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New Exhibition – After the Fire.

As readers may know from previous POSTS I have been working on a new body of work, including sculptural ceramics and photography, which is now on exhibition at ContainArt till February 16th. The container is currently on location at Weerama Part, Wendouree.

The exhibition was inspired by the Scotsburn Bushfires, which I have also posted about before – both the experience on the day and Bushfire Relief Arts Program I was involved with in the following months.

I have friends who live in Scotsburn (and almost lost their home and business) and I know of others who did lose their homes. On the day of the fires I stood on my property watching the smoke and water bombers flying over, so it was very dramatic.

Approximately a week after the fires, which destroyed 4000 hectares, 12 homes and 23 sheds, I visited the site and drove through  the area extensively following the path of the fire. I took many pictures and have a comprehensive documentary of the immediate aftermath with the intention of developing a body of work to reflect the fires and comment on the climate (political and environmental) which has contributed to the severe bushfires Australia is experiencing on a more regular basis.

The opportunity serendipitously arose to hold an exhibition in ContainArt just a little after the twelve month anniversary of the event, providing a great chance to commemorate the fires.

All of the works are, of course, for sale, simply send me a message to begin the discussion 🙂

Following is the ‘Artist Statement’ for the exhibition and some images…

Artist Statement – Dawn Whitehand – After the Fire

As a person I feel deeply saddened about the natural environment and the harmful effect the human race has inflicted upon Mother Earth.

As an artist I feel a duty to bring these issues to the attention of the general public via a visual interpretation of the climate dilemmas currently perplexing our global society.

A little over a year ago the effects of global warming were brought into stark reality when the town of Scotsburn and surrounds, on the outskirts of Ballarat, experienced fires that raged out of control on the 19th December 2015. The fire, once started was fuelled by dry conditions, extreme heat and high winds, which combined to form the perfect storm of environmental conditions.

At the time I witnessed the billowing smoke from my property, and having close friends in the area I was watching and worried. Thankfully my friends remained safe, as was their property. Others were not so fortunate.

A week later I undertook an extensive tour throughout the entire route of the fire, documenting the physical effect of the tragic event on the environment. During the following months I worked with the local community conducting art workshops as part of the Scotsburn Bushfire Relief Project.

This current body of work presents a series of documentary photographs and interpretive ceramic sculptures which respond to the colours, shapes and textures of the event, that also hopefully, evoke an emotive outcome within the viewer that raises questions about their personal and communal responsiveness toward the environment, and their role within the wider global context.

A little after a year later I revisited Scotsburn and the abundance of regrowth is majestic – Mother Nature healing both the local community and her natural environment.

By presenting a display commemorating the Scotsburn fires in the context of “urban Ballarat” I am hoping to make this seemingly physically remote event more immediate & real.

Overall images of ContainArt:

Images of individual windows:

Ceramic Sculpture:

Ceramic Pit firing – New sculpture.

Hope everyone is having a great week 🙂

Following on from the previous POST I have now pitfired all of the sculptural works I made for the exhibition in ContainArt – yes I got the fire permit 🙂

 

It has been very warm over the past few weeks, so it was great that the day I chose to do the firing was only a 26C day… but, of course, we still needed a beer by the end of it (or maybe before the end of it!)

I have since installed the exhibition, but am a bit behind in my posts because – yes – I am still sick!! It comes and goes in waves and is driving me crazy!!

Anyways…. here are some pics of the pit firing, and the next post will be pics of the installed exhibition…. so stay tuned 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – Lorne Sculpture Biennale

Its been a few weeks since I did a Sunday Studio visit post – I have been so busy, and one of the reasons for this I have written about HERE (and this is still ongoing!) and I will write a post soon about the other major project soon!!

Today, however I took time out of the busy schedule to visit the Lorne Sculpture Biennale. It is a great show which I have had work in during previous years, and this year had a sculpture in the Wye River Project – an exhibition of small sculpture organised in support of the Wye River and surrounding community devastated by the Christmas Day bushfires.

I vividly remember the ‘breaking news’ stories on Christmas Day, which was hot on the trail of the Scotsburn fires nearer my home which I have written briefly about HERE. Lorne is also special to me as I half grew up near the area (Torquay); ran a business which serviced the area for several years; and have participated in the Lorne sculpture show previously.

So it was great to be able to participate in the Wye River project to support the community – with this sculpture, which I posted about during the ‘work in progress’ phase HERE.

