‘Victorian Craft Award’ @ 45downstairs

2 08 2015

Following on from my visit to the Victorian Craft Award‘ at Craft, I popped into the continued exhibition at 45downstairs.

I’ve said a million times, I love this space for its brightness and that window.

exhibition at 45downstairs

exhibition at 45downstairs

More textile works are here than were at Craft … which I was glad to see, as I was beginning to wonder about their inclusion. The grouping in the first (smaller) room were beautifully curated; they look amazing together, being similar in their colourings.

exhibition at 45downstairs

exhibition at 45downstairs

I took a number of photographs, but I think in my haste I failed to get the focus right. Grrr.

My absolute run-away favourite of this group was the large pastel-coloured ceramic ‘Sometimes Yes‘ by Kate Jones (front and centre in the top image); and therefore I was exceptionally pleased she won the ceramic award.

A close second was the wall installation ‘Domestic Rail‘ by Mark Edgoose; and more work by Lindy McSwan’s ‘Take Me Back to Blue Rag Range‘.

Victorian Craft Award‘ is at Craft and other venues until 15th August 2015 … quick quick, that’s only two weeks!





‘Victorian Craft Award’ @ Craft

1 08 2015

The ‘Victorian Craft Award‘ exhibition is exceptional and important. Sounds pompous yes … I know, but I challenge you to tell me of better exposition of contemporary craft.

Today the award winners were announced:

  • Lynne Kosky Jewellery Award : Natalia Milosz-Piekarska
  • Jewellery Encouragement Award : Sun-Woong Bang
  • Excellence Award : Manon van Kouswijk
  • Decal Ceramic Award : Kate Jones
exhibition at Craft

exhibition at Craft

This post is about the work showing at Craft. The exhibition is so comprehensive they’ve had to share is across a number of sites, including 45downstairs (post coming), Sofitel and 1 Spring St.

The 116 artists to participate are listed on the Craft website [I really wanted to link to the Victorian Craft Award website, but I just couldn’t get the darn thing to load – while it wouldn’t be fabulous if that means my computron is being silly, I kind of hope that’s the case and everyone else can see the site easily].

Katherine Bowman, Vito Bila, and I'm sorry but I didn't note the ceramic artitsts names

(anticlockwise from bottom left) Katherine Bowman, Vito Bila, Lene Kuhl Jakobsen, Anna Forsyth

There are many beautiful objects here … something close to overwhelming actually.

Those I particularly responded to, from the group at Craft, include:

  • Elizabeth Kennedy’s ‘Stains and Memories‘; tender and evocative embroidery and jewellery works

    Elizabeth Kennedy

    Elizabeth Kennedy

  • John Dermer’s ‘Salt Glazed Porcelain‘; a gorgeous shape and beguiling glaze colours

    John Dermer

    John Dermer

  • Katie Jacobs’s ‘Wolf Head‘ has an impressive presence (in first image)
  • Michael Wong’s ‘Jelly Legs‘ brooch is assured

I’ll write about the work at 45downstairs next.

Victorian Craft Award‘ is at Craft and other venues until 15th August 2015 … quick quick, that’s only two weeks!





Patrícia Correia Domingues & Sara Gackowska ‘Surfacing’ @ Gallery Funaki

5 06 2015

Surfacing‘ is a Gallery Funaki exhibition of the work of two artists, Patrícia Correia Domingues (Portugal) and Sara Gackowska (Poland) … joint winners of the inaugural 2014 Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery for emerging artists.

surface01

photograph taken with gallery permission

I have been watching the social media and photographs of the work pop up since the opening, and yet was still surprised by how incredibly sympathetic the body of work of each artist is to the other. It is truly stunning. So much so that I even asked Katie (gallery director) if the women collaborated, or if they knew of each others’ collection as they developed the work for this exhibition [which I now know they did not].

The palate of colours are beautiful near each other – the grey of the hematite of Sara’s pieces and that of Patrícia’s necuron ones, the whites of Patrícia’s artificial coral and ivory, and the rusty-red of Sara’s resin.

The forms are resonant too – particularly the rounded ovals employed, in various scales, by each artist.

And of course the interest in each in fracturing and fault-lining their materials.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I especially liked Patrícia’s ‘Duality’ brooches (2015, artificial coral, steel), the frame one the best; and most of all her ‘Geographic & Imagination’, brooches (2015, necuron, steel) … the two in the centre (wall-mounted and on plinth) in the image below … the fault lines in the material are completely wonderful, and the scale of the wall-mounted one is just perfect. I couldn’t help but wonder how many experiments were made before these beauties were produced.

