Monday, January 26, 2015

In Conversation: Adam Stone

Install View of A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), Debut X, Blindside ARI, Melbourne, March 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.


Adam Stone is a Melbourne based photographer, sculptor, video and installation artist who recently received his BFA First Class Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Fiona Myer award, a finalist in the Qantas SOYA award, a finalist in the McClelland Gallery Sennini Sculpture Award, the recipient of a Melbourne University Grant and the George Paton Gallery ‘Readings’ Prize. He was the recipient of the Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship, The Centre for Contemporary Photography Kodak Salon Borge Imaging Prize and The George Paton Framed Prize in 2012.

In 2014, Adam completed residencies at Inside Out Museum in Beijing and Residency Unlimited in New York. His work ‘A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash)’ won the Montalto Sculpture Prize in February.

He has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions at ARI’s, commercial and public galleries in Melbourne and Asia. Selected galleries include: Monash Gallery of Art, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Inside Out Museum (Beijing), Melbourne Museum, Albury Regional Gallery (collaboration), Seventh Gallery, Blindside ARI, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, The Centre for Contemporary Photography, MARS and Langford 120 (collaboration).

He is held in public and private collections in Australia and Asia.




Install View of A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), Debut X, Blindside ARI, Melbourne, March 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

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Tell us about your connection to the City of Boroondara.
I grew up in Canterbury and went to school I Kew, so I’m pretty familiar with the area. A lot of my time was spent at Camberwell skatepark where I now work (supervising, taking lessons etc). My interest in extreme sports that is evident in my work has been undoubtedly influenced by my time there. 

Was there a time when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Creativity was always fostered in my family. My Dad is an artist who studied painting at the VCA and my Mum studied graphic design, eventually perusing an art/craft practice instead. I had a passion for art and drawing early on that eventually dwindled in my teenage years as I became more and more impatient with the rigor hyperrealism demanded. Through BMX riding I became interested in photography, predominantly as a means of documenting my friend’s tricks, but this shortly transformed into a passion for art photography; its immediacy suited my teenage lack of patience. 

From there, it sort of became the only thing I could do. I would have been a complete idiot to choose a boring course at university when I could pursue art. For me, that decision was made out of laziness and self indulgence – which are both pretty abysmal and depressing to admit. However, I actually do enjoy admitting that because it does fit with the sort of cheekiness that sometimes seeps into my practice. 

What inspires you?
The primary concern in my work is the notion of hubris or an overreaching that has negative connotations. For example, a skateboarder who crashes trying a trick, global warming due to carbon emissions and the global financial crisis are just a few examples. This innate and troubling human behaviour is fascinating to me, because despite being so technologically advanced, we are still at the mercy of self indulgence and are attracted to high risk high reward behaviour. 

A lot of my interest in this area comes from personal experience. I used to be an athlete competing in 800m and cross country until I got post viral/chronic fatigue from overtraining. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I ride BMX and have had countless injuries, but can’t help myself from riding. 




Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), polyurethane, fibreglass, steel, automotive paint, 2 x 1.8 x 1.54 m. Image courtesy of the artist




What’s your favourite artwork and why? (Can be from any time in history).
To be honest I’m more influenced by an artist’s whole body of work rather than just a specific work. Each work is just a specific moment, or slice out of something greater in a successful art practice. With that said, I spend a lot of time enjoying the work of AES + F, Callum Morton, The Chapman Brothers, Urs Fischer, GCC and Paul McCarthy. 


Your sculpture A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) was acquired into our collection; can you tell us a bit about the work? It looks painful yet beautiful!

As I mentioned earlier, my work tends to deal with the idea of hubris. For this work I have used found images and my personal experiences with extreme sport and apply them to the notion of the hero in classical sculpture. By extracting found images and transforming them into 3D forms, I convert my/their failure into success. This highly gestural transformation creates a monument out of the digital image, an image devoid of any physical presence. I recreate this ‘cyberspace’ image using my own body, creating the basis for the self-portrait. I intend for the work to be a haunting reminder of the cycle of hubris and a reinterpretation of the Icarus myth in 2013. However, I also realise that viewer projects their own experiences onto the work and that informs their interpretation of it, which I also recognise and find interesting. 


