Weekly roundup 3 July 2016

A quiet, tired week, so a short roundup.

Lecture: Jackie Menzies Charles Lang Freer (part of the AGNSW Collectors & Collections series).

Freer retired relatively young and very rich in 1899. He became a connoisseur of art, knowledgeable, discerning, travelling widely, meeting many of the artists whose work he collected. He had money, time, networks, and the energy to travel.

Freer was particularly interested in Asian art, and Jackie Menzies described how he was able to break down some of the “exotic other” by his visits. Freer also collected many works by Whistler, and was advised by him. Many of the works Freer collected, Asian and Whistler’s, used ambiguous space, and colour harmonies.

Expertise, connoisseur-ship, validation: There’s been a long exchange on the OCA student forum, triggered by my questioning of a tutor’s comment “Remember validity is in the eyes of the viewer.”

Apparently it’s up to expert others, perhaps like the connoisseur Charles Lang Freer, or an academic, or … someone else in some (shady?) line of precedence, to validate work as art. My current stance is that’s fine for those who want to, but no-one owns the word “Art”. Obviously I see value in tertiary study and all that entails, but I hope I manage to maintain an open mind and an attitude of skeptic and not one of the gang.


Kay Murray

Kay Murray

This weekend was meant to be a two day Mixed Media Collage workshop with Kay Murray. Unfortunately I ran out of steam in the afternoon of the first day and didn’t get to the second. Nothing to show – I’ve got a few paper and fabric collage backgrounds started, but no development.

Some interesting techniques, more textile-centric than I’ve been for quite a while.

Another of those co-incidences, today I came across a text by Jenni Sorkin on a 2012 exhibition by Diana Guerrero-Maciá (https://www.academia.edu/25680742/Diana_Guerrero-Maci%C3%A1s_Hand-Sewn_Hard_Edges_2012_). There’s lots more of Guerrero-Maciá’s work on her website, http://www.guerrero-macia.com/.

Only a skim read of Sorkin’s text (my mushy brain), but it starts with links to art history (Russian Suprematism), a touch of psychology with group identity, some social references, then the use of textile techniques as both a formal strategy and as cultural sampling. Very much the academic validation of the work.

There’s thinking to be done here, but not just now.
I’ll try to catch up on the rest next week.

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July 2016

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