The Finkelstein Files: Art Matters

Above: Michelle Breton, Chant Du Midi, Mixed Media, 152 x 137cm.

 

Above: Thierry B, Blush, Synthetic polymer Paint on Canvas, 122 x 91.5cm.

 

Above Left: Thierry B, Where Are You Now?, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 170 x 250cm, Private Residence, Caulfield.

Above Right: Michael Whitehead, Things Forgotten, Synthetic Polymer Paint & Mixed Media on Canvas, 120 x 150cm, Private Residence, Caulfield.

 

The definition of decorative means to make something more attractive – to embellish and beautify and enhance one’s environment. In France, the term decorative is celebrated in all its forms from furniture, to carpets, soft furnishings and ornaments. Decoration is an art form in itself to be revered and admired. Why then, does the word ‘decorative’ sound so dirty when we apply it to art ?

To decorate one’s environment is to create a space which reflects your taste and admiration for certain colour palettes and styles which inform and transform wall space into ‘energy pockets’ where your eyes zoom in and rest on works you love to look at and live with everyday. And it is entirely personal. What we are drawn toward and respond to may be decorative in nature, have no narrative but to take your eyes on a journey of exploration.

Above: Patricia Heaslip, Ether, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm –  Private Residence, Malvern.

Above: Patricia Heaslip, Untitled, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm –  Private Residence, Brighton.

Above: Patricia Heaslip, Diamond Soul, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm.

Thierry B Fine Art offers our clients possibilities and services which no other gallery includes in Melbourne. If you are placing your greatest asset on the market for sale, our stockroom holds over 400 paintings by an eclectic range of 12 artists including the prolific portfolio by Thierry B himself, whose series number 16 different styles. Truly something for everyone – we are adept at working within your budget and timeframe — whether it be for an Open For Inspection to the public, or a private function hosted at home, or longer term rentals available for commercial and private spaces.

More cost effective than alternative options – our service provides delivery with our professional carriers and installation by Thierry B for the wow factor. Thierry has been told by so many satisfied clients that he ‘has the eye’ & will deftly tweak a few pieces of your existing furniture, or suggest some tired art works require a ‘facelift’ with a sharp custom frame, can source on your behalf furniture, soft furnishings where required.

“Thank you to Thierry B – he has ‘the eye’! With our renovation complete, we had many blank walls staring back at us but had no idea where to start. Thierry was able to assist us with proportions and existing work we owned and even the placement of furniture so that it all flowed beautifully from one room to the next” – Mr. & Mrs. Cawthorne, Brighton.

 

Above: Thierry B, Darwinism Series, Indulgence of Freedom, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 200 x 300cm.

Above: Thierry B, Darwinism Series,  Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 170 x 250cm – Private Residence, East Melbourne.

 

With as many as 16 painting styles, Thierry B has a healthy insta following  – all enamoured with his diversity and talent. He is open to accepting commissions for clients who are keen to add his energy to their blank walls at home. Thierry regularly makes house calls to offer a complimentary consultation to recommend the ideal proportions of a painting which can act as an anchor point in a room. Clients are then able to select their preferred colour palette to either work back with existing work hanging or create a new energy in the space.

 

Above Left: Phonsay, Under My Umbrella, Acrylic on Linen, 122 x 122cm.

Above Right: Phonsay, Bubblegum Dream , Acrylic on Linen, 122 x 122cm.

Phonsay‘s clever and whimsical digital photographic prints have long been a favourite among Thierry B clients, who are drawn in with his quirky compositions all expertly framed in this limited edition printed on super fine, museum-quality rag paper, offering an aquarelle stipled-like effect. This year sees Phonsay picking up his fine hair paint brushes to create some client commissions of portraits of families, and the odd surprise gift for a special birthday for hard to buy for loved ones. The paintings start from 122 x 122cm in size and can be commissioned to size with an emerging price tag to boot. An affordable way of adding a treasure to your growing collection.

Above: Michael Whitehead, Ever After, Synthetic Polymer Paint and Mixed Media on Linen, 80 x 270cm, Private Residence, Toorak.

Above: Thierry B, Pieces of You, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, Private Residence, Toorak.

Some of Thierry B’s satisfied clients:

“We are both so thankful for your decorating expertise for our home – from advice on paintings for our space, design recommendations and of course, your skillful hanging – it now looks amazing!”  –  Karen and Justin, Malvern.

“Hi Thierry – this is the quickest makeover ever. Thought I was in the wrong apartment. Looks brilliant. Love your work. Many thanks for your time today. Very much appreciated” – Julie & Michael, Southbank

Above Left: Thierry B, Unlimited Series, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 183 x 183cm – Port Melbourne Residence.

Above Right: Thierry B, Between the Lines Series, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 137 x 122cm – Port Melbourne Residence.

Above Right: Thierry B, Calming Chaos, Synthetic Polymer Paint On Linen, 183 x 183cm – Williamstown Residence.

