Tag Archives: art

Plundered & Broken

The tale of Aboriginal plunder is a never-ending ballad that sings in the winds of this great country, a land that Elea (Albert) Namatjira painted so lovingly in watercolour. Namatjira’s world-renowned artistic status may have provided him with a thin shield against racism but it was easily shattered, even his greatness, wealth and innocence could not protect him from incarceration.

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Namatjira surrounded by family as he painted

The legend begins when Artist , Rex Battarbee took a painting trip into the Outback, after returning from the devastation of War in the 1930’s. He met Namatjira and it was through their collaboration that the 30-year-old Aranda man learnt to paint and exhibit. They went onto become lifetime friends, able to see pass the bigotry of the day.

International success took this humble man to great worldly heights, he was awarded the Coronation Medal and was the toast of the town. His exhibitions sold out shortly after they opened and most kitchens had one of his reproductions on a calendar or tea towel.

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Before the 1967 Referendum, Australian Aboriginals where denied Human Constitutional Rights and were categorised as part of the wildlife or wards of the state. They were denied most basic human rights and in an insipid twist of irony could not own their land as it had been acquired by the Commonwealth.

Namatjira’s unprecedented rise on the world stage would require him to have a passport and his growing wealth attracted taxes, thus him and his wife Robina were given Australian citizenship  in 1957, enabling him to buy a house in Morris Soak .

Unfortunately his children were not granted citizenship and were regarded as ‘Wards of the State’ as all Aboriginal people were. They did not have the right to choose their marriage partner, be legally responsible for their own children,to change location or socialise with non-aboriginals. It also meant that when the Great Artist and his wife died the Legal Will that aimed to financially protect their children was made void as his children belonged to the state. Their financial copyright royalties were ‘acquired’ by the state and sold on.

The Namatjira Project  began as an objective to buy back the royalties (which will expire shortly) but has become a legal investigation. Quite frankly, this case could burst the pipes of oppression and the best legal minds should be bringing in their best team, this is a golden opportunity for a Legal Human Rights Firm to make a name for itself. This is challenging Constitutional Law, how many ‘Wards of the State’ were plundered, how many children taken.

The most moving part of the film is when Namatjira’s  homeless grandson gives his artwork to the Queen in her palace and walks away empty-handed. The documentary is a thoughtful journey, full of beautiful archives and an artistic vision, they tip toe over a mine field but I think they have let off a bomb.

 

April Forward

 

The Namatjira Family continue the water-colour tradition as their cultural inheritance.

 

 

THE NAMATJIRA PROJECT

DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER Sera Davies

PRODUCER

Sophia Marinos

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Julia Overton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS (CULTURAL)
Lenie Namatjira
Gloria Pannka

A beautiful evening

MUSIC REVIEW

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Josh, one of our new music reviewer’s arrived to a full house at the Tote in Collingwood on the weekend, for the launch of  Ferla’s  new album Guilt Pop / Stay Posi.

‘It was packed, nearly overflowing, an Indie rock sound, a bit electronic; in the genre of Sticky Fingers. The crowd was  ‘very alive’ and tuned in; mostly hipsters. ‘

Giuliano Ferla. hit the high notes easily whist being supported by a band that infused his mood, the synthesiser player engaged the audience with a complex construct of layered chords,  one on a keyboard and synth on the other. Ocean Party, and dewy garage Girlatones. were the supporting bands and Loose Tooth DJs spun the tunes for the night.

Ferla engaged with the audience and explained the development of the lyrics with personal insights.

 “Imagine your life as if you wanted nothing at all.”

It was a great evening, showcasing a talent that has arrived after a many performances, a terrific line-up and an evening that engaged the respect of the audience.

“There was a great vibe.” Josh

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Audience Response:

“If its on spotify its definitely going in my collection.”

 

FERLA Wasted on you

FERLA GUILT POP/STAY POSI
DOUBLE EP

1. Breakups Are Hard For Everybody
2. I’m Nobody’s Baby Now
3. In The Night
4. You’re There
5. I Can’t Let You Down
6. Wasted On You
7. Children Are Our Future
8. Limited Time

Spotify | iTunes
Facebook| Instagram | Bandcamp

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2 Bob Weekend

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Ormond Rd Elwood Grocer

On a mild Winter weekend, Melbourne’s Music elite came together to honour the songs of Bob Dylan before a full house at the Memo in St Kilda. Friday night was dedicated to acoustic Bob and on Saturday night, it was electric Bob.

The ‘All-Star’ back up band,  consisting of  Benny Franz, Stephen Hadley, Ben Wiesner , and Shane O’Mara , melted seamlessly into each other, but it was guitar legend O’Mara that stole the night with his stella performance. It was a group of musicians fit for the honoured legend himself.

Who is Bob Dylan? Songwriter, Poet or Prophet; Jew or Christian? His lyrics resonated with the crowd that held resolute with dignified appreciation of the words and the artists. Loud talkers were quickly hushed.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Each vocalist made his songs their own and each captivated the audience. Liz Stringer was haunting, almost gothic as her lone figure shone in the darkness etching the words and reaching into the void. Song-bird Lisa Miller was mesmerizing and thrust the show forward,  her talent is palpable. Chris Wilson’s scratchy soul voice penetrated into the mind of the listener, like a dark cry and ‘Raised by Eagles’ duo Luke and Nick raised the tempo with a bit of  rockabilly. All of the vocalists on the night where exceptional.

A memorable evening.

Audience response.

“Shane O’Mara is a Melbourne music legend and of Liz Stringer, you need to get her last two albums.”

Review by April Forward

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Writer for Hire

The Other Art Fair

Get on your bike and head off to the other art fair.

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Before entering the building, graffiti artists have already marked the journey.

 

 

It’s a fabulous space, housing a catacomb of galleries and a cafe

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JC

Upon immediate entry we are reassured that the art is going to be world class with the work of JC.

 

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Jo White

The nostalgic work of Jo White is a delight.

 

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Cynthia Ellis

and Cynthia Ellis lays it on thick.

 

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Leah Emery at work

Leah Emery applies the cross-stitch of random pornographic spam as the new temptation

 

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Time Jones, Kittens 

and Tim Jones brings it home.

 

Christina Popovici explains Action Art

This is just a slim slice of The Other Art Fair at Kensington. I could have stayed all day. Go and be stimulated. Adorn with Australian Art.

The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art   May 4-7

 

On the Clock

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COPYWRITING SERVICES

As the MICF circus wraps up, 2 clowns sent it off with a bang.

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The afternoon show at ACMI was the icing on the Festival, after a series of ‘Stand up’ wit and profound observations we discover a new territory. These Guys have nothing to say, it’s what they do that suspends reality and slaps you in the face. Throughout  the performance the unexpected continued to surface from beneath the banal.

Confused? Good , that’s a great start.

You will be bewitched within a Dadaists performance of an office mundane that imploded into the wild and creative instinct of lifes little dramas. Bit by bit they shatter through reality to reveal a seething internal existence with comic twists.

Intrigued? I hope so, it is an intriguing experience.

No matter how sober you think you are, they will pick up your solid piece of reality and twist it until you feel entirely happy. Like an animal can become a chair, a thing can become an animal. They are very clever Consultation Specialists.

Welcome to Ruck’s Leather Interiors starring Gareth Grubb (Trygve Wakenshaw) and Dennis Chang (Bernie Duncan) as Performance Artists.

Bernie Duncan

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“I didn’t do training but Ttygve went to Gaulier, a French Clown School in Paris.”

How did you get into this? MP

“I always made theatre, we started a Company (Theatre Beating) about 14 years ago, and we made stuff we liked”

Audience Responce

“I never dreamed that I would ever see two people entertain me from the time they started right up until the very end. Everything that happened was totally unexpected , it shocked me, it was so funny and you never knew what was coming and everything that came was brilliant.”

3 Mates & a glass of wine at MICF

The MICF Show is in town and Three Course Comedy is the show-bag of comic treats. Each night 3 Comedians take the stage to give you a sample size dish of their material. It’s a great way to be exposed to a range of comic styles, with a line up that changes each night.

MP went to the very ambient Fort Delta Gallery  in Howey Place to be amused by Tim Hewitt, Adam Knox and Michael Shafer

Tim Hewitt warms up the Crowd, as first up in ‘Three Course’ line-up.

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Hewitt is soaking in the City culture of MICF after doing the ‘hard yards’ in the parochial wilderness of Pokies Den’s and Greyhounds. The comics life may be rich in experience but it may not afford holidays to remote islands with Supermodels. There are compromises.

