The Finkelstein Files: In My Room

“Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy.”

– from ‘The House’ by Warsan Shire

In My Room is the telling title of Helen Gory’s newest body of works – at once an invitation and a provocation. Strongly symbolist in nature and style, she has created a blueprint that challenges the viewer to encroach on her personal space; both as audience and interrogator.

Gilt-laden images are scratched into the paper, challenging its singular appearance. I am reminded of Austrian-born artist Gustav Klimt, who once said something like ‘art is a line around your thoughts’. This idea resonates throughout Gory’s works, which are at once deeply personal and universal. Draw a line; make a point; take a stand; risk something.

Gory’s oil-stick women delve backwards into unrevealed pockets of spaces, memories compartmentalised into separate ‘rooms’. Her challenge – and ours – is to slowly, carefully unpack these subtle chimeras; expose their interior to the outer world. Woman with Leaf speaks loudest without uttering a word. Verging on naïve, these night-shade women hover between darkness and illumination. Their talisman tools may well be props; striking a pose that both regales and invites us inside.

Helen Gory opened her own contemporary commercial art gallery in 1995. Helen Gory Galerie was a pioneer in supporting emerging practitioners, many of whom have gone on to become Australia’s leading visual artists. In 2008, Gory closed her gallery to pursue a long-unfulfilled desire to make art.

Golden Bars, 2018

Paper Collage and Oil Stick on Art Paper, 140 x 110cm.

It’s a Challenge, 2018

Paper Collage and Oil Stick on Art Paper, 140 x 110cm.

Walking Back To Happiness, 2018

Paper Collage and Oil Stick on Art Paper, 140 x 110cm.

Gory’s work is best described as visual stories where humour and joy sit side-by-side with the shadows that they cast. She is concerned with uncovering what is hidden, with the act of revelation. Through the repeated motifs of fragmented body parts, women, and elements of the natural world, her often-surreal images speak of desire, longing, angst and the power of transformation.

(det.) The Leaf, 2018, Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

The Leaf, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

Gory works across various medium to construct these visual narratives. Her first primary medium, collage, allows her to deconstruct, fragment, (dis)connect and reassemble, the process of creation a metaphor for the complexity and layering of human experience.

More recently, Gory has segued from collage to painting and drawing. Using oil stick, graphite and charcoal in scribbling and scratching-like motions, she adds/removes layers in a repetitive act of mark-making that is intrinsic to the interior world she is revealing.

The Pods, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

(det.) The Pods, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

The Scarf, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

The Scarf, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

Last weekend to see In My Room!

Head to: Backwoods Gallery, 25 Easey Street, Collingwood, VIC, Australia (map)

The Finkelstein Files: JAHM House Museum Tour

         

Above: JAHM Leah & Charles Justin are very welcoming and warmly share their art treasure trove with their visitors.

Charles and Leah Justin have been collecting contemporary art for over 40 years. Today, they live together with their artworks in the Justin Art House Museum (JAHM) with an aspiration to provide a distinctive experience for visitors, that is also intimate and personal. Their fantastic collection has a strong focus on the theme of  ‘Space’ – reflecting the architectural background of Charles Justin. Consisting of a diverse spectrum of art practices, the collection has a strong emphasis on digital and video work. Like other house museums, JAHM reflects the persona and direction of the Justins, DIGITAL – The World of Alternate Realities”, explores how our contemporary lives straddle the real, the virtual and unreal.

The creation of a house museum was the confluence of several factors. ” We started visiting smaller private museums and enjoyed the more intimate experience and seeing different art. Charles was retiring from his architectural practice. Our collection had outgrown our home, which was also not suited to our life as we grew older. We visited the Lyon Housemuseum here in Melbourne, which was the tipping point. We then decided to build a customised house museum where we could share our collection and love of art with the public.” – Charles Justin.

Above: JAHM Co-Director, Charles Justin addresses visitors to current exhibition, Digital – The World of Alternative Realities.

