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.



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

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..



Under your skin: IAVA at Bulli presents ‘Slivers of Difference’

 An exhibition of art by four members of the Illawarra Association for the Visual Arts (IAVA): Liz Jeneid, Deborah Redwood, Mary Wingrave and Judy Bourke.



For the month of July, the upstairs Gallery at Beach Art Bulli is hosting those who’ve been journeying a while and intend further exploration. All four artists hold in common a reverence for the nature of things, as well as a hard-won confidence in their practice. There’s no whiff of calcification here though: each artwork is a record of lively engagement.

Deborah Redwood’s sculptures and installations are now nationally recognised. Earlier this year she was a Finalist in Cottesloe’s Sculpture by the Sea and is a regular in Sculpture at Scenic World and other major exhibitions around the country. Dedicated to imposing a new order onto post-industrial materials, her works range from playful to sober, with ecological and social justice concerns a frequent theme.

Black death references the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Modestly sized, it comprises a cylindrical section from a large drill spearing through the figure of a fish described in metal. Stressed wood is a wall-mounted piece of silky oak, bearing the wounds of cutting and sawing. The blades of sawing tools have been left in the cruel incisions and threaten the viewer’s space. Given a little more room to breathe, this piece could bring to mind a crucifixion image.

Other pieces in the show simply demonstrate her fascination with materials –the surface finish, size and shape. I prefer the pieces where rhythm is most prominent, for instance Nothing to say where a length of copper tubing creates a meandering line through the air, with each end terminating in a small flared bell. This is a visually satisfying and fun piece which might bring to mind the voices raised in the recent election hubbub.


Mary Wingrave’s works are incredibly alive. The artist cherishes all aspects of the natural environment, and her works reveal a deep desire to share and celebrate this with the viewer.

Autumn impressions comprises small-format monotype prints of firewheel blossoms (a favourite subject of Australian printmaker Margaret Preston’s) presented in a snug grid formation. The variety of surface treatment and the consideration given to colour and tonal rhythm is masterfully handled. Wingrave tells me she’s has been wary of colour for many years, but this exhibition demonstrates a colour sense that’s both sophisticated and restrained.

She’s included three larger still-lives in mixed media, full of the generous curves of pumpkins, bottles and leaves. There are also some encaustic works focussing on the form of the cicada. The surfaces are the colour of bees wax and reminiscent of both ancient scientific documentation and human flesh.


Judy Bourke’s art always strikes me as being the thing she does to survive: as natural and necessary as breathing. Consistently prolific, she works on bookmaking, textiles, printmaking, sculpture and drawing. I admire how after knowing her for 15 years, I still can’t always reliably pick her work.

For this show she’s included artist’s books of drawings of the NSW North Coast. Influenced by the style of the late Australian printmaker Bea Maddock, these are coastal descriptions using simplified forms in ink on paper, presented in a concertina format 5cm high and several metres long. These are beautifully observed and understated.

There are also small free-standing figures created from industrial packaging. The styrofoam shapes that originally protected electronic goods in transit have been carefully covered with hand-made Nepalese kenaf paper. The artist has worked this surface with multiple layers of coloured stamp imprints.

At first glance these figures may seem light-hearted, but there’s an underlying concern in Bourke’s practice with issues of waste. She’s keen to honour the natural resources utilized in industrial processes as well as the human labour that goes into each item, often invisible to the end-consumer. Considered in this light, the pieces, embellished with tiny parts gleaned from industrial discards and covered in the precious paper brought back from Nepal in the artist’s luggage, take on the aura of reliquaries.


Liz Jeneid travels widely and often. The pieces in this show are the fruits of a residency in the south of France at Peyriac-de-Mer, an area populated with lakes that for centuries produced salt as an economic mainstay for the village.

Despite the titles locating them geographically, Jeneid’s plein air works read as altogether out of time and place. The stronger of the two suites of work is a series of ten modestly sized square-format paintings on paper using watercolour and gesso.

The lakes are serene and still as a mirror, surrounded by warm-toned, simplified landforms and reflecting a quiet and empty sky. There is a delightful Japanese aesthetic at work here: the simplicity of the forms, the careful consideration of negative space and the delicacy of touch are classic Jeneid and go straight to something deep that we all too often overlook. Maybe it’s soul.

In a nod to straight description the gesso surface is scratched in places to indicate vegetation. The overall feeling though is that we are looking at somewhere that may well be the interior of Jeneid’s head more than some literal observation of place.

There’s a quiet confidence about this whole show. Go take a look and consider your time well spent.



Upstairs at Beach Art Gallery, 233 Princes Hwy, Bulli
Open: Tuesday – Friday 9.30am – 5pm & Sat 9.30am – 3pm
Contact: (02) 4285 4111

Opening Event Saturday 9 July @ 2pm.

Exhibition runs for the whole of July.



