Showing posts with label art commentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art commentary. Show all posts

Art Wank

This one started off as a pic taken of text in a wanky art magazine. The more I tried to read, let alone understand what it meant, the more it kept going around in circles until finally disintegrating into another context all together...

One Minute Artists Moving Image Festival North Wales

My film 'This We Are' has been selected for the One Minute Artists Moving Image Festival and will be shown as part of Programme 1 at BALACLAFA CARN, Balaclava Road LL55 1TG Caernarfon, North Wales on Saturday 24th 11am - 5pm and Sunday 25th Feb 11am - 4 pm. More information about the Festival here...

Subvert the dominant paradigm (and build a better world while you're at it)

Graphic by David Quiles Guillo
Today is the last day of The Wrong - New Digital Art Biennale Version 3 and what a buzz it has been! I am absolutely stoked to have been a small part of it, not just because it is the largest art event in world history, not just because it challenges notions of what art is and where it should be seen, not just because it is inclusive where unknowns like myself can rub shoulders with established practitioners and everyone in between, and certainly not because it is a trendy thing to do. It might be tempting to see The Wrong as simply about technology, and sure much of the art either refers to it or uses it as the preferred method of delivery, but there is an underlying humanity that pervades the Pavilions and Embassies where artists have melded science and creativity to comment on the direction of our society and the threats to our freedom of thought and expression. In doing so The Wrong is more about community, and the experience for those not only involved as participants but as audience has enabled people to reach out across a troubled world and feel like they are part of something not only special, but important. The event is also somewhat political. It hovers over the traditional power structures within the art world, not in an attempt to replace them but pointing out in some cases how anachronistic they have become, and to offer an alternative to those people who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to become engaged. The Wrong is not a pointer to the future. It is the art of NOW. To David Quiles Guillo and his crew for setting the whole thing up and Sava Zolog and his for the Prosthetic Pavilion I dips me lid. And, I can't wait for the next one!


Deconceptualising Mike Parr. A video collage from his retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia. What started out as a 'what's the point' parrody (sic) ended up being a blues. Excerpt from Dark Was The Night by Blind Willie Johnson.

The grass is always greener...perhaps...or is it perception?

Too easy to be tempted by trivia...not so easy to be tempted by purpose...

I posted this on Twitter and Facebook this morning after a few weeks of being busy with travel, interruptions, rejections, proposals and plans. Did I just say Facebook? Yes...I now have a presence so you can follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook (links in the nav bar above). It is mildly interesting to see the difference between the two...could you possibly call Twitter more intelligent? and even though the belligerent layout and behaviour of FB still annoys the **** out of me, it was a matter of being able to access other's FB pages that drove me to such distractions...hence the opening line of this missive. Perhaps update might be a better word...

So, to recent activity. First sent off 25 minutes of footage (sans sound) to Hyaena Fierling as draft for possible composition and performance in UK. It has been the longest video I have worked on so far and quite a challenge for that reason, and the fact that I was working in silence without a soundtrack in mind is a departure from previous efforts, and trying to create diversity and interest while maintaining some continuity, as well as working with supplied footage!. She has sent back a 10 minute draft of composition, and I like, so on we go. Also have been submitting videos using her soundscapes for various international video festivals and prizes. The Illusion of Freedom didn't make the final cut in the Aesthetica Art Prize (UK) but did make the second round of judging, and Why is this Happening wasn't quite within the curatorial brief of Kyle Chung's Bright Shadow Exhibition (London) but we have agreed to do something together in the future. Also Hyaena has/is playing around with some words/sounds for a possible remix of I forget you. Her website is here...

 Hyaena Fierling in performance, Birmingham, UK, 2014

My other major project with Griet Menschaert and Denitsa Dicova (previously mentioned in the posts Across a Troubled World and 3 Points of a Circle) stumbled a little late last year but has now found some renewed vigour and direction. I can't let too much out of the bag yet, but there will be a website coming soon, and we are still hopeful of reaching the point of a performance in the future. Meanwhile these two very talented and hard working artists continue to inspire as they push into new directions at a fast pace. A couple of examples:

You can check out their websites here...Griet & Denitsa.

The blog is still chugging along as you can see. Over 57000 page views (equates to about 50 per day since February 2012). The direction has changed. There is not so much in the way of art reviews and commentary, and the focus now is on quality rather than quantity. I continue with my video experiments, and would dearly love to get into more projections, performance, interventions and installations but lack of equipment and money the eternal inhibitor. Over at the Internet Archive where I publish my videos there have been over 13000 downloads. (Just to explain this numerical diversion it was necessary in the information required by an ArtsNSW grant application!) I am not sure what this all means, but someone is looking at my work, which brings me to the local scene...

