Emma Fielden ‘Iota’ @ Gallery Funaki

26 11 2015

It was such an absolute pleasure to finally see Emma Fielden‘s work in person in Iota‘ at Gallery Funaki.

Wow. Just wow.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

“At the centre of my practice is the notion of infinity. The ideas that any line drawn is a mere portion of its infinite potential, and that a mark made is a part within a whole, are fundamental beginnings in my work, which I explore through drawing and objects, in various materials and techniques.” EF, 2015

I was exceptionally interested in seeing the handwritten ‘Infinite‘ drawings, that I’d responded to (incredibly strongly) via images from her Sydney exhibition earlier this year. Even more amazing than I expected.

For some reason I thought that the drawings were built up of little circles; but now realise that it is the number 3 repeated … in a secular meditation on the repeating decimal representation of 1/3 … and being in a triptych, together the three complete to a singular ‘one’.

Make sure you read Emma’s own explanation on her website – which of course, as per usual, I only read after writing the above(!): “The work references devotional religious acts and is itself a devotional act.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

The brooches and vessels were a revelation. And smaller than I expected; in the good way, for I like smaller things.

If you visit, please make sure you ask for her technique to be explained. While the pieces are most definitely beautiful in their own right, I believe understanding their construction … the intense precision freedom involved … can only add to their appeal.

Initially I was a wondering if perhaps a perfectly circular (or other geometric) edge shape would align and reflect with the overall concept of infinity … for somehow I have a view, not unlike our ancient and medieval forefathers, that infinite must mean perfect. Perhaps also because I saw perfect geometry in her other Infinity pieces. However I let go of that requirement when I was told that Emma actually makes her own ingots and shapes then to make the plate for the brooches, in many/most cases permitting the edges to form as they choose … another practice I relate to.

I really did want to take some home, especially ‘The Jewel (after James Wright)‘ and the one that looks like an opened clam. Do have a look at the detailed photographs … you can see how the surface detail is formed by repeated engraving. They are a marvel.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

And vessels! There should be more vessels in the world I tell you.

Axis Mundi is also an important component of the exhibition. I think perhaps my aversion to shiny-shiny interrupted my contemplation … the mirror is important, for it reflects the construction into an infinity … the vision is coherent, the installation takes hours and hours (nay, days!). Of course the mirror makes total sense … though I have a thing about mirrors … (this is usually where one says ‘it’s not you, it’s me’).

It’s pretty obvious I respond strongly to Emma’s work … the reflections on the infinite … the implicit and intuitive mathematical fundamentals … the devotion … the mediation, obsession, attention to detail, commitment … quiet determination … there is an exceptional clarity that I can only wish for.

Emma Fielden ‘Iota‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 5th December 2015.

Farewell, you gorgeous thing

25 10 2015

I’ve written a number of times before about old works … pieces we’ve made, hold on to, unwilling to throw away but aware that equally we don’t actually want to keep them for we don’t like them, they don’t say what we wanted them to, we’ve moved on, etc.

With the benefit of time (it’s almost nine years since I made this piece) I’m ready to let go of ‘Scale‘ (from my third year at RMIT).

I have photographs I’ll treasure, but I no longer need the object – it just takes up space and I don’t have it on display.

Scale, 2006

Scale, 2006

I adored making it. I loved researching and drawing for it. Planning it. Obsessing about it.

I’m planning on giving it to someone to re-purpose the metal (stainless steel, aluminium, monel) … for a new life.

Gold of The Hochdorf Prince

11 10 2015

Documentaries … they’re just the best, right?

Recently I was indulging in my wont to watch documentaries on art and history, particularly a new BBC show ‘The Celts: Iron, Blood and Sacrifice … with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver‘, and my eyes have been opened to the amazing Hochdorf Prince (from the Iron Age, about 550BCE).

Look at his shoes!