Hewitt has a personal warmth that endears the crowd, his suburban tales ‘touch a nerve’ and there are outbursts of laughter throughout the room.

With two comedians to follow, the routine manoeuvres speedily through his visual landscapes.

Also performing ‘Comedy Zone’ on the MICF circuit.

‘Knoxie’ is next

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Knox brings a mix of cultural anomalies to his performance wrapping his clever wit around some pearls of insight. He wavers between action, concern and an offhand remarks. He establishes an instant rapport with the audience before entering his comfort zone, once there, he opens up to the deeper issues that concern him, like a mate does.

Knox is also a part of Chimp Cop Forever

Michael Shafer

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Shafer breaks away from his sellout solo performance Jewis-ish to join his mates in this 3 course round-up. His routine is a bite sized, sped up sample of what audiences can expect to hear at the full show. Shafer continues to polish his work with diligent effort, comedy is not a vacation it’s his vocation.

Shafer manages to lead the course through the choppy waves of perception and throws out a line to the women in the audience, those that may be floundering in the male shallows.

Annie Goldson, ‘Everywhere and Anywhere’

Acclaimed New Zealand Documentary Director, Annie Goldson was in Melbourne to launch her new (secret project) film. Goldson has a strong formidable countenance and she needs it, many of her subjects are capable of murder or the victims of the culpable hand. She needs to know when to back off.

ACMI hosted the Australian International Documentary Conference, which brought in talent from all over the globe. Goldson was doing a spot of shopping when we caught up.

“Its nice to have some time off and be wandering around Melbourne” Goldson

Goldson began her career as a Journalist and has ‘inched her way’ into filmmaking. She tackles the hard facts behind the news stream and goes into the bog, looking for the truth. As a political observer she finds her stories ‘everywhere’, she is curious and like Alice in a complex Wonderland, has to adapt quickly. We may wonder why the terrorists are so irate, she takes her team and her camera and asks them. She is a historians torch into the unknown.

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He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan

He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan explores New Zealand’s involvement in the Afghanistan war that lasted longer than WW1 and WW2 combined. ‘Did we stay to long?’ the film asks. Can lessons be learned to prevent such long-term engagements for the sake of alliance.

Brother Number One was a challenging work as it was necessary to create a present from the past events of the Cambodian Genocide under Pol Pot. New Zealander Ron Hamill, the films source, explains how his carefree adventurous brother Kerry ,sailed into a nightmare.

“An innocent man brought to his knees and killed in the prime of his life” Ron Hamill

Goldson records Hamill’s emotional pain as he addresses the torture and death of his sibling at the War Crimes Tribunal.

The mass Genocide that murdered 2,000,000  ( a 1/4 of the population) was led by a ‘charismatic and smiling’ leader Pol Pot who was indifferent to the torture of babies. In 1975. he led the Kamor Rouge into Nu Pen and in 72 hours he had cleared the city of its inhabitants and sent them to work in labour camps, to grow rice that he would export as the population died of hunger, overwork or beating.

“Documentaries are always a challenge.” Goldson

Her films are intense political dramas that set the stage and cast its light into the ‘heart of darkness.’ Her other well-known films that she Directed are; Punitive Damage and An Island Calling 

by April Forward

All photo’s courtesy of Annie Goldson film extracts.

The play that created a storm

‘It’s foul weather in us all, good soul’

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Melbourne Sky

Ironically, it is a storm that opens the tale of The Tempest, but here on the banks of the Maribyrnong River it is a brewing storm that ends it. Melbourne’s fickle weather has once again cast its cold spell on an outdoor event. It has ‘undid’, subverted and prevented the ambition of this ‘goodly’ play. The stunning performance that was on Friday and Saturday was ‘naught’ on Sunday.

What could have been is; Prospero, performed by Brendon Ewing, dark with revenge and drawing his past into the currents of his macabre island home, seeking familiar company with unkindly aims, that give way to kindness sway. This tale untold, due to weather, it had to fold, so the cast did the next best thing, they sang.

 

Sly Rat Theatre Co.’s artistic directors Alan Chambers and Andy Harmsen have created a unique vision for The Tempest, inspired by science-fiction classics. The Pipework’s Natural Museum is a beautiful outdoor space, rich in atmosphere and a perfect setting for a summer picnic, weather permitting.

 

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“It’s a Rock and Roll version of Shakespeare, it’s very loud and very big” Director Andy Harmsen

Within the warm hub of the group, a buzz with laughter, singing and the smell of burnt sausage, it is easy to forget that the cancellation of a show could be disappointing, they are taking it so well. It’s a chance to catch up with some of the actors and chat about their role’s, the few that aren’t belting out a tune.

First up is Todd Levi

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“We like to push the boundaries but still tell a great story.. it’s Shakespeare, how he would like it done today…Its bawdy, its real and it is entertainment first and foremost. Prospero has been marooned on a magical island, betrayed by his sister and he’s been there for 12 years. He spies the evildoers sailing by and raises a tempest, a storm that shipwrecks them on the island where he prepares to take his revenge. It’s the search for redemption the final words of the play are; ‘As you from crimes would pardon’d be, let you indulgence set me free’

What made you choose this venue? MP

 “It’s a magical place, it’s a place where the community comes and we played here last year to over 2000 people … most of them had not seen live theatre before, let alone Shakespeare, and playing to an audience like that and seeing them fall in love with it”

Did you factor in the weather? MP

“You don’t expect to have nine shows of good weather every-time, hopefully this is our one and only cancellation.”

Next up is Tara Hauton 

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“Steph and I play the clowns, technically it’s the Court Jester but Andy and Alan have re-invented it to be two women who have been to the races all day long and have arrived at the play. We exist outside the world of the play and that’s where the comedy of the role happens…we are very drunk.

and Ty Holdsworth

 

It’s a play about weather, most Melbournians can relate to that.

 

Fri,Sat & Sunday nights at 6.30 until March 5

Pipework’s Natural Museum Park on the banks of the Maribrynong River

 

 

by April Forward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give up your Health

At the Launch of Teeth & Tongue’s new Album ‘Give up your Health’.

‘Lead singer Jess Cornelius, an urban soul vocalist in the genre of Patti Smith, has a smooth rich voice that rides through intriguing electronic arrangements.’ MP

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‘Give Up on Your Health’ had its genesis in one rogue song. ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ that was originally recorded as an experimental track with a driving, arpeggiated synth sound, drawing on ’70s electronica. The label liked it so much they wanted a full album to go with it. So on the heels of a breakup, Cornelius retired to remote Iceland on a three-month Nes Artist Residency, which produced the heartbreaking ‘Small Towns’.

“We’ve got unavoidable contact. There’s always email and phone. I went as far away as I thought I could. You’re dying in the heat, I’m dying in the cold” – Small Towns

The rest of the album was written in Melbourne, where Cornelius brought the material to the band: guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey.

“I wanted to make an energetic dance-pop record, but with substance,the kind you’d put on when you’re driving down the highway, forgetting all the stressful stuff.” Cornelius

Alannah Woods our music reporter went to Remote Studios to review the album and interviewed the lead singer Jess Cornelius.

Your songs are quite different from each other, where do you get your inspiration? AW

“It’s usually stuff that’s going on ..a process of working out why I am feeling things”

Do you write the music? AW

“Sometimes;  I’ll bring a song to the band, just the lyrics, maybe a guitar bar, the structure and the melody, then sometimes the guys will write their own arrangements or I’ll write parts for them .. it’s a mixture. They definitely write, we just work it out.”

Who inspires you musically? AW 

“It changes so much … Lou Reed has always been a big one, songwriters like Nina Simone..”

Tell us about your albums? AW

“I’ve done 4 Albums, the first was just me but I got other people to play on it.For this one the four of us, not the keyboard player, have been together for a few years, we did the 3rd album together..it’s been a bit like adding people along the way”

So it was your original idea?

“Yeah I started out as a soloist.”

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The Verdict

‘What I love is that she takes every part of her life and turns it into a song, it doesn’t necessarily have to be depressing, there’s a genuine depth. Jess has a great sound that could be compared to jazz, very soulful ..” Alannah Woods

Beyond the Pale

Australia Day tribute:

“It’s always been about sharing stories, identity loss and grief, determination , imagination , self belief, cultural integrity, hope and justice, reliance , cultural pride, and more than anything it’s about my people’s survival of spirit.” Hill

Noongar woman, Sandra Hill was a stolen Aboriginal child that was forced into foster care at the age of seven by the Australian Government due to the Assimilation Policy that was still active in 1958. Four children were removed from their mother’s house, they included her self , her two sisters and a brother. They were the 3rd generation of children removed from this family line.

