Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Conversation: Kristin McIver

Kristin McIver is an Australian artist based in Brooklyn NY, whose practice includes sculpture, painting and installation. Utilising materials such as neon and acrylic, Kristin's works explore the themes of desire and aspiration prevalent in our hyper-consumer culture. Through her work, the artist aims to break down the illusions of commodity aesthetics. Kristin is represented by Royale Projects (USA), James Makin Gallery (Victoria, Australia) and Liverpool Street Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Her work is held in private collections in Victoria, New South Wales, Perth, Singapore and the UK.

Thought Piece (See something you like?) (2013)
neon, steel, concrete, motion sensors, vinyl, neurons, electrical impulses
(c) Courtesy of the artist and James Makin Gallery. 

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. I originally studied and worked in graphic design, which probably explains my interest in typography, language and advertising's seductive devices. I recently moved to New York, where I am constantly inspired by the city, its people and its incredibly creative culture.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
I primarily use language as a material. This could take the form of neon, vinyl, paint, digital prints and more. I try not to limit myself to any particular medium, instead allowing the concept to dictate what form the artwork will take. Recently I incorporate objects surrounding the artwork as media within the work. For example, "View Piece" lists its materials as Neon, steel, acrylic and ocean views. Or Sitting Piece, which lists its materials as Neon, chair, viewer.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
My favourite word is LOVE. It refers to the most intimate of human emotions, a connection between two people. Recently however, its emotional currency has become somewhat dissipated, referring to objects, images and material possessions. "I Love those shoes", "I Love the way he does that". And more recently on social media comments of approval, simply "Love!".

 Installation view of Thought Piece (2013) and False Hope (2010),
Town Hall Gallery (June 2014)
(c) Courtesy of the artist and James Makin Gallery.

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why? 
John Baldessari. I love the humour he demonstrates in his work, and how he plays with accepted notions of representation.

What inspires you?
The language and imagery of advertising inspires me, as its creators are incessantly searching for new devices to tap into personal emotions and induce desire in consumers. Through their manufacturing of ideals, advertisers influence the culture around them by proposing how consumers could/should achieve the "perfect life". This concept is very utopian.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
I often listen to music. Hip hop, roots reggae, jazz, soul or electronic music.

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work?
I hope they will think about how they engage with the world, and also how they represent themselves to the world - in real life and online. Through the works I aim to encourage in the viewer a perception of the process of seduction. The viewer may initially be attracted to the neon lights or materials, but on closer inspection perhaps they will become aware of the idealistic paradoxes produced by the word play and materials

Where can people find out more about your work?
My website is www.kristinmciver.com

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
I am doing a residency as part of the Vancouver Biennale in September, where I have been invited to create an artwork for a public space in response to the city. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
Believe in yourself.

Detail from Thought Piece (See something you like?) (2013
neon, steel, concrete, motion sensors, vinyl, neurons, electrical impulses
(c) Courtesy of the artist and James Makin Gallery. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In Conversation: Meg Hitchcock

Meg Hitchcock is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Vermont, and lived in California for over 20 years. She received her BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, and studied classical painting in Florence, Italy. Her work with sacred texts is a culmination of her lifelong interest in religion, literature, and psychology. Hitchcock's work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Berlin, and reviewed in Art in America, ArtCritical, The New Criterion, Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, and The Daily Beast.

Bliss (2012) Letters cut from the Koran, 35.56 x 27.94 cm (43.18 x 35.56 cm framed),
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I’m from Vermont. I moved to California when I was 20, and that was my home base for over 20 years, so I consider myself bicoastal. I now live in New York City.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
My work is an examination of the human condition. In particular, I explore the universal belief in God, and the consequences of that belief. I work with sacred texts, paper, and glue.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
I don’t have a favorite word, but I do have a favorite letter: a lower-case 'm'. I like that it’s fat, blocky but round, and has not one but two humps. I also like the roundness of a capital O, so my favorite word could be “Om”, just for its appearance on the page.

Installation view of Meg Hitchcock's artworks in Re-writing the Image. 
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist.

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
I’d like to collaborate with my husband, Kurt Steger, who is a sculptor. We plan to do this some day. I love how he thinks about the world, and how we work together on shared projects.

What inspires you?
Going to the Met is always inspiring. In general, looking at art, reading, and listening to music inspires me.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
My best work is done in silence. However, sometimes the tedium gets to me and I need a distraction, so I’ll either listen to classical music or NPR. I can only do this when I’m working on a very repetitive passage in my text piece.

