Exhibition – Kaye Green

Kaye Green is a prolific printmaker (interviewed here!) who spent some time in late 09 to do some work at the very famous Tamarind Lithography Institute, here is the invite to the exhibition so we can all check out what took place while she was there (lots…)

It’s at the Sidespace Gallery in Salamanca Place Hobart Tasmania. from Feb 25 – March 9 2010

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Exhibition – Perdesi

The Australian High Commission Islamabad and Lahore Arts Council is pleased to invite you to an exhibition of paintings and prints by Damon Kowarsky

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The exhibition will be opened by a representative of the Australian High Commission Islamabad on Monday February 8 from 5 to 8 pm. The exhibition continues until February 22.

“In 2007 I spent six months living and working in Pakistan, teaching drawing and studying miniature painting at Beaconhouse National University Lahore. Over the last year I have translated these experiences into a series of prints and paintings.” Damon Kowarsky

Alhamra Art Gallery

The Mall, Lahore

The gallery is open 9am to 6pm daily.

www.tinyurl.com/perdesi

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Connie Noyes

Connie Noyes is a Chicago based, Professional Contemporary Visual Artist who has been making art for 30 years. Represented by Art Depot, Innsbruck, Austria and the SFMOMA Artists Gallery in San Francisco. Connies website is at http://www.connienoyes.com

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Interests you have other than art?

I have danced my entire life and I think as a result of this everything I experience is through my body. I am very physical and consequently my art is very physical. There is a visceral experience, often for the viewer, when they see my work in person. It is hard to get this from the internet or digital images, so this is important to mention.

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What are the main medium/s you work in…

I consider myself a painter, though I use many different materials in my work. My MFA is in photography but I never actually thought of myself as a photographer. The photographic image was the skeleton of my work. I had a hard time keeping my hands off the image. I had to touch it, to manipulate it, paint on it, erase parts and then draw back into it.

My photographs looked like paintings, and now as a painter people tell me I paint with a photographer’s eye. I think what they mean by this is that I work with the edges of the frame/canvas. This is where tension and poetry are created.


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Artist’s statement…

This is a statement from my latest body of work Human Steps. It is an ongoing series I have been working on for a year and a half. There are paintings and digital images. Eventually there will be video components and an installation as well.

HUMAN: adjective, have, or relating, to characteristics of people. STEPS: noun, plural, the act of putting one foot in front of the other.

HUMAN STEPS is a dialog, which references the many disparate elements encountered in daily urban life – a metaphor for the way in which dark affects light and vice versa, how the sweet can become sickly if overdone and how close proximity to millions of people, diverse cultures and visual images can both inspire and overwhelm. It is a metaphor for tight quarters, pleasant or not so pleasant meetings and vibrant energy of the city in contrast to shadowy and emotionally difficult places.

For HUMAN STEPS, I use what most people consider garbage as a jumping off place in the work. The materials at one point might have been utilitarian, but were never considered beautiful. The hard, shiny, plastic surfaces often synonymous to commercial objects, would never pass inspection as such. Dirt falls onto the canvases, scratches, cracks, marks occur and there are no straight lines, only the illusion of such. Through the act of turning detritus into “works of art”, or elevating the prestige of garbage, I aim to question the status quo of beauty, worthiness and usability. 2009

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Your art education was…? I have a Degree in Photography from a small liberal arts college in Virginia, Virginia Intermont College, A MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MA in Psychology and Art Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California.

I also took a few painting classes from Larry Robinson who teaches at UC Berkeley in California when I decided to switch mediums in 1998. Studying psychology and working as a therapist for 9 years changed my life and the way I think about my art practice. Taking painting classes with Larry, changed the trajectory of my career.

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Tell us about your study and the MFA…

I was accepted into the graduate program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at age 23. It was the only school I wanted to attend, though I had been accepted into two other programs. The Art Institute at the time had the reputation of having one of the best graduate art programs in the country. Plus I had been living in a very small town in the mountains of Virginia, teaching part-time at the college I attended as an undergraduate.

I drove to Chicago from this small town singing Hot Child in the City hoping the words could ease my nervousness and boost my confidence. I was shy, a bit intimidated and a giant sponge seeking food and knowledge. I took and absorbed what I was told about my work and tried to make it fit together in my psyche. I was making what I was told was BOLD work. To me it was simply romantic and stemmed from my own personal history of romantic encounters The response was never indifferent. Professors, other students and critics either loved or hated my work. The extremes intrigued me.

In critiques, the players would argue amongst themselves, passionately describing their response to my photographs. I learned how to play the game and how to get the response from my audience I wanted. In the process of absorbing others ideas -theoretical, intellectual or emotional, I forgot the importance of doing the work for myself.

Though, I never had doubts about getting my MFA, it wasn’t until much later when I could really appreciate what I got from going to school there. I was so prolific and the work I did has been the foundation for all work to come. But with that said, I don’t think I took advantage of the program the way I would have had I been a bit more mature. I received my MFA in 1980 in photography.

If you started painting in 1998 what did you do in the years previous?

I stayed in Chicago and worked and exhibited for two years after school. I don’t think I was prepared for life after graduate school. I was working as a waitress and bartender at night so I could work in my studio during the day. But, then something happened and the social aspects of the bar life and alcohol consumed me. I moved to LA, back to Chicago then back home to Washington where I finally hit bottom…and I thank God it stopped there. I was able to get sober and back in my body! I was married and my daughter was born on Xmas day in ’86.

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In 1988, when my daughter was less than two years old sitting in her high chair, I watched as she bit the tips off non-toxic markers. The color oozed out of her mouth onto the paper. She spit, drew, rubbed, rolled in the gooey mess. She was covered in color. She didn’t care what any one thought of her drawing. She was genuinely excited by her experience. It was in this moment, in the kitchen with my tiny daughter, I remembered again why I had wanted to be an artist. She and I began playing with art materials together. I learned so much about process from her.

I began working daily, very consciously being kind to the fragile artist child felled for the previous six years. Like my daughter, I suddenly didn’t care what anyone thought of what I was doing. In fact I never had to show anyone. I was just playing. I decided that the process would be my inspiration – one thing leading to another naturally. A year later, I was doing work that felt honest and stood on its own – photographing garbage, old window shades, cardboard, hardware, tape etc., manipulating the images in the darkroom and painting, drawing back into them. I began to exhibit the work in juried shows was awarded a couple of prizes. Soon after, in1990, had a solo exhibit in Alexandria Virginia at the Torpedo Factory. At the suggestion of a fellow artist, I spent every cent I had on having the work professionally framed. I was proud.

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In April 1992, I was awarded an exhibit at Touchstone Gallery in Washington DC. I continued to work with photographic images. The imagery depicted the fragility of relationships – things are rarely what they are perceived to be. The black rose was a metaphor for beauty and the passing of time with sexual overtones. Since I had spent all of my money framing the last show, I used discarded materials to frame and display the work. The acrylic sheets, mounted on the frames with screws purposely didn’t fit. They swung from side to side as people passed. I tacked some of the work directly onto the wall and imposed makeshift frames around the large pieced together photographs.

In May 1992 I moved from Alexandria Virginia to San Francisco, due to my husbands employer. I had not yet figured out how to make a living with my art. Part of me didn’t even want to try. I was more interested in practical ways I could support my children and myself. I know now it was fear that held me back.