‘In 1994 Hill  was employed as the Aboriginal Community Cultural Officer. During this period she applied for, and was awarded, a Creative Development Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. This afforded her the time to carry out research relating to her life experiences as a member of the Stolen Generations’ (extract from Design & Art Australia on-line)

Hill’s work is held in many private collections and is also represented in Major Art Galleries throughout Australia, currently her mixed media work “Beyond the Pale’ is on display at the NGV Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square in the Australian Art Exhibition. She explores domestic labor as part of the ‘Assimilation Project’.

In the past, Domestic colleges were set up to train poor white girls and ‘half-caste’ Aboriginal children to attend to the needs of the wealthy.

‘In the early issues of Home Beautiful there was a feeling of nostalgia for the passing of an age in which almost everyone in the middle and upper classes could afford to keep a live-in maid. Even at the turn of the century , architects and designers were discussing the ‘servant problem’ and trying to come up with ways to help women face a future without servants’ The Australian Home Beautiful, from Hills Hoist to High Rise.

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NGV

 

 

ref: page 73, Household Help: The Servant Problem. The Australian Home Beautiful  from Hills Hoist to High Rise  Hardie Grant Books Oliver J.

Citizen Kerr sacked an Australian Government on 11/11

The weight of Australian history fell heavy on the shoulders of Governor General John Kerr, when he sacked an Australian Prime Minister in 1975. A Constitutional crisis upset the fate of the Country.

A young optimistic Australia wanted an end to the Vietnam war, The Whitlam Government ended it. Australians wanted access to education and health, so they got it.Women wanted equality so the amendments were made. Immigrants wanted rights so they had them and the Aboriginals wanted to be recognised as people and not fauna and so they were.

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Giving Australians rights to be Australian

“Migrants have given much to Australia; Australia has given to little in return” Gough Whitlam

For conservative Australia it was happening a bit too fast and the ‘Old Guard’ clung to the past and their status. Sir Kerr had a lot of pressure from many influences. A book ,’The Falcon and the Snowman’; claimed American interference. As the Queens representative, she had to  have been at the party. Malcolm Frazer of the Liberal Party was made caretaker, even though the people voted Labor, so they had to have been there. Whitlam stopped the ‘White only policy’, so that excludes a lot. One thing is for sure, once Kerr did the deed, they turned their back on him.

It took a few decades to close the gates that Whitlam opened. War is back, Education is expensive,  Medicare is getting the chop. Women are losing ground and immigration has become a taboo subject. ‘This didn’t happen overnight’, it couldn’t, the 70’s and 80’s Generations were the heirs to the Whitlam Legacy. Cate Blanchett’s speech at Gough’s funeral summed up the gratitude.

Cate Blanchetts Speech

Public  feed back

” Gough will never be forgotten for introducing Medicare in Australia” Melissa- USU

Seemed like a lot of money at the time, he must have been a visionary regarding the Arts” Meridith Farmer

“Gough was a man of his word.” Joanie – Administration

“His influence was significant,my brother is  Magistrate thanks to education” Kerry Teacher

” They wouldn’t have tried to sell it when he was alive, they waited a year” Sophie – Artist

” I never said I’m immortal …I do believe in correct language. I’m Eternal, not immortal’ quoting  Whitlam , Robbie -Business Consultant

The seasons of David Hockney

Current

Hockney is both artist and philosopher and does not leave ‘Art for Arts-sake’,. He has a dilemma and a relationship with the camera. It’s an interesting journey. Hockney wants to break free from the ‘window to the world’ and look upon life with fresh eyes but memory draws him back into the abyss of ‘what if’. It’s this challenge that makes his work exciting and current.

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Hockney was an early explorer of new technology when others were still reckoning with it. The perplex of the eye informing Art or the camera has etched itself into his work. The inner debate of Hockney is explored in his art and educates the viewer. He is an intellectual and art is his vehicle

“The camera can’t get the beauty of this ……it can’t compete with painting” Hockney

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Hockney challenges the limitations of the camera but continues to return to it. He has a union to technology that he cannot divorce himself from and that’s fine. As Hockney searches for the truth and is willing to film it; we benefit.

Hockney knew that 14th Century artists were using the ancient Camera Obscure,  a technique that reproduced a slide show via light and darkness onto a canvas. He devoted a few years documenting it and producing evidence.

Maybe in the early years, Hockney was criticised for letting the camera inform him and he aimed to provide its legitimate history within the Renaissance . He ended up proving and providing something more important, it works either way.

The pool and boys journey in LA begins as an eye and brush experience.

‘Though there was no photography used in the swimming pool paintings, because the camera “freezes” the water, which was not the effect he was after, he did continue to use it as n aide-memoire’ Christopher Simon Skykes

Hockney could capture the movement and effect of pool water with his eye but needed the camera for the Splash!

When Hockney returns to the English countryside to capture the seasons, he faces extreme weather and does not photograph the landscape. He forsakes a cosy studio for art of plein-air. Back indoors however he views the photographs of his work and aims to create a cinematic version within a jigsaw. The camera is back. The final twist is that the weather weathered work informs the photograph.

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Take the journey and roll out the green carpet for David Hockney at NGV International.

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NGV International  Nov 11- Mar 13

 

Melbourne Tourist tips

For warm weather the best time to come to Melbourne is between November and April. The winters may not be as harsh as Europe or Canada but Australia is not built for cold weather, it is a beach culture. Houses are poorly insulated and the southerly winds will cut through a thin coat. Melbournians wear layers because random weather changes are expected.

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Summer, long weekends and Easter

When the sun is out the locals are basking. There is a mass exodus to the coast in January, Easter and Public Holidays, if your planning an Ocean Road tour during these times book early. Bayside beaches fill up and most Tourists head for St Kilda but South Melbourne and Brighton Beaches are more relaxing.

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Inner city Melbournians, get up early on Saturdays and have breakfast together in Cafes, the best places fill up quickly. On a hot afternoon, the South Melbourne market has  great outdoor seating under a large golden canopy, enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and a glass of wine. Expect to eat dishes from all over the world, each new flood of settlers has brought their food culture with them and each gets its day in the spotlight. Currently everything is ‘infused’ with something Asian.

If the weather turns foul, which means the ‘cool’ (freezing) change came early, head to the NGV Gallery at Federation Square and take in some Australian Art. The City is proud of its Artists but Sport is given most sponsorship. The Art is world-class but under promoted.

The Docklands is a relatively new development with ‘state of the art’ architecture, just behind the Southern Cross Station on Spencer St. It has a futuristic opulence , a skating rink and the Southern Star.

Trains and trams are the main form of transport and very well mapped, it’s easy to follow.The MYKI card works for locals but is not visitor friendly as you have to buy it to get around. Transport inspectors can be a bit intimidating so it’s important to get one. Currently the City has all night transport on Friday and Saturday nights.

Great places for dinner are Smith, Gertrude and Brunswick Streets in Fitzroy. It’s a fabulous block of ambitious ambiance. A historical area where hustlers and artists have had ‘their day’. but currently it is urban cool.

Melbourne has great theatre but if you want to catch a local act for under $30, after dinner there are some quaint venues; The Butterfly Club, La Mama, The Owl and Cat and The Meatworks, (just to name a few) are close to town and have their own character.

Bars are numerous and many are tucked into the lane network that are the life beat of the town, most often decorated with great Street Art. Roof top bars are great on hot nights but most places have outdoor heating when it’s not great.

The highlight of Summer is the Australian Open and the best place to watch it is at Federation Square in a sun-chair. Despite Australian pride of designer beer and class wine most public places are dry. On New Years Eve drinking is banned on public Bayside beaches so cancel the beach party.

Melbourne was once called the ‘Garden State’ as we like our trees. When its too hot for the beach there are great Botanical gardens and the Ripponlea Estate offers shade and a cafe. The changeable weather has created a fashion consious culture and there are plenty of shopping strips and malls to cater for discerning tastes or a bargin.

Summer essentials are thongs and light coat. We all talk about the weather; we complain when it’s hot and when it’s cold. It is so unpredictable it is treated with suspicion.

A typical conversation.

“Its going to be hot on Thursday”

“I’ll believe it when I see it”

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is a psychological thriller with a mystery at the heart of it. It takes the audience on an imaginative tour, where their own thoughts interplay with the drama before them.

