I’ve been enamoured by the work of James Bonnici for quite a while now, his beautifully rendered and contorted blurs of portraiture especially – and this Friday night he’ll be putting on a solo show at Dark Horse Gallery in the Melbourne CBD.
"Through portraiture and landscape, my work explores how distortion, blurriness, light and space may be used to depict psychological states, perceptions and how we experience our physical reality. Painting and drawing from photographs taken with my phone camera allows me to interpret my immediate surroundings and subjects that are close to me.
The portraits of heads in motion capture a number of moments not ordinarily perceptible. They give us a glimpse of the in-between and what lies beneath the surface. Distortion is created through the representation of subjects in motion, hinting at the subjects’ psychological state. Painting the motion blur materializes the distortion created by the camera, transforming the movement into fleshy, sculptural vessels of contortion, while the darker tones of the drawings seek to heighten the underlying anguish. These approaches draw on the disturbing, grotesque elements of the initial subject in order to accentuate the obscure within the psyche.
Contrasting with the moving heads are the representations of static environments that we occupy and move through everyday: backyards with high fences, bleak buildings and fluorescent interiors. By using awkward angles and rendering these environments with a minimal palette (as if through a filter), there is the attempt to heighten the unsettling and claustrophobic atmosphere of these spaces. While these confined spaces may be perceived as oppressive, the final imagery of each piece aims to display a hidden beauty within: one that shows stillness, silence and a contemplative nature."
With so much going on this weekend, this is definitely a show to go and see – if you want to catch one of the rising stars of the Melbourne fine art world, and just see some amazing art – head down and check it out.
Who: James Bonnici What: In-Between Spaces solo show Where:Dark Horse Experiment, 110 Franklin St, Melbourne When: Show opens Friday 13th September 2013 from 6pm til 9pm and runs until 12th October
Magda_C is back with another NZ update – this time she’s grabbed a bunch of pics of all the latest work around Auckland, from KRoad (Karangahape Road, but everybody calls it K Road) and the inner city suburbs of Ponsonby and Newmarket.
Some great New Zealand street art talent including Component, Cut Collective, Dager, EnforceOne, Enzo & Nio, Misery and Sofia Mainsen who Magda tells us
"Sofia Minson is a fine artist – and I think this is her only outside piece. It is a paste up of a painting she did of NZ musician Tiki Taane, consisting of multiple pieces. it’s HUGE and must have been quite a mission to get done!"
Blender studios is a constantly evolving melange of talent and ambition, one of the cornerstone hubs of art in the Melbourne CBD and an icon unto itself. In my many visits there (countless, really), I’ve been privileged to meet artists from all walks, styles and creativity. From new artists, to those who are established, there’s no doubt that it is a veritable wellspring of amazing art.
Antonia Trash is one of the artists who I’ve been lucky to meet in my visits to the Blender, and someone whose work I’ve been scrumptiously checking out, and hoping to see in a gallery setting – now, she has her first solo show, and I’m excited to see what she’s come up with.
“The first solo show by Trash,
Painting spiders to cover the gaps.
Tales of dark places high, and joy gone awry,
Trashed youth is absconding the trap.
Often deep, sometimes dark, but always hopeful, trashed youth is an abstract representation of transitional events in the life and art