According to Professor Tim Flannery, from the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Melbourne University, we only need to reflect on the way that the net and social media are influencing our lives to understand how digital technologies are profoundly altering how we relate to each other, and the world. But over coming decades digital technologies will extend their reach into transport (via driverless electric vehicles), medical care (via robotics), our relationship with the natural world (through webcam), and the wellsprings of human creativity, through the creation of digital art.

“Digital art throws up many questions beyond that of where the act of artistic creation lies. Purchase a work of digital art, and you are likely to receive a small box, inside of which nestles a nicely fetishized memory stick containing the blueprint for the work. I imagine that it’s quite a different experience from purchasing a canvas. And while a work on canvas can be stored away and only infrequently viewed, the digital work doesn’t exist until its digital information is manifested by a machine.

The high fidelity of digital art also sets it apart. It is the work of seconds to replicate with high fidelity the blueprint for an artwork stored on a memory stick. So what does it mean to own an ‘original’ work of digital art? Analog art of course faces its own issues in this regard. Photographs of works on canvas abound, but it takes a talented forger to faithfully replicate a painting. In the newly emerging sharing economy, such distinctions may not matter that much. But in the existing world of conventional art, with its emphasis on authenticity, it presents a conundrum.

One indisputable advantage of digital art, however, is its information density and therefore potential for fine granularity. In principal, this allows digital art to mimic nature in the detail it is capable of representing. And in the right hands, such fine granularity has the potential to create aesthetic and compelling works.”

Above: Peter Daverington Spatial Labyrinth, 2010. Image courtesy the artist and ArcOne Gallery.

This digital print of a labyrinthine space with its intersecting planes, frames and stairs presents a disconcerting Escher like quality of space with no beginning and no end. A space is conjured rather similar to that of a renovated warehouse. Is this a commentary on the type of buildings and cities we live in? Evolving his trademark painterly visual codes of landscape, architecture and geometries of space, Daverington continues his exploration into the collapse of traditional western symbols of landscape—informed by the traditions of the Italian Renaissance and German Romanticism. Flights of steps float, translucent in space, while columns and frames hint at structural elements.

Currently his paintings play with ideas of hyper-dimensionality, infinity and landscape by using perspective and architecture as a conceptual trigger to enter the imagined architectonics of the painted surface. The landscape is often referenced as a site for containing the endless conflict of meaning and information within the cultural histories of religion, science and technology. Within this context the landscape is seen not only as a physical subject but a psychological one as well, a multi-layered collage of information which demonstrates the importance on making visible a system rather than simply creating a composition.

Above: Ollie Lucas, Travelling Matter, 2015. Image courtesy the Artist.

These works have been created by  the artist digitally and although they have the character of abstract expressionist paintings, they have in fact been created on computer, blurring the boundary between the traditional handmade painting and the machine made artwork. Perth born and Melbourne based digital artist Oliver Lucas focuses on the information age and it’s
impact on large cities. In particular, central urban areas such as Federation Square, Times Square, Moscow’s Red Square and Shibuya. These spaces offer a work place, a festive space, a physical location and a hyperreal site for information-exchange, all at once. Inspiration through colourful advertising and neon cityscapes and has led to a creative take on the industrial function of coloured flags and signals that direct travel of trains, planes and ships, known as semaphores. Lucas harnesses this communicative function to explain new kinds of urban consciousness via constellations of arresting, bright colours and geometric patterns.

Above: Paul Snell, Pulse #201021, 2012. Image courtesy the Artist and Langford 120.

This work is a further exploration of the artists’ practice in which he digitally deconstructs photographs that he has taken, reassembling these digital components to create a new image. The process of transforming something real into something virtual has parallels in many spheres of life, be it entertainment or genetics.

“As an artist, I am always seeking the point of entry to liminal space, which, for me, is the marker of creative engagement. I start with an idea, I do research and entertain many possibilities, then I withdraw into that “space between” to let everything cook and stew while I seek to become quiet and receptive and balanced.  I stand on the threshold, poised but not ready to commit.  Stepping through the threshold, moving from possibility to a chosen act or decision, always seems the most difficult part – actually stepping through and being willing to choose “this” but not “that” becomes an act of creative courage. Of course, that is only the first step; it is actually a series of decisions, reflections, and more decisions, an ongoing process of stepping into a threshold, a liminal space, then continuing on through the process, over and over again.
 