It is always appreciated when our valued clients take the time to express their gratitude: “Dear Thierry, I’m walking around my house in absolute awe with what you have created here with your style and flair, something that I would never have been able to achieve. Thank you so much for everything so far. I really appreciate you coming out this afternoon and fine tuning the furniture and putting up the family photos which are very important to me and you’ve made it look classy and elegant. I know it’s a busy time of year for everyone so I appreciate you fitting today into your schedules. I can’t wait to see the house in Belle magazine hopefully sometime in 2017 to show off your hard work for all to admire. You’re a true gem and a beautiful person! Justine xxxx” – John & Justine, Williamstown.

Thierry B Fine Art is located at 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm or by appointment: 0404861438.

 

The Finkelstein Files: The Fine Art of Investment

 

Richard Lewer
Untitled #27 (Tax Time Again) (2016)
Langridge pigmented ink on sandpaper, 28cm by 23cm

Thierry B Fine Art showcases the Abstract paintings and sculpture from over a dozen Australian artists.

Prices start from $4,950 upto $55,000. The gallery also includes a custom made frame for the painting, and complimentary delivery and installation.

Master painter and designer, Thierry B, will also scope your home or business space and recommend the ideal proportions.  We provide a turn-key solution for our valued clients – where guesswork has been eliminated for you.

Jasper Knight, Private Charter Wharf Kirrabilly, Enamel on Canvas, 183 x 183cm, $22,000 GST Incl.

Michael Fox, a leading Melbourne tax accountant specialising in the arts explains, “The rules changed about two years ago regarding buying art for your business,” explains Michael Fox. “Today in Australia it is much easier to gain tax breaks for buying works of under $20,000 than it ever was before,” he says. Fox who helps people with their tax every day says one of the big loopholes people can exploit, is the “Tony’s Tradies” – a Small Business raft of tax measures, which allows small businesses to claim their expenses up to $20,000. “If you have an ABN, then under the small business act you can claim the entire sum of that purchase up to the tune of $20,000 each; A small business meaning turnover of less than $2 million dollars annually.

“This rule means you can buy as many individual art works as you like worth just under $20,000 each and claim them as a legitimate business expense. For example if you wanted you could buy five artworks for $19,990 each and claim a tax write-off of close to $100,000 by buying those 5 works. “I don’t think the government really intended it to be a tax break for the arts industry. At the time it was introduced so that tradespeople could claim the expense of a utility vehicle. “It is not that widely understood,” Fox says.

 

Patricia Heaslip, Landlines, 29016, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm, $15,000 GST Incl.

Thierry B, New Chapter, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 183 x 183cm, $22,000 GST Incl

Gallery Manager and curator, Vicki Finkelstein explains, “that while some people might be intimidated by going to a gallery and asking prices, new collectors should never be scared to talk about the budget they have in mind for buying art. “We can guide people to incredibly collectible museum quality work for under $20,000. We often work to very tight briefs for offices, homes and new collectors. Interior designers and architects for example will always come to us with a budget in mind, so we’re accustomed to taking clients through our stockroom to find the right thing,” Finkelstein says.

Phonsay, (left), Under My Umbrella, (right), Bubble-Gum Dream, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 122cm, $ 8,800 GST Incl each.

Thierry B, Effervesence, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 168cm, $11,000 GST Incl

Are you developing a corporate culture in your business? Are you running a business in a cut throat industry? Wanting to attract great clients and retain incredible staff? Then buy art. Not only will you claim the expense of making your office look cool, but if you are in charge, at the top end of town, you can curate a serious corporate collection.

Once you amass a cool art collection you can tour the work or open it to the public. At the top end of town the ultimate, is when these companies appoint someone as a curator and actually put together a decent collection. Then those sorts of exhibitions can go touring around the country. Granted with the name of the company attached, but still, it’s a form or a good will and very clever marketing.

 

Geoffrey Dyer, Koonya Bluff, 2007, Oil on Linen, 183 x 244cm, $ 65,000 GST Incl

Overseas this is common practice. Here in Australia companies like Wesfarmers, BresicWhitney, Allens and SBS all have great corporate collections the public can visit. Collecting art for your company isn’t just about tax savings or marketing. There have been several studies that show people who work in environments with nice artwork tend to be more productive.

Resident Curator at Allens Linklaters Maria Poulos can concur. Their collection was formed under the direction of Hugh Jamieson, a former partner at Allens, who left a legacy of 900 modern paintings. When he retired in 1995 he left behind a collection that has become central to the company’s vision and values, a collection that has continued to expand.

“The Collection represents an important part of Allens’ corporate identity and its connection to a much wider cultural world. In another sense, it’s a sign of good citizenship and creates a ‘civilised workplace’,” Poulos explains.

Thierry B, Blush, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, $9,900 GST Incl

 

Michelle Breton, Carnavonesque, 2017, Mixed Media on Canvas, 183 x 183cm, $12,000 GST Incl

Today, corporate collections are generally no longer seen simply as a way of decorating a company’s foyer, boardroom or offices. Instead, they are seen as a marketing tool that assists in defining a corporation’s brand or reputation. Many of the organisations that focus on collecting contemporary art are in competitive industries where it is necessary to project an image of being a forward thinking, dynamic and progressive market leader in order to attract the best staff and clients.