Since undergraduate school at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia, I had significant interest in psychology. Almost had a double major. After our move to San Francisco, I was accepted into the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, with an emphasis in Art Therapy at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont California. I began in June 1992 and graduated with my second Masters degree in 1994.

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My relationship to my art practice changed significantly through the process of studying Psychology/Art Therapy. After graduation I worked in a few, rather severe venues, as an intern before private practice was an option.

When I began my private practice it was important to find a space where I could see clients, but also have my own studio. Believe it or not, in 1998, before the dot com boom that destroyed all reasonable rental options in SF actually hit, I actually found the perfect space in a creative arts building. My goal was to work in the darkroom and studio when I wasn’t seeing clients. This might have worked, except 2 children now pre-adolescent, and work with a difficult client base compromised my good intentions. It seemed impossible to carve out enough hours. Darkroom work was impossible. I began painting.

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At first, I was painting on photographs, printed before or old furniture I had found. I had learned from past experience how important it was prime the pump in order to get my creativity flowing again. At some point in 1998, I decided to take a painting class at UC Berkeley Extension. I had never been confronted with a blank canvas before. Though my photographs had always been somewhat painterly I didn’t know the first thing about painting. Painting was more immediate than photography. I don’t think I ever anticipated what would happen next.

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I devoured painting. The first night the teacher in the extension class said, “Who are you?” He had never seen anyone attack the process with such abandon in a beginning painting class. Through the work I had done as an art therapist, which is ALL about process, I had developed a deep understanding and trust in myself as an artist. I knew I would learn more about paint and painting materials the more I worked. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I rented a space in a group-painting studio and rented out part of my therapy office. I was seeing clients 4 days a week and painting 3, then seeing clients 3 days a week, painting 4, until I was seeing clients only 2 days a week.

My therapy practice was booming. I kept raising my prices because I didn’t want to work so much. I wanted to paint. Then I got it. If I had the talent to help others get what they wanted in their lives, I was also skilled enough to get it for myself. All I ever wanted to do was make art. Really. Everything else along the way was a distraction to knock me off my path. I was told a career, as an artist was not practical, especially with two children. I decided to stop believing this idea.

One year after I started painting, I was invited into Hang Gallery in San Francisco. The gallery sold everything I gave them. I was able to leave my private practice in July 2001. That year, I had a solo exhibit at Weigand Gallery, connected to Notre Dame de Namur University and was a featured artist at the Palo Alto location of Hang. I also participated in my second open studios in SF and was chosen for the Selections Exhibit through Art Span the following year. I was one of 20 artists from a pool of about 600. In March of 2003 I had a solo exhibit at Hang and sold out the show.

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What fascinates you?

Human behaviour, culture, diversity. I am fascinated how art can bridge differences- open up dialog. I am fascinated by irony and contrasts-opposites that aren’t really such, for example love-hate. These emotions are not opposite, the intensity of the emotions are both too strong. I think hate is intense fear of difference or perhaps an intense fear of ones own unconscious or dark side.

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?

Just show up!! This is the MOST important thing in the creative process. Something always happens even when I don’t feel like working…and sometimes really interesting things happen BECAUSE of my resistance. I just try to stay open.

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time?

YES.

So do you use a journal to bring those ideas to reality or some other recording device?

I write things down, I write a lot actually. I love to write and have even incorporated small vignettes of stories into some of my work, but often I just do it when I get an idea…I don’t tend to make sketches, though I do use Photoshop to manipulate certain images for paintings, especially when I am working on commissions. It gives the client a very close idea of what the final painting will look like.

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?

Maybe I am eccentric. Does one know if they are? I feel like a chameleon. I can fit in among people in very diverse settings, some more comfortably than others.

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?

Funny question about rules. I think it is important to know the basics. For example, I was compelled to take a beginning painting class before I made my first painting in 1998. I had no idea how to start a painting. So I learned the rules, or this particular teachers rules, for painting. After a while I got bored with doing it the same way and I wanted to experiment. This is when I began to find my own voice with the medium. I just kept asking, “What would happen if I do this?”, and I would try. It was a painting, I could always undo what I did if it didn’t work.

What seemed to happen though was the more chaos I created on the canvas the more opportunities were presented. I was constantly working my way out of disastrous paintings. As a matter of fact, I don’t ever think I have made a painting in the past 12 years when at some point in the process I didn’t think it was a complete disaster. Usually the day after I was ready to trash the whole thing, the work would somehow resolve itself. In my work, if there is not this chaos or conflict at some point, the painting has no life. I take risks just to see what will happen next.

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?

I believe the beauty of art, abstract work in particular because of its subjective nature, but all art really, is each viewer brings his or her own experience to the piece. I get asked all the time, “What influenced this work or that. Every time I tell, the person looks disappointed. After a number of these disappointing looks, I got it. They were having their own experience with the work and my answer squashed their experience. So now when someone asks me that question, I always say, I would be happy to tell you, but first tell me why you are asking or tell me what you see in the work. I don’t want my answer to make theirs wrong, because it isn’t. I think art should spur dialog, which is usually what ends up happening with this approach. Art for me is not something that is absolute.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?

There are people who deeply connect to my work and others that walk right past it. Funny story, during an open studio a man walked by my studio door poked his head in and said out loud, “Humph. Buffalo.” Obviously he wasn’t connecting. But then another time a woman wanted to buy a painting I had in a gallery and there was something wrong with the stretcher. I took the painting back to my studio and she waited for this painting for six weeks. When I brought the painting back to the gallery she bought it immediately, took it home to hang in her dining room. The next day she brought the painting back to the gallery to return it. When asked why she said, “It sacred my children.” This was so interesting to me because it WAS an abstract painting, nothing overtly scary. But, the children, obviously sensitive children, picked up energy in this piece that frighten them. And I totally understood what.

It was a very difficult period in my life. The energy of those days came through in the painting. The children were right to be scared! So with this said, Paintings can communicate with viewers positively, negatively and indifferently. Of course I always want people to adore my work, but the times when they don’t can be just as interesting!

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it? There is no way I could ever stop making art. I wish I could, my life would be easier if I had a real job, and a dependable income etc. and I have tried in the past when I worked as a psychotherapist. I committed to my art practice in 2001, full time and have never looked back. This is my soul, my path. It is who I am. I have stopped questioning this.

You mention “There is no way I could ever stop making art.” So is the process or product of art somehow a therapeutic device of some kind?

Well, I am sure there is some therapeutic value, but I don’t consider my work art therapy. Art Therapy is only concerned with the process with little or no regard for the final product. Though the process is certainly an important part of my work, I do have other considerations as well such as concept, overall design, how pieces work together, intellectual considerations etc. When I said I could no longer stop making art, what I meant was my art practice is such an intrinsic part of who I am. It is more than just something I do. My art practice is my playground- it is a reflection of me, my voice, my spirit. I guess I need this mirror.

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How does having a working knowledge of Psychology assist you in your work?

Sometimes I wish I didn’t know so much and could work in blissful ignorance. It is interesting though, when I am in the process of creating a piece, I am not thinking about what it means, how it is connected etc. I am just paying attention to what is happening in the piece. After, when the piece is complete, is when I see everything! I understand the metaphor in my work very easily and how it is connected to my life and my own psychology. But, I also think the concerns I have in my work are universal ones…and lately I have been working more conceptually, so self-analysing my work is not such an issue.

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What discourages you from doing art?

I am always working. If not making art, marketing, networking planning etc. This is a full time job. No, it is a full life! There is no difference between my art and my life at this point. Today I am sick in bed and I am still working. Writing this interview…;-)

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Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?

