Thursday, August 28, 2014

Artist in Residence EXPRESSION OF INTEREST: deadline Friday 26th September, 2014


Town Hall Gallery is seeking expression of interest from artists to undertake an artist in residence program for two weeks in early 2015 as part of the Place Making <Making Place> exhibition. 

Town Hall Gallery will hand over Gallery 2 to three different artists to re-home their studio for a 2 week period. Whilst working in the gallery, each artist will come to terms with how their environment informs their practice. Will their work change direction when being created within the gallery environment?

Viewers will have the opportunity to see the art making process up close and personal! Artists will have the opportunity to play in the gallery space!

One artist (or collaborative pair) will be working from the gallery space during the following time slots:

Studio 1: 10 January to 25 January, 2015
Studio 2: 26 January to 8 February, 2015
Studio 3: 9 February to 23 February, 2015

An artist fee of $1,000 per studio time slot will be paid prior to the exhibition.

Artists will have access to the ‘studio space’ from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm on weekends. We don’t expect artists to be in for the entire time if they choose not to, however we do expect a minimum of 4 hours each day.

Artists will be required to:
*   Bring in their own additional equipment for art making. Town Hall Gallery will provide tables, chairs, drop cloths, lighting as well as assistance to install work on walls during the period.
*   Answer questions and interact with gallery visitors while in their studio. Gallery staff will always be on hand in the gallery to assist as well.

How to submit your EOI:
*   Please provide a full CV and up to 8 images of your current art practice.
*   Provide up to a 2 page concept on why you believe your studio would be of interest to the general public. How do you think your practice may change by being ‘on show’ to gallery visitors? Does your work talk about ‘place’?
*   Please provide 2 professional referees who know your practice and your commitment to the visual arts.

Please note that successful artists will be required to sign a Residency Agreement prior to payment of artist fee.

** EOI deadline is Friday 26th September **

EOI’s must be addressed to:

Placemaking Project
C/o- Town Hall Gallery
360 Burwood Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122

Questions can be forwarded to Senior Curator Mardi Nowak at mardi.nowak@boroondara.vic.gov.au or 03 9278 4626.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Everything is Connected

In selecting the artists and artworks for the current exhibition 'Composing Common Worlds' we have been mindful of how the art sits in the gallery spaces and how it relates to each other. First and foremost, this is a show about the art of these artists. Sam Leach, Juan Ford, Stanislava Pinchuk (MISO), Cameron Robbins, Laura Woodward and Hanna Tai are some of not only Victoria's finest art talents, they are without doubt world-class artists. 'Composing Common Worlds' is a testament to the caliber of their work and a way of bringing together a cohort of artists that focus on exploring ways of navigating a place in the world and the broader universe.

Laura Woodward's Five (2014). Photo by Jim Lee (c).
In presenting any selection of artworks in a space there is a relationship that is established between the artworks, in the 'empty' spaces on the walls and the 'unoccupied' spaces on the floor. By positioning particular works next to each other, by facing them off against each other across the room, or by spreading works throughout different rooms, you can draw out these connections.

Therein lies an important aspect of this show. We recognise, primarily and most importantly, that each artwork is an individual and unique work. That it is, itself, a composition of parts - made up of ideas and materials that have been carefully composed, arranged, crafted and refined to achieve a particular feeling and effect. And we recognise that through the act of presenting them collectively in the gallery we are building another type of composition. If we do this carefully and thoughtfully the hope is that we can amplify the inherent ideas in the works, draw out some of the finer elements and make clear connections across artists, across mediums and between the concepts in play. All the while maintaining the integrity of the individual artwork.

Stanislava Pinchuk's Galaxy (Aerial Map of violence in the Maidan) (2014) at left
Juan Ford's The Synesthetic (2014) at right (obscured by the concrete pillar)
To illustrate the point, let's take a look at a couple of examples. Firstly, Stanislava Pinchuk's pin-prick drawing Galaxy (Aerial map of violence in the Maidan) (2014) and Juan Ford's sculpture The Synesthetic (2014). In selecting the positioning of these works in the gallery there was a couple of factors that led to the final choice. Firstly, Juan Ford selected the sculpture's location in a thoughtful awareness of the way in which people move through the gallery space (a nice reflection itself of the theme of the show). Tucked in behind a concrete pillar The Synesthetic is hidden to audience members as they first enter from Gallery 1 into Gallery 2. Only once you are right in the middle of the space do you see it, and more than a few people have jumped with shock when they first notice the figure there. Stanislava Pinchuk's artwork has then been placed next to the sculpture because of a content alignment. Galaxy (Aerial map of violence in the Maidan) is a map of the movements of protesters and militia, together with riot-related events that occurred in Kiev, Ukraine while the artist was living there, all garnered from media reports in real-time. 


What we hopefully build between these artworks is a connection that amplifies the characteristics inherent in each one. Pinchuk's work brings out the political undertone in Ford's work. Ford's work brings out the human, bodily element inherent in Pinchuk's work. Both works reinforce the representational nature of each other - a mannequin standing in for a human, a drawn map standing in for human actions. And yet both play off the bodily character inside each work - Ford's sculpture activates the body of the viewer by inducing a very real bodily response, a shock in the belly or a sense of uncanny unease which makes looking at a map of violence seem more physically affecting; the implied violence of acts of revolution and protest in Pinchuk's drawing infuse Ford's sculpture with even more menace.