The space between here and there is often a place of confusion, restlessness, doubt; perhaps even fear. We live most of our lives in this place of uncertainty. We know where we have been and where we are now; we do not know where we will be tomorrow or exactly how we are going to get there. There is a tendency in this uncertain place to rush too quickly into whatever is coming next. We want to make decisions, to be proactive; we have been taught to just do something. There is a sense of urgency in everything we do. Liminal places teach us to let go, relax, and be changed.” – Paul Snell

Above: Ilan El has created an illuminated stair over 3 flights comprising ’39 steps’. The 4 colour LED lighting to the steps will be interactively activated by the visitors walking up and down the stairs, making the colour and pattern combinations will be unlimited.

Above: Shannon McGrath, Fraction #3  2014. Image courtesy the Artist.

This is a photograph that has been digitally manipulated. It challenges the role of photography that traditionally captured the real. In this work, photography is used for creating the abstract.

Above: Catherine Nelson, Monet’s Garden, 2010.

Catherine Nelson is an Australian artist, living in Belgium and the Netherlands,  who uses digital technology as her paintbrush creating landscape ‘paintings’ and animations. “When I embraced the medium of photography, I felt that taking a picture that represented only what was within the frame of the lens wasn’t expressing my personal and inner experience of the world around me. With the eye and training of a painter and with years of experience in film visual effects behind me, I began to take my photos to another level.” – Catherine Nelson.

Nelson’s Monet’s Garden (2010) is composed from a photograph of the garden which has been stitched together digitally so that the lily-pond at its centre becomes a sphere surrounded by trees and clouds. Is it a commentary on our compulsion to impose the chaos of gardens on nature? Above all it is a beguilingly beautiful work that comes closest to capturing the illusory beauty of traditional landscape painting, albeit with a Hieronymus Bosch-like touch.

Above: Stephen Haley, One Second (plastic bags 31688), 2010. Image courtesy the artist and Mars Gallery.

This is a digital print from a series called ‘One Second’, which explores what gets manufactured in the world each second, in this case plastic bags. Haley has used images purchased on the internet to compose  the image. This work presents a beautiful illusion of a sunset created by the environmental destructive manufacture of plastic bags, which is a metaphor for the comfortable world that man has created for himself at the expense of the degradation of our planet.

Haley’s One Second (plastic bags 31688) is a visual representation of the number of plastic bags produced every second, and the sunset-like light and thousands of tiny bags gives the image a murkiness evocative of pollution. I find it intriguing that the density of information of digital image-making used in this distinctive way can produce such opposite effects. But where does the creative spark lie? The blueprint for the elements in the work were created by others. Are they merely the equivalent of the pigment a traditional artist uses? Is Haley’s arrangement of them on the page – as well of course as devising the concept of creating art in this way – where the spark lies?

“We do not believe meeting the artist is critical. Nonetheless, we have met the majority of the artists in our collection, and with many of them, we have had very rewarding discussions about their works and art in general. Our view is that, the way we respond to an artwork is not necessarily connected to the artists’ intent in creating the work. Our attitude does not in any way diminish what the artist thinks or feels; it just allows for a broader, richer and more diverse way of interacting with the art.” – Charles Justin

What is most interesting is the constant overlapping between private and public elements. Although it is a house museum, JAHM has a clear gallery space with some artworks on display spread throughout the house (bedrooms, studio, living room, elevator, toilets) where visitors are encouraged to wander. Leah and Charles offer a curated exhibition twice a year, where not only the artwork in the gallery but some of the artwork in their private spaces will change. Having themes or curated exhibitions is a great idea to have regular visitors, but it is also a clear way to explore contemporary art from different perspectives, which after visiting today I could say it is essential to the message they want to communicate. I absolutely love the fact, the Justins collect emerging Australian talent and are driven by their individual vision and personal sensibilities rather than what may appear fashionably ‘collectible’.