My challenge is knowing a piece is not finished and trying to make myself believe that it is. It goes back to the chaos comment. After working and wrestling with a piece for a long time, I want it to be finished, but there is always a little nag in my head. It isn’t until I REALLY complete the piece, and I know intuitively when this happens, the voice goes away.

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What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them?

I have tried it both ways. My current work has titles. Other series have had more generic titles, titles for identification. Again it depends on the work. I don’t have any absolute rules about this.

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If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?

One of Anselm Keefer’s Wedding Dresses.


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The best thing an art teacher ever said to you was… “Just follow the work”. This has been invaluable. It keeps me focused on what I am doing and not concerned with what others. Though I look and am interested and get excited about other artists work, I can only go to the places my work and my process take me. Plus, it is always an exciting day when the work pushes me into the next phase of the process.

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How important do you think art is for society?

So important. I cannot imagine a society without art. Artists are the philosophers for the culture. Not only do we bring different viewpoints, thought, images, connections to the table we create the life in the culture- excitement, beauty and innovation. Without art we would live in a culture of grey -mundane, homogeny. There would be no joie de vivre. Depressing thought!

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You mention tension and poetry are created at the edges of a work… Do you want to tell us more about what you mean?

By cutting something off at the edge there is an automatic tension created, a push-pull between the edge and the object. It throws the balance off and suggests continuation into another plane. Isn’t this poetic? Often I will use the edge as the place where most of the “action” happens. The center becomes either a place to rest or a void.


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Art As a way of life, rather than a career or “job”… Do you think other people get that and appreciate the passion this might cause?

No, I don’t know what people get. I am certainly open to hearing other people’s response to that question, artists or non-artists alike. You obviously get it to ask the question. Thank you for that. I am passionate about my art practice, my life, all of the above.

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Here are a bunch of statements you can respond to any way you want. Go for the first thing that comes into your mind, or not…

Sociable and out there, or withdrawn or intense? Sociable, out there and at times intense

Tough and resilient, soft and fragile? I look fragile and soft, my attitude is tough and resilient and I think my inner core is made of steel!!! Though exhausting at times,I am a fighter for what I want…. and a survivor.

Logic and clarity or creative and messy? Clear, Creative and totally messy.

Small and intimate or large and bold? I love the extremes. At one point I was only making paintings over six feet and under 12 inches. Such different energy.

Security or insecurity? Depends on the day

Feel the art and hear the image… Feel, emotional and tactile.

The world is… f#%ked unless we can harness more creative intelligence in our leaders and everyone gets how interconnected we all are.

Creative muscle building… Comes from showing up, as with any practice or discipline.

Delicate and subtle, strong and bold? Again, I am there in the extremes.

Intellect or careless casual connections… There are no accidents. It is a matter of being in the moment, using you mind, body, emotions, spirit and whatever else is at your disposal to either respond or not to what is happening in the work at that particular moment.

Critics are important because? It is another way to have dialog about art. Agree with them or not, it is the dialog, which is important.


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Dan Wollmering

Dan Wollmering BA; MFA: PhD. is a Contemporary Sculptor based in West Brunswick, Melbourne, currently represented by Flinders Lane Gallery & BMG Art, Adelaide. For over 40 years Dan has been making art in Wood, Steel, Bronze and Aluminium. He describes his works as Abstract Architectural. He lectures in the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash.University Victoria. Dan has made pilgrimages to Italy France and New York several times over the years. You can read more on Dan via Flinders Lane gallery’s website.

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Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?

Some works do (outdoor public sculptures more linked to political & social issues and ideas) Gallery works are concerned more with formal notions of structure, form and beauty invested in nature or a purely from the imagination.

What are you currently working on?

A series of works that were executed in foam & cardboard whilst on a recent art residency at Rimbun Dahan outside of KL, Malaysia – to be cast in bronze and aluminium. The works are loosely related to architectural forms derived from Islamic structures and contemporary buildings in KL.

What fascinates you?

Travel, cities, theoretical physics (what little I understand) discovering a new piece of music, (classical, rock or jazz) Albums that still fascinate me i.e.‘ Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis, ‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan and ‘Rook’ by Shearwater to name a few . . .

One word or statement to describe your current works?

Tactile and curious.

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Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.

A series of 14 aluminium & bronze sculptures that reference small personal architectural statements – based on my living experiences in Malaysia for six weeks.

How did you get into art?

Elementary school on Friday afternoons – a time devoted to art activities that interested me immensely and the teachers who taught it.

How important is art for you?

I need it to make sense of world and to make it – to provide a type of concentration that brings about satisfaction and achievement.

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What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?

Sometimes, but more rarely as I grow older, it can bring goose bumps to my arms that conveys of a type excitement or challenge that is quite outside the world that we live in.

The craziest thing you did at art school was…

Designing a sculpture rocket (dry fuel rockets were all the rage back in the 1970s); it ignited and accelerated to about 100 metres when it nose-dived back to the earth. Luckily no one was injured.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?

Worked in a variety of jobs – mostly saving money to return to University Art School. (Factory worker Hudson Sprayers, Combine Driver and Mechanic for the Green Giant Canning company, Labourer for a construction company).

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Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?

There have been many. One in particular, being selected for the 3rd Australian Sculpture Triennial in 1987 at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?

Hummmm . . . a positive experience seeing a major work by Louise Nevelson at the Walker Arts centre in Minneapolis.

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

Such a difficult term ‘success’ perhaps when the work hums – most artist know when this condition occurs – as rare as it is. Another measurement, when attached to a commercial gallery, of course, arriving at your opening and seeing those uplifting ‘red dots’ – certainly makes the effort worthwhile although I would not necessarily state categorically this is the only measurement of success.

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What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I Try not to waste time in the studio. The days of ‘fooling around’ are over – but would like to have more time to engage in this important and necessary activity.

Creative streaks do they come in waves for you?

Not really, am more interested in the ‘flow’ – when one is working a piece – so focused and engaged that hours pass quickly. A good head space.

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?

Yes – a loaded term that Postmodernism has, for the most part, tried to kill off but continues to bounce back when artists aim high.

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Have you had any commissions? Any of note etc…

Yes, a piece titled Dwelling, that I am proud of that was commissioned by Moreland City Council (with some funds from Monash University) sited in front of the Leisure Centre in Fawkner Victoria.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?

I have read this and understand the difficulties associated with making a reasonable living off one’s own practice. Yet, there are many examples whereby artists ‘return to the field’ after years in other occupations, or free from domestic responsibilities, or have sufficient time and funds to commit to the practice. In my experience, most committed artists have to make work and will exhibit in whatever manner they wish over a long period of time; Art is a marathon not a sprint.

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?

I have never really turned – just going steadily forward. A ‘focused point’ was when I was doing the ‘rounds’ trying to ‘land’ a commercial gallery when finally after approaching many without success – a colleague friend tipped me off regarding a new gallery opening, I was accepted and became part of the stable of Artists at Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne. I have been showing with them since 1989.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?

Rebecca Horn, Louise Nevelson, David Smith, Buster Kendall, Anthony Caro (late) add another 100 artists here.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?

Yes – being selected for an International Sculpture Symposium in Southern China – commissioned work that was eventually installed in Shanghai.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had?

Generally after a solo exhibition – work removed, feeling ‘flat’ taking stock and then questioning why am I spending all this time devoted to this activity when I could be doing many other interesting things as well?? It only lasts for a few days – as other art related projects have to be completed. We just keep going.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?

