When faced with real, material objects, I haven't much patience for text. I haven’t blogged for half a year. But it’s been a busy year so far, and I do have lots of news to share over the week!
My open critique went wonderfully. I requested immediate feedback. Opinions, feelings, thoughts; all were welcomed and recorded. The support material, unfortunately, went largely unnoticed – drawings, research, theory, fiction, poetry – but that’s fine for now. We addressed the elements and near-resolve of each painting, and my mentors concluded the session. They encouraged more experimentation to further utilize the campus facilities. The following week I started afresh.
With a few weeks left of the semester, I worked much larger, with bigger brushes and more solvents. We built and wrapped a 170 cm x 190 cm stretcher frame. The weave was thin, the paint was thin; everything would be thin, washy, stained. Everything would, ideally, stretch me from the practical comforts while expanding on the subject. Most often in a painting, I crop the motif within an image 50 centimetres in diameter. And since my motif is most recognisably a naked child or group, I considered more seriously the life of their clothes. What happened to them and what implications could they carry, if painted so large?
Having reduced the subject matter to abandoned clothing, I decided a simpler object would emphasize the scale. The simpler the better; verging on absurdity. Recently I added a sock to a painting, beneath a boy’s foot, as if it were a deflated condom. The idea seemed strong enough to expand. So I made quick sketches until the image clicked for me. Key references were Guston and Baselitz, but only just now did I remember something heroic: Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child with St Anne.
To a Freudian reader, distancing the biblical references from Caravaggio’s painting reveals something very regressive. The child and mother, stepping on a phallic symbol together – might be something to explore later. I’m very interested in this, but I should let time and process decide what impressions arise in my own work. I’ll later report back with my results.
Hugh Jackman kickstarted a multi-million dollar arts fund for WAAPA this year. Consequently, students in the visual arts will be relocated, brought closer to their creative cousins in fashion and design. The studios we shared, where we created, ate, argued, stressed, slept, and expelled objects we found unworthy, will all be demolished and reduced to memory before December's end. And, as one may snip a lock of hair from a loved one, some of us have decided to claim chunks of the floor as memento.
I can't join this year's graduates, nor maybe the year after! I studied units useful to my practice but whose points I can't spend towards my double major -- The History and Sociology of Genocide, for example -- and I've no regrets about it. My ambition is to make and contextualize great art. The qualification will arrive with time and patience.
The last inhabitants of Studio 4.112 have compiled a zine as companion-piece to the Visual Arts exhibition, and as farewell to the space. Though I'm absent from the show, you'll still find me in that zine! Amongst wonderful people who earned their awards, whose dedication I admire, and in whose company I was very fortunate to spend so much time.
Now: at this show, and outside the building, isolated from the rest of the artists, sits a work of particular beauty and independence: Rebecca Jensen's For those who come across the seas. Hundreds of gently embroidered sheets line the inner walls of a white, open sea-container. One steps up and into the space to read them more clearly, and discovers himself surrounded by quotes of Australian bigotry and appalling xenophobia, and that he's now standing in the place of their stowaway target. Such careful trapping of the viewer, by use of silent allure and a humane twist, makes for the strongest kind of art installation: not merely glimpsed over, but experienced by active participants with living bodies. It's the kind of art that people preserve in essays; that they travel far to encounter. You've got to see this.
The Transit Lounge exhibition runs from 26 November - 12 December
Edith Cowan University's Mount Lawley campus, building #3
Facebook event page
This concerns followers of my facebook page, but may sooner or later apply here as well - FYI
In light of the consequential effects to my Betty Tompkins post earlier this month, I want to apologise to those inconvenienced by the thumbnail. I do often forget that my sources and inspirations don't quite share the same position for consumption as my own work, and may shock or provoke people in a negative sense.
Age-restriction I think is too heavy an appropriation at this stage in my practice, so I've made it official that my pages may contain material NSFW. I think that's fair. Don't you?
(Image: The Painters, (detail, in progress) )
Nine months old, but anyone familiar with the work of Santiago Sierra shouldn't be impressed. The outrage seems most presumptuous: as if it were ever the job of artists to sell a sympathizing story about prostitution, instead of making us contemplate it all in a new way. The story's quite humorous and its documentation provides full disclosure, and is obviously part of the work.
By giving the workers a simple task, Ripps encourages transparency, where most would prefer romance. So is this exploitation, if the workers aren't fully aware of what they're getting into? Well, firstly: we shouldn't assume that this is the case; are the workers ignorant, or simply unconcerned? Secondly: they are most certainly informed by now. And if they should regret the decision after the transaction, they know to keep from doing business with mister Ripps again, or from deviating too far from their usual trades.
Buy for less, sell for more has always been the model for making money. And selling for more than you're worth (would you pay $80 for those drawings?) is just the business archetype. Ripps put the concept of profit on stage and received a storm of hate from the smart-phone wielding public of infinite bandwidth. He deleted the thread when things got too hot, which is unfortunate. I suppose he felt overwhelmed and intimidated. On the bright side, it's good to see people showing concern for sex workers: caring enough to verbally attack an artist over social media, at least.