Not strictly shoes as we know it, but decoration on (what are assumed to have been) leather shoes. Too gorgeous.

screen shot of documentary

screen shot of documentary

screen shot of documentary

screen shot of documentary

Naturally I searched the internets for more information …

  • he’s famous for the many other artefacts (including a rather massive cauldron) he was buried with, many of which are shown in reproduction at a museum near here he was uncovered
  • of course, Wiki ; though it’s a bit light-on to be frank
  • most fabulously, another documentary covering similar territory – but this one is from the mid-80s and has dated poorly; the moustaches in the reenactments had me in giggle fits
from Wiki; click on image for original source

from Wiki; click on image for original source (image credit: Rosemania, see Wiki for more details)

There just isn’t enough gold shoe-decorations nowadays.
Or massive cauldrons.

2015 Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award @ Castlemaine Art Gallery

7 10 2015

It was the most stunning Spring day when I took a drive into the countryside to Castlemaine, to see the latest episode of the important Buda prize: the ‘2015 Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award‘ at the Castlemaine Art Gallery.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Awards (see gallery page for beautiful photographs):

  • (professional) The Leviny Commemorative award: Daehoon Kang … this is an amazing vessel, with the most stunning counter-balancing design and gorgeous surface treatment
  • (professional) Arts Centre Melbourne Silver award: Janine Tanzer … the shape and decorative elements harking back to the height of the roaring 20s
  • (professional) The Australian Decorative and Fine Art Societies Emerging artist award: Maureen Faye-Chauhan … strongly geometric pieces (as per her recent exhibition)
  • (professional) The Australian Decorative and fine Art Society of Yarra Anniversary award: Joungmee Do … the most exceptional, outrageous, jubilant object (below image)
  • (student / recent graduates) e.g.etal Design & Development award: Yu Fang Chi … incredibly delicate, almost like fairy-floss
  • (student / recent graduates) A & E Metals award: Larah Nott … her smithing pieces won her this award, though I especially liked the precision of her neckpiece
  • (student / recent graduates) Gold & Silversmithing Guild of Australia award: Kimba Pham … proving that scale isn’t necessary to show exceptional design and handskills
Joungmee Do's piece ; photograph with gallery permission

Joungmee Do’s piece ; photograph with gallery permission

This gallery is a much more deserving place for this exhibition … the previous venue in Bendigo wasn’t quite right (though should have received many visitors), and Buda (though a lovely home) was almost not quite grand enough. It’s pleasing for these objects to be positioned in an art gallery, in a room adjacent to a colonial collection. Perhaps it’s the traditionalist in me, but I think this space elevates the pieces, and hopefully it does this for visitors (particularly those who’ve not come to the gallery especially to see this exhibition).

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Of course I particularly like to see the larger scale smithing objects in this exhibition – for me the first vitrine was wonderful (first image above). There are not as many shows for this oeuvre as there is for jewellery, so it’s a joy to see them playing with each other. Most especially I was pleased to see less highly polished surfaces this year, and perhaps more diversity of materials.

2015 Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award‘ is at Castlemaine Art Gallery until 18th October 2015.

See also:

Check out the article in The Age too :  ‘Craft review: Contemporary Australian silver and metalwork dazzles‘ … the author makes an interesting point about six of the seven award winners being women.

More photographs below (not published above to save load times):

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‘Electric’ @ Craft

14 09 2015

It doesn’t happen often that I wander into an exhibition space not knowing what’s on there. Though it happened this weekend, when I was wandering Flinders Lane and thought to visit Craft, even though I couldn’t for the life of me remember what was showing.

Electric‘ is showing and it was something of a revelation.

installation photograph

installation photograph

Participating artists:

  • Alterfact (Ben Landau and Lucile Sciallano) [website]
  • Mark Edgoose [website]
  • Douglas McManus
  • Bin Dixon-Ward [website] with Jon Osbourne

Exhibition media: “Through a combination of artists, materials and ways of making Electric maps the collaboration of the handmade with digital technology. Crafted objects across metals, plastics, ceramics and textiles engage the body in participatory gallery experiences with installations referencing interaction, wearability and function.

installation photograph

installation photograph; Alterfact

The exhibition may look sparse, but each of the four exhibits are amazing.

