Monday, October 20, 2014

Direction Now

Launching tomorrow (from 6pm, Tuesday 21 October) is the last major exhibition for 2014 - Direction Now. All the works are on the wall and the gallery spaces are transformed again with the new works. This is a show full of colour, composition and a sense of visual language. Abstraction is a special form of art, in which the exploration of visual cues is set loose from any direct representation of 'things'. Meaning is more firmly transferred to the viewer, where interpretation is open to translation of feeling and the sheer reality of the painted surface and materials.

Direction Now features the work of some of Australia's finest abstract artists. We are excited to have this group, drawn from right across the nation, presenting their art across our three main gallery spaces. The artist on show are Mostyn Bramley-Moore, Terri Brooks, Michael Cusack,Steven Harvey, Anton Hart, Anthony T O’Carroll, Claire Primrose, Peter Sharp, Ann Thomson

Direction Now has arrived in Victoria from its most recent showing at Glasshouse Gallery in Port Macquarie. The philosophy of the show is best expressed by the group itself:

Currently, the visual art community is producing work in all forms, from performance art to traditional realism. Research is diverse. Yet abstraction is perhaps the least recognized and understood painting form, particularly by a public that in the 1960s understood it more due to curator and critical support. Following in the tradition of ‘Direction 1’, the first group exhibition in Australia to legitimise abstraction in 1956, Direction Now brings together a group of ten artists for whom abstraction is their chosen visual language. The show was initiated out of respect for each other’s work and a quest for recognition that abstraction has a valid, vibrant and lively existence in Australia. 

The exhibiting artists have developed a distinctive personal rather than ‘movement’ based visual language. Abstraction has many facets from art informal, process painting, the hard edge and minimalism. In Direction Now notions of technique, process, and reoccurring themes linked to the artist’s individual experiences and immediate environment such as identity and place are presented. Above all Direction Now is an exhibition celebrating painting with artists using elements of abstraction such as the lyrical, gesture, texture and colour field to convey an individual expression.

The exhibition launches tomorrow and will run through until 17 December. We've got public programming to run alongside the event, and stay tuned for artist interviews in our ongoing 'In Conversation' series here on the blog.

Friday, October 10, 2014

In Conversation: Laura Woodward

Laura Woodward is an artist with a work ethic that'll exhaust you just by reading about it. Designing and producing large-scale kinetic sculptures, she also makes video art, produces music video clips, teaches at several tertiary institutions simultaneously, runs an artist studio facility in North Melbourne, co-owns and manages a fabrication and design business with her partner and gets commissioned to make public sculpture in places like Horsham and Craigeeburn. And to top it off, she just completed her PhD in which her thesis was nominated for a Vice-Chancellor award! Somehow we managed to pin her down for a few moments and interview her in order to get some more background into the ideas feeding her art practice.

Dr Laura at work
THG: Why is it important that your artwork moves?

Laura Woodward: For a long time I've been interested in creating works that are accessible and engaging; that might have an immediate, non-intellectual connection with a viewer. I think that's perhaps where the first kinetic works I made came from. When something moves, we respond. More recently I've started to consider this as an empathic response, at a basic level. The idea that our bodies might try to imagine ourselves into something that is so very different from us is fascinating.

The other factor in making kinetic works is the way in which they develop in the studio. Working through such systems creates a dynamic between artist, material and artwork that is quite non-hierarchical; where it often feels as if the work is developing through the materials, with my hands as tools for it to do so. The functionality required in each material and component really brings this dynamic to the fore. It's both frustrating and exciting.

Laura Woodward's The Return in Composing Common Worlds
THG: That non-hierarchy aspect is very interesting. I know you're quite interested in New Materialism, is this a connection to that way of thinking?

Laura Woodward: There are definitely correlations between my experiences with these works in the studio and New Materialism. New Materialism considers the ways in which matter (of which humans are a part) materialises - in other words, it explores the way things come into being, their ontologies. In seeing matter as active and as having agency, New Materialist considerations do away with the idea that the human has hierarchical control over matter - a particularly 'humanist' perspective. Instead, the human - the artist - is one agent amongst many through which things - in this case artworks - emerge into being.

THG: There's perhaps a connection here with how you describe your very obviously machinic, highly engineered sculptures as inspiring empathy and as being 'introverted'. Can you explain how a sculpture made of steel and silicon and motors can be 'introverted'?

