Michelle Lee

Your work seems to be from another era, similar to the work of Paul Outerbridge, is this deliberate or by chance?
Definitely by chance but I really appreciate how well he uses colors in his images. Colors are very important to me and I try to make full use of it in my work. I do believe that colors play a big role in expressing emotions and thoughts.

Have you explored other art mediums or was photography a simple choice for you?
When I was younger, I made handcrafts to be sold in school and was interested in graphic/ packaging design. I took a diploma course in interactive media, worked for 1 year and realized that it really wasn’t me at all. I didn’t like being stuck behind the computer the whole time. I left the company and worked in a commercial photography studio and that’s when I realized that photography was my true calling.

What highlights have you had in your artistic career so far?
I would say that winning an award during the graduation night was a big surprise. It was gratifying because I was so terrified during my first year of university. I didn’t know what aperture and shutter meant and thought I wasn’t going to make it through the first year.

Photography is a medium which has been slow to be accepted as an artistic medium by collectors in Australia, has that been the case for you?
To be honest, I have lived and grown up in Malaysia my whole life except for my studies at RMIT so I cannot answer this question but this is the case in my country. It’s an up and coming medium accepted by fine art collectors in Malaysia but it’s happening slowly. Over here, commercial photography is much bigger than fine art photography.

Is your work purely artistic or do you do more “commercial work” too?
At university, we had the opportunity to work on personal work so I took the chance to work on purely artistic work; work I felt was ‘me’. But at the same time, I tried to inject a little commercial finishing to my work. I like the finish of commercial work but I like the conceptual part of artistic work. So, it’s a little bit of both but I definitely lean more towards fine art work and would like to pursue it as a career.
You have a website, has this added to the interest in your work?
It definitely helps when I’m talking to people who want to take a look at my work there and then. I think having a website is very important even if you are just a student. It shows people you are very focused and passionate about what you do. When people see that, they have a stronger inclination to want to work with you. With the digital era now, a website is a very important marketing tool. It reaches places where the ‘physical you’ can’t and that could open up some windows of opportunity. You never know!

Do you have gallery representation in a number of galleries or just one?
I am going to be exhibiting at Obscura Gallery for a month but I would love to be represented by fine art galleries. I’m an Artist and I value other people who are experts in that area of art.

What can you tell us about your time as a student, were you an “arty” creative type or a “technical” type?
I think I was more technical than arty, but I was only technical when it came to lighting. I had no interest in fancy gear at the time. I majored in studio photography and it usually required a lot of concentration on technical lighting. I also majored in portraiture, which mainly evolves around a concept or a story. It was a good balance to have majored in both subjects because collectively, it taught me photography is about lighting but the essence of a photograph is in the concept. It’s very important to balance both art and technique.

Who have been the most influential artists or photographers for you?
I like artists/ photographers who use surrealism or have really strong aesthetics (composition and color) in their work. I also tend to get drawn to people who produce work, which is very ‘gentle’ and ‘quiet’. For photographers, these are a few of my favourites: Andre Kertesz, Sarah Moon, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Julie Blackmon, Helen Blomqvist and Namiko Kitaura. I like female illustrators who emphasise the female form and beauty like Audrey Kawasaki and Eriko Yamashiro. I absolutely love Mark Ryden’s use of colours.

Is there anything you would like to tell readers about your influences or environmental factors (like where you live) you believe are important to know?
I think my parents’ influences rubbed off on me from a very young age because unconsciously, I was probably absorbing the artwork they hung on the walls and the design-based objects they had at home. That kind of environment teaches one to appreciate art in all forms. Coming from an Asian country and being an Asian myself, we are taught it’s important to work hard. Also, it’s essential to remain inspired and positive; something,which is very important to new artists. It’s hard to create when the soul is broken.