I had thought that I was cutting off my nose to spite my face by ignoring the local art world and focusing on the global, and so recently have made a number of forays to make local entities aware of my activities without much success. Whether it be a parochial defense of territory, a lack of interest in contemporary art, or they just think my work is crap is unknown, but the silence at times is deafening. It is curious that I have managed to engage with, and gain the respect of, highly credentialed overseas creators who value my work and yet in my own backyard I may as well not exist...but then at my age existence is always a tenuous proposition ;-)

And now it is time to get back to work...

Morphogenesis - the sculpture of Joy Georgeson

Nourishing the soul

Joy Georgeson studied the Higher Diploma of Teaching Secondary Arts and Crafts course with an extraordinary group of lecturers at Melbourne State College (MSC) in the early 1970's. The Sculpture and Ceramics Department were on the same floor next to each other and ideas and friendships flowed between both. John Teschendorff, Noel Flood and Don Wordsworth were the dynamic teachers at that time who nurtured an environment of experimentation, daring, excitement and professionalism. They were all practicing artists who communicated their love of the medium but embraced other disciplines and unusual methods of solving problems.

In 1975 Agi Yoeli, an Israeli ceramic sculptor who was Artist-In-Residence introduced Joy to the technique of hollow hand-building that inspired her to create a life size Giant Anteater, much to the delight of the lecturers. More animals followed, often based on observations made at Melbourne Zoo where her husband worked, and on the cats that roamed her studio. After moving to a bush block in southern NSW in 1980 her work became less literal as she explored visual metaphors inspired by Australian native mammals like squirrel gliders and marsupial mice.

Joy Georgeson, Shadows in the Forest, 2014, Ceramic

After diagnosis of, and treatment for, breast cancer her work took on a new dimension based on a merging of carnivorous plants and female forms. These 'carnivorous women' represented a type of catharsis in response to the issues faced when dealing with a potentially life threatening disease.

Joy Georgeson, Fecund Fungi, 2006, Ceramic

More recently, Joy has returned to the animal sculptures that were her trademark. But after many years observing the decline in respect for the environment her sculptures have a stronger message concerning conservation and spirituality. Animals that once were decorated in earthy glazes with a highlight of gloss to represent texture are now embellished with stories telling of the origins of life on Earth and our relationship with them.

Joy Georgeson, Kookaburra Post (with dragonfly detail), 2015, Ceramic

The influence of the years at MSC has had a lifetime effect on the artist who went on to teach art in Victorian, NSW and ACT schools and colleges for 23 years as well as exhibiting her work. After retiring from teaching she joined the ACT's Strathnairn Arts Association as a studio holder, and then moved to Wallaga Lake near Bermagui in 2007 where she found new inspiration in the coastal and estuarine environment.

Joy Georgeson, Angelic Egret, 2007, Ceramic

Camel Rock is a distinctive formation of rocks and headland nestled in the shadow of Gulaga Mountain just north of the coastal village of Bermagui on the NSW far south coast. It is a place of great significance to the local Yuin aboriginal community. Home to sea eagles, terns, cormorants and reef herons it also provides Joy with inspiration for her most recent sculptures.

Joy says "When I visit Camel Rock, I am awed by the presence of rocks millions of years old and can see many creatures in their forms that remind me of fossils and our ancient evolutionary history. I wonder at the diversity, yet similarity between species and believe that through the process of evolution we are an integral part of Nature. It is said that the ancestor of every human was a fish, but I believe our lineage began with the first signs of life in the early history of the Earth. My art is about our great family history."

"My sculptures reflect my need for contact with natural phenomena such as the sea, animals, plants and the cycles of nature, which provide me with psychological and spiritual nourishment. I have developed my own 'creation stories' in the works, based on science and my imagination. The underlying message is to raise an awareness of the importance of conserving and valuing the balance and harmony between humans and nature."

Joy Georgeson, Out of the Ocean, 2015, Ceramic

For Joy, being in the natural environment is more than just a pleasant experience. It is an integral part of 'being'. An avid recorder she keeps journals, sketchbooks and photographs the natural world on a daily basis. Whether it is at the coast or in the forested and mountainous hinterland she seeks out the minute amongst the obvious and sees the connection between all. We might look at rocks and see geological formations. Joy looks at rocks and sees the history of the world.

Using hand building clays, fired to 1200 degrees Celsius in an electric kiln, she cuts slabs from the block and shapes hollow forms that are joined together into the basic structure using temporary supporting pillars made from clay. Then surface texture, animals and female forms are incorporated to finalise the piece before glazing. Large scale works, some over two metres high, are made in modules that slot together. She also loves the Raku process, or "Racooee" as she calls it, which is used on smaller works.

