‘StArt Up: Top Arts’ @ NGV

18 05 2014

I quite like visiting the Top Arts at NGV each year … this year it’s titled ‘StArt Up‘.

installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

Exhibition media: “In 2014 the highly popular Top Arts celebrates its twentieth year at the NGV. The exhibition presents outstanding work by students who have completed Art or Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and provides insight into young people’s ideas, thinking and creative practices.

This year I noticed that there wasn’t much painting, little 3D work, no ceramics, no metal work, only one textile work, and there seemed to be quite a lot of photography ‘ink jet’ works. Though I was happy that there was so much drawing and that quieter works were included.

Selected students are:

  • Beth Audley , Liam Barr , Kiri-Una Brito Meumann , Kelly Bull
  • Tia Clothier , Amy Collins , Natalie De Blasis , Adrian Del-Re , Eleni Diamantis
  • Adelle Elksnis , Kate Ferrari
  • Christiana Garvie , Will Goldsbrough-Reardon , Jordan Hall , Emily Hubbard
  • Jessica Inci , Elly Jackson
  • Isabella Kelly , Bonnie Koopmans , Claire Kopietz , Rachael Lever
  • Nick Mahady , Camille Mance , Madeleine McDonough , Georgia Mein , Osgar Teague Murphy
  • Tommaso Nervegna-Reed , Jessica Nguyen , Hieu Nguyen
  • Jake O’Donnell , Aaron Orellana , Kelly Peck , Stephanie Pidcock
  • Taylah Ransome , Sarah Robinson
  • Tess Saunders , Suzy Saylak , Danielle Schmidt , Monica Sestito , Qia Sun , Yukako Sunaba
  • Nicole Thomson , Gemma Topliss , Paris Triantis
  • June Uili , Darcy Whitworth , Mollie Wilkins , Angus Wishart
installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

installation; photograph taken with permission, without flash

Most appealing to me were:

  • the hair studies in pencil by Nicole Thomson
  • the video work by Claire Kopletz (I rarely enjoy video art but this was astounding, incredibly beautiful and touching; I was entranced)
  • and the can pyramid by Tess Saunders is clever and knowingly referential.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014‘ is at National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Ian Potter Centre until 20th July 2014.

Top Arts VCE 2010  @ NGV

Top Arts VCE 2008 @ NGV

I must have missed the other years; and I think the naming has changed – it used to refer to the previous year, so this year’s should be 2013 I think (instead of its official title including 2014)?





Colouring

8 03 2014

I spent a lovely time at the NGV International today colouring wooden beads with my friend and her delightful daughter … we made necklaces as part of the workshop situated in the Meredith Turnbull exhibit.

triangle bead 1

triangle bead 1

We added our triangular piece to the wall of others … while little Miss proudly wore her blue square masterpiece home (after dancing outrageously fantastically in the room with the lights on the floor, behind the gold doors).





Melbourne Now ‘Contemporary Jewellery’ @ NGV

19 02 2014

I must admit to being rather ambivalent about this mega-exhibition-event. ‘Melbourne Now‘ is a huge collection of shows and events, staged by National Gallery of Victoria, spread across the two main galleries and many other locations.

Why haven’t I been overwhelmingly excited (like many others it seems)? Perhaps it’s just me, but I found the exhibition website difficult to navigate and frankly confusing. It felt awkward to get a handle on all that was happening (I’ve used the word ‘bamboozled’ more than once when discussing it). Looking at the website this week though it feels less tricksy; perhaps it has evolved over the length of the exhibition.

Eventually I found my way to the ‘Contemporary Jewellery‘ exhibition.

on the landing of floor 3 of NGV international

on the landing of floor 3 of NGV international; not sure why some of the lighting looks yellow (my camera isn’t very fancy to figure such things out)

Exhibition media: “Melbourne is recognised as a leading centre for the production of contemporary jewellery. Presented via a mild steel armature designed by Melbourne architecture firm Muir Mendes, this installation presents diverse technical, material and conceptual approaches to jewellery, including millennia-old craft traditions and innovative new methods.

Am I being especially sensitive to be a little uncertain about the show being on the landing? It’s a good use of the space sure, a high traffic area and therefore providing good exposure; though it’s not exactly high status … or is it in fact the highest status, with not being hidden in a room? Well, now I’m just unsure about it.
The cases are sleek though; I liked them.

melbnow_06

Meredith Turnbull, Stephen Gallagher, Phoebe Porter

Participating artists (reverse-alphabetical by surname, as per Melbourne Now listing):

  • Meredith Turnbull, Blanche Tilden
  • Lousje Skala
  • Emma Price, Phoebe Porter, Nicole Polentas, Tiffany Parbs
  • David Neale
  • Vicki Mason, Sally Marsland, Carlier Makigawa
  • Manon van Kouswijk
  • Marian Hosking, Kirsten Haydon, Jo Hawley
  • Allona Goren, Stephen Gallagher
  • Maureen Faye-Chauhan
  • Mark Edgoose
  • Bin Dixon-Ward
  • Nicholas Bastin, Roseanne Bartley, Robert Baines

There are links for each of the artists on the exhibition page.