Thanks to the success of "The 4.115 Exhibition" Opening Night, works will remain on display forEdith Cowan University's Open Day! Work displayed will be resolved, in progress, and available for purchase and enquiries.
Those interested in the university Visual Arts program are especially welcome for a taste of what's in store!
Sunday, August 9 at 10:00am - 3:00pm
Located on Mount Lawley campus, room 4.115 (One of our lovely volunteers will direct you!)
Sacrificing clarity for melodrama:another School of Kitsch essay riddled with pauses to froth over the classics. Have a read. The way picture frames are compared to cinema's musical scores smells like sophistry!
In high-kitsch essays, the excessive appeal to the emotions should make fence-sitters like myself only more frustrated. As it stands, art seeks to discover new modes of perception while high-kitsch strengthens the senses we already have (or know that we have). Atemporal thinking may be the fusion of both. But for now, kitsch and art are two sides of the same coin. They must exist together.
A serious question now: regarding tragedy, what does Nerdrum think of Rothko, who insisted on tragedy, who dimmed the exhibition lights too, and claimed silence as his music? In many ways, Rothko reinforced through the grinder of modernism the cinematic experience of paintings. Whatever happened to it, I can't say. But I do long for it.
I'm overjoyed to announce that "Primed" was a great success! I want to thank everyone who helped make our graduation exhibition so grand. The catalogue is nice and compact (my favourite the CIT has yet produced), people have introduced my creations into their lives and collections (including the Institute's), and I met so many wonderful people at the opening. David Craft's band fixed the atmosphere tightly, and the turnout was massive. In addition, I caught an honourable mention in Gemma Weston's review.
Regarding photographs: unfortunately I wasn't able to capture in high definition the two-dozen or so paintings I'd anticipated in the previous blog. Still, they're sufficient in standard definition, and should be added to the website gallery soon enough. The detail shots (which lend themselves well to the more spontaneous facebook and deviantart pages) I'm excited to include as well.
Right now the main priority is securing my advanced standing at Edith Cowan University in Mount Lawley. There, I'll easily be able to invest plenty more hours minding theSpectrum Project Space after and before classes. If all works out, I should have six months free to look for art-related jobs. Any invitations or FYI's in that department, via comments or contact, I'd certainly appreciate.
This will probably be my last blog of the year. Have a great holiday, everybody!
I won't bore anyone with a recap of three years at art school. Instead: a snapshot of about one-and-a-half terms worth of painting in my CIT studio space. I believe it must be said that I'd have developed rather significantly and produced many more works, had the institute been friendlier towards my particular painting aspirations (more on this later). But twenty or so paintings for a grad show may be enough - we'll see once they're hung.
Before my last term began, I was privileged with a financial support scholarship (which I treated as an arts grant) from the Mick Young Foundation. Without their help, I couldn't have painted half as much or pushed significantly my painting vocabulary.
Despite updating my online gallery, photographic reproductions hardly ever catch the reality of a heavily textured, painted object. If you're interested in 20th century expressionism and the mischievous and often cruel elements of childhood, I believe the show is worth exploring (and even then, there are thirty other, very different artists exhibiting). Worth mentioning is fellow emerging artist Jillian Pontré and her projection of a sickly and playful makeup-video alongside large cosmetic paintings.
Attached below is the poster for Primed, a contemporary visual arts and jewellery show, running from 4-13 December. Please do share it about if it suits you.
Work is for sale at emerging level prices. Jillian and I will be minding the show on the two Saturdays, if you wish to catch us then!
It's well known that Bacon incorporated found imagery into his paintings. Bacon obsessed over the paintings by Soutine and Picasso: their work littered his studio in reproductions. But where else did they turn up? Certain forms by the each artist might have found themselves incorporated into his own paintings. Without ignoring possible coincidences, the two resembling forms I've selected here may been used as points of departure from the beginning of a painting, or as devices to resolve compositional problems he encountered.
Comparing borrowed forms has been an integral part of Baconian study. I'm not sure if specifically these images have been assessed together in that context, but I don't consider them too different to be merely coincidental...
Above left to right:
Left: Chaim Soutine - Street at Cagnes (La Gaude) (detail), 1923
Francis Bacon - Three Studies for a Crucifixion (Right panel) (detail, flipped), 1962
Bottom left to right:
Pablo Picasso - The Old Guitarist (detail, flipped), 1903-04
Francis Bacon - Head I (detail), 1947-48
With a late opportunity at CIT, I'll be taking and uploading better quality high-resolution imagery: paintings, sculptures, etc.
Some will be available in the DeviantArt print shop if preferred. The hi-res images will be downloadable for free. I only receive about one-seventh of the sale profits, so I'd encourage donating if supporting the artist is your primary or only intention (in which case just contact me).
Quickly, I have about 25 new paintings to photograph. Some are 4 foot square - the largest I have gone. I'm excited to upload them!
Perth-based emerging artist in Western Australia