Friday, July 25, 2008

It's not often you get to touch art!

Visitors to Slides and Sushi take time out on the installation by Aaron Bailey.

It's not that often that you get to touch art works in a gallery, let alone lay down on the floor and put your head on it! However at last night's session of Slides and Sushi, patrons were invited by artist Aaron Bailey to take part in his installation and lay on his embroidered and painted pillows and gaze up into the paintings hanging near the ceiling. As curator of the gallery, it was quite the experience to see the space and the artwork from a different angle. Also the pillows were most comfortable!

Aaron's work is part of the current exhibition X Represents the Unknown which runs at Town Hall Gallery until 3 August.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Top: installation shot of chair and owl cushions by Bronwyn Strempel
Bottom: Batrisha by Dillon Naylor.

Team: Strempel Naylor is made up of mentee Bronwyn Strempel and mentor Dillon Naylor. This team was brought together as Bronwyn is close to completing her study in illustration and Dillon has many, many years working in comics and illustration professionally. Although the themes in their work are quite different and Dillon has created a particular way of working over the years, the experience of being able to tap into this wealth of knowledge from a professional illustrator has been very rewarding for Bronwyn.

The team have been emailing back and forth sketches and images that they are working on and getting each others feedback and ideas of where to take the work next. Even though the demands of completing her studies are still there, the project and feedback from Dillon has made Bronwyn even more enthusiastic (if possible!!) about her work.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Top: detail work by Nina Sers, from Town Hall Gallery Collection

Bottom: works by Garth Jones from exhibition, Wayward Toonists Swingin Jukebox Jam!

Team: Sers Jones is made up of Nina Sers (mentee) and Garth Jones (mentor). This team was put together as the mentor has loads of professional experience in the graphic design field, while the mentee, has a fine art background but is completing a BA of digital media. This is a partnership which allows the mentee to learn practical and hands on design skills while the mentor will get more of an insight into the art world!

Nina Sers has been involved in art nerds and Town Hall Gallery over the years. A small body of work was acquired of hers for the Town Hall Gallery Collection in 2006, making her one of the youngest artists represented in the collection. Although a painter and photographer at heart, Nina has been working in digital media and projections lately.

Garth Jones has recently shown at Town Hall Gallery as part of the Wayward 'Toonists Swingin' Jukebox Jam! exhibition. A lover of red wine, music and trash culture, his work spans all types of genres and themes. Though often working digitally, the Wayward 'Toonists exhibition saw Jones picking up the paintbrush to create a series of 9 paintings.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Another one of our teams for Team Up starting at Town Hall Gallery on 6 August is TEAM: GEE NOWAK, featuring mentee Jessamy Gee and mentor Mardi Nowak (and also gallery curator) please click on names for website or blog information.

TOP: painting by Jessamy Gee.

Bottom: detail of woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak.

Jessamy Gee is a young artist who primarily works with portraits or figures. Influenced heavily by popular culture and music icons, her work is reminiscent of colourful portraits found in Rolling Stone magazine. After having a stint working in the music management industry, she has taken time out to concentrate on her artwork and Team UP is one of her first exhibitions back as an artist! While Jessamy primarily works as a painter, she has been exploring stencil techniques as well in creating her portraits.

Mardi Nowak is curator of Town Hall Gallery. Often describing herself as a full time curator, part time artist, she holds a Masters of Fine Art (Research) and works mostly in the ancient medium of woven tapestry. See below for artist statement:

"Using the historically traditional technique of weaving, my inspiration comes from the modern, such as fashion magazines, torn advertising billboards and street graffiti. Works are created by collaging together images and photographs from magazines with old drawings and photocopies to reproduce the many layers found on billboards, similar to wallpaper plastered over old wallpaper. These collages become the cartoon for final tapestries.

Notions of time play a factor in this work. There is a disjunction between the disposable and fast flow of images in contemporary mass media against the deliberation and slowness of a woven construction. A fashionable dress produced in a tapestry may be out of fashion by the time a tapestry is completed.

