Archive for April 17th, 2016

Weekly roundup 17 April 2016

Mixed Media for Textiles
After my tutorial (8-Apr-2016) I knew I had to be clearer about the “final work”. It is the group of vessels, an installation documented in video and photographs. I’d created a video as part of the third photo shoot (15-Mar-2016) and identified then that the quality was poor, but the limit of my current expertise, my tablet as camera, domestic lighting, and free software. Add to this Rebecca’s comments about the growing importance of film in distance learning plus a clearer learning path with OCA.

The upshot was investment in a video camera (Sony FDR-AX53). Attempting to edit the videos led to multiple trial downloads of software, and eventually purchase of PowerDirector 14 (link). Early days on the learning curve, but I’m confident I’ll be able to upload an improved if not exactly good version for the assessors.

Covers to bind the sketchbook are in progress. I’ve also tried my idea of printing photos onto good quality watercolour paper. It looks pretty good, kind of “arty”, but not as crisp as the glossy A3 photographs. No decision yet.

Still a lot to be done, so I need to keep my eye on the clock/calendar.

Paper yarn project

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  • 10/4 A good quality envelope that contained a very nice card (thanks mum). I like the traces of writing I can see. Very stiff and difficult to use, but I quite like the uneven quirky strength of the result. Beginning to shape a narrowing.
  • 11/4 Pages from the Chinese language instruction book for my new video camera. The pages were small, so I cut into long strips with turns.
  • 12/4 Wandering around the house looking for scrap paper, my son offered a clothing catalogue. Tricky soft paper!
  • 13/4 Long work day, so a day off
  • 14/4 A tiny accident (no one hurt, no glass broken) left our car written off. Today we bought a new car, and today’s input was an insignificant part of the paper collateral.
  • 15/4 A page of pencil doodling done during a long and satisfying phone call. Trying to get a narrow length, and found a curved needle very helpful.
  • 16/4 An A4 flier about the council e-waste collection was the paper source – quite a bit of recycling today. I found yesterday’s addition ungainly, so started off in a new direction trying to meld in.
  • Exhibitions
    Normally I don’t go into the surrounding circumstances, but I want to record that this was a magical day spent with my mother. Warm and sunny autumn weather, interesting venues and art, lovely lunch in a laneway cafe, lots of chat and somewhat less of companionable silences. A wonderful, memorable day – we both felt the glow of it.

    Mortuary Station

    Mortuary Station

    Back on topic, the first venue was new to me – Mortuary Station. The station was built in the nineteenth century on a rail line that transported coffins and mourners to burial grounds. Part of the Biennale, the exhibition was themed as the Embassy of Transition.

    Along the platform and in passageways Charwei Tsai had hung huge coils of incense, text running around the coils of each. Some were burning, ash falling on the tiled floor, keying in to our sense of smell, calming, slowing.

    Charwei Tsai Spiral Incense - Hundred Syllable Mantra

    Charwei Tsai
    Spiral Incense – Hundred Syllable Mantra

    Charwei Tsai inh collaboration with Tsering   Tashi Gyalthang The transitional state of becoming

    Charwei Tsai inh collaboration with Tsering Tashi Gyalthang
    The transitional state of becoming

    In the two small waiting rooms video was projected onto the floor, reflecting or instructing on the transition from life to death.

    It was a gentle, contemplative experience, involving multiple senses and invoking a thoughtful attitude.

    Marco Chiandetti

    Marco Chiandetti

    Marco Chiandetti showed an installation including figurative sculptures of human parts in diverse materials such as bronze, what looked like plaster, and birdseed. Most of these were placed inside large aviaries, which to me were reminiscent of coffins in shape.
    Marco Chiandetti

    Marco Chiandetti

    I didn’t see any, but apparently Indian Mynas, a bird species regarded as a pest in Australia, were meant to be in the aviaries, consuming and dropping seeds from the sculptures, with new grass growing on the floor over the duration of the exhibition.

    There are tensions in the attitudes different cultures have to these birds, tensions in the relationship of birds and humans, reference to the transitions and cycle of life in the consumption of food and eventual new growth.

    Work by a third artist was shown in the old ticket office, although it seems to have been an unanticipated inclusion, based on friendship between artists.

    Oscar Murillo has had large books printed and bound. There are family photos but many more blank pages. He has travelled with the book shown, recording emotions, energy, and the sense of transition that he has after a life of immigration and constant travel.

    Oscar Murillo

    Oscar Murillo

    I found this fascinating as a variant of the sketchbook we all aim to keep, made deeply personal by the inclusion of so many family memories.

    We strolled in the sunshine to the nearby White Rabbit Gallery. Lots to see in the new Heavy Artillery exhibition. I’ve picked out just a few.

    He Xiangyu Tank Project

    He Xiangyu
    Tank Project

    The entire top floor was painted glossy black and given over to Tank Project by He Xiangyu.

    Stitched from luxury Italian leather this full size replica is also in a sense a handbag. It’s a comment on the booming consumer economy of China. Of course it brings to mind Tiananmen Square. The smell of the leather was quite strong, and an attendant spoke of the hundreds of cattle slaughtered for their hides. A sculpture of hard, industrial objects in soft materials also brings Claes Oldenburg to mind, although there is no play with scale here. Being (deflated) full scale seems part of the point.

    Workmanship seemed impeccable and the object was fascinating in itself, the way the leather had been fashioned into such an unlikely form.

    Hsu Yung-Hsu 2011-27

    Hsu Yung-Hsu

    Hsu_Yung-Hsu  2011-27 (detail)

    2011-27 (detail)

    This porcelain work by Hsu Yung-Hsu is enormous – 220 x 512 x 30 cm. The delicate vessels are a little bigger than a tea-cup, each individual formed and folded by the artist. It takes the idea of a collection of vessels to new heights. The mass of them, the play of light on the undulating surfaces, is fascinating and beautiful.

    The creation of this work was physically brutal, involving long hours of hard labour. The vessels are a direct personal expression, and in them I see honesty, determination, and obsession.

    Wang Lei  A Ribbon of Dictionary

    Wang Lei
    A Ribbon of Dictionary

    I have seen Wang Lei’s work before at the White Rabbit, knitted “imperial robes” made with yarn spun from Chinese-English dictionaries. The work above uses the same paper source, again knitted. These are powerful languages, laid out in the form of a scroll, any meaning lost.

    Wang Lei  Armour of Triumph

    Wang Lei
    Armour of Triumph

    Armour of Triumph is made from newspapers into the form of the armour of th Qing Emperor Kangxi, a long-reigning formidable man. Here his armour seems to be unraveling, and the faces of people can be seen in the trailing strands. People power and the media are forces to be reckoned with today.

    It would seem that this should link with my current small project, different papers spun and manipulated using traditional textile techniques. However this work is so precise, so massive, and with additional layers of meaning that any connection seems moot.


    I continue to battle with Briony Fer – Fer, B. (1997) On abstract art New Haven and London: Yale University Press. I’d like to know and understand much of what she is writing (although as previously mentioned “psycho babble” does not appeal). There is a lot of value in here.

    Rosen, B (ed) (2013) Eva Hesse 1965 New Haven and London: Yale University Press. This was published on the occasion of an exhibition. Some interesting essays and lots of good images of Hesse’s work.

    Most of my reading this week has been documentation of PowerDirector 14. Lots to learn, although I only intend to use a small fraction of the functions in my current project. Incremental improvement is all I have time for.


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