Friday, 5 May 2017

SHARNA OSBORNE - MAY 2017

SHARNA OSBORNE – ‘an intimate sense of threat’

Flummox of Equilibria – FAMILY TREE  (c.2007)

Sharna Osborne is out there – definitely – NZ-born via Australia to London and the world. Her tool the moving image for the moving world. Yet the work showing at WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC is anchored, quite literally, by an umbilical cord(?)  Something to do with where we come from – a cabbage patch? And where we want to reach out to? What we want to wash away? Who would have thought the wild cosmopolitan world of Osborne would find a window on Beeac, Australia 3251.

Impossible is nothing as the Chinese say (especially about the time of the 2008 Chinese Olympic Games). 

Osborne’s work has reminded this writer of Glenn Romanis’ Blue Sheep, (1999). http://www.abc.net.au/arts/fertile/essay_7.htm
Like Osborne Romanis defies pigeon-holing – his work ranges across media and the landscape in what is now a very competitive ‘area’, a commissioned life – public sculpture: concept design production installation. He mashed sheep and blue – way before The Avatar ever thought Blue.

The provocative design, art direction and fashion styling of Briton Judy Blame, way earlier, might also offer context for Osborne. Blame’s early work, a generation ahead of hers, deep in the counterculture of the 70s, 'stirred the pot' and pulled together unlikely tangents to make a provocative object. 

The artist is indeed a many splendid thing. Find more about Sharna Osborne's work at: http://sharnaosborne.com

Maybe a Greek might offer a ‘final word’: ‘In the past two decades, as the world has become more polarized, there has been a radical explosion in activist, dialogical, interventionist and tactical media art practices in almost every corner of the world.’ (Nikos Papastergiadis, Cosmopolitanism and Culture, [2012]. Osborne’s work, to this writer’s mind, seems to encapsulate what Papastergiadis terms ‘an intimate sense of threat’.


Flummox of Equilibria – FAMILY TREE  (c.2007) [still, on a screen, in a room]



















































Thursday, 27 April 2017

ARTIST OPPS

OPPORTUNITIES


ST JOHNS SOUTHGATE ART PRIZE 2017



In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and 20 years of the Bach Cantata Program at St Johns Southgate visual artists are invited to submit original artworks for the 2017 Art Prize and exhibition to be held from October to December. Total prize money of $4500 (Children’s Art Prize totaling $500). A non-acquisitive art award.
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MELBOURNE ART TRAMS EOI 2017
https://www.festival.melbourne/melbourne-art-trams-eoi/

The project is a revival and reimagining of the much loved Transporting Art program which ran from 1978 to 1993 and resulted in 36 painted trams being rolled out across the Melbourne network. Artists such as Howard Arkley, Mirka Mora, Michael Leunig, Elizabeth Gower and Trevor Nichols participated in this program.
2016 brought together a collection of works from Damiano Bertoli, Eddie Botha, Jon Cattapan, Joceline Lee, Mimi Leung, Reko Rennie, emerging artist Eliza Dyball and the re-imagining of the iconic Smith Street Women’s mural by Megan Evans and Eve Glenn
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OLIVE COTTON AWARD

The Award is open to artists living and working in Australia who are Australian citizens or have been Australian residents for 12 months or more. 
The entry must be: a new portrait completed since 1 April 2015, owned and created by the artist; not previously exhibited (including online but excluding the entrant’s personal webpage or social media platform), shown in competitions or awarded a prize; photographic, archivally sound, still and two-dimensional; within the size limits and able to be hung on or pinned to Gallery walls. 
The Judge will be looking for excellence in photographic technique, creativity and originality to the standards prescribed by the Director, Tweed Regional Gallery.

Entry is limited to one per person and the entry fee is $33.00 (incl. GST). Entry form, fee and image must be received by 5.00pm Friday 12 May 2017. Entry Fee can be paid online via PayPal and entry emailed or posted to the Gallery.


To find out more please download the entry conditions and entry form (620kB PDF) or contact the Gallery on 02 6670 2790 or via email OliveCotton@tweed.nsw.gov.au

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

EMIL TOONEN at CHAMBER





CONTROLLED FALL
an exhibition of sculptures by 
EMIL TOONEN
at Chamber
19 Church St BRUNSWICK
Opening: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017. 6-9pm. 