The technical details of the woven tapestries are very traditional. It is a skill that is continually improved upon with the creation of every new tapestry as images are translated from glossy photographic paper to solid woven textile form. It is the challenge of turning the contemporary and disposable images of fashion magazines into a craft form that has been recognised for centuries that keeps me excited about the medium. Although I am not altering weaving techniques from years gone by, the pursuing of new subject matter and translating the new into this historical tradition is a new innovation for Australian woven tapestry and brings together craft and visual arts.

Traditionally tapestries have had a strong narrative, they have told stories of war and heroics. In the modern age, we express ourselves by graffiting street walls, creating websites and blogging about our daily lives. My tapestries tell a modern story of the fascination with fashion, celebrity and consumerism."

Team: Gee Nowak has come together for their love of popular culture and also their figurative style. Both artists find influence in the everyday, music, fashion and celebrity while still using strong colour within an emotive fashion. Jessamy and Mardi have worked together on other projects through Town Hall Gallery so this has allowed them a bit of a head start as they were already familiar with each others works.

Elizabethan Fan by Stephen Gallagher, one of the works in X Represents the Unknown.
One of the artists exhibiting in X Represents the Unknown, Stephen Gallagher has kindly given us this artist statement about the works.
For the Elizabethan, objects played important roles in reflecting the social standing and factional alingnment they held. These objects were often ornamented with allegorical messages that alluded to love and affection or employed the literary works of the day, written to show one’s affection of or to a patron, to the Queen or to a lover.

Inspired by a Elizabethan portrait of 1590’s by an unknown artist, for three centruries it was thought to be Lady Norton, daughter of Bishop of Winton. Recent research concludes that this portrait is of a young third Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, with long cascading hair and effeminately dressed in the latest lace fashion from Italy: the most expensive to be had and wearing lipstick, rouge and an elaborate double earring. He holds his hand with slender fingers to his heart, a symbol of love. He is the ‘master-mistress of my passion’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets, patron and acclaimed lover of Shakespeare, and possible transvestist. Shakespeare’s affection of him are translated in the twentieth of the 154-sonnet cycle where he describes him as:

A women’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all ‘hues’ in his controlling,
Much steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought three, fell a-dotting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

Like many of the poetic writings of the times it expresses affection and the sexual play between the writer and the subject of the writing, to herald one’s affection. Similiar to this are many of the personalised jewellery of the era, produced as love tokens, aligning one’s affections to classical tales and ideals or to the martyrs of religious ideals, they contain secret messages that only the knowledgable can negotiate and read. They act as a hard copy of the sexual tension one plays with when attracting the attention of a suitor and similiar to the devise of a fan.

A fan can work in many ways. It can act as a shield - protecting the users fine complexion from the heat of an open fire or work as a barrier hiding them from unwanted glares. The fan has a language well known by the coquettish. The subtle nuances of the interaction between wrist, hand and fan can signal reproach or flirtation, teasing the unknown and a paramour by hightening sexual tension while at the same time placing distance between the user and the object of their affection.

Like a mirror one holds before them and looks in and though it in to the gaze of a similar dandy. The fan becomes the tool, its decorative surface embroidered with a mantratic excert of an Shakespearian sonnet, it is now a writen message to a lover to be viewed or murmered to show ones effections.

Stephen Gallagher 2008

Works in the exhibition:

Title: For the Elizabethan fan: A women’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Measurements: 650mm x 340mm x 6mm
Materials: Stainless steel, thread, bronze and auto paint.
Year of production: 2007

Title: For the Elizabethan fan: Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
Measurements: 750mm x 350mm x 6mm
Materials: Stainless steel, thread, bronze and auto paint.
Year of production: 2007


TOP: painting by John Hendriks
Middle: installation of pianola roll at Town Hall Gallery 2007 by Mel Neal.
Bottom: specimen jars by Mel Neal.