The idea of 'introversion' in the work actually came to me when I was watching one of my pieces "Shallows" in the gallery. I had a distinct feeling that this piece had made itself - that I hadn't had much at all to do with it. I was watching it move in its own particular way and the thought occurred that it was introverted: driven in its manifestation and in its ongoing functioning by its own internally derived logic. Since then I've explored the idea by trying to set up scenarios in the studio where each work's internal logic - it's introversion - can have most potency and agency (and it was through this kind of thinking that I came to discover New Materialism as a discourse that resonated with these experiences).

THG: Another aspect I find intriguing about your overall working ethic and approach - your ability to make art, run an artists studio, co-run a fabrication business and lecture at multiple tertiary institutions. Are you really just one very complex self-organising introverted organic sculpture yourself?

Laura Woodward: Ha - I hadn't thought of it like that before! I guess it makes sense that the kind of thinking that applies to juggling multiple commitments also underscores the juggling of multiple factors at play as a system-based kinetic work emerges.

THG: There's been a new development in your work with video based elements entering your production. What's driving this aspect of your work?

In some respects it was a pragmatic decision to make some works that would be better suited to exhibition contexts where I'm not close at hand to deal with technical challenges that arise. But more so there are things that can be explored through video more expansively when they're not limited by the temporal qualities of certain materials. For example, the little silicone vessels in the work "Five" in this show are quite fragile; as video they can expand and contract many more times than the actual vessels would be able to. So the video then allows other considerations and ideas to come into play, because it circumvents the temporal to a certain extent.

Close up of Laura's sculpture, Five
THG: So - what's next on the horizon?

Laura Woodward: Five is heading up to a group show 'In Motion' at Airspace in Sydney next month. The show has drawn together artists who engage with motion in some way within their practice.

My next solo show is at Ararat Regional Gallery in July next year. It will be a brand new work that responds to both the surrounding landscapes and the gallery's textile art specialisation: it will, if all goes well, be a large amorphous form that combines hundreds of little components that undulate and weave. It's particularly exciting as I just received a grant to develop it which will allow it to be as expansive as I originally envisioned. As happened with my work The Return in 'Composing Common Worlds' I'm planning to develop this new work so that it really pushes beyond the systems that already exist in my sculptures. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Password is Courage

Town Hall Gallery is very pleased to present an exhibition of artwork devoted to the idea of resilience and courage in the face of adversity, as part of Mental Health Week. The Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall is graced with 30 original artworks and 30 poster versions of those works by community artists from Boroondara. We launched the show yesterday to a very enthusiastic crowd and much merriment. City of Boroondara Mayor Cr Coral Ross officially opened the exhibition to a thronging mass of artists and art lovers.

Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage the public about mental health through a national awareness campaign. Led by CROP (Community Recreation Outreach Project) Coordinator, Laurel Gorman, this exhibition brings together the artistic talents of our community in recognition of issues around mental health and celebrating a creative resilience through art.

Limited edition runs of the posters sell for $10 and original artworks are for sale for very reasonable prices. The exhibition runs until 1 November, so come on down and support a worthy cause and celebrate some terrific local Boroondara talents.

Just some of the artists and their work on show (photos courtesy of Amanda Florence)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

In Conversation: David Glyn Davies

The launch of David Glyn Davies' solo exhibition Overgrown was the largest opening event so far at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall. The hustle and bustle of the thronging crowds made for a warm and exciting atmosphere. The general feeling for the art and, most especially for the artist himself, was one of quite intense goodwill. Having spent the last couple of years away from the full-time rigour of art practice to care for his wife, David has returned with a resounding declaration of his talents and his capability as a significant artist (and his wife has returned to full health as well!). We put some questions to David about his work, and he kindly took the time to give us an insight.

A capacity crowd at the opening
THG: What pathway has led you to your career in art?

David Glyn Davies: I knew I wanted to be an artist from the age of eleven. My parents took the family on a trip to Paris and during the trip we went to the Louvre. I saw Theodore Gericult’s ‘Raft of the Medusa’ for the first time and was taken over completely by the size of it. I announced to my parents and brothers that I was going to be an artist. I can remember them laughing. Forty six-years later, I’m still at it and the ‘Raft of the Medusa’ is till my favourite painting.

THG: How would you describe your work, what are the major themes present?

