Archibald organisers lick their chops….

Everyone loves a controversy, and especially so if you’re trying to promote the Archibald prize. John Olsen’s mean-spirited rant against this year’s winner Mitch Cairns filled the bill in that department.

Cairns_Mitch_Agatha Gothe Snape_oil on linen_140.5 x 125cm

Mitch Cairns, Agatha Goth-Snape, oil on linen, 140.5 x 125cm

There was a crowd of schoolkids pressing in around the Cairns work when I visited, and I didn’t give it the attention it deserved. I do enjoy the playful and honest approach of it and the tension inherent in the opposing forces of her arms and legs and how she obligingly has positioned  her own face to ‘suit’ the viewer (or more likely, the demands of her artist partner, for the portrait.) I enjoy how she is placed there on a floor echoing the modernist grid. There’s no escaping Modernism – we are bound to respond to it.  Read more about Mitch Cairns.

There were other works that interested me far more than Mitch’s work, good though it undoubtedly was. My personal favourite was the intimate and respectful work of Janet Dawson by Illawarra artist Ashley Frost:

Frost_Ashley_Janet Dawson at the door of her studio_oil on board_30 x 32cm

Ashley Frost, Janet Dawson at the door of her studio, oil on board, 30 x 32cm

It’s physically interesting, with Frost’s trademark impasto on a very small format, but it’s not laboured.  Frost often uses a lot of pink (we have that in common) and his landscapes sometimes end up too sweet for my taste, but this human landscape has a warmth about it that works well. More on Ashley Frost here. 

I also loved Nicholas Harding’s portrait of John Olsen, and it was amusing to note that the shape of his feet and legs and his body in relation to the chair – all those various areas, shapes and sections, as well as the colour – was where my interest lay. The least interesting part was his head and face! Maybe Harding doesn’t actually like Olsen that much?

Harding_N)John Olsen AO, OBE

Nicholas Harding, John Olsen AO, OBE, oil on linen, 198 x 138cm

More about Nicholas Harding here. 

 

Fresh like a Southerly: IAVA at Parliament House

 

 

OOTI evite-LOGOS

 

For the second time IAVA artists are exhibiting their latest works at Fountain Court, in NSW Parliament House. It’s an airy and elegant space with a central light-well and fountain. 27 of us are showing our art there and it promises to be a strong show. Janine Sager is Guest Curator and Diana Wood Conroy is not only participating as an artist, but has also written a thoughtful and erudite essay for our catalogue. Fresh….

 

Out of the Illawarra

Fountain Court, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney

Opening Event Thursday 3 August, 2.30-4.30pm

Exhibition runs 1 – 25 August

Gallery hours Mon-Fri 9am till 5pm

 

Wynne Prize and art from APY Lands

Pondering this week on the annual Wynne Prize. I try to submit a work every year if I can. Feeling pretty good about this year’s effort, Coastal Scape Elements, acrylic on board, 76 x 108cm:

 

Coastal scape elements

 

There are so many stunning works that get exhibited every year. My chances are hilariously tiny, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a kind of professional obligation, in a way, to enter these important shows – to somehow feel like you’re part of the whole endeavour, even if your works don’t get to be hung in those hallowed halls. This is the electric and gorgeous winner from last year, Seven sisters  from the Ken Family, acrylic on 2 canvases, overall 244 x 305cm:

 

SEVEN SISTERS_KEN FAMILY COLLECTIVE

The various styles of work from the APY lands (top left corner of SA) are mind-blowing. Check out this little clip from ABC Arts…gorgeous stuff.

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/arts-news/AC1640H048S00

Tasty treats at Belconnen Arts Centre

 

Invitation-Feast-IAVA-BAC-opening- (1)

 

Eleven of us from IAVA have been working towards  Feast – a major group show at the beautiful Belconnen Arts Centre. It’s a lovely space right by Lake Ginninderra in Canberra.

Participating artists are: Melissa Ritchie, Arja Valimaki, Mary Wingrave, Paula Gowans, Libby Bloxham, Deb Redwood, Jennifer Jackson, Liz Jeneid, Susan Macalister, Virginia Settre and myself.

Apart from the exhibition itself, we’re running a Workshop on Sunday July 2. ‘Tastes Great!’ is a workshop  that examines the ingredients for making powerful artworks.  $90, bookings contact the Arts Centre 02 6173 3300 or info@belconnenartscentre.com.au

An artists’ talk on Sunday July 9  from 11am lets you hear from the artists themselves, who’ll discuss aspects of their practice.

Opening Event Friday June 30 @ 5.30pm

Show runs July 1-23

Gallery hours Tues – Sun,  10 – 4

All welcome. Wheelchair accessible. 

ARTISTS’ TALKS AT WOLLONGONG ART GALLERY

IAVA_ARTIST TALKS_2017

 

Oooooh this is exciting!  I don’t mind talking about my own work if I have some interested folks – but the real delight of this event will be talking to Jane Bennett. Jane is a very well regarded award-winning Industrial Heritage artist, who’s made her name over several decades by faithfully recording the disappearing industrial scape of Sydney. She has some marvellous stories and some fabulous art. If you’re in town, come on down and hear Jane speak. Oh. And me, I guess….;)

Artists’ Talks: Moira Kirkwood in conversation with Jane Bennett

Saturday 15 April, 2 – 3pm

Wollongong Art Gallery

cnr. Kembla & Burelli Streets Wollongong.

Admission free, all welcome.

The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

How things go together: solo show at Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival

Invite

 

Ooooooh I’m excited about this one. I haven’t had a solo show for ages, and now this is it. An Artist Grant from the Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival enabled me to put together a small body of work. They also provided a wall of my own (not the whole room, Virginia, but it suits me fine…)

If you’re in town, come on down.

How things go together

New works by Moira Kirkwood

Thirroul Community Centre and Library, (within the Main Art Exhibition)

352-360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive Thirroul

Opening Friday 31 March @ 7pm ($20 entry, over 18 only)

Sat 10am-4pm and Sun 10am-3pm (gold coin entry)

All welcome | Wheelchair accessible

Symphony: celebrating spiritual diversity in Art & Culture

INVITE_FINAL_SYMPHONY_Page_1

 

Symphony is the second show in the Insight project, founded by Alena Kennedy and Libby Bloxham.  They  bring together artists of all kinds with a view to celebrating our various brands of humanity, and I’m delighted to be a part of it again. It’s a stunning show, full of colour and texture.

It’s at Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira Street Wollongong

OPENING FRIDAY 17 MARCH @ 6.30PM

SHOW RUNS 15-26 MARCH

WED-SUN, 10 -4

 

Apart from the exhibition itself, there is a weekend of workshops and performances planned:

Symphony program_Page_1

Symphony program_Page_2

I also contributed a Catalogue Essay for the show…

SYMPHONY:  an essay

… there are so many things that make us the same. We dance to music, we get wet in the rain, we laugh and we cry…

Narelle Thomas & Lorraine Brown, Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Association

 

Art is like breathing: as essential and as personal.  An artwork may be a celebration of beauty, a political statement, or created as a commission, but it remains my construction; my mark-making. Each of us sees through the    lens of our own conditioning.  A particularity of viewpoint is inevitable.

As someone born and raised in a Western culture it’s hard for me to conceive of art any other way, but individuality is not equally emphasised across cultures.  An Aboriginal artist may be more concerned with connection to Country or maintaining the currency of traditional stories for the benefit of community, rather than some gesture of individual expression. In both Korea and Japan an oft-quoted proverb is ‘The nail that sticks out will be hammered down.’ This hints at certain ideas about the ways we come together to create a society.

Symphony pushes back, not against individuality itself but against the idea that once my own oxygen mask is on I can relax. Actually, I can’t. We need to continually move towards each other. Scientific studies are belatedly showing what the sages and wisewomen have known all along: the more human connections we have, the healthier we are.[1] Further, those involved with actively doing something for someone else end up reaping the benefit. That twentieth century giant Albert Schweitzer talked of the great value of service to others, linking it directly with our own happiness.[2] Whatever our beliefs (or lack of them) may be, we can all recognise the magical nature of doing something – anything – as a cooperative venture. The project quickly becomes an entity greater than the sum of its parts.

Alena Kennedy and Libby Bloxham are the founding mothers of the Insight art project (of which Symphony is a part.)  They are long-time spiritual travelling companions, active for many years in community activities where creativity and intuition are valued.

They chose the title of this exhibition with care. The word originates from the Greek sumphonia,[3] meaning harmony – a sister concept to co-operation, with its implication of respect and recognition of the contribution of others. Everyone plays a part. Beautiful things arise.

The show is scheduled around Harmony Day, a time when cultural diversity in Australia is celebrated.[4] This in turn coincides with the United Nations International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination.[5]The importance of such a day in the current political climate is self-evident. March 21 is also significant in astronomical terms though: it’s the Autumn Equinox, a point in the year’s turning that is held as sacred for many faiths. It’s the time when day and night are of equal length and we start the descent into the winter months.  Traditionally there is gratitude for the harvest and recognition of the importance of maintaining balance.  It’s a reminder too of the delicate nature of things. The gods might be whispering: don’t take all this for granted…

It’s true that art-making most commonly has a solitary aspect to it, even if one is sharing a studio space with others. It demands something of you as a particular entity. For an artist, an artwork is a manifestation of their presence in, and interpretation of, the world. This is the case whether their work is photo-realistic in presentation – it really ‘looks like’ something – or, at the other end of the spectrum, totally pattern-based abstraction. Some art-viewers feel that they can only relate to something recognisably pictorial. Fair enough; it’s good to remember though that our lives are dominated by patterns and rhythms of all kinds, from the beating of our hearts to the route we take to work. The sun comes up every morning; the moon shows its face according to its own slow, cyclical dance.

Artists in this show have not been constrained to create works to some rigidly enforced theme. The whole point is that we can have different viewpoints on art or on life, but come together and learn from another’s experiences and vision.

Focussing on the particular can help us consider larger themes more effectively. Robert Reid’s painting The Olive Tree is a complex and nuanced arrangement of movement.  A complement to this is his poem that draws our imagination to (of all the tortured places on Earth) Aleppo. He considers an olive tree and the golden liquid it produces.  We find ourselves momentarily there, in the heat, standing on a hillside. It’s a poignant moment spent with that ancient city and its bitter sorrows.

Pain and hope also combine in Diane Goodman’s work, Emancipation, Cascades Female Factory, an archival inkjet print. Goodman’s work explores the 19th century Cascades Female Factory in Tasmania – a convict institution notorious for the cruelty of its conditions. Says the artist: “I feel a sense of empathy and unity with the diverse group of women who lived, worked and died there… women grasped any available opportunity to grow and nurture friendships, tell stories, sing and dance…”

While some artists focus on the particular, Shining Rainbow looks to the universal. Her painting The Love and the Infinite Space is a decade-long voyage to uncover what is waiting to be seen. It’s autobiographical, aspirational, unfinished and at the same time perfectly sufficient unto itself. Just like us.

Many artists in this show have created works that arise from an intense connection to the land. They acknowledge its sacred and precious nature. I’ll leave the last word to artist and teacher Maria Valentina Temple:

…we find ourselves in Nature: only then, in full knowledge of who we are, can we share ourselves with others and be of benefit to society and earth…

Moira Kirkwood

 

[1] Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860?pg=1

[2] Albert Schweitzer’s Leadership for Life http://aschweitzer.com/index.html

[3] Oxford living dictionaries https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/symphony

[4] Harmony Day http://www.harmony.gov.au/about/

[5] United Nations http://www.un.org/en/events/racialdiscriminationday/

International Women’s Day exhibition – ‘be bold for change’

 

It’s that time of year again…

It’s great to be exhibiting with this mighty group of women artists. The show is always varied and includes elders as well as up-and-comers. Men, non-women, and those who are undecided, all most welcome….

 

International Women’s Day

Exhibition

be bold for change

 

Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira St Wollongong

Opening Event: Friday 3 March @ 6pm

with performance by Femme Fatales

Show open Feb 22 till Mar 12

Wed-Sun 10 till 4

Thread II

This week we headed down to the beautiful Red Point Gallery at Port Kembla to  install our upcoming show. It’s always a marathon…you have to have things millimetrically right.

 

 

 

Our works are pretty diverse but the contrast works to our advantage I think…come and see what you think.

Thread II

Julie Brockenshire | Anne-Marie Hayes | Moira Kirkwood | Gail Wistow

Red Point Gallery, 100 Wentworth Street Port Kembla

Opening Event 

Saturday 19 November  2-4pm. The artists will talk about their work.

Free entry, refreshments provided, all welcome. The gallery is accessible.

Show runs Nov 16 – 27, Wed-Sun 10-4pm

Every day this  month I’ve strapped on my pedometer and been stepping out to raise money for Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

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I’ve been a little late promoting it, but I swear on a stack of holy books I’ve been walking every day!!

https://www.steptember.org.au/

Our team is ‘Goal Diggers One’ – search for our team and click on my name to donate. Please spread the word to support those who may never get to walk those famous 10,000 steps..