Archive for April 2012

Watercolours at Wollongong

We visited the James Kiwi Watercolour Prize this week at Wollongong City Gallery. This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the show, created in honour of the late James Kiwi who bequeathed money for this to occur. Because of the Anniversary, the show was widened to include artists nationally, rather than regionally.

It’s always a great show though and this year was no exception. The winner, deservedly, was Max Miller, another Olsen-generation practitioner whose works are held at AGNSW. His work, Chiaroscuro, was a spare scattering of finely wrought marine objects on a mid-brown, highly textured paper ground. He also incorporated fine pen drawing.


Max Miller with Chiaroscuro, 2012.


More images from Miller here.

Lara Seresin won the Local Artist prize with a work of Finke Gorge with a very restricted palette. This too was an interesting, and restrained work with some busy mark-making that drew me in.

I do think too many artists are (naturally enough) entranced with the medium, and insist on creating works which, while technically admirable, insist on slavishly describing the literally realistic. I think there is a lot of room for works of a more abstract, and perhaps grungey, nature. Still, well worth checking this one out.

John Firth-Smith an inspiration

I enjoyed a lush, shiny-wet  walk down through Trumper Park in the drizzle to Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery this week. It was a happy pilgrimage: John Firth-Smith’s current solo show did not disappoint. The mastery of this veteran was quietly apparent. Strong, dominant verticals and horizontals – his signature motifs – were present as expected. The variety of surface treatment though, and  bold calligraphic asides, act to break up any possibility of monotony or predictability.

John Firth-Smith, Prism II, 2009, oil on canvas, 9′ x 8′


John Firth-Smith, Trophy # 6, oil on canvas, 3′ x 2′

I love his heavily restricted palette too. Everything is  considered; lucid. His works are wonderfully satisfying to stay with, and the energy within them speaks of a young and vigorous man rather than someone 70-odd.

More wonderful images here. Thanks for the inspiration John,  it’s a sign of good art when you walk away inspired and stimulated.




Five ways of seeing – a human thing

The past week has been a blur, as I’ve been involved in the exhibition Five ways of seeing, at Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Camperdown with four of my besties.

The show was only up for  5 days total,  so the Bump in /Opening /  Bump out process was scorchingly rapid-fire.

It was a good experience though, with various positive comments made about our work. Some people really engaged…and what more could any artist ask?

I said a few words at the Opening about ‘art being a human endeavour.’ The audience is an essential ingredient in that meaning-making.  For those that came along,  I am truly grateful.

I made myself a canny purchase, too. Tracy Johnston’s work is crazily cheap – for now. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Flour sifter with broken handle, silkscreen and oil on canvas, 2012.