Thierry B, Euphoria Series – Yves Blue, 2016, 170 x 250cm.

Image courtesy of Private Collection, Melbourne, Australia. Photo Credit: The Design Files.

Shannan Whitney who is the CEO and Founder of BresicWhitney has watched his corporate collection grow considerably since he purchased a Bill Henson for his office back in 2003. “Art was introduced consciously quite early on. It was an important mechanism to connect customers with our brand within a physical space. It was also a nice connection piece for our staff,” Whitney says. Today he points out, that in all four of his offices, art plays a strong, but silent role. “Firstly it’s unexpected which is great. Secondly like all art is supposed to do, it prompts a response and reaction, which is valuable and finally I think it has been an effective in helping people connect our brand with our vision,” he says. Maria Poulos echoes this sentiment at Allens, sighting the impact on staff as ‘positive’. “Lawyers often comment on the art as a great conversation starter with new clients – a handy way to break the ice. Even if someone remarks unfavourably, ‘How can you put up with that?’, art has stimulated discussion and a different way of looking at things,” she says.

Michael Whitehead, Things Forgotten, 2017, Synthetic Polymer Paint & Mixed Media on Canvas, 120 x 150cm, $ 7,700 GST Incl.

Thierry B Fine Art is located at 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm or by appointment: 0404861438.

Vicki xx

The Finkelstein Files: The Shape of Things To Come

Above: Jane Valentine’s studio away from home: Studio Nicola Stagetti in Pietrasanta, Tuscany.

Sculptor Jane Valentine, is an artist working in a revered art form, crafting the marble of Michelangelo and the inspiration of ancient Egypt and Renaissance Italy into a 21st-century statement. Valentine is brightly blonde and seductively ebullient. One of Australia’s pre-eminent – and rare – marble sculptors, her personal stash of marble blocks are agisted in a field on the edge of Sydney. She works on the other side of the world: most usually in the Italian village of Pietrasanta, where Michelangelo sourced his marble; sometimes in Xiamen, in the south-east of China; most recently in Cairo. During her time on Northern Italy, at the base of the Carrara Mountains, the sculpting village of Pietrasanta she continues to explore a strong and individual style of art making. Valentine’s marble forms survey classical simplicity and the purity of form. Much like the later works of Romanian sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, her structures and vessels are abstracted and embrace various aspects of the natural world. Her aesthetic resonates with the essential elements of sculpture and its traditions to reveal the clarity of the material and its form.

valentine-shielded

Above: Shielding, I, II , III.

One of the earliest art forms, sculpture still carries the imprint of artisan knowledge passed down through centuries. Yet while Valentine’s practice honours and continues many traditional methods, she is very much a 21st-century practitioner, excited by technology and operating globally, sourcing her materials, her working spaces and conversations all over the world. “I work with whatever technology I can take; and I work some pieces just by hand. That’s amazing – and even more beautiful when you’re working more intuitively and you don’t know what the end product is going to be.” Now, she says, working like that is “something that I give myself as a gift”. “Part of my artistic practice tries to get to the essence of things and that’s often a pure, fragile, feminine essence.” A contradiction to the sense of solidity and grandeur often associated with marble? “Yes, and with marble you have a sense of immortality, too – a memorial aspect. To get to an essence, to immortalise it, that’s essentially what I’m doing. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition.”

Above: Shielding, I, II, III – in situ at Thierry B Fine Art.

Always confident she’d be an artist – “it was the only thing I was good at, at school” – Valentine majored in painting at the Sydney College of the Arts. On graduation, she won a
scholarship to Florence, only to find herself overwhelmed trying to work in “this ancient, culturally rich city”. The epiphany came on an excursion to Pietrasanta: Valentine saw a girl working in one of the studios and knew instantly what she wanted to do next. “The first time I worked with marble was like watching black-and-white television turn into colour,” she says. Valentine never painted again. “The technique I use is subtractive: give 30 students a block of clay, 28 will put little pieces of it together to assemble a shape – only a couple will start subtracting pieces of the clay to find something. That’s working in negative space and I found that language very intuitive. It was the first time I calmed down. Sculpting is very meditative and I’m very lively, always thinking 20, 30 different things. Sculpture lets me have that thinking space, and all those ideas, but it lets me quieten my voice and get to the essence of what I’m trying to say.”

Above: Harmonic Lines, 2007.

Contemporaries Valentine finds admirable, inspiring, include “Anish Kapoor, of course, Isamu Noguchi, Peter Randall-Page, Antony Gormley – people you return to just for the simplicity of falling in love with their work.” Then there are women such as the late Louise Bourgeois and Australian artists such as Marea Gazzard and Inge King. “They arose within their media within such a difficult age of being.” Inge King was a rare woman in a predominantly male field of heavy sculpture, with many paying tribute to King’s contribution to the arts in Australia as “unquestionably significant”. If she didn’t have the correct tools for her work, she’d make them, if she didn’t know how to do something, she’d figure it out. Undiminished by age almost to the end, King worked actively until she was 98 years old. So too, Valentine is carving her own niche with each international commission she garners.