My favourite were the pieces by Alterfact (image above), which were 3D printed from Southern Ice Porcelain. Absolutely gorgeous! I wanted to take some home, but the ones I really wanted were all already sold. I especially liked the group that had some wiggly lines and were slightly wonky … as though they’ve been made from yarn that’s been worked and used and reused over and over again … perhaps the machine has a small kniption; they’re beautiful in their imperfection.

installation photograph; Douglas McManus

installation photograph; Douglas McManus

Make sure you read the exhibition page on Craft’s site, as it has a lot of detail from each artist.

There’s a lot to think about with the combination of technologies and making … it’s something I’ve been wondering about for a little while now, even though I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about it and what it means for ‘hand made’…

Electric‘ is at Craft until 3rd October 2015.

‘Go, said the bird’ @ fortyfive downstairs

13 09 2015

Exhibition-visiting Saturday continued with a visit to fortyfive downstairs for two exhibitions. The first is ‘Go, said the bird‘.

Participating artists: Marcos Guzman, Courtney Jackson [instagram], Inari Kiuru [site], Shaun Tan [website].

photograph taken with artist permission

photograph taken with artist permission

Exhibition media:
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”
T. S. Eliot, 1935
An extract from Burnt Norton (Quartet One), Four Quartets

Go, said the bird borrows its title from a poem by T.S. Eliot. The exhibition presents the work of four artists who examine the ambiguous nature of time through images, objects and jewellery.

photograph with artist permission

photograph with artist permission

As expected, I was completely enamored with Inari’s work … in fact, this was a grouping of objects, jewellery, and photographs from the last eight years. Her large objects are stunning; her fine-line work is precise and almost afraid; the moth pieces are my favourites … but new favourites are the black brooches ‘Clay and rock turning into steel‘ (2015).

photograph with artist permission

photograph with artist permission

Shaun’s large-scale paintings and Marcos’s playful jewellery provide colourful counterpoints to Inari and Courtney’s pieces; Inari’s are dark and broody; Courtney’s intricate, delicate, and fragile.

[There were quite a few visitors at the time I was there, so it wasn’t easy to get photographs of all the work; I’m not keen on publishing images with people in them … in case they should be somewhere else. Worse still though, my little camera phone was being temperamental with light, so many turned out overexposed and blurred. A random-though-related thought: I wonder if perhaps Courtney’s work could have benefited from a coloured background, even if only slightly tinted, to help it stand out (I’m no expert curator mind! just an idea)?]

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Check out the exhibition facebook page for more photographs.

Sorry, I was only able to visit this on its last day … ‘Go, said the bird‘ was part of Radiant Pavilion and was at fortyfive downstairs until 12th September 2015.

Anna Davern ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South’ @ e.g.etal

12 09 2015

What a delight! A completely enjoyable and engaging delight.

Anna Davern has outdone her amazing self in her latest exhibition, ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South‘ at e.g.etal.

I’m sure regular readers have probably already visited, or witnessed the development of the work and the exhibition on various social media platforms …

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

I was just a little bummed that I couldn’t work the mechanisms myself (the gallery staff do that), but I can totally understand why that’s the case.

It’s entirely possible I squealed with delight … just a little bit. I remember someone writing somewhere (perhaps on Instagram?) that it was fantastic that ‘kittens are our evil overlords’ (that’s what my mind has put together anyway)… Elizabethan overlords at that! The ‘covert operators’, pretending to be evil kittens, were the funniest.

Almost all pieces were objects, with some sporting detachable jewellery pieces such as earrings and brooches.

What a feat. What an imagination.

Anna Davern ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South‘ is part of Radiant Pavilion has been extended at e.g.etal until 19th September 2015.

See also: