Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting bugged with Andrea Kaltwasser

Grouped installation shot 033
Some of the framed 'bugs' by Andrea Kaltwasser.

From taking a look at Andrea's body of works for the Grouped exhibition, you may think that she is slightly obsessed with all things creepy crawly!  However I think it is her obsession with colour and pattern that has led her to to the path of recreating bug specimens onto paper.  Her series of various bugs and carefully inked onto the paper and then elaborately hand embroidered.  The embroidery adds to the texture of the bug shells and some of them almost look like brightly coloured tribal tattoos.

One of my favourite elements to Andrea's series of works is the way that they have been framed and presented.  The simple frames with the outstretched bugs inside are reminscent of exotic specimens that you would find in a natural history museum.
andrea bug detail
A close up view of the intricate embroidery.

Andrea talks about her body of work in the catalgoue for Grouped:
"My aim with this body of work is to convert the perception some people have that beetles and other insects are nasty, scary, creepy, crawly things. Rather I see they beauty in their shape and colour.

With the use of vibrant paints and ink and a large of array of speciality threads, I will contrast the often severe shapes of insects whilst highlighting their gorgeous patterns and colours, some realistic others fantastical.

If you take the time and look a little closer you will discover a wonderful world of amazing patterns and remarkable colours and perhaps grow to love some of Mother Nature's jewels as I have."

Grouped ends this Saturday 29 January at 5pm.  You can join us on Saturday from 2pm to 3pm for the In Conversation program and hear more about the works directly from the artists!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stephen Thompson's self portraits...

Grouped installation shot 019
A view of Stephen's works at GROUPED.

I am always amazed at people who work on self-portraits.  It can be a very difficult thing to constantly look at yourself and also within yourself to create art.  Many would say that everything an artist does is a self-portrait as you give so much to the work and inevitably, your own stamp is placed on it.

Emerging artist Stephen Thompson presents a series of five self-portrait works for this exhibition.  In the catalogue he talks a little bit about his inspiration and working methods.

Excerpt from catalogue by Stephen Thompson...
I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and travelled a lot during my childhood. After graduating high school in Dallas, Texas, I moved to study in Melbourne.

This series of works are inspired by a recent transformative phase and differ from previous works. I discarded the psychotic expressionist mark making for a more refined and controlled realist look. I'm often reminded of William Kentridge's quote "to paint in an absolutely realistic manner is impossible but also pointless". I agree in some ways but believe that to truly distort a work in an expressionist way, you must first be able to accurately portray the subject, whatever it may be.

These works all follow roughly the same work methodology; ipod, projector, MDF, white wash background and various ink washes. Some people believe using a projector to assist in art creation is cheating. I asked artist Godwin Bradbeer what he thought of the use of projectors, as guides, he said only two words "whatever works". This methodology works for me.

My practice can be obsessive; I can't go five minutes without thinking about what to create next. The real work, the finished pieces are produced in the wee hours of the morning, while everyone is sleeping. Solitude helps to block out all the distractions.

The important things about these works, although being self portraits, is the notion that everything you look at, you can see yourself reflected in it at least on some level.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grouped exhibition: Elizabeth Nelson

Grouped installation shot 027

We are very pleased to have Elizabeth Nelson exhibit some works within the Grouped exhibition.  Elizabeth last showed works at Town Hall Gallery for the Re-invent, Re-interpret, Re-make exhibition in 2010.  Back then her work were grand and very large scaled.  For the Grouped exhibition, she has provided us with some smaller and more intimate works that are very beautiful.  Some of her collages on wood are reminiscent of mosaic, with the small pieces of paper replacing tiles and the wood underneath playing the part of grout.

They are definitely works not to miss!  We asked Elizabeth some questions about her art practice and what inspires her:

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from?
I am an emerging artist based in Melbourne. I grew up in Geelong and from an early age I loved painting and colour. My love of art and history led me to pursue both at university and now I have my sights firmly set on an art career.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you work in?
Currently I am experimenting with imaginative representations of landscape, created from remembered observation, chance and imagination. I like to allow a lot of room for a work to take different directions during its making, so each work is a journey into the unknown. For the past few years I have been using paper collage combined with other media.

What attracted you to work in the medium that you do?
Using paper collage came about from preparing cardboard collagraph plates when I studied printmaking. I found the plates beautiful in themselves. This led to using cardboard as a primary medium and this in turn evolved into using paper. As my collection of paper grew so did my collage resource. However, I am now focussing on paint as my primary medium.

What achievement are you most proud of to date?
Being prepared to give up other worthy pursuits so I can focus on my art.

Grouped installation shot 030

If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be and why? Who inspires you?
X de Medici. Her watercolour works are brilliant and I’d like to see how she goes about them. I am inspired by lots of different artists both past and present. I like reading about how artists of any type have created their careers, such as Dali and the writer Vera Brittain.

What's your work practice like? Do you work in a studio/home? What gets you in the mood to create?
I rent a studio so on my art days I go there in the morning, have a coffee and do a bit of reading, then begin work. The coffee is important in getting me going. Then the work itself gets me in the mood and ideas start to come.

Is there a soundtrack to your creativity? Do you have music or silence?
Sometimes I work in silence, other times with music. There is no particular soundtrack.

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?
Hopefully greater appreciation of the visual world and of its beauty, and interest in seeing things in new ways.

Where do you want to be in 10 years time? What's your dream?!
I want to be working full-time as an artist and to be exploring my art to its fullest.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beardo - A Tableaux Vivant

If you missed the official launch of the Beardo exhibition at Town Hall Gallery in late November 2010, then you missed the most amazing performance by Barking Spider Visual Theatre!  Luckily some parts of this performance that occurred throughout the opening night, has been captured and you can view it above via Youtube.

For more information about the performance and the lovely folk at Barking Spider Visual Theatre, check out their website here!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Beat article for I Wear My Heart On My Tee
Click on article to enlargen.

Town Hall Gallery has extended the deadline for submissions to be part of I Wear My Heart On My Tee 2011. 

The deadline is now Monday 17th January by 5pm.  Entries can be hand delivered to 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, 3122 or emailed to

Click here for the application form.

A big thank you to Cayce Hill at Beat Magazine for interviewing Town Hall Gallery curator, Mardi Nowak (article above) about the upcoming exhibition.  I Wear My Heart On My Tee 2011 will be open to the public from 2 March to the 26 March.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grouped: featuring Elizaveta Maltseva

Melbourne Weekly article Grouped 2011
Article from Melbourne Weekly, 10 January 2011.  Click on article to enlargen.

Town Hall Gallery's latest exhibiton Grouped begins this week on the 12th January until the 29th January.  It features Lee Hirsh, Andrea Kaltwasser, Elizaveta Maltseva (pictured), Elizabeth Nelson and Stephen Thompson.

We asked Elizaveta some questions about herself, her work and her ambitions.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from?

 I was born in Moscow, Russia and moved around a lot with my family as a child. After eventually settling in Melbourne, I did a lot of my own travelling. During my travels I also studied a semester of my undergraduate degree in England. "The time I lived in Totnes" is a body of images inspired by my time England.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you work in?

 I typically create works on paper, though a self developed mono-printmaking method.

What attracted you to work in the medium that you do?

For a long time I have enjoyed working in layers both narrativly and aesthetically. I have developed my printmaking process after working a lot with traditional printmaking processes and darkroom photography.

What achievement are you most proud of to date?

At this stage, in my very early career, I'm most proud of my solo exhibition at the Owl and Pussycat Gallery, Richmond in 2010. It was my first solo exhibition after university. After the support of Jason at the gallery, I have gone on to apply for many more shows.

If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be and why? Who inspires you?

The works of Sigmar Polke and Raymond Pettibon have been very influential to my practice. I feel that I could learn a tremendous amount through collaboration with these artists.

What's your work practice like? Do you work in a studio/home? What gets you in the mood to create? I have a studio in the Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston St Melbourne. I always try to keep busy. In between shows, I visit a lot of galleries and do a lot of reading. I try to spend all of my available time in the studio. This generally means before and after my fulltime job and weekends.

Is there a soundtrack to your creativity? Do you have music or silence?

I always have music playing in my studio (unless I'm writing proposals). The little rotation of cd's I had playing while creating this work was Liz Stringer, Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg, M83, a couple of mix cds made by friends and a glorious '90's Russian popmix.
What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?

I hope people will walk away with a piece of my work (or at least come back to see it again) as I think with each viewing they will discover something new. I aim to create several simultaneous narratives in each work, to encourage the thought of endless possibilities.

Where do you want to be in 10 years time? What's your dream?!

In 10 years time I hope to be able to dedicate all of my time to my practice and to support other emerging artists.