Friday, August 15, 2008

Team UP - Slides & Sushi eve

Some of the gallery goers, enjoying the Team Up exhibition.

Team Up officially opened to a great crowd last Thursday 7 August. To find out more directly from the artists involved in this exhibition and the gallery Curator, Mardi Nowak you can come along to the upcoming Slides and Sushi session.

When? Thursday 21 August from 6-8pm
Where? Town Hall Gallery
cost? Totally free!!!

These evenings are a relaxed way to find out more about the art making process and also about the curatorial process. Guests get to hear directly from the artists while enjoying some wine and sushi. For more info, contact the gallery directly. We hope to see you there!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Team UP, thoughts from Sarah Howell

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One of the works on display in Team UP by Sarah Howell, mentor of Alix Halpern.

1. Who are you? What is your background?
Sarah Howell. A one time sculptor/jeweller who succumbed to the world of arts events and now makes a living from producing community arts projects. I fell in love with comics back at uni and now my personal arts practice is primarily comics and zine making.

2. What do you like best about what you do? What motivates/inspires/influences you?
I enjoy not stressing about making art with a capital "A" and focusing on finding ways to be creative in my everyday life and finding ways to give others inspiring experiences. Here's a quote from an interview with artist Miranda July that expresses my feelings more clearly:
"My favourite thing in the world is when I look at a piece of art, or read a story, or watch a movie, where I walk away feeling like, oh my God, I have to do something, I have to make something, or talk to someone, things are not the same anymore!And so I try to make work where you come away with that feeling...you're thinking about what you just saw, but even more than that, you feel able, you feel kind of propelled."
Other artists I admire are: Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Max Ernest, John Porcellino, Yoshitaka Amano, Hiroaki Samura, and Lat.

3. Why did you choose the medium you are currently working in? How does this differ from mediums you have worked in in the past?
I have been drawing these type of stories for about a year. They are based on a improvised theatre activity called "towards and away from" I did at a workshop. My adaption of the activitiy is that in each panel the characters make an action towards or away from the other. This was only the second time that i have redrawn an original "towards and away from" strip in a more polished and considered style. Other new aspects with this work were the size, normally I draw character drawings this scale but not strips, the three dimensional quality with the figures raised off the wall, and the use of strong colour as my work is usually greyscale.

4. What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? Why?
The main patterns I am interested in are the characters. I draw characters regularly in my journals to express a physical and/or emotional state. Over the years I'm starting to get to know the characters, often I immediately recognise them, but other times I think I have drawn a completely new character only to realise it is a new incarnation of an older character. With the two characters in my work for Team Up the female character is a strange amalgam of aspects of three familiar characters, while the male figure is a completely new incarnation of an older character. Before starting this piece I experimented with brush and nibs for the line work but returned to the R50 Ball Pentel I use in my journal, it bled less with the copics. I've been enjoying using the copic marker pens for colour for a good few months now. Both characters in this work were very much a result of experimenting with the copics in my journals so it was natural to render them with the same materials. The white of the male character is a white ink filled brushpen.

5. What kind of research, if any, was undertaken for this work? Is the work proposing to answer any critical/thoretical/historical ideals, whether they be of an artistic, social or political nature?
Before preparing the final artwork I discussed the work with one of the gestalt therapists at the Melbourne Art Therapy Studio. We discussed the qualities of the characters, their body language and their intentions.This work isn't consciously set within a critical/theoretical/historical context, I would most likely freeze up and not make anything if I thought too hard about giving it a context. There is an intention and inquiry about the work, and that is to use improvisation techniques to generate characters and get to know them, and through them have a greater understanding of my own processes and tensions.

6. What has been the most beneficial aspect of the mentor project? What is the most important thing you learned from your mentor/mentee?
The most beneficial aspect of the mentor project was to learn that mentoring is an awkward thing with people you don't know, that you haven't deliberately set out to establish this kind of relationship with. If I did it again I would devote more time to doing some activities together. As it was Alix and I supported each other in our parallel projects at our meetings. I persisted with the idea of the raised images in part because of Alix's enthusiasm for the idea.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Team UP... thoughts from Alix Halpern



Curator Mardi Nowak, taking a photo of Alix Halpern's work in Team Up.
Installation shot below from the exhibition. More images on the gallery flickr site.



