Sunday, July 26, 2009

More on the Rhone Glacier and vintage postcards

I previously shared some vintage postcards here, one of which was of the Rhone Glacier.
Here is a tunnel through it:
tunnel in rhone glacier
c. 1925

Here's one through another glacier which doesn't look a lot safer to transverse.
Glacier Tunnel

This is what a modern tunnel through the Rhone Glacier looks like: a nice, even board walk and lighting included!

Finally here's a sad little postcard from Geneva's Bern Zoo bear pit, which fortunately is no longer open. The photograph looks slightly doctored to me, with three of the bears having extra sharp edges and the corner bricks in the wall is a bit curvy when I suspect they should be straight.
Bear pit at Bern's Zoo, c.1925

Bern has a history of bear pits and bear keeping but they no longer keep the bears in pits. Bern Zoo's new bear enclosure will open later this year. It will feature growing vegetation and a river from which they can catch live fish. In captivity, it doesn't get much better than that. More here.

[smiles] Doing a spot of research to enhance the posts featuring images has been very interesting indeed!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Horace the Helicopter, illustrated by John Ryan

Horace the Helicopter is by Eileen Ryder (copyright is 1958 but no year of publication is listed) with illustrations by John Ryan. I believe this is the John Ryan, creator of Captain Pugwash who died yesterday. The time period fits and the drawing style of human figures in particular - I know I haven't included many - is the same. It's fitting that I should decide to share these pictures now, even though I had no idea who he was or that he had passed away. I couldn't find other images or information on the net for this book so now here they are!

Horace is a little helicopter who realises how special he is, even though he isn't a big plane, through a series of helpful tasks. I bought this charmingly illustrated book a few years ago from an op shop. This is a selection of my favourite pictures (wrap around text has been removed) from it.

'There was once a little helicopter called Horace who lived in a house [sic] on an airfield.'

Photobucket Horace'sOwner
'... he was very lonely at the airfield because the other aeroplanes
did not speak to him very much, and they used to make fun of him ...'

'... Horace belonged to a man called John ... '

'It looked very pretty, but Horace, all warm and snug in his hangar,
was glad he wasn't out in it.'

push horace
'"But it's snowing," said Horace. "I don't like snow, it's too cold."'

Horace in Snow
'It got colder and colder and Horace began to feel a little tired
because he was carrying such a heavy weight.'

'All the other planes were so busy that
he hardly saw them for the next two or three days...'

'Then he painted a big cross on the side of Horace's cabin.
"Now you really look like an ambulance," said John.
"I wonder what the other aeroplanes will say," said Horace.
...they all agreed he deserved it...
Horace thought he would always have the cross on him, but it wasn't very good paint, and the next time he went out in the rain, it all washed off.
"Never mind," said Horace, "I was an ambulance with a big cross on me, just for a day."'

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ruth Cobbs, Lands of Desire

My favourite illustrations by Ruth Cobbs, who also wrote the accompanying text called Lands of Desire, from Chatterbox. Details at end of entry.

'Where the Golden Apples grew.'
The Hesperides were the three maiden daughters of Atlas. Though they were supposed guardians of the golden apples they presented no resistance to Hercules. After slaying the serpent he took the apples. That's a bit of an anti-climax but Cobbs wrote this part of the original text much like that and with no mention as to why these apples are special.

These are no ordinary apples of course. They offer immortality. There are more interesting versions of Hercules'/Heracles' apple pilfering which explain that and the back story. Stealing these apples was Hercules' eleventh task from the twelve he had been set.

'Suddenly a waterspout came upon them.'
The True History by Lucian, was deliberately as far from the truth as possible. In his story they travelled for eight days atop a water spout, three hundred and fifty miles above the earth. To a modern layperson who is aware of the limitations of our atmosphere, this sounds fantastically high particularly for natural propulsion. It is, converting to approximately 563 kilometres. The ozone layer is between 20 to40 kilometres up. 563 km is in the ionosphere a.k.a. space. Accordingly, the voyagers land on an island that turns out to be the Moon. The story gets weirder as you go along including another island made of cheese in a sea of milk, a war with the Sun and being swallowed by a whale 200 miles long. The True History has been cited as the first example of science fiction. Read the start of it, online here.

Image accompanying the story of the Irish monk, St Brendan, and his seven year journey to a distant paradise. Read about his fabulous journey here.

