The Finkelstein Files: A Few of My Favourite Things!!!



In the last post for the year, 2017 has been a rollercoaster ride for many.

I for one, am looking forward to a complete summer break with my favourite little peeps, my twin 8 year old’s.

 It’s all about having fun and being in the moment, taking our time, and few plans except soaking up the much-needed sunshine and feeling the sand between our toes in between bouts of body surfing.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Thierry B Fine Art‘s valued clientele for their ongoing support throughout 2017.

We’d also like to thank our behind-the scenes-colleagues who logistically make it all possible to keep up the pace, as one of Australia’s busiest commercial art galleries.

Here are a few of my favourite things below!!!


 

As we countdown the last 6 days until we close the gallery for our break, our gallery hours include Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm & Sunday 12pm – 5pm or by appointment. Re-opening the 15th January, if you are in town come by and check out our new stockroom full of beautiful paintings.

Have a happy holiday with your loved ones of near and far, and return next year in good health, ready for an even bigger and better 2018!!

Lots of love, Thierry & Vicki

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The Finkelstein Files : Living Treasure, John Olsen

Without further fanfare I’m excited to add my salute to the sun – an offering of appreciation to one of my all-time favourite luminary painters, master watercolourist, Sir John Olsen – one of our greatest living artists. In March last year, Olsen embarked on the second largest mural of his career. He was 85 years old. “What I am trying to do is to get the life of the sun, the energy of the sun, the intrusiveness of the sun. Without that form of energy there is no life.”

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The 48 sqm painting King Sun was installed in the foyer of Tower 1 and is now visible from Collins St, Melbourne.

In The King Sun, director Tony Williams and producer Anna Hewgill follow the progress of John Olsen’s mural from the arrival of the 8 blank panels to the transportation, delivery and installation of the giant painting in the Collins Square development in Melbourne. The film is a record of a great Australian at work on possibly his final mural. It’s also an uplifting exploration of a life in art, and a reflection on mortality, optimism and happiness.

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The filmmakers take us inside Olsen’s Southern Highland home where Olsen opens up about the eastern philosophies and techniques that have guided his practice, and we hear from Olsen’s wife, son and daughter. John Olsen is in the autumn of his life and in The King Sun he reflects on what he was like as a younger man. We flash back to archival footage of John as a young, vigorous and driven artist working on Salute to Five Bells, and winning the Archibald. And we see how much he has mellowed with time.

Watch it here: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/king-sun-john-olsen/AC1308H001S00

John Olsen, Kitchen Story, Mixed media on arches paper, 76 x 92cm, $55,000

A brief snapshot of a luminary life filled with much merit, Olsen’s painting combines an implied aerial view with an ambiguous and seemingly unpremeditated figuration. His characteristically quizzical line and irregular squiggles and dots deftly render countless organisms, large and minute. Their environment is conjured through loosely brushed and stained expanses of colour (on canvas or hardboard) that are keyed to natural light. Even when he is referring to the outback landscape, usually noted for its austerity and inhospitality, Olsen’s imagery teems with life. Yet the same lines sometimes read as geological mappings.

In Olsen’s work there is no foreground/ middle ground/ background schema, nor any sign of European landscape’s concern with “human scale.” Instead he employs simultaneously the contrary vantages of naturalist and geographer or, to put it another way, the viewpoints of frog and eagle.

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A Newcastle lad born in 1928, Olsen eshews the life of the hard-working, hard-winning artist. In 2001 Dr John Olsen was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO). In 1977 he was awarded the O.B.E. for services to the Arts and in 1993 he was awarded an Australian Creative Fellowship. He was also awarded the Wynne Prize in 1969 and 1985 amongst many other awards throughout his career.