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There’s a famous Michelangelo quote about the statue concealed in each block of stone and the sculptor’s task of revealing it. In Valentine’s concentration as she listens – leaning in to catch anything obscured beneath the stones of a conversation’s words – you sense the focus with which she seeks out her marble and its internal potential. “It’s better to go when it’s just been raining and there’s early morning light,” she says of these excursions. “You have to tap it – when you tap marble, it sings, so you’re looking for the appropriate pitch.” It’s a sensual step in a very physical process: work with marble is work of heft, with cranes and grinders, tractors and hoists. The tallest of the exquisite teardrops Valentine made for Victoria’s Chadstone Shopping Centre is three metres high – and the hunt for their stone took six solid weeks. All of which creates its own economies of scale: the crafting of a maquette might take six weeks – “although that includes the time you are thinking about it while you’re peeling the potatoes” – a work the size of the Chadstone piece, Origins, required a year from start to finish. Then there is the cost of the raw materials she uses: a marble block can cost her as much as $40,000.Origins, is displayed in the western entrance of Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne. Weighing just under 30 tonnes, it is Australia’s biggest marble sculpture in a public space and is viewed by 15 million people annually.

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Valentine spent eight years in Pietrasanta – a long apprenticeship, she concedes, but one she couldn’t have undertaken anywhere else. “It’s a melting pot of artists from all round the world, from very significant artists to people working on their first pieces. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of ideas and cultures. After work, you’d go to the bar, have a coffee or a glass of wine, covered in marble dust, then you’d eat together – people from five or six different countries, maybe a writer or a dancer. It’s the only place I’ve ever found like that.”

 

Born in Sydney, NSW, Jane Valentine completed a Diploma of Visual Arts from Seaforth TAFE in 1988 followed by a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts in 1990. In 1992 she was granted a scholarship to Florence, Italy for her Honours year at the Studio Art Centre International. At the completion of her studies Valentine moved to the sculpting village of Pietrasanta, at the base of the Carrarra Mountains, Northern Italy where she lived for the next seven years. Valentine is based in Sydney and continues to work in Pietrasanta, Italy and Cairo, Egypt.

Valentine has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and in Italy. She has received several commissions for her work including three major Statuaria marble works for Chadstone Shopping Centre in 2009. Jane Valentine represented Australia at the 1999 International Sculpture Symposium in Changchun, China and her work is on permanent display at the Changchun International Sculpture Park.

Jane Valentine’s work is represented in several public and corporate collections including The Art Trust, the Gandel Collection, 151 Macquarie Street, Morgan Stanley Chifley Tower, Sydney, the Retail Employers Superannuation Trust, and in private collections nationally and internationally.

Thierry B Fine Art is proud to present Harmonic Lines & Shielding I, II & III by Jane Valentine (pictured at top)located at 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra 3141. Gallery hours are: Monday – Saturday 11am-5pm  & Sunday  12pm-5pm or by appointment.

The Finkelstein Files: The Housemuseum

LHM-Architecture-06

The Housemuseum is the story of a partnership between collector and architect Corbett Lyon and his wife, Yueji Lyon, who began shaping their collection of Australian contemporary art over twenty six years ago. The collection was established with the intention of making works available for public viewing, and for research and education. The original Housemuseum is a unique combination of private residence and private museum where ‘museum’ and ‘living’ are brought together in a single building.

 
Above: Christopher Langton’s inflatable sculpture Swell, 2003, sits on a large circular plinth in the
centre of the southern garden concrete and can be viewed through the full height windows of the living room.

From modest beginnings in the late 1980’s , the Lyon Collection has grown to become one of the largest and most significant in the country, offering insights into Australian contemporary art practice from the early 1990’s  through the first two decades of the twenty first century. The Housemuseum was designed by Corbett Lyon, as both a family home and as a building which would allow works from the Collection to be displayed for public viewing. The Housemuseum represents a new an experimental architectural type – a hybrid of house and museum.

Today the Collection holds over 350 works from over 50 artists, representing one of the strongest collections of Australian contemporary art in the country. Following selected artists over the course of their evolving practices, the Collection includes works by internationally recognised Australian artists such as Brook Andrew, Howard Arkley, Patricia Piccinini, Callum Morton, Shaun Gladwell, Daniel von Sturmer and Daniel Crooks and represents many of the key moments and important shifts in Australian artistic practice and thinking.

Above (Right): Stephen Bram, Untitled, 2015, Acrylic on Linen, 278 x 210 cm.

At first glance, Stephen Bram‘s abstract paintings include forms of no recognisable shape splashed across the picture plane, bristling with jagged edges that run helter-skelter over a dark greyish underpainting.  These geometric blobs behave according to perspective and that they spell out the orthogonals of an architectural interior. The blobs at the bottom indicate a floor while the blobs at the top indicate a ceiling. Those to the side are walls. Each composition becomes a picture in spite of the initial appearance of random form. The flat forms with jagged edges behave according to perspective, introducing angles by means of their staggered outline. Their chaotic disposition is scaffolded onto a grid of two-point perspective, where twin vanishing points are situated out-of-frame to the left and the right. In the past, Bram used this rigorous system from the Renaissance to reconcile it with hard-edge abstraction. His works almost effortlessly married the Cartesian apparatus of space with the intellectual apparatus of its deconstruction in flat painting.

