Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inspiration: the art of Gerhard Richter

Deer, Gerhard Richter, Oil on Canvas, 1963.

Woman with Dog, Gerhard Richter, Oil on Canvas, 1967.
"Picturing things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense. It is like the religious search for God."
Notes, 1962. 
Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961 - 2007. Thames and Hudson, London, 2009, pg. 14.

Images via:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the studio

Stuff happening in my studio
I'm currently working towards a group show called Beast For Thee. It is opening in October at The Oats Factory. I will tell you more about it soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Something silly and wonderful: The art of Tim Moore

Tim Moore, Bande eccellenti del cavallo del hero, 2008.

I received this Art Nation video in my emails today from my friend John. It's about the wonderful embroidery work of Tim Moore. This has really made me happy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Acts of Intimacy Prints

Acts of Intimacy IV (Series 1)

A selection of my Acts of Intimacy series prints are now available for purchase (framed or unframed) from The Oats Factory! Click here to have a browse : )

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love is what you want

While in London I saw the Tracey Emin exhibition Love is What You Want at the Hayward Gallery. I wrote about Emin in my Honours paper so I have read extensively about her and it’s something I’ve been wishing for ages, to see Tracey Emin’s work in person, as opposed to reproduced in a book or online. So when I found out there was a survey exhibition of her work during my stay in London I was pretty excited.

At last I got to see her films in their entirety, which to be honest I was reluctant to do, since I’m generally bored by films in contemporary art and was hoping it wouldn’t put me off one of my favourite artists. It didn’t, Emin did not disappoint me. The most memorable for me was the film, Why I never became a dancer.

This film features super-8 footage of her home town Margate, against which she describes her adolescent dreams of getting out of Margate and nearly winning a dance completion, only to be taunted till she ran away from the dance floor in tears by some older x-boyfriends. In the end we see her in a dance studio, where she names these men one by one, then exclaims, “This one is for you” and begins dancing with a huge smile on her face to Sylvester’s, You make me feel mighty real. It actually made me cry but not because it was sad but with a wonderful feeling of triumph, this film really says a lot about overcoming those moments in our past that have completely knocked our self-confidence to the ground.

Love is what you want features the wide range of mediums Emin has worked with over the course of her career, including painting, drawing, photography, textiles, video and sculpture. Her work is incredibly diverse, which can be quite distracting, yet the themes are so tight that this is not the case with Emin.

Although the subject matter is deeply personal and sometimes quite confrontational, these stories are about life – being human, being female. What I enjoy about Emin’s work is that I can relate to her trauma and her joy, there is no right or wrong way to cope with what life throws at us. Emotion is real and not to be denied.

I was so blown away by the size of her blankets, and some of the stitched drawings; I just had no idea of the scale of these works. I came away from Love is what you want with even more respect for this artist both technically and philosophically than I had before (and I already loved her greatly).

If you are in London and haven’t seen this exhibition you really must.

Tracey Emin: Love is what you want
Hayward Gallery 18 May - 29 August 2011

Note: The above images were sourced from the Hayward Gallery website.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Waste Landscape

Something fasinating I stumbled across on the net today... amazing!

elise morin + clémence eliard: wastelandscape
At 'halle d'aubervilliers', Le Centquatre in Paris.
On exhibition until 10 September 2011

In the artist's words:
'made of petroleum, this reflecting slick of CDs forms a still sea of metallic dunes;
the artwork's monumental scale reveals the precious aspect of a small daily object.

more at Design Boom

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Narratives of Debris

Did you enjoy the interview with Melanie Diss posted yesterday for August Speaking with?
Perhaps you'd like to go see Melanie's work in Narratives of Debris currently showing at The Oats Factory in Carlisle.

narratives of debris
July 29th - Aug 14th
Shelley Brookland, Melanie Diss & Connla Kerr.

An exhibition exploring the memories of places & objects.
Sculpture, ceramics and painting by three emerging artists.

The Oats Factory
69 Oats Street
Carlisle WA 6101

Open: Wed – Sun 12 - 5pm

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Speaking with Melanie Diss

Paint Petals (Purple), Melanie Diss, 2011.

Hi Melanie, Could you tell us a little bit about your background? Did you grow up in Perth and did you study here?

Hi Claire, yes, I grew up and still live near the Swan Valley, pretty standard upbringing. My whole family is quite creative in different ways so I've always had some sort of artistic activity going on around me. In high school I took TEE Art, as well as Art & Design and I also chose to spend my free study period in the art room so almost half my weekly school schedule was spent making art!

