Of Colour and Light

Biennial of Victoria’s Women Abstract Artists
curated by Anna Prifti
5 – 27 October 2018
West End Art Space
185 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne, Victoria, 3003, Australia

Hours: Wednesday - Friday: 11am - 4pm; Saturday: 10am - 3pm
Opening: 6 October 2-5pm
Opening Address: Kate Nodrum at 3 pm from Charles Nodrum Gallery


Installation view r-l: Fran O’Neill, Cath Muhling, Ros Esplin, Elisabeth Bodey, Vanessa Oter, Tracy Coutts

Installation view: Fiona Halse, Jennifer Goodman, Louise Blyton, Wendy Kelly

Installation view: Melinda Harper, Louise Blyton

Thinking of abstraction and the aspect of colour has led me to contemplate and reflect upon the many pathways that we might follow in doing so; the how, when, where, and why of making paintings. Seemingly a pathway without end. However, this path has often been at the expense of the contributions made by women artists who haven’t received the notice they deserve. It is the intention of this exhibition to enhance this conversation and to demonstrate again their contribution to the extraordinarily diverse nature of abstraction.

Colour and light draw us with considerable delight into an artist’s work, inviting us to explore their intentions and delve into the aesthetics of abstraction. The works in this exhibition exemplify a range of styles from the reductive and hard-edged to the more lyrical and intuitive; reductive, non- objective, concrete and neo-concrete, minimalist or the lyrical and expressive. There many tracks along that pathway. Artists have over time arrived at very much individual manifestations in their practice of abstraction.

In addition to the pursuit of formal or lyrical abstraction, artists also have drawn on other disciplines such as science or music, exploring these aspects in conjunction with their own practice to create new forms. Or their exploration may have led them to investigate different cultural forms. Whatever the artist’s position, the works in this exhibition demonstrate the capacity to combine materiality and conceptual thought to create diverse abstract responses. Their explorations demonstrate the questioning, the responding and ‘becoming’ in the process of making these works.

Colour is made up of wavelengths of light with each being a different colour. The colour of an object consists of the different wavelengths of light that it reflects. Its colour is also informed by the visual cortex of the observer’s brain and the colour she thinks it should be. It is interesting therefore to consider artists individual colour experiences and, in the making of a painting, how this personal experience of a colour is then mixed and transferred to a surface. The process is further enriched when considering specific colour or hues as there are many different versions of each. For example, red might be a pyrrole red dark or a light cadmium red. Looking at the colour wheel, there is both red- orange and red-violet but there are also numerous tints and shades of red.

When considering the effect of light on both the colour and its object for example as it changes through the course of a day and in different conditions, this requires in the rendering of subject matter the careful observation of the relatedness of shades and tones to light and the object. For the abstract artist the colour response might be a less literal, more perceptual one; the equivalent of received perceptions and sensations. She responds to formal colour relationships but also sees colour in action and acknowledges the interdependence of colour with its compositional placement and form.

As an attribute of appearance most things embody colour, its subtlety determined by the objects around it. For some colours, the material and tactile quality of the ‘being’ of a work comes from its capacity to communicate sensations, made by reflected light and creating a nuanced surface that is sublime or perhaps dynamic. In addition, these resonances received might originate in sound and noise, in light and the colours of weather or other aspects of landscape or place. Or it can be pre-determined by the artist’s specific ideas and completely unrelated to the physical world; colour as a supposition, so colour acting as an adjunct to the thought/form.

With monochrome abstract painting, colour stands alone and potent, as the ‘object’ and just ‘of itself’ though equally as complex as the careful consideration required in the placement of multiple colours in a deliberately patterned composition, or one that is arrived at by chance in a more immediate process of making. A focus on flat blacks or greys in painting might represent an attempt to rebut any sensation at all. Where colour dissolves, reduces, subverts the physical, the removal of what is inessential, it might be replaced by the geometric, by conceptual or intellectual processes or, on another level, the metaphysical ‘revealing’ of the essence of thought. The removal of ‘distracting’ sensations of colour, its beguiling nature, and an acceptance of simple form may open the way for a purity of conversation regarding this painted object. This leads me then into territory literally off the painted surface.

The relationship of colour to space is an interesting one. In addition to conventional and formal pictorial spatial relationships in determining its placement, we might consider extending the space of a painting to that beyond its surface area and how colour might engage with this notion. Within and outside the boundaries of the painted surface, the intention might be to subvert or reduce the conventional physical aspects of a work in favour of utilising the sensation or idea of space beyond or outside the object and so expand our experience of the idea of a painted work.

It is apparent that abstraction raises many questions and possibilities due to its capacity to communicate in multiple ways. How many readings of an artist’s work can there be? How many constructs and what might both the artist and the viewer bring to a work from their own experience? How can painting’s history contribute to this dialogue? For some, the experience of sheer pleasure might be enough. The ongoing interest in critiquing, re-viewing and expanding abstract practices, looking outward, bringing objects and digital forms into consideration and so encouraging new expressions, will continue to expand the abstract conversation in contemporary practice. Essay, Dr Elisabeth Bodey 2018

Peter Summers

‘Difficult Pleasure’
TACIT Galleries
Until October 21

Peter Summers

Peter Summers installation shot at TACIT Galleries

‘The landscape is a starting point, it underpins the initial preliminary stages of painting, but it is not about rendering a place. It is about capturing the essence of the connection with the landscape and how it reflects something of my temperament.’ Peter Summers

Fulham Grange

Eugene Von Guerard
‘The farm of Mr Perry on the Yarra’ 1855

Von Guerard’s painting of Fulham Grange, which was the original farm at Fairfield, Melbourne, and Coate Park today which was part of the farm. 