What does it mean to you to have your artwork acquired into a public collection?

Besides being incredibly affirming and humbling, it gives the work an opportunity to exist in an ongoing capacity where it becomes (when exhibited) part of the public domain. 


If our readers want to learn more about you and your artworks, where can they go? Eg, websites, books, galleries, etc.

You can see more of my work and keep up with exhibitions I’m in at adam-stone.com.au. 


Finally, what’s coming up for you in 2015? Any big projects or exhibitions on the horizon? 

I have an upcoming solo show at Kings ARI in March 2015 where I will be showing a series of 3D printed sculptures including A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash). I have also been selected as a finalist in the Montalto Sculpture Prize where I will be showing a marble sculpture I completed during my residencies this year in Beijing and New York. I’m also planning on showing the work (alongside other new works) in a solo exhibition later in the year.

Work in Progress view of Pieta (Nick and Angus), white marble, 100 x 80 x 54 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Volunteers (WEEKDAYS) at Town Hall Gallery

We are seeking volunteers to join us at the newly redeveloped and expanded Town Hall Gallery. You must have a love of the visual arts, preferably with a background in Fine Arts or the creative industries (arts students welcome).

Some typical daily tasks may include: invigilating the gallery spaces; facilitating sales at the gallery retail store, The Emporium; assist in the running of workshops and public programs; participating in the delivery of exhibition openings; cash handling; and liaise with the public to answer questions about the gallery and exhibition program.

We expect our volunteers to act as ambassadors for the gallery at all times and in return, we offer valuable training and insights into the public gallery industry. Must be available weekdays with a minimum commitment of 2 to 4 shifts per month (approx. 10 hours).

TO APPLY
Please send a cover letter and CV to townhallgallery@boroondara.vic.gov.au 
Applications Close Friday 20 February, 2015 at 5pm.

Located in the redeveloped Hawthorn Arts Centre, Town Hall Gallery is the peak public gallery space for the City of Boroondara.Spanning three gallery spaces, Town Hall Gallery features a diverse range of contemporary and innovative curated exhibitions, public programs and exhibits drawn from the Town Hall Gallery Collection. The collection celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the City of Boroondara and fosters a strong sense of community and shared history. Part of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV), we support local, national and international artists at varying stages of their careers. We also offer a space for local artists and community groups to exhibit professionally on our Community Project Wall, located at the eastern side entrance of the Hawthorn Arts Centre.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Off and Running

To kick off the 2015 Exhibition Program at Town Hall Gallery we decided to put our four gallery spaces to four different uses - launching four quite different exhibitions. On a lovely summer Saturday we were delighted to have a bubbly and excited audience fill the galleries, engaging with our artists-in-residence and interacting with the participatory elements of the shows. 

Little artists contributing to the blackboard wall in Ilona Nelson's solo exhibition, 'This Place'

Across the main spaces we have curated the shows around the idea of place. Ilona Nelson's solo show This Place occupies Gallery 1 and incorporates a variety of interactive experiences for children and adults. The nature of parenthood, and particularly motherhood, is the underlying concept running through the work. Featuring a series of terrific photographs and a video work, along with the activities, the exhibition is designed to open a dialogue around the obligations of career, domestic labour and family.

Ilona Nelson, The Children's Republic
We're pleased to also be able to present the most recent acquisitions to our Permanent Collection. As a public gallery we have a role to collect artwork as an active archive of cultural life in the City of Boroondara. Over the last 12 months we have purchased work - photography, sculpture and painting - and also had several artworks donated to us. There's a broad array of work, covering various commitments we have to the Collection, from the work of a recent art graduate (Adam Stone), to a fabulous mid-career Australian painting talent (Tony Lloyd), to the icons of Australian art (Lin Onus and Eric Thake).

Checking out the work of Eric Thake
OK Collective, an artist duo consisting of Kathy Heyward and Oliver Cloke, has set up its studio operations in Gallery 2, the first of three rotations that will also see Kitty N. Wong (from Hong Kong) and Justin Hinder also work in the gallery space. OK Collective are researching and experimenting with communication techniques, testing out some ideas with the language of semaphore at the opening.