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Alix Halpern was mentee to Sarah Howell in the Team Up project. Here are some thoughts about her work and the project...


My name is Alix Halpern, Igrew up in queensland and moved o melbourne 3 years ago to study multimedia and digital art.


At the moment I have been exploring some new areas of my practice through layering materials, both virtually through multi media and more traditional forms of art like photogrpahy and video. My work aims to explore the artistic qualities of multimedia mixed with my love for the fine arts. My work includes images generated directly from my own experinces and environments I find myself inthis motivates me constantly, and I am stimulated by everyday people everyday.


I have always loved layering through collage using fabric, paper, photos and most recently video and animation. using perspex has allowed me to explore the ways i perceive these layers in 2d/3d forms. Breaking away from the computer and actually developing a world within a world fascinates and the perspex boxes completely resolved this.


Collage, people, colours, stories. I always seem to use people as objects, subjects, models and story telling starters. The figure can say so much without text. I use figures from my own photographs and trace them and try to capture the natural poses that cannot be relived or recreated. By layering, blending and crafting these into narratives I like using sequences and usually squares.


The mentor programme was cool because it felt like you had someone to ask any question about anything anytime....emailing, phone calls and meetings were useful to check progress and it also helped me to understand other peoples work flows and practice and a bit of a reality check and incite into theworld of an artist/freelance artist/commercial artist....how to exhibit, install, and prepare for a show too.

Team up, thoughts from Dillon Naylor...

Dillon Naylor, Salty Tears, acrylic on canvas, 2008.

Dillon Naylor is the mentor of Bronwyn Strempel. This team worked on some collaborative work for the exhibition where they swapped sketches and then reworked or inked the other aritsts sketch according to their own style and thoughts. Both versions of particular sketches are included in the exhibition for viewers to check out!

Here are some of Dillon's thoughts on the exhibition, his work and working with Bronwyn.

1.Who are you? What is your background?
Dillon Naylor. Writer and illustrator fascinated by all things comic booky. I work mostly doing sections in kid's magazines, illustrating children's books and poster design.

2. What do you like best about what you do? What motivates/inspires/ influences you?
The fact I'm still able do it everyday, at this point in my life.

3. Why did you choose the medium you are currently working in? How does this differ from mediums you have worked in in the past?
The painting is actually the first time I've gone near paint and canvas in fifteen years so it was a buzz to see what would happen. Working alongside someone with a different stylistic approach did kind of force me to think outside of my safety zone, as well.

4. What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? Why?
I'm deeply attracted to 'old fashioned' illustration techniques so I tend to apply it to everything - bold 1950's comic book inking and woodcut style brushwork.

5. What kind of research, if any, was undertaken for this work? Is the work proposing to answer any critical/thoretical/historical ideals, whether they be of an artistic, social or political nature?
The images are all daydreams on paper - research involved me staring out of a window holding a mug of coffee.

6. What has been the most beneficial aspect of the mentor project? What is the most important thing you learned from your mentor/mentee?
It was inspiring to see someone using similar types of subject matter and tools but approaching it in new ways - and the thought process that goes with that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Team Up... thoughts from Bronwyn Strempel

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Who are you? What is your background?

I am Bronwyn Strempel, and I am studying illustration at NMIT in Preston.
What do you like best about what you do? What motivates/inspires/influences you?
I love being able to pattern everything, play with textures and fabrics, and colour everything in any way i want.


Why did you choose the medium you are currently working in?
How does this differ from mediums you have worked in in the past? I have become obsessed with my computer so this has become apparent in my work. I still sketch everything, but everything is finished digitally.


What has been the most beneficial aspect of the mentor project? What is the most important thing you learned from your mentor/mentee?
I have learnt some great things from my mentor Dillon, he has been kind enough to share with me his experiences in the industry and his freelance work. It has been fantastic to work with someone who is successful in the industry as this gives me great inspiration for hitting the illustration world at the end of this year. Also, Dillon was very brave in letting me attack his sketch. Cheers Dillon!