Detail from Hymn to White Tara (2012) Letters cut from the Koran,
35.56 x 27.94 cm (43.18 x 35.56 cm framed)
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist. 

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work? 
Rather than being swept up in the literal interpretation of a specific text, I’d like the viewer to understand religion as a collection of sacred writings that allude to something ineffable. The word of God is ultimately written in the heart, and any attempt to express it will ultimately be an approximation of a deeper experience. I’d also be happy if someone just thinks my work is sick.

Where can people find out more about your work?
On my website: http://www.meghitchcock.com/ and blog: http://meghitchcock.blogspot.com.au/

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
In September I have a solo show in Washington, DC at Randall Scott Gallery, and will also be participating in a large museum show which I’m not yet allowed to talk about. I have several other group shows in the works.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
My advice is for artists and non-artists alike: Find the subject that’s closest to your heart, and pour everything you’ve got into it. Then do nice things for other people, and you’re all set for having a good life.

Om Tat Sat (2013) Letters cut from the Bible, 35.56 x 27.94 cm (43.18 x 35.56 cm framed)
(c) Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A fragmented whole

Another terrific Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall launch kicked off with much excitement on Saturday. Lyn Guy's exhibition 'Fragmented' was very well attended with audience members keen to get up close for a more detailed inspection of the fine craftmanship of her technique. It was also another fine day for art sales in the gallery, with Lyn's work being snapped up by those wanting a more permanent connection to the works.


We've been fielding lots of enquiries about how the artworks are produced and Lyn has been kind enough to give us an insight into her technique. The delicate and carefully composed textile images are created by adhering dozens and dozens of handcut silk fragments to a fabric backing support. A clear filament is then free-machine embroidered right across the image. Lyn also hand-dyes the silks that are grey in colour and makes all her own frames. Incredible attention to detail and impressive powers of concentration, couple with a gift for colour and composition.




'Fragmented' is a body of work inspired by the architecture of Spain and the mosaics of Antoni Gaudi, focused on the places of quiet contemplation such as traditional courtyard areas. Lyn has turned her attention to her creative pursuits since retiring from a career in education, educating herself with a Diploma in Arts Studio Stitch/Textiles. She is clearly an artist with an abundance of talent and unbounded potential.

The exhibition will continue, every day of the week, until 2 August.





Friday, July 4, 2014

What's New at The Emporium @ THG

The Emporium @ THG

l'call Melbourne

We're very exciting to finally be stocking some gorgeous purses and bags at our gallery shop. l'call Melbourne are local makers who use innovative fabrics and techniques to create their one-of-a-kind products. Made from upcycled vintage fabric and lightweight kangaroo leather, their bags and purses are expertly made and come in a variety of styles and colours. We have a small range in store at the moment, so get in quick before they all disappear! Prices range from AUD$48-$65.

The Angie Collection

The Catalina Range

The Victoria Leather Range

Mercado Mira XIV eyeglass case

Cruz I passport case


Adventure Enamel Cups from TMOD

Remember those camping trips when you were a little kid, complete with damper and stargazing? Well, TMOD have captured the nostalgia of the outdoors with these terrific Adventure Enamel Cups. Not only are they a great gift idea, they are packed full of information. For example, one cup gives instructions on how to tie the perfect bowline knot, whilst another explains the correct recipe for campsite damper.  

                         
                             Knots Cup
Damper Cup
Southern Cross Cup







Postcards and Artist Books by Anatol Knotek

Anatol Knotek is one of the international artists for Re-writing the Image, currently on show in the main gallery spaces at Town Hall Gallery (runs until Sunday 10 August 2014). We have a handful of his limited edition artist books for sale along with these wonderful postcards of his works (some of which are on exhibition). The postcards are a steal at $1.00 each - you can collect the whole set! The artist books range in price but are all unique, so it's a great opportunity to get your hands on some affordable art.






Cards by Lyn Guy

Boroondara artist Lyn Guy has produced a series of cards to coincide with her exhibition Fragmented at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall. Inspired by the works of Antoni Gaudi and the architecture of Spain, Lyn has produced textile art of supreme quality. Her series of cards offer an opportunity to acquire representations of her artwork for a reasonable price. 



Yardage Design

Adding to our range of Yardage Design textiles, we have just received some gorgeous napkins. Hand printed using eco-friendly, water based inks, they feature hand drawn designs in striking colours. Oatmeal linen too!