Not one thing in particular, rather embracing more of the overall arching activities occurring at the University art school at the time – including happenings, performances . . . I was somewhat sceptical of such undertakings as being rather indulgent – but only now recognise the value and significance of these experimental and innovative art forms.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?

Oh dear, another excellent question. Depends on which piece and the brief attached i.e.a public artwork/sculpture – being site referential. My inside gallery work is more geared towards to condition of abstraction and such notions of transformation and imbedded spirit Sometimes, this may manifest itself in ideas of beauty or alternatively, uneasy and precarious possibilities of chance and accident i.e. cause and effect.

About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?

Becoming an activist in the Union movements. The death of both my parents.

Are their special aspects to the making of your work that you want to share?

Process vs product – the age old question. Sometimes only certain sculptors can appreciate this often overlooked creative condition. Enjoying materials and appreciating techniques are often important vehicles of conversation shared between sculptors. Looking at from another angle, perhaps this is why cooking shows are so popular on TV – the mystery of the making.

You know you have “made it as an artist” when…

You are known by your first name, not only with your peers, but by a wide audience.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?

Just do it – it has to be done – never ever assume that anyone but yourself will promote your work. Sometimes, a good dealer will make important connections – particularly when it comes to clients.

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?

A man came to our first commercial exhibition held in South Yarra – all dressed in the medium that we were using primarily throughout our exhibition – which was bread.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?

Most artwork is decorative – some with meaning, some without – don’t worry too much about it. There is a lot of decorative artwork going back to early civilizations, enriched with symbols and significance. Know yourself, the intended audience and then consider the site/gallery in which it is to be exhibited.

Art as a therapeutic device; do you think it is useful for this purpose and is your work in this category somehow?

Again, who knows, if it was not for Art – then there very well may be another passion to embrace – could even be sport – i.e. golf, bushwalking or chess – although at one stage with a fellow artist I played a lot of backgammon.

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?

I think they think it is all very normal – after all have studied art or made sculptures most of my life. Attending openings, galleries, and museums – all very much of what we do.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?

I need both – but do appreciate private studio time – no distractions.

When you get the urge to create art because something has “pushed your button/s” how compelling is it for you?

It is more a regular work process that I undertake on a weekly basis.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?

No artist needs to starve and another myth that raises its profile, generally when the media has nothing of substance to write about.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?

Both have their place – depends on what’s required.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?

Much more considered with my public artworks. And always aware of the historical tradition in Australian sculpture: its practitioners, influences, ambitions, trajectories and possibilities.

How do you think art can change people or their perceptions?

Art really cannot make claim to this – however, I think art can make extraordinary perceptual change with the individual – but not society as a whole. There are now too many competing media and other influences that can undertake major perceptual shifts in society.

Do you go into any contemporary art prizes, if so why?

Yes, to support such occasions and see if I can make the shortlist (for major ones). It is perhaps our equivalent of competition – although highly subjective with luck – if we compare with sports.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?

Promotion is all part of the industry – one has to if you are serious about being a successful artist. I do – but hopefully not in a grandiose manner that is self delusionary and destructive. I see such occasions all necessary in the process of networking and making opportunities – but not at the expense of wasting time not actually making the work.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Just do and just keep going. Go to art school, make friends (some may become very helpful later on in your career). When you are ready – do an MFA (research which art school will suit you best). Apply for grants, enter into group shows and awards and when you have a body of quality works – keep an ear to the ground for new gallery soon to open.

How long did it take to develop your own style?

‘Style’ is another one of those difficult terms in the Visual Arts – perhaps best to suggest that it may be idiosyncratic – all depends on the event, exhibition of site specific nature of a work requires flexibility and a more lateral approach.

Does the gallery make the artist famous or does the artist make the gallery famous?

I think it probably has to do more with curators, editors, feature writers, reviewers and critics. Galleries are important, but generally facilitate sales – some have clout to influence the above – but again, the work has to be good, challenging, difficult or stunning beautiful or a ‘wow’ factor that can not be described – or put into words.

Can you respond to this quote “Anyone who is half assed about art should get out.” (Janet Fish).

Hummmm . . I guess one could suggest that we need a lot of the clutter to really appreciate the good stuff.

Cultural connections you may have which may be of value to the viewer? Go overseas and make art connections, residencies, symposiums. It is important to get out of Australia.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Check out our other Art Site http://artstuff.net.au

Burning Desire Creates Field of view…

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2010 will see many Visual Art events emerge, some large others small… However this one event has already etched it’s place in the artists taking part.

Fields of View is an exhibition featuring 5 Visual Artists all affected by the Black Saturday fires of Feb 2009, from directly fighting fires to save their homes, to standing on the edge of the firezones watching and waiting… then in the aftermath all counted their blessings, conferred various stories and carried on.

Only now with a renewed interest in the way their now changed lives had instantly become more precious, Artworks evolved, giving them a chance to explore and communicate the issues all had experienced.

Couple this with the fact all are passionate about the environment and their role as Environmental Expressionists and you have a fantastic mix of impetus and context with which to present their works.

Over the next few weeks I will have the opportunity to share with you some aspects of the exhibition and the way the Artists express their environmental concerns and inspirations.

When artists get together the collective power to obtain media interest is tangible… They called it ‘Artists respond to tragedy’ http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2010/01/25/2800651.htm take the link to hear the artists interviewed on the black saturday fires and see some of their work!

Here are some images from the first opening of the exhibition at Maffra Vic.

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Kerrie Warren – The view from here…

Kerrie Warren on her work and her role in the Fields of View Exhibition.

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Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions.

I’m an Abstract Expressionist painter and am very much influenced by my environment at the time, the ‘Bushfire Series’ came through naturally because the fires and the after effect of the fires became a part of my life.

I live in Crossover Victoria; my studio narrowly escaped the Bunyip Ridge fire on Black Saturday, a day that I will never forget.  I was also influenced later by the talk of ‘Fire Bugs’ in various areas.  Thus the ‘Fire Bugs’ naturally began to appear in the work also, they just flowed out and I didn’t try to stop them.

I work with the canvas on the floor and use acrylic paints, mediums, gravity and gestural movement to express myself through bold mark making and colour.

I do not plan my work; instead I flow with it and work in a spontaneous fashion.  I somehow step inside ‘spontaneous’, where everything slows down and I work to a point of resonation (a climax).

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The environment has always shaped my work in a sense.  I explore the ‘sensation’ of it on a molecular level, where energy (life) and movement are recorded in the moment.  The influence is always there…

You were all involved in the Regionalis exhibition in 2009, apart from that not being a travelling show, how is this different?

In one sense it isn’t different, it is simply the evolvement of a journey.  My whole heart is offered in every piece, on every canvas, within each mark; however, this particular series sits within a very raw, powerful and emotional group series based on a catastrophic event.

Two of the exhibiting artists (Werner and Ursula Theinert) were directly impacted by the fire at Callignee on that day and it has been such an experience to work with them on this project, they had to start from scratch and even rebuild their studio first!

I think it will bring forth an emotional response from the Victorian communities, I’m sure that many viewers will relate to our stories and will have their own to tell.

What makes your work unique or magical for the viewer?

I suppose that depends on the viewer’s perspective.  As an Abstract Expressionist, I find my work often sparks discussion, even debate.  It is generally either loved or loathed.

