When Oprah expouses the need to be our most authentic selves, to live our ‘best life’, she is telling us to live from the heart. As children we played inexhaustedly all day long, often forgetting to eat, relishing the intricate game we had concocted before being called in to eat dinner. Playing may well be our greatest skill. Why then, must we be reminded constantly to re-enact our ‘inner child’ rather than our ‘inner critic’?
Plato once infamously said, “You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than you can in a year of conversations”.
Which got me thinking – how do I play?
As a child I was an avid drawer, creating elaborate aerial perspectives of my bedroom, my haven from the world. An introverted dreamer, I loved escaping into worlds I festooned with colour and movement on old reams of butchers’ paper.
School work then took priority & for several years I forgot I could draw. I suffered my first bout of deep introspection, a.k.a depression aged 15, I painted my walls charcoal grey & the window sills of my bedroom even darker still.
I drew on an easel (same reams of butcher paper) every night after dinner, in graphite, charcoal sticks, chalky pastels, trying to somehow push my feelings through the paper, to the other side where answers would await me. The other side always felt out of reach.
Until I swapped my drawing apparatus with my bare hands. I bought two blocks of stoneware clay & forged hand-built figures, peeling away the positive until the negative space stood alone and whole.
This felt right, and somehow already known to me. Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves all at the same time. What art offers is space, a certain breathing room for the spirit.
Above: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George (formerly Reflection Seascape), 1922.
Credit All rights reserved, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Many people inspire me.
American painter, Georgia O’Keefe was emphatic that “I could say things with colour and shape that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for”.
Above: Another beam of pure energy and light is the world’s oldest yoga instructor, Tao Porchon-Lynch, 98 who says ‘the joy of living is right inside you”.
After teaching for more than 75 years, this spirited yogi started her training in India at the tender age of 8. She swears by the mantra that “anything is possible”.
Jim Carrey, recently took up painting to play and explore his emotions in a symphony of colour on canvas. I don’t think he cares what he creates particularly – it is simply the act of creating and playing specifically that interests him most.
His 6-minute vimeo entitled I NEEDED COLOURexplains his motivation to explore.The video provides viewers with a brief look into what Carrey’s life is like, and the monumental amount of time and energy that he spends honing his craft, and his drive to do so.
Carrey shows off his various methods of creating artwork: heavy and measured brushstrokes, modelling clay, squeegeeing paint off of canvases, and then pouring paint directly on them.
Above: Jim Carrey in his studio.
Kurt Vonnegart’s humanist belief shone through his novels which blended science, satire and black comedy.
He said, “to practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it”.
Japanese physician, 105-year-old Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, lived a long and extremely full life. The fact that he saw patients until a few months before his death that defies everything we have come to expect of old age.
He headed five foundations in addition to being the president of St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo. He was responsible for introducing Japan’s system of comprehensive annual medical check-ups, which have been credited with greatly contributing to the country’s longevity.
How did he manage to live so long and live those years in a state of good health? He didn’t follow a sensible diet, but rather kept his physique trim by eating when hunger struck, and slept when he felt tired.
Working 18 hour days, 6 days a week, he seems superhuman surely. His work/life balance was skewed? Not if you love what you do & share the knowledge, lecturing actively 2-3times weekly. He believed that energy comes from feeling good.
Don’t retire, but remain active longer. Mental agility equals well-being. That, and playing like a kid.
“Science alone can’t cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.”
He believed in the benefit of play with art, musical therapy providing the ideal stimulation to keep illness at bay.
Believing life is all about contribution, he held an incredible drive to help people – this is what made life worth living for him.
Closer to home, Thierry B is a mentor for me in how to live purposefully. His Buddhist beliefs underscore his ability to live life playfully with intention to serve others.
I am appreciative that I get to learn from my work environment from my daily dealings with valued clients. I listen to their needs and together we come up with a solution. The communication I offer is transparent and informative. We are all each others teachers, no matter how large or small the lesson taught.
I have bought two more bags of stoneware clay, dug out my wooden case of sculpting tools. This weekend, I’m gonna play until I feel hungry or the sun sets, whichever comes first. Art as therapy.
