Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Off the Kerb - My art in a show

Listening to: 'Jenny was a friend of mine' by The Killers from Hot Fuss (favourite album at the moment)

Off the Kerb , artist run gallery and studios is celebrating its 2nd birthday with a show exploring the theme of obsession. My submitted sculpture - Switch Off to Switch On - was accepted for this exhibition!

Switch Off to Switch On, detail
paper collage, plastic mice, acrylic paint, enamel paint, wood, shellac, damar varnish, ink

My piece deals with a well known scientific obsession with intelligence, and was also created a little obsessively - so many carefully selected and snipped pieces make up the collaged section.

The OCD Show at Off the Kerb
April 3-24, 2009
Opening hours are Thurs & Fri 12:30pm-6pm, Sat & Sun 12-5pm
66B Johnston St, Collingwood, 3066
9077 0174
0400 530 464

If you can't make it check out some of my other art here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Symbolism in art.

We come up through many slaveries into freedom
ink on paper
from Bibby's Annual, 1918

I have recently seen finer work at NGV's satirical Victorian etchings exhibition but found the symbolism* used of interest.

In classical art from around the world, various animals represent different things as do certain flowers and their colours. The complex vernacular would have been familiar to contemporary viewers though today most of us have no idea what these things mean without a formal art education or a certain religious/cultural background. The modern artist isn't bound by historical symbol conventions.

I can't help but think that as a 21st century artist it is provocative to know some of these symbols and incorporate them where appropriate. Artists are free to invent their own symbols and hope the viewer is thoughtful enough to interpret them, or already be familiar with them. The audience is more educated and with greater access to information than any preceding it. I believe in encouraging an audience to think without being wilfully obscure, to question what they see and seek to understand it.

Further Reading
* This particular piece uses commonly used, highly conventional Christian art symbolism Explained:
Snake/serpents, more complex than just plain evil!
Tortoise or turtle
Skulls, yes everyone knows they are about death and mortality but they can be an affirmation of life.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bugatti and More: On now at Melbourne's NGV International

I enjoyed visiting both NGV venues this afternoon: I highly recommend the Bugatti show at NGV International! All exhibitions currently on are free so there's no excuse for any art and design loving Melbournian, not to make the time to see both this and the other shows.

Bugatti: Carlo Rembrandt Ettore Jean features Rembrandt's lively, evocative animal bronzes; an automobile each by Carlo and Jean; unique, unusual and beautifully crafted furniture by Carlo. As far as talent goes they were world class - it's remarkable to have so much creatively and ability in one family. I think my favourite piece would be Carlo's assymetrical, throne seat which is part of the NGV collection. There's a touch of steam punk about that and some of his other pieces.

The Satirical Eye: comedy and critique from Hogarth to Daumier, a must for anyone who appreciates vintage satire and etching. Features a number of prints by Goya from his series Los Caprichos.

The cricket and the dragon: Animals in Asian Art
is aimed at getting children interested in art so be prepared to squat and crouch a lot in order to see most of this show properly. Other than that small grumble and inconvenience for the rest of us, there are some superb examples of Asian craftsmanship and artistic technique. The poster critter - literally - for this exhibition is a copper alloy, life sized rat holding a chestnut. He's gorgeous, I want him! There's a lifelike crab also made in copper alloy and Japanese but a slightly later period and not apparently by the same artist.

Don't miss the smallest pieces tucked away behind tiny windows, inset in a graphic panel between each of the main showcases. Some of the best stuff is there. Exquisitely carved Japanese netsuke*, and finely glazed snuff bottles will make that awkward stooping worth your while!

One of the netsuke on display is very similar to one in the V&A collection*. Perhaps this is a traditional depiction of quails or perhaps one inspired the other.This one is cuter, rounder and sweeter. Their eyes are shinier [grabby hands].

Magnifying glasses are there to encourage kids to appreciate the details but for those of us who are long sighted I expect they could come in handy for some of those tiny pieces!

Remaking Fashion was okay but not my cup of tea and held nothing that really excited me. I continue to be frustrated by the recessed showcases and lack of visibility they afford. Fashion isn't designed to be viewed from one specific angle but 360 degrees. The strategic use of mirrors perhaps, and an extra freestanding showcase would help.

*I've always sought this type of carving out every since seeing my first netsuke at the Victoria and Albert museum in London back in 1997. I love how compact, detailed, and full of character they can be.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Evolution on Earth in 60 seconds.

You know humans are a blip in the lifespan of this planet.

If you've never 100% grasped how long it took life to evolve from lifelessness to something microscopic and then life as we know it, this is the clip for you. In fact, I'm pretty sure even if you are qualified or just knowledgeable in this area it will still be an eye opener.

This 60 second video, by Claire L. Evans, really brings home Earth's time scale and the gradual evolution of life. It's makes you see how quickly life evolved - an evolution explosion - how recent that is and quite significantly how new we are as life forms. Cool stuff.

via Bioephemera.

Chipmunk snarfing a peanut avatar

I created this GIF ^
and this one with a bit more 'ehn ehn!' comedic action

for use as an avatar a while back.
Please don't hot link (directly link) to it
or I will take this post down
Feel free to download it and use it :)
The images came from this golden Cute Overload post if you want to create your own version.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Crop your digital photos yourself because they won't.

Listening to: Bad Boy by Alice in Videoland from Outrageous!

Don't go to Footscray, Kmart Kodak Express: the customer service is APPALLING and they don't care about you as a customer or the quality of their work.

Not only are they rude but they are indifferent. They don't seem to give a **** about their customers. When I went to pick up my photographs the woman was talking in a foreign language to a friend and did not stop promptly or even give me friendly greeting when I stood at the counter. She went and got my photos, plopped them on the counter without a word then went back to her conversation.

Today I went to complain about how the machine had automatically cropped my photos and try to get reprints. She basically blamed me for shooting in digital and not cropping them properly myself on the machine. Some of these images had completely featureless backgrounds which so it would have been obvious that the automatic cropping had made a mistake. Why aren't they checking the prints by hand to ensure quality? Why is the onus on the end user to do this? If it had been a film processed, a human would have checked it make sure the machine did it correctly. No were apologies offered, nor was there any offer to reprint my dozen photographs, help me on the kiosk to crop my images free or otherwise.

If I was her manager I would not tolerate that lack of service. I'd be taking her aside for a serious talking to about customers coming first and basic etiquette (greet, say please & thank you, farewell and the importance of presenting a friendly face).

Tips for helping you crop your digital photos before sending them off to be printed here and here.

****insert your choice of 4 letter swear word ;)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rainbow Lorikeets

Listening to: Wundervoll by Wolfsheim

Rainbow lorikeets
Rainbow lorikeets in the backyard at my parents' place this morning. I think it's the same pair visiting each day.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sam Neil is funny!

Sam Neil about his Staffordshire bull terrier called Fire:
"Fire and I share several traits. We're loyal and sensitive... oh, and we both adore a good scratch. We also find great pleasures in simple satisfactions - a run on a nice day, a snooze by the fire. We differ on the edibility of sheep sh*t and the need to lick ourselves, but pine for each other when I'm away."

From A Man for All Seasons, interview with Angus Fontaine, Sunday Life magazine from The Age, February 22, 2009