Make sure you visit Gallery Funaki’s exhibition page to see beautiful detailed photographs.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I recall one of our professors at university talking (wittering on?!) at length about ‘materiality’. At the time, I can now admit, that I was somewhat confused… however, I think I now know a little better. And if I was all about art theory, I’d say these two artists are exceptional examples of ‘materiality’ … which I like to define as the dedicated exploration of the properties and possibilities of a particular medium or material.

For ’emerging artists’ their work is refined and knowing, quiet and confident (perhaps almost determined?) … it seems that they may have spent many decades with their chosen material instead of only a few years.

Make sure you go.

Surfacing‘, an exhibition of work by Patrícia Correia Domingues and Sara Gackowska, is at Gallery Funaki until 20th June 2015.





Anna Davern ‘Impressa’ @ e.g.etal

19 05 2015

Quick sticks! Get along to e.g.etal before the end of this weekend to see Anna Davern‘s ‘Impressa‘.

Anna is an unashamed lover of all things kitsch, especially Australiana – and what’s not to love about that.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Using printed steel Anna has created brooches from images of Ned Kelly, Queen Elizabeth II (who she insists on naming Liz, much to my delight) and Queen Elizabeth I. All images have been cut into strips or squares, and those elements are then rearranged.

…Sometimes the strips are attached separated, sometimes the altered image is printed as a single image on the metal.

…Sometimes the photographic/steel layer is fastened to the blackened brooch back by delicate folded prongs, sometimes by rivets (I love rivets; I may have mentioned that before).

…Sometimes the rivets are blackened, sometimes they’re gold *swoon*.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

exhibition media; click on image for original source

The oval and round brooches mimic miniature paintings … which were once a personal and highly precious keepsake portrait of a loved one. Does that mean we are to love these people? Even though they’re so distorted?

…Or is this commenting on the fact that if we think we love and adore someone so far from our real life, then we simply must be worshiping an inevitably distorted image of them?

…Then again, perhaps Anna is just experimenting, enjoying the process and having fun.

…They look like the pictures on those funny little screen toys we used to have as kids (in the, ahem, 70s) on which the picture looks different from one angle than the other (I cannot remember what they were called); and the same optical device was recently used for a Tram advert about inspectors (Melbourne reference; one must be pleased with that).

I wondered about why these particular three people were chosen. Ned and Elizabeth II I can understand from the perspective of the sculpting of the Australian identity; Elizabeth I is not quite the same.. so I’m curious …perhaps because of her direct connection to Liz? Perhaps I’m being daft and missing an obvious connection … you will tell me won’t you, if I am?

Make sure you visit the e.g.etal page for the exhibition for more detailed photographs of some of the pieces. Especially ‘Liz Slice 3‘; look at the back of it, look at the back of it!

Exhibition media (too good not to reproduce here whole):
Davern’s work features pictures of people from Australian political and social life as a means to dissect clichéd images of Australian identity.Using images found on old biscuit tins or historical photos printed on to metal, Davern slices, rearranges and reconstructs these pictures to create works that trick the eye with their disconcerting familiarity.

By reworking these cult-like symbols their power over us becomes fluid and slippery. As objects of adornment seen through the lens of the Impressa, they offer a reflection on our cultural roots, which lie in the colonisation of Australia by the British.

Unafraid to move freely between lo-fi kitsch and the precious object, Anna continues to develop a visual language with the power to question our loyalties to conservatism. Her humorous renditions of cultural identification allay our fears of deeper, more critical discussions about political and social life, and to this end the brooches laugh at romantic notions of allegiance and turn them upside down.

Anna Davern ‘Impressa‘ is at e.g.etal until 23rd May 2015.

ps. I had a look for the exhibition title in the dictionary and found a very similar word ‘impresa’ which means a device, or motto or emblem … what a great connection.

Update (less than an hour after initial publication) with a psquillion thanks to Anna, I have attached the accompanying essay written by Ramona Barry of HandMadeLife fame … Impressa_RamonaBarry_Essay. I will give this my undivided attention forthwith

See also:





Maureen Faye-Chauhan ‘Concurrence‘ @ Gallery Funaki

23 04 2015

Maureen Faye-Chauhan is showing her first solo exhibition at Gallery Funaki, ‘Concurrence‘.

I popped into the gallery on the crest of a ‘busy wave’ (five browsing customers); it created an interesting environment in which to consider such a quiet collection. If I’m honest, I’d say it was a little challenging (but I’m just one of those people who likes quiet spaces better; I’d never be a good shop owner!).

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The complex pierced surfaces of Maureen’s jewellery allow light to play a vital role. As pieces move with the body, their steel surfaces ripple and change; interior volumes become apparent and then invisible as the viewer’s attentions shifts between the surfaces and the negative spaces within.

The photographs don’t do the work justice; the varying colours of the heat-treated mild steel are beautifully subtle. And of course you need to walk past and around them to see how the light and shadow plays.

