Saturday, January 21, 2012

Revisiting the Wetlands

Have received word that a work I did for the WetlandCare Exhibition this year has received second prize in the open section. Obviously not quite as exciting as first prize like last year, but still pretty good. It is nice to be able to paint about things that matter to me and have other people recognise something in the works I create. I'm not sure if I'll get to Canberra this year, I am trying to save my pennies for other things, but it would be nice to hit the capital again, and in particular the ANG. Mind you, last year when I was there, it was 39 and 40 degrees everyday. Even though there wasn't the humidity we have here, it was still pretty hard to take! Anyway, pic below:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What else at GoMA?

Of course the big ticket gig is the Matisse exhibition, which was also rather wonderful. Aside from marvelling at the man's brilliant economy of line and formidable drawing skills, it was very encouraging thanks to a number of things:

1.  His early 'college of art' drawings were alot like mine were in those days. Did you notice he didn't quite gain confidence in drawing hands and feet until a few years later? To begin with they were nebulous shapes or behind the back etc. I wonder if his art tutors rolled their eyes, like mine did?
2. As I tell my students all the time...practice, practice, practice. Matisse developed his talent through 'just doing it'. Remembering that this exhibition of 300 drawings is a fraction of the drawings he did, which in turn represents a fraction of his overall body of work, he was obviously very productive. I am looking forward to making that point yet again to my senior students!
3. I loved his detailed charcoal drawings.
4. Also loved the way his forms became even more economical as time went on to end up as flat shapes and a change in media to screen printing.

After all that, it is just delightful to enter the drawing room, where you can sit quietly with lovely things and draw to your heart's content, (broken up by the odd cup of coffee overlooking the river, of course). I will be more than happy to buy another ticket just to have that experience again, though I must try and pick my time to avoid the madding crowds (and school kids). This is the drawing I did on the tablet in the drawing room!

Forgot to mention...Matisse was a cat man, which always raises a person in my estimation. Many artists of all kinds choose cats as companions; I think it is the enigmatic quality they exude. He had two cats, Minouche and Coussi, living in his Villa Reve in Vence. It is said that Minouche had an 'M' for Matisse on his forehead. The cats kept him company when he was confined to bed due to poor health.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Current GoMA exhibits

As I said before Christmas, I would do a couple of blogs about my latest visit to GoMA, so here is the first installment:

One of the installations I was really keen to see was the 'we miss you magic land' installation in the children's gallery. I wanted to see it, because I am thinking of an installation for my next exhibition and Pip and Pop (artists) seem to have an aesthetic not too dissimilar to mine. It certainly was the lolly-coloured fairy land I had envisaged, but overall I was quite disappointed. Perhaps that is because it was aimed at children, but there lives a child in all of us, and this exhibition failed to interest mine all that much. Perhaps again it was that the space was filled with children that stopped me from feeling immersed, but I somehow doubt that. I know this is terribly picky, but the exhibition included numerous little plastic animals, but they were all included as they were - straight out of the packet, which at times made them seem very out of place and incongruous. Given the effort it would have taken to do the sugar part of the exhibit, I would have thought a quick coat of metallic pink paint or something on the animals would have been worth it. Again, we (I) need to bear in mind that the exhibit was meant for children, but given the title, I would have liked it to say something...I don't know what, but it just seemed...well...decorative, pretty, an amazing attention to detail, but a wee bit pointless.

By contrast, I loved the installations by (clearly slightly bonkers - and I mean that in the nicest possible way) Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama in the exhibition: Look Now, See Forever.  Her installations were completely immersive, possibly by virtue of her brilliant use of mirrors, saturated colour and dynamic forms, but I could feel the buzz in my head that happens when you know you are witnessing something important, even if it is just challenging your concept of reality. My favourites were Reach Up to the Universe, Dotted Pumpkin and Dots Obsession, both pictured below.

The artist freely admits her obsession with dots, a problem that has plagued her inner life since childhood. You get to join the obsession by participating in the interactive exhibition The Obliteration Room where you can add coloured dots to any part of what was once a white room. The room virtually hums with the vibration of colour and shape. Her video installation featuring the artist singing her own composition: Song of a Manhattan Suicide Addict is fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way and what prompted my original comment. She certainly sees life in a refreshingly 'dotty' way - should be more like her.

If you want to go to the gallery's website, I have put in a link on the side, and I will be back in a day or so to talk a bit more about the Gallery's fifth birthday exhibits.