Thursday, 25 October 2007

A well written post

The Artlife has some well written and informed posts by a few movers and shakers in the Australian contemporary arts world. Marcus Westbury who made the Art doco 'Not quite Art', which has been showing on the ABC, for the last two Tuesday nights at 10 pm, posted a reminder of his doco's airing. At last checking, there have been 109 comments, which is quite a reaction.

Ian Houston, has posted a well written article on Neo Rauch, which is worth reading. If you like Beckman, the German Expressionists or R.B Kitaj you may like his paintings. Below is a sample of his work.

Neo Rauch's Mazernacht.

On a different note, I have started a new blog just for my January Art show titled 'as'. The 'as', blog is primarily a way of writing about each work that will be in the 'as', show. I have a used a simple blog design, to facilitate printing. It will take a few to months to have it all properly organized, but the beginnings can be found here.

Below is a quick sketch from Art College days. I would rush into Life classes, sit on the floor, whack some paint on a few sheets of paper, draw a few outlines then stop. The lecturers would say, "is that all you wanna do". I would then explain, "thats all I want at the moment, and I like what I have done", and then promptly grab my stuff and leave. In hindsight, if I had stayed a little bit longer, I might be a better figure drawer today.

Blonde Nude

Friday, 19 October 2007

Be careful of your friends

Neo Block

Be careful of what your friends say they might hear you. Once while showing this drawing an artist friend, remarked, "but look at the landscape". That remark was probably 15 years ago, and that is the only thing I remember about the conversation, or even the visit.

It's funny how things stick in your mind, and have a tendency to prick your thinking in particular contexts. Prick!, it's more like a splinter in the mind - that's probably why you remember them so well. What you say to someone can have an effect on how they work, and even affect the outcome of their creative drive. To be an artist one has to be particularly driven and tough skinned.

In the art work above, the figure was meant to be the subject, but in this case the other artist enjoyed the landscape. That was really fine by me, but strangely whenever I do landscape, his words drift through my mind like a recurring wind from one side of the drawing to the other. Now if he had commented on the figure, I may have forgotten the conversation completely or conversely may have taken it on board, and be producing completely different works.

Either way the artist lives for the viewer to take notice, and good or bad the comments are all worthwhile. It's up to the artist to sift and sort, the grain from the chaff, the sheep from the goats and respond in a timely and gracious way. In this way we climb out of our protective nests and learn to fly - hopefully with a paint brush in each hand.

Neo Block - interestingly the drawing is about a contrast between this new, stylised block of a person and the landscape behind. I suppose it's about the cyber person and how he stands in his original environment. The pride of the internet man and his electronic paradise are just just false messiahs, dancing to the drums of the dust of death. Technology is a great tool, but with each new development, comes new problems. We have barely understood the effects of the video generation, let alone the internet generation. Artists have a great opportunity, to understand this generation, filtering, selecting, commenting, dissecting, processing, criticizing, and even acting as salt. The possibilities are endless, if we don't grow weary, and get lost on the way, due to how we respond to what others may say.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Grannies 3

Well this is the final in this series, when I say final I mean posting, there are about ten others not as good of course.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Image and response

Isle of the Dead - Arnold Bocklin - 1880

The 'Isle of the Dead' is a fascinating painting, which has an incredible atmosphere. One senses immediately through the dramatic composition and lighting, the tone of the work. A solitary figure on a boat, traveling to a dark and solitary island, about to pass through a gate into a dark abyss. Looming dark trees, a strange building , odd windows, high cliffs and ominous clouds lift this scene from mere landscape to a supernatural level.

Sometimes when you wander around a Gallery, you come across a painting that stands out from the crowd. One that works on many levels and has an emotional resonance that reaches out and grabs you, like Bocklins work. I suppose the challenge (against all the negatives in our heads) is to strive to produce excellent art. This is of course a lot harder than it seems, and takes many years of trial and error. So how can one pull it all together, and not lose heart, and take the best of what we have done and make it better? I'll let you know in another twenty years, but in the meantime here is another image from the mediocre catalogue, a hundred years after Bocklins work.

Cleaners Playing Cards - 1981

In the background are the red roofs of Brisbane, poking through the trees, at Seven Hills. In the foreground are a few of the Queensland College of Art cleaners, taking a break and playing a round of cards. I think the lady in the spotted dress has the upper hand.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Grannies 01

No1 in the series Grannies.
Still working the old footage, could make a life long statement with footage shot on one day in China

Monday, 8 October 2007

Friday, 5 October 2007

Other places, other times.

I found an interesting Blog by Sean Art O'Brien called Art talk. In his profile he states, "In ART TALK you will hear interviews with leading Australasian artists and curators." Also in his banner it reads, " In-depth conversations with leading Australian and international artists & curators. From the Sydney based radio program Art Talk." He uses the podomatic podcasting tool, as a way to present his interviews, on his blog.

I feel the blogging tool is an excellent medium for artists, it has so much potential for networking and sharing ideas. Not only can you present your work and receive feedback, there is also potential for sales. The challenge is to make the most of this incredible tool, while it is not controlled and still free. Where else can you connect with other artists without selling your soul. Although I love visiting galleries, I find the supporting culture at times exclusive, snobby and overly protective. Why can't the new contemporary art gallery in Brisbane, show at least once a year a survey of various Queensland artists who are subsisting in the undergarments of contemporary art. There are quite a few out there, and there work at times is very interesting. I for one would love to see a big gallery represent the culture that supports it instead of the usual suspects, who have risen to the top of the heap.

Roj has had some interesting discussion about art process on his blog. Is process akin to religious experience? Some religions focus on rules, legalism, and form while others focus on experience, and freedom. Is process a tangible entity in itself or just a means to an end? Or is process an experience that acts as a pressure release valve for our inner person?

Here are some quotes from Michelangelo -

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all."

"It is well with me only when I have a chisel in my hand."

The greatest artist has no conception which a single block of white marble does not potentially contain within its mass, but only a hand obedient to the mind can penetrate to this image."

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands."

He seems to be thinking more like an artist than a plumber.

Here are a few Marcel Duchamp quotes -

I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products."

I don't believe in art. I believe in artists."

I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste. "

"The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves. "

Interesting contrast between the two artists.

Below is a drawing/painting that combines my earlier abstracted rock shapes into the new found frontier of the Glasshouse mountains. Slowly I lift my gaze from the ground where I began and look to the mountains, who are peeking at me through the trees.

Primitives - 1991 - Acrylic and pencil on paper - 57x72cm

Monday, 1 October 2007


What is it? detail required

I just wanted to point out that if you know what it is you will know you're right, but if you are not sure, you are wrong. So I won't need to provide an answer. Good luck if you care!
All Artwork Copyright by the Artists represented on this Blog. 2010