The Gallery Funaki website has detailed photographs of the pieces – and you can see just how considered, precise and refined they are. There’s a sense of lightness, strength and delicacy.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

I especially like the shell pieces. And the three pendants (in the middle of the above image) remind me of the building in London known as ‘The Gherkin’ … in the good way of definite design and clean lines.

That said, my favourites were the gold rings … if I hadn’t already heavily invested in jewellery recently, I may be more seriously considering taking one home.

Concurrence‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 2nd May 2015.

Other reading: AJF (Art Jewelry Forum) have just recently published an interview with Maureen about this exhibition that’s absolutely worth reading, for her eloquence as well as the content. I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment when I read about her interest in the moiré effect in Op Art.

[As per my usual approach, I didn’t read it until after I’d had time to distill my own thoughts (above) first.]

I like how she’s phrased this: “hasty unconsidered shortcuts most often create more work” … it’s a more elegant manner of my regular statement that ‘the short cut is often the long way around’.





‘Fresh! 2015’ @ Craft

20 04 2015

Finally I’ve made it to Craft to see an exhibition; though I’m still sad I didn’t manage to see the previous show ‘White Goods‘ (boo).

So it’s Fresh! time again.

exhibition

exhibition

I’m still getting my thoughts in some kind of order … but in reading the works list I noticed that all but two artists are RMIT graduates [there are ten artists; whereas previous years had 12]. I hope that doesn’t mean the Melbourne graduate craft scene is becoming RMIT-centric. Where are the other universities’ students? Are the courses just not there any more? Are the courses not of an equivalent standard (that’s a terrible question, but you can understand why it’s asked)? Are the selections simply reflections of this year’s judges preferences? Lots of questions.

exhibition

exhibition

Selected/awarded artists are:

  • Emma Blackmore (RMIT) – fashion (textile)
  • Katie Collins (RMIT; website) – gold & silversmithing
  • Leana Kim (RMIT; website) – ceramics
  • Christopher Massey (RMIT) – gold & silversmithing
  • Henry Madin (RMIT) – wood sculpture / furniture
  • Scarlett Mellows (RMIT; website) – print image practice
  • Jess Milne (VCA) – ceramic / furniture
  • Thomas O’Hara (RMIT) – gold & silversmithing
  • Tricia Page (RMIT; website) – trampoline!
  • Kate Sylvester (VCA; website) – painting (textile)

For me the most outstanding are the jewellery pieces by Katie Collins (below).

exhibition

exhibition

Mmmm … what did you think when you visited?

Fresh! 2015‘ is at Craft until 24th May 2015.

Other posts:

  • Fresh! 2014‘ (May14)
  • 2013 : this year the exhibition wasn’t at the end of the year but transferred to early in the new year; the year-naming changed over at this point
  • 2012 : oh, I must have missed this exhibition
  • Fresh! 2011‘ (Dec11)
  • Fresh! 2010‘ (Dec10)
  • Fresh! 2009‘ (Dec09)





Nicole Polentas ‘Reinventing a Sense of Place. Crete and the Jewellery Object’ @ RMIT School of Art Gallery

17 04 2015

Regular readers will know of my bold parochial support of the beautiful souls I studied my RMIT degree with … and it’s with immense pleasure I visited one of our number’s PhD exhibition today.

Nicole Polentas has studied with passion and intense commitment for just over ten years now, and it is beyond incredible to see selected pieces from over the years in one place: ‘Reinventing a Sense of Place. Crete and the Jewellery Object‘.

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

It was unexpected, but I confess I was a little emotional walking through the exhibition. I remembered the first time Nicole experimented with her now-signature text ribbons; there are only a few moments when you can say you were there to witness the start of something beautiful.

The pieces are without question extraordinary; the exhibition design gorgeous and perfect.

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

I completely adore the constructs that underpin the front-facing elements … clean lines and beautifully executed. And her exploration of more colouring in her work is promising and brings an extra dimension; I especially like the pinks and greens. The materials listing is interesting in that it includes ‘Greek coffee’ and I wondered where it was used, perhaps in the resin components?

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

The work is personal; the stories close to the surface; her sharing generous and genuine; her intent clear.

I must admit to perhaps being too close to Nicole and her work to give an objective reading of the exhibition [though in reality, I rarely give objective do I(!)]. I think that knowing the artist means I see more layers in the work than a new observer may (maybe) and am too connected to be able to offer anything other than superlatives.

exhibition installation

exhibition installation

I do hope that in time her exegesis will be available for public reading.

I offer Nicole my warmest heartfelt congratulations and look forward to seeing her continued explorations and shows!

Reinventing a Sense of Place. Crete and the Jewellery Object‘ was a one-night-and-day only (examination) exhibition.

Please also see:

Please click below to read more of the media release (from her Events page):

Read the rest of this entry »