“they saw things that didn’t happen in the show” Justin Stephens, Director.

Stephens is drawing upon 25 years of theatre experience to present this production with two key actors, Chris McLean and Kieran Tracey, that are ‘on top of their game.’The Woman in Black” is a horror novella written in 1983 by Susan Hill. The play has startled audiences around the world.

Don’t expect to be spoon-fed, its a subtle work with confounding possibilities. Flawless acting, clever direction and trick lighting; engage the minds of the playgoer. The ‘not seeing’ creates the atmospheric conditions of strangeness.

“Creating a vision of actors on a journey” Stephens.

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Ironically, Stephen’s acting career began in an effort to combat an early speech problem. Many successful artists have grown from adversity into major success stories;such as Warhol,Beethoven, Einstein and Dali, just to name a few.

“The power of theatre and how it can transform” Stephens

The drama explores tragedy, the coping and non-coping elements, of the human experience. All those memories that haunt and prevent us from a full recovery, are confronted in a dire straits situation, where he/we must face our fears.

“Even the most rational minds can play tricks in the dark” from James Watkins 2012 film version.

The Review

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A menacing and sinister fog welcomes the audience into a Gothic drama that explores the space between life and death.  It’s a well written play,  beautifully executed by the actors with atmospheric effects that conjure an unsettling mood. There is a lavish opulence of poetry and theatrics in thick layers. It is theatre at its best, it is a work of Art.

Australia’s patchy history

1800-1950

It’s fascinating to imagine that female convicts on ships to Australia, were sewing beautiful quilts. They were leaving heavily populated cobble streets and embarking on a tour into the wild unknown.It was a place where currency was rum, women were few and some unthinkable dark terrors took place.The unfree made free and the free made unfree.

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The Rajah Quilt

This quilt was created by the women on board the Rajah in 1841, they were taught by  Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker reformer.

‘The Australian quilting tradition developed in response to a unique set of factors that sets it apart from other quilting traditions internationally.’ NGV

There was the odd sailor that picked up a needle and thread and made his own quilt.

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unknown artist

This example is a work of Art, an intricate geometric design, with a contemporary feel. The beauty of the quilt is that it is also functional. The time poured over the work creates a meditative element that transfers an emotional or spiritual quality to the work.

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During WW1 and WW2, ‘quilts were a means of rallying support’.

To this day, some churches still create quilts to place over the unwell. The quilt can also serve as an historical piece, recording the members of a congregation, club or school.

Some stitched a bit of wisdom to guide the next generation.

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The Westbury Quilt  1900-03

The charming Westbury quilt was created by a Tasmanian family, it was intended to be a raffle prize. Its a mix of British domestic influence and Australiana.

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Mariann Gibson Crazy Quilt 1891

Others competed to be the ‘craziest’ of the ‘crazy quilt’ fashion, that was the sewing movement at a time, when European Art was shaking off the shackles of the past. The British settlers had no cultural roots in Australia, they could push the boundaries of traditional Arts.

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The Goodnight Quilt by Mary Jane Hannaford

 

Some caught the eye of the galleries to be immortalised. Mothers often sewed quilts for their children or were given to them by a loving friend or family member. Mary Jane Hannford’s ‘Goodnight Quilt’ was made for her 11 year old grandson.

‘The subject matter of Hannafords quilt includes patriotism, religious faith, the love of Australian wildlife and the marking of key family events’

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Nursery Quilt Artist unknown

Some works were sewed roughly, not for beauty or art but for warmth. The gathering of discarded clothes, recycled into a rug. The perfect art for Depression and War when materials are few and patience is limited.

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Wagga

‘real rag bag waggas, hessian bags or patchwork-covered army blankets, but still rich in the memories embedded in their cloth.’ Annette Gero

It’s a pictoral exploration into our past, through fabric. Mostly, but not exclusively a womens history. Sewing groups were also social and community acts. It’s an engaging exhibition.

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Inserts from NGV
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until Nov 6

Coppelia in St Kilda

Coppelia may be as ‘pretty as a picture’ but she has no soul, to live she will need to suck the life out of Franz. Swanilda is his true love, but her passion startles the young man who would prefer his ideal. Fortunately she is persistent.

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It’s a dance off. Swanilda can out dance her peers and Franz is more talented than his, it’s a ‘match made in Heaven’ but fate has a turn. Before the two amazing movers are joined, (which could lead to a standing ovation) evil raises his ugly head in the guise of a mad magician.

It’s a three-part play, with a haunting centre. Some toys can be very intimidating, some boys can be very threatening and some girls can be very curious. It makes great drama, within a comic text. It was the ballet that saved itself.

‘ the plot reads like a modern horror movie, Saint-Leon’s production was a clever commentary on the dangers of infatuation. When the ballet finally opened in Paris in May 1870 it seemed. with its freshness and vitality, as if the art had been reborn in France.Judith Steeh

It was the ballet revival that kept the flame alight in Europe, until the Ballet Russes set it ablaze. Essentially it was designed to excel the ballerina for the delight of its male patrons (like Degas) but was modernised by Ogilvie. The male parts that were performed by ballerinas, were handed over to men and choreographed into the leaps and athleticism, that it is today. It is beautiful ballet with amazing dancing.

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Dimity Azoury as Swanilda & Jarryd Madden as Franz at Saturday Matinee

‘We are delighted to bring back this production, which has long been considered a jewel of The Australian Ballet’s repertoire,’ David McAllister ,Artistic Director

The Palais adds ambience of this period piece, it was first performed on its stage in 1962. The charm of another era resonates through the Saturday matinée, the wood paneling, marble columns, leather seats and ‘cash only’ bars and kiosks. It’s beautiful to walk out its doors and believe the world has not changed on the St Kilda Esplanade.

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Take the journey into enchantment.

 

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Sept 23- Oct 1

Contrasts

Rapid urban development cast’s new shadows on the streets of old St Kilda, yet shreds of its artistic culture remain.

106 Barkley Street has been Tamar Dolev’s studio for 8 years, she uses ‘found’ objects to create. Each surface and shape is carefully considered before being morphed into the voice of the quietly spoken Artist.

The works are bursting with wild vitality, shes uses colour like an electric force, there is a vibrant sense of movement and emotion similar to that of Aboriginal Artist HU Wedge.

 

Dolev also enjoys the effects of shadows.

“Whatever wall it goes on, the piece changes. if it’s a blue or black wall, it adds and evolves by the shadows it makes.”

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Self Portrait 2015

Self Portrait 2015 is full of holes, it is a chameleon blending into its environment. It is partly her and partly the surroundings, that dictate its nature.

 

 

‘Billy’s Adventure’ 2015, is a long narrow work that invites the eye to travel through the composition as a narrative. The concept of an art piece outside the ‘eye of a camera’ explores our natural visage, a technique familiar to Chinese scrolls.

Dolev’s journeys are captured in her haunting silent photography of the place outside.

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Both of her parents are Architects and her fascination with buildings seeps into her art. She is currently pre-occupied with her sculptures of dwellings made from bay-side spillage.

 

Artists Studio Gallery / 106 Barkly St, St Kilda; next to Mirka Mora lane.

Opening Event Aug 6 3-5pm

 Aug 13, 14 and 20th

 

Paperless Office

“The whole of life is an artwork, we are just going through the stages of it.”  Coleman  

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Xan Coleman is the Director of a Durational Action Artwork that is currently being held at the Meat Market in North Melbourne.

“We are digitizing and destroying the entire company archives of A is for Atlas, as it turns 10 at the end of this week. We are reflecting..” Coleman

When MP arrived Coleman was shredding the play ‘No Exit’ that was staged in 2012.It is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. It consists of three characters that bring out the worse in each other and are doomed to spend eternity together, this is their hell. Ironically, the play was held in an underground space, next to the Vic Market that has since been entombed under concrete, hindering it without an exit.

Theatre chairs are in place, if you want to grab a coffee and view the work of Yuhui Ng-Rodriguez as she scans, or Coleman as he shreds. Toni Main’s sewing machine creates a ‘musical’ background as Julie Renton creates soft furniture on the floor. The public are invited to participate in the making of soft office toys that will be given away at the end of the week.

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The mundane in this Happening, becomes the intersection of destruction and transformation,  public are generally invited to such rites of passage. For ‘A is for Atlas’ the cultural past has been kept in storage for a decade. In this installation the past is physically destroyed and sent into a cloud.