For the Team Up exhibition featuring mentors and their mentees works, we will be blogging about the various teams and their work.

Team: Neal Hendriks is composed of mentor John Hendriks and mentee Mel Neal.

Mel Neal is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in drawing. Her work uses a broad range of materials and can involve installation and objects. Her current work has been involving jars and test tubes to display her 'drawings' inside. She has also been drawing with a scalpel, by creating beautiful and intricate lace like cut outs from paper. This really is looking at drawing in another way.

John Hendriks completed a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in painting in the late 1990s. His work both on paper and canvas has never been traditional as he collages and sometimes weaves canvas to construct his images. His current body of work investigates the idea of the vessel as a metaphor for identity and keeping ideas.

Team: Neal Hendriks has been created due to the simplicity of colour that they use and also the wide range of materials that they utilize in their works. Also the duo explore the idea of the vessel in their work but in varying ways. It will be fascinating to see what they come up with for the exhibition beginning on 6 August 2008.

TEAM UP - the TEAMS!!!

What is Team Up?

Team Up, an Art Nerds project, partners young artists with a professional artist working in their area of interest. Over many months, each young artist has gained insight into the professional artist’s career, artistic practice and inspiration, learning many lessons that they could not receive from a classroom. This exhibition features works resulting from this project from both the mentor and mentee. All mentees are aged between 18-25, whereas the mentors have a few more years experience on them!

Who are our teams?

Mel Neal (mentee) and John Hendriks (mentor)

Nina Sers (mentee) and Garth Jones (mentor)

Bronwyn Strempel (mentee) and Dillon Naylor (mentor)

Alix Halpern (mentee) and Sarah Howell (mentor)

Jessamy Gee (mentee) and Mardi Nowak (mentor and curator)

Alisia Romanin is assisting the team with writing components for the show as well!

Stay tuned for more updates on this process and information on the individual teams!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

X Represents the Unknown installation

TOP: works by Stephen Gallagher coming out of their packing.

MIDDLE: Pinky, art appreciator

BOTTOM: one of the pillows by Aaron Bailey

Yesterday saw the installation of the current exhibition, X Represents the Unknown at Town Hall Gallery. The works were delicately installed under the watchful eye of Pinky the dog, a fabulous art appreciator!

The exhibition includes a wide range of works from beautifully embroidered metal fans, textile quilts, photography and installations involving painting and textiles.

Monday, July 14, 2008

X Represents the Unknown

X Represents the Unknown exhibition starts this week from 16 July until 3 August. Artists include: Aaron Bailey, Adrian Dennis, Luke Doyle, Janet Gallagher, Stephen Gallagher, Prue Hobbs, Annie McMahon, Christopher Knott & Joanne Munro.

Understanding the unknown is like trying to understand a void, nothingness. It is the ‘X’, the place or thing that is unexplainable. As children we searched for hidden treasure marked on a map by the X and wondered what we would find there. Now as adults we wonder and contemplate the unknown of life and the world around us.

Nine contemporary artists are working in a wide range of media, exploring their idea of the unknown and the X. From photography, painting, textiles, multi-media and installation, viewers will be taken on a journey into the unknown.

Exhibition curator and artist Aaron Bailey has brought together these established artists as they all offer alternative aspects on the theme of the X. His own work for the exhibition features an installation of dark, starry night sky paintings with soft and welcoming embroidered pillows. Viewers will want to lay down and look at the night sky within the gallery.

Taking a daytime approach of gazing into the sky, Annie MacMahon explores the idea of daydreaming whilst laying down and staring into the clouds and the thoughts that come during that time. Her installation features 50 small paintings building up the appearance of the clouds.

Luke Doyle has created a number of consecutive drawings that form a segment of a longer, unseen sequence. There is a void at the centre at this series of 1,000 drawings. By consciously removing the subject matter, the work becomes nothing, a void.

The exhibition runs until 3 August. There will also be a Slides & Sushi session with the artists on Thursday 24 July from 6-8pm for people wanting to find out more.