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Water Channel – mixed mediaWye River

Wye River is a small community, so, as expected, does not have a gallery space, so sculptures were exhibited at the General Store and the Wye Beach Hotel – here is a pic in situ with lots of wine/beer rings on the plinth – I like to think this means it got looked at alot!

Dawn Whitehand Wye River

But back to the Biennale… I, of course, had my favourites, some of which I have posed on Instagram, and remarkedly my fav aligned with the judges and the peoples choice awards – not very often that happens! Unfortunately  (and stupidly) I didn’t bring my wide angle lens, so just have a couple of pics (but will be posting more soon). The winning artist is Jennifer Crompton for Sea Country Spirits, an amazing installation of organic and sea inspired forms made from an array of materials – wire through to feathers and shells – all suspended from trees so that the viewer could walk within the created environment accentuated by the natural movement stirred by the breeze which created a surreal and almost apocalyptic feel – if there had been no people strolling around!!

Visually delicate and mostly white in colour, the forms suggested the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef coral and the current bleaching of it which is such a hot topic at the moment in Australia. I’m not sure if this was Crompton’s intent as artist statements were not displayed with the works, but this is how it spoke to me – more about that in a future blog post.

Surprisingly my most favourite sculpture was not actually part of the exhibition! And I almost got cut off from the mainland during photographing it due to the tide coming in!!

A beautiful rock sculpture, reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy created on the gorgeous rockscape of Lorne, this sculptor has been in every Biennale show – but not by invitation!! He gatecrashes and installs his sculpture amongst the selected artworks – which I think is fantastic! It begs the question about what are art exhibitions, who gets in, what they mean, and to whom? More about this in my upcoming post also.

Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2016

Photograph – Dawn Whitehand

So, for now to finish of this quasi studio visit I’ll leave you with my favs from the exhibition …. enjoy, though I will be posting a more in depth review in the coming week, so stay tuned 🙂

Busy in the Studio

This afternoon in the studio I have been packing up work for transport to the All Hands exhibition being held at the Convent Gallery in Daylesford. This exhibition is an annual event for the Daylesford Region Ceramics Co-operative which coincides with Artober. The opening is this Friday at 6pm and all are welcome 🙂

 

I also began making some custom wholesale orders this afternoon – rings and Christmas decorations for a local retail space in Ballarat.

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And tonight I taught an adults class in the studio from 7-9pm, so it has turned into quite a busy Tuesday!

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Well, time to kick back with a wine….have a great week everyone 🙂

 

Sunday Studio Visit – Ballarat Health & LIfestyle Expo

Today I was not in studio! I was a stall holder at the Ballarat Health & Lifestyle Expo at the Ballarat Mining Exchange. Organised by from The Health Academy, the expo showcased businesses across Ballarat whose business focus values health and wellbeing.

As regular readers my know my “other” business is ClayMotion where i offer ceramic classes and workshops, professional development, corporate teambuilding, kids birthday parties and an array of other services. I also sell ceramic supplies, which I ship internationally.

So today I was at the expo with my ClayMotion “hat” on promoting the health benefits of playing with clay… which, if any of you have experienced will know the benefits of! Being a tactile and plastic medium clay lends itself to subconscious expression as well as being an artistic medium, therefore it is a great material suitable to everyone.

As part of the days fun I was offering free pinch pot making to anyone who wanted to get their hands dirty – most were kids with a few adults having  go. Everyone was able to take their pinch pots home with the advise of their fragility (being unfired) and that they were to be shelf decorations. Unfortunately I was VERY busy and didn’t get time to take many photos!

The expo ran from 10am to 4pm, so by then I was almost hoarse and badly in need of an ice cold beer (it was a hot day in Ballarat, for a change also), so after my partner helped me pack up at the end of the day off we went to a local bar …. hope everyone has had a great Sunday 🙂

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Sunday Studio Visit – celebrating sales

It has been ten days since my last post, and I have been unable to write Sunday Studio Visits – sorry about that! I promise to get back into routine…

Sundays have been a bit problematic for me recently as I have been travelling to Melbourne most Sundays over the past few weeks as my mum has been sick, had surgery, was in hospital, and all that that involves. She is out of hospital now and recovering at home, so hopefully life will become less stressful & hectic!

Today’s Sunday studio visit, though, is not in the studio, as I did still go to Melbourne to visit my mum – but I also wanted to visit the Victorian Contemporary Art Societies Brooch Exhibition, as I had three brooches in the show. The exhibition travelled over two locations: Toorak & Fitzroy. I couldn’t get to the Toorak opening, due to the above issues, so went to the Fitzroy opening.