Either way, what the viewer will find is honest mark making, a balance of dynamic colour and something they will not have seen before.  If the viewer is open to this style of work and they have the opportunity to spend time with it, they will allow themselves to ‘feel it’, to communicate with it on layers beneath the surface (like I do).

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How does being part of a group travelling show like this make a difference for you?

Being part of a touring group show creates its own opportunities to exhibit and reach the wider community.

It connects the artists involved and certainly stimulates activity both in and out of the studio.

It also creates an opportunity to connect with supporters and sponsors, International Power / Mitsui Loy Yang B collected a piece of mine from this series, it is very exciting to know that after the tour comes to an end, ‘Firewall’ 09 will end up in a corporate collection.

The Parliament House dinner, how did that come about, and a bit about it…

Yes, the Parliament House presentation and dinner is something I am very much looking forward to.  We made good friends with our local MP Mr. Gary Blackwood Member for Narracan a couple of years ago when we presented ‘Wild Dogs from Down Under’, another touring exhibition that travelled in Victoria and to our sister city JiuJiang in China.

MP Mr. Gary Blackwood was interested to hear about the ‘Fields of View’ tour and assisted us by creating the opportunity to present this project in an official capacity in Queen’s Hall, Parliament House Melbourne, where on the same night participating artist Peter Biram will be launching a new arts movement ‘Environmental Expressionism’.

We are also excited to announce that Mr. Ted Baillieu MLA, Shadow Minister for the Arts, will officially ‘open’ this occasion, supporting the project.

The night will be celebrated along with a VIP 3 course dinner (inside Queen’s Hall) and we invite anyone interested to join us, to support this project and be part of this journey!

*please find the invitation on this link

http://www.kerriewarren.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Invitation-to-Parliament-House.pdf

Kerrie Warren, Abstract Expressionist.

Werner Theinert – Field of View Artist

Werner Theinert is one of the five Artists in the Fields of View exhibition, here are his responses to a few questions I asked him about the exhibition.

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Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions. (medium, style, intent, subject.)

I have chosen three pieces from my Black Saturday series to be a part of the fields of View Tour.

They are all 1200 by 1200mm high resolution images, printed on high quality vinyl which in turn is covered with a clear semi matt protective layer.  This is then self adhesively fixed to an aluminium sandwich board – modern day sign writer technology.  The board then has an aluminium channel fixed to the rear, to allow easy hanging of the work and to provide a degree of strength and rigidity to the board.

The original images are firstly copied and melded into geometric angular panels.  These panels are then combined and shaded to give an illusion of three dimensional boxes.  The patterns create an Escher type illusionary effect.

The original images used to create these pictures were taken on the Sunday morning after Black Saturday, and as such have a very strong association with the devastating events of that fateful night.  The many stark images taken that morning are a clear reminder to me of the hopelessness of mans efforts to in any way try to combat the sheer raw power of Mother Nature – the destruction was total and complete.

The first piece is titled Distorted Metal.  The original image was taken with the collapsed roof of our burnt studio workshop at an angle in the foreground, with the fatally injured Bungalow and blackened tree line in the background.  The interesting patterns created at the corners of the boxes resemble radiating stars, with the blackened trees creating a feather like pattern within the stars.  The other interesting part of the image is the Crab like creature created by the angled metal sheets.

The 2nd piece is titled Burnt Studio Metal, this was all that was left of our Studio workshop – but burnt metal and molten glass, with the stark blackened trees standing sentinel in the background.  The interesting feature of this piece is the appearance of a halo or a circle around the top of each box (or is that the bottom of the box).

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The 3rd piece is titled Mower Metal Burnt.  This was an image of the remains of our shed.  The shed had the mowers, bikes, hydraulic splitter, slasher – anything and everything gardening!  The colours are simply Black, Brown and White.  There are so many different things created by the melding of the images, limited only by your imagination.

Conceptually the boxes each represent a family home, a family unit.  Each box is a part of a group of boxes – a small community.  The next pictures in the Black Saturday series then have many more boxes – representing a large community, and the next one with even more boxes – a State.  With the final image in the series, with the boxes arranged in a seemingly chaotic manner representing the chaos and disorder after Black Saturday, but if you look closely – bigger, overall boxes still remain, in other words the fundamental fabric of the community still remains!

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The Environment, and what we the people of the world are doing to it, is a major concern for me personally.  I am an avid reader of people like Heinberg, Gore and Flannery, I am currently looking into things like Permaculture and self sufficiency.

I would say that the events of Black Saturday have reinforced and confirmed my views on climate change.  The extremes of climate which we experienced firsthand that day have increased my resolve and my passion to continue on the path to self sufficiency, and to spread the word on Climate Change and Environmentalism, using Art as a medium.  It has also provided me with a vast number of graphic images and material for me by which I can continue my artistic journey.

My aim is to provide a visual narrative that creates and enhances discussion about the environment, and the future of our world.  I have worked in various capacities within the energy industry.  I have worked in the Telecommunications Industry, Aluminium Smelters, Alumina Refineries, LNG Production plants and Brown Coal fired power stations.

I have lived my adult life in Bahrain, Qatar and in Australia’s Victoria and even the Northern Territory.  I feel that these experiences have given me a valuable insight into the environmental workings of all of these industries, but also an insight into the attitudes and philosophies of our politicians and leaders.

I have made a conscious decision to aim for self sufficiency.

What does being an environmental expressionist mean to you?

Being an Environmental Expressionist, for me, means I am a member of a group of contemporary artists, utilising Art as the medium for conveying the Environmental message to the public and to the world.

The Black Saturday fires forms a major aspect to this exhibition, do the works you have created somehow act as a form of healing for you?

Art has been a catalyst for my healing process by providing avenues of support and a creative voice through expression of my emotional reaction to the destruction of our property by the unleashed forces of nature.

The use of the optical illusion created in my images portrays my own feelings of the illusion of ownership and property.

For me the post Black Saturday “healing” has also been provided by the rebuilding of our property and our lives from the ashes left by Black Saturday.  Closure has occurred by the demolishing team removing the remains of our Studio / Workshop and shed, by finally making the decision to demolish and remove our Study / Office at the end of the house, and the decision to demolish and remove our Bungalow, and replace it with our new Studio Gallery.

The completion of the rebuilding works, have also provided me with the healing and the closure required to adequately cope with this event.  The creation of my new series and the positive outcomes of our exhibition at Red Gallery, the creation and launch of Environmental Expressionism, when combined with the forthcoming Fields of View touring exhibition have further assisted in the healing process.

What sorts of messages are you communicating with your work?

My artistic journey is one of discovery.  My earlier work manipulated the original image and created a spiralling ever decreasing illusionary effect which was a metaphor for the decreasing power and influence of the coal industry and the ever increasing damage done to forests by the changing climate. The narrative for the picture is written in the centre or the focus of the picture.  The text is printed in the same font as used in a dictionary, as if it is a direct copy/paste from the dictionaries authoritive text.  This ensures that the narrative or the desired message cannot be misinterpreted.

My latest series uses the post fire images of destruction to create a range of optical illusions which focus on the illusion of property ownership and its perceived permanence.  The Cubic forms created, represent a container of people’s lives and possessions – a home. The connection of adjacent boxes creates the sense of neighbourhood, community and shared realities.

What makes this exhibition so important people should go and see it?

