Alex Seton's exhibition "Roughing Out", is a fantastic exhibition showcasing his amazing realist marble carvings. It is currently showing at the Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery in Gymea Sydney. So realistic, I had to touch the work to convince myself it was in fact marble and all of the same piece. Although the milk container and glass of milk look like they are there as a prop, they are of course hand carved from this graphic piece of "wombeyan" marble. Alex then cut along the fault line revealing the red and brown raw stone that lies within the honed back marble sculpted facade. Also included in the exhibiion, Alex has recreated a large industrial garbage bag, and put the offcuts of the carving back in the top of the bag. It has to be seen to be believed. For Alex, this is a new direction. It is an example of his marble carvings, but with the collection of the discarded or carved dust from the object. It is displayed alongside as dust, or reconstituted in a marble form displaying the expression of a process ending in the reintroduction of another structure from the same object.
Portraits of heads highlighted with hits of bright colour, facing different directions, and a contrasting layered background colour, is how I view and love Tom Polo’s works. It was not until I spent time with Tom in his Parramatta studio and questioned his source of inspiration and narrative, that I was truly amazed and enlightened. For Tom his works represent a “social performity”. He defines this with personas of individuals representing themselves as they wish to be perceived. When a person is in a brief or long encounter with another person, a mask of the person may appear and hide the façade, or the persona may change depending on the environment and encounter with another individual. With this rhetoric as his basic psyche, Tom then produces works that challenge portraiture as we know it. He takes a pensive approach to his portraiture, intertwined with the pathos of a persons veneer. Tom wants to challenge the viewer. His works are not a direct reflection of who or what we recognize as portraiture. Some are grotesquely shaped with oversized features. Other portrait images morph into a resemblance of a vessel shaped head. To Tom, this is an analogy representing the containment of what lies within the vessel or mind, and begs the question, will this be revealed or witheld? An unobserved vessel has the ability to promote many underlying emotions, like doubt, potential, and anticipation as it is withheld. Possibly invoking success, surprise, shock and disappointment if it is revealed. Tom represented this challenge in London in 2011 in an exhibition called Time and Display. An Australia Council initiative, the 14 invited artists were given their own space to display his or her works. Tom chose to display his works as a set or stage.
In this format, the “sets” were displayed lacking any disciplined uniformity. The diverse imagery of works were laid on the floor, hung sideways, half rolled up (or half unrolled) on the walls and floor. The lack of formality and boundaries, pleaded with the viewer to interact with the works, to allow them to interpret the works in a way they could relate to. This was by physically unrolling, lifting, trying on the masks etc. and rearranging the works. To the viewer, this provided challenges and anxiety as they confronted and quashed their perception of an exhibition. For them the perception of an art exhibition, is uniformity, order and “don’t touch the artworks.” Beyond this profound narrative, Tom Polo produces above all, fantastic colourful imagery. On a simple level they portray naivety, simplicity, exuberance and fantastic multi dimensional portraiture. In keeping with Tom’s “social performity” undertone, his works clearly invite the viewer to make sensible recognition of the imagery, and at the same time contemplating the persona being portrayed from the canvas. In typical Tom style when asked to be specific, about a particular portrait, he replied, “you tell me.”
Tom has an upcoming solo exhibition at Kaliman Rawlins Gallery in Melbourne opening on October 26th.
Andrew Hopkins An emerging artist one to watch....
Andrew Hopkins works represent an horizon, reflecting constant change. Abstract shapes and colour are richly applied leaving strong imagery of light and landscape contour. For me the striking appeal is the colour. Both bold and defined, there is a sense of lightness in some areas lending itself to capture the cycle of the day, whether it is in the beginning middle or end of the narrative. Some shapes oscillate with the glow of the neighbouring colour capturing the moody transcendence of unsettlement and uncertainty. Gestural brushwork and richness of colour support this artists quality abstract landscape imagery.
Artist Tom Polo is a very interesting emerging contemporary artist. His colourful portraiture, somewhat comical and innocent are direct reflections of the artists perception of self portraiture. After meeting Tom, I sensed his deep, almost tortured emotions as he contemplates the direction and completion of his works. Although the works portray strong similarities to the artist, when asked if it was a self portrayal, Tom constantly referred the question back to me and asked me, "is it a portrait of himself?"
Currently on show at Gallery 9, Darlinghurst
The Brett Whiteley Studio
Where would I find a giant bronze unburnt redhead match, and a matching bronze match already struck and burned on the streets of Sydney. After I visited the Brett Whiteley studio for the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship announcement, I was amazed by two things. One as always, is the quality of the seven 2013 finalists, and winner of the scholarship. The second thing that amazes me is how many Sydney locals have never visited this studio, have no idea of its location, and of course could never know the answer to the question above. The answer is of course the entry to the Brett Whiteley Studio at 2 Raper Street Surry Hills Sydney. PH 9225 1881 The first time I visited this unassuming gallery, I was blown away upon entry at the immediacy and impact of his amazing artworks. Brett Whiteley works of all proportions and "stages" of his artistic life, so overwhelmingly powerful, yet so accessible. It is here preserved as if Whiteley has just nipped around the corner for an infamous Surry Hills caffeine hit, (at least.....), and we are awaiting his return to address one of his works, or write a graffiti style reminder on the wall up in the living area. This world class artist museum is right on our doorstep and allows you relive with insight a part of this artists life. Through his works the changes in his mental outlook are evident. There are the early works alchemy and the the soft female form, to later more tortured self portrait works such as the now infamous 1976 Archibald winning entry "Self Portrait in the Studio" Besides having an opportunity to be at the gallery out of hours with the director, for me a highlight. It was probably a greater highlight to me to have Wendy Whiteley sitting and openly discussing Brett's life and emotions at different times. My next visit will definitely be her beautiful artistic achievement of her garden at Lavender Bay. This too is open to the public. This I have not done, and like others I know being a local, you feel you always time to do the touristy things. Believe me do yourself a favour, you will be equally amazed at the spirituality and emotion this evokes. The winner of the 2013 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship was 22 year old still life artist Tim Phillips of the ACT. Incidentally this is the age when Whiteley was included in the collection of the Tate Modern...... On View 19July - 1 Sept at the Brett Whiteley studio Surry Hills.
The creativity of Art and Coffee...
My meetings with artists is always a fantastic experience for me. But when you get a "home brew", good art conversation and creative artistic enthusiasm, it doesn't get much better than that. I sat down with Guy Maestri, Alan Jones, Giles Alexander and Gria Shead for a fantastic strong flavoursome latte... We discussed many things, primarily was Guy's pending plein air painting trip to Wilcania and Hill End in rural New South Wales. We then enjoyed a strong round of lattes made by Guy in his reconditioned coffee machine that was found on the scrap heap. Alan requested a weak latte, and of course it is only one speed - strong. The coffee beans are imported from Honduras by fellow artist Carlos Barrios' brother. . They are purchased green by Guy then home roasted with great precision on a home made roaster. This coffee aparatus, is also a work of art. The roaster is made from "found bits and pieces"... This includes an old saucepan, a fan lying on its side distributing the heat of a room heater as the oscillating fan constantly rotates. Meanwhile the beans roast to perfection. Guy recognises by the smell when they are roasted to perfection and promptly turns of the "machine" He then grinds them and makes coffee which is so fresh and tasty, the reward is worth the hard work.. Back to the conversations, with the artists and hearing their enthusiasm for the plen air trips to distant areas such as Broken Hill, Wilcannia and the historic artists favourite "Hill End" in New South Wales. As Guy, Alan, Gria and Giles all agree, there is something very special about the last hour of sun in the day at Hill End. Autumn Winter is the highlight for this unique light and reflection of amazing colour on the landscape and it is simply addictive. As Maestri himself says, every artist familiar with this area is blown away by "an almost eerie enlightening of the soul" specific to this area... The weather for Autumn has of course been exceptional this year, allowing many hours capturing this spirituality.
Guys Maestri is represented by Tim Olsen Gallery Sydney
Giles Alexander is represented by Richard Martin Gallery
Gria Shead is represented by Art Equity
Unmissable artistic genius by Pablo Tabia
It is a welcome feeling when I receive an art exhibition email and an interesting artwork catches my attention prompting me to go to the gallery to investigate further. Even more amazing for me, is when I visit the gallery and am blown away by the artist and his works collectively. This was my reaction to a current exhibition showing at Frances Keevil Gallery in Double Bay. The artist Pablo Tabia portrays a willingness and mastery of taking the viewer to a dark and uneasy place. Through his works, he achieves this primarily with the subject, but strongly evoked by the hint of light and shadow on his sometimes theatrical subjects. His portraiture is what drew me in. The portraiture, is somewhat minimalistic in its approach and also in subject. Some portraits are without bodies, or seem tortured in their simplicity. It really is beautifully executed, with a definite uneasiness, subtlely touched with a hint of light or structure. For me they are not for the faint hearted or uninitiated. Dark, yes. Unique, yes. These works can also be taken in an innocent context of the quirky. To me it is very similar to Eastern Europe's Cluj School artists which are known and highly sought after for their darkness with an irony. I urge you to do yourself a favor and view these works in a style that is not often seen in a local gallery. Take the plunge and add one to your collection. They are truly masterful and will certainly add another dimension to any collection.