Team Up... thoughts from TEAM: Gee Nowak


top: installation shot of Mardi Nowak's works on canvas
bottom: installation shot of Jessamy Gee's works.
As part of the exhibition process, Alisia Romanin, one of our Art Nerds, came up with some questions for all of the artists involved. Here are the responses from Jessamy Gee (mentee) and Mardi Nowak(mentor).
From Jessamy Gee
1. Who are you? What is your background?
I have been working in music management for the past 3 years, and recently left my position to concentrate on my own work. In the past I have worked mainly in acrylics, and produce mainly portraits.

2. What do you like best about what you do? What motivates/inspires/influences you?
I find that my work is heavily influenced by pop culture. Having spent so much time within the music biz, I also tend to reference music / musicians in my work.

3. Why did you choose the medium you are currently working in? How does this differ from mediums you have worked in in the past?
For this exhibition, I have tried something completely new for me in stencil making. My painting style has always used quite large blocks of colour, so it was easily transferrable to the stencils. I have loved the experience, and am now stencil-mad!

6. What has been the most beneficial aspect of the mentor project? What is the most important thing you learned from your mentor/mentee?
The mentor project was fantastic for me, as it opened my eyes to a whole new medium. Having the feedback from Mardi was invaluable - having someone to bounce ideas off and seek advice from when encountering hurdles was fantastic.

From mentor Mardi Nowak.
1.Who are you? What is your background?
I’m Mardi Nowak, curator at Town Hall Gallery and also mentor of Jessamy Gee. My background is quite varied. I completed a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in tapestry at Monash University, then completed my honors year and a Master of Fine Art by Research in about 2004. I usually describe myself as a full time curator, part time artist and I find that they both feed each other in positive ways. After working as a curator for over 10 years now, I don’t think that I could go back to being an artist full time as it can be quite isolating and insular. Working with other artists allows me to trial new ideas in the gallery and be in touch with new ideas, media and ways of working which I love!

2. What do you like best about what you do? What motivates/inspires/influences you?
I always look at things on two sides, as a curator I love working with a wide range of artists and seeing their exhibition ideas come to fruition. That’s also one of the reasons why I decided to do this exhibition and take part as a mentor. When it comes to being an artist, in particular an artist working in woven tapestry, I love being part of a very old tradition but showing contemporary imagery. I also like the fact that it’s a skill based art that not everyone does, so it makes it a little special - it has a bit of ‘wow’ factor. When it comes to motivation and inspiration, the everyday is what inspires me. Now that I don’t have much time to spend on my artwork, I make things that I want to make and that I feel strongly about or have a connection with. I don’t make work that is controlled by what may sell or what other people want. The imagery I create is made very intuitively but the selection of what will be woven is selected on aesthetic basis and because it has something to say, either about me or because there is a narrative I want to share. I’m heavily influenced by artists such as Karen Kilimnik and Elizabeth Peyton with whom I share a love of figurative works that have a quiet narrative and who also put the viewer and artist into a range of characters.

3. Why did you choose the medium you are currently working in? How does this differ from mediums you have worked in the past?
Before studying tapestry, I had worked in painting and printmaking. However I come from a strong family tradition of textiles, so having the opportunity to work in a medium that I love and have an affinity with the right thing for me. As tapestry takes a reasonably long time to make, especially the large works, I generally work in other mediums as well, especially collage which allows me to create images and designs and ideas quickly. In the past I have worked in installation with the tapestries as well as going through a stage of working with PVC! Even now, I still go through stages of making or playing with objects as a break from weaving.

4. What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? Why?
There’s no specific patterns to my work other than the pattern of my work process which is:
Idea/collage – black and white enlargement of collage – potential cropping of enlargement – cartoon – tapestry.
5. What has been the most beneficial aspect of the mentor project? What is the most important thing you learned from your mentor/mentee?
For me it has been great to see what Jessamy has been coming up with over this time, though I feel that I’ve been involved in some way with everyone’s partnership! I was lucky as Jessamy and I have known each other for a couple of years through the gallery so I was familiar with her work. Though I have seen it develop over the last 3-4 weeks greatly and she has become very experimental. It’s hard to say what the most beneficial part has been, I’m sure that more will come to light during the actual exhibition process as well and it won’t end with the exhibition. I’m sure that the teams will continue into the future in some form or another.