Monday, September 28, 2015

In Conversation: Catherine Clover

Eye Score: The Audible Image has delivered a fresh crop of talented artists into the Town Hall Gallery exhibition spaces. Melbourne-based artist Catherine Clover has created a text-based work titled so to speak (2015) that appears on the glass window of the eastern entrance to the Hawthorn Arts Centre.

Marion Piper, Gallery & Curatorial Assistant, recently had a conversation with Cath about listening, birds and paying attention to daily life.


[Marion Piper]: Hi Catherine! How are you?
Let’s kick off this interview for Eye Score..
Can you tell me a little bit about your artistic practice and the work you’ll be exhibiting in Eye Score?

[Catherine Clover]: Hi Marion! 
My practice looks at communication through voice and language, with listening as the key means of gathering material. The work uses the reciprocity that takes place between hearing and listening, seeing and reading. Speculative and imaginative but grounded in scientific and philosophical research, I am interested in the potential for communication across species in the urban environment, with the city as a kind of rich and complex trigger that is an opportunity for the potential of cross species exchange.

Detail from so to speak (2015), vinyl lettering, 2400 x 4200 cm, Courtesy of the artist.

The work I am producing for Eyescore is a site specific response to the area. It is a sonic response - a listening, if you like - to the daily activities along Glenferrie Road and Burwood Road, realised in text form. I made several field trips recording what I heard and what I saw through both field recordings and written notes. In the work you read/hear the voices of the local birds - lorikeets, pigeons, ravens, gulls - and the local population, and you read familiar local signs such as road names, shop signs, tram numbers and routes, and graffiti. The voices are in italics. In effect the work is like a listening/reading of the site that folds back onto itself, a score which can be privately read or publicly performed. It is a score that predicts an event, like a conventional score, but it is also a score that occurs at the same time as the event as well as after the event: for example you may notice the gull fly overhead as you read or the gull may fly overhead because you read or the gull may fly overhead as you walk away.

Detail from so to speak (2015), vinyl lettering, 2400 x 4200 cm, Courtesy of the artist.

[MP]: I love your engagement with multiple senses as a means to activate the work. What I notice, ironically, is that you demand a lot of attention from your viewer in a captivating way, which not only brings to light their immediate environment, but also fosters a sense of active presence. Is the concept of absence/presence an integral part of understanding your work?

Detail from so to speak (2015), vinyl lettering, 2400 x 4200 cm, Courtesy of the artist.

[CC]: That’s interesting that you read it as multiple senses, as my core interest in sense perception is sound, the sonic and listening. My background in the visual is never far away though, yes, as the work illustrates. Yes the work is about paying attention; paying attention to the infra ordinary, to the daily, the ordinary and I hope the artwork directs viewers to that as much as to itself.

Absence/presence is not a concept that I have paid particular attention to although you are right that it is a component of the work. In terms of environmental considerations it’s an important concept as well of course but my interest is in those wild city birds that are fully present rather than vulnerable to extinction, say. Those vulnerable to extinction get more attention these days but the birds I engage with are generally ignored as pest species, numerous and uninteresting to many of us. This general dislike is something that prompts my interest in them.

[MP]: That's interesting Cath, about the pest species and the dislike you mention. The eastern entrance to the Hawthorn Arts Centre, where your work is on display, is often the most confusing entrance for visitors to the centre, often causing frustration. This highlights how often we don't pay attention - is it your intention to bring spatial as well as sonic awareness here?

Detail from so to speak (2015), vinyl lettering, 2400 x 4200 cm, Courtesy of the artist.

[CC]: Yes the birds and inter-species relations are one of the key aspects of my work so yes, your point about paying attention is well made, especially paying attention to the everyday, the daily, the ordinary and the repetitive. It is easy to follow habits in the habitual and the work calls attention to this, a reminder perhaps, of those smaller things that make up our lives, overlooked mostly but significant. Yes spatial awareness is integral to sonic awareness and they go hand in hand as sound describes site through its dimensions.

[MP]: So, thinking of the everyday, how has your artistic process (of listening and recording) changed your ways of engaging with the world?

[CC]: That’s a great question Marion - yes it has. I pay far more attention than I used to and find myself all the richer for it, particularly the ordinary repetitive things of everyday life. Attentive listening can be done anywhere and anytime and is such a rewarding process but so subtle and with minimum impact, no impact really. In some ways I think that my art process could be pulled right back to the listening, a gesture so minimal but so expansive. Very Zen! But true!

Detail from so to speak (2015), vinyl lettering, 2400 x 4200 cm, Courtesy of the artist.

[MP]: Your work is incredibly mindful and I know that visitors to Eye Score will appreciate the opportunity to slow down and take notice.

What's next for you Cath? Any other exhibitions or projects coming up?
[CC]: I am involved in an exhibition in New York at the moment, Old tech New tech the dates are very similar to Eye Score in fact so it’s been a busy few weeks, and working on a few articles for journals, attempting a hybrid approach to writing that blurs the creative with the academic. One article will be coming out soon on Iris Garrelf’s Reflections on Process in Sound. I’ve got various possibilities/collaborations for next year, and confirmed so far are an exhibition at McClelland Gallery for later in 2016 curated by Janine Burke Human Animal Artist plus a sound event in London in January as part of the Points of Listening programme organised by Salomé Voegelin and Mark Peter Wright.


Eye Score: The Audible Image is open to the public until Sunday 1 November, 2015. For more information on Catherine Clover, check out her website at .

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Do you make beautiful things? WE NEED YOU!

Our adorable shop, The Emporium @ THG

As we approach the 'silly season' once again, our gallery shop 'The Emporium @ THG' is somewhat lacking in Christmas related goods. We're on the hunt for holiday season themed goods...everything from Christmas cards to wrapping paper to toys to jewellery

We have beautiful locked cabinets to display your precious goods!

If you, or someone you know, makes beautiful things (preferably handmade in Australia) please get in touch via email or give us a call on (03) 9278 4626. We love meeting new artists and designers so if you think you might have what we're after we'd love to hear from you. Check us out on Instagram too, we often post about our Emporium stockists there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Free Groundfinds Workshops!

At Town Hall Gallery, we LOVE to encourage making in all forms. We also believe that art making practices should be sustainable, for both the artist and the environment. We're thrilled to be supporting local artist Lauren Castillo in her efforts to bring the message of sustainability in art to life in October through the Power Street Project exhibition on our Community Project Wall.

Power Street Project is an exploration of the relationship between discarded objects and place-making. On weekdays, Castillo walks from her home on Riversdale road in Hawthorn, straight up Power St (that turns into Denmark St), to her workplace at QArt Gallery on High St in Kew. Castillo collects discarded objects which she has called ‘Groundfinds’ on her daily journey and repurposes them into jewellery and other wearable items. Power Street Project is a participatory exhibition as Castillo encourages you, the viewer, to notice what is discarded around you and how you can re-purpose ‘junk’ into something wearable or useful.

In addition to the exhibition, Castillo will be running two FREE workshops open to the public for the City of Boroondara's Living for Our Future program. The program is designed to support the community on their sustainable living journey and build skills and interest around sustainable living and the natural environment. 

The workshop themes will centre on sustainability, mindfulness and the urban ecological footprint. These themes will be discussed through the workshops with schools and the general public.

Power Street Project - Groundfind Workshops will be held at the Hawthorn Arts Centre, Basement Space, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn on: 
  • Thursday 8 October, 6.30pm - 7.30pm
  • Saturday 10 October, Noon - 1pm
Bookings for workshops are essential as places are limited. To book, click here

For more information or to sign up for the Living for our Future e-news, click here!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Obscuring the [not so] obvious...

MARMARAS, Katherine, detail of Obscuring the [not so] obvious...#4 (2015), photo transfer, Indian ink and and coloured pencil, 31 x 43 cm, Courtesy of the artist. 

Last Saturday we launched local artist Katherine Marmaras' exhibition Obscuring the [not so] obvious... on our Community Project Wall to a curious crowd. Featuring a number of mixed media works, these patterned pieces focus on the gestural form of trees in the urban landscape of Boroondara. 

Marmaras uses photo transfer to create the base imagery and then works back into each print using coloured pencil, gouache and other materials. The resulting effect is a kaleidoscopic perspective of the natural and urban worlds in conversation. Marmaras invites the viewer to stop and reflect on the line between these two worlds and how often they overlap, intermingle and collide. Particularly in metropolitan areas, trees grow into and around manmade structures, such as concrete paths and buildings, proving that nature can (and will) carve its own path.

The most striking feature of Marmaras’ work is the repetition. Recognisable imagery is turned on its head, sideways and back-to-front, to produce dizzying patterns. Colour draws attention towards this intervention, rather than away from it, pulling out the gaps between newly formed shapes. These shapes mimic patterns found in nature on leaves, in flowers and the roots systems of trees, reinforcing the strong influence of the natural world to her artistic practice.

Visitors admiring Marmaras' detailed works at the Community Project Wall.

At the launch, visitors were delighted by the shimmering colours in each of the works, commenting on all of the intricate details. Marmaras' joining of the natural and urban environments is mirrored in her own artistic process through hand-colouring and her discipline in building up the numerous layers that comprise each image.

Obscuring the [not so] obvious... runs until Sunday 4 October, 2015.