The Finkelstein Files: Blissed out in Bali

Om Swastiastu, greetings from Bali, where in  Hindu mythology, the monkey king can weaken enemies with a wish! Here I am reporting from the beachside totally enchanted by the feast for the eyes which surrounds my every step.




From the street flower sellers to the locals blessing their establishments as early as the rooster crows and the sun comes up, Bali is filled with an quiet energy that hums. After a dedicated week of jettisoning the last vestiges of the long, chilly Melbourne winter, I feel re-born. Breakfasting on the beachfront with fresh juices, local fare and salt air has brought me back to the land of the living.





The slow somnambulistic pace is easy and easy on all the senses – just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes you happen across artists grinding pigments in the alleyways for their next canvas – painting is a very usual practice and way of life here. A reminder that the simple pleasures are often our greatest. Pictured below here is The Finkelstein Files photographer, Sophie Agiriou, a woman with a passion for people and places as you can see plastered all over her smiling face surrounded with her new-found feathery friends!




As I watch the sunset, I chow down on yet another delicious meal, where the dishes are clean and filled with local produce bursting with flavour. I have caught up with a few friends to share a meal and some good times. I met up in Ubud, home of the internationally attended Ubud Writers Festival, with Melbourne-based painter, Kate Shaw who exhibits from Taiwan to New York and everywhere in between. She was heading off to swim with the ancient turtles that pepper the Gili Islands a short boat ride away. Exciting to chew the phat over the Australian art scene and what is coming up for her locally and overseas in the next year. Another ex-pat I had the pleasure of seeing, is fashionista, ex-Fitzroy bespoke shoe designer, Johanna Preston of Preston Zly fame, as always partnered by her softly-spoken partner, Peter Zly.

DE 2015

A dear friend, David Elsey, a rocketing well-being practitioner now lives here with his partner Lin Lin, sharing his talent for assisting those who need a mind-body-soul shift back into the here and now. The Finkelstein Files will share more of David’s successful NLP-based modality in an upcoming post and special opportunity for readers to participate in a unique workshop positioned for July 2016, here in beautiful Bali.



Although not native, I feel a Namaste is the order of the day somehow, as another day dips down into the ocean, the night ahead filled with frangipani-scented promise of tales to come.

Big love from Bali,

TFF xx



The Finkelstein Files: The Sublime Ms.Shaw

Artist Kate Shaw has an enduring fascination with interplanetary colonisation and what it might mean. Through a series of vibrant, psychedelic landscapes, she suggests these yearnings are a complicated combination of hope for new beginnings and a sense of hopelessness about a planet we seem certain we’ll lose.


“My practice re-interprets notions of what constitutes landscape painting, both within an art historical context and a contemporary social context. The paintings deal with the tensions and dichotomies in both the depiction of the natural world and our relationship with it. I am currently exploring the sublime in nature whilst imbuing a sense of toxicity and artificiality in this depiction. The intention is to reflect upon the contradiction between our inherent connection to the natural world and continual distancing from it. My paintings aim to convey ideas of nature, alchemy and creation by operating on one level as a landscape another as abstraction.”


In Kate Shaw’s work what we see, and what in fact are facing, are two distinctly different things. A viewer may immediately recognise a glacier, an alpine ridge, a snow-capped mountain, but we are equally witnessing a montage of abstract chemical reactions.

In a Rorsach test a patient is gently encouraged to make sense out of abstractions, to see a rabbit in a black and white ink-blot. In experimental pursuits in the 1960s patients were administered a healthy dose of LSD to respond to these monochromatic abstractions. It’s not hard to imagine the poten- tial hallucinogenic blast of such a process. The Surrealists were also enamoured of such shifting notions of reality, utilising their technique of ‘de- calcomania’ in order to find subconscious form in abstract materials.


Shaw’s work has a similar interaction with the viewer, the patterns we recognise through her deft manipulation of coloured chemicals leads us into a world we immediately recognise, even if that world is pure fantasy.