Ritual, regardless of its simplicity, marks change and unity. A marriage is more than a couple ‘hooking up’; eating fish on Good Friday or kissing strangers on New Years Eve, marks a profound event or change. The shredding of the emotional and creative achievement’s of this company, is significant.

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Childs drawing saved from the shredder

Each of the players have rewarding discoveries in the sorting; Coleman saved some children’s drawings and mounted them on the wall, Ng-Rodriguez connected with some architectural drawings of the Powerhouse; Main found it exhilarating to cut into an old animal print costume and Renton, left only with the shreds, creates soft furniture.

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On Friday night the bar is open, the musicians arrive and the ‘post-it’ party begins to cap off the week.

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Ends July 29

Article by A Forward

We cross over Smith Street to the end of the Line

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

One doesn’t need an excuse to head to Fitzroy. Melbourne’s old bohemia and the new swank of money have morphed the district into the cutting edge of style and art. Even Charcoal Lane has had a makeover and looks like a cool Club.

I’m heading up Smith Street to the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. The cafes, restaurants, barbers and bars are a light show, each establishment competing to win ‘the most ambient award’. It’s a feast of visual splendour and I haven’t yet arrived at ‘Gertrude’.

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Gertrude Hotel

 

The Builders Arms hotel, on the corner, is awash with Kate Geck’s gay colours and crisp designs of her composition Apeiron, exploring decay’s victory over the force of materialism.It’s the gateway into the creative heartland, flanked over the road is the Gertrude Hotel also vividly lit, with the design Imaginary Atlas by Sean Capone. Within the festival there are a diverse display of styles; the bright, subtle,intriguing and the sublime.

 

Luzon Adams sensual work Reverie, was utterly captivating, in a liquid dance by underwater videographer Peter Bucknell, she explores the mystery and epic power of the red-haired character. For the viewer it appears as though a woman is emerging, like new life out of the building exterior.

The most charming display was the neon light on the Housing Commission building that read ‘HOME’. In its simplicity it encourages a non threatening view of the estate and reminds us of the sacred spaces where we all live. Its is no longer a block.

 

Banner Photo: Gloss by Petrina Hicks

Title from the Lyric’s of Charcoal Lane by Archie Roach

Photographs and article by A Forward

https://www.instagram.com/melbourne_press/

Psychosis, the lonely poet

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Sarah Kane wrote the play 4:48 Psychosis as she plummeted deeper into her despair. This is her final curtain fall, the finale of her creative life. Ironically she digs her lonely days of dirt with words that are crafted with epic beauty.

‘Love keeps me a slave in a cage of tears’

Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar or Shakespeare’s Othello are fitting comparisons to a raw but majestic construction of words. Kane is a natural poet capable of building a visual palace out off the darkest recesses of her mind.  Director Kendall-Jane Rundle chose a naked space to adorn the language.

Kane is terrified of banality.

‘Don’t shut off my mind’

‘Theres not a drug on Earth that can make this life meaningful’

The drug that Kane aches for is Hope.

‘I am charging toward my death.’

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Despite the dark subject matter, it is a strong script, tailored direction and an absorbing performance.

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Kendall-Jane Rundle

The Director and principle Actor Kendall-Jane Rundle responded to the tiredness of Kane by using furniture that was muted rather than white to create the worn-out feel that the writer expresses. She toned down the delivery to create a realistic feel to the drama. On Thursday night an audience that suffered the affliction viewed the performance and claimed that it was an accurate portrayal of the condition.

Jeff Wortman played the Doctor and love interest of Kane’s character. In the performance his professional position kept him aloof from the desperation of his patient, she tries to pull him in and he tries to pull away. As an actor it was just as difficult to ‘turn off’ to the confronting content.

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Jeff Wortman

Without wanting to take her pain

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Shane Grant

Shane Grant created the lighting for the episodic depiction of Kane; rather than being a light that shines from above his lights chase her through the darkness and allows the audience to fold into the deeper layers of the script.

Overall it was perfectly complete.

“At the end she was calm” Rundle

 

 

Review & Photography by A Forward

Flesh Eating Tiger

Flesh Eating Tiger by Amy Tofte

with brilliant performances by Amy Gubana and Marcus Molneux.

“I hate this f-king play”the actor roars; chaotic in self hate and desire. Its a vicious cycle, a play within a play.

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“I love you” she pleads, imagining her only reflection is through his eyes.

The stench of sweat and loves final battle breaks out in front of the audience that stare like children, watching the horror of substance fueled passion. Despite the abstract fury of the torn lovers, the play is built on a tight structure and examines the cult of alcoholism.

It is a brutal contemporary play, with a brilliant script and prize acting, the direction has an expanding boundary, webbed together with invisible threads.

Its not serious.

Its just physical.

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I can end it whenever I want.

WRONG!

“I want out!”

He is addicted to alcohol, and she is addicted to rejection.They want to be abused. They don’t want surface beauty, they want to wrestle the beast beneath.

“I heard about stupid people like this I didn’t know, I would be one.”

Love without a boundary, is life without rest.

This drama explores complex emotional themes that are part of the contemporary fabric of human life. It explores desire and it’s not pretty.

 

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The Owl and the Pussycat is the go to place for  serious artistic exploration.

imageThe Director Gabrielle Savrone, explains her involvement with the production.

“Flesh eating tiger is a bit of a beast, it’s an abstract art piece. I’m an Abstract painter so I see the play like that. There’s the words,the actors and the design…the concept is how things bleed between life and art. You create what you live and its a part of who you are.

She’s addicted to him and he’s addicted to alcohol.Its a tangled mess. What we are watching is their relationship, the play that they are creating about their relationship within a play. It’s quite fun.Essentially it’s a love story, a tragedy.”

How did you get involved in the project? MP 

“I met Amy (Tofte)at a conference in Alaska three years ago,we were room buddies. I went to watch her play reading, it was this and I fell in love with it. When I took over the theatre, nearly two years ago,  this was the first play we put on.”Savrone

Actor Braydon Lewtas extends himself to assist in the Direction of the production.

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Assistant Director Braydon Lewtas

“The Artistic Director, Thomas Doyle cast me in the two previous plays that were shown at the theatre; Paper and Boys Club. I always wanted to be a Director, so I expressed that to the owner of the theatre, Gabrielle”Lewtas

“I’d like to write and direct and put on my own play in the future.”

The small bohemian venue is a hub of creativity, the friendly barman is Doyle, the Artistic Director and struggling play writer. He wrote the script for Paper which took a stab at modern media and corrupt journalists. His play Riot went to The Last Frontier Conference in Alaska.

“I like provocative material, work that provokes people and is also entertaining. I wrote my first play when I was eight. I thought I wanted to be an actor but then I realised that playwriter’s have all the power. ” Doyle

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Artistic Director Braydon Lewtas

 Amy Tofte Playwriter of Flesh Eating Tiger

Amy was recently recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. Her plays have been semi-finalists for the nuVoices Festival (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works Festival, The Source Festival and The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. Flesh Eating Tiger premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in Melbourne in 2015. Tiger was remounted at the Hollywood Fringe where it was named “Best of Fringe” and nominated for Best Play. Tofte is a founding member of the play development company Fierce Backbone in LA and is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

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Until June 4 at

The Owl and the Pussycat

Swan St.  Richmond

 

Review & photography by April Forward

 

 

 

 

Metamorphosis with Eyes

EYES EXHIBITION

Originally from a small town in South Australia, Joshua Fielding describes his art as a form of social connection.

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Fielding is inspired by the surrealists and cites Salvador Dali as one of his major influences. His work is more stylised and controlled than the master, with balanced compositions that are evenly weighted within a psychedelic sway. The bright colours and symbolic shapes  are a response to the work of the Melbourne Graffiti Artist, Beastman.

There are three series on display, which include Dark Phoenix in his early figurative work, Metamorphosis with bold kaleidoscope images, and The Pupils that are playful surrealist pieces. Each has a resolute and confidant result.

“I love eyes and the emotion” Fielding

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The figurative works are portraits of people he has met through performance art. Most are oils painted with limited black and white palettes and thick strokes. They are dark, moody and emotive, coming before his colourful acrylic’s.

The Metamorphosis series dominate the show and draw the viewer into the natural mechanics of the artist’s mind

“In this series each painting is influenced by a problem I had to solve, it was inspired by law of attraction, I couldn’t finish the painting until I solved the problem.” Fielding

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The watchful eyes surround the viewer. As they observe the canvas they are being observed. The artist is within his work.The magnetism of the work and the artist draws in a large crowd for his opening night, at Voltaire in Nth Melbourne.