The tour ended in a very homely and much appreciated morning tea of with fresh Verbena-Ginger tea in gold patterned Turkish glass  cups and a myriad of delicious European cakes and tasty morsels. It was special to be invited into a home where art is valued and upheld as an experience worth sharing communally. Stay tuned for our next visit to another house-museum born via post World War II immigrants finding their feet in the Melbourne modern art scene.

Vicki xx

 

The Finkelstein Files – The Guts & the Gory

Helen Gory has long held a fascination for me, firstly as a gallerist, well-regarded for her sharp eye, can-do hands-on approach to people & the selling of artworks and more recently, as an effervescent powerhouse of a woman – a surprise package. Happily mentor, art adviser & friend all rolled into one, Gory has garnered a loyal following over her two decade long commitment to celebrating & championing some of Melbourne’s brightest talent.

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Artist Helen Gory and creative, Adrian Elton at the JCP Studios for THROUGH THESE PAPER WALLS exhibition opening last month.

Her artists’ and buyers alike are dealing with the loss they may feel akin to losing a dear friend upon the closure of the Prahran gallery space mid 2013 to join forces with Dianne Tanzer under the amusing banner of THIS IS NO FANTASY, inspired by the neon-lit truisms of famed American artist Jenny Holzer. This relationship was well-received last year as the logical if not market-savvy acknowledgement of the shifting of gallery models which has long been hotly debated and bandied about town for the past few years in earnest.

Gory had already entrusted the daily operations to then gallery manager Nicola Stein, now director, feeling as though the mantle had been passed safely to another to continue the path Gory has paved. Opportunities and challenges aside, Gory has quietly stepped back now entirely. It seemed an obvious choice.

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‘How many gallerists are needed to change a light bulb’ begs the age-old joke?  If your name is Helen Gory, well – just one. She is a do-er, a maker. It’s no surprise that she has emerged metamorphosis-like from the cocoon into the light, able to spread her wings outward into full flight.

I am for one, uber excited to be present at the first of what I feel certain will be the beginning of a natural unfurling of a talented artist who has jumped the fence from seller to maker. Interestingly, her vision is a s broad as it is defined as far as her influences are concerned.

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Dignity, 2014

 

‘Even though I’ve surrounded myself with art for the best part of 20 years, I’ve only just begun to create my own art. I cried the very first time I sat at my new workspace. I cried because for the first time in my life I actually made the time to make art. I cried because I don’t know why I waited so long to start. Perhaps all this will be revealed another time in another exhibition or perhaps it just wont be necessary any longer.’ – Helen Gory

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‘The images are wishful, improbable, overwhelmingly busy, or minimal. They can be anything. I’m happy if they are emotionally evocative, tell a story or totally ambiguous. Sometimes subtle and sometimes in your face, secretive and political. I want to keep exploring. My real world and my pretend world are merging. Fantasy and reality, injustice and cruelty, pure love and joy. I can find them all in the images, scraps, tears and cuts I make. I can make my own world and shut out the real world.”

‘I like that I can see where the page is torn and the image cut, it’s not slick and it’s not perfection. I keep the works fairly small to a medium size mainly due to the constraints of the paper. It’s the spontaneity of the process and the rawness of the paper combined with the quirkiness of the content that seduce the viewer into looking intently at the final artwork.’

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Hang the Rat, 2014

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A Fine Balance, 2013

‘I’ve loved the manifesto of Dada since I read about it as a young teenager. I don’t believe that I really understood its underground nature and subversive attitude but it spoke to me nevertheless.Moreover the art of Art Spiegelman, Egon Schiele, Hannah Hoch, Gustav Klimt, Francisco Goya, Emil Nolde, Diane Arbus has forever haunted me. Without being consciously aware when I started collage two years ago, these former influences of my teenage youth are shaping what I’m creating today. It’s like breathing. I feel utterly natural doing it. I recently read that a majority of female artists of the early 20th century chose collage as their preferred medium of art and so it seems I’ve joined the ranks.’

‘My daughter came up with the title, ‘through these paper walls’. It’s from a poem we can’t locate nor recall its author. It’s so apt. The medium of paper and the walls that I’ve finally broken down and braved to begin doing art.’

