Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Belle Arti Prize

Yellow Canary, 2012, oil on linen, 36 x 36 cm

This is my entry painting for the Belle Arti Prize. The exhibition is open to all artists but the only restriction is that all the paintings must be done on a stretched linen measuring 36 x 36 cm. This painting is a variation on my previous work Canary. Can't wait to see what everyone has done.

The exhibition is at Chapman & Bailey Gallery from Wednesday, December 12 until Saturday, January 26.

Chapman & Bailey Gallery
350 Johnston Street
Abottsford 3067
tel: 03-94158666

Photography by Tim Gresham

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Highwire, 2012, hand coloured linocut, 15 x 20 cm

Here is a recent print of mine that will be shown in the Australian Print Workshop Gallery from November 30 until February 2. The exhibition is called IMPRESSIONS 2012, and is a fundraising project which will showcase over one hundred and sixty artists from all over Australia. All the prints have been made especially for this show and are the same size in an edition of 10. 

Australian Print Workshop Gallery
210 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065

Telephone 03 0410 5466  auspw@bigpond.com  

Gallery hours: Tueday to Saturday 10am - 5pm
Cllosed 23 December 2012 - 7 January 2013

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Painting Flemington Racecourse

Recently I mentioned I have been doing some plein air painting, but much of it has been done at some of Victoria's racecourses like Flemington, Caulfield and Mildura. I have had a fascination with empty expanses like football grounds and racecourses ever since I can remember. An arena is like a void where the mind can imagine what might happen. In outdoor painting, space and light are the main subject matter, perhaps more so than the location, but it is like trying to paint something you cannot touch or measure. 

The top photograph shows a work in progress. It takes many sittings to complete these paintings and the weather also determines when I can work. If it is a sunny picture then it is necessary to wait for the next sunny day to continue. 

View of Flemington, 2012, oil on linen, 71.5 x 122 cm
The Straight Six, 2012, oil on wood, 45 x 50 cm

Monday, September 10, 2012

En Plein Air

This is a follow up to my residency at the Art Vault in Mildura in June, 2012. Over the past year and a  half I have been doing a considerable amount of outdoor painting. It can be quite challenging, particularly when the weather is windy! And the paint seems to dry quicker than it does indoors. In the above painting I've added a small figure. Constable often did this; I like the idea of humanity as a subtle presence in the landscape. You don't see too many artists painting en plein air these days, so you can feel a bit self conscious. Not many artists work from the model either, whether it is inside or outside, or as Cezanne said, 'sur le motif '. Frank Auerbach often worked from the motif. You would not think he had a model in the studio when you see his abstracted work, but he once explained why he does:

'The whole point of having a model in front of one is that it continually surprises one. Where one expects the rhythm to be continuous, it's broken, where one expects the grandeur to continue, one suddenly gets a trivial inflection. Where one expects the thing to be trivial, you suddenly see a quite unpredictable rhythm that runs counter to anything you have done before.'

I also like Eugene Boudin's famous saying, 'Everything painted on the spot has a strength, a power, a vividness of touch that one does not find again in the studio'.

Of course, most of the world's great paintings were not done on the spot or with a model present, but I do have a particular liking for pictures that have been done this way.

Perry Sandhills, 2012, oil on linen, 40.5 x 50.5 cm

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Trouble Magazine Article

                  Portrait of Deborah, 2009, oil on linen, 36 x 36 cm                           Missing, 2010, oil on canvas, 83.5 x 60.5 cm

I've just returned to Melbourne after a solo exhibition and residency at the Art Vault in Mildura. What an opportunity to take advantage of the sunny weather there and do some outdoor painting. I think I will continue to do more en plein air canvases and see where it takes me.

Prior to taking up the residency, Inga Walton wrote an article/inyerview on my work which is published in TROUBLE magazine. I think Inga Walton is one of our best Arts writers. She asks very thoughtful questions based on her research of artists' past and current work. Here is a link to her article in TROUBLE.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius

I mentioned in a previous blog that my painting of a canary was inspired by the Dutch 17th century artist Carel Fabritius, and here is an image of his fantastic painting. Fabritius was a contemporary of Vermeer and they both lived in Delft. In 1654, the Delft gunpowder magazine exploded, killing a quarter of the town's residents. What a tragedy that Fabritius was one of those killed at the young age of 32, with the loss of many of his works.

Monday, May 21, 2012

At The Art Vault

Just thought I would put up an invitation to my upcoming exhibition at the Art Vault in Mildura

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Exhibition at The Art Vault

Between 23 May-11 June, there will be an exhibition of my paintings at The Art Vault in Mildura. The title of the show is Figments. Here are six examples that will be on display. The Art Vault is located at 43 Deakin Avenue, so if you are in the area during this time, call in and say hello because I'll be there for a three week residency. Just to add one little thing. The canary painting was inspired by one of my favourite paintings, The Goldfinch, 1654, by Carel Fabritiuswhich is in the Mauritshuis in the Hague.

From top to bottom -

Exquisite Things, 2010, oil on plywood, 20 x 30 cm
Bird Skull, 2012, oil on MDF, 21.75 x 41 cm
Canary, 2012, oil on plywood, 25 x 30 cm
Venus Basket, 2012, oil on MDF, 33 x 26.5 cm
Digital Twilight, 2012, oil on canvas, 76 x 91 cm
Missing, 2010, oil on canvas, 83.5 x 60.5 cm

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Rick Amor Drawing Prize

This charcoal drawing, called Sleep, is a finalist in the Rick Amor Drawing Prize which opens at the Ballarat Art Gallery on Friday 27th April, and finishes on 24th June.