“It’s an Aztec, Egyptian, Modern eclectic feel. It’s very interesting its complex yet simplistic.” Steph (audience)

‘Trained at the South Australia Arts Academy, he refined his own visual and conceptual vocabulary that developed through his focus on the points of intersection between movement and abstract thought.’ Lynda Buckley (Encore)

Fielding is an accomplished dancer and is heavily involved in the performing arts scene. He has also designed and painted large murals and scenery for National Theatre productions. His ‘day job’ is as the Melbourne Football Clubs mascot.

Artist, dancer , Melb FC Mascot
Artist, dancer , Melb FC Mascot

“Physically and mentally I have to be creative every day or else I feel I’ve wasted my time being here” – Fielding.

Nida trained Scott Hollingsworth,(Performance Management) a Melbourne performance artist, spoke about the show and his part in its financial support through Shhh Productions. They got behind the artist and paid costs in the philosophy of supporting local talent.

“I met Josh through a mutual friend and saw his work and thought it was brilliant”Hollingsworth

 

 

Photography & Review: A Forward

Brutal Architecture

The award-winning Architect, Enrico Taglietti, created his Brutalist building for the St Kilda Library, with the aim of it to be

“a place where people feel more alive’.

The St Kilda Library’s bold and embracing architecture is a place of respite within the busy clutter of Carlisle Street. The building invites its visitors to sit on the ledges, gather in its courtyards and participate in the experience of the creative word.

Italian born, Mr Taglietti is one of the country’s national treasures and winner of Australia’s most prestigious Architectural award, the RAIA Gold Medal in 2007. The St Kilda library is one of his earlier works and was officially opened May 14 1973. The St Kilda library promotion committee was established in 1951 to rally support for its erection. Sheer determination paved the way through episodes that could have derailed the project on several occasions.

In 1954, Twelve Councillors refused to give the city a free library.

‘I rely on you ladies to get the councillors wives on our side’ quoted The Angus in its December issue 1954.

As Mr Taglettis prominence as an important Australian Architect grows, examples of his work become highly valued. Builders, M. Notkin Construction of South Caulfield, were appointed to construct the building which cost $417,000 at the time, the current price of an apartment in the area. The Brutalist design is a contemporary period piece of 1960-70’s architecture and within the interior, a mural by Mirka Mora adds to the artistic collateral of the project.

“Visitors may then be able to relax around coffee tables, admiring or criticizing displays of paintings…Mr Taglietti wrote in his original proposal.

The architect planned for the building to be used as a refuge.The public are sheltered within its thick walls and can linger in its quiet Japanese courtyards. The outside world keeps its noisy distance. Warm timber ceilings contrast the cool grey concrete that is sculptured into a solid earthy structure. The lofty outdoor roof provide shade and shelter as people gather beneath it on the massive trapezoidal walls ledges to chat or access the Wi Fi.

The Australian Library Journal of 1973 claimed that the building was ‘handsome and visually exciting’

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The building has since been renovated to cater for the expanding community, without consultingTagletti, The changes to the building include a side entrance and a new front section. The original counter was situated under an elevated roof with a skylight, in what is now the middle of the building. The new front section is expansive and moulded into the shape of a book. The changes are admired and appreciated by some but not all.

Photo by Ian Paradine
Photo by Ian Paradine

Mr Taglietti was not impressed, he was baffled as to why he was not consulted or at least notified of alterations to the original building. The Architect claimed that the entry was a key aspect. Mr Taglietti was disappointed and hoped plans were being made to return it to its original state.

“They totally disregarded the original’ Mr Tagletti claimed in an exclusive interview.

The entrance courtyard was to be “the nucleus” of the design. This area has since been built over despite the council overlay that regards the building as significant and claimed that the front , including the original air conditioner tower was ‘ integral to the design’.

Mr Tagletti said that “it was a shame’

“There should be protection of my moral right in that building, it should have been recognised by another”. He claimed in a tone of sheer disappointment.

Mr. Tagletti came to Australia to break away from the confines of tradition in Europe and explore vivid modern constructions. He has designed the Dickson Library, the Italian Club, the Apostolic Nunciature, Giralang Primary School and the War Memorial Annexe, in Canberra where he resides.

Article: A Forward / Photography: Ian Paradine

 

Humanist Art (The Peace Project)

Nathalia

“To celebrate the works that neighbours have done.”

The evolution of Art is a process that requires, curiosity, appreciation, skill and patronage. Not every person that attempts art will be apt in its curly concepts, many will find that the creative pursuit is an end, in itself. The banal and the grand begin at the same place, which is the opportunity to access it. Many regional art centres throughout Victoria are seeking a cultural voice, the most well known are Castlemaine, the Yarra Valley, Ballarat, Daylesford and Bendigo.

Local artists in Nathalia (Nth Victoria) were working in isolation before the local art centre forged an artistic hub. William Kelly a local artist had suffered violent neighbourhoods in his past and sought to unite the township together through art. It’s a functional non-for profit Art Centre and it has become the focal point of creative energy in the region. They have tried to engage every person in the community and encouraged them to participate in the workshops.

‘I hope you realise what you have achieved

Because it’s fairly plain to me,

Your introducing culture! God forbid, have you no shame!

What was wrong with up the pub, getting full as a boot?

The beer, the blood, the spit on the walls….

…………….the gardens are full of sculpture!’ (Poet, Tammy Muir)

The G.R.A.I.N store gallery and workshop, opens its doors to all in the community who are willing to explore their creativity. They do not discriminate and in this melting pot of Art and Craft, originality can rise to the surface. They invite school children and the elderly to be involved. The early involvement of local children in cultural projects ensures future growth of the Arts in the region. Locals are offered a space to explore their ability in a non-threatening, appreciative environment.

The culture has changed from being sceptical of art and its artists, to becoming active in its progress. The Regional Arts Council claims it has become a model project. Patron of the Arts, Bernie Ryan (4th generation dairy farmer) supports local artists and provides a gallery space. He commissions work from his local art pool and has enhanced the creative strength of the area. He believes that most patrons in Australia over fund sport and neglect the Arts.

Original Artists that have been nourished by the community include Linden Lancaster and Bella Angyal. They have forged a path that leads back to future artists in the area.

Linden Lancaster was applying Nathalia landscape into her quilts, creating visual pieces that few saw until she showed her work in the local G.R.A.I.N.store windows. She is now an international success. She applies 3 layers to produce multi-dimensional and textural work, through material collage. Her landscapes are reminiscent of Hockney’s later work but her palette is fabric and her brush is a needleIMG_3472

Bella Angyal, a self-taught artist, depicted stark realism through sculpture. His statues are erected in the town centre. His war sculpture ‘Mateship’ depicts the trauma of violence; his ‘heroes’ are local lads struggling through travesty. It’s the excessive detail that gives the work its haunting reality.

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All forms of Art, Craft, Music and Poetry, are supported by the Centre. They invite international talent into the town to give talks and workshops that provide a means of access through exposure. The art seed has germinated in Nathalia, it has all the support networks necessary to allow it to develop.

“You do what you think will make the world a better place” Artist Veronica Kelly claims.

Top image: from AQC 2015 Quilt Show/The Letter by Linden Lancaster

Visit: http://www.thegrainstore.org/

article by A Forward

Sunday Reeds contribution to Melbourne Art

When Sunday Baillieu walked out of  Toorak and into the arms of emerging Australian Artists, she forsook society to dwell with bohemia. It’s not easy, to move from one class to another within a single generation. The artists may have regarded her as bourgeois but her old neighbours had labeled her a communist. She was an idealist, a task master, a romantic and art critic. Heide was her home and she welcomed artists to reside there. IMG_3335

Sunday and John Reed championed major artists such as Sidney Nolan, Charles Blackman, Mirka Mora, Joy Hester, John Perceval, Albert Tucker, Moya Dyring, Sam Atyeo and Mike Brown. They founded the Angry Penguins Literary magazine in an effort to evoke a response from the disinterested city.

The Reeds supported and bought emerging Melbourne and Australian art. They were overly possessive of the artists they supported but they took their task seriously. They flew the flag for Australian Art and they paid for it with Baillieu cash.

Today the twisted path Melbourne artists walk is barbed with opportunists and a sleepy audience.

Melbourne’s current Art culture is in crisis. Galleries charge artists to exhibit and the costs are high, few artists can afford to pay the weekly $1000 costs and then the 20-40% commission. For those that can afford to pay ,there is no guarantee of an effective marketing strategy. Most exhibitions draw other artists and few attract genuine patrons. At the end of a two-week exhibition the gallery stands to make profits  even if no purchases were made. The artist is broke.

