Tag Archives: Melbourne Events

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.

img_5318

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

img_5251

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.

img_5319

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

img_5278
NGV International  welcomed the Artist on a green carpet.

 

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.

img_4942

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

img_4929

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.

Captain Australia

Melbourne Fringe 2016

Matt Stewart is ‘DRY’ at the Courthouse.

In the small ‘Attic’ of the Courthouse Hotel, Stewart warms up the crowd with off-beat humour and cultural observations.

He quickly builds a strong rapport with the audience. The jokes are uniquely Australian and as the room laughed loudly throughout the performance; a couple of overseas visitors looked on perplexed. His humour  is based on shared experiences that create a ‘party’ experience, as everybody ‘is in’ on the joke.

Stewart’s ‘lay-back’ demeanour and monotone delivery puts the crowd at ease, as his eyes search out his next sidekick. He opens the floor and allows a degree of improv, exacting sharp timing as he tosses a clever slip of irony back into the fold.

No Aussie performance can ignore the ‘heart of darkness’ of our vast continent and he does touch of some uncomfortable satire which is inserted between playful wit. He is a genuine comic, the type that other comedians would go to watch.

You will laugh so hard that your face will ache.

 

“I like him in general; his tone, the dryness, the way he comes across…his delivery” Mike Barnes Comedian*

 

Matt Stewart ; 2014 Raw Comedy Winner            

Review by A Forward

*Mike Barnes; Comedian and Manager of The Tickle Pit (Melbourne Fringe) @ Fancy Hank’s  

Why Degas mattered

The terrors of recent France and the Edgar Degas exhibition in Melbourne, may seem to have nothing in common, but look again.

“Have we loss the supremacy on the field of Fine Arts as we have lost it on the field of battle? Are our Artists like our Generals the victims of a treacherous illusion of seeing themselves invincible?” Ross King

image
Petite Danseuse de quatorze ans ou Grande Danseuse habille ; once in NGV permanent collection in 70s-80s

This was the general critical response to the 1872 Exhibition held at the Salon;  the heartbeat that informed the public of what was regarded as Art.The committee that held tight to conservative principles had got it wrong. The times were changing.

The French had loss a war to the Germans and the terms of defeat were so disagreeable to the French that there was Civil war on the streets. Scorched buildings, street executions and dead bodies scarred the city. The public no longer wanted Art or Artists that celebrated Napoleon Wars.

Manet the mentor of the Impressionist who had been made ridiculous by the Salon, it’s critics and the public, for most of his career, was suddenly the ‘toast of the town’. The Socialists were imprisoned and shot after the riots at Montmarte, however the tide had turned. People wanted artists that told their stories, not those of the Ruling Class and its Generals.

“Suddenly , as if in reaction against the grim drabness and horrors of the Siege and the Commune, the Impressionists burst forth into a new,passionate, glorious blaze of colour, redolent with the love of simple, ordinary existence.” Alistair Horne

image
detail of The Bellelli Family 1860

The Salon was losing its hold and the cafes where rogue artists congregated were taking hold as the places which informed Artists.It is in this environment that Degas and the Impressionists went forth and re-created new ‘ways of seeing’.

“Drawing is not what one sees but what others are made to see” Degas

Manets tireless battle with the Art Establishment that would have worn down most; forged a path for Modern Art.

“Of Manet’s circle the closest to him in age, intellect and temperament was Edgar Degas,whom Manet first met in 1853, the year of his first rejection from the Salon.” Denis Thomas

Degas purchased a camera on a trip to America and it informed his work, he chose to paint unconventional angles. The Modern Era needed a new voice.

 

 

by April Forward

 

Banner photo by Degas

Alister Horne/ The Fall of Paris

Ross King / The Judgement of Paris

Denis Thomas/ The Impressionists