All other times between April 27-31 by appointment
http://www.chamberpresents.org/apply/

Saturday, 8 April 2017

TAKE FIVE WOMEN



THANK YOU BRONWYN RAZEM

6 APRIL 2017 


Take five women, add some grass hay, an assortment of plied wool and a space – could be a shed, a backyard, a campfire – give them some time and what do you get? A tangle? Quite the opposite. Women have been sitting around firesides yarning for millennia. In this instance we find them in a small country town in western Victoria in what was once a garage. 

At the centre of their activity is the hay, at their feet a very varied selection of wools (from the op shop in this instance), in their heads the shape of various animals. The conversation flows as they follow the lead of Bronwyn Razem in making ‘bush toys’. First you take a handful of fibre and bind it tight, in the middle. As you begin to see the animal in the bunch of fibre, you add or subtract, tease out, fold over. Much hilarity as the ‘toys’ evolve.

The creatures created include a ‘roo, a bird, a possum, dogs, a wombat … aches, stresses and hay allergies abate as the conversation swells, the toys take shape and the scene comes to resemble something of a nest with women at its periphery. The mood is chatty and collaborative – there is a bond with eons past. This is more than ‘bush toy-making’ it is a linking through the ages.

Thank you so much to Bronwyn and her novice assistants, Kathleen, Jane, Sue and Irene their example was inspirational and the results of their gathering is for all to see at WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC.





AS   April 2017

Friday, 7 April 2017

BRONWYN RAZEM - APRIL 2017


WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC   APRIL 2017


BRONWYN RAZEM

Menagerie, 2017



Bronwyn Razem, Eel Traps, Sovereignty, ACCA, (2016 - 17)


A basket is like a mother – the gift of Bronwyn Razem
(warning this is a personal story)        

A basket is like a mother, a fold in the hills, a lap to nestle in, a neck to nuzzle, reassurance, a reliable joy … a good basket embraces its contents, holds them well, safely securely, comfortably. A basket made by hand, has a history, holds a story, is testimony to the time and place of its making. A basket made by hand is a sociable act, formed in a circle of activity and conversation, functional, possibly also spiritual.

Imagine for a moment what has happened here, (here could be anywhere but I will locate us). Here, where we stand – at this window space, for example. Turn your body around 360 degrees – what do you see? At this window space for the moment we are lucky and can see the ‘hills’ across the road – their simple child-like line drawn against the sky. Lunettes. Sand dunes. Burial places. Embankments of sands blown from Lake Beeac – years and years ago.

It’s time to re-imagine this place – to see with fresh and generous eyes the home of the Gulidjan. Imagine ourselves not here for a moment, for longer if possible. Only by this imagining can we begin to glimpse what was, what has arrived and what has been lost. While people and politics are stuck in a mess the glimpsing is hard, but then ‘art beckons as a healing place’ (Paola Balla,) a bridge, a hand, an act, a necessity offering pause and hope.

What amazes this writer is the generosity of the original peoples – people I ‘see’, when I pause, look hard around me, or quickly glance, strip away the dross and impositions – shadowy but there, these people move across the landscape, at one with it, it. Their generosity amazes, but so too and more so, their profound lack of rage. There is a wry humour in the indigenous spirit – in this land now, of so many hard surfaces, wheels, cogs, capital. Reverse for a moment the incursor and the residents’ positions – it is hard, but only when that reversal has happened, in your head, in mine, again and again, will the degree of generosity and goodwill of indigenous people be glimpsed and a treaty of equal minds become possible. Another puts it bluntly:
‘In a society stuck within a colonial mindset … Sovereignty is a word and a concept beyond understanding.’ (Tony Birch)

Fibre artist Bronwyn Razem and her work has a special place in this writer’s heart and soul, for the most human of instincts – comfort, (not an armchair, rather a tender instinctive holding). Some years ago when I was incredibly broken – I reached for a card I had kept for some time, a card with a name and a number on it. The name was that of a ‘basket-maker’ (at least that’s how I recall it) – through the haze of my misery I knew I needed to try this number. The number was Bronwyn Razem’s. I explained to her that I thought I needed the soothing ‘rhythm’ of some making (a basket). Bronwyn heard the years of pain in my voice – we had never spoken before. She said she thought I had better come to her and I did. Like a mother she embraced me – me, she had never met. I moved toward her as though she were a magnet.