David Glyn Davies: I don’t believe artwork should ever remain static in its content or development. I tend to work on one or two thematic ideas at the same time. The major theme of the paintings and statement exhibited on the Community Wall was developed to draw attention to the many beautiful buildings (religious and secular), in Melbourne’s suburbs that have been demolished for redevelopment. All of my thematic ideas start with stories and poetry. I pick and choose from these before working in my sketchbooks. I am drawn instinctively towards subjects that are rich in subject matter and imagery.

THG: How do you use the materials that you use to express these themes?

David Glyn Davies: I use a combination of digital media and traditional painting techniques. I recently changed from using oil paints to raw pigments. I have a slab of polished marble in my studio upon which I grind the colours. I find that pigments give me a far greater range of tone, texture, translucency and luminosity than oil paint. I tend to work in layers, which are sealed at various times during the process. It’s a bit like physical Photoshop (that uses transparent layers in the same way). This technique of painting is not new.  The Ancient Etruscans painted this way in their tombs three thousand years ago. There’s nothing new under the sun! I saw these beautiful works of art on a trip to Italy (Tuscany) thirty years ago and have been painting the same way ever since.

THG: What is your work practice like, do you work from a studio or from home?

David Glyn Davies: For the past thirteen years I have worked from a studio. The studio is well laid out in two parts; one side for my digital art and printing and the other for writing, painting and drawing. I don’t like working in mess so I tend to keep the studio tidy. I keep regular hours.

THG: What do like best about what you do?

David Glyn Davies: The best part of what I do is the moment when an artistic idea comes into being. I am influenced artistically from so many different sources. Part of the challenge of bringing an artistic idea to fruition is to find an aesthetic that is mine while at the same time acknowledging the artistic and political history from which it sprang.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In Conversation: Cameron Robbins

Cameron Robbins is a conjurer of natural forces, a corraller of wind and waves. Working predominantly with large kinetic sculptures he works in collaboration with forces generated by the weather, the environment and motored machines. For Composing Common Worlds we were excited to exhibit some of Cameron's photography and a very subtle, but weighty, new sculptural work. A fortnight ago, Cameron also conducted our very first Kids Drawing Session in the foyer of the Arts Centre and guided a group of eager young artists in the production of two large scale abstract drawings. We recently talked to Cameron about his work, his music and his engagement with the forces of nature, looking to unpack some of the driving energy of his own creative will.

Cameron Robbins talking about his work with the audience on opening night
THG: We’re excited to have a series of your photographs in Composing Common Worlds, from your Mt Jim project. I enjoy describing them to visitors as an integration of performance, drawing and photography, and I can see people trying to mentally retrace your pathways in the images as I talk about their making. You’re well-known for building kinetic sculptures that create drawings but in this instance it feels like you took more control of the process and you allowed your body to be the driving mechanism of the work’s creation. What motivated you to put your own body, invisible as it is, more at the heart of this series?

Cameron Robbins: Walking and mapping with the body in motion are historical subjects in art. In fact, the Older Volcanic high-plains area of “Mt Jim” (elevation 1818m) is also home to the Falls Creek Artists Camp, which I have participated in for the last 10 years and which evolved from bushwalking and camping with other artists. So this work has grown out of both an international and local history of artists camping and walking.

My work often involves a technical approach to bring out images or marks from otherwise invisible forces/energy. The ideas I develop have their own technical needs. For instance, the wind drawing machines grew out of simple experimentation and got more complex, rotary, engineered; so I had to learn some skills to express these ideas.

‘Mapping’ is a familiar word in art, but I really am doing that at Mt Jim. I wanted to try and visualise the shape of this very localised special magnetic force on a remote rock outcrop. So I had to think of a way to do it, how to actually outline this force field, make a drawing of it, maybe a sculpture. How could I walk 3 hours into the mountain in a backpack, camp for 3 nights, and come away with something to show?

I realised that a way I could draw this field was to begin making outlines by day using the compass, and with a small lightbulb trace them out at night during long exposure photographs. I developed a system using more or less lines to express intensity of the field.

I like the idea of experiencing this place with mind and body. Despite there being little or no scientific basis for the idea of geomagnetic–field influence on the person, I couldn’t help wondering if something strange could be felt, sleeping up there. What’s the Indigenous take on the place?  Even the name has been lost, replaced with this off-hand and ridiculous nickname. Every trail we walk is part of the most ancient map.

Cameron Robbins, Mt Jim Anomaly Loop 1 (2012), (c) Courtesy of the artist.
THG: Well, speaking of navigating trails and invisible forces, you have a fully functioning compass setup in the gallery. It activates the space in a very intriguing way, making it somehow energised by articulating a force not normally acknowledged in galleries. Can you tell us about the construction of this sculpture, with its gorgeous rock support and sextant/oil rig looking construction on top?

