Saturday, August 16, 2014
The first X-ray light box. The digital mock up from the drawing board plus it's actual progress so far. Still very much a prototype but getting there slowly.
The idea is to juxtapose the clinical viewing of the body - the modern framing of anatomy that carries with it authority and appropriation (underlined, I would argue, with much fear) - with the nineteenth century view. That is a curiosity and sense of wonder - an almost celebration of the mystery forever inherent in human corporeality.
Monday, June 16, 2014
My friend Caren dropped around a short time back for a tea drinking session and some art talk. Besides being on the receiving end of much wisdom and advice for my exhibition she also gifted me some of her beautiful letterpress work. For a few days I had it sitting on top of my work, really loving the way the print quality, font and slightly yellowed paper looked against the red. Then I had to move this frame I'd painted in black chalkboard and for lack of any more space put it on top of the print. I've been loving this serendipitous effect so much ever since I think I need some letterpress in my exhibition. It has vintage circus all over it. With the the right piece of Victorian poetry (maybe more of E.B Browning) and the positioning/visual.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Flu, always catches me just before we can say the Autumn is over and Winter has begun. Just catching on to that pattern and this year prepared. Not in any practical way - what way is there? Buying extra tissues? - just....aware.
Anyway too sick to do any really meaningful work, shifting the mass of the undone and all that but played around with x rays and photoshop. I like this - using a brush filter with accented edges.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Work seems to have gotten lost a little these past six weeks. Much frustration in April and May - known in these parts (well, probably just this household) - for how sick I get with the change of seasons. But while work is not getting done in practice it continues to unfold in my head so that at least when the moment arrives I can hit the ground running. Having said that I have done some non demanding stuff like painting frames. The frames are a funny, lucky thing for having got on ebay - 10 for $37.00. I went halves with my friend Julie - an artist whose daughter bought them up from Melbourne. All the good salvage stuff comes from Melbourne. When my own daughter is old enough I plan to position her in Melbourne just as Julie has been clever to do, so that I can easy access these treasures. I am sure she would enjoy it down there. I can't see why not....
Anyway the frames were pretty ugly/tacky with their unusual metallic glaze type finnish. Only one was gorgeous enough to keep as is. All the others got the treatment.
Chalk board black - I'm obsessed and have to hold myself back from covering everything I come accross in it. I love the matt finish. And red too, as usual getting a look in. Red and black - will I ever escape your hold on me????
The frames in their original lustre. I don't think this photo quite does justice to their true tackiness.
Sickness or not, I hope to get into the workshop this week (ie dad's garage) and resume some of the core assemblage making. That, my dear blog, will be true progress.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I'm thinking about how I want to have some fun with this exhibition, get genuinely creative and enjoy it beyond what is the inevitable hard work. In some ways I have a bit of a bad attitude. I've been doing this long enough now to know my MO which is to agonise for months in a sort of semi paralysis and then pull it all off at the last moment. Which is to say good the work eventually gets done, and my best creativity is under pressure but ugh, what a way to ruin a year of your life (or rather seven months - the clock is ticking). And anyway you never can be sure the work will get done.
So then here I am ready to embrace the workload and make it fun. The subject matter is a little dark (mortality, corporeal fragility) but essentially this is a life affirming body of work. With a sense of humour and hope inbuilt - thanks to the over arching context of existential absurdism and it's visually manifest twin the vintage circus sideshow.
Firmly in place as context is the Victorian era. The moment in history for these kinds of side shows/ fascination with the Freak/curiosities. And for the age of the Invalid. So I was thinking about the gallery as installation - A kind of Victorian parlour. The sort where Freaks had their photo taken and where the Invalid saw out her days. So as a cross referenced presentation: the portrait wall meets sideshow alley. Suspending all concerns with logistics, ideally this wall would have ornate peeling wallpaper and be salon hung. A variety of framed works with a mix of Victoriana (ornate embellishments, needlework, curiosities, poetry) and vintage circus (my inlaid rulers, stripes, nails, mirrors, red and white, spires, bling).
Ideally it would be great to have an old chaise (I saw one on ebay which had a cushion seat but no cushioning on it's back, just the timber shape and it would have been PERFECT. I could have painted it black chalk board!!!!) and an old side table painted chalkboard black for the presentation of the artists book.
Victoriana: wallpaper, vintage medical diagrams, curiosities, needlework, chandeliers, ornate fixtures, fringing...)
Vintage Circus: Red and White, inlaid rulers, mirrors, nails, bling).
Behold: the gallery of inspiration......
(and note here about further avenue of exploration for this body of work - the photograph as important contextual element - ways of seeing , ways of presenting someone as outside or insider. Reading Susan Sontag on Photography...)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
By chance too that is myself in the top photo reflected by the mirror!
Friday, February 7, 2014
Here is the artists book/altered book I "whipped up" this January for the Emerging Contemporaries exhibition at Craft ACT this month - an exhibition for which I had hoped to do a whole lot more. Suffice to say 2013 didn't turn out like I imagined it would.
This project, when it wasn't being demanding, difficult and over ambitious for the time frame involved, was fun to do. I had bought the book a while ago from a second hand bookstore up the road. A slim tome with a time weathered hard cover in black, titled "Existentialism" and published in 1947. It was perfect - though perfect for what I was not quite sure. Nonetheless I thought it was a little expensive at $35.00 and so, not knowing at that point how rare/valuable it was, I bartered my way down to $10 cash and a trade of 5 more recent titles from my own bookshelf. Even then I still felt a little cheated but there was the feeling that somehow the book would fit into the work I was doing. I figured out exactly what after christmas when I decided I wanted to do something new for the exhibition, something manageable in four weeks and thus that my zine should be reworked into an artists book. The original had been handwritten and illustrated but then printed to a quality that everyone on my graduate assessment panel agreed let the work down - shiny, white and characterless.
It was only when I set to work with this old neglected purchase and caught some of the text I realised what a good and useful book this was on the subject. Not only that but a subject wholly relevant to my work. I became conflicted. I searched for it on the web and discovered its' author Guido De Ruggiero was a respected author on the subject and some of his related works had been copied for their historical and academic value by people who care that good works are not lost forever. I became even more conflicted. I've always struggled with the idea of desecrating a book, even for art. If I do I choose works that are incredibly outdated and deal with technological topics, but this book seemed special. And yet, I reasoned, maybe so special it deserved to have it's content jump off the page visually. We were meant to find one another in fact and that by doing what I was doing I was honouring the books specialness. Right? Before I began I at least scanned each page so that i could preserve a little of it's print form. Then I got to work on it. I hope I did it justice.