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:
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.
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!
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.
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 🙂
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 🙂
Today in the studio I am finally catching up on polishing the ceramic sculpture I fired last weekend in the pit firing, which was the subject of last Sunday’s studio visit.
The piece in the middle of the picture is the sculpture I have had accepted into the Manningham Ceramic Awards which i have to send off tomorrow, and the other two sculptures i need to photograph as proposals for anther two upcoming art awards – fingers crossed.
That’s about it for today in the studio…. yesterday my son & his girlfriend visited, and we had a bit of a late night watching movies and chatting, so it was a bit of a late start to the day!
Hopefully I will be organised for more updates mid-week 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
This weeks Sunday Studio Visit is a little belated because I wasn’t actually in the studio – I was in Canberra, the Australian capital!! I had never actually been to Canberra before, so was pretty keen to see parliament house the National Gallery and anything else in between- so lets put the road trip down to professional development!
One thing I did do before leaving was to make sure my Arts Party- Founding member sticker was on my car!! The Arts Party is the latest political Party to be registered …. I have always been very political (vegetarian feminist socialist – yikes, what a combination!) yet this is the first time I have ever been a financial member of a party!! AND I certainly wanted to spread the message in the nations capital!
The main reason, however, for the sojourn was to visit the National Gallery (NGA) where an Arthur Boyd exhibition is currently being held entitled Agony and Ecstasy. Arthur Boyd is an iconic Australian artist who came from an iconic Australian artist family – his father, Merric Boyd, is known as the ‘father’ of studio pottery in Australia. While Arthur did do some ceramic work, his main medium was painting.
I love his work! For some it can be dark and depressing, however, for me it is the expression and acknowledgement of this futility which ironically suggests hope via a working through of emotions and ideas. For those familiar with my poetry blog you will know what I mean 🙂 The exhibition was fantastic and I am glad I went… seeing original art is certainly different to viewing images in a book!! Of course, pictures are not allowed to be taken of artworks within galleries, however, the NGA also has an outdoor sculpture garden, so I was able to take plenty of pictures in the garden!
Readers may remember a couple of weeks ago the subject of my Sunday Studio Visit post was about making work for a new exhibition – BLiNG.
Well since then the exhibition has been formally opened by Ballarat public arts officer Julie Collins, which was great fun with lots of art lovers turning up, and even a few sales being made.
As the exhibition title suggests the exhibition is all about sparkle and glam, showcasing new works by local artist Linda Franklin, Niki J Dai-ko Myo , Melinda Muscat, myself, and introducing the Berry Street-ettes, a group of local teenage girls.
Linda’s beautiful icon influenced paintings contain political commentary reflecting on the Western and Muslim worlds, the wearing of the burqa, and the participation of the Obama administration in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the divers range of ‘bling’ moments in life; Niki’s ornate animal skulls revisit her childhood experience of being a city child moving to the country and the sudden exposure to the harsh reality of death within the landscape. Melinda’s work, as always, is full of colour and layers of extravagances. The Berry Streetettes explore the sub culture of graffiti and street art by BliNGing up used spray paint cans. As for me, my work is content-LESS – purely about the fun of creating, something I don’t think I have ever actually done before!
Its a great exhibition and well worth a visit, amd this is last weekend to see it!!. So, if you are in or around the Ballarat area head over to Wolveschildren Artspace.
I am feeling the BLiNG this afternoon in the studio!!
There is lots happening in the studio today as I busily make new artworks in preparation for a group exhibition which opens this Friday 10th October at Wolveschildren Artspace in Ballarat. The show features five local artists across a variety of mediums and is shaping up to be an interesting show.
The brief for the show was supplied by fellow artist Linda Franklin, and titled BLiNG, I am responding to the theme by making work that is an extension of the rio and wire works I had in my recent solo exhibition ContainArt and the group exhibition Accessing Arts which finished last week (blog post to come).
The ContainArt show was about memories and fragments, and incorporated found objects that were old and rusty, but also included lace and fabrics. These works were 2D.
In this exhibition, as well making some 2D wall pieces, I have created some 3D pieces and am using blingy objects such as beads and sparkle to address the theme.
I can’t say too much about the show…. don’t want to spoil the surprise. So, if you are in or around the Ballarat area on Friday between 6.30 – 8.30pm drop into the gallery for opening drinks and nibbles. The exhibition runs through to the 26th October and will be well worth a visit!!
Here’s a little sneak peek at what I have been up to this afternoon….