Eugene Von Guerard, The farm of Mr Perry on the Yarra 1855

Judging from the slope of the land the left boundary of the property adjoins Fairfield park boat sheds. Fulham Grange occupied Fairfield. 
Coate Park today which was part of the original farm

Fulham Grange farmhouse site

Fulham Grange occupied Fairfield. This house stands at the place of the farm house in the painting. It has very old timber features, a basement and a rotunda. The house faces the wrong direction to the street and the house number is incorrect making it likely that it stood prior to the first subdivision. Further the road behind the fence boundary in the painting follows the exact curve of Heidelberg road which is one of the oldest roads in Melbourne and developed as a track.

Heidelberg School Eaglemont

This is the spot where the Australian impressionists walked from their base house in Eaglemont towards Heidelberg to paint.

Mount Eagle subdivision open park

This is also an open communal park in the Walter Burley Griffin Mount Eagle subdivision.

Arthur Streeton painting

Above a painting by Arthur Streeton. Note the similarities in the light, the dirt road and the vegetation.

Old kitchen stove?

A part of a fence boundary that looks like an old kitchen and the other side of the fence. Could this be the remnants of the cottage in the painting? This building structure is 50 metres from where the Impressionist's camp house stood. It, in theory, could be an out building.

Stone Wall

There is nothing left of the original farmhouse they painted in. However this section of this house was quite likely was standing and it’s the only structure from that time in the area. Interesting that Griffin kept this area open only 30 years later. Maybe he knew?

John Nixon

Faktura (Experimental Painting Workshop)
To August 18
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Silver Konstruction 1, 2017, enamel on canvas with paint roller, 51 x 40 x 5 cm.

Gold Konstruction 1, enamel on canvas with broken wood 60 x 45 cm.

Installation photo

Installation photo

Anna Caione

Gesto (Gesture)
To August 25
West End Art Space,
185 Rosslyn St, West Melbourne

Installation photo Anna Caione

Painting: Gesto Blu, 2018. Fabric and mixed media on canvas, 100 x 100 cm.

Painting detail, Anna Caione

‘In 2018 Anna Caione was awarded a Fellowship from the International Specialised Skills Institute, Australia to travel and undertake studies in art in Milan, Italy.

Caione had the opportunity to study the Martenot Method, a unique philosophy of art centered on reawakening creativity. Caione was taught by a former student of Ginette Martenot (1902-1996), the founder of the Martenot Method.

Caione’s current exhibition ‘Gesto’ – Gesture, includes new works derived from this philosophy. The artworks centre on bodily proportion and movement and incorporate gesture and ‘stretching’ as an articulation of the human form. The layering of materials further evokes the body’s natural alignments and proportions. These artworks reflect Caione’s recent studies and focus on her capacity of line, mark making and gesture to connect mind and body through movement.’ Exhibition text.

Melbourne Art Fair 2018

John Nixon, Two Rooms, Auckland NZ

Ron Robertson-Swann, Charles Nodrum Gallery

Karyn Taylor, Anna Papas Gallery. Cut Perspex, New Zealand.

Richard Lewer NZ (detail)

Paul Lee, Michael Lett, Auckland NZ (Cut bath towels)

Dominik Mersch Gallery, Lottie Consalvo and Martin Browne Contemporary, Idiko Kovacs

Spring 1883

‘Spring 1883’ at the Hotel Windsor as part of Melbourne Art Week and coinciding with the Art Fair. The Windsor is a grand Melbourne hotel opposite Parliament House. 24 galleries have taken up suites in the hotel.
Windsor hall

Howard Arkley, Fort Delta

Sarah Scout Presents

Dale Frank at Neon Parc

Singapore Cottege

Is a place I like to visit. It's a small slice of old Collingwood

‘This rare surviving example of a prefabricated building imported from Singapore in the 1850s uses distinctive framing, exotic timbers and Chinese characters which distinguish it from the many prefabricated houses imported during the gold rush period.’ Victoria Heritage Website 


Group exhibition
Curated by PJ Hickman
To August 4
Five Walls

Exhibiting artists: PJ Hickman, Raymond Carter, Aaron Martin, Shelley Jardine, Samara Adamson-Pinczewski, Craig Easton, Peter Adsett, Fan Zhongming, Melinda Harper, Kubota Fumikazu, Joyce Huang, Emma Langridge

Selected works:

Peter Adsett, NZ

PJ Hickman, Raymond Carter

Samara Adamson-Pinczewskption (courtesy of Charles Nodrum Gallery)

Emma Langridge
Tape acknowledges the wide number of artists utilising tape in their practice. This exhibition brings together international and Australian artists. A range of techniques are exemplified including using tape to obtain a ‘hard edge’ result or tape as the main substrate. Others use tape as a starting point for investigation of ‘the accident’ or interference.