Frances Keevil Gallery in Bay Village, 28 - 34 Cross Street Double Bay
Clara Adolphs was a finalist in the 2013 Mosman Art Prize
Max Berry had a near sellout show at China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills. He has an amazing ability to achieve soft coloured barren landscapes with a touch of irony. As always Max has the “house” imagery theme running through his works. I feel he is a great emerging artist and well worth keeping an eye on as he develops.
Exhibiting Artist Pablo Tabias
Another artist I recently viewed, and was amazed at the quality and depth of portraiture is Pablo Tabia. He was showing at Frances Keevil Gallery, and showed the mastery of dark imagery with a sense of theatrics. The surrounding light and structure only complimented the eeriness of the sometimes bodiless figures.
Extraordinary Success Continues for Clara Adolphs
Clara Adolphs is the first to admit she is "speechless" at the success of her art in a mere nine months. After being taken under the wing of Sydney art consultant Kate Smith her feet have barely touched the ground.
A finalist in the Metro Gallery award for 2012 was followed up by winning the 2012 Young Emerging artist at the Mosman art prize. Then her work was accepted as a finalist out of 180 entries in the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship.
To cap off this amazing year in collaboration with Kate Smith, they worked closely together toward her first exhibition at Mick Gallery in Sydney.
Out of the 44 available works just 4 remain for sale; this is a particularly good result in view of the current market.
It shows that work of quality will always sell. Clara Adolphs and Kate Smith
Kate Smith is rightfully very proud of her protégé: " I do think that the quality of her portraiture, spontaneity and unique palette make her one of the most exciting artists to emerge in 2012."
Kate is now working on more exhibitions showcasing Clara Adolphs' work in 2013, with the potential of a show in Melbourne.
30 November 2012:
Clara Adolphs exhibits at MiCK gallery, Paddington:
Clara Adolphs, On the Beach
'Augenblicke', is the first solo exhibition by Clara Adolphs, presenting brand-new works by the Brett Whiteley scholarship finalist and winner of the 2012 MosmanEmerging Artist Prize.
The show opens on 4 December 2012 at MiCK Gallery in Paddington, and will rununtil 23 December.
This new body of work is very exciting, as the artist delves into the past with her own unique contemporary approach.
Don't miss the opportunity to see and get your hands on these evocative portraits and group scenes.
Details: MiCK Gallery, 44 Gurner Street, Paddington, Sydney, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.
Kate Smith has turned to what she knows best when it comes to her own portfolio. Keeping a close eye on her investments has taken on a whole new meaning for Kate Smith since she decided to sell down the share portfolio she started at 16 to buy contemporary art.
It is certainly not something that she would recommend for the uninitiated, but she says she has absolutely no qualms about having the equivalent of 60 per cent of her investment capital hanging on her walls.
Not only does the daily enjoyment of her collection outweigh any concerns about forgone dividend or interest income, but she says she is confident of a far better return over the long term than she might have derived from her shares.
That confidence is well founded. As an art consultant and patron, she has an intimate knowledge of the market. Kate has been collecting contemporary Australian art for about 15 years .... Read the full article bellow
Mosman art prize emerging artist winner Clara Adolphs shares her story. "....I was a finalist in the Metro Art Award for a work called With Love.
This led to me being represented by an art consultant, Kate Smith. She was interested in my work and found me on the Saatchi Online site. I now have a show at Mick Gallery [Paddington] in December, and winning the Emerging Artist Mosman Art Prize will help further my career.
I think about the artists who have won the Prize in previous years, and it was great to meet Anne Flanagan [deputy director of the Art Gallery of NSW] who judged it. ..."
"David Fairbairn, who won this years $30,000 Mosman Art Prize, and Clara Adolphs, who won the award for a young emerging artist, will offer insights into their work in two talks at the weekend. ..."
Clara Adolphs wins Fourth Village Young Emerging Artist Award at 2012 Mosman Art Prize
Clara Adolphs, New Tricks
New Tricks, a recreation of an old photograph from 1930s, was chosen by this year's judge Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, for the Emerging Artist Award.
The Mosman Art Prize was established in 1947 and is one of the longest running and most prestigious local government art awards in Australia. In the first year, it was judged by Lloyd Rees who awarded Margaret Olley.
