday October 3011 am - 5 pm

Sunday October 311 - 5 pm


Photo credit for top image: Tim Gresham; remaining photos: the artist. 


*Redback Spider Tattooed Woman, 2020, pigmented drawing ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 21 x 15 cm.