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Art Brooches : Upcycled materials, including buttons, guitar strings, seed beads, beads and jewellery wire

 

An annual exhibition, this year the show had over 200 art brooches including works from the USA and Belgium! The works were displayed in wall mounted perspex boxes and looked great.

The openings were also an opportunity for visitors to “try and buy”, a great idea. Upon arriving at the Fitzroy opening I was pleasantly surprised with two of my brooches having being sold! Sold brooches are still on ‘show’, though, through the substitution of images – another great idea!

The Art Brooch Show is an annual event held by the group and this is the first time I have entered, so was chuffed to make sales.

To reward myself there was a little retail therapy – who can go past a 50% off sale in Brunswick Street – a couple of wines at Naked Satan, a bar in Brunswick Street, and a yummy Vietnamese meal for dinner: there goes the earnings from the brooch sales! Oh well, easy come, easy go…

You can check out more of the brooches in the show on the Victorian Contemporary Art Societies website (I’m numbers 228, 229, 230).

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Check in again next Sunday for another studio visit – or visit before that for some other interesting art stuff!

Exhibition Opening – Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award 2015

Regular readers will know one of my ceramic sculptures was recently accepted into the biennial Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, an award that has become a fixture on the ceramic awards calendar in recent years, The award is open to all Victorian artists, and spans functional ceramics through to sculptural and conceptual works, as long as the main medium used is clay.

The exhibition opening was held on Wednesday evening at the Mannigham Art Gallery in Doncaster, so now I can reveal my sculpture and give you a bit of information about the conceptual underpinnings of the piece.

So what is this artwork actually about?

I’m glad you asked…here’s my Artist Statement:

Much of the artwork I create addresses environmental issues, sustainability and the need for humanity to reconnect to the Earth and realise their symbiotic relationship with the landscape.

Landscape 1 is the first in a series of sculptural artworks that capture this ethic in both the making process and the finished form.

The sculpture was press moulded in two halves using the polystyrene end packaging of a radiator heater. Polystyrene is especially bad for the environment in its manufacturing process and in that it doesn’t break down and so remains a permanent waste product.

With some creative thinking, however, this material can be used to model artworks or can be turned into artworks itself.

The surface of Landscape 1 is achieved through pit firing, a method of firing ceramics in the ground using organic materials to achieve the mottled coloured surface. When pit firing I only use materials which are found on the ground – old branches, sticks, pine cones, cow dung and leaves.

Given the fragile state of the future environment this method of firing is also a sustainable way of finishing sculptural and decorative ceramics

The exhibition runs until the 29th August and there are some fantastic ceramic artworks to see, and buy, from over fifty Victorian artists, emerging through to established. So if you are in or near the area it is definitely worth a visit.

Below are some images from opening night….enjoy 🙂

Upcoming Exhibitions….

Happy Friday People – yes its the weekend!

I thought I would share some exhibitions I am involved in at the moment so you can experience them vicariously or if you are living or visiting near the venues, you can check out the exhibitions yourself.

Currently I have three brooches in the annual Contemporary Art Society of Victoria brooch show. This is a juried show and all brooches had to be within 10 cm x 5 cm overall dimensions and 3 cm in depth. I entered three brooches for selection and all were accepted. My brooches are made from upcycled materials – buttons, beads and guitar strings. The exhibition runs from over two locations with opportunities to try and buy…. check out their website for more info.

Art brooches Dawn Whitehand

Beginning tomorrow is an exhibition being held in conjunction with the Australian Ceramics Triennale. Belonging is an exhibition of over 140 members of the Australian Ceramics Association, and again, the works were limited to a certain size — 15x15x15cm. The exhibition includes sculptural, functional and conceptual ceramics. Again, this was a juried exhibition and my entry is a wheelthrown organic form which has been manipulated and glazed to create a textural surface. The exhibition runs until 11th July and opening night is 9th July. I am hoping to get to Canberra to have a look, but probably won’t make opening night.

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Finally I had an artwork accepted into the Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, a biennial award open to Victorian ceramicists showcasing contemporary studio pottery. I submitted my piece as a work in progress as I had not yet pit fired it, which I did last weekend, and luckily it was selected. I entered a handbuilt slab sculpture, burnished and pit fired. The picture below shows it straight from the pit – it has not been polished as yet. Polishing will deepen the colour and enhance the visual tactile qualities of the surface. This exhibition runs from the 15th July (opening night) until the 29th August at the Manningham Art Gallery in Doncaster.