Joy has exhibited in many centres around Australia and has work in several public collections including the Victorian Ministry for the Arts, Geelong Art Gallery, Shepparton Art Gallery Collection of Australian Ceramics and Newcastle Regional Art Gallery. She was selected to represent Australia at the 38thInternational Ceramics Exhibition in Faenza, Italy in 1980. She is a regular exhibitor at Bermagui's Sculpture on the Edge as well as the Hunter Valley's Sculpture in the Vineyards and Sculpture by the Lake festivals. Her most recent work has been exhibited at Artisans in the Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and at Sculptures in the Garden at Roxby near Mudgee.

Her website can be found here...

doin' me head in...

I stopped counting after about 15000 kilometres on the road. The car was still going...I think I was driving, home or away was getting increasingly hard to tell.You go through good towns, and you go through those that don't feel so good, but wherever I went I always felt at home. It is only in the cities that I start to feel alienated. There is always a romanticism about driving down a country road exploring new territory. At the same time one can only marvel, and at times, cringe at land use and our desire and capacity to alter the landscape. The above pic is in Yeoval, a small settlement on the road between Wellington and Parkes. Someone somewhere along the way had decided to create a sculpture park and a 'benefactor' had kindly donated this bronze split 'portrait' of Henry Moore. Considering Moore's oeuvre all one could do was wonder why?

Needless to say with all the travelling this year time in the studio has been infrequent and disjointed at the best of times. The blog has been sadly neglected, collaborations come and go, being focused on particular projects has remained elusive, and yet on occasion I think I have managed to produce my best work, certainly in video anyway, and my photomedia work has seen a gradual shift from the theme of sex and death (no doubt disappointing some of my audience) to architectural decay, disorder and disintegration.

So, a year of contrast in a land of contrasts. The tunnel below is on the freeway heading east from Adelaide, town of my birth but a long way from where I live today. And below that is Bunjil, creation spirit depicted in aboriginal rock art from near the Grampians in south western Victoria. The two pics kinda summed up the situation. Massive engineering works so I can get home faster, and a timeless painting from a race who no longer have their home. I sit somewhere in between scratching me head...


LES MAMELLES DE TIRESIAS is a French website run by the charming Patrick Vincent that focuses on dada, surrealism, constructivism and other avant-garde movements. Superbly researched and up-to-date with current events and exhibitions it is a wonderful resource for all who are passionate about art. Produced with an enthusiasm that only a devotee can understand I recommend it highly and encourage you to add it to your bookmarks. 

I am honoured to be included in the list of artists on the homepage, many of them being seminal influences on my own humble creative efforts. I was also pleased to see Dusan Marek on the list, and I have shared some of my memories of him with Patrick. Thank you Mr. Vincent! It is indeed a privilege...


 Dorothea Tanning, who taught me that you are never too old to create...

 My beloved Dusan Marek, who taught me that surrealism is a way of life...

 The sublime Francis Picabia who showed me anonymous waves...

 The beautiful Hannah Hoch, undisputed queen of photomontage...

 Jean Arp taught me that Kaspar is Dead...

 Luis Bunuel, the Grandmaster, every scene my primary inspiration...

Kurt Schwitters, who showed me the marvellous in the mundane...

Robert Hughes on video art

"Mention video to some people and watch their faces fall. If the cliché of "modern sculpture" used to be a piece of stone chewing gum with a hole in it, and that of "modern painting" was a canvasful of drips, then the cliché of "video art" is a grainy closeup of some U.C.L.A. graduate rubbing a cockroach to pulp on his left nipple for 16 minutes while the sound track plays amplified tape hiss, backward."

From the review of the retrospective for Nam June Paik at the Whitney published in Time magazine on May 17th 1982.

This quote popped up in Part 2 of Howard Jacobson's documentary 'Brilliant Creatures', a study of the careers of Barry Humphries, Clive James, Germaine Greer and Robert Hughes. The quote is not only a timely reminder to myself about what I am trying to achieve in video art (visual poetry perhaps?), but classic Hughes cutting to the chase with acerbic wit underpinned by a profundity that most art commentators could only hope for at best. At a time when Australia sadly accelerates backward politically at an alarming rate towards totalitarianism, there is a slight optimism in feeling proud of our cultural heritage and larrikin attitude and honouring those pathfinders who espoused a 'cause' because they believed in it more than their own self-aggrandizement...  