Above: Lyon also designed a hybrid pipe/digital organ for installation on the west wall of the music room.

This custom designed instrument combines ranks of real pipes with the digital recordings of actual pipe sounds from the great cathedral organs of Europe.

In the tradition of local collectors such as the Reeds and the Besens, who knew the artists they collected and set up museums for their art (Heide and Tarrawarra respectively), the Lyon family has followed its peer group. But the Lyon Housemuseum is different. The Lyons have opened their collection and home to the public. But the ”ultimate opportunity”, Lyon says, has been the ability to design the house as well, and create ”a new species of building. People have certain expectations on entering a public museum or walking through a large house,” says Lyon. ”We’ve shaken and stirred them, so they are more juxtaposed.” For Lyon, ”absurdly inserting museum spaces – white and black cubes – into a domestic interior, creates a powerful architectural experience”.

Above: Howard Arkley, Fabricated Rooms, 1997 -1999, Acrylic on Canvas, 17 panels, overall 203 x 1930cm.

Once the double-storey white cube is in the home, it’s attacked. Slicing through its white walls, the architects have inserted slot windows that allow views of more artworks, people in other rooms, and views outside the gallery. ”It’s about breaking free of the tyranny that the white cube brings with it,” says Lyon. ”It’s about involving you as the spectator in the whole spatial experience of the building. It’s the opposite of the typical museum where the effort is to cut you off from the outside in order to see the artwork in an almost sacred, timeless space – the temple or tomb where all great art goes to die,” says Lyon.

The building is also anchored by an artwork. Arkley’s massive 17-panel work Fabricated Rooms is on permanent display in the formal dining room above the white cube. Another marker is between the kitchen and the black box, a pipe organ Lyon designed (and plays) for concerts. Private rooms can be closed off as required. ”Shrink-wrapping” it is a huge zinc roof. ”The design strategy of hybridising those opposites – the house/museum, public/private architecture – finds its way into the form of the building,” says Lyon.

Above: Arts patron Yueji Lyon, warmly invites the public to view the the Housemuseum, home to her 20 & 22 year-old daughters, who both incidentally are studying architecture and live in ‘apartment’ pods upstairs.

”The gable-ended roof refers to a primitive form of a house, but it’s clad in black zinc that refers to the monumentality of public architecture.” One of the building’s greatest accomplishments in the public and private juxtaposition is the layering of words throughout the site. For instance, the corner property’s brick fence displays the Kew address in 2.5-metre-high brick letters: Cotham and Florence. Inside, across its ceilings, friends’ names, recipes and other personal notes are ”tattooed” into the timber, in shapes that spell out ”ART”. (see above) These are words and phrases collected cheekily by the four members of the Lyon family during the construction of the Housemuseum. They represent a form of family history at the time the building was completed. The texts include place names, significant people and events, biographical details, family recipes and other markers in the lives of the Housemuseum’s occupants.

Above: Christopher Langton, Cute (Doggy Style), 2011, PVC, polyester resin and acrylic, 198 x 91 x 60 cm approx.

Represented by Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne, Johannesburg-born sculptor, Christopher Langton is a pop sculptor and installation artist who creates plastic blow-up ‘toys’ of frightening proportions. Curator Mark Feary commented: ‘Langton’s work makes you feel good, but only sort of.’ Indeed there is something ominous about these sculptures despite their bright colours, smiling faces and fun media. They blend the playful naivety of Betty Boop and Astro Boy with the more knowing aesthetic palette of Roy Lichtenstein. Langton breathes plastic life into bobbing and bopping figures like a Geppeto gone mad!

Above: Brent Harris, Oceania, Oil on Linen, 179 x 279cm.

Brent Harris’ paintings and works on paper are brooding, dripping swamplands delineated in the most meticulous way.  Stark planes, often black and white, belie the swooping organic gestures and expressionist shapes. “Many of his forms vibrate, rise and fall, and cause the viewer’s eye much exercise in following them”, noted James Mollison in Art and Australia. But what surprises most is the sensuality of the work; as though the sharp lines and immaculate surfaces can barely contain the emotions brooding beneath.

painted on the base of his second Housemuseum of contemporary art in Kew. Photo: Josh Robenstone

It clearly is an expensive enterprise (”we don’t talk about how much”) and Lyon says the Housemuseum receives no funding or tax concessions. What’s the incentive? ”The really positive thing we get out of it is that people get the idea.They don’t feel like they’re coming to an institution. People say it’s changed the way they think about Melbourne. We wouldn’t do it if it didn’t have that kind of reaction.”