Not yet cleaned & polished

Not yet cleaned & polished

So, if you are near any of these areas the exhibitions are well worth a visit, and you may even find that you buy yourself a nice piece of art!

Sunday Studio Visit

Today I was not actually in the studio, I was participating in the Golden Plains Arts Trail, purely by chance.

I was in a group exhibition a few years ago for the Arts Trail, but this year decided not to join in, but then a friend who was opening her studio for the weekend event had a last minute commitment elsewhere on the Sunday so needed someone to babysit – and that was me! So I took along some sculpture to display in her garden.

This friend is Julie Collins, who, in collaboration with her husband, makes fantastic large scale sculptures which you can see on their website.

The Arts Trail is an annual event held in the Golden Plains Shire in Central Victoria which showcases local artists who participate by opening their studios to the public or by staging solo or group exhibitions at various venues throughout the shire. Members of the public obtain a map of all the locations from places such as tourist information centres or galleries, and visit artists over a weekend…. it is a great success and many people specifically come to the region especially for the event.

The sculptures I displayed for the day are all ceramic and are wheelthrown and manipulated while still soft to form organic shapes. The pieces are finished in textured glazes that highlight the natural forms….. here are some pictures 🙂 Have a great day!

Collidescope – Art Meets Fashion

Brainchild of Niki Lakerink, Collidescope Art Meets Fashion began as Niki noticed the use of well known traditional artists, such as Mondrian and Picasso,  on garments parading the European catwalks. An artist herself with a strong interest in fashion, Niki was also frustrated over the lack of sales and recognition within the regional art-scene. These two seeds cross pollinated and germinated into the Collidescope project. Coincidentally Melbourne Fashion Week was four months away, which gave Niki a target date to begin the process of bringing the concept together.

The project paired regional artists and designers together, inspiring them to work collaboratively to produce garments to be featured in a fashion parade event in Ballarat to coincide with Fashion Week. Thee were also designers drawn in to create accessories for some of the outfits – jewellery, millinery and bags.

After a hectic four months of setting up websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, sourcing funding via council, arts bodies and a crowdfunding campaign, and organising fabric and printers the collaborative teams successfully completed their design briefs and the catwalk fashion parade was launched on the 21st February at the Mechanics Institute in central Ballarat. Niki also secured a partnership with Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Week (VAMFF) enabling the project to leverage some promotional muscle.

There were three sessions of the fashion parade accompanied by the VAMFF short film series. The sessions were extremely well attended, including council dignitaries and senior representatives from Regional Arts Victoria and the Arts Council of Australia. The feedback was fantastic as seen in this After Party Video filmed by Augustus Firestone for his Visual Feasts YouTube Channel.

Footage of the catwalk can be seen on Niki’s YouTube channel also filmed by Augustus Firestone.

But the project didn’t stop there!

The success of the catwalk fashion parade has been followed up by an exhibition of a selection of the garments and some of the original artworks behind the garment inspiration. The exhibition is currently at Wolveschildren Art Space and continues through to the 8th March. The garments look great in the gallery setting providing an ideal opportunity to see the fabrics and designs close up. It is also fantastic to see some of the original artworks that inspired the collaborations. Images of the garments and artworks can be seen in the picture gallery below.

But wait there’s more!

This coming weekend is the annual Begonia Festival in Ballarat, and Niki has secured a place in the program of events – a catwalk fashion parade being held on Monday 9th March at 2pm. The parade is on the main stage and is a free event.

For more information bout the collaboration teams visit the Collidescope website.

Congratulations to Niki and the team for an initiative unlike anything seen in Ballarat before!

So, what’s next?

Based on the huge success of this event Niki is planning to continue this project annually in Ballarat to showcase regional local art and design talent. She is also organising a small group of the collaboration teams to design a full range to be launched at the September City of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.

Oh, and did I mention that I designed the jewellery for one of the garments? The Ballarat Print designed by Niki’s son Thurston features a digital photography mash up of Ballarat heritage and modern buildings printed in a block design. The fabric is very architectural in inspiration so I designed a jewellery set capturing an industrial architectural feel. It was modelled by Deborah Klein and looked fantastic.

And below are images of the garments and original works currently on exhibition at Wolveschildren Art Space.

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