OK Collective talking to an enthused audience
At the Community Project Wall, our dedicated space for local artists and art groups, Merryn Lloyd presents a series of work continuing her wax painting process. Having been schooled in Boroondara and living not far from the gallery, Merryn is the perfect example of the artistic talent we have right at our doorstep. Her work is very popular, and has been exhibited right across Melbourne. A career on the rise having only recently graduated from art school - and the paintings are selling fast!

Merryn Lloyd in front of her work.
We hope you have a chance to come down soon to the shows - and keep in mind that Gallery 1 has lots of opportunity for engagement, with kids activities to creatively inspire young minds, and Gallery 2 will be a hive of artist working processes, with the chance to see artists making work in the flesh and for you to chat directly with them about their ideas and their ways of working.










Monday, January 12, 2015

Ronald Greenaway - The Artist and His World

With our Artist Commission for the August retrospective of Boroondara artist Ronald Greenaway already generating a lot of interest, let's take a closer look at the artist's work and his history. Much of the premise of the commission relies on artist research, so we'll take a general look through some of his highlights to set the scene of his life.

Ronald Greenaway's work promoting the Contemporary Art Society of Australia (Victoria).
Greenaway was the editor of the Society's magazine in the 1960s and served as Secretary and President.
Greenaway was born in Melbourne in 1932 and studied at Swinburne and completed an MA at Melbourne University. He has amassed a huge body of work, numbering more than 300 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints that are in exhibition-ready formats. Portraits, still lifes, landscapes and scenes from Melbourne life and its art scene feature heavily, with Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff, and Charles Blackman subjects of numerous paintings. Greenaway was friends with Albert Tucker and the Boyd family, exhibiting their works at the Contemporary Artist Society with which he was actively engaged.

Just one example of Greenaway's still life oil painting
There is a surrealist slant to much of his work, a sense of humour and insightful eye for the contemporary scenes of life around him. Greenaway was awarded a gold medal by Accademia of Italy in 1980, founded a group called 'The Essentialists' with Michael Smither in 1967, and has work in the collections of the NGV, the State Library of Victoria and Newcastle Art Gallery. 

An example of the highly coloured oil paintings of Greenaway, and a focus on Melbourne life.
What is most exciting with Greenaway's work is its broadness and depth, covering a variety of classic genres in a vibrantly contemporary manner. He is a living connection to a critically important era of Australian art and we're very much looking forward to showing you a great deal more of his art. For those artists looking at submitting for the commission, please feel free to be bold, courageous and innovative with your ideas about how to engage with the work. or to use Greenaway's art as an inspirational springboard from which to launch your own approach to new work. Best of luck - we're excited to read your ideas.

In Conversation: Tony Lloyd

If you've popped your head into Town Hall Gallery recently, you may have experienced a hive of activity. Gallery one holds the wondrous works of Ilona Nelson; gallery two has been transformed into an artist studio; and gallery three contains recent acquisitions to the Town Hall Gallery Collection. With the support of the City of Boroondara, we've had the opportunity to acquire some important and significant works of art from artists who have strong connections to the area. Tony Lloyd is one such artist and we recently spoke to him about inspiration, ideas and daily routines.

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LLOYD, Tony, The Other Side (2013), oil on linen, 66 x 92cm.

Tell us about your connection to the City of Boroondara.
I’ve lived in Hawthorn for ten years now. I’m quite near the yarra and I love the trees and the bird life that surround us where we live. I love watching the bats flying over our balcony every night, hearing kookaburras in the morning and going for epic walks through Studley park. We’ve seen frogmouths, goshawks, sacred kingfishers, turtles, snakes and once a very lost kangaroo. It’s fantastic to have all this so close to the city. I also enjoy being 4kms from the city with all the cultural advantages that inner city living has to offer.

What inspires you as an artist?
What inspires me most is experiencing an artwork, whether it be visual art, music, film or literature, and realising that it is expressing something in a way that is novel and completely unexpected. It makes me realise that there are an infinite number of ways of describing the world and it reminds me to look at things more closely, especially the things I think I already know.

CARAVAGGIO, The Conversion on the Way to Damascus (1601), oil on canvas, 230 x 175 cm, Image via Wikipedia.

What’s your favourite artwork and why? (Can be from any time in history)
One of my favourite paintings is The Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio. It is a high contrast painting of impenetrable shadows and bright light showing a horse led by an old man stepping over a young man lying on the ground, his eyes closed and his arms reaching upwards. The body of the horse and outstretched arms of the man create a circle which continually guides the eye around and around the picture. I’ve done two artist residencies in Rome and both times I was living close to the church where this painting hangs, almost every day I would go into the gloomy interior of the Cerasi chapel and stare at this painting. It was painted to tell a biblical story to an illiterate audience but what I find mesmerising is the unusual circular composition and the illuminated fragments of bodies that stand out in the darkness. Caravaggio’s paintings are like jigsaw puzzles with pieces missing, you need to use your imagination to complete them.

Two of your paintings are on exhibition at the moment; can you describe how they came to be? What are the ideas behind them?
The Other Side is a painting of Mount Kailash in Tibet. I travelled to Tibet in 2010 and was struck by the combination of grandeur and starkness in the landscape. The Tibetans imbue their landscape with mystical stories and Kailash certainly has an other worldly strangeness about it even without knowing those stories. I wanted to paint a mountain landscape in the tradition of romantic artists such as Eugene Von Guerard and at the same time capture the strangeness, the starkness and the grandeur.

LLOYD, Tony, Here Is Everywhere (2012), oil on linen, 92 x 71cm. 

In Here Is Everywhere I have used an image from the 1955 film Night of the Hunter of a farmhouse and barn on the edge of a pond. It’s a strange and beautiful film with many enigmatic scenes. In my painting the buildings are not reflected in the water but instead there is the upside down reflection of a snowy mountain (Mount Kailash). The idea for this work came after coming home from a fairly arduous trip to a part of the world that seemed impossibly remote compared to my life in Hawthorn. I was trying to imagine different locations on the planet existing in the same moment, and imagine here as not just my home, my country but in a much broader sense.

Describe a typical day in your art studio, eg, do you have a particular routine?
I am afraid it’s not that interesting, I get to my studio around 8:30am, I paint til 1pm when I go home for lunch. My studio is in Richmond, a short walk from home. A break is very important, I need to go outside to look at something different, painting is very tiring for the eyes. After lunch I go back and paint til 6:30-7pm.

While painting, I alternate listening to music with podcasts. The music is mostly instrumental. I like podcasts about science, art and history. Sometimes I require silence, it depends on the level of concentration required for the part of the picture I’m working on.

What does it mean to you to have your artworks acquired into a private or public collection?
It means a great deal to me to have my work in public collections. It is wonderful to have someone collect my work and hang it privately in their home but to know that my work will continue to be seen by new audiences, or be able to be revisited by people who enjoy it, is something to be proud of. I acquired my knowledge and love of art largely through public collections, without access to physical art works shown somewhere where I could sit for hours and stare, I may not have learnt enough to become an artist at all.

What can people learn from public collections of Art?
People can learn how to look at art, how artists look at the world and how to look at the world in new ways.

You have curated a number of exhibitions in your career as well, can you tell us about Notfair and how that project started?
Notfair is a small art fair that began as a utopian concept that would only show artists who we thought were under-represented regardless of their age or career stage. We wanted to try to raise their profile and sell their art for them. It was a huge success, we had thousands of visitors over the four day event, and we sold a lot of art. Since then I have gone on to work with a scientists at Melbourne University to curate an exhibition about chemistry and art and I am in the early stages of planning another curatorial project for late 2015.

LLOYD, Tony, No Time Left (2014), oil on linen, 61 x 122cm.
If you could give one piece of advice to emerging artists out there, what would it be?
Make work, keep trying to make better work, and when you believe your work is good enough, show it. It will take people time to understand it but the aim is to show to best of your abilities, how it is that you see the world.

If our readers want to learn more about you and your artworks, where can they go? Eg, websites, books, galleries, etc.
New Romantics. Darkness and light in Australian art by Simon Gregg Australian Scholarly Publishing. 2012



Finally, what’s coming up for you? Any big projects or exhibitions on the horizon?
At the moment I’m working towards a solo show in Hong Kong in early 2016, as well as various smaller projects.

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For more information on the Town Hall Gallery Collection, please visit http://www.townhallgallery.com.au/p/town-hall-gallery-collection.html