For me the most outstanding object was by Robert Baines (below) – the colouring and construction are a progression from recent work, and I love that it’s new and I haven’t seen it before. It’s a crazy kind of coral growth in purples and pinks and silvery-whites and gold. Outrageous and fabulous.
I would like to take it home with me … anyone want to donate it to my place?

Robert Baines

Robert Baines

It isn’t a simple matter to just list the other pieces I liked, for there were many indeed. That said though, Meredith Turnbull’s work is stunning and certainly worth mentioning.

In an adjacent room Meredith has also created a space and materials for children to create their own neckpieces and add to the wall display. This was a total delight and a wonderful way to bring the little ones into the art and making world.

neckpieces on display

neckpieces on display

It’s worth exploring the other rooms on the same floor.
I thought the collection of Prue Venables‘s ‘Tea Strainers‘ were beautiful.
And the watercolour faces of Sangeeta Sandrasegar were evocative and thoughtful (VettiLiveinNorthcote showcases this work too).

I did look about on the other floors, though am sad to report that nothing there took my heart or mind. I’m kind of disappointed, as I was hoping to be swept away and amazed. Perhaps though it was just my frame of mind on the day…

Mark Holsworth of Black Mark blog wrote about it; and I especially liked his connection of the event branding colour to the ‘Yellow Peril’.

Marcus Banyan, of ArtBlart blog, has written at length also (part1, part2); I agree with his overview and particularly responded to his summary on the first post.

Melbourne Now‘ is at NGV and other locations until 23rd March 2014.

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Update (a few hours after initial publication): Since writing the above I’ve been wondering – does anyone know how the artists were selected to be part of this exhibition? I’m fairly certain it wasn’t by open submission or application; perhaps invitation or curator selection or gallery recommendation?

Of the 23 makers, there are two emerging (early career) artists only a few years out of university. Many of the artists are probably best described as early or mid-career; and quite a number are established.

It could be suggested that a ‘now‘ exhibition would do well to include more work from the newer makers or even from students (or more experimental individuals). That said though, it must be acknowledged that the strength of the Melbourne jewellery community is its diversity and support across ‘experience’ depth, so including all levels is perfectly reasonable.

Looking at the artist biographies, it looks like there aren’t any who have not undertaken formal education – even though the text on the wall mentions the richness of the community including self-taught makers.

Still much to think about.

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Update (21st February): Marcus’s text I mention above is worth reproducing here for your reading enjoyment (with author permission): “As with any group exhibition there are highs and lows, successes and failures. Totally over this fad for participatory art spread throughout the galleries. Too much deconstructed/performance/collective design art that takes the viewer nowhere. Good effort by the NGV but the curators were, in some cases, far too clever for their own (and the exhibitions), good. 7/10“.

Also worth reading is the review that Marcus also quotes: that in the Sydney Morning Herald – it’s pretty scathing by my reading.

One of my favourite statements: “… the exhibition is an act of metropolitan navel-gazing on a scale inconceivable in any other Australian capital. The catalogue is filled with references to Melbourne’s global status and international sophistication, but this event is insular and tribal almost by definition.”

Ouch.

Thankfully I knew my interest (energy and attention) limitations and only wanted to look at the one aspect of the whole show (for which I am unashamed) – for just reading about the whole shebang makes me reel and feel like I’m drowning (and we come back to my initial impression of the bamboozle).

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NGV acquires David Neale brooch

30 10 2013

Spotted on David Neale‘s blog, TheGoldenSmith: this amazing piece ‘Colour Fold‘ has been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria.

ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN’ SPLENDID!

image reproduced here with artist explicit permission; not to be reproduced from this post without permission

image reproduced here with artist explicit permission; not to be reproduced from this post; copyright belongs to the artist

Seriously great to see local contemporary makers being recognised by this institution.

Equally fabulous to see the NGV actively collecting jewellery – have any other jewellers had pieces acquired recently??

p.s. I thought that perhaps this was from his exhibition at Gallery Funaki (my review post here); it certainly looks to be one of the pieces in the preceding exhibition at Jam Factory (see David’s post here), but I’m not sure if it also made it to Funaki …





‘Containment’ @ NGV

9 03 2013

The 2012 Cicely & Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award is exhibited as ‘Containment‘, at the National Gallery of Victoria Ian Potter Centre.