What do you hope a viewer will “get” from looking at your work?
I want them to be attracted to the particular piece of work. ‘Attraction’ is just unexplainable but absolutely fantastic. You see something and you go, “oh” and then you get attracted and sometimes you don’t know why, then comes the “what, why, how, when, who” questions and it’s fine if they decide they don’t like it very much after all. I am hoping for them to experience this kind of process. Besides, my work is very much about how I feel so it’s always interesting to find out if the viewers are able to sense the particular emotions I felt through a piece of work because interpretation is often subjective.

What advice would you give to an Art Student starting out after University?
You must know what you want in life. Leaving university, a lot of us fall into this “what should I do now?” scenario because all of a sudden after 3 years in university, we don’t have time tabled classes and no assessment criteria to fulfil. From there, it’s all up to ourselves. We have to know what we want in life and work towards that goal with a short term and long term goal. Even if the plans don’t work out, it’s okay as long as you tried your best and remained focused.

Artists Statement
“My work explores the feelings of frustrations, conformity, eccentricity, dreams and ideals of everyday living by using allegorical narratives. Emotions and thoughts are very important. These two elements are the fundamentals of our everyday lives. Sometimes, they are over-consuming and complex, temporarily blinding the conscious state of mind. My work acts like a journal, projecting existing strong emotions I am feeling during the time of conceptualisation. I visually express myself with my work, unconsciously creating a contradictory state of complex emotions and simple aesthetics.”
Michelle Lee.

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Exhibition – Jos Van Hulsen – Sarah Watt – Jacqueline Flitcroft

An exhibition at Brightspace for Jos van Hulsen – Sarah Watt and Jacqueline Flitcrofts work.


Exhibition: 26 August – 5 September 2010

Once upon a time the extraordinary polymath and talented artist Leonardo da Vinci – a true ‘Renaissance man’ – was fascinated by the possibilities of human flight and spent many an hour researching, drawing and experimenting with ways to make it happen.

Hundreds of years later, with the notion of flight taken for granted by many in today’s world, and using various means – from aeroplane, helicopter, micro-light, glider and hang-glider to sky-diving and the more recent form of base-jumping in wingsuits – the three artists in this exhibition were, in a strangely synchronous way, and before any discussions of a having a group exhibition, each producing works derived from their own interests, concerns and/or interpretations regarding the same topic.

Though they found themselves sharing certain ideas about flight – such as metamorphosis, travel, adventure, freedom, the simultaneous experience of isolation and connectedness – as themes they are somewhat subdued in the works and in the exhibition as a whole. The highlight of the exhibition is, rather, the contrast in their individual responses to the notion of flight and the ideas each of them explore in their works, which differ quite substantially. This is not only reflected in the wide range of mediums they deploy but in their processes of production – from small scale, poetic and almost intimate works on paper to large, direct and sometimes daunting sculptures. Overall it makes for an interestingly diverse exhibition that presents a rich variety of perspectives of or relating to flight…

From the ground looking up, some of Watt’s hybrid photo-paintings depict ethereal birds flying elegantly across the vast, open and occasionally dramatic skies of Footscray or the quietude of a house sitting in the street in the half-light of dusk which is only experienced at certain times of the year.

From the sky looking down, Flitcroft’s works – made by binding and wrapping 3D-forms in Japanese hand-made paper that fit inside a frame like a delicate, poetic jigsaw puzzle – refer to the patterns of the acres of farm-land she sees when flying overhead in her micro-light near Bendigo.

And Van Hulsen’s sculptural forms and photo-collages present flight as an exploration of a variety of complex concepts as ‘forms that fly’ – for example, his camouflage insect-aeroplanes explore the idea that the transportation of some bacteria and viruses across the planet can be more deadly than a WWII bomb.

Not only is the widely interpreted notion of ‘flight’ a richly interesting topic to think about today, but the works, the ideas being explored, and those they elicit, will surely form the basis of some very interesting discussion.

