Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Conversation: Janine Polak

We Should Speak in Code (2014), white vinyl lettering on glass, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist.

Janine Polak was born in 1983 and received a BA in Studio Art and Economics from the University of Virginia in 2005, and was awarded an Aunspaugh Fellowship at UVa the following year. In 2008, she earned an MFA from the Yale University School of Art, Department of Sculpture. Her work, which combines sculpture, photography, drawing, and printmaking, is concerned with the metaphysical experience of human emotion. She has exhibited throughout the US and in China. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and teaches at Purchase College, SUNY.

*

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I was born in Nebraska, but grew up all over the US, as my dad was a Navy doctor. Virginia, however, feels like home - it's where I went to high school and college, and where my parents still live.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
I work in all sort of materials and in many different ways. I make collages and take photographs, but I really think of myself as a sculptor, working in plaster, wood, fabric, clay, found materials, etc.

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why? 
Maybe Jessica Stockholder or Jim Hodges (both are former teachers of mine who I admire immensely) or Haim Steinbach.


Detail from We Should Speak in Code (2014), white vinyl lettering on glass, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist.


What inspires you?
I am constantly looking at things around me in my daily life - the way a broken telephone pole rest on a barrier, or a child's sock falling down their leg, or the condensation on the side of a cold glass of water.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
It varies from day to day. Sometime I need complete silence, but I mostly go between listening to public radio/podcasts and music.

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


Detail from We Should Speak in Code (2014), white vinyl lettering on glass, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist.


What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
Nothing specific that I'm ready to share, but I'm really into ceramics at the moment.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
Work hard - your work is the most important thing.



We Should Speak in Code (2014), white vinyl lettering on glass, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In Conversation: Martin Smith

Martin Smith is an Australian photographer who combines words and images to explore family, memory, loss and identity. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Griffith University and teaches in the photographic department at the Queensland College of Art/Griffith University. His works have been exhibited internationally at the Hong Kong Art Fair, Photo Paris, Hous Projects in New York and Photo LA. In Australia he has exhibited at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.


SMITH, Martin, Untitled No. 3 (2008), pigment print and collage, 100 x 80 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Sophie Gannon Gallery.


Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
I am born and bred in Brisbane. I lived in the bayside suburbs and went to local Catholic schools that didn't have art as a subject, the only nod to the arts was Film and TV which fueled my interest in photography. I had quite a sleepy upbringing. Fun and supportive but mundane.

I am married have three kids and work as an associate lecturer in photography at the Queensland College of Art. I am currently also trying to complete my PhD in photography and narrative.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
My work is combines text and image to try and forge new meanings. I write personal narratives then hand-cut the text into my photographic images. I am interested in how two narrative mediums (text and image) can create new layers of meaning especially when they don't illustrate each other ie the text has not direct connection to the image. I am also interested in the way narrative is used to define identity to the point where we are described more in story form than physically.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
I don't necessarily have a favourite word but I love it when words or phrases are re-contextualised. A great example from my life was when my father changed 'f*** off' to being a unit of measurement.

"Martin can you pass me the wrench?"

"Which wrench?"

"The f*** off one"

"Oh...that one"

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
Bruce Springsteen as he is my favourite narrative song writer. I wrote to him once to try and use the lyrics from Born to Run in an artwork but was denied. It was the record company not Bruce but it still hurt. I wrote to Nick Cave to use the words from "There she goes my beautiful world" in an artwork and after two weeks of emails and assurances they finally gave me permission. Because I was emailing the record company my final email asked whether Nick Cave knew about any of this correspondence and the answer was;

Martin

Nick Cave knows everything.

Regards


What inspires you?
I read a lot of short personal narrative authors like David Sedaris. I subscribe to The Moth and This American Life. I also subscribe to The New Yorker as the editorial writing is fantastic and they write in depth articles on everything. I enjoy the way humans interpret events and places and the way memory is formed and told. Also the relationship between the photograph and the event and how the two mediums converge to represent experience.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
I listen to the radio; either music, talk back (if I don't get too angry) and cricket when it's on. I also listen to podcasts of many different types and audio books. Depending on mood I will also choose albums to listen to as it is a chance to have a block of time to listen to albums that require the that space. My work is laborious to create but allows me time to think and listen to ideas that interest me.

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work?
I have never been able to answer this question. I'm not sure...there is what I hope people take away and the reality and I'm too scared to know the truth, I can't handle it.

Where can people find out more about your work?
I am lucky to be represented in Melbourne by Sophie Gannon Gallery and I am showing with her next year. In Brisbane I am represented by Ryan Renshaw Gallery and you can go onto my web-site to see my stand up comedy at www.martinsmith.net.au

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
I am taking some time to write my exegesis which sounds dull but necessary. My work has been included in the Dong Gang International Photo Festival in South Korea, it launches next week and I have a show with Sophie Gannon next year. I just finished an exhibition of new work at Ryan Renshaw in Brissy as well. It has been a hectic few months...fun but I need a nap.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
I always tell my students that it is about being involved. Involved in your work and the ideas that make it interesting and cultivate your interests, have the aspect of human endeavour that you're the expert on. Involved in the community and involved in your own existence. It is a great thrill when you are asked to share your thoughts, gags, process and philosophy with the general public.


SMITH, Martin, Fix it up (2010), pigment print and collage, 90 x 180 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Sophie Gannon Gallery.




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.