Collections of Ottoman Libraries in Bulgaria

Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Aqsara'i al-Tabrizi (d. ca 743/1342)
Commentory to al-Qazwini's (d. 739/1338) work in the field of Rhetorics

Since beginning work earlier this year on a project with contemporary dancer and photographer Deniza Dikova I have become interested in all things Bulgarian. Whether it being watching a documentary on the Theory of Cogitality on Bulgarian National TV, taking a virtual tour of the streets near the Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski in Sofia or watching a video of my colleagues improvisation performance in the summer hills, a country that was previously a mystery to me is starting to come to life.

I came across this publication while visiting the Internet Archive and thought it fascinating, not only historically but aesthetically... 

Love & Desire - an exhibition of erotic art

Keeping me busy the past week or so has been the Love & Desire show at Spiral Gallery in Bega. A first for this gallery on this theme, and a testament to the renewed energy and outlook of this artist run initiative in a town known more for its cheese than its culture! It is interesting to see how different artists have approached the subject, and how they have interpreted the 'brief', if indeed there was one. Without going into a polemic about what constitutes 'erotic art' (perhaps for a later post?) here are a few of the works that I thought hit the mark and had something to say. Apologies for seeming too egotistical by including my own humble offering among these...

Liam Ryan, Three Graces, 2014, Oil on canvas

Luiza Urbanik, C'mon, 2014, Acrylic on paper

Luiza Urbanik, Kiss Me, 2014, Acrylic on paper

Victoria Nelson, Love Letters 2, 2014, Mixed media

Michael Adams, Mantasy, 2014, Photography

Michael Adams, Penis, 2014, Photography

Rick Andersen, Mouth, 2014, Photomedia

Suzanne Oakman, The Old Couple, 2014, Ceramic and wire

anonymous waves, Return to Reason, 2014, video still

The exhibition runs until 20th August at Spiral Gallery, 47 Church Street, Bega, NSW. Mon-Frid 10-4 and Sat 10-1.

Reality check?

"But in any case why do you regard it as so important to be talked about by people who have not yet been born? After all, you were never spoken of by all the multitudes who lived before you - and they were every bit as numerous, and were better men." Cicero The Dream of Scipio.

The Problem with Modern Art #5

Bob Georgeson, Penetration, 200?, Photomontage

The Problem with Modern Art #4

Bob Georgeson, Opening, 2000?, Photomontage

The Problem with Modern Art #3

Bob Georgeson, Yellow Piano, c.2000?, Photomontage

The Problem with Modern Art #1

Bob Georgeson, Cellular, Date unknown, Photomontage

I had started a whole series of works ages ago under the 'loose' banner of 'The Problem with Modern Art' which referred to my frustration (and annoyance) every time I picked up a copy of Art Forum or a similar art publication and saw what some artists were getting away with (in some cases very successfully!). I describe this kind of art as 'easy', in that it requires little skill or intellect to realize. 'If they can do it then so can I' became the mantra, albeit a bittersweet if not wholly immature sentiment...

But, every now and then I am looking for something and stumble across these never exhibited works and think 'Hey, it doesn't look all that bad!'. And this one has some elements of things I am currently interested in. But I better not give away too much lest you think that I am serious...

Joseph entertaining the baby Jesus

Bob Georgeson, Joseph entertaining the baby Jesus, Date ?, Photomontage

I have never been a great fan of Joseph Beuys, or Jesus for that matter. For me there are similarities in that perhaps both have tried to 'pull the wool' (felt?) over people's eyes. Beuys's claims to be an art 'shaman' is not reflected in the self indulgent drabness of his art, while the pomp and ceremony of the church does not really 'deliver us from evil' or offer any salvation...perhaps the library (archives?) in the background are a better path to enlightenment...

Other titles for this work are 'Religious Cymbalism' or 'The Immaculate Conceptual'. OK...I will stop! Enough is enough...apologies to van Eyck. Merry Christmas...

Mark Chiles - Reverence For Life

Mark Chiles, Reverence For Life, 2013, Bronze, 45cm x 29cm x 10cm, $9000 AUD

Was pleased to see old mate Mark Chiles as a finalist in this years Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. I suspect the origins of this work go back a while, maybe even to the hallowed corridors and lockers of the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, but Mark imbues all he touches with acute observation and sly humour, and of course the reverence not only for life, but form and ART!

'Australia' at the Royal Academy

Well, I didn't get selected to represent Australia in the blockbuster at the Royal Academy in London (guess I am not 'landscapey' enough) but I did manage to snap a pic of Harriet, wife of the Australian High Commissioner, when she fell over drunk on the dance floor at the reception...

anonymous waves, Harriet fell over drunk on the dance floor, 2013, Photomontage