I feel that Black Saturday touched everyone in Australia, with everyone coming together and forming an emotional and psychological bond.  The fires were a vivid image of the potential destructive powers of nature and an environment out of balance. This summer season has highlighted the new awareness, and changed people’s views on how to cope with a potential future fires.

The exhibition provides a portal through which we can view five different perspectives of an event that has touched each artist on a personal level.  The artists in the exhibition have each created works to stimulate, inform and encourage discussion through their own passionate expressions and concerns, not only for Black Saturday but for the environmental issues that will challenge us in the future.

Fields of view – Interview Peter Biram

Peter Biram

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Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions.

My current body of work is exploring the recent 2009 Black Saturday bushfires this links into previous works exploring the theme of ‘land ownership’ and ‘usage’ within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction with the land. This work reads on several layers-

  1. Mark making

On this level the viewer processes the work on a surface level, that is to say the paint texture and colour of the work. The work at this level can be read in decorative terms.

  1. Subject

At this level the viewer reads the work as a landscape, within this framework the observer can interpret the geometric forms as pure decoration.

  1. Conceptual Narrative

Within this theme of land ownership I am exploring the pressure that is placed on the land in an environmental sense both in a western/ European standpoint (In some works I use the ‘hard edged ’Motifs or symbols’ ) and the koorie perspective, (the dots).

I am also exploring the fine balance that exists in the natural environment, some of my past works explore this theme of ‘Balance.

This is to say “Order & Chaos” found within nature and the balance of power shifting between the two states.

Many of my compositions are deliberately broken into two sections symbolizing the two states of chaos & order, the fine balance of nature is placed under pressure re land “caretakership”.

Within this framework I have explored both contemporary ownership symbolized by various motifs which is usually  in the bottom half of the composition.(from a European standpoint)

The ‘hard edged’ nature of the chosen motifs or symbols’ also represents past civilizations, this presents a symbol of ‘land ownership’ in the sense of  ‘branding’ the land.

I also usually choose hard edge shapes because of its direct contrast to the soft organic nature of the bush motif. This also symbolizes human kind’s influence on the natural landscape.

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The concern for the natural environment has always plays a large part of my life. Art can be a powerful platform or a stage that one can express concepts or concerns. In this case I express the ever- growing concerns over the natural environment. In this form my focus is towards human kind and the relationship human kind has with the natural environment with special attention to ‘land usage’.

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What does being an environmental expressionist mean to you?

I have major concerns over the future with regards over the natural environment, and art is an excellent vehicle for expressing these ideas. If we subscribe to these views one can take this to the next level, as collective voice in the form of an art movement, this is why I founded the new art movement – ‘Environmental Expressionism’ ,to more effectively pass on the message

Australian landscape is a well represented genre, what do you think Fields of View and your own work adds to the genre?

The paintings which have established a permanent place in the Australian heritage are usually those which depict the ‘typical’ Australian landscape or express an aspect of Australian character.

This is the common demoninator  which surpasses the changes in genre, style, and me  and links such paintings as Tom Roberts’ The Breakway, Arthur Boyd’s Wimmera Landscape and ShoalHaven series, Sir Hans Hysen’s Spring Early Morning, Russell Drysdale’s The Rabbiters and finally Fred Williams Upwey,Lysterfield and Pilbara series, to name a few.

Paintings themselves emerge as valuable, known and loved works but it would be impossible to present Great Australian Paintings on the basis of judgment of individual paintings. Rather, this book is a salute to the founders of Australian tradititions in art, artists whose successors are even now enriching that tradition in new ways.

The first great school of Australian painting is well represented in this volume. This was time of he ‘golden era’ of painting in the 1880’s and 1890’s, the time of artists like Roberts, Condor, Streeton and McCubbin. With the light of the French Impressionist movement, they were the first to capture the true vision of the country, to break away from the idealised interpretatons that went before.

It is my hope my work has followed, with no less distinction, by the paintings of this age – each new work I undertake will hopefully be discovering and illuminating a new element in Australian landscape or scene.

What sorts of messages are you communicating with your work?

I am an environmental expressionist painter. The paintings explore the theme of questionable land ownership and usage within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction. I examine the pressure that is placed on the land in an environmental sense including the fine balance that exists in the natural environment. I usally break my paintings into two sections symbolizing the two states of chaos & order, with special attention to the effects of the Victorian bush fires of 2009.

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What makes this exhibition so important people should go and see it?

Fields of View presents a variety of perspectives and perceptions about the environment, through the eyes, hearts and minds of five passionate Australian artists. Artists Leonie Ryan, Kerrie Warren, Peter Biram, together with Ursula and Werner Theinert share their individual visions, emotion’s and concepts about the environment including individual experiences of the Black Saturday bush fires.

Update – Bruno Quinquet

Bruno Quinquet who I interviewed 12 months ago has had a great chunk of media attention with this feature article in the London Contemporary Photography magazine HotShoe, Some great photo’s!

http://www.brunoquinquet.com/pdf/HS163_pp08-19.pdf

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The British publisher Thames & Hudson is preparing a book called “Street Photography Now” which will feature his “Salaryman” project, in the company of forty+ international photographers, including members of the renown Magnum agency.
In April, he will exhibit a new body of work at the Institut Franco Japonais in Tokyo, with 9 other french photographers.
Great work Bruno! Just remember dear readers, you probably read about him here first!

Start Looking – Art Videos online

I love it when I find another great Art Resource.

This one has all sorts of video interviews with artists. Enjoy!

http://www.startlooking.co.uk/

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Exhibition – Margaret Zox Brown

To Start 2010, You Are Invited
to an
O P E N S T U D I O

Food  *  Drinks  *  Music  *  Art

Saturday, January 30th
12:00 – 4:00

315 West 39th Street
Studio 500
(Between 8th and 9th Ave’s)

http://www.margaretzoxbrown.com

http://stevegray.com.au/blog/margaret-zox-brown/

Margaret Zox Brown

Margaret Zox Brown from New York has been making art for 23 years and works in oils. Here is her website http://www.margaretzoxbrown.com and her blog http://margaretzoxbrown.com/blog/ you can also check out her work in this You Tube video.

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News Flash! Margaret won an emerging artists award in New York this Jan check out the details here…

Artist’s statement…

As I have evolved as an artist, I have gone through various transitions, building on what I have just learned and then working through my newfound curiosity. Currently, I am exploring the human form attempting to break it down to its more simple abstract self.

For the past several years, the 2 dimensional canvas has really been my muse with color being the true subject and my subject matter being the introductory form that leads the viewer through the journey of each painting. My paintings are neither representational nor abstract but somewhere in the middle. And, what I have ultimately created is quite simply the emotion behind whatever it is I am expressing.

Loose black and white sketches are the bases for all my paintings. I copy them onto each canvas that I have already given a wash of colors from my entire palette. With a thorough, thoughtful, daring and intense exploration of color, I work with my subject matter and deconstruct it and add to it over and over until the entire painting comes together as whatever it is I am feeling and then expressing. I choreograph a harmonious, graceful dance allowing the viewer to freely meander through each painting guided by all the elements; color, emotion, line and shape, paint application, light and depth, subject and mood.

My inspirations are many; the beauty I see in nature, the serenity I feel when observing a Still Life or the intrinsic nature of the human spirit. Whether my subject matter is lost in complex abstraction or broken down to its abstract simpler planes, the journey on each canvas allows me to express the essence of whatever it is, what it feels to me.

My goal with each painting is for it to be rich and thought provoking and emotionally stimulating. There should be moments of excitement, a rush as well as moments of calm and familiarity with a continual discovery of something new.

