Monday, June 25, 2007

Cape Jervis Echidna

Spent the afternoon and early evening driving to and around Cape Jervis and the Star Fish Hill Wind-farm, taking pictures for some new works for Jim's paintings....on the road we couldn't believe our eyes...waddling across right in front of us was one Echidna...we stopped the car ran across the road with me screaming I don't believe it, do you know how fricken rare it is to see one of these????? Now for my readers overseas, this is only the second such animal I've seen in the wild in my life! They are very, very, very rare! Documentary crews have spent months on Kangaroo Island tracking these spiny creatures and there we were, it just trotted along on the road in front of us....Isn't he gorgeous! I feel privileged to have been able to look at him so closely before he scurried off into a spinifex bush.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Banality and the modern photographer

Well, I watched the second of the three part series on the Art Life (ABC Television) and well, once again, I'm left feeling empty! I'm am a big fan of the power of the photograph but am becoming increasingly disappointed in the contemporary photographer. Darren Sylvester put me to sleep, he even puts himself to sleep! In his interview he admits to being lazy and not even liking taking photos. The image above by Sylvester "Learn To Adjust, Learn To Get Over It", 2006 is so boring it looks like a bad album cover from the early 90's that should have remained on the cutting room floor. The episode examines the image in advertising, a dangerous thing to do. The pretext of taking a photo for advertising is to illustrate a product or idea, this is exactly what many of these contemporary photographers are doing. Put another way, they mimic the disposable imagery of advertising to make and sell limited edition 'artworks' as permenant art. My verdict is most of this 'art' is that it is bad advertising material that in 10 years time people will be taking down off the walls (if you are lucky, perhaps more likely 2years) and thinking what did I see in that image? Compare it with something like the work below. It was set up but not staged, the group came together, there was quite a story behind it if you watch the doco about it "Girl in the Mirror" by Toi-Toi Films 2005. You get a sense of the three people in the picture, you can sense an unease about them, you sense the toughness of existence, aggression, self protection, in fact a whole range of things.

Carol JERREMS 1949–1980, Australia
Vale Street 1975

The Little Cavalier

Poor Edmund Capon, captured beautifully by an associated press photographer, was called back from the anyone who's anyone soiree in Venice to the terrible news that some bastard had swiped one of the AGNSW's Dutch masterpieces from right under some sleepy guards nose! Just stuck the little gem under their jumper and waltzed out into the torrential rains of old Sydney Town.

I always head for the little room in AGNSW that held this painting by 17th Century Frans van Mieris, "A Cavalier (Self Portrait)" it is something I've studied and studied, I really enjoy the way the fabric is painted on the sleeve. Now its bloody well been nicked! I'm really upset about it...these paintings need to be in the public arena for all to see.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Work in Progress #6

Here is the latest development with my Koi fish painting...I've put a few more slight references to water reflections but not too much as it is a still day depicted and there is not much movement by the fish in the shallow water. Any more light effects would mean distortion or disruption in the form of the rocks and fish which clearly there is not. I've also put a retouch varnish over the painting. The surface is quite textured, so, I wanted to seal it so that when the final varnish is applied a nice shiny film is created and thus the varnish serves as a unifier and a sealant at the same time.

I've been taking lots of trips to the newish art shop here, getting some stretcher bar and another roll of linen to help get me through the next 24 paintings I need to do for this year at a guesstimate...I'll be needing another order of those fantastic Vasari paints before I know it!

I went to the local toy fair the other day, very disappointing, mainly toy I like toy cars but they were mostly hot rod matchbox cars! I couldn't find a D-type Jaguar anywhere, and hardly any interesting cars at all! I did get a little Astro Boy and this diecast Model 51 Ford Mercury which is quite cool.

This is for a little project I'm doing which will be exhibited in a fun group show in Melbourne in September this year. I'll post it up when its done!

Found this vintage 50's advert for the car...couldn't resist putting it up for you all to see!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Diamonds are forever?

Love him or hate him ( I love him!) Damien Hirst certainly gets the public a chatter about his artistic endeavours..."For the Love of God" is the title of Hirst's latest work. The skull is covered with 8,601 flawless diamonds and I cannot help but compare it with my favourite painting of all time....Holbein's "The Ambassadors".

What use is all your wealth when you die? I guess you could sell up and put every cent into encrusting your head with jewells, thats useful! Thats a worthwhile thing to do with all the blood sweat and tears that went into getting them from the Diamond Mines! ISN't IT???!!! But, actually, it probably is if buried because its being returned to the earth for the next meniacal nutcase to dig it up again....

£50million pounds is what they are saying this baby is worth, it really is quite amazing. The thing that sparked my interest is the similar thought patterns behind Holbeins' masterpiece. The very idea that you can spend your whole life with everything you could possibly want, travel the globe, experience life in all its fullness, or be a simple man and live a quiet life, although rich in other ways, its all meaningless in the end because we are human, flesh, blood and skeletal form, the same in the earth or as ashes to the wind.

I have been reading what the critics are saying and many have referred to this work as 'vacuous nonsense'. I'm sorry guys but I just don't agree! We are living in an age where the young facile and rich appear to get everything, those who don't have it, want it (well thats what the media tells us)...Why else would Paris Hilton be so popular if thousands, nay millions of girls all over the world didn't want to emulate her. Much of the modern world has its cars, its MacMansions, its Summer holidays, Foxtel, electronic gagets that supposedly make our lives better and more luxurious. What an apt symbol of the modern world this diamond encrusted skull is, it is an absurdly useless object, insanely decorated with one of the most universal symbols of wealth and power.

Hirst, you've cracked it perfectly for me.