Monday, 1 June 2015

Printing knitting!

Planning on combining these two plates as a single image. Have printed the knitting hands (mine) several times in order to play around. Perhaps I should remove all of the dark knitted fabric...or lighten it  up very much, leaving just just a suggestion?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Making Connections

In the last couple of weeks or so I've managed to get to see a handful of fabulous exhibitions locally.
First, I went to Woodbine Art in the lovely village of Malmsbury for the opening of Melinda Harper's exhibition of paintings, prints and embroideries. Some of the works actually combine painting and embroidery. She lives not too far from me in central Victoria and is a founding member (as am I) of Castlemaine Press, a printmaking collective, which was launched last year, not long after I moved to Castlemaine, and which will have its own studio in the next few months at Lot 19.
I've admired Harper's colourful abstract paintings for some years. In fact, you can see her influence in my series of paintings, From the Book of LC - Leonard Cohen lyrics set within coloured abstract fields.

There is also a link to the work of Vivienne Binns (the subject of my doctoral thesis). Her In Memory of the Unknown Artist paintings look like modernist abstract paintings, but they bare actually based upon what she calls 'domestic surfaces', including carpets, bathroom tiles, as well as knitted rugs she purchased in country op shops. One of Harper's painting/embroideries is based upon a piece of cross stitch that she found in a Castlemaine op shop. A tentative link perhaps, but these works certainly reference needlework, an art form not always considered 'art'.  There is to be a major retrospective of Harper's work, opening at Heide Museum of Modern Art in late June, which I'm looking forward to immensely. Here is some information about it.

I also went to Bendigo (for a job interview) and so dropped into the Bendigo Art Gallery for lunch (which was delicious) and to see Imagining Ned. There were a few familiar (from Heide) Nolan and Tucker works there, as well as some Kelly-inspired work by contemporary artists, including a fabulous linocut print - Self Portrait as Ned Kelly aged 50 - by Clayton Tremlett, another Castlemaine Press founding member!
There are a couple of tapestries of Nolan paintings, which are particularly beautiful.

There is an exhibition catalogue that can be viewed in pdf available here.
I also went across the road to LaTrobe University's Visual Arts Centre, which almost always has interesting exhibitions. I was happy to chance upon an exhibition of Denise Green's work - an Australian artist based in New York. There are a couple of small paintings by her in the Heide collection, which I do admire, currently hanging in the laundry in Heide II.

These earlier works have the simple forms that Green has used for much of her career.  The one on the right has the fan form which she still uses extensively, somewhat modified in the painting below, in the current exhibition.The inspiration for the fan shape came from two 19th century Chinese artists, Ju Chao and Ju Lian, whose paintings were made in the form of fans and album leafs.

Whistling Winds (for Mondrian) 2011  acrylic and pencil on canvas 203 x 306 cm

There are two works that directly reference colour theory and utilize colour swatches. The signature fan shape is a consistent element across the multiple small panels.  There is something scientific about these two works, in the systematic arrangement of panels that relates both to colour theory and to mathematics. There are multiple influences cited in the catalogue, one of the most important being
Philip Fisher's book, Wonder, the Rainbow and the Aesthetics of Rare Experience, in which he discusses Descartes theories on the passions and emphasizes wonder as the primary philosophic experience.  He further relates wonder to the experience of the rainbow. So in these two works Green uses the fan shape to stand for the rainbow.
Nine Points 2010-2011 45 silkscreened paper collages on panels, overall dimensions 123.5 x 325.5 cm.

In the most recent works photographs of waterholes around the Bendigo region are spliced together with sections of unrelated abstract studio-based drawings.
Bendigo: Trees 2015 one photograph and five drawings 45.7 x 66 cm
As you can see, quite a diverse exhibition!

In the second, smaller space is a very beautiful and moving exhibition by Maree Santilla, Desiring the Undesirable. On moving to rural Victoria a few years ago Santilla was profoundly affected by the everyday sight of roadkill. She collected broken and fragile carcasses of foxes and other animals, bound them in ceramic bandages and fired them in a kiln, so several of the works include both a crumbling ceramic cast of the body and skeletal remains after the firing. These artefacts/relics are laid out within items of domestic furniture from the post war soldier settlement period.  Lighting and reflections are used to emphasise their fragility. Worth seeing if you can.  I should take photos, I know, but there is more information and some images here.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Simple things

As well as doing a bit of gelatin plate printing lately, I have also been doing some planning and cutting of lino plates. I've decided to revisit a favourite theme from a few years ago for a postcard exchange with the theme 'first'.
'The first thing she ever knitted'

I also proofed this plate, which I'm planning to print over a second plate of large circles, very pale possibly translucent grey. Yes, keeping with the circles...and other simple objects.
Simple objects can be carriers of multiple meanings. Thinking of the work of Australian artist Katherine Hattam and of course, Van Gogh.

I originally had all the writing in the lower-case script, but thought it might work better in capitals. 

Both are on the plate at this stage. I need to get rid of one, also clean it up a bit and fix the nick in the arm of the chair! Planning to fill the gap on the second plate.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Progress - circles and gelatin

Just a few images of the progress I've made recently. 
The shoe-box is just about done.  It's been a lot of work!
And I've had a few more sessions messing about with gelatin printing - some days more successfully than others. These are some beginnings, works in progress, experiments and a couple just about done...the print, anyway.  They might be book pages.