Australian artists rely on the generous support of  philanthropist, collectors and galleys that do not charge their talent to exhibit.

Albert Tucker talks about his time with Sunday Reed at Hiede.

Ballet Dreaming

Alexei Ratmansky’s

Cinderella

When clothes do matter! Cinderella is the ‘It girl’ of the season. Even without a mother, there is the godmother to provide a night out on the town. The wicked sisters may lack the talent, taste and kindness of their rival sister but their comic timing is perfect.

Halaina Hills & Ingrid Gow. Photography by Jeff Busby
Halaina Hills & Ingrid Gow. Photography by Jeff Busby

The costumes are a remarkable stroke of insight. They communicate a large hunk of the tale. Ballet has no voice; the palette is made up of dance, drama, costume, score and set. The show is catchy with a surrealistic bite, re-told with a modern edge.

No one has moves like the Prince (Ty King Wall). The magnetic duo are drawn together when Cinderella (Lana Jones) ‘steals the show’ and sets the tone at the ball. The twisted sisters are deliciously offbeat.

There is nothing like a dance story told by a dance company, frock them up and send them to a Ball. This is why you should go! The dancing and Alexei Ratmansky’s choreography  is a visual delight.

Cinderella is an interesting fairytale to re-visit; it carries life lessons in a purse of simple context. Jealousy is unable to suppress the hopeful soul. When humans fail, the stars align to aid her journey and her destiny.

The Dream

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As the full moon hangs heavy over Melbourne skies, another moon and another season, the ‘Midsummer Night’, takes flight in the deep chambers of the Art Centre, on the opening night of The Dream.

Enter into the enchanted forest where mischief casts spells on the unaware and leads them into late night folly, only to awake with a hangover of regret. Does it sound familiar? Of course it does. One can always rely on Shakespeare to understand the human heart.

“How can these things come to pass? O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!”

One does not need to read the play, to love The Dream. The magical blend of music and ballet lead the audience through the drama. The audience chuckled spontaneously through the performance, it’s bewitching and it’s funny. They cheered and applauded.

The visual beauty of the set and performance is unworldly; it’s easy for us to be tripped into its spell. The music and the dance are fused into one. The poetry of our slumber awakens to newer world, an alternative, and a deviation from the probable path into a fantastic alternative that leads us safely back, to our destination.

Ballet of this calibre is a sublime experience.

Puck, (Chengwu Guo) the mischievous fairy, is a tad liberal with his love potions, which leads to squabbles and confrontations. His dance is super-imposed with thrill and adventure whereas the ‘labourers’ trod a heavy step. It’s the unique combination of dance that binds multiple styles and creates a visual texture to the play that is echoed by the score. Kevin Jackson is mesmerising as Oberon.

Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon leads the orchestra gently into the play with the strings and piano opening the drama, she builds the momentum with the wind instruments that tantalise the audience into a heightened state of expectation.

David Walkers set is magnificent, enriched by the lighting techniques of John B Read. It’s a sensory feast. The evening begins with the abstract dance of Symphonic Variations and Monotones 11, which showcases the talent of Frederick Ashton and the skill and grace of the dancers. This clears the pallet to make way for the rich, full-bodied production of the Dream.

Perfection!

The menagerie of hope, work and desire

IMG_2947THE EXONERATED

To be a victim of crime is a long road to recovery. To return to the just world and hang on dearly to the laws that make our society safe, is a tonic. How hard is it for the innocent to be destroyed and murdered by the Law. Where do they go to recover, if they can?

Ironically it is the free that are in danger of incarceration, the hippy, the ‘happy go lucky negro’, the hillbilly; bohemian to some, misfits to others, and ironically these trapped and injured souls bring beauty and faith to death row in Texas. IMG_2950 It’s a difficult topic to portray, un-fair executions of innocent people in a play.

They succeeded. They warmed the audience, and brought them thoughtfully through the menagerie of  tortured innocence, without bombarding them. This tight-rope of entertainment and serious consideration, was handled remarkably well. The audience smiled and laughed, as their empathy rose to the occasion.

“I wish you a long and happy life” the murdered girl from Peter Jackson’s movie, Lonely Bones claims sweetly.

It’s the sentiment of this beautiful play, I have suffered (so much) but I wish you well. There is a faith within the heart of the wrongfully accused, who are marked for death. IMG_2962The full attendance at the Chapel off Chapel clapped with vigour at the closing scene. Dig deep, life is not a luxury or an accessory it is the road to the infinite.

Performance Management

IMG_2787According to the Ringmaster Scott Hollingsworth there are four key worker traits; the acrobat who is the worker that jumps from task to task, the juggler often known as the multi-tasker, the CEO who takes charge and an appendage known as the clown. IMG_2806 The diplomatic play between manager and clown is a slippery slope of comic proportions, trying to work the unworkable in a PC office. Comedian Hollingsworth has the answer; it’s a whip and a little tune.

It’s a Brilliant performance. The Artists day job is ballooned into a seriously funny show at the Butterfly Club,it’s a must see.

IMG_2815How does a manager cope with the unmovable employee suffering from chronic hypochondria and tennis elbow from endless handballing?

“It wasn’t my fault alright” the clown proclaims.

The recruiting phase is a Mr Hyde and Dr Jekyll routine where what you see is all you wont get. The resume, the training, and availability LIES LIES and more LIES. Ode to the trainer, glory to the paid untrained. As in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one has to weed out the brats. It’s a fabulously funny show,

Lady Liberty

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Amelia Ryan packs a case full of neurosis, hope and sex, which she unloads, by exploding into song. She has been searching for Liberty from Vegas to Adelaide.

“Who feels Alive?”

She is busting at the seams with life. Her show is sexy, smart and warm; the audience is charmed by her Bombo glam.

“Express yourself bitches!’

Amelia stares down controversy, to her Lady Liberty is a brave bold leader.

It’s a musical affair with Matthew Carey gracing the piano, as Amelia spouts cutting edge rhetoric, with a superb voice.IMG_3262

“Every time I hit the high notes an Angel falls”

She gels firmly with her audience singing pop songs that she has rewritten into comic lyrics. They  sing along with happiness that she has poked and evoked.

She wants to abandon her wild ways and find peace, it’s hard work so she succumbs to the weekend binge that spirals into guilt and remorse. She is fighting for truth, with all of her shadows. She wants it all and she wants it now !

Beau Heartbreaker

She’s a really nice bloke.

IMG_3446Selina Jenkins animates her character through expression, tales and song.

There is no fire, but it feels like there should be, there is an intimacy. The strumming guitar and heart-felt tunes told in a beautiful voice add to an outback ambiance. The audience laughter is triggered by subtle and poignant lyrics, we could be here for days.

There is a happy balance of country logic and wacky nuances. He is country through and through and she is cutting edge.

“Certainty is…I’m not quite sure anymore”

IMG_3439Beau takes us through the world with new eyes. It is an intelligent conversation with the audience with endless trap-doors of humour. The laughter is contagious, it spreads and spares no-one.

Turn off computers, the phones, T.Vs and radio, then come to the fireside and listen to yarns told by Beau Heartbreaker a dairy farmer.

 

Chinese Palace treasures in Melbourne

The life of a Chinese Emperor was that of extreme wealth and power, his role was to govern and unite the country. He was known as the ‘Son of Heaven’ and expected to have spiritual influence over the elements. Confucius ideology influenced the aristocratic place of the ruler; historically the roles had been degraded by a series of abusive and debauch rulers. Confucius believed in the feudal system however he intended that the leader would be honourable and exemplify the finer qualities of leadership. Parental care of the autocrat would aim to establish order amongst the obedient subjects.

Qianlong, fourth Emperor of the Quing dynasty (1644-1911), was one of Chinas most successful leaders and ruled for over 60 years (1736–1795). He brought prosperity and peace to the region, although he came from a military background. He was a descendant of the Manchu, which was a small ethnic group. Qianlong adopted Chinese manners and followed the guidelines of Confucius ethics, to influence the 150 million Han Chinese that he ruled. The treasures of this royal court are currently on display at the National Gallery of Victoria.

“The Victorian Government is grateful to the Palace Museum for entrusting the NGV with its treasures as part of a ground-breaking partnership between the two institutions.” Mr. Foley said.