Cameron Robbins: The experience up on the magnetic mountain stirred my enquiries into geo-magnetism. For some time I've been looking to present a geomagnetic piece in a show. I really like the way the compass links to the greater earth outside the galley; it has always awed me to think of the whole earth, the molten iron core, south and north poles, when you look at even the tiniest compass or a cork and needle in a bowl of water. It's a fantastic reminder of scale: the earth and a person.

On Mt Jim I used a compass to map out the magnetic anomaly. I noticed that on particularly strong field areas there, if I lifted the compass vertically the needle would turn right around, indicating that the fields are twisting in vertical planes. I feel a lot more work could be done up there.

It occurred to me that using strong magnets and a very low friction bearing and nice balance, I might be able to create a large scale sculptural compass. So I used non-magnetic materials - brass, tungsten, glass, to make a sculptural instrument which relates to landscape. Magnets, iron and iron filings provide the motive force.

It's very important to have the presence of basalt in my piece.  It is that material that binds the work together, the photographs and the sculpture, the locality and the physicality of the site. The whole volcanic outcrop at Mt Jim is basalt, most likely with the presence of magnetite creating the anomaly. This stone in the exhibition is from a different region, and from much younger lava flows to the near north of Melbourne, and was collected from a marginal site on the stonemason's land.
Cameron Robbins, Outcrop (2014), photo by Jim Lee Photo
THG: Can you tell us a bit about your working methods? You often make these wild and complicated machines for your sculptures that ultimately produce drawings. What led you to making these and how do you experiment with them in the studio with a view to their on-location positioning?

Cameron Robbins: Actually I started working with boats to make abstract 'automatic' drawings in 1990. I recorded their responses to waves, wind and tides by directing them to draw on the walls of the boatshed via simple devices of wires, weights, and pulleys. 

I was reading about Benoît Mandelbrot, the mathematician who developed fractals and chaos theory. The variations in natural energies and processes that he was describing struck me as an analogue to art-making: the way nature takes an energy and kind of riffs on it, developing endless variations a bit like a jazz improvisation. 

I began to work on a series of rotary wind powered drawing machines - which I am still working on and find endlessly exciting - that could draw something like a planetary orbit, complete with non- repeating cycles and the capacity for flexibility within my parameters; skeins of lines relating to the Poincaré maps of chaos theory. The drawings really interested me; I had found a way of working with the world that reflected my observations and was my own thing. For me it also offered a nice side step over vexing issues like self-consciousness in art making.

Over many years I have worked on methods to create devices in the studio and test, using electric motors and fans, for interesting motion and reliability, before taking them out environmental energy sites - including galleries, ocean and mountains.

THG: You mentioned jazz improvisation, which helps me segue into a your audio instrumentality. You’re a musician and on occasion you’ve incorporated your music with your art - the audio with the visual. How do you see that relationship playing out for you, are these things intimately entwined or is there a division in your mind?

Cameron Robbins: In the last few years I have very consciously tried to bring the worlds of art and music together, creating improvised performances using the sounds of drawing machines together with bass clarinet and other musicians/sound artists. Around 1998 I started making really musical artworks, such as the pipe organ works connected to bonfire steam generators, ocean waves, blowholes, and waterfalls.

From the age of 15 I studied classical music formally at High School and jazz at home, with my dad on piano teaching me how to improvise and play by ear. So especially older swing and New Orleans jazz has a place in my heart and soul. I have a professional life as a musician on clarinet - I play a weekly gig with some great musicians.

It was very separate for a long time, because it often felt awkward playing in art circles because of the different expectations of music. The traditions of jazz can be quite demanding and sort of conservative too, and I had difficulties making it work with art. It feels like a very different space, working with old jazz tunes, or making art with wind machines and waves in the landscape. I hope one day to make something that brings these more together. It must have some relevance or currency when you think about it - a person doing both these activities here and now, a cultural occurrence of this time and place.

THG: You’re about to head off to Japan very soon. What are you going to see and do over there? Visiting some interesting geography?

Cameron Robbins: I'm in volcanic Japan looking into geothermal steam vents as a potential driving force for a drawing machine or art thing. There is a residency program for artists here in Beppu, the project called "Mixed Bathing World"! Beppu is on the island of Kyushu in the western end of the archipelago, the same island which is home to Nagasaki. This town is the second most geothermally active place on the planet - pouring out of the earth is 100 million litres of hot water a day, and steam vents everywhere.