The Curtain, 2012

The Curtain, 2012

28. walking back to happiness

Walking Back to Happiness, 2013

 

Party Room, 2012, analogue collage, 55 x38cm.

Party Room, 2012

‘Secrets, desires, absurd ideas of woman and who they should be, how they should look, sex, politics, fashion, social injustices. I feel helpless to do anything so I let out my frustrations and anger here in these works. And I try not to be repetitive. Lou Reed once said “why would I want to play the same song the same way every time I performed live, I’d rather cut off my toes.” I like his sense of drastic.’

‘Collage allows me the freedom I need to express myself. I’m here and I’m excited and happy to be creating. I don’t want to stop. As my son once told me, Hokusai didn’t start his art career until he was 75 years of age. So I’ve started, and I hope to continue.’

Somehow, I think she will.

TFF. xx

Through these paper walls was recently exhibited @ JCP Studios in Cremorne. If you missed viewing the works in person & would like to see more, please contact the artist for enquiries: helen@helengory.com

Bird on a Wire

Birds of a feather flocked together last night at [MARS] in Port Melbourne to a packed house to celebrate  opening the exhibition in aide of BirdLife Australia.

Curated by initiative-driven director, Andy Dinan, the flora theme took full flight as peacocks preened & the local native birds all jostled for attention.

Louiseann Zahra-King, 'Lullaby', 2011, Bronze, glass, rubber, perspex, 150 x 90 x 90cm

Louiseann Zahra-King, ‘Lullaby’, 2011, Bronze, glass, rubber, perspex, 150 x 90 x 90cm

This contemporary art exhibition, entitled On a Wing and a Prayer,  is dedicated to Australian birds that have become threatened or extinct due to the changing environment, climate and urban development. Opened by BirdLife Australia CEO, Paul Sullivan, gave an impassioned plea for people to consider the importance of conservation for the greater environment as well as from a personal standpoint.

BirdLife Australia journal, Vol.1 No.3, 2012

BirdLife Australia journal, Vol.1 No.3, 2012

The Environmental protection and Biodiversity Consevation Act (EPBC) came into being  in 1999 to provide a natioanl framework which would protect the biodiversity of the Australian environment by imposing rigorous checks and balances to proposed developments and other activities. Green tape, or the watering down of policies are fiercely assessed, lest Australia’s environmental laws lose sight of leadership in its environmental protection.

Leila Jeffreys, 'Nora, Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo' , 2012, photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper, 112 x 90cm

Leila Jeffreys, ‘Nora, Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo’ , 2012, photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper, 112 x 90cm

Leila Jeffries has always seen eye-to-eye with wildlife.”I thought of them as people,” says the photographer. Her love of birds has led her all around Australia and the world. She has photographed and helped scientists study endangered birds on Christmas Island; she has been welcomed into the world of pedigree budgerigar ‘best in show’ bird competitions; and she has photographed migrating birds across Europe.

Wanting to convey to people that there are incredible birds all around us all the time, Jeffries realised that it was because of their small size that the beauty in the commonplace was being missed. Her idea for photographing Australia’s native bird – the Budgerigar – in the same style as a human portrait was born. It was a labour of love that took years to perfect, and people responded immediately.

Interior designer & accessories guru, Jonathan Adler is a fan, buying out her 2010 series upon first viewing. He then declared his flight of fancy by stocking Jeffries’ work in his boutiques in New York and London and eventually all 14 of his boutique. Fabulousity!

Ash Keating, 2006, Press Release', c-type photograph 50.3 x 80cm, edition of 5

Ash Keating, 2006, ‘Press Release’, c-type photograph 50.3 x 80cm, edition of 5

Melbourne-based artist Ash Keating’s art practice is based on an ethic and aesthetic of recycling. He reinvents waste often for site-specific interventions – before disposing of the relics by recycling them responsibly. For ‘Press Release’ (2005-ongoing) he cut 6,500 copies of the same bird from magazines and has thrown them skywards, letting them soar to the ground, in atriums and galleries from Sydney to Santiago. In his videos he is seen at work deconstructing free newspapers or wrestling with large discarded vinyl banners.

