Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Conversation ... Sophie Westerman

This month we are very pleased to have an exciting young local talent,  Sophie Westerman, exhibiting at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall. 'I Have No Memory of This Place' is an exploration of perception and memory, and its connection to place. We spoke to Sophie about her art and she generously shared the ideas and circumstances behind her work.





TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM? 

I am Melbourne born and bred. I have lived in the same house in Canterbury my whole life bar 1 month.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?

I mainly make prints and drawings but do a bit of everything else as well. I love all forms of printmaking but use etching and lithography the most these days. My work looks a lot at memory and the idea of home. I am particularly interested in how people memorialise personal history and archive memories.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?

I was lucky enough to do a bit of printmaking in high school and always enjoyed the excitement of lifting up the paper to reveal a print for the first time. I have grown to love the various textures achieved through printmaking and the processes of making a plate that sometimes involve fun things like fire and acid. Prints are one step removed from the artist’s hand as they are impressions. The combination of the makers mark and something more mechanical I find mysterious and intriguing.

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?

Putting together my first solo exhibition at Rooftop Art Space was a big moment for me. It was the first exhibition post VCA and without that support structure around me. It was pretty exciting to put my work out in public and see my name printed on a flyer.

IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?

I have greatly admired Miso’s work for a long time now and would absolutely love to collaborate with her. Her work has a simplicity to it while also containing a lot of depth and detail. I would also love to work with Laith McGregor who has a great drawing style and sense of humour.


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 a shed like structure in the garden at home. I am very much a nightowl and a homebody so that works well for me. My practice is split between working in my studio and printing. In the studio I like to take my time and jump between different mediums and projects. If I am struggling to feel creative I often copy images from my collection of art books, like Goya’s Disasters of War series or Kathe Kollwitz’s prints and drawings. In the workshop I like to be efficient with my time and the press and get all the planning and mucking around out of the way beforehand.


IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?

It’s strange, there are some bands or musicians that just fit (like The National or Keaton Henson) but there are others that, though I love them, I just can’t work to. I tend to favour alternative or folksy music with a depressing bent. I also have a huge pile of really lightweight movies that I put on as I can keep up with the plot without paying too much attention. Basically, having music or movies playing helps me settle into my studio but I like silence sometimes too.


WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORKS

I hope I have created a peaceful and contemplative environment. How the work is presented is almost as important as the work itself in my opinion. I like making quiet spaces. Hopefully local residents can also connect with some of the places I’ve depicted and reflect on their own memories.


WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?

I would like to be making art full time. I would also like to be a better printmaker and more efficient with my email replying. My dream is to one day build a tiny house that looks like one of my prints and live in it. 

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Thanks to Sophie for her openness in sharing her thoughts. You can get a sneak peek at her work here, in this preview video:



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Town Hall Gallery Easter Hours!

Easter holidays are just around the corner so we thought we would give you a little reminder of our altered hours during the next few weeks.  The main galleries will be closed from next Monday 14 April and will reopen on Tuesday 29 April with the exciting new exhibition, The Act of Seeing.


We hope that all our Town Hall Gallery friends have a safe and happy Easter!  See you all soon!

Monday, April 7, 2014

In Conversation with Janice Gobey...



With only a week left to check out Fixation, we thought we would share a little bit about artist Janice Gobey and her works in the show.  The 'fur' suit has intrigued many of our visitors...


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM? 
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and have lived in Melbourne since 2001.



HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?
My work is mainly oil painting, installation and on occasion text based.  I am slightly obsessed with drapery and fur and use this as a metaphor for describing abstract concepts.  I’m currently interested in trauma and how the un-representable can be represented in painting. I’ve also developed an interest in the figure.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?
Paint has been a life-long love affair for me – once it grabs you, nothing else will suffice.  I can remember as a child going to the local newsagent and smelling the Crayola crayons, dreaming of the day I could get the 100 colour box – recently purchased!  There’s something about the smell of oil paint, the ability to mix up colours, how they work together on the support – something that I can only describe as magical.  The actual act of painting is something I feel compelled to do – it balances out my universe and somehow makes everything okay.


WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?
I am generally quite happy with the direction my work is moving in – I am of the belief that hard work pays off and I’ve certainly dedicated myself to my practice.  I think I am proud of new things each year – so this year it would be the selection of my work for 3 public gallery exhibitions and being invited to speak on my work at an international conference on Trauma in Copenhagen.


IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?
For ideas, I would have to say Sophie Calle –she’s always been one of my favourite artists, I like the personal nature of the work and how she really puts herself out there.  Another newer artist I find fascinating is Chiaru Shiota – her work really speaks to me.



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 out of the home – the paintings have just become too large to work from home and I get distracted by piles of washing etc.  I like to get into the studio – put on my apron, make a cup of tea and then get stuck in – I’m disciplined about working and am lucky to have more ideas than time – so it’s more about deciding what to work on than looking for inspiration. 



IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?
I like music through earphones – external noise in the studios is a pet peeve!  Sound track is usually a mix of alternative or classical music, some good old rock n roll, – enjoying Spotify at the moment.



WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORKS
I am hoping that my work connects with people on a non-verbal level – I attempt to take people away from their usual space and into my crazy world.  I’d like them to feel the work more than view it in a logical, rational way.



WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?
Wow – what a question – living the dream as in being able to make work 24/7 and not worry about paying the bills.  Lots of travel to places that inspire me, spending time overseas working on projects / in residencies.  I’d love my work to contribute to making social changes, focusing attention on aspects of society that need change, well recognised as an artist and invited to participate in amazing shows!