See Olsen’s AUSiMED art work here

august 2015

 

The Finkelstein Files: Beyond The Woods

If trees are carriers of symbolic possibilities, the exhibition Beyond the Trees is a powerful and poetic response to our emotive connections to our planet. Climate change, the environment and the preservation of diversity are ‘hot’ topics. The life sustaining essence of trees is explored deftly by Victor Majzner who eschews these living monuments ideals of endurance and longevity. Often emblematic of of patience and wisdom, dozens of canvases stand like proud sentinels along the gallery walls of the light-drenched Langford 120 in North Melbourne.

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Beyond the Woods sign-posts a sharp twist in the tale of this image-maker of ideas of the Divine. An innate colourist, Majzner’s narratives intrigue and are full of pathos. Screams at the world mingle with recurring  faces reiterating a human helplessness –  a search for salvation? Many questions are raised without resolution as the trees sit expectantly, quietly on the walls – contemplating and confronting. Looking Into Myself, after Felix N, 2013, Acrylic on canvas, 92 x 92 cm (above).

 

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Portal to Memory, After Ezra K, 2013, 92 x 92cm (above), reflects two strong entertwined trees in a puddle of water – brothers who are emotionally connected or lovers? The connection is powerful and strong, a reflection as a symbolic portal to a memory from the past. A thought bubble hovers offering comfort, that these two souls are still looking after each other.

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Much of Majzners’ writings on his work are encapsulated in a insanely beautiful box-set is a complete catalogue of works and an additional visual diary filled with studio insights and authored offerings on his mid-career trajectory. Designed by the artist’s equally talented son, Andrew of Paper, Stone, Scissors fame, its clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

 

vic-Strange fruit 2013 Acrylic on canvas 92 x 92 cm

The above image lends its’ title from one of the most moving of Billie Holiday’s songs, Strange Fruit.  The gigantic tree, a universe of life has from time to time become the conduit for violence, racism and death. Sanctified by manmade laws and attitudes of power where the humanity of ‘the other’ has been degraded to a possession, only to be disposed of at the racist whim of the plantation master of the KKK gang in the American South up to the 60’s.

 

vic-Sky_night tree, after Alex S 2012 Acrylic on canvas 152 x 137 cm

Victor explains that Alex Skovron’s poem The Sky Tree was the starting inspiration for this painting, “Memories of fairy tales from my childhood, of dark forests where miraculous adventures took place were other inspirational sources. Out of darkness /’nothing’/chaos energy swarms into a vortex that eventually forms into branches of a tree, like lightening rods of light coming down to ‘earth’ with lights at each braces’ extremity, illuminating / suggesting a spiritual dimension as its source. Through the branches, at night can be seen small villages with their distinguished church spires. These villages are separated by dark forests and by meandering country roads and lanes illuminated by ‘golden’ lights – magic pervades.”

 

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The roots of tradition and story-telling are embedded firmly into Majzner’s earth and the longer you spend gazing around the collection, the tighter the grip becomes. As he shows me around ‘the cage’ studio (above) – two days after a first viewing, these images haunt my minds’ eye. Each with a story to tell and a potential lesson to unfurl.

 

The Finkelstein Files: The Pixel Princess

Needlepoint often invokes clichéd images of lighthouses, landscapes or floral patterns, but Michelle Hamer has a different approach. Hamer is using this textile craft to explore the urban landscape and “the small in-between moments that characterize everyday life.”

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This unexpected imagery is very familiar. The billboards, chain link fences and highways are scenes that we all recognize, but perhaps they are also scenes we overlook. These hand-stitched works help us to have new eyes in seeing the landscape that is around us. In the artist’s words, “This traditional technique exposes an ironic romanticism present between manual pixelation and the digitisation of imagery in contemporary society.”

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“I see my work as a type of socio-historic documentation. The images depicted are in between moments that we often take for granted. The obviously slow process allows viewers to become more conscious of these moments which are captured within an instant and consider the difference between the manual and the digital.

The in-between spaces (on/off ramps of freeways etc.) where signage can often be found is both necessary for our infrastructure, but also generally not noticed. Similarly, much of the text, advertising signage, streetscapes are so familiar we can fail to focus/really see it, but it’s often reflective of our broader social ambitions, aspirations and edicts.

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“I believe art can explore issues in ways that bring them to the fore. To me, my art very personally addresses some quite difficult issues about illness and social edicts and aspirations. I’ve got very strong personal ties to issues of trauma, health and war and I know that people read different things into my work which I think is good, but I know some people who have big struggles who feel acknowledgment in it. Art can help raise or highlight serious issues as much as it can be about commodification. As an artist, I do grapple with these things. In the end, I guess all we can hope for is to inspire people to ask more questions.”

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“I have a couple of big things I’m looking forward to. I’ll be spending some time making some London based work for an art fair there and I also have an ambitious interactive project planned. I’m ultimately interested in the idea of socio-historic mapping and boundaries. So I hope to get opportunities to continue engaging with the world and highlight the challenges we face. I feel lucky that I have a somewhat dark sense of humour and much of the ‘stuff’ I end up documenting (and the edge of life that faces challenges) keeps me pretty amused.”

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Michelle is represented by Fehily Contemporary in Melbourne. See Michelle Hamer’s AUSIMED art work here

august 2015

The Finkelstein Files: Where The Infinite Dwells

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When you have this dapper man greeting you at the door for a preview for national exhibition about to unfurl, you just know you are in for a ride of a night! Mo, is painter Kate Elsey’s partner in the truest sense of the word.

Accompanying Elsey on most of her artiness trips made for plein air studies of the Australian bush which are emblazon the walls in Melbourne’s No Vacancy concrete vault are a perfect foil for her work.

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Banksia Mountain reveals a monolithic tribute to Mother nature in all her fickle fecundity. Flora and fauna vie for position with scraped back, paint-laden palette knifed canvases. The effect of is dizzying and deifying in person. (Please pardon my iPhone snaps, but this event was way too cool for my DSLR).

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Continents blistering from fire and deluged by storm, the isolation and sheer scale of the works convey biodiversity, with delicate and unusual flowers attached to unbelievable, gnarly, weathered forms and creatures.

The Stirling Ranges are home to Banksia Mountain, in the south-west of Australia where the magnitude and diversity of species makes it one of the most important, fragile and formidable places on earth.

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Where the Infinite Dwells, is an apt name for the above work, which blankets the wall effortlessly. The scale of the works are a challenge to be surmounted by the feisty Elsey, who is no stranger to employing courage and tenacity to her canvases.

Lucky to be treated to an entire space dotted with Elsey’s – the works leave today to go West for a solo exhibition with successful gallery, Linton & Kay, based in St.Georges Terrace in Perth. proud patrons and long-standing clients pepper the audience in a show of appreciation for her maturation as an artist who is fast approaching a new pinnacle.

 

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As they say, the early bird catches the worm! For sales enquiries contact www.lintonandkay.com.au/contact

TFF xx

august 2015

Artist Dean Bowen gets argy-bargy about the birds & the bees

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Dean Bowen’s works are characterised by vibrant colour, environmental symbolism and dynamic composition. His depiction of objects, people, insects and animals share the artist’s quirky and infectious sense of humour whilst also reminding us of our common struggles and triumphs. Drawing inspiration from the everyday bustle of the world and the naivete of children, Bowen’s work combines a bright, storybook sensibility with bold, joyous colours.

His paintings, sculptures and prints where movement and inertia collide inviting inspection of calamity versus calm. Primal, reductive images are reinforced with recurring motifs,  signposted structures of symbols which resonate inherently to even the uninitiated or innocent first-time viewer.

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A major monograph of Dean Bowen’s work was published in 2009 by Macmillan Art Publishing: Argy Bargy which documents Dean Bowen’s artworks over a twenty year period, includes 228 pages, richly illustrated with over 160 colour and black and white images including painting, sculpture, printmaking, tapestry and animation. The monograph is a comprehensive overview of Bowen’s artistic career with extensive biographical details and features a major essay by leading Art Historian and Curator, Sheridan Palmer.

Dean’s work is in many significant collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris) and the Contemporary Art and Culture Centre (Japan).