Exhibition – Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee – Opening Thursday 2 September 6-8pm


Michelle Lee creates work with concepts that resemble her own intuitions towards the subjects in her life. Her images are considerably feminine, where female protagonists act as primarily manifestations of the self.

Frustrations, conformity, eccentricity, dreams and ideals are concepts Michelle often turns to in the creation of her allegorical narratives. She expresses that emotions and thoughts are fundamental to everyday life, where at times they are all consuming and temporarily blind the conscious state of mind. Like reading a diary out loud, her work imbues the sense of both vulnerability and pride.

Michelle keeps every aspect of her subjects in a highly controlled environment. She rarely works with wide angle lenses, as the designer in her finds it difficult to deal with distortion. She shies away from ambient light, preferring the effect of the flash. In addition to light, Michelle controls her characters in their environment, often building her own sets or miniature dollhouse rooms.

Michelle was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she completed a diploma in Multimedia Design. She began work as an Interactive Designer, which led her to become a producer in a commercial photography studio. In this role she stumbled across her own passion for photography and experimented with an old light box as her main source of light. She then traveled to Melbourne to complete a BA in Photography at RMIT. Her interests lay in portraiture, fine art and fashion photography. Upon graduation in 2009, she was awarded the Kallman Feital’s High Achievement in a Professional Sphere award for outstanding work.

Exhibition – xue mo

Interpreting Mona Lisa

Xue Mo


“SERENE and deliberate, the sitters in the portraits of Xue Mo have monumental presence, which is also strange and unnerving. The works are technically brilliant and imitate the Renaissance portrait, with mysterious desert landscapes echoing the ambiguities of the smile.” (Robert Nelson, “The Age”, 18 November 2009).


Xue has been working as a full-time practicing artist since 1998. Interpreting Mona Lisa continues Xue’s unique approach to the genre of portraiture, situating Asian subjects in a highly stylised manner that is reminiscent, both technically and compositionally, of the portraits of early Renaissance artists of the quattrocento period such as Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico and Andrea Mantegna.

To Xue, these great ‘masters’ epitomize painting in its purest form. Xue draws her subjects from her homeland of Mongolia and is singularly focused on the female subject, impressed by the ‘noble simplicity, natural beauty, and serene dispositions’ of the young fieldworkers. Well documented in the Australian press, Xue’s last exhibition in November 2009 was highly praised by The Age’s critic, Robert Nelson. As he noted:

What gives the works their monumental appearance is the visual clout of the forms inside them. It’s a function of composition and volume, and these formal qualities are reinforced by the statuesque body language of the figure.

More especially, Nelson was particularly impressed with Xue’s facility of line: It’s unusual in Australia to find this knowledge, which is the art of drawing classically defined. And concluded: the figures have a marvellous sense of composure, in which their place in the world is reinforced by the settled gaze that they return to it.

Xue lives and works in Beijing, China, and has had solo exhibitions in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the USA and Canada.


Exhibition – Connie Noyes


Exhibition – Rosie Leventon

flooded  tunnels
the muse at 269
269 Portobello Road London W11 (just south of the Westway)  Tube: Ladbroke Grove  Bus: 52, 23, 7, 70
Wednesdays to Saturdays 12 – 10pm or by appointment. Tel: 0207 792 8588  www.themuseat269.com
Show continues until 4 September.

drawings  by  rosie  leventon
Best known for her large installations that have been made for museums, sculpture parks and galleries in many countries, Rosie Leventon is now showing her drawings for the first time in London.
“Leventon’s drawings combine expressive energy with a sculptor’s instinct for ground and depth. Surfaces are tactile, often evoking organic sculptural materials, or referencing the elemental aspects of landscape. Some of the drawings also contain Middle Eastern hand writing and calligraphy.”  Tom Flynn
Her work has recently been bought by the Henry Moore Institute, and recent shows include: The Workshop of Hereafter, Blyth Gallery, Imperial College, Unfold, Nettie Horn Gallery, Concrete & Glass, Shoreditch Town Hall, Prospects & Interiors, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds.
Video interview and four artworks on www.channel4.com/bigart


Exhibition opportunity – Brain art exhibition and unconference

From Silvia Damiano…

Dear Readers,

I want to share with you a venture I am undertaking with my daughter Relmi (photographer and graphic designer), who is 21 years of age.