I've always been fascinated by the portrayal of a person who is asleep, and it can be a tricky thing to do because there is a fine line between sleep and death.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gustave Caillebotte

I've just bought a book on an artist I've long admired, and one of the great and underrated artists of the Impressionist group, Gustave Caillebotte. He was a wealthy man but he used his money wisely. He formed a fantastic collection of Impressionist paintings, which he left to the French nation and he helped finance and organize the Impressionists' exhibitions over many years. They owed him a lot. He was not strictly an Impressionist painter, but he achieved a wonderful balance between structure and the sunlight and air of Impressionism, and his compositions are amazingly inventive. When you read about the history of Impressionism, he is always an afterthought. Why this artist has been regarded as more of a patron than a significant artist in his own right is mind boggling. But it often gets back to an obvious truth, and that is that many art historians and critics merely recycle what previous writers have said without any critical judgement whatsoever, and they don't bother to look at what is in front of their eyes. Perhaps in general they can't, and sometimes an artist must wait for a time when a real critic with visual insight can set things aright.

For an overview of his work click here http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/gustave-caillebotte

From the top - 

Paris Street; rainy weather, 1877, oil on canvas, 212 x 276 cm ( Art Institute of Chicago)
L'Yerres, rain, 1875, oil on canvas, 81 x 59 cm (Indiana University Art Museum)
In a cafe, 1880, oil on canvas, 155 x 115 cm (Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rouen)
Selfportrait, 1892, oil on canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm (Musee d'Orsay)
The garden at Petit-Gennevilliers in Winter, 1894, oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm (Private collection)
The Gennevilliers Plain, seen from the slopes of Argenteuil, 1888, oil on canvas, 65.1 x 81.3 cm (Private collection)
The Man on the Balcony, 1880, oil on canvas, 117 x 90 cm (Private collection)
Floor-Scrapers, 1875, oil on canvas, 100.6 x 145 cm (Musee d'Orsay)
Man at his Bath, 1884, oil on canvas, 170.1 x 125 cm (Josefowitz Collection)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Writing as Drawing?

I am in a drawing exhibition called Contemporary Australian Drawing 2: Drawing as notation, text and discovery to be held at the University of the Arts London from 23 March - 5 April. It is also a collaborative exhibition with RMIT and will be held for the Drawing Out Conference at UAL. Dr. Irene Barberis is the curator for the Australian artists represented in this show.

The artists taking part were asked to respond to the writers Michel Butor and Serge Tisseron's assertions that -

'All Writing is Drawing' and 'The Space of Writing; what does this mean?'

Sometimes I think the art of drawing is often misinterpreted. Drawing and writing each create spaces that allow for the existence of pictures. Words awaken a space that exists only in the mind whereas drawing extends a space onto the paper. Drawing is often thought to be about making marks but it's really about making spaces. Although words make marks, the marks do not create pictorial space on the page and if the words are not understood, then imaginative space will not open within the mind and the words remain just patterns. A blind person can picture what is being read but a drawing will be of no visual value whatsoever.

Text can be an addition to a drawing and reinforce the memory of the artist, but since the different spaces of drawing and writing are achieved in different ways, it means they are not the same thing.

Although my drawing has text, it does not reinforce the drawing visually and doesn't really compensate for the parts that are missing.

It could be argued that one reads a drawing and a text, but that's just wordplay. They are not the same thing and it's like saying a male and a female are the same because they are human beings, or black and white are the same because they are colours. Ciel means sky, but that doesn't mean French is English.

We live in an art world where there is a lot of breaking down of barriers, but we need barriers because they define what we are trying to achieve. If a specific game of sport was now deemed to have no rules, then it would lose its meaning. Anything goes doesn't work, and it's the same for all pursuits.

All writing is drawing? Perhaps no writing is drawing

Image above -

Different Spaces, 2012
Pencil and pastel
35.5 x 25 cm

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hamburger Banhof

The Hamburger Banhof is a converted railway station and is now one of the major contemporary art exhibition spaces in Berlin. There are many rooms in the gallery and one section extends along a seemingly endless corridor. At the time of my visit, almost every space was filled with installation art and almost all of it was so boring that it felt a shame that such a great exhibition venue was wasted on what looked like an amalgamation of junk. The problem with these installations was the weight of the materials used to illustrate the artists' ideas. There was not enough material transformation to create any magic and the physical presence of the materials used in the works dominated the ideas to such an extent that the whole experience was mind-numbing. Let's hope that this is not the usual exhibition scenario and that artists whose talent matches this fine venue are seen by the public.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tricking the Eye

One of the current exhibitions showing at the Art Gallery of Ballarat is titled TRICKING THE EYE photorealist and trompe l'oeil paintings from the Gallery's collection.  My two paintings are also from an exhibition I had at the gallery in 2009. The one on the left is a landscape as seen on TV and the other is a white hour glass fastened to a board. Everything is a painting. My partner, Deborah Klein, has one of her paintings in the exhibition also, Vorticist 2. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Berlin Wall

Here are some images of the Berlin Wall. The history of the wall is expansive and poignant so it's best to investigate this on other sites. As you know, the wall divided the German people for years until it was torn down in 1989. There is not much left of it in Berlin, only a few kilometres spread here and there throughout the city. The above images have remained for public viewing and are good examples of how people throughout the world left messages which addressed the political and psychological tensions during that time but also messages of hope for an eventual unified nation. There is a section of the wall in another part of Berlin that has been preserved as it was before it was demolished and it can be seen from across the street on a viewing platform. Another remnant called the Wall of Shame is located in a different area of Berlin, so when someone asks for the location of the Berlin Wall, what  section of it is the other question that needs to be asked.