This realm of signs becoming synonymous with what may be dubbed the ‘real world’ was best ar- ticulated by Roland Barthes in his exploration of semiotics. Signs and perception become blurred, the same way a swoosh on a sneaker now clearly reads as the word Nike. In Shaw’s work the notion of ‘landscape as product’, as an inevitably read sign amidst abstraction, blurs reality.


What makes adroit patrons think Kate Shaw’s works are worth acquiring? That’s in the eye of each beholder, but I’m enthused because her paintings, and now videos, signify the spirit of the emerging Earth observations (EO) movement, where space imaging and sensing technologies are ubiquitously deployed to monitor and manage environments. (The goal of climate scientists is to build a global ‘autopiloting’ system to answer Buckminster Fuller’s 1968 call for ‘an operating manual for Spaceship Earth’.)


See Kate’s AUSiMED art work here

august 2015

The Finkelstein Files – The Guts & the Gory

The door is closing for the final exhibition of Helen Gory's Galerie in Prahran.

The door is closing for the final exhibition of Helen Gory’s Galerie in Prahran.

Yesterday afternoon I dropped in to Helen Gory’s eponymously named Galerie in Prahran for last drinks. Celebrating an incredible 15 years in Prahran, the team are heading over the river & are eager to start a new chapter alongside fellow gallerists with Dianne Tanzer  in Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

As the Australian commercial art world continues to face the challenge of rapidly changing market conditions, it is those gallerists who proactively seek creative and innovative responses to market conditions that are the most likely to remain profitable . Over the last couple of years a number of Australian gallery owners have reacted to the changing gallery scene by shutting physical gallery spaces in favour of trading online, through art fairs, or through temporary pop-up exhibitions.


Dianne Tanzer and Helen Gory have had a close relationship for many years and have been discussing ways to work together for some time now. The decision to utilise the strengths of each gallery and share resources to further develop the careers of the artists that each gallery represents can only be seen as a positive move.

“We have always shared ideas and experiences,” says Tanzer, whose stable of artists includes Juan Ford, Natasha Bieniek, Michael Cook and Izabela Pluta. “So this seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to share our wealth of knowledge and expertise.”

Gallery-goers, young & old, revel in the space for the last time.

Gallery-goers, young & old, revel in the space for the last time.

Gallery director, Nicola Stein (left) snapped in conversation

Gallery director, Nicola Stein (left) snapped in conversation

Petrina Hicks & an au revoir floral tribute to a special exhibition space

Petrina Hicks & an au revoir floral tribute to a special exhibition space

A room with a view.

A room with a view.

The new space (the current Dianne Tanzer space) officially and ponderously bears the name THIS IS NO FANTASY, inspired by the neon-lit truisms of famed American artist Jenny Holzer.

“It’s both serious and playful, which reflects the spirit of THIS IS NO FANTASY,” offers Nicola Stein, director of Helen Gory Galerie, which represents the likes of Petrina Hicks, Jacqui Stockdale, Tai Snaith and Kate Tucker.

this is no fantasy

The title itself summons a new definition of the former sites, permitting directors Stein and Tanzer to pursue an updated and ambitious new exhibition program outside of the white cube model.

The venture will see select artists from Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects and Helen Gory Galerie come together for special exhibitions, projects, and art fair presentations. “THIS IS NO FANTASY” will not represent artists but will be a means of sharing gallery resources and bringing artists from each gallery together for collaborative projects and exhibitions. THIS IS NO FANTASY is a more efficient model for exhibiting internationally, and really bringing our strengths together,” says Tanzer of the project.

Both popular, influential and highly active spaces in their own right, Helen Gory Galerie and Dianne Tanzer will continue to promote and exhibit artists in Australia and internationally and retain their unique identities, while collaborating more closely on projects that are off the grid, such as art fairs, international exhibitions and experimental projects.

THIS IS NO FANTASY will continue with exhibitions in the Gertrude Street space, alternating with art fairs and interstate exhibitions. It will be showing at the Auckland Art Fair in August and Art Stage Singapore in January 2014.

108–110 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy