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I hope you enjoy the visual and emotional impact of these examples of Australian art and ceramics as much as I do. Whilst many are under copyright I have attributed the source wherever possible (and I remember).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Art Melbourne 2012

 Went to Art Melbourne on 25.4.12 and was pleasantly surprised by a few of the exhibits. Many of the artists were present and happy to talk about their work. I really loved the bronzes (above) by Kerry Cannon, as well as some beautiful and very expressive and tempting photos of budgerigars by Leila Jeffreys (below) priced at $2200

Also loved these very precise and psychedelic interiors by Grant Anthony Cohen. Fascinating biography and amazing to see what a trained accountant with a love of fine and decorative arts can do when he turns his hand to painting..

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Criss Canning at Metro 5 gallery May 2012

Wonderful to go and see Criss's new work last wednesday night. The paint was so lavishly applied, the flowers were really in 3 dimensions. The colours clear and unmuddied, the composition sublime as usual but wonderful to get up really close and see the brushstrokes. A new theme was of seashells but I still love the flowers best.. http://www.metrogallery.com.au/

Here are my favorites

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MPRG "Desert Country" exhibition

Tommy Watson

Simon Hogan

Tjungkara Ken

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

Kathleen petyarre
Just some images from the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery latest aboriginal art exhibition. Wonderful, Colourful abstract images by some of my favorite artists..

I really like this small quiet gallery, about 10 minutes south of Frankston..

Here is their description of the exhibition;

17 August – 2 October 2011               
Desert Country
An Art Gallery of South Australia travelling exhibition
Drawn from the extensive holdings of Aboriginal art from the Art Gallery of South Australia’s pioneering collection, Desert Country is the first exhibition to chart the forty year evolution of the internationally acclaimed Australian desert painting movement and reveal the unstoppable reaches of this remarkable art phenomenon.
Beginning in 1971 with rare examples of the first experimental paintings by its ground-breaking masters, Desert Country highlights the cultural fluidity between the principal Aboriginal art producing regions of the desert in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. Featured artists include Albert Namatjira, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Daisy Leura Nakamarra, Rover Thomas, and Utopia artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Kathleen Petyarre.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Margaret Preston- my hero!

 In cataloguing my favorite Australian artists, I have realised there has been one glaring omission; Margaret Preston.

I have been reading a book about her woodblock prints and was fascinated to read about her life. Born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1875 she decided to become an artist at an early age and trained under Frederick McCubbin and others, soon producing still life pictures of great fidelity. By the age of 28 both of her parents had passed away and as the sole beneficiary of the will she was able to save, then travel to Munich, then Paris in 1904 where she had some success before returning to Australia.

Her images, especially the woodblock prints are iconic, and amongst the first to really value the local flora, sometimes with Australian aboriginal motifs included. I love her banksias and gum blossoms especially, but most of all her design and composition which just "hits the spot"- balanced, pleasing, strong and simple.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Art Melbourne May 2011

Alberto Sanchez
Had a look on friday the 20th. Having been to the last couple of affordable art fairs, I can say there were a few contrasts, which may reflect the current trend towards saving, not spending.

Firstly it looked alot quieter than on my previous visits, and this was confirmed by a couple stallholders. Secondly I felt it was harder to find good quality art- some of the work looked as if one good idea had been discovered, then mass produced and from my perspective was frankly uninteresting. Others appeared be populated by artists who turn out on further investigation to exhibit at affordable art fairs worldwide! However there were a few stands that stood out. I suppose that with an emphasis on "blue dot" works for under $1000, one can hardly expect an artist to be selling their soul.

Good solutions included selling smaller works, prints, or works by really new, emerging artists, or alternatively just displaying good quality work for much more than $1000. Some of the aboriginal art centres were represented in a series of small stands collectively called "Reach".

One really interesting stand was by "69 Smith st Gallery", an artist run initiative based in Fitzroy, in which artists pay a joining fee to rent the space and then an additional fee to hold an exhibition at pretty affordable rates. I like this egalitarian approach and their work was interesting, original and varied.

I have photographed some of my favorite pictures.. 

Willy Rojas

Emma Hack- body art stand

Emma Hack- detail

Joel Rea

Warlukurlangu in "reach"

69 Smith st Gallery

Will & Caro

Will and Caro- detail

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Leonard Joel Sunday art auction May 8th 2011

Went to the viewing today and there were two paintings that caught my eye and prompted me to research the artists. The first, dated 1916 was estimated at $800-$1000, painted by Marion Jones (1897-1977). I love its quiet simplicity, the thoughtful expression on the model's face, the grey tones; But I had never heard of the artist. I looked on the AASD database and the last time a painting by her was offered for sale was in 1998, so no wonder.
Here is an edited segment from her online biography;

Back in London, Jones continued to specialise in portraiture.  Jones's oil portrait of Senator D. Andrews was presented to Bendigo Art Gallery in 1930, the year her oil painting of Margaret Itarman was hung at the Royal Academy. She returned to Victoria in 1932, exhibited with the Victorian Artists' Society then abandoned painting professionally, partly because of family bereavements.
During World War II Marion Jones worked in the Bendigo Ordnance Factory. Much of her London work, which had been left in storage, was destroyed during the blitz. 'The world has changed. There is no place for art and beauty', she stated after the war. Despite living on for another three decades she never painted again. Extant work includes a self-portrait Moi Même (p.c.), which Peers calls 'Lambertesque'."

The second- so different to what I normally see here in Melbourne Australia,  was by Emmy Esther (Galka) Scheyer, who has a fascinating history, outlined in the following link. It begins as follows;

"In 1915, a young upper-middle-class German student of painting saw a picture, Alexej Jawlensky’s The Hunchback (1911). She was so moved that she decided she must meet the painter, and by 1916 she was modeling for him. The next summer she visited Jawlensky and his family often in Switzerland; through him she met many important avant-garde artists. By 1919 Scheyer had stopped painting to promote Jawlensky’s work."

Galka went on to promote the work of the "blue four" in Los Angeles, that is, German modernist artists Klee, Jawlensky, Feininger and Kandinsky.

The painting, estimated at Au $1000-$1,500 is dated 1913- before she met Jawlensky. Born in 1889 she would have been 24 years old when it was painted. I think its a beautiful painting and wonder how it came to be here and whether she continued to do much further work of her own..

So, one auction viewing, two paintings and a wealth of fascinating and moving background history..

PS. Just watched the auction live on artfact ( another new experience) The Marion Jones sold for $1900, thats $2318 IBP , the Galka Scheyer for $3200, thats $3904 IBP..Think the estimates were a little low?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rona Green

The first time I saw this local Melbourne artist's work- mainly prints on paper- I was struck by their dark humor.. Take loveable family pets- dogs, cats, bunnies- and turn them into tattooed thugs, goths, or social outcasts with names like "Floyd" and "dally-boy." I have a copy of "Slim" (middle pic) and, hung at eye level, found him quite disturbing at 3 in the morning and even found myself having a chat with him one night about how we were all on the same side.. (lactation and sleep deprivation does very strange things to one's mind)- Maybe you just have to be a bit strange to appreciate this artist, or maybe the work speaks to one's inner thug, lurking inside the cuddly exterior..