Original images and text from : Chatterbox (1926, Children's Annual), published by Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., London 1926.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Liquid Desire & Destino

Now on at the NGV is Dali: Liquid Desire.

We went last Wednesday and my recommendations are:
Buy your tickets online there was a huge queue;
Hold off seeing it for a bit longer because you're pretty much queuing for the whole show, waiting in line to see stuff.
Patience is a virtue and you will need it. Unless you're like me and pop your glasses on, cut in when something grabs your eye and take them off again, plonk yourself right in front of it to drink in every detail, because goddamn it I want to see it properly now I've forked out $23. I want to see the legs on the ants and every little line he drew.

Good show though unfortunately I had already seen more in Spain and that's hard to live up to especially since there was so much installation art over there. My favourite jewellery piece, The Royal Heart, wasn't brought over due to its fragility and is represented by a looped video instead. I can't help but feel some of the best stuff wasn't included. That's probably because my memory of where I saw something in Spain is a bit befuddled and it wasn't part of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí collection. Being a culture vulture, I visited the best museums Spain has to offer and there's a pleasing quantity and quality of Dalí . I've probably seen more Dalí than any of my friends and acquaintances.

A little gripe I have is that the first gallery's traffic flow continues to be a bottle neck. The other galleries allow a freer flow of viewing that allow you to get a little bit lost but in a nice way, despite the overall linear path of the show. Reader, has it been like this for every Winter Masterpiece show at NGV International? I don't know because this is only the second one I've been to but it happened last year at the Art Deco one as well and it wasn't as crowded.

I was left intoxicated and numb by the art at the end. I couldn't say whether it was good or brilliant. I had to go away and think about it: a little of both due to lack of freedom to drink it all in properly. Nonetheless it is definitely worthwhile. I was awed in person by works I haven't seen before including the small and meticulous portrait of Gala with lamb chops, the photography, and disintegrating atomic series. I loved Destino. If only it were longer [sigh].

Not sure how long this will be allowed up, so savour it while you can.

Now with more stuff!

Listening to: Zero by Yeah Yeah Yeahs from It's Blitz!

Regular readers may have noticed it looks a little different here since the weekend. I grabbed a new Blogger Template for Dummies aka those of us who use trial and error to tweak html [points at self]. I fiddled with it, adding handy new gadgets [points to right side of screen] and a slightly different colour scheme [does game show hostess waving hand]. I hope you like it and that your meerkat clipping experience is enhanced [cheesy grin] by the option to click a reaction if you just want to show you appreciated* something, new archive format, Google search function, labels list, and rolling blog roll via my Google Reader list.

* The blogging process is spontaneous for me. I blog about stuff I care about, things that grab my fancy. It's always nice to know if the reader enjoys it as well. Little bit of feedback of this sort gives me a better idea of what you like here and what I could spend more time covering.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Depp on Letterman

In an interview with David Letterman, Johnny Depp about his 10 year old daughter
"I also see little boys starting to line up, to date my daughter ... and I fear for them."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Complimentary and Complementary

Here's pair of phrases I've come up with to help me remember the difference between complimentary and complementary
Complementary things complete each other to create a greater whole.
Compliments are ideal.
Makes sense doesn't it? Hope that helps you too :)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Big show coming up: Slide Rules Have No Place At My Party.

This is one of several of my new, sculptural works that will be featured at Brunswick Arts Space from next Friday.
Lime and Soda
mixed media, framed sculpture

Lime and Soda, detail showing scrimshaw

Lime and Soda is about how the increased amount carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects our oceans. The ocean naturally absorbs carbon dioxide but if it continues to absorb at the current rate we will see acidification. This affects the entire ocean food chain from the tiniest creatures upwards due to the negative affect on seashell integrity. The scrimshawed, seagull craniums depict a carbonic acid molecule and the degradation* of a seashell in simulated, acidified ocean water.

Slide Rules Have No Place At My Party.
An exhibition of small scale sculpture and other media.
Curated by Monica Zanchetta.
Opening July 17th, 6-9pm
17 to 31 July 2009
Brunswick Arts Space
2a Little Breese Street
Brunswick, Australia
Gallery Hours: 12-5 Thursday to Sunday

I will post images of artwork from this show when it's over, here

For those of visiting the show at any point, please note that from my bat sculptures, 10% of the proceeds will go to the Tolga Bat Hospital in Queensland. So you can help a poor artist AND an orphaned or injured bat!

*Based on photographs from National Geographic, 2007. Click for further reading