Drawing at Clifton School of Arts and exploring the spiritual at Dombarton


July is shaping up as a busy month. I’m delighted to be part of  Drawing the Linea showcase of drawing practices in the Illawarra.






I’m in good company: artists include Paulineke Polkamp, Jackie Cavallaro, Gillian Day, Alannah Dreise, Gabrielle Freer, Harry Gale, Lesley Goldacre, Karen Hook, Liz Jeneid, John Kennedy, Moira Kirkwood, Kathryn Orton, Hal Pratt, Nick Santoro, Lara Seresin, Sue Smalkowski, Julia Stepjanovic, Leonie Watson, Vyvian Wilson and Diana Wood Conroy.

Drawing the Line

Opening Event: Friday 8 July @ 6.30pm, to be opened by cartoonist David Rowe

Exhibition open 11 – 4, 8 July – 17 July 2016

Clifton School of Arts, 338 Lawrence Hargrave Drive Clifton


Then there’s Insight – exploring the spiritual in art, an exhibition running over a weekend that includes not only visual art but singing bowls workshops, Argentinian drumming, tai chi and walks through the beautiful landscape of Hillside Farm Dombarton.


Everyone involved with this exhibition is in some way expressing their spiritual selves through their artwork. The gallery space is a meditative and beautiful spot looking out over the valley. Artists include  Robert Reid, Sr. Veronica Chandler, Greer Taylor, Kate Stehr, Wendy Dening, Shining Rainbow, Liz Jeneid, Lorraine Allen, Mardijah Simpson, Rosa Daniela Diaz, Libby Bloxham, Alena Kennedy and myself.

Exhibition Opening: Friday 15th July 6 – 9pm

To be opened by Mitchell Reese

Exhibition open Sat & Sun 10 – 4



Saturday 16th July

10:30am: Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls performance with
Elizabeth Brandis. Bring mat, cushion & blanket.

11am– 12noon: Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls
workshop with Elizabeth Brandis. Bring mat,
cushion & blanket.

12noon– 1pm: Lunch (contribute a plate or
bring your own lunch if you are attending).

1pm– 2pm: Inspirational walk on Hillside Farm
(15mins easy to medium grade walk followed
by 30mins relaxing/quiet time on the hill).
Wear clothes &s hoes suitable for a bushwalk.

2pm– 3 or 4pm: Creative artmaking or writing
workshop: choice of writing; mandala drawing
or collage; or 3D sculpture construction.

Sunday 17th July
10am– 11am: Tai ChiWorkshop with Rusel Last

11:30am–12noon: Argentinian Drumming performance
by Illawarra’s OWN Heartbeats

12noon– 1pm: Lunch (contribute a plate or bring
your own lunch if you are attending).

1pm– 2pm: Argentinian Drumming workshop
with Barbara Malcolm from OWN

2pm– 3 or 4pm:This time is available for another
walk onHillside Farm and/or creative work in
art or writing.

All welcome, but if you’re thinking of coming along to a workshop please let us know. RSVP to me on 0400 374 362 or Alena Kennedy on

Upcoming exhibition at Port Kembla



YAY! We do love a show.

Liz Trujillo and myself are looking forward very much to showing together at Red Point Gallery. It’s a neat little (accessible) space and the Red Point Artists  are a dynamic group who run courses, workshops and exhibitions regularly. There is a courtyard full of artists’ studios adjacent to the Gallery space. Come on down!


…finding a way through…

Exhibition by Liz Trujillo & Moira Kirkwood

Red Point Gallery

100 Wentworth Street Port Kembla

8-10 April, 10am till 4pm

Opening Saturday 9 April @ 2pm  by artist Richard Claremont.

Refreshments Provided. All welcome.





Upcoming celebration of International Women’s Day


It’s that time again. International Women’s Day (does everyone else find that apostrophe problematic?) is almost upon us and it’s sad to think we still need it.

Here in the well-fed and relatively secure West, there are still problems and parity (equality in pay) is one of them, hence this year’s theme.

However the annual International Women’s Day Exhibition here in Wollongong is hardly laserbeam focussed on the 2016 theme. It is more of a celebration of creative endeavour. There is always a great variety of work shown by women from a broad spectrum of ages and stages.

International Women’s Day Exhibition

March 2-20

Project Contemporary Artspace

255 Keira Street Wollongong

Opening Event Friday 4 March @ 6pm

To be opened by Jenny Briscoe-Hough

Live performances TBA


…and Great they truly are.


Rembrandt van Rjin, 'Sarah waiting for Tobias'

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 -1669)  Sarah waiting for Tobias, 1647, oil on canvas, 81.3 x 68 cm


We trekked up to AGNSW for the second time to see The Greats – masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland. It’s this year’s summer blockbuster and well worth the repeat visit.

Works on show were from the 16th to late 19th century, including not only outstanding Scottish practitioners such as Raeburn but Titian, Botticelli and Velasquez.