Jason Waterhouse, 'The bird house's big exit', 2013, fence palings, expanding foam, plaster, acrylic paint, 40 x 47 x 25cm

Jason Waterhouse, ‘The bird house’s big exit’, 2013, fence palings, expanding foam, plaster, acrylic paint, 40 x 47 x 25cm

Susan Hipgrave, 2013 black underglaze on Walker's Supeior White porcelain, dia 28cm

Susan Hipgrave, 2013 black underglaze on Walker’s Supeior White porcelain, dia 28cm

Hipgrave’s true passion, is that of painting on porcelain – her preferred ‘canvas’. Using a fine hairline brush, each exquisitely detailed artwork reflects the accomplished combination of a steady hand and an expert eye. Inspired by the diverse beauty of botany and wildlife, Susan’s black-and-white work captures the stunning intricacy of her subjects; every nuanced stroke imbued with a fine energy that demands closer inspection.

Joan Ross, 2011, BBQ this Sunday (flight paths) edition 2 of 5, pigment print, 45 x 76 cm

Joan Ross, 2011, ‘BBQ this Sunday’ (flight paths) edition 2 of 5, pigment print, 45 x 76 cm

In 2011,  Joan Ross released a fluoro yellow’s hi-vis orange video work, entitled BBQ this Sunday, BYO, animating Joseph Lycett’s colonial landscape paintings and cast of characters, and accompanied by seven prints, the above which is pictured above, courtesy of the artist and Gallery Barry Kadoulis, in Sydney. See the video here for more insight.

Anne Kucera, 2013, 'Forty-Spotted Pardalote', hand-made paper pop-up, 42 x 20 x 10cm

Anne Kucera, 2013, ‘Forty-Spotted Pardalote’, hand-made paper pop-up, 42 x 20 x 10cm

Saffron Newey, 2013, Habitat, oil on plywood, 60 x 55cm

Saffron Newey, 2013, Habitat, oil on plywood, 60 x 55cm

Saffron Newey‘s work has, for some time, involved the interplay of photography and painting. The works, oil on canvas, are translated from photographs of Newey’s own environment, yet despite this, the images ultimately resonate somewhere between fact and fiction.

Like stills in a film, these paintings represent only fragments of a story. The images feature no figures but seem to imply their imminent presence or recent departure and are therefore richly evocative.

It is the intention of Saffron Newey to initiate narratives in the work that the viewer can complete. The tradition of the nocturne is revisited in this series and it too is loaded with various interpretations. For Newey it possesses the duality of mysterious beauty and the intangibility of a frameless darkness.

(Apologies, sort of, to the ladies pictured at right who did strike me as raven-like, preyed upon & kinda twitchy..)

Sheridan Jones, 2013, Aviary, edition 2/5, etching and spit bite on hand stained paper, 72 x 72cm

Sheridan Jones, 2013, Aviary, edition 2/5, etching and spit bite on hand stained paper, 72 x 72cm

Steve Cox, 2013, Unnatural Selection, edition of 5, digital print on paper, 20 x 30cm
Steve Cox, 2013, Unnatural Selection, edition of 5, digital print on paper, 20 x 30cm
Elissa Sadgrove, 2013, -Beauty and the Beast, digital print on aluminium, 30 x 30cm

Elissa Sadgrove, 2013, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, digital print on aluminium, 30 x 30cm

Printed on aluminium, Sadgrove continues to explore in this series of signage commenting on the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater from Western to North-Eastern Victoria and Eastern New South Wales. Elissa’s personal blog documents the processes after completing this particular series. Here is a list of word associations she draws between words:

“Regent Honey – golden gold fields – Regency Era – bird cages – gold crown – extinction – exit, on the way out – numbers of birds = numbers of trees – classification – Demise – skidder tractors – logging – sweet honey – nectar – bird cages”.

Jud Wimhurst, 2013, The New Empire, Wood, steel rod, polyester resin, polyurethane resin, epoxy resin, pigments, nitrocellulose lacquers and acrylic lacquers, 108 x 68 x 20cm
Jud Wimhurst, 2013, The New Empire, Wood, steel rod, polyester resin, polyurethane resin, epoxy resin, pigments, nitrocellulose lacquers and acrylic lacquers, 108 x 68 x 20cm

Jud Wimhurst‘s talks about his unique body of work here:”I was one of the many young people inspired by skateboarding and I loved it. I believe being a part of this subculture was one of the most important factors in me becoming who I am – I even owned and ran my own skateboard shop at the age of sixteen. I also believe it was skateboarding that taught me patience, how to express myself in a nonverbal way and how to think creatively, which eventually lead to the desire to make art (as it also must have done for a number of other skateboarders who have gone on to have successful art careers).
I have chosen to pay homage to skateboarding and skateboard culture by creating a series of skateboard sculptures. The skateboards are faithfully recreated from scratch at one and a half times the size of a modern street style board using a purpose built DIY version of a commercial skateboard press. Themes of identity, consumerism and design are referenced in the visual elements (skateboard graphics), whilst the capabilities and properties of the all-important materials used to produce a skateboard – wood, resins and plastics are explored.
As the artworks are sculptures and not actual functioning skateboards and will never be ridden, techniques and materials that could not ordinarily be used in skateboard production such as cast acrylic sheet, fibre flocking, automotive paint finishes and mirror have been used to accentuate the three dimensional quality of the object.”

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Grant Cowan, 2013, Curlew series, acrylic on paper, 35 x 40cm

Grant Cowan, 2013, ‘Curlew series’, acrylic on paper, 35 x 40cm

Tiny birds sometimes undertake enormous journeys. The Northern Wheatears in Alaska were recently fitted with geolocators and tracked flying through the Arabian Desert to Africa, where they travelled through Sudan and Uganda en route to Kenya, 14,500 kilometres from home . It took 91 days. Astonishingly, these birds weigh the same as two teaspoons of sugar. These guys are long-distance operators!!

Ryan Ponsford, The Birds #1-4, 2013, pigment ink on bamboo rag, 152 x 61cm

Ryan Ponsford, ‘The Birds #1-4’ , 2013, pigment ink on bamboo rag, 152 x 61cm

Martin King, 'Unusual Places to Die', 2011, etching watercolour & pigment on paper, 10 x 270cm

Martin King, ‘Unusual Places to Die’, 2011, etching watercolour & pigment on paper, 10 x 270cm

Martin King’s 40 year career needs no formal introduction. His two installations seen here above & below, are drawn from the following artist statement:  “a breath – a breath is part of a body of work entitled ‘melencolia’; named after the engraving by Albrecht Durer completed in 1514. My work was inspired by Durers’ watercolour and drawing studies, particularly of birds. I have defined ‘melencolia’ as a state of contemplation and reflection. The possibility of a creative energy, (like an exhalation) as an outcome of contemplation and reflection on the melancholic is what this work suggests” – Martin King, 2013.

Martin King, 2013, Melencolia, edition of 10, hand drawn stop motion animation, 3 minute duration

Martin King, 2013, ‘Melencolia’, edition of 10, hand drawn stop motion animation, 3 minute duration

Congratulations to all 24 participating artists including; Cathyann Coady – Grant Cowan – Steve Cox – Rona Green – Anna Griffiths – Robert Hague – Susan Hipgrave – Leila Jeffreys – Janno – Sheridan Jones – Ash Keating – Martin King – Jeremy Kibel – Anna Kucera – Saffron Newey – Ryan Ponsford – Suzanne Playfoot – Geoffrey Ricardo – Elissa Sadgrove  – GT Sewell – Samuel Tupou – Jason Waterhouse – Jud Wimhurst – Louiseann Zahra-King.

And a massive thank you to the unflappable Andy Dinan and the [MARS] gallery team for dedicating their time and donating 100% of the gallery sales to BirdLife Australia! Avarian applaude please!!!

Generously sponsored by Shelmadine Vineyards & [MARS] gallery, Melbourne.

Generously sponsored by Shelmadine Vineyards & [MARS] gallery, Melbourne.