Together we went gathering – Bron knew where the flax plant was and we went to it. Then we sat in her living area and she showed me how to divide the long broad strap of a leaf. That done she showed me how to bundle and bind the fibres and how to join those lengths, so bundled, in a coil – and a basket began. Someone I had not met before had invited me to her home, taken me out gathering, sat me down and gifted me the knowledge her mother had given her. Generous, comforting, embracing – an inspirational spirit, an indelibly unrankerous act.

Deservedly, so deservedly, some years later the spirit of Bronwyn’s work is being acknowledged. She along with her ‘sisters’ were selected to participate in the Festival of Pacific Arts, Guam, (2016) – Georgia Maguire, Deanne Gilson, Glenda Nicholls and Bronwyn Razem are Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini, Mother Aunty Sister Woman, and ‘committed to promoting the unique art practices of Indigenous women in Victoria, Australia … (they) … aim to support each other professionally, culturally and spiritually … (in) … the continuation of traditional cultural practices in a contemporary art space, through engaging in collaborative projects, such as exhibitions and workshops.’

Most recently Bronwyn Razem has contributed to Sovereignty, at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. She is presently preparing work for the Warrnambool Gallery (see below). Locally Razem continues to hold her arms out – to share, to show, even to embrace – those among us who try to ‘see’. Her cheeky characterful indigenous ‘toys’ induce laughter, help us wake up to whose place this is, and how much we have to share and learn and do together.

Razem invites the participation of others in the work she will prepare for WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC this April. There will be a making day on Thursday 6 April (sadly I could not list this in time because my system has been off and on for weeks, mostly off), at the window, 79 Main Street, BEEAC. 



Quotes above from Paola Balla and Tony Birch from Sovereignty, catalogue to the eponymous show at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 17 Dec 2016 – 26 March 2017; other from Festival of Pacific Arts Guam, 2016, exhibition background notes.


Bronwyn Razem, Ink drawing for Warrnambool Gallery, 2017

Sunday, 5 March 2017

TIM LUCAS - MARCH 2017




WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC 2017 - 2#
TIM LUCAS
RECLAIMED

This windmill was found corroding away in the salt surface of Lake Beeac. This lake often has shallow water over the winter months and then quickly dries out in the summer, creating an ever-changing salt-crusted surface.’ Tim Lucas

 Tim Lucas, Reclaimed, (2015) 



Beeac has a history intertwined with salt – and windmills. Windmill production began in the last decade of the 1800s and continued until the mid 1900s – at the peak of activity there were six windmill-makers in Beeac. The local lake salt trade spanned the century 1868 – 1968 and much of the industry infrastructure remains in situ.

Tim Lucas’s poetic single image Reclaimed, (2015) captures these two activities in ‘one take’. In a kind of visual haiku, Lucas’ photograph stops the ‘windmill clock’ where it has fallen in the salt lake, and where it will continue to slowly change as it corrodes over the years.

Lucas’s photographic practice is based in the Otways, so he is intimate with this world and that is clear from this image. Like Ansel Adams’ trees there is a monochromatic etched delicacy about the Lucas image that merges in this writer’s mindseye with the American’s work. Photography is about choice and Lucas and Adams seem to choose what they see in the natural world with a loving resonance, sensitive to season and surface, light and pattern.

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For more of Lucas’ images go to: http://www.timlucasphotography.com.au

For more information about the salt trade we recommend Norman Houghton’s Scrapers and Boilers, Beeac’s Lake Salt Trade 1868 – 1968, (2016).

Testament to Beeac’s windmill makers is the present Windmill Park in Beeac, which features a functioning example of the work of each of the six local windmill makers.
Context for that is found on the enameled plaques nearby and in the book Beeac Winds of Change by Dawn Missen and Anne Trigg (2010) – reissued 2016.

AS
WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC welcomes TIM LUCAS in March 2017

STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS ABOUT A PHOTO EXCURSION TO THE LAKE WITH TIM!