My favourite, though, was always going to be Rembrandt. Sarah waiting for Tobias is  a moving and intimate painting, most likely based on the history subject of Sarah from the Old Testament, whose 7 husbands were each killed by a demon on their wedding night. She is portrayed  looking, it is thought, at the 8th (and ultimately successful)husband.

The intimate portrait of a young woman, probably Rembrandt’s mistress, looking out from her bed, is typical Rembrandt – marvellously but not meticulously described, fleshily mortal and full of character. I love her clunky, human hands. I love her tremulous face, which holds so many emotions.


John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925) Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, 1892, oil on canvas, 124 x 99.7 cm

The sexy star of the show, featured in so much of the promotional material, was the famous portrait of Lady Agnew by John Singer Sargent.

It was necessary to literally drag oneself away from this work, such was the compelling nature of the piece. What a babe!  And how wonderfully described. When you get up close to the work, the brushwork is actually quite loose and even the carefully worked face bears no trace of being overly laboured.

There were many brilliant works of art. The technical virtuosity was breathtaking and at the same time, inspiring. (I must get back to the studio. I must do better.)

Lastly though, check out the composition of this fabulous piece, really one of my favourites. Degas was well known for his unusual choice of perspective and compositional decisions.


Edgar Degas (French, 1834 – 1917) Diego Martelli, 1879, oil on canvas 110.4 x 99.8cm

This long commanding blue column on the right, with it’s ‘return’ along the back; the warm earth tones on the left side of the canvas answering. The mass of chattering angles on the objects on the bed, echoed by the angle of the figure and that wonderful, only-just-adequate seat. And lastly a blast of red/orange from the insides of the slippers. The whole thing is masterfully held together and yet the subject matter is so apparently prosaic. Genius.


In this liminal, pre-exhibition week, it’s births and deaths

It’s a strange, strange space you’re in, working up to the installation of a show. I’ve been doing it for 15 years now and it seems I’ll never get used to it.

I guess I am better than I used to be, but there is a disruption in the pit of my stomach and everything is amplified along my nerve pathways.


Industrial scape with pink stacks

Industrial scape with pink stacks, 2015, mixed media on paper, 80 x 90 cm, AUD $600 framed


What precisely am I anxious about?

It’s a cliche among art folk that it’s because you’re putting  a piece of your soul out there for the world to shrug at.  I’m not so sure. Isn’t it more about the exposure of your decisions; your judgements? You’re only exhibiting the work you consider fully resolved, i.e. finished. Will your audience agree?

I look at art all the time and it’s a constant judgement thing. It’s not that you judge the artist personally, but you are considering the decisions they’ve made about colour, values, composition. Those who are interested enough will be doing the same to me. In some weird way I want that; but at the same time I’m horrified by the thought.



In the green night, 2016, 15 x 28cm, mixed media on paper, AUD $190

In this week of the great loss of David Bowie, I just need to proceed, in his honour if I can’t manage anything else. What a shining example of unapologetic originality. Thanks David… I’ll be imagining you’re coming along to the show. That would be great.






SIDE BY SIDE II – new works by Martin Ison & Moira Kirkwood





It’s taken 5 years, but at last the two of us are exhibiting again to show our contemporary art pieces. We’re getting excited about it now…there’s nothing like having a body of work up on the wall to see, all together. It provides a different perspective  that way.

There will be no Opening Event as such but we’ll be making (leaf) tea and (plunger) coffee along with sweet treats during the whole 5 days of the show. Drop in and say hi!


The divine order

The divine order, 2015, fineliner pen on paper, 39 x 27cm, AUD $300 framed

Martin’s work couldn’t be more different from mine in approach, generally comprising beautifully observed  figures drawn with fineliner permanent markers. He will be showing some delightful nudes as well as new works in his ongoing ‘Renaissance Rip-offs’ series. These are works not necessarily from the Renaissance at all, but well known and recognised masterworks from any century which are appropriated for his own fell purposes.


Structures for a hot climate

Structures for a hot climate, 2014, acrylic & collage on canvas, AUD $400 framed

By contrast, my pieces are intuitive and quasi-figurative. They often seem to contain structures of some kind and are frequently reminiscent of some sort of city or a map of a place. They suggest rather than describe.


“Thread”: upcoming group show at The Depot Gallery, Danks St Waterloo



We’ve been looking forward to this all year ! Finally it’s arrived…we bump in tomorrow.

Danks Street is a lovely complex: wheelchair accessible and always with something good to see. Myself along with friends Pamela King, Gail Wistow, Liz Trujillo, Julie Brockenshire and Anne-Marie Hayes have been hard at it and I reckon the result will be worth checking out.

THREAD….6 artists from out of town

The Depot Gallery, 2 Danks Street Waterloo

Opening Event Saturday Dec 5 @ 3pm

To be opened by Auguste Blackman. Refreshments provided; all welcome.

Show runs Dec 1 – 12. Gallery hours Tues – Sat 11 till 6pm