How do you describe your work?

Expressionist paintings that hover between Representational and Abstract with color as my true subject.

What are you currently working on?

A series of paintings of the Human Form. Currently, I am working on one smaller painting (30” x 24”) as well as one large painting (74” x 66”) which are modelled after drawings of my daughter who was just home for a month from college. I am so emotionally drawn to her, that expressing the emotion of a moment captured with her is exciting and satisfying for me.

What fascinates you?

Color first and foremost then anything that moves me; be it a line or a gesture or a mood or a shape.

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Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.

My current works are of a subject matter, the Human Form, I have painted at all different stages of my art career. I am now coming to them, though with so much knowledge and experience they truly express the essence of and the emotion behind each figure and the moment in time I have captured.

The journey on the canvas guided by color and paint application and medium with the awareness and understanding of different movements in Art History empowers each painting to be all that I am seeking.

Why are you an artist?

At this point in my life, it is all I can be. My life and my art are so intertwined that I express my life through my art and my life is lived in how I approach my art. As I grow, my paintings do and as my art evolves, my self is enriched.

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How did you get into art?

I always drew, my entire life. That was in me. And when I first discovered color, I felt as if I had put my key into a treasure box, just for me.

Your art education was…?

I have been taking an Advanced Oil Painting Class at the 92nd Street Y for the past 23 years and other than that, I am college educated and have travelled so I have a strong base of cultural influences.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?

I have had a wonderful teacher for the past 11 years, Brian Rutenberg, a successful contemporary artist who really brought me to the next level. Also, Robert Gamblin from Gamblin products introduced me to certain colors and mediums which set me on a totally new path of discovery in my art.

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Do you remember your first painting or artwork?

I remember my first Oil painting I did in my 20’s and I remember paintings I did when I was very young at home and was so proud of.

What or who inspires your art?

Different artists, like DeKooning for his painting energy, Picasso for his drawing and genius, Gaughin for his colors and Matisse for his presentation of the world on a flat picture plane…

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?

When my life and art came together. When I started to abstract and take elements out of my paintings, I then realized I could live my life that way; I did not have to hold onto beliefs or ways of doing things. The whole picture became a way to view the world.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?

I tried it and just loved it. I am very earthy, really so the dripping , messy, smelly experience excites me.

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You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

Difficult question. I feel successful when I have wowed myself by what I have produced but also when I get confirmation by the outside world that what I have created is beautiful and thought provoking.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I really concentrate on my drawings the most when starting a painting now. The beauty and perfection (as far as I am concerned) in the drawing, is the pivotal element of my paintings now where all other elements like color and paint stem from freely. Initially, my drawings were secondary.

Does the sale of your work support you? If no what else do you do to support your art (job)?

I also teach painting and drawing and will do commissions when they come up. I also am exploring other art related business ventures.

Do you have much contact with other artists?

Yes, I share my studio, I take a class and I have friends who are artists.

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Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?

Yes but so stimulating. The pressure to get it all together and have a goal like that is wonderful.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?

Right now it’s people, but as I have said, there could be a line or a gesture or a shape or a mood that moves me. I see the world as an artist all the time. I am a very sensitive person so I am moved often although I never know in advance what it will be, which will move me to do a drawing and then do a painting from that drawing.

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?

When I discovered transparent colors, color became my pot of gold. And when I experimented with abstraction, my personal  life and how I approach the world changed in a great way forever.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?

A Picasso painting, pre cubism. His drawings and mind just wow me each time I see those.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the college I went to around my art and an exhibition of my art. And, my art has been put on banners around New York City representing the artistic area (district) where my studio is.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.

I have been rejected many times from galleries when seeking representation. It always seems that is like Catch 22- you have to be known and showing to get known and showing.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

Just my sketch books.

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What happens to works that “don’t work out”?

I just put them away. People often like them, though, so if they want to buy them that is fine even if I am not proud of the piece.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?

I wish I had gone to Art School and gotten a Masters in Fine Art when I was young. But actually no one encouraged me to do it. That is just my own personal regret.

Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?

I love Bob Dylan, the Band, Neil Young… All folk rock and I listen to music all the time while painting. Silence makes me too aware of myself and what I am doing whereas the music becomes part of the whole process and brings me to that zone.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?

Sometimes the title of a painting reveals the significance of the journey I took while painting or the influence behind the painting or the ultimate satisfaction in the painting.

About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?

Having children and wanting them to live life in ways I never did, with confidence and richness of spirit, to know and like who they are and to shoot for anything in life. As I said my life and my art became intertwined when I started to put abstract images in my art. I handle life like I handle a painting now and it feels great. I am living creatively rather than being a prisoner to other people’s conventions or dogmas. And I am happy.

What discourages you from doing art?

Real life pressures like money and discord that can crop up with other people.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?

At this point, I would really like to hand it over to galleryists to do it for me. I need more time in my studio creating the work so there is work to market!

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?

Yes, many collectors are repeat buyers and I invite and include them specially to different events around my art and I have also developed genuine friendships with many of the collectors.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?

The Biography of DeKooning.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?

That’s your opinion (I would actually just tell myself this and not express it to them as there is no point in trying to change someone’s mind who is so off the mark).

What would you say are the top three things, which make you successful as an artist?

My colors, my sensitivity in my paintings and the general public’s reaction to my work. I would like to be selling more and in more galleries and in Museums to be as successful as I aspire to be.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?

Definitely I want them to discover new things each time they look at one of my paintings

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?

My children and friends think my work is great. They are impressed with what I create. I have always been told I am very sensitive, perhaps “they” attribute that to me being an artist. People are only awed by how I work…

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”.

That is not a term which resonates with me at all. There are infinite possibilities to create wealth through creation of a new thing. Why not for an artist?

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?

Not smooth. I am all about the paint and color and mess. It is visceral and expressive not controlled.

What do you love/hate about being an artist?

I love most of it, it consumes me in a great way that I bring to the rest of my life. There is almost nothing about it I don’t like. I do wish more people involved in the art world were as sensitive and people oriented as the artists creating the work. Pretense is an unfortunate by product of this business which is not appealing, not inclusive and not productive. Art and artists offer so much to the world.

How do you go about marketing your art?

My website, Open Studios, email announcements, art organizations, shows…

How long did it take to develop your own style?

Many years, 23 in all but with the strongest emphasis in the past 11 years.

How many artworks do you produce in a year?

20 or so.

How often do you work in the studio?

As often as possible but not every day as other life commitments are there, like my children and teaching…

How do you cope with any low points?

I turn them around to something positive. There is always another way.

How long do our works they usually take to complete?

Can be months but more often weeks.

What did your prices start off at?

The first painting I sold was for $1,000 and it was 24” x 30” Now that size sells for $3,000

Does some of your current work reflect your earlier works?

Always. You can certainly tell that my work is an evolvement from past work.

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?

It is always difficult but somehow it works out. If you believe in yourself then others do too. So you bring about the reality that you want. And, I want my artwork to be successful and to sustain my life.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?

Not a clue.

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or…

Yes for new work and ways to express myself and new ventures to move ahead in life and dreams for things I want to do in my life.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Check out our other Art Site http://artstuff.net.au

A site for emerging Visual Artists…

I like to think my Art sites are the only ones out there… but thankfully they aren’t and every now and then I get to check out others. Here’s one that came up today which has some great information for emerging artists! http://www.artsyshark.com/

Carolyn Edlund has an active blog with interviews and ideas to get the ball rolling, well done Carolyn.