I applied for the residency but got knocked back, but contacted them again and found there is the Platform 5 project you can apply for, a studio residence you can book for any time period.  Apparently the steam vents are powerful, fast and very hot of course - so I will see how it could be approached. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

In Conversation: Juan Ford

In a recent unofficial poll on the social media page of a well-known Australian art critic, the answer to who is Australia's best realist painter threw up the name of Juan Ford from a multitude of respondents. Juan's self-portrait was featured on the front cover of the Archibald Prize catalogue this year and his work is driving an increased fever of interest from overseas collectors - as well as major arts institutions and private collectors in Australia. 

Beyond the spectacular nature of his imagery, and the sheer mastery of his technique, Juan's artwork grapples with some of our contemporary culture's most pressing issues and concerns. There is a philosophical weight to his work lurking below the surface beauty that offers serious contemplation to the curious mind. Taking time out from his intense studio activities, Juan discusses the ideas in his art, his working processes and mountain biking as inspiration.

Juan Ford with his sculpture The Synesthetic (2014)

THG: What seems to strike most of our visitors is the incredible realism of your painted images. A significant number of people believe they are photographs at first and you can hear them audibly exclaim ‘oh wow - look David, it’s actually a painting!’. What’s behind your efforts to present your images with such verisimilitude?

Juan Ford: An obsessive, perfectionist personality? I only apply that aspect of my being to my work, and let real life to be free from such impositions. I also just want the experience of looking at a a painting to be as extraordinary as I can make it. It's my gift to the viewer.

THG: That’s an under-represented idea I think, in art. That really at the core, the artist is actively wanting to connect to the viewer. There’s a genuine joy in that. In Composing Common Worlds We have three paintings of yours that depict different native plants wrapped up in red and white striped fragile tape. They are potent images full of ideas about the way we treat our environment, a mixture of consumer-driven destruction and culturally-driven protection. But when sitting with the work for some time they end up feeling more like portraits than landscapes or still-lifes. Do you think the character of the artist finds itself represented or infused in the things they make or the images they produce?

Juan Ford: I do intentionally make the paintings portrait-like, and they do observe some of the characteristics of portraiture. In fact they're very self-consciously a mash up of the 3 most uncool aspects of the 'Australian art canon' (whatever that is exactly, I'm still trying to work it out). These three aspects being no-go zones for contemporary art practice: Figuration, botanical illustration & landscape. Mash them together and you have something new.

Juan Ford, Entwine & Implode (2012), oil on linen (c) Courtesy of the artist
Naturally the paintings I make are a reflection of my personal being somehow, but they're not really a portraits in and standard portrait format. I prefer to think of them as standing in for the human figure more generally. However the paintings do reflect my views on where we stand in our ecology, how we relate to 'nature', and ask questions about whether there really is any difference between what we deem 'natural' and 'human'. Personally I think this destination exists entirely in our heads, but we act out as if were not the case, with serious ramifications.

THG: We’re excited to have a sculpture of yours in the show too. It’s one of the most popular pieces with people drawn to immediately and responding quite audibly. You’ve shown some terrific sculptures of late in Bendigo, Melbourne, Langwarrin and Fitzroy, in various galleries - how do you see the relationship of your sculptural work to your more widely-known painting practice?

Juan Ford: The sculptural work I've been making over the past 3 years is the result of a long-standing interest in sculpture and installation, and the fact that I just like to build things. I was doing so much painting, all day almost every day, that it all reached a tipping point. I had to dive and break the mould that was forming around my practice. In doing so, it just washed over my practice, like a king tide, changing everything and leaving behind interesting new bits.
So it began as an imperative, to explore other creative shores; to keep my mind and practice active and unpredictable. I loathe predictability in my art; if it doesn't surprise me, how can I expect it to bewilder a viewer? 

Juan Ford, The Synesthetic (2014) (detail)

Since then, constant application of installation and sculptural media to various projects has generated a force that now moves as if by its own volition. I often reflect on how my art works are the distilled results of thought, will, and bodily interaction with a medium. The medium itself is part of the thought process. I'm trying to say that the whole artistic process for me involves thinking beyond mental confines, thinking with the body, through time, with the medium, all together at once. This is why I don't exactly know what I've done until well after the fact, when I can consider it all in a more detached manner. 
So when I change the medium, the process on thinking through a mind/body/medium interaction is altered. Inevitably I all arrive at different results. I think that if my sculptural work were some simulacrum of my paintings, that would involve stylisation, it'd be somehow dishonest.

