A busy week! Short of time, so unfortunately once again short on reflection.
This week I started a six week drawing for beginners class at Sydney Community College, taught by Matthew Rogers. We started by drawing the contours of our hand in 2B pencil – working very slowly. The eye moves around the object, almost with a sense of touch, and the hand and pencil work with the eye. We went through a series of exercises, in pencil and charcoal. Ideas I want to remember – pencil grip, relationships, ways of checking, choose subjects that interest you, most importantly don’t commit too quickly. And practice.
I’ve been trying to take all of this to heart, and am finding it enjoyable and absorbing. Some examples, first from class:
A mix from home, on the bus etc. It’s eating into my reading time, but that can re-balance later.
Preparing for welded sculpture
A shopping expedition has equipped me with steel-capped shoes, welding helmet, gauntlets… and a box of mixed mild steel (I hope!) oddments picked up from the floor and waste bins of a friendly steel supplier. Most of this will sit quietly in a corner until the class in January, but my husband made the very clever suggestion of using the oddments as drawing models. The first appearance of some is included above and I think it’s a great way to start thinking about relationships and possibilities.
Associated with the current Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection exhibition, AGNSW held a drop in and collage activity. The Sydney Collage Society (SCS) ran the event. Member Kubi Vasak made some brief but helpful opening remarks suggesting approaches. Landscape collage: an example showed a cool mountain lake scene, overlaid by a sunny and bright swimming pool – with the key detail that the ripples of water in each image were aligned. Working with a key image: find something that really takes your eye, then look for material that relates to it. Abstract and/or surreal: covers a lot, but one example is to choose two colours, find suitable images then build with them, perhaps into a fanciful flower. He encouraged us not to overthink, to act on instinct.
It made collage seem more approachable, less intimidating and intellectual.
SCS had provided piles of books and magazines with some great images. Unfortunately the scissors were stiff and awkward. After a great conversation with a society member about the relative merits of small scissors and varieties of scalpels I had to hurry off to the evening lecture. So my almost cut-out iconic image of Audrey Hepburn is still waiting for a suitable new environment and cigarette substitute. Next week…
Craig Judd Collector Dreamers: Kojiro Matsukata, Koyoma Mihoko (part of the AGNSW Collectors & Collections series).
An interesting reflection on the motives of collecting, vagaries of history, and cross-cultural influences.
Dr Jaime Tsai Peggy Guggenheim and the Surrealists (part of the AGNSW Collectors & Collections series).
Collector, patron, philanthropist – different roles all found in Peggy Guggenheim. At times this lecture felt like a listing of all the big names of surrealism and abstract expressionism – which just shows the influential and important role Guggenheim played in post-war avant-gardism. Tsai presented her as a woman with a sense of responsibility, vision and courage. Impossible to know how different the history of 20th century art would have been without her support.
In an aside Tsai briefly explained the technique grottage (not frottage) – something I’d like to try.
Museum of Sydney
This was my first visit to the Museum of Sydney. Interesting stories and artifacts from local (mainly post “discovery” and invasion) history, however our main focus was two exhibitions: Florilegium: Sydney’s painted garden, and The artist & the botanical collector: The lost works of Lovegrove & Bäuerlen. Some very beautiful images, but I sometimes feel almost claustrophobic looking at such very precise and careful work. A huge amount of skill on display, as well as scientific knowledge and incredible observation. Not something I would personally aspire to.
Artisans in the Gardens
A diverse range of works was shown in this exhibition and sale held in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Work by two artists in particular caught my eye.
Nicole de Mestre showed a range of assemblages. Quirky, lots of personality, all recycled and found materials.
Brooke Munro‘s work included sculptural forms in random weave and coiling.
Clearly the work of both artists is relevant to the area(s) of interest that I have identified. Almost as clearly I’m not going to be able to research, consider and make sensible comments at 10 pm on Sunday night.
More investigation required, but as it happens I visited this exhibition after arriving at the Gardens a little early for a workshop with tutor Brooke Munro so the story continues with…
Cord Making, knotless netting & bag making workshop
To an extent this 3 hour workshop with Brooke Munro covered techniques I’ve experimented with before, however I’ve often found that “known” material can be deepened and even transformed with a new perspective and presentation. Different materials, weights of material, “slight” changes in the looping, and the result is entirely different.
My cord went missing during the class – and I didn’t go searching as I have no affinity with damp swamp-smelling vegetable matter. For the looping those who chose to “cheated” using pre-made cord. There’s a strange deformation in my sample – possibly I added some twist to the cord as I was working, or there could be some bias in the looping itself.
More experimentation required.While walking back through the Gardens I came across the aftermath of Jonathan Jones’s recent exhibition (25-Sep-2016). What deep and meaningful comment sits here?