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Lorkie was a Roofbird. His best friend was Brian, and they had been friends since they were eggs.They lived in the Valley of Roofs, where every bird had a song to sing except Lorkie. Lorkie couldn’t sing, until he found a new home in the middle of the Argy-Bargy roundabout.

My kids are absolutely ob-sessed with this book & role play the key characters, Lorkie, his best friend Brian & his sister, Sweetheart – a precious & amazing gift for the young & young at heart ! Brilliant pictures from Bowen harmonise perfectly with Jennifer Castles’ sweet and surprising text in this delightful book for kid and parents to read aloud together. Published by Allen & Unwin, A Song For Lorkie, is a joyful, optimistic picture book about a bird finding his place in the world and the song in his heart.

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“Situating himself within the paradigms of the marginal outsider, Bowen established quite early in his career an attraction to the principles of informal art or Art Brut, Outsider Art, which later included the influences of Art Primitif, African art and some Australian Aboriginal art. Certainly, Bowen shares an aesthetic rapport with Gaston Chaissac, Jean Debuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Georges de Chirico, Ferndinand Leger, Pablo Picasso and Niki de Saint Phalle.” – Sheridan Palmer, Argy-Bargy.

“Art must make you laugh a little and make you a little afraid. Anything as long as it doesn’t bore.” Jean Dubuffet.

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Dean also plays with aspects of scale reflecting on both the monumental as well as the miniature. Simple pleasures of the natural world serve as a narrative backdrop to illustrate human temperament. The autonomy of the bird and insect world, act out our most innate and understood rituals and memories, evoked and known. They are art maps, emblematic of our own gridded lives – and of gestural immediacy.

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His grandmother’s enormous collection of pets and the tapping of avian feet on his studio roof have led to a lifelong fascination with bird subjects. Growing up in the country town of Maryborough, in central Victoria, he learnt about the rules of nature and function of human beings in both the natural and man-made environments. Bowen absorbed the colours, textures, sounds and scents – visual and sensory elements that permeate his work.

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I am always fascinated by the artists’ palette & work spaces – add lots of sandy grit into the mix & the layered iconographical journeys on canvas take months to completely dry, forming a unique skin of their own. The mid-morning natural light streams through the studio casting incredible shadows, illuminating and highlighting surfaces that dance with maquette bronze sculptures dotting the workspaces along the plasterboard walls, punctuated with prints.

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The kookaburra is an emblematic aussie icon – illustrating Bowen’s connection and concern for conservation. Much of his oeuvre draws our attention to the push-pull duality whereby human nature supports not controls nature. This completeness or vulnerability of this relationship is highlighted as a constant state of flux.

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Works on paper are another important part of Bowens’ prolific and prodigenous output. Lithographs, etchings, woodcuts form another layer to his many mediums. Both my 4 year old twins awaken every morning to their own framed birdies above their beds. (As you can probably tell by now, I have rather a soft spot for Mr.Bowen & his images- my son took his first steps toward a bird painting, shouting gleeful, ‘twee-twee Mumma!’ )

A regular exhibitor in Japan, Bowen’s work has well-received over time. The vast open-ness of the depicted landscapes offer an interior view of this ‘otherness’ to a culture which thrives on an existence of contained spaces, in itself an art form.

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Dean Bowen has been exhibiting paintings, bronze sculpture and prints in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally for over 25 years. Bowen has held over 60 solo exhibitions in Australia, France, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. He has received a number of major sculpture commissions and awards including the Colas Foundation Commission, Paris, France 2010; 1st International Print Biennial of Beijing 2000; and the Daikin Industries Prize, Osaka Print Triennale, Japan 1997.

The Stockroom’s director, Michel Lawrence asks about the birds and the bees here in this fab chat:

http://youtu.be/zwxA2Nx0ouA

For further enquiries regarding artist Dean Bowen’s work please contact: art@thefinkelsteinfiles.com or call Vicki on +613 404 861 438.