I think that was a really productive time and it reinforced what I had always known, that whatever I'm doing, making art needs to be a big part of my life. Saying that though, I had no idea what career art would lead me to other than "graphic designer". I had gotten into university but I wasn't too keen on jumping straight back into full-time study so I thought I'd go to TAFE part-time instead and see where that leads.

I studied Fine Art at Central TAFE in Northbridge, which was an amazing place to study, the lecturers, the resources, the whole atmosphere was really creative and inspiring. I went on to get my Advanced Diploma, then ended up continuing on to university after all, where I got my Bachelor of Arts at Curtin.

Age, Melanie Diss, 2008.

You have a studio in Midland, where we are neighbours : ) Did you get your studio quite soon after leaving uni or did you wait a while? and do you feel that having a studio (as opposed to working in your home space) enhances your creative drive?

Through Artsource I heard about a venue in Midland becoming available for studio spaces in early 2009, which was the year after I graduated. I hesitated to put my application in at first because I assumed I didn't have enough experience. But a friendly person at Artsource encouraged me to apply anyway and let me know that Artsource are all about helping emerging artists so I went ahead and applied and got a space.

I definitely think it would have been harder for me to continue making art if I didn't have my studio space. It's invaluable having a space outside of your home that is dedicated to making art. It keeps you disciplined in that it can be like going to work, but it also gives you freedom, in that it's a room that's solely used for art and doesn't need to be tidied up and used for some other purpose! It feels like a continuation of my space at uni really.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about having your own dedicated space, it really does make a difference not having to consider the other uses, or people that use a space!

Who are some artists you find most interesting and why?

While studying and developing my current body of work I discovered artists who were doing really interesting things with paint textures. I wanted to work with paint without a canvas, Linda Besemer, a US artist was doing amazing things with this idea. I also looked at the work of Lynda Benglis, who used paint and other materials, like latex, to create the effect of really visceral paint sculptures. I also love the work of WA artists Cynthia Ellis and Alex Spremberg, while very different, the effects and textures they both create are really incredible.

Paint Patch (Green), Melanie Diss, 2011.

Coming from a textile background, I got so excited when I first saw your work and realised you were painting on fabrics other than canvas! and I think it is kind of funny that people seem to forget that canvas is a textile too. Is that something that you were consciously thinking about when you started painting on organza?

To be honest it's not something I was conscious of! At first I wanted to work with paint only, and create paintings with no support, but I couldn't get the desired effect. So I experimented with a few different materials including plastic sheeting and different fabrics like tulle and voile, before discovering that organza was exactly what I needed.

I wanted a material that would 'disappear', with the support being almost invisible. Organza definitely gave this appearance but when I started using it I also found it had other really interesting qualities that I could work with and manipulate, and with it's transparency there are lots of things you can do that you can't do with canvas.

Installation view - Narratives of Debris @
The Oats Factory, 2011.

Are there constant themes that you are attracted to throughout your work?

With my current work I am really interested in texture, and I find that I'm drawn to that in other artists' work. I also find myself noticing interesting textures everywhere now! I'm also interested in the themes of decay and renewal, and finding something attractive/appealing in discarded or neglected objects.

Are there any mediums/materials you would like to try that you haven't done yet?

There are so many different skills I've yet to learn, I think that's what makes art so exciting, there's an infinite supply of techniques and materials to try out. For me though, I'd like to learn screen-printing and finally learn to sew properly! I do find I always end up coming back to working with paint though, there are so many things I've yet to try and there's so much it can do. I'm also only just starting to use different painting mediums and glazes more, so I think I'll be sticking with paint for the next few years at least.

I often hear music playing from behind your door when I walk past at the studios. I think it is interesting how some artists need silence to work and others really draw from that energy music gives, or they drown away outside distractions with it. What part does music play for you in your art making?

I find I generally need the TV on or music playing if I'm working for long periods of time. I find it occupies the part of my brain that thinks too much! If I have music playing while making art I tend to make more intuitive decisions, I don't over-think what I'm doing. And yes, it definitely blocks out other outside distractions too, so I definitely prefer having music playing.

Installation view - Narratives of Debris @ The Oats Factory, 2011.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

I was gonna be cliched and say the Louvre, travelling around Europe, seeing as many galleries/churches/museums as I can but the truth is, tomorrow I'd love to be able to go to my studio and work full-time as an artist, and quit my boring day job.

Any current/future shows coming up?

I have a show with Shelley Brookland and Connla Kerr, at Melody Smith's gallery The Oats Factory. The show is called Narratives of Debris and the last day to see it is next Sunday, 14 August.

Where can people find out more about your work?

I've just recently set up a blog which can be viewed at, please check it out!