The exhibition is on until 26 August 2012. Read more about the bellow
Margaret Throsby interviews Ben Quilty on ABC Radio National
Ben Quilty won the 2009 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. He has had artist residencies all over Australia, as well as in Paris and Barcelona. He was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2002.
After his return from observing Australian Defence Forces in Afghanistan, Quilty spent six months producing work for the Australian War Memorial's National Collection. Listen to Margaret Throsby interviewing Ben Quilty bellow on 27 April 2012.
Ben Quilty is the winner of the main prize for his work Dad and was awarded $20,000. This artwork joins the school’s collection.Redlands presents the prize in conjunction with the National Art School. The NAS has been at the centre of Sydney's art scene for almost a century, and has nurtured the talents of generations of artists, who have studied and worked in studios in the former Darlinghurst gaol.
This and the works of all 48 participants chosen by artist curator Lindy Lee are on view at the National Art School from 3 May to 2 August 2012.
17 April 2012
Michael Zavros winner of inaugural Bulgari Art Award
The award is two-fold: the acquisition of a $ 50,000 painting by the artist by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a $ 30,000 residency in Italy. The winner was chosen by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW and and the head curator of Australian art.
Michael Zavros is one of Australia’s most prominent mid-career painters. Zavros is fascinated by beauty, luxury and decadence, and in art as the ultimate desirable unique object. In his highly finished, meticulous work, Zavros depicts the refined world of thoroughbred horses, opulent interiors, baroque country houses and gardens.
13 April 2012
GILES ALEXANDER TO SHOW E=MC2? AT FINE ART SOCIETY IN LONDON IN JUNE 2012
Giles Alexander’s latest body of work, E=mc2?, takes its cue from the current debate around Albert Einstein’s famous mass-energy equation that demonstrates the speed of light is the universe’s natural speed limit. Recently physicists at the CERN research centre revealed findings that indicate there are subatomic particles traveling faster than the speed of light. By implication, Einstein’s E=mc2 - the corner stone of modern physics – is called into question and Alexander asks what new insights this knowledge imparts.
The exhibition’s exquisitely rendered photo-realist oil paintings deal with ‘spaces’ that represent particular world views and power hierarchies, many of which are today being challenged. The show includes religious buildings, parliaments, museums, UN headquarters, science experiments, trading floors and power stations. Alexander considers these closely held bastions of civilization with the idea of an existential ‘timeless geometry’ of the heavens. Even the timeless mystical notion of the universe and space is on a daily basis being eroded as scientists reveal more insight into the volatile nature of the infinite, dynamic ‘heavens’ above.
In his seductive paintings Alexander represents these significant architectural interiors floating and slightly distorted in a hyper-real deep-space environment. These figurative elements are suspended within optically deep black resined backgrounds, made all the more mysterious by the elliptical and orbital perspective.
A central tenant of Alexander’s practice is a concern for the role of the image and visual representation in constructing narratives. Alexander’s paintings often use images of historical significance to draw parallels with and critically reflect on contemporary issues and their representation in the media. Underpinning this interest in the status of the image is the very materiality of the work, always executed with a virtuoso academic ability. Alexander raises questions about the role of realist painting and authorship by sometimes revealing and sometimes hiding the painter’s hand. He explores concepts of looking through, at or upon by contrasting “contemporary” layers of resin and paint over “traditionally” oil glazed imagery, giving illusionistic depth while at the same time an acute awareness of surface.
“In a time of increasing ecological uncertainty, human endeavors to better understand their place in the universe appear to be underpinned by a subconscious / conscious search for new territories. Images generated by these first tentative steps outside the celestial cradle often have an ambiguity of authorship – heavenly bodies hanging in space, mind-bending distances away where no human finger can release the camera shutter...
Set against the potential of this exploration, these paintings draw on religious and historical iconography to present a literal relationship between what has provided definition to us in the past, the present, and to what lies ahead. Dislocated, set adrift in a celestial landscape, these icons of humanity – themselves a stand in for ‘civilisation’ – suggest an uncertainty, as homeless and adrift as their creators.”
21 March 2012:
Archibald Prize 2012 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Ben Quilty, Burger With The Lot
Autumn in Sydney means the Archibald season is upon us. It's THE annual event at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, drawing thousands of visitors to view the entrants in this fiercely contested competition for best portrait.
From hundreds of submissions, only a good 40 are chosen for exhibition, and the public, the packing room workers and a panel jugdes can vote for their best in show.
Will the Archibald 2012 go to last year's winner Ben Quilty again? Check out the 45 finalists and the packing room prize on the link bellow