Designed around a two storey ‘white cube’ at the front of the building and a two storey ‘black cube’ at the rear, these act as anchors for the building and display paintings, sculpture, video work and installations. Family living areas flow around these two anchors, accommodating further artworks, architectural drawings and artefacts. Through this juxtaposition of art and living, the Housemuseum challenges conventional ideas of ‘public’ and ‘private’ and explores new relationships between art and the spaces in which it is viewed. Offering a new platform for works of contemporary art, architecture and design, the new Housemuseum galleries is a major expansion of the Lyon Housemuseum. Due to open mid 2018, the new galleries will provide a series of spaces for international and local exhibitions and events, where new ways of presenting and experiencing art will be explored.

And a hint as to why Lyon has just unveiled an Olympic swimming pool-sized artwork on the base of the yet-to-be built museum next door – painted blue, black, pink and mint green by Melbourne artist Reko Rennie – only to have it built over in a week’s time. Watch the minute-long time lapse video of Reko Rennie’s Visible Invisible, painted on the foundation of Corbett Lyon’s new Housemuseum in Kew.

Above: All images courtesy of John Gollings.

“As part of the announcement on Tuesday January 31 this year, a major new artwork, the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool at 44 x 20 metres, was revealed. Australian contemporary artist Reko Rennie’s VISIBLE INVISIBLE (2017) spreads across the concrete base of the building, forming the foundation of the new galleries. Using 600 litres of Dulux paint to create, the artwork will be visible in its entirety for a short time, prior to being covered by the construction of the new museum. The artwork is visible from the street (as well as passing tram) for the coming weeks. A portion of the artwork will remain visible within the new museum, hinting at the colossal artwork lying hidden beneath.”

Reko Rennie explores his Aboriginal identity through contemporary media, provokes discussion surrounding Indigenous culture and identity in contemporary urban environments. Largely autobiographical, his commanding works combine the iconography of his Kamilaroi heritage with stylistic elements of graffiti. Merging traditional diamond-shaped designs, hand-drawn symbols and repetitive patterning, he works to subvert romantic ideologies of Aboriginal identity.

“Camouflage exploits the vulnerability of visual perception and its subjective relationship with meaning. It usually attempts to render the visible invisible by disorienting our eyes and employing the art of disguise. This work plays with layers of patterning, colour blending and contrasting areas of intensity and flatness in order to turn the tradition role of camouflage on its head. My use of camouflage aims to amplify, rather than conceal my identity, and to stake my claim to a luminous, commanding form of cultural visibility.”

Above: Emily Floyd, WORKSHOP (detail), 2012, steel, 2-part epoxy paint, ferrador, each letter approx. 150 x 150 x 40cm.

Set to be one of the largest dedicated contemporary art precincts in Melbourne, the new public art gallery will offer a new platform for works of contemporary art, architecture and design. Part of a major expansion of the Lyon Housemuseum and the result of a $14.5 million donation by the founding benefactors, the Lyon family, the gallery will provide a series of spaces for international and local exhibitions and events, where new ways of presenting and experiencing art will be explored.

Corbett Lyon commented, “We are very excited by plans for the new public gallery and its potential to foster experimentation, ideas and conversations across disciplines – between artists, architects, designers and the public to enrich and add to our city’s cultural life.” He continues, “… As we approach the opening of the new museum we are thinking widely in terms of ideas, exhibitions and events to add a rich dimension to the extraordinary cultural life we have here in Melbourne.”

The Finkelstein Files: Golden Repair

Above: Remembering the Pattern, 2016

Analogue collage, oil stick on hand painted rag paper, 34 x 46cm.

Above: Where The Sun Don’t Shine, 2016

Analogue collage, oil stick on hand painted rag paper, 35 x 45cm.

“Helen Gory’s art pivots upon its connections. Its power lies in its links. Her images seem to unspool and reveal an almost filmic flow of associations. Golden Repair, the title of her solo exhibition at Chapman & Bailey in Abbotsford, refers to the Japanese procedure of Kintsugi. This process brings together and reconnects fragments of that which was whole; it is, in essence, an embrace of imperfection. For Gory, the procedure stands as an analogy of the honest acceptance of often overlooked and almost forgotten aspects of her inner self. It’s a type of re-stitching – an aesthetically realigned spill-out of the contents of a mental handbag.”

Attending the opening of the exhibition, I was reminded of the astute observations of esteemed art historian, Ken Wach, (above) as he waxed lyrical about Gory’s gilt creations. An Associate Professor and former Head of Creative School of Art at Melbourne University, Wach has long proved a valuable treasure trove of knowledge when sluicing to the core of an artists’ intention.

Above: (detail.) Never Ending, 2016

Collage and oil stick on paper, 140 x 100cm.

The mixed-media works in Golden Repair speak of desire and displacement. Through her art Gory searches for patterns and meanings; her mind is seduced by connections and coincidences as it points toward a form of self-interrogation. Thoughts are prompted by fractured, fragmentary and juxtaposed images – an inventive vision of constructed parts rather than given wholes.

“This body of work is autobiographical, and has taken me close to three years,’ says Gory. “To celebrate that which is not perfect resonates deeply with me. These distortions and missing bits and pieces, floating in mid-air, are expressions of seeing beauty in who we are, as we are,” explains Gory. “Finding the connections are our strengths.”