So while the resulting sculptural artwork is unpredictable, it is arrived at through a similar process to that which generates the paintings. It shares common concerns with my painting, and hopefully they subtly emanate in all the work, in spite of their physical/visual difference.

THG: Your work clearly engages with nature as a subject, and often builds a tension between a wilderness of natural growth and an imposed cultural control/influence. I’m thinking of plants wrapped up in tape or covered in paint, broken up trees screwed back together. How do you engage with nature and the wilderness? Is it through source material like books and film, or do you get out of the city to be in the wilderness, or do you find the wilderness within the urban context?

Juan Ford: I try to interact with wilderness directly, on a weekly basis. I go mountain biking in the many spots around me and beyond, and have been doing so in one form or another since I was in my early teens. It started off as simply riding a bmx through bush trails with mates when I was young, having no idea that we were a preempting a whole coming subculture. Now I ride on slim windy bush trails, to experience nature and feel my being in a completely different way.

I look forward to being hypoxic at the top of a climb, to speeding through sections on the very edge of my ability to concentrate, to just survive in the experience. Sometimes it begets thoughts of art, but most of the time I'm unable to think of anything beyond what I'm immediately doing. This is really important to art making.

While I have always interacted with wilderness, throughout riding, camping, hiking, bushwalking, it took over a decade to figure out just how to incorporate it into art, without being clichéd. I tried in art school, and it just didn't work. I just needed to stop trying and just be. Then it came.

I live on the outskirts of the city, near the Yarra, in bushy surrounds. I find nature here. I often go well beyond the city and of course find nature there. I can now read the paper, have a conversation, or go to a hardware store; I find nature there also. We are a product of natural forces, and even though we try to delineate between us and wilderness, there is no difference. How we affect it affects us; in this sense there is no 'it' or 'us'. We can choose to poison, or augment our collective selves accordingly. And we do.

In reading, I've been influenced by Arne Naess' principles of Deep Ecology. He was a true pioneer, and now more relevant than ever.

Juan Ford, Rock'n'Roll (2012)
THG: Your paintings must take you an awful lot of time to complete. Get up close to your work and you can really see the care and diligence in the most minute of detail - insect infestation on a single leaf on a tree, the way light passes through opaque plastic tape and reflects off its rumpled edges. There’s a level of precision evident in your work that’s not easily achieved by putting a liquid substance onto a surface with a hairy implement. You’ve clearly got a strong work ethic and a focused studio practice, so how do you discipline yourself to maintain the attention you need to make your work?

Juan Ford: Before I began to study art formally, I was taking a break from an electronic engineering degree. I have a techy brain, but hated the way it was being fashioned into a small component in a large machine. Creativity was crushed in this field, which is a shame. That said, I learnt a lot, and was subjected to a brutal work and study load. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Kids Are All Right

As part of our public programming for Composing Common Worlds we ran our very first Kids' Drawing Session on Saturday. Artist Cameron Robbins was our instructor and conducted the session with a mix of controlled chaos and artistic guidance. The session was terrific fun, with lots of running about, scrambling across giant pieces of paper, spritzing the air like rain and relishing in the joy of the unabashed energy that comes with kids let loose with pencils and pens.


It was the first sunny day of spring so it was extra nice to see a cohort of young artists join us for Cameron's session. Working in a fashion similar to Cameron's own art creation, the kids were provided with a series of drawing and erasing implements to build up layers and layers of scribbles and scratches and dots and lines. The resulting large scale images are really great drawings and we'll be looking to find a place to put them up for all to see in the coming days.


Encouraged to shed inhibitions, along with their shoes and socks, the kids moved freely around the paper and over the landscape of their efforts. Cameron guided them to work on particular sections, make star shapes and to think about mark-making without worrying about representation. Perhaps following the idea of Picasso, "It took me 4 years to paint Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child", the freedom that comes with a child's energy is like a vortex of its own. Cameron guided the corralling of that energy like a whirlpool or magnetic force. 

Stay tuned for the next iteration, it's certainly something we'll be re-staging as part of the public programming that we run alongside our exhibition schedule. Our sincere thanks go to Cameron Robbins for taking the time to plan out and run the session too. Little do they know, but these youngsters have just made a large-scale collaborative drawing with one of Australia's most intriguing artists!