As you can see, some more successful than others.  But there are possibilities!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

I suppose it is too late to wish you all a Happy New Year!

I am beginning to settle into my new life - and am loving it! I've never lived in the country before, but have for many years had a desire to do so eventually, and have been talking about making this move - to Castlemaine - for about ten years. So, it has taken me a while....
I'm currently driving to Melbourne once a week for a couple of days work, and am really enjoying it; getting to see the countryside in the best light, particularly the early morning, but early summer evenings are lovely too.  I've begun to realise why so many artists are drawn to the landscape as subject. I'm beginning to feel quite emotional when I reach the hills as I near home - after only a few months!
And although I've still two or three fairly major things to organise - particularly getting a shed lined and insulated and transformed into a decent studio - I do have a small studio space in the house and have started playing around pretty regularly with ideas and media.  I visited the studio of a new friend, a local artist, and we had a lovely couple of hours of show and tell, which inspired me to get back to making books.
So I made a gelatine/glycerine plate, pulled out some book works-in-progress and have had a few sessions playing.
I'm quite pleased with these experiments and beginnings.

I am also currently working something to have a small presence in the Castlemaine State Festival in March - having a lot of fun cutting circles from prints.
I've got a month or so to fill that white shoe-box with circles.  It's a looking back at my printmaking up to this point.  Seems a reasonable thing to do, with everything changing...and moving made me realize what a lot of work I have sitting around in boxes and folders. 
I'm very much steeped in Leonard Cohen lyrics/poetry at the moment, as I'm reading another biography - I'm Your Man, by Sylvie Simmons - given to me by one of my lovely sons for Christmas (although he didn't actually choose it. You get the best presents when you buy them yourself!)  The biography is the best I've read...and it makes me go back to the songs, listening closely.
So the shoe-box of circles of prints will be titled after a Cohen song - That Don't Make It Junk. The lyric goes, 'took my diamond to the pawnshop, but that don't make it junk'. These are all quite flawed diamonds - mostly student works, proofs and unsuccessful prints.
I also had one more miniprint edition to send off in January - for the Winged Messengers Exchange, which will be exhibited at Hahndorf Academy in the Adelaide Hills during Adelaide Fringe Festival. Proceeds from sales will go to the Bird SA conservation fund. Some more information and images can be found here.

There are birds there! See, four of them, on the wire, (another ongoing Cohen-esque theme in my work), and it's not the first time, either, that I've used the 'Counting Crows' rhyme!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Just a second...and other print exchanges

It has been a busy year!  Buying and selling and moving house - from the Melbourne to central Victoria, and a trip to Japan, has meant that I haven't had much time for making art.  I did, however sign up to three or four mini-print exchanges, which was a great thing to do, as at least I did get a few small things made.  I moved here almost three months ago, but with the trip to Japan just 2 1/2 weeks later (which was a pretty crazy thing to have organised...but the flights were so cheap!), and then a short trip to Perth to visit my son who moved there earlier this year, I haven't even managed to set up my studio properly yet. It's all been very positive, of course, so I'm not complaining...  Hopefully by the New Year, I'll be all set up and ready to go.
But to finish the year, I thought I'd post images of the prints I made for the various exchanges.
They are all linocut prints and I had to keep them fairly straightforward, in terms of process.
Firstly there was the Magpie postcard exchange, organised by the Printmaking Sisters (Annie Day and Robin Ezra) from NSW.

More information and images of all the postcards can be seen here.
Next was the International Print Exchange, a long-running, unthemed exchanged organised by See more here.

My print a simple image of an armchair - 'Waiting'.

Next was another themed postcard exchange- Bears and Blooms: Postcards from the Edge of Extinction, organised by Bittondi Printmakers Association in Adelaide.  My postcard is of a small orchid, the Robust Greenhood Orchid, previously believed to be extinct, which was recently discovered to be growing near Bendigo, not too far from where I'm now living.

Most recently I posted off my twelve prints to the US for the huge exchange organised by The Sketchbook Project. The theme 'Just a second' seemed to offer so many possibilities. I considered my second-place medals from my teenage calisthenics years, some sort of stop sign (just a minute, hang on, wait up...), but was attracted to the idea of second-best. Perhaps - just a second-best friend...but I went with 'Just a second-best dress', partly because I have a bit of a collection of images of beautiful vintage dresses.

Because I was so pushed for time, (aren't I always!) I forgot to take photos before I posted them off, so this is a proof.
I'm quite in awe of the organisers of all these exchanges, who dedicate so much time, energy and organisational skill to each project. In most cases there is an exhibition of the prints and usually one print from each participant is used for fundraising.  It's a wonderful thing to do! Yay for the www!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Well, I really have been distracted!!

In spite of starting the year with very good intentions, it just doesn't seem to be happening here! I have made some work, but life has largely been absorbed by a long-planned move to the country. I've had to resolve to get this done and not worry too much about what else doesn't get done...because one of my primary aims is to change my life so that I have more time for art making and writing. I sold my house in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne about six weeks ago, and am now in the very exciting process of looking for something to buy in central Victoria.

I have been slowly working on another linocut  in the series 'A Taxonomy of (Art) Cats'. This one is 'Two cats', and is a little different in format.
Here is a peek at a section of it. I'll show some more later...

The other thing that I finally managed to do is to open an Etsy shop.
I launched it about a month ago with six prints, and now have to get more active.
Planning on putting something else up very soon.
Here's a link to it, if you care to take a look.