*Happy Shopping THGers!*

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Conversation: Anatol Knotek

Anatol Knotek (born 1977) is an Austrian artist based in Vienna. Visual and concrete poetry, installation and conceptual art are in the centre of his artistic work, which has been exhibited internationally. He has published work and writings in journals, chapbooks, schoolbooks and anthologies and is a member of the "Austrian Art Association".

mistapes (2014), black ISO tape, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
ANATOL KNOTEK: I live in vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
My material is language, context and just a little bit of colour. I play with words, their different possible meanings when manipulating them just a little, and I combine them sometimes with pictures (actually I’d like that you look at them like pictures). I think my work in general is somewhere located between literature and fine arts. 

nothing lasts forever (2014), black card, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
I think »time« (in German translates to »zeit«) is my favourite word for my art, because it’s full of possibilities. Another word I really like is »serendipity«, maybe because i stumbled across it only by chance…

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
I have already worked with other poets and also sculptors. It turns out to be very prolific most of the time. Actually, I’m quite happy to work alone usually, but maybe that's the secret to collaborating, that you have to step out of your comfort zone, to make something you wouldn't dare to do alone. 

Back to your question: I’d love to work together with a digital artist, to do some textanimations - or with an artist working in a completely different field, just to see what could happen.


I wants to be alone (2014), black vinyl, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What inspires you?
I’m not so sure. The obvious answer would be words, literature and fine arts, but it’s usually something that I discover or rediscover for myself (no matter if it's old or new). Something that I suddenly see in a new context, from a different point of view… often inspiration comes from a good conversation or during a long walk. Actually walking is quite inspiring for me.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
It totally depends on what I’m working on. In recent times, I enjoy the silence a lot. When I’m working on my books (not on the creative part, but when I'm physically making them) I like to listen to audio books or mixtapes including dylan, cohen, waits… and English or German speaking singer/songwriters.

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work?
Ideally a smile.


Detail from mistapes (2014), black ISO tape, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Where can people find out more about your work?
On my website: http://www.anatol.cc/index_en.html where everything is pretty organized in categories, or on my Tumblr blog: http://visual-poetry.tumblr.com/tagged/anatol.

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
Nothing really big… mostly some participation projects and collaborations with the Austrian culture institute in Brussels and maybe also in London. I’m also working on new books.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
Mhm… what can I say, that's not a cliché…? I recently stumbled upon this Marina Abramovic interview which i can totally relate to: be ready to fail, avoid routine and concentrate at one thing at a time! (which is  good advice for any artist I guess).

Installation view of Artist's books (2014), Town Hall Gallery, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

In Conversation: Mic Eales

We had an amazing turn out for the launch of Re-writing the Image, and after all of our lovely visitors had gone home, I went for a walk around the empty gallery. I had my own responses and thoughts about each of the artist’s works, but I wanted to know more. I was hungry for more meaning and who better to ask than the artists themselves. This is the first in a series of interviews with the artists of Re-writing the Image.

3000 (2014), performance piece, dimensions variable, performed 17/06/2014, Copyright courtesy of the artist.


Mic Eales is an installation artist based on a small farm in northern NSW who has just completed his visual arts based PhD titled, Different Voice Different Perspective: An arts-based and evocative research response to original voice narratives of suicide. As an art-based researcher with a history of self-harm and suicide, his aim is to consciously explore some of the difficult questions inherent within the phenomena of suicide by helping to unwrap personal narratives in a sensitive way.

Paradoxical Spiral (2012), mixed media, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
MIC EALES: The easiest way to describe myself is that on the outside, I am an old guy, but the inner me is someone who still resists growing up - I am a big kid at heart. My personal space is very important to me which is one of the reasons that my lovely wife and I live on a small farm in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. We share our property with an assortment of wildlife, several chooks and grow a few vegy’s. We visit our 2 grandchildren whenever we can - even though they exhaust me make me feel like an old ….

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
Essentially I see myself as a storyteller so I use whatever materials I feel best conveys the story that I am endeavoring to portray or express. My work is highly layered and symbolic. I originally trained as a potter/ceramist back in the early 80’s where I began combining clay and natural fibres. After a 12 year break I returned to art making and developed a strong interest in bronze casting and handmade paper-making at Southern Cross University. I am very much a mixed media artist. 

3000 (2014), performance piece, dimensions variable, performed 17/06/2014, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
Serendipitous - occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way - fortuitous. Most, if not all of my artworks have involved a sense of serendipity at some point of their creation. Where else does inspiration come from? Paradoxical spiral came into being through the picking up of a babies booty and a spiraling tattoo - go figure!!

