I am very much enjoying my PressNorth residency. I have been experimenting with creating linocut prints of the reef to feature in Benthos Illuminated, our upcoming 2016 exhibition at Umbrella Studios, Townsville. I draw my imagery from the many photos I take while wading along the shores, especially during the really low tides. The egret, below the reef image here, was a real poser and I was able to get a lot of photos of him in a variety of poses. In the linocut, I have combined the reef with the egret.
A barely visible crab on a coral outcrop
Linocut of Egret and Reef prior to printing
Egret at South Townsville beach
It has been lovely to receive all the positive feedback on the Community Rehab NQ Beach Shack. The wonderful people who took part in the project were a joy to work with. Everyone involved was so enthusiastic, so ready to make a joke, that the days were filled with laughter.
The dead grass, in this image, is caused by people walking through the shack. It shows just how many visitors took the time to read the information about this Strand Ephemera project.
As some of you may know, I’ve been teaching painting to the participants at Community Rehab NQ for two hours per week since October last year. The theme was community and home. The aim was to create a number of paintings on 60 cm x 40 cm plywood that would be used as wall panelling in a ‘beach shack’.
In April, our ‘Beach Shack’ was accepted as an exhibit in Strand Ephemera, Townsville’s major biennial sculpture exhibition.
With install day rapidly approaching, a team of clients, rehab staff, Occupational Therapy students, and volunteers worked hard building and painting the frame and the roof. These were constructed in sections so that they could be bolted together on site. The backs of each of the 53 panels were painted white and each work was varnished twice.
On Install Day 1, a team of volunteers transported the shack and bolted it together. On the second day of installation, all 53 works were inserted into the framework, text and photos were mounted inside, and the building given a final lick of paint. Then everyone stood back and basked in the glow of the praise that members of the public were already heaping on the ‘Beach Shack’.
Wonderful news. I’ve just been selected to do the PressNorth Printmakers 3 month funded residency for 2015/16 at Umbrella Studios. Both are great Townsville art groups to join, if you are not already a member. Their website addresses are: http://pressnorthprintmakers.com/ and http://www.umbrella.org.au/
A while back, I was thinking about the dialogue between my paintings and that I should pay more attention to it. Later that day, I went to a talk by Jeff Mincham about the works of his that were part of the Life and Solastalgia exhibition at the Perc Tucker Regional Galley.
Part way through the discussion, he looked at the three rectangular ceramics pots and a painterly ceramic triptych of his that were on display, frowned, and walked across and turned one of his rectangular pots to face the other way. The side now facing the viewer had the same three bands of night dark colours as the other side, but it also had a full moon. As can be seen in the illustrations below, this immediately amplified the dialogue between the works.
Have you ever considered creating not just a dialogue between the painting and the viewer but also between the paintings themselves?
Whether you show your artwork to curators, interior designers, or potential buyers you want it to snag their attention. When seen individually artworks lose power. One of the drawbacks in competitions is that artists are usually only allowed to enter one work in anyone section. Creating a theme for the exhibition will generally ensure that the body of works hang relatively well together.
However, when an artist is free to enter several works in an exhibition, it’s then possible for them to not only create a dialogue between painting and viewer but also to potentially make a far more powerful statement by creating a dialogue between the paintings.
To achieve this potential, it’s best, whilst creating the exhibition, to display as many of the artworks together as possible and ask yourself these questions:
• Is your art making a powerful statement or have you fallen back on an easy formula you’re fully familiar with, i.e. recipe painting?
• Do the colours and tonal elements enhance your message?
• Are your images iconographic or mundane?
• Which works speak the most powerfully to each other? Do the others fail and why?
• Is there an element of composition, symbol, or iconography that you could have carried through from one image to the other to amplify the message?
An installation by Rhonda Stevens, Margaret Robertson, Marion Gaemers and Lynn Scott-Cumming. Photo by Rhonda Stevens
Rhonda Stevens, Margaret Robertson and myself teamed up to create the Ship of Fools installation as part of Fenstoration during the Magnetic Island Festival. The concept is a comment on the amount of rubbish that finds its way into the sea. Marion Gaemers created the text.