The contradiction of Aboriginal art is that it is both timeless and contemporary at the same time. This duality challenges the Western understanding of the progress of culture and ideas. Since Aboriginal culture is the oldest continuous living culture in the world , her artwork has existed for 40,000 years and is rooted in the human pre-history. Through songs, rituals, dances, storytelling, symbols and meaningful patterns that are being passed on, Aboriginal groups have managed to preserve their culture for thousands of years. When a group of elder desert men first started to paint their cultural heritage using paper and canvas, that was the birth of the movement that much influenced Aboriginal communities and Australian art in general. For the majority of Westerners, this was the first encounter with Aboriginal culture in general. Having a timeless connection to the pre-history and the first inhabitants of the Australian landscape, Aboriginal art has also been perceived as an innovative and iconic art form inherent to Australia.
Gloria Petyarre, Bush Medicine Leaves, Acrylic on Linen, 204 x 139 cm.
The Origins of Aboriginal Contemporary Art
The first desert works emerged in Papunya in 1971. A white Australian teacher and art worker Geffrey Bardon who was working in a remote community in Central Australia started an art program with children and elder men in the village. When elder men started to translate their knowledge of traditional folklore onto canvas, this was the birth of the contemporary art movement. Soon after, eleven men have formed a cooperative called Papunya Tula Artists, and the movement started to generate a widespread interest across rural and remote Aboriginal Australia. Over subsequent decade as many Aboriginal communities contributed with their specific culture and knowledge, these differences developed into different pictorial languages and regional styles emphisizing their diversity. These initial works that include pieces by now famous Aboriginal artists such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, are today considered as the foundation of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement and are accounted as very valuable. The art critic and writer Robert Hughes has described the rise of contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art as ‘the latest great art movement of the twentieth century’.
Since Aborigines didn’t have a history of writing, they have a long tradition of communicating their stories and heritage graphically through symbols. This ancient iconography has transferred into contemporary art works. Often reflecting the spiritual traditions, cultural practices and sociopolitical circumstances of indigenous people, stories and symbols vary widely among the diverse Aboriginal cultures. They range from ones derived from the hunting and tracking background portraying animals and humans with marks they leave or certain clan patterns to aspects of their ‘Dreaming’. The Dreamtime is a translation of the Creation time for Aboriginal people, and it provides their identity and the connection to the land. Artists often need a permission to paint certain traditional stories, and this right is inherited.
Sally Gabori, DulkaWarngiid, 2007, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 195 x 610cm. Collection: National Gallery of Victoria.
The Aboriginal Art Today
Contemporary indigenous artists have won many of Australia’s most prominent art prizes not only reserved for indigenous art. Also, Aboriginal artists have represented Australia in the Venice Biennale in 1990 and 1997. Today, Aboriginal art is internationally acclaimed and recognized as fine art. It ranges across a wide variety of mediums from works on paper and canvas to fiber, glass and printmaking. Rooted in traditional iconography, the works are often remarkably modern in design and color. Some of the most prominent names include Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa,Emily Kngwarreye, Lorna Napurrula Fencer, Christine Napanangka Michaels, Rover Thomas and Gloria Petyarre. There has been a number of Aboriginal artists, such as Michael Cook, William King Jungala or his daughter Sarrita King who have developed a very unique contemporary style combining their Aboriginal heritage with practices and techniques closer to the Western contemporary art. Albert Namatjira, one of the pioneers of Contemporary Aboriginal art, produced western style landscapes different to the traditional Aboriginal art style. On the other hand, there is a number of artists who ethnically and culturally identify as indigenous, but have adopted global art practices and recognizably Western style. Labeling them as Aboriginal artists have caused political controversies and raised questions on conventional notions of what Aboriginal art is.
Sarrita King, Ancestors, Jap 010912, Acrylic on Linen, 90 x 60 cm.
Sarrita King, Water, Jap-008727, Acrylic on Linen, 230 x 140 cm.