I was looking forward to seeing this exhibition as the lovely Katherine Wheeler [artist profile] was part of it – and I wasn’t disappointed, her collection was astonishing.

Katherine Wheeler; photograph with gallery permission

Katherine Wheeler; photograph with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The Cicely & Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award is a generous legacy of the late Colin Rigg (1895-1982), a former Secretary of the Felton Bequests’ Committee. This ‘Award of Excellence’ focuses on contemporary design practice in the state of Victoria and is a reflection of the NGV’s continuing support for and commitment to contemporary design. It is arguably the richest and most prestigious prize ever offered to a contemporary designer in Australia, with a prize of $30,000. Held every three years, each exhibition is devoted to a particular design discipline. The past five exhibitions, in 1994, 1997, 2003, 2006, and 2009 represented ceramics, metalwork, textiles, jewellery and furniture design respectively. In 2012 the exhibition is dedicated to vessels and the notion of containment.

I also loved Robin Bold’s group too. This is such a striking group of magnificent vessels; I really wanted to bring one home, especially one with the little ‘egg’ insert (see my previous adoration of her work).

Robin Bold; photograph taken with gallery permission

Robin Bold; photograph taken with gallery permission

Participating artists (alphabetical by first name) are:

  • David Pottinger (nerikomi ceramics)
  • David Ray [website]
  • Emma Davies [website]
  • Garry Bish (ceramics)
  • Ian Mowbray (glass)
  • Katherine Wheeler [website, blog]
  • Marian Hosking [website] – recipient of the award [article]
  • Mark Edgoose [website]
  • Neville French [website]
  • Owen Rye [website]
  • Richard Morrell [website]
  • Robin Bold (metalsmith)
  • Titania Henderson (ceramics)
  • Yhonnie Scarce (glass / metal)

There are some wonderful images on the NGV exhibition page.

I felt the weight of the ceramics here; which isn’t a criticism but my personal response to the medium. There were representatives of metalwork, ceramics and glass; though I couldn’t help but wonder if other media or artists could have qualified to be included in a ‘Containment‘ contemplation, like woodwork or paper or even something entirely sculptural (remembering that ‘craft’ was central to this award). Though I imagine there are criteria I just don’t know about.

This exhibition has also been written about on HandMadeLife – interestingly they also wonder what other media could be included, adding textiles (basket weaving) to my above list.

Containment‘ is at NGV Ian Potter Center until 21st July 2013.





‘Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists’ @ NGV

24 02 2013

When I studied Art in high school – only up to grade 10, I had to choose between advanced maths and art for grades 11 & 12, it wasn’t permitted to do both; it was an outrage I tell you, and broke my heart, but I digress – I was particularly attracted to Impressionism.

So it was quite a joy to visit ‘Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists‘ at the National Gallery of Victoria. Even more reason to make me happy was that it was the first time I’ve been to the NGV for over a year or more.

It was refreshing to see artists other than the most well-known of the movement: Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro and Paul Signac. Though of course their works are amazing. Maximillian Luce and Henri-Edmond Cross were revelations to me.

My favourites of the exhibition were many. Naturally photography was not permitted (this is not a free exhibition), so I will link to the website images.

An excellent quote was on one of the walls: “The belief that the Neo-Impressionists are painters who cover their canvases with multi-colour little dots is a very widespread error … the Neo-Impressionist does not dot, he divides.” Paul Signac

A few observations as I walked around the two rooms of artworks:

  • The lithographs were a surprise, their washed out colours so beautiful and muted.
  • The term ‘Divisionism‘ was also new to me.
  • Pointellism must in a way constrain the ability for an artist to differentiate their work; as the brushstrokes are similar to others using the method; though I imagine they can be individualistic about the size of their dots, the colour palette, the degree of realism and definitions … so maybe it’s not such a limitation.
  • I noticed that there was no audio-tour but that many of the images had those little pixel boxes for smart phones; as you can tell by the simple fact I don’t know what they’re called that I have an old-fashioned phone device, so was unable to unlock these little extra snippets of knowledge. I thought this was a bit ‘exclusionist’, and would have liked the option of an audio-tour. Though that said, I recognise this is probably pretty great for international visitors as maybe it would show up in their native language – yes?

I enjoyed the visit, it was wonderful to feel well enough to wander about an exhibition for nearly an hour and fill the visual-image-well; but by the end was suffering a little of pastel and pixel overload.

Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists‘ is at NGV until 17th March 2013.

Update (25th February): it was remiss of me not to mention that this exhibition has a lot of little tips for children – I thought these were especially thoughtful and engaging.

Others have reviewed the exhibition: Hannah Duke, Hannah Duke for Melbourne Pulse, Catharine of Pondering ArtPeter Madden for Kryztoff, Howard of Extemporanea.