Above (Left to Right) : Three generations of Gory women together, artist Helen Gory with her daughter and grand-daughter.

Recognising the beauty in broken things, is interwoven with the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – to find beauty in broken or old things. By giving new life, or rebirth to objects by celebrating their flaws and history, the 15th century practice of Kintsugi can be applied to life. To find value in the missing pieces – to bring light the scars that have come from our experiences, to find new purpose through seeing the beauty of imperfection – is a gift of innate prosperity.

I have long been an ardent fan of the collage as a unique medium of exploration – signposting our most primal visual markers. Assemblage is a dense and intricate process not for the feint-hearted as Gory explains of her practice. Gory’s ability to track and expand upon her ideas are referenced here in an earlier body of works here.

For an artist, who once was firmly fixed on the spectator side of the studio, her gallerist eye is sharp and pincer-like. An advantage of two decades of running a commercially successful exhibition space, and nurturing the fledgling careers of many of Melbourne’s finest talent, Gory has a head start. To then be able to ‘un-see’ what she can already ‘see’ is the trick to tying it all together. The Guts & the Gory.

Above: Holding My Flame, 2016

Oil Stick on Board, 38 x 34cm.

Above: Feeding the Donkey, 2016

Oil stick and pastel on paper, 122 x 86cm.

From a collectability perspective, the works are genuine nuggets of gold. Priced extremely affordably, it is tempting to select more than one work of art. A pair juxtaposed and pitted against themselves works well. I often ask my twin 7 year-olds their opinion on new works – their untrained eyes often ‘see’ better than most jaded buyers with decades of viewing under their proverbial belts. After a short discussion, they both select the same work – declaring it ‘special’.

A week post-opening, the collection is fast on its way to selling out – audiences are aware that what they see and feel resonates within long after stepping away from the image. That’s how great art is meant to make you feel. That you have stumbled upon something precious that makes you feel joyous!

Golden Repair is on until April 1st at Chapman And Bailey, 350 Johnston St, Abbotsford. For sales call the gallery 03 94158666, mon-fri, 10-5.30, sat 10.30-4.30.

The Finkelstein Files: Prodigious Paintings by Master Painter Thierry B

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Thierry B is well known for his colossal sized canvases – all abstract in style and resolutely zen in spirit. The three framed works featured in our South Yarra gallery measure 2 x 3 metres each. Happy to paint commissioned works for his clients, Thierry loves to bring colour, movement and energy into a room changing the feel forever into a space where you are at home.

Bigger indeed, can be better! If you have a space or multiple areas which have blank walls crying out for some special treatment, visit Thierry B Fine Art where we showcase larger paintings. We also offer a custom framing service, delivery and installation included in our pricing for a total turn-key solution for your home or business.

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Above: Master painter, Thierry B. in paint splattered overalls doing what he loves most – creating! Pictured here in his Huntingdale studio hard at work.

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Thierry B.
The Well Wisher
Synthetic Polymer Paint On Italian Linen
200 X 300 cm
Signed and Dated Lower Right
Titled Verso

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Thierry B.
Tides Turning
Synthetic Polymer Paint On Italian Linen
200 X 300 cm
Signed and Dated Lower Right
Titled Verso

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Thierry B.
Indulgence of Freedom
Synthetic Polymer Paint On Italian Linen
200 x 300 cm
Signed, Dated and Titled Verso

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Thierry B.
New Chapter
Synthetic Polymer Paint On Italian Linen
183 x 183 cm
Signed, Dated and Titled Verso

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Thierry B.
The Love Exchange
Synthetic Polymer Paint On Italian Linen
170 x 250 cm
Signed, Dated and Titled Verso

appointment

The gallery is open Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm and Sunday 12pm – 5pm until Christmas Eve @ 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

For an appointment outside these hours, please call  0404 861 438 or email art@thierrybfineart.com.

Happy Holidays to all from me and mine – to a new year filled with health and happiness for all.

Vicki xx

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The Finkelstein Files: Modernist Master Yosl Bergner

BERGNER, YOSL-Artist pic 1986

Yosl Bergner pictured here in his studio in Tel Aviv showing, and speaking about, one of his very first drawings. Yosl knew he wanted to paint from a very young age. His early drawing not only incorporates perspective but shows Yosl has always had an interest in what he sees around him.

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to post something a little more serious in tone. A good friend told me in brief the story of how his parents had immigrated to Melbourne 63 years earlier in search of a new life & a new beginning. The story of their passage is perhaps not unlike that of their fellow passengers or their new neighbours, but nonetheless unique to them. Upon listening, it struck me how vastly different this journey was trajectory-wise from my own comfortable sixth-generation Australian armchair.

While my friend talked, I remembered Shaike Snir explaining in detail  on Bergner as one of the first contemporary artists to depict the plight of urban Aboriginal people and parallel their dispossession with that of European Jews. Frank Klepner wrote a wonderful book called Yosl Bergner: Art as a Meeting of Cultures published by MacMillan in Melbourne, 2004. I am fascinated and drawn to the part of Bergner’s career that he spent in Australia and the influence he had on Australia’s most important artists before and during WW2.