Labels and Controversies
It has been widely discussed whether the indigenous art has been commodified by the West and the commercial art world. It has been even suggested that using terms as ‘Aboriginal art’ is intrinsically racist in terms of labeling Aboriginality as ‘other’ compared to the Western norm. Many contemporary artists who happen to be of Aboriginal descent refuse to be categorized and labeled simply for their ethnicity. This issue has gained great publicity when in 1990s Australia’s most renowned international artist Tracey Moffatt refused to present at the exhibition exclusively Aboriginal, and more recently when acclaimed contemporary artist Richard Bell was awarded the National Aboriginal & Torre Strait Islander Art Award in 2003. It seems that it might be the time that the Western community develops a more sophisticated understanding of the diversity of artists of indigenous descent.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Bush Yam Dreaming, 1994, inscribed verso: #551, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 183.0 x 122.0 cm.
Aboriginal Art in the Art Market
In 2007, the painting Earth’s Creation by Emily Kngwarreye became the first Aboriginal artwork sold for more than $ 1 million. Her use of dots reaches its crescendo in this phase, with dots merging, separating and dominating in various configurations. They fuse together to create planes of colour structured into mobile shapes, or are choreographed to form lines that suggest dance movements. In earlier works they are used to form fine veils that shield secret markings or create shimmering effects reminiscent of the cosmos. Emily’s palette was largely determined by the changing seasons. Dusty browns appear in her canvases during the dry season, and greens appear after the rains, which Emily referred to as ‘green time’. When wildflowers carpeted the desert, she used a spectrum of yellows. The visual intensity of these paintings recalls the work of French colourists Sonia and Robert Delaunay, or even Claude Monet. Yet Emily knew nothing of their work and, while these French modernists explored pure colour as form and subject, Emily’s only subject throughout her life was her ancestral home of Alhalkere. Emily’s “green-time” canvases attest to an unshakable connection between body and country, one that evades iconography yet demands to be felt.
Only a few months after, an epic work Warlugulong by Clifford Possum was sold for $ 2.4 million in Sotheby’s auction in Melbourne. After the initial boom, the market for these works started to struggle due to the issues with authenticity, ownership, exploitation and Australia’s cultural heritage regulation. On the other hand, the first ever sale of Aboriginal art at Sotheby’s London in June 2015 was a huge success showing a sign of renewed interest in this movement. When choosing a piece, the great importance should be placed on the style, medium, status of the artist and age of the artist. With five works being sold for over $100,000, the auction brought in over $ 2 million for 75 lots. As the price of the pieces is rising again, buying Aboriginal art could be a wise investment.
Thierry B Fine Art proudly offers Aboriginal art and may be viewed in our gallery stockroom. Gallery hours are: Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm, or by appointment on : +613404861438.
Above: Patricia Heaslip, Ether, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm, Private Residence, Malvern, Australia.
13 REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED
Having original art in the home is vital to your well being. Art is a key piece of furniture for many reasons and yet it is sometimes put on the back burner in comparison to other home objects. This list is dedicated to the understanding of importance of art from perspectives of interior design, well being, social atmosphere, creating a mood in the home, and more. One quote that stands out about the importance of original art is the following, “You would never put fake books on your bookshelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?”
For all of the following reasons, you can find the perfect work for your home or office on our online store (we can ship to you!) here.
Above: Patricia Heaslip, Untitled, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm, Private Residence, Brighton, Australia.
Above: Michael Whitehead, Ever After, Synthetic Polymer Paint & Mixed Media on Linen, 80 x 270cm, Private Residence, Toorak, Australia.
2. Adds Personal Character to the Home
We all love to express ourselves, be it through clothing, accessories, social media – the list goes on! Original art in the home is a perfect way to express your artistic and aesthetic interests in a way different from most, for original artworks are one of a kind.
Above: (left) Phonsay,Under My Umbrella, (right) Bubble Gum Dream, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 122cm, Private Residence, South Yarra, Australia.
3. Makes Memories
Buying an original work of art is an experience. For whatever reason, you were drawn to a specific piece (or multiple). You may have seen it at a show opening, had a nice trip to the ice cream shop before hand. Whatever happened leading up to/during/after the purchase of a meaningful original work will be remembered every time you see it. This will not happen with a poster from Ikea.
Above: Thierry B, Darwinism Series, Triptych, Synthetic Polymer paint on Line, 183 x 152cm x 3 panels. Private Rseidence, Caulfield, Australia.
4. Provides a Colour Palette
When rooms have a lot of colours, or many shades of the same colour, it can become overwhelming. An original work of art is a beautiful, meaningful way to tie everything together and create a general focal point.
Above: Thierry B, Next Chapter, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 183 x 183cm, Private Collection, South Yarra, Australia.
5. Makes a Room Feel Finished
When walls are empty, a room does not necessarily look bad, but by no means does it look finished. Rooms with empty walls are functional rooms in a house. Rooms with original art work are comfortable rooms in a home.
Above: Michelle Breton, Untitled, Mixed Media on Canvas, 152 x 152cm, Private Residence, Kooyong, Australia. Styling: Lisa Gole Interiors.
6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity
This one is simple – in rooms with no art, artistic expression is lacking and therefore the need and want for creativity is not very prominent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, original artworks foster creativity, expression, artistic inspiration. This is particularly important in homes with children as being surrounded by artwork will allow creative thinking. This idea is expanded on in reason 11.
Above: Justin Audrins, Talking Heads, Oil on Canvas, 137.5 x 198cm. Private Residence, Toorak, Australia.
7. Conversation Starter
As mentioned in reason 2, hanging original art in your home is a way of expressing oneself. That being said, guests will always be curious about the choice of artwork, the story, have questions about the artist, etc. It is a way to show off your art collection while having passionate conversations with house guests.
Above: Thierry B, Euphoria Series, Synthetic Polymer paint on Linen, 183 x 183cm. Private Residence, Melbourne, Australia. Styling: David Hicks Design.
8. Supports Artists
One of the most important things about buying original artwork is that you are supporting an artist’s career. Each time you have a look at a work in your home, it provides a feel-good emotion that you are assisting an artist in achieving the success and recognition they deserve.
Above: Michael Whitehead, Things Forgotten, Synthetic Polymer Paint & Mixed Media on Canvas, 120 x 150cm.
9. It is an Investment
Building off of reason 8, not only does owning original work in the home allow you to support artists’ careers, but it is also an investment. These artworks can be passed down through family and friends, be shared with loved ones for many years all while increasing in worth. This is never something that will be achieved with a $12 print from Kmart.
Above: Thierry B, Blush, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 122 x 91.5cm.
Above: Thierry B, Unlimited, 183 x 183cm & Between the Lines Series, 122 x 91.5cm, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen. Private Residence, Albert park, Australia.
11. Keeps the Brain Active
Art is very conceptual, artists use it as a medium to express personal thought, political or social issues, and to make us as viewers think. Some people do quizzes or crossword puzzles to keep their brain active, but another way to do so is to own original artwork in the home, to just sit, look, and think.
Above: Michelle Breton, Collioure, Mixed Media on Canvas, 117.5 x 203cm. Private Collection, Caulfield Australia.
In a busy, fast-paced world that demands speed and productivity, home should be a place of relaxation. Coming home from a busy day at work to sit on your couch and stare at a TV or a blank wall is not as recharging or relaxing as enjoying an artwork purchased with the means to create a positive mood.
Above: Thierry B, Pieces of You, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm. Private Residence, Toorak, Australia.
13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun!
Last but certainly not least, curating a gallery is fun! Attending show openings, going to galleries, chatting with artists even, it is a fun experience! After a while you will start to notice a theme, in subject matter, colour, concept, etc. Playing with moods, composition, placement in the home, of all these reasons why to have art in the home, let’s not forget the fact that it is simply something fun to do.
As potential collector and client of Thierry B Fine Art, we are excited to offer Autralia-wide complimentary delivery to your home or business address. To place your order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call directly on: +613 9827 7756.
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.
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.
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.
Above: JAHM Leah & Charles Justin are very welcoming and warmly share their art treasure trove with their visitors.
Today Thierry B Fine Art celebrates 16 years in the business of beautifying the world! Adding authenticity by placing art work into your environment, whether it be home or work – envelops and defines who we are and what we show shapes and reveals what moves us. We paid a visit to Melbourne’s most recent house-museum addition, JAHM.
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.
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.
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.
Above: Architect and arts patron Corbett Lyon with his wife Yueji standing on Reko Rennie’s Visible Invisible,
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.”
Above: Abstract artist, Thierry B. gives his thumbs up to this unique contemporary museum we visited together.
The Housemuseum & Collection is open to the public for pre-booked tours and events on designated days each year. To make a booking, email email@example.com or call +61 3 9817 2300.