This gallery contains 7 photos.
Okay I’m not going to take up drawing and/or printmaking pretty much ever again (excepting the Sketchbook Project this year) but here’s a few that I actually kept because I didn’t hate them. These are a pair of ink drawings. … Continue reading
This is only a small selection of stuff that I’ve had in various shows – some I’ve never documented, because of various reasons, mostly involving money and time.Post Uni I tried going in group shows occasionally and submitted this to a Linden show. I’m strangely fond of this piece. Inside are fragments of my diary of the time, on strips of heavily starched opaque fabric. I sewed them into a plastic butter dish that had been carefully sanded to an semi transparent finish so that you can’t read the contents. It remains unopened in my studio.
This work was in my end of year group show at Span in Flinders Lane. It caused an ex-friend who would have much rather hung out at some shitty dive in the city for male attention than go to this show to snap “What the fuck is it meant to be?” at me.
This would have really fucked her up if she had bothered to come to this one at Re vault in RMIT.
I found out about the below exhibition when one of the guys at Art Stretchers congratulated me on being in the show – the department head at RMIT has selected some work from our folio for that year to go in a show at the Old Treasury Buildings. It was a bunch of small, fiddly work that was starting to use text, transparencies, alternatives to canvas, and pictures of my family.
This work was shown at our final Honours exhibition at 200 Gertrude Street. At the time I was fantastically confident about this work, but now I’m unsure. It’s a series of interlocking plastic sleeves that go from big to small, encased in flesh coloured transparent fabric sewn together in a rough manner with thread that looks like hair.
If I did it again, I’d construct a much better foundation and mount for it, hand dye the fabric so that it was much, much closer to skin colour, and then fill that fucker with so much hair that it spilled out of the ends and trailed on the ground. But at the time I didn’t have time to do that, plus it was a more subtle expression of the work I was showing for my Honours folio. My school studio got robbed just before this so I was short of cash, and hair is really expensive, even synthetic hair.
I showed a series of paintings (which sold on the night, yay!)
In addition to the little tableau at the top, I had a couple of textile based works.
I sold enough at this exhibition to cover the rent of the space, so in all, a goodish result. I had expected to sell nothing and be denounced as a shitty artist by random passers by, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Ahh RMIT Tafe – heady years. Not really, actually, it was pretty much all work all the time. Our teachers set about teaching us to actually paint. One of my teachers was John Kelly, if you’ve ever been down to Docklands and seen a cow up a tree, that’s one of his.
So paint, draw, sculpt and printmake I did. I hated printmaking, but at least it was on a Tuesday night, so we could slouch off to openings after or in between class for free wine and fruit cheese. Sculpture was good but my teacher who was a funny and talented guy decided to move back to Sydney because Victoria had voted in a Liberal government, so I dropped it after a semester. Some of my painting was okay, some bloody awful, but I was actually learning how to paint. My previous love of drawing waned under the regimen of life drawing and general drawing. By the time I finished drawing classes several years later, I was very much over drawing and in particular the fussy tiny drawing of my high school years. I needed more immediate ways to get the ideas out of me and onto a surface. A particular style didn’t start to emerge until halfway through second year.
Life drawing classes are interesting. Those who went to Catholic girl’s schools were very concerned with how far to go in drawing a man’s cock. You get over that pretty quickly. There are models who get a little excited by the gaze of young women and men and get inappropriate erections. They don’t last more than one session. I sadly have no surviving drawings of the model nicknamed “Donkey Dick”. He was possibly bigger on the slack than the infamous John Holmes. Donkey Dick was a great model, but his assets were just too distracting. Most life drawing models are average folk, average or overweight bodies, unremarkable looks. It’s not an easy job.
After two years of Tafe, I emerged with pretty good marks, applied for advanced standing at RMIT Uni, and got in to second year.
I’ve been working on Catskis’ for a while, in a fairly idle and listless manner. They’re a jaded, angry cat character that I made up out of boredom and after a glut of cat macros. Not sure if I’ll ever do anything with them, but I did this for a friend’s birthday because I promised her a painting about 47 years ago and then never got around to it.
Whilst it’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever done – I couldn’t achieve Mark Ryden levels of fur rendering, it’s cute and I hope my friend likes it. Also my first foray into painting on those new fangled wooden panel ‘canvases’ and with acrylic which is not my medium at all – I love my oils.
I do like the wooden canvases, they’re lovely and smooth, I was never a huge fan of the texture of canvas (nor the stretching). Might go with these from now on.
A selection of life drawing and paintings and still life from my Swinburne folio prep course, some of my old celtic work (I have a scar on my hand from doing those wee carvings) and an old, old painting from my teens – I was 14 when I cobbled that crappy thing up in my bedroom.
These things went into my folio. At the time I thought that I should be responsible and do Graphic Design (which I wasn’t remotely interested in) instead of taking the poor artist’s path (which secretly I was reeeeaaaly hoping to get offered) so as a last preference I selected Fine Art at RMIT Tafe.
Imagine my relief when Monash and Swinburne rejected my very lame application for Graphic design, and RMIT accepted me into Fine Art.
I have to apologise, Art. Life got in the way. Making money, falling in love with my partner. Getting married. Friends.
I now look back and realise I took you for granted. I was wrong.
Then again, being a female artist in Australia isn’t a smooth ride anyway. You have to work hard, and male art is still seen as a better investment. Even if you do work your arse off, it may amount to nothing – well, in your life time. Creative pursuits don’t pay the mortgage for the majority of sucessful artists in Australia. And lets not even talk about the fact that Australians in general are really iffy about art and those who make it, and resentful of any money spent on Art and Artists.
It’s a vocation, it can be a career as well. But it has to be worked at constantly.
So sorry Art, I’ve turned away from you in despair at times, I’ve been afraid, I’ve even thought of leaving you once or twice, but really, I’ve always loved you.
And I still do.