Born in Vienna in 1920,Bergner was raised in Warsaw. With rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, the Freeland League for Jewish Territorial Colonisation was formed in July 1935, to search for a potential Jewish homeland. Soon afterwards a pastoral firm offered the League c16,500 square ks in the Kimb­erleys, stret­ching from the north of Western Australia into the Nor­thern Terr­it­ory. The plan ultimately failed, but for a time, the idea was at least interesting. Bergner’s father, Melech Ravitch, became involved in a serious investigation of the Kimberleys, and thus the Bergner family moved to Australia.

16 year old Yosl left Poland with Yosl Birstein, who be­came a nov­el­ist. Together the teenagers travelled to Australia, arr­iving in 1937 when this country was still in the grip of the Depres­s­ion. He belonged to the gener­at­ion of people uprooted from home and forced to build a life elsewhere. Even safely in Australia, Berg­ner struggled to survive. He worked in unskilled jobs in Carlton fact­ories, while studying painting at Melbourne’s National Gal­lery Art School.

BERGNER-Coming- Collage                 Yosl Bergner, Coming To Town, Oil on Canvas, 1980

Bergner’s influence on Albert Tucker, Noel Counihan, Arthur Boyd and Vic O’Connor was great. It was not just the style and mood of Berg­ner’s paintings – the dark, glowering eerie cityscapes where the disp­os­s­esed, the victims and the loners wander. The Australian born artists clearly loved the idea of a marginalised refugee making it in art.

He painted images which were drawn from his experience of hunger; views of a sad urban environment, inhab­ited by refugees and slum dwellers. Klepner’s book has very moving, dark works like Citizen and The Pumpkin Eaters 1939-42, now held in state galleries.

Aboriginals in Fitzroy-Collage            Yosl Bergner, Aborignals in Fitzroy, Oil on Canvas, 1941.

The empathy that Bergen displayed in his art attracted immediate attent­ion, according to Klepner, and inspired many young Mel­bourne artists during the 1940s. Russian artist Danila Vass­il­ieff also arr­ived in Melbourne in 1937 and met Bergner and Tucker in 1938. These meet­ings inspired Tucker to examine his values and to focus on the pain of the Depression and of war. Bergner’s influen­ce on Noel Coun­ihan was just as important; Klepner suggests that Counih­an’s ap­proach to light and dark was affected by Bergner’s expression­ism. Tuck­er, Berg­ner, Counihan and Vassilieff all joined the newly formed Contem­p­orary Art Society, to give voice to art not accepted by the estab­lish­ment and to influence the future direction of Australian art.

In the 1940s he was a homeless painter. Bergner’s association with the Australian Jewish community was pred­ominantly through Kadimah and the Yiddishists. He became very friendly with writers Pinchas Gold­har, Judah Waten and Yosl Birstein – whom all provided food.

1941 Army         Yosl Bergner, Tocumwal, Loading the Train, Oil on Canvas, 1944.

During WW2, Bergner enlisted in the Australian Army Labour Company at Tocumwal NSW 1941-6. He worked with other Friendly Aliens who had been refugees from Axis count­r­ies. Drawing on personal experience, he evoked a mood of dejection and exhaust­ion. The bleak palette of muted browns added to the atmosphere of gloom. The 4 anonymous fig­ures, their bodies slumped dejectedly, had survived another day of endless loading and unloading goods trains for the war effort. Bergner later won a Commonwealth Rehabilitation Schol­arship, to return to studies at the National Gallery Art School.

Bergner may have kept his sense of humour, but his work was often dark and despairing. There were hints of optimism eg the recurring motif of the ladder, symbol of hope. But dark­ness was ongoing. Two Women 1942, one black and one white, had an air of resignation. Father and Sons 1943 was beyond despair. Only Looking Over the Ghetto Wall 1943 suggested vague hopefulness, unfulfilled hopefulness (all three in the NGV).

Bergner was only in Australia until 1948, before leaving permanently for Israel. Yet it was Bergner who showed that art was not merely a ref­lection of Australian society; instead it could be an instrument in its very shap­ing. In his 11 years here, Bergner became politically more involved and his social criticism sharpened.

And the rest is history. Or rather, the history of the rise of post Modernism in Melbourne post WW2.

BERGNER-Alchemists Collage                Yosl Bergner, The Alchemists, 2011, Oil on Canvas.

Berger  left Australia in 1948, travelling first to Paris and then to Israel in 1951. It is said that he became an Israeli without shedding his Jewish cosmopol­itan/refugee identity, an identity he zealously guarded in Israel’s melting pot of the 50s and 60s. Even after the state was est­ab­lished, Bergner’s Israeli works were filled by the trauma of the refugee. Eugene Kolb, Director of the Tel Aviv Mus­eum, curated a wonderful exhibition and catalogue of Bergner’s works in 1957.

This video clip focuses on Bergner’s recurring motifs, a poignant reminder of the reason many of us choose to continue creating.

Next week I will invite you to see an incredible exhibition which celebrates Bergners’ longevity as a near centurian painter here in Melbourne until mid-October.

copyrightTFF