We are putting together the “First Annual Brain Art Exhibition & Unconference” at Global Gallery in Paddington march 2011. There will be a Brain Art Competition for 15 – 19 and 20 – 30 year olds. Take a look at the website and see what you think.


I am currently searching for more ways to connect with lots of people who want to get involved in a project like this so feel free to let people have the link.

Regards Silvia

The Tribe…

‘The Tribes’ mission is to allow creative people; Artists, Musicians and designers to share their ideas and creations and turn them into a commercial reality. The concept is to bringing together innovators, early adopters and investors to allow a unique opportunity for anybody to submit their ideas and gain guidance and security. Think of it as an online Dragons Den without the judgement and yelling! Everybody’s ideas are considered and can benefit from the advice of ‘The Tribe’ community.

‘The Tribe’ will be holding regular competitions to encourage talented individuals to generate new ideas, concepts and artistic projects. The first competition launching on the 22nd September 2010 will be a worldwide design competition. This will be a fantastic opportunity for designers, artists and creatives of all types to submit their ideas for; the first prize is an amazing £10,000!

We also have a website and facebook page if you’d like to check them out.



Many Thanks,


Exhibition – The Collective

The Collective have returned in 2010 with “Re_Collection”
In this, their second collaborative exhibition together, the group present their responses to time, permanence and memory.

Opening night Sept 1st 6-8pm

We would love to see you there.

Red Gallery

157 St. Georges Road,

Fitzroy North, Melbourne,


Exhibition – Cairns and Wolter

OPENING SOON – Mark Cairns + Joel Wolter: SCAPE-ISM: Recent paintings and etchings by two of the Geelong region’s most respected artists.

So escape the election and join us on Opening Night 5 -7 pm 21 August.

View images from this exhibition soon at www.metropolisgallery.com.au
64 Ryrie Street Geelong Vic

The Creative Brain and How It Works – Applied Neuroscience

“The Creative Brain and How It Works – Applied Neuroscience” With Silvia Damiano and Ralph Kerle |

Date: Monday August 9, 2010

Venue: University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Jones Street, Ultimo corner Thomas Street. Room 5.580 Level 5, Building 10, Take the lift to level 5, cross the atrium foot bridge, walk straight ahead to room 580.

Time: From 5:30pm to 7:30pm sharp | No RSVP – Just turn up

There is a body of theories and papers starting to emerge in neuroscience around how our brain works creatively. This body of work suggests if you can be more aware of how your brain works in a context that calls upon creative endeavor, you will be able to alter your thinking or adjust your actions, in the process becoming more aware of your own creative praxis and how you can comfortably and confidently contribute your best to creative collaboration – an awareness that can be knowledgeably sustained and improved over time.

In this highly experiential session, participants will undertake a creative team challenge using a theoretical framework and an arts based process to test this hypothesis in practice. Through this process, you will observe and discern your own creative preferences and biases!!

Exhibition – Printmaking at Jenny Port Gallery

Jenny Port Gallery is very pleased to invite you to

PRESSING MATTERS – Melbourne Printmaking 2010

Featuring works by Jazmina Cininas, Gary (Spook) James, Ruth Johnstone, Tim Jones, Jules, Damon Kowarsky, Peter Lancaster, Simon Perry, Cat Poljski, Sophia Szilagyi, Andy Tetzlaff and Kim Wall.

Opening drinks Wednesday 11 August 6 to 8pm.

The exhibition continues until 4 September.

Jenny Port Gallery
Level 1, 7 Albert Street
Richmond VIC 3121