Dr Mae Anna Pang, Senior Curator of Asian Art, NGV and Curator of A Golden Age of China very generously gave time to the Melbourne Press and revealed details that are hidden within the beautiful objects, of the Forbidden City. She explained the Emperors interest in art. He employed artists to depict royal life, he collected art from around the world and he also practiced drawing and calligraphy.

There were two types of artwork in Imperial China, one that was to be shown and the other for private meditation. Some of Dr. Pang’s favorite pieces in the exhibition are Qianlong’s private drawings and his poetry. Private drawings were to aid inner contemplation, not to impress the viewer. She remarked that the exhibit is less grand than the surrounding works and could be overlooked, however the drawings give us insight into the state and mind of the Emperor.

The Emperors landscape scrolls are encased in a glass cabinet, they depict nature and the favorite places that he had visited. Dr. Pang explained that he was a determined traveler at a time when the task was a difficult one. When he was fascinated by a place he would attempt to recreate an aspect of it in his drawing or have its feature installed, in the palace gardens.

The visually beautiful characters of the Chinese language are an esteemed part of its literature. Although the language develops and changes, its intrinsic core meaning can still be understood in modern China. The Emperor was a prolific poet and wrote over 40,000 poems and 1300 pieces of prose. Dr Pang read the calligraphy of a large poem Poem about East Mountain Brush-rest peak that was written by Qianlong and is framed on the gallery wall. The poem elevates people that seek inner spiritual development over those that adorn themselves in jade and corals, who care only for outer appearances. Within the poem, he creates clever puns and plays on words to give them multiple meanings. This duality is represented in many of the works on display.

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“Everything is not as it seems” Dr Pang explains.

Symbols and color are used to portray status, longevity and luck. The yellow silk costumes that are used for ceremonies are rich in such detail. Yellow was the distinctive colour of the ruler; it was exclusive to the royal court. A death penalty would be the punishment of anyone who breached this code and incorporated the color in his or her garment.

Leadership entitled the Emperor to a vast array of wives and concubines for his pleasure and procreation, however it also required eunuchs to service them. To ensure a faithful court, many men forfeited their patriarchal rights. They were often sons of the poor who had been sold to the Palace. They were donned with red hats to distinguish their rank, as depicted in the composition, Imperial Banquet in the Garden of Ten Thousand Trees by Giuseppe Castiglione.

“One of his 41 wives was Moslem” Dr Pang adds

Dr. Pang discussed the details of a large work of coloured inks on silk, titled Envoys from vassal states and foreign countries presenting tribute to the Emperor

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The composition has a warped aerial perspective to show the viewer multiple angles. Walls, to ensure royal privacy, separate the private and public areas. At the entrance of the Palace, visitors are assembled from around the world. The flags depict the country that the ambassador is from and it includes European nations. Due to the successful leadership of Qianlong, China had become a great empire and was held in worldly renown.

Most of the items within the collection are adorned with symbols and references to good fortune. The Melbourne Press asked the Palace Museums Vice Director Song Jirong what the Chinese would regard as the most important ‘type of luck’.

“A long life” she replied.

Many symbols of the artwork promote longevity. The court women adorned themselves with hairpieces that have knots embellished within the design, to represent an extended life. They also wore extremely long nail protectors and the pair that is currently on display is made of fine gilt silver wires formed into symbols of happiness and a long life. Some of the items on display incorporate storks, dragons and the number 9; these are keystone symbols that perpetuate the life-force. Many of the symbols used are unique to eastern culture and can be overlooked by western visitors. At the hem of a semi formal robe for the Empress are waves of colour that represent the sky. Chinese artists represent the sky as having many colours, not just solo blue.

The final room of the exhibition is a slide show of the Forbidden City so the visitor gets an idea of the expanse of the Palace. It’s the size of a suburb, with magnificent engineering feats. It was built between 1406 and 1421 and involved a workforce of 10,000 craftsmen and 1,000,000 labourers. The Palace has 9000 rooms and the Forbidden City occupies a vast expanse of more than 72 hectares. The two dynasties of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) households and their 24 Emperors enjoyed this exclusive luxury. In 1925, the Palace Museum opened the heavy gates of the Forbidden City to the public.

One cannot underestimate the level of negotiations and the transport considerations of the exhibit. Valuable Chinese antique treasures are currently on loan at the NGV. Air China was given the task of the safe haul. Melbourne is in the entitled position of host to this important collection. It is an opportunity to view a cultural legacy in its prime.

Modern Art broke its ties to its European Masters and drew inspiration from the East. It is important to understand the influence that Chinese art has had on the West. It was exposure to these types of works that influenced artists such as Henri Matisse. Matisse worked extensively in the breaking down of image to essential form. Strong lines, negative spaces and flat dimensions became the new vision that the Modern Master employed.

Dr Pang remarked that the NGV and Melbourne reminded her of the Palace and prime places in China. She noted that both are very orderly and have garden areas that are reminiscent of Chinese aesthetics.

Rio Tinto is a major sponsor of The Golden Age of China; they have arranged free entry for all school children, to the exhibits. The Exhibition will be open to the public until June 21st. There will also be a series of talks and films for those that desire a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.

PHOTOS of ARTWORKS

QIANLONG EMPEROR Chinese 1711–99

Poem about East Mountain Brush-rest peak, calligraphy 弘历咏东山笔架峰贴落Qing dynasty, Qianlong period 1768

signed by Qianlong Emperor in the autumn of 1768 and with 2 seals of Qianlong Emperor

ink on paper 157.5 x 216.0 cm (image and sheet)The Palace Museum, Beijing

Envoys from vassal states and foreign countries presenting tribute to the Emperor 清人万国来朝图轴Qing dynasty, Qianlong period 1736–95

coloured inks on silk 365.0 x 219.5 cm The Palace Museum, Beijing

 

Shrigleys Definitive Deployment of Art

David Shrigley’s drawings, sculpture, happenings and films follow the anti-art traditions of Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. ‘This is not art, this is not important’. Then why did the NGV host his work and float his head-less toy swans in the moat.

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The seduction of Art refusing to be Art is like a conquest behaving coy and disinterested. Its chic, its naughty but its mostly irreverent. It’s the cat and mouse game that the art world has been playing with itself since the 1880s when Modern Art decided to challenge the status quo of ‘what is Art?’

Shrigley has a mass appeal. Since 2005 he has produced a weekly cartoon for the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Michael Leunig cartoons, that have appeared weekly in The Age draw similar references, however Shrigleys message, is less emotive and more ‘slap stick’.

The exhibition came wallpapered, with roughly drawn cartoons and captions such as;

“I don’t have a head but still I must go to work”

The exhibition housed an interactive life drawing class where the live model was replaced by a naked cartoon sculpture, like a garden cupid fountain, it too, relieved itself. A motorized head entertained visitors and there were ‘boring’ films. The film of a cartoon figure sleeping ‘A Napping Station’, is a parody to the Andy Warhol film, Sleep.

The NGV website noted a remark by the English art critic Adrian Searle.

‘Shrigley’s work is very wrong and very bad in all sorts of ways. It is also ubiquitous and compelling. There are lots of artists who, furrowing their brows and trying to convince us of their seriousness, aren’t half as profound or compelling.’

The most important thing to have when examining his work is your sense of humor.IMG_0787

Less Fluff more Fun

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Milliners, Kim Fletcher and Kerrie Stanley claim that occasional dressing is part of the fun of going to events like the Melbourne Cup. This is their accessory forecast for racegoers this season. They want to see less fluff on the ends of combs; they want more substance and structure.

“We’ve grown up,” claims Ms. Fletcher

There are more materials available for them to develop their craft and to be more experimental. They are looking for non-traditional millinery items. They would like to see Melbournian women distinguish themselves by being more adventurous in head fashion. Their aim is for our Cup to be a unique fashion statement.

“Using stuff ‘outside the square’ and making them more modern.” Ms. Fletcher adds.

The women agree that Melbourne has some of the best milliners in the world and claims that the industry has stood the test of time due to the Melbourne Cup.

“We have a more casual lifestyle that’s why dressing up for the racers is such a big deal, even some weddings are quite casual in reference to their dress code.” Ms. Fletcher points out.

The primping and priming that Kim and Kerry agree on, is a major incentive for attending the event. The economic flow-on affects a myriad of other industries such as hairdressers, manicurists; make up artists and so forth. We are given a Public Holiday to attend and play our role in its success.

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Kim Fletchers headpiece that she dons sprouts red flowers that move whimsically in the breeze. In contrast Kerrie Stanley wears perky bud ariels reminiscing pixie ears.