Laura Woodward's The Return (2014) at left (detail of)
Sam Leach's Telescope (2014) at right
Let's take a look at another example, something that aligns more visually than conceptually. We've positioned Sam Leach's Telescope (2014) at the end of Gallery 3, next to Laura Woodward's The Return (2014). This positioning puts two works together that have visual similarities and allows for each to reinforce the other. Leach's painting shows scientific apparatus while Woodward's sculpture looks like a scientific experiment at work. The nature of the sculpture helps to reinforce the realism of the painting by amplifying a sense of the physical reality of the equipment portrayed. The painting helps to reinforce the scientific character of the sculpture by amplifying the historical trajectory of the enlightenment ideals begun in the seventeenth century (and infused into the work by Leach's style of painting). 


Within Leach's painting you'll also notice a small bird's foot. This integration of the organic into the mechanic is also evident in Woodward's sculpture through the flow of liquids and the vibrating of the tubes. Both works appear highly technological in content and yet both exhibit hints of the organic. Working together in the space through their adjacent spatial relations, they collaboratively reinforce this characteristic.

This is just a couple of examples, and hopefully provides an insight into the nature of the exhibition. Let us know what connections you see too - there's plenty of relationships in play in Composing Common Worlds. Over the next few weeks we'll be bringing interviews with the artists as well, so stay tuned for more insight into these terrific artworks directly from the artists themselves.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Common Composure

Tuesday night saw us launching the sixth major exhibition in the main galleries, 'Composing Common Worlds'. With a selection of six of Victoria's most exciting artists it was bound to be a great event, and we had a wonderfully engaged audience turnout. On the back of an eventful week for the Melbourne art world, with the Melbourne Art Fair, Spring 1883 and NotFair all going on over the previous weekend, there was a lot of art fatigue around town. Nonetheless, we were very pleased to see a full turnout, with many patrons keen to get a closer look at the likes of Sam Leach who was very popular at the Art Fair.



All photos by Jim Lee Photo (c) 
With a host of works to look at, from sculpture to video, drawing to photography, and painting to tattoos, people have been spending lots of time in the gallery. Curated to inspire an awareness of relationships across artworks in each room, the three gallery spaces each have their own characteristic feel.

Juan Ford, Sam Leach, Cameron Robbins, Laura Woodward
We are honoured to have these world-class Australian artists generously include their work in this exhibition. It was a rare opportunity too for our visitors to talk directly with the artists and probe them about their working methods and their ideas. As part of our programming we've included a panel discussion with the artists, open to the public, where you can hear more about how they go about making their art and ask them questions directly. This will take place at the Hawthorn Art Centre, 18 September from 730-900pm (more details here). Cameron will also be running a kids' drawing session with Assistant Curator Dr Kent Wilson on 6 September.

The show runs until 12 October - so come along and check it out!










Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Proffering Launched

At City of Boroondara we're blessed to have an absolutely terrific team of volunteers giving their time to help the running of Town Hall Gallery and engage with our audience. Volunteers are a critical part of many cultural institutions, and beyond that, a very important part of the broader economy. It was a delight for us to discover, with each new addition to the THG team, that we have an unusually large cohort of practicing artists. Almost everyone makes art.

An admirer of works by Parisa Taheri Tehrani.

This month, at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall, we are able to bring you an exhibition featuring 10 of our talented volunteers,with works by Parisa Taheri Tehrani, Sujata Rai, Creature Creature, Amanda Lugg, Chloe Mann, Frankie Katz, Cassandra King, Elishia Furet, Jessica Cooke, and Laura Harding. Among the group there is a diversity of age, experience and education; a variety of approaches, styles and content; but what is consistent across the participants is a high level of artistic talent. It seems you can barely move in Boroondara without stumbling on an artist in the community.

City of Boroondara Mayor Cr Coral Ross
A wonderful turnout, listening to Mayor Cr Coral Ross' opening launch speech
We were honoured to have the Mayor of the City of Boroondara, Cr Coral Ross, officially launch the exhibition with a wonderful speech acknowledging the valuable contribution made by volunteers in our community. There's a similarity between volunteering and being an artist, in that both activities require you to give of your time and energy, to proffer your services, in an attempt to contribute to the culture you live in. You are not guaranteed of financial reward but you often hope that your contribution improves society in some way, and that your efforts expand your own potential for development or connection. 

The show will be open every day and run until 6 September. Well worth a look, as it features some very talented young artists, some artists who have tremendous bodies of work, and others who have exhibited around the world!

Work by Creature Creature
Work by Elishia Furet

Another bumper crowd at the launch

Friday, August 8, 2014

Last Days and First Days

After a terrific response from our audiences, and a run of eight weeks, 'Re-writing the Image: Text as Art' comes to a close this Sunday. If you haven't had a chance to see it in the flesh, you've only got a few days before it ends. Featuring artists from as far afield as the USA and Austria, and artists as close as Glenferrie Road, we've had our largest visitor attendance to the gallery. But soon the walls will be reset, the artworks sent on, and preparation made for the next exciting installment.

Benjamin Forster, detail of Ghosts (24/07/10 - 28/06/13), (2014)
While this exhibition reaches its last days we have a brand new exhibition just starting at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall. Proffering features the works of the Town Hall Gallery volunteers - the wonderful team of people who dedicate their time and energy to assist in the daily running of the gallery. Many of the volunteers are artists themselves and this is an opportunity for them to exhibit their talents in the very gallery they generously offer their time to help function. The official opening is this Saturday and its open to the public - so you're invited. Festivities kick off from 2pm, with the show launched by City of Boronodara Mayor Cr Coral Ross. All catered and assisted by the generous support of our partner Quest Hawthorn.

Proffering includes the works of:
Parisa Taheri Tehrani, Sujata Rai, Creature Creature, Amanda Lugg, Chloe Mann, Frankie Katz, Cassandra King, Elishia Furet, Jessica Cooke, and Laura Harding.

Here's a sneak peek of what to expect:


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.