Contemporary Bark Painting

Djirrirra Wunungmurra, Yukuwa, 2011, natural pigments on bark.

Nonggirrnga Marawili, Yathikpa, 2013, natural pigments on bark.

Nonggirrnga Marawili, Yathikpa, 2013, natural pigments on bark.

Fantastic to see these contemporary interpretations of traditional bark painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales recently. Djirrirra Wunungmurra, born 1968, Arnhem region, Yukuwa 2011 is a depiction of yam tendrils and feathered flowers. Nonggirrnga Marawili, born c1939, Arnhem region, Yathikpa, 2013, is a contemporary depiction of fire.


Lorraine Connelly-Northey

Small bags at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Dilly bags at the Asia Pacific Triennial 7 at GOMA, Queensland 2012

I always enjoy seeing the work of Lorraine Connelly-Northey both recently at Federation Square NGV, Melbourne and at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney. I am still very happy I have in my possession a small tin and feather bag I purchased in 2005. Connelly-Northey is of Indigenous and Irish descent and her work is often made from salvaged materials including weathered scrap metal.


Pop to Popism

Claes Oldenburg, Giant soft fan – ghost version, 1967, soft sculpture.

Jeff Koons, Vase of Flowers, 1988, Mirror, 2/3, 184.2 x 134.6 x 2.5 cm.

It was good to see Pop to Popism at the Art Gallery of NSW. The curation of combining international artists with Australian artists of the 1960s and looking at later influences in the Popism section worked for me. Early work by David Hockney and Richard Hamilton is always great to see. It was also wonderful to see a Wayne Thiebaud for the first time. However the two works that stayed with me from the show were Claes Oldenburg's fantastic floppy electric fan complete with plug! And Jeff Koons, Vase of Flowers, 1988.

Pop to Popism is on at the Art Gallery of NSW until March 1.


Caroline Achaintre

Netzer, 2012, Ceramic, 30 x 19 cm.

Efes, 2012, ceramic

Camouflage Nose, 2007, textile.

Born in France in 1969 and educated in Germany, Caroline Achaintre now resides in London where her work is currently on display at the Tate Britain. Her work evokes early modernism including German Expressionism and 'Primitivism' while also discussing the tension between painting, drawing and object asking such pertinent questions as can a sculpture speak of painting. The answer is yes if you know the language of painting. The works above are my selection, and are not entirely indicative of her work as many are coloured textile works. You can read more about this artist at Saatchi's website here.


Sydney Ball

INFINEX III at Sullivan & Strumpf
INFINEX III at Sullivan & Strumpf

It was great to see the INFINEX III exhibition during it's final days at Sullivan and Strumpf, Sydney. I have followed Sydney Ball's work since I was a young art student. Above are two of the works that I responded to the most.

Sydney Ball, INFINEX III, Sullivan and Strumpf, December - January, 2015.


Jessi Wong

Jules Lambe, Director of Gaffer Ltd Hong Kong (L) with Jessi Wong at her Northcote studio (R)

One of the scroll works Jessi Wong is preparing for her solo at Art Central, Hong Kong.

I spent time yesterday with Melbourne artist, Jessi Wong and Jules Lambe from Gaffer Ltd as they documented Jessi's work at her Northcote studio for Art Central, March 14-16, to coincide with Art Basel, Hong Kong.

Jessi's landscapes are an interesting intercept between traditional Chinese woodblock printing on rice paper presented in contemporary box framing. The effect is a wall (curtain or reams of fabric) of hand painted ink scrolls revealing glimpses of the landscape. The composition is presented through the visible folds rather than the traditional vista. The strata - almost. The 'picture' as not fully visible is symbolic, perhaps, of our knowledge of the earth.

Jessi Wong is represented Gaffer Ltd, Hong Kong, and Anita Traverso Gallery in Melbourne.


Old photos

Melbourne building site, 1930s
Going through old photos recently, I found this one of my grandfather (left) at work on a Melbourne building site in the 1930s.
Seasons Greetings to all.


Heide Kitchen Garden

The original kitchen garden with Heide II in the background

The mysterious garlic flower

Early summer is one of my favourite times of the year in Melbourne. The leaves are still green, flowers bloom and perfume can fill the air. The breeze is cool. It is the time before the ravages of the summer to come. It was a beautiful day at the Heide Museum of Contemporary Art in Melbourne. The museum on the banks of the Yarra River near Heidelberg was once the home of John and Sunday Reed and this is their kitchen garden. In the background is the contemporary home they built which is now a gallery. The Reeds were famous patrons of artists in mid-twentieth century Melbourne including Sidney Nolan and Joy Hester.


Ngayarta Kujarra

11 WA artists, Ngayarta Kujarra, 2009, polymer paint on canvas 300x500cm

This painting is currently on view at the National Gallery of Victoria. A massive work made by a group of artists from Western Australia, Yikartu Bumba Manyjilyjarra, Jakayu Biljabu Manyjilyjarra, Nyanjilpayi Nancy Chapman Manyjilyjarra, May Chapman Manyjilyjarra, Doreen Chapman Manyjilyjarra, Linda James Manyjilyjarra Mulyatingki Marney Manyjilyjarra, Reena Roger Manyjilyjarra, Beatrice Simpson Manyjilyjarra, Ronelle Simpson Manyjilyjarra, Muntararr Rosie Williams Manyjilyjarra, Ngayarta Kujarra, 2009, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 300.0 x 500.1 cm.
Even better in real life, I couldn't stop looking at it. It is such a fabulous work.

Richard Serra

Installation view, "Richard Serra: Vertical and Horizontal Reversals," David Zwirner, New York, 2014

I have been a fan of Richard Serra's sculpture for a long time, but I saw his drawings in a Summer Salon at the Royal Academy, London some years ago and I thought they were the best works in the exhibition. 

Richard Serra, 'Vertical and Horizontal Reversals' David Zwirner, New York, November 6 - December, 20, 2014.