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
Most of my works are collaborations. Paradoxical spiral is a collaboration with poet Jessica Raschke. Jessica and I are currently collaborating on another project together. Joesph Beuys would be fun to collaborate with but then again I am sure that he may have channeled through me once or twice before.

What inspires you?
Nature, people, babies booties and spiraling tattoo’s - inspiration is all around, we just have to open our eyes to it.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
My studio overlooks a large dam at the back of our property so I generally listen to the noises of the wildlife, I talk to myself a lot and talk to the various creatures that inevitably visit my open air studio.

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work?
Storytelling in whatever form is a deeply human activity that can lead to shared knowledge and understanding. One of the major objectives of Paradoxical spiral, my performance piece and for that matter most of my artistic work, is to find ways that can invite new meaning making around the issue of suicide (or trauma in general), to develop empathy for the suicidal mind and to engage with diverse audiences to help them better understand their own relationship with the issue of suicide/trauma. That said, people will I hope, create their own meanings though inner dialogue and transform their sense and interaction with the work into their own stories.

Where can people find out more about your work?
www.toofewladders.com

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
Over the next few months I will be carrying out several more performance pieces (Perth and Brisbane) and using the resulting scrolls to create a series of Artist Books. As most of my work revolves around the issue of suicide from a lived expertise perspective I am now very heavily involved with Suicide Prevention Australia. Apart from my collaboration with Jessica Raschke I am hoping to get back into doing some bronze casting in the near future.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
Be passionate and trust your intuition (that’s two).



Monday, June 23, 2014

In Conversation ... Margot Westhorpe

We recently took a work experience student on board here at THG, a lovely young man named Michael from Camberwell Grammar. With the ongoing success of Margot's current exhibition at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall we asked Michael to put some questions to Margot in an effort to gain some further insight into her work. The photographs of her art were taken by Michael as well. Top job young man!



How would you describe your work, what are the major themes present?
I would like to describe my work as engaging the viewer in the complex understanding of the ways in which we construct our identities. Identity is a social construct. Who we are and the ways we understand ourselves, are determined by the society in which we live and the cultural patterns we adopt. While gender and ethnicity shape who we are, so does our religion, language and socio economic status. 

As we are shaped and indeed fashion our own identities, we draw on objects from the world around us to indicate to others who we are. These outward displays of identity extend to the ways in which we “decorate” our homes as well as ourselves. In fostering and projecting the external nature of our identities, icons such as recognisable brands or established markers allow others to know us. Now and then, however, the external traits which have been embraced may hide the true self.

How do you use the materials that you use to express these themes?
The works presented in this exhibition use a variety of materials in order to express my ideas related to identity and the ways in which we display our identities to others. The broken and delicate remains of fine bone china is used in order to depict the ways in which women of the 20th century self identified and subsequently were identified by others. Their socio economic status was recognised in the delicate tea sets and china they possessed. Similarly, the embroideries that they completed reflected their accomplishments in the sphere in which women dominated - the home - and thus "allowed" them to have the identity of "female". In addition, the religious icons placed "on their walls" confirmed who they were to others.

In order to reference the shared language of the times, I have backgrounded many of the works with the deconstructed pages of the celebrated encyclopaedias of my childhood. In attaching labels to the various media, I have endeavoured to link and bring together what may seem disparate images and ideas. These labels also reflect the ways in which we stereotype individuals; labelling them as the “owner” of a particular and immutable identity.



What does combining 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional art work allow you to express that just one of the two may not?
In adopting mixed media I aim to replicate the complexity of our lives and our identities. The sources and origins of an individual's identities are multiple and continually changing. The "sculpting" of a work is an attempt to enhance the metaphor of the multiple.

Who or what are some of your influences or inspirations?
The work of the great conceptual artists of the 20th century has influenced the way I imagine and present my ideas and thoughts.

What is your work practice like, do you work from a studio or from home? 
My work practice is both intense and interrupted. Once an initial idea is conceptualised I begin the more intensive investigation of its possibilities and elaboration through the creative process. It is not uncommon for a “finished” piece to be discarded because it does not meet my expectations of conveying the current overall theme or notion that I am exploring.

I work in a small studio space at home which offers me the freedom of independence and flexibility. 

What achievements are you most proud of to date? 
Having the Town Hall Gallery accept my proposal and exhibit this group of works has been very exciting.

I am particularly proud of completing a PhD thesis on Chinese Identity. It is from this work that my interest in the ways we construct our identities originates.

What do you like best about what you do?
Being able to explore ideas and work towards expressing them in an imaginative and creative way is exhilarating.