Ryan lights her own fire…

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Leonie Ryan is a Victorian Artist with a passion for getting things done. Possibly her biggest project to date is the Fields of View traveling exhibition, coordinating five Visual Artists to explore a range of environmental issues and tie in with the environmental expressionism theme.

Lets chat to her and find out more..

How did this exhibition come about?

After touring an art exhibition with Warragul artist group ‘Wild Dogs from Down Under’ throughout Victoria including exhibiting in China for two weeks, I had a deep desire to tour an art exhibition through Regional Victoria.

I approached the ‘Wild Dogs from Down Under’ artist group first, though most of the artists focus was back on their solo careers. I commenced the Fields of View project in August 2008 with artists Kerrie Warren and Eileen Harrison both from ‘Wild Dogs from Down Under’. Our artwork was uniquely different from each other, though connected through our passion for nature and energy within life. I felt the small trio group required an extra artist and thought it would be interesting to continue with the feminie energy flow. I invited Ursula Theinert who was very pleased to be involved.

Like all projects Fields of View also has had its ups and downs.  Unfortunately Eileen Harrison had enduring commitments and realised she could not totally commit to the Fields of View project at the time, therefore withdrawing from the project.

After some months of considering possible artists to invite into the project, the decision was made to invite artists Peter Biram and Werner Theinert on board. Both Werner and Peter’s works explore similar themes as Ursula, Kerrie and I.

All five artists involved in the Fields of View exhibition vary in medium, style and visual language, creating a diverse exhibition together with environmental unison and aspiration.  This is the basis of how Fields of View touring exhibition was born.

Why a travelling show?

The purpose of a travelling exhibition to regional galleries is to reveal individual stories through the visual language creating a connection between place, time and people, throughout far reaching regions of Victoria and possibly beyond.

Tell us about organising the show, the challenges, the inspiration, getting galleries on board etc?

To organise an exhibition to tour Regional Art Galleries throughout Victoria is an interesting ambition. What compels me is my ambition and enthusiasm for my art practice, also my awareness and privilege of being a woman in the Western World in the twenty first century.

My inspiration is my love of life, living without regret, and the idea of when I’m 90 years old sitting in a rocking chair; I can say to myself “Yes!  I really have lived a fulfilled life”.

My role in Fields of View is both as an Artist and Co-ordinator. Co-ordinating involves making many decisions, writing and re writing of exhibition proposals, gallery formalities, schedules, various associations, negotiations, budgets, emails, telephone calls and ensuring the artists are content.

In all honesty, a juggling act but also very satisfying. My philosophy is make a good plan, follow it through by then placing one foot in front of the other and then seeing what happens next.

Tell us about the works you have created for exhibition.

I am an installation artist which means I utilise whatever medium most appropriate for the design of my concept.   My concepts mainly relate to the natural environment with themes exploring metaphysical, philosophical and universal connection.

For my Fields of View installation Organic Mechanism 102 I have made large cubistic blocks from recycled polyurethane and covered them with contoured and patterned wall paper. The surface is finished with terracotta coloured paint.

The large cubes represent geometric shape and form much like a cityscape with reference of man’s influence of construction within the environment. Juxtaposing the large cubes is the surface texture of contours and earthly colour.

Five abstract stainless steel mirror finished sculptures represent the natural environment in the form of symbols; Man in a key- earths guardian; Frog- the waterways; Triple energy spiral- universal connection; Mother Nature- spirit and energy of the natural environment; and Tree- the lungs of our planet.

Housed inside the centre of the cubistic installation is a video reviewing the 2009 bush fires which generates a foreboding and eerie sensation.

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Mother Nature Leonie Ryan 2009

Stainless steel

Exhibition – Chloe Valance

Chloe Vallance’s new Exhibition ‘Step Lightly Between the Branches’ opens 14th Jan at Hand Held Gallery.

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On display are Chloe’s miniature, finely detailed pencil drawings and paintings from recent travels.

Opening night Thursday 14th 6-8pm.

More details at Hand Held Gallery

Megan Herring
Hand Held Gallery
Suite 18(upstairs) Paramount Arcade
108 Bourke Street Melbourne, 3000
(03)9654 4006
www.handheldgallery.blogspot.com

Exhibition – Fields of View – opening dinner

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Mr. Ted Baillieu, Shadow Minister for the Arts will be officially opening the presentation of ‘Fields of View‘ & launch of a new arts movement ‘Environmental Expressionism‘ in Queen’s Hall, Parliament House Melbourne on Friday night the 5th of February 2010.  Artists Leonie Ryan, Peter Biram, Ursula & Werner Theinert and Kerrie Warren would like to invite you to celebrate this occasion and join us for the very special dinner in Queen’s Hall.

‘Fields of View’ is a touring exhibition of works based on the Black Saturday Fires, which affected all artists involved to varying degrees.
Two artists in particular, Werner and Ursula Theinert were directly affected by the fire which ravaged their property in Callignee Victoria, destroying much of their property including their studio and artwork.  They have since rebuilt their lives and have found healing through their new works which will tour as part of the ‘Fields of View’ exhibition through selected State Galleries in Victoria to reach the wider community.

We do hope you can join us and support this project.  If you would like any additional information, please contact me (details below). or take this link to see the invite.

An RSVP is required before the 25th of January by contacting Gary Blackwood MLA Member for Narracan
Phone: 03 5623 1960 or Email: gary.blackwood@parliament.vic.gov.au

Thanks for  your interest, please feel welcome to forward this information on to anyone else who may be interested.

Kerrie Warren
Artist
mail@kerriewarren.com.au

Exhibition – Rod Gray and associates…

Rod Gray is A Victorian Artist.

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Exhibition – Laurie Collins

Laurie is a Victorian Sculptor

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New year, new starts…

2010, the start to a new year brings lots of thoughts, trepidation, niggling doubts, annoyances and some what if moments meander though my head.

The galleries are soon to open again, will the year herald a few big hurrahs and some desperate wimpers this time round? Who knows, as often the wimpers can turn into roars and vice versa.

Of note, the Midsumma festival starts soon in Melbourne (go google your own links…) and Ricky Sweallow is on show and the Ian Potter gallery, although judging by the look on viewers faces yesterday it was all a bit blah, this coupled the $10ish entry made me say… hmmm nup.

It looks like a hot start to the year (temperature wise) and hopefully what’s on offer in the galleries will inspire and delight, we can only hope!

Have a great year, and let me know if you have a show on, an art event coming up etc…. :)

Exhibition – Aljoscha

03.01.2010: Mönchenwerth on Rhine, Düsseldorf/Meerbusch.
bioism creatures exploring big world and meeting head of Joseph Beuys: “extend the definition of the art!”

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Kaiser-Friedrich-Ring 25
40545 Duesseldorf
Germany
www.aljoscha.org
Tel.: +49-(0)211-1715571
Mob.: +49-(0)162-6501087

Exhibition – Sharon Stelluto

East West Living in NYC is hosting “Consciousness of Form”, a spiritual and yoga inspired art exhibition featuring artworks by Philadelphia based artist, Sharon Stelluto, Jan16th- March 1st. Opening reception is January 16th, 2010 from 7-9pm.                   We look forward to seeing you!

East West Living
78 Fifth Avenue @ 14th Street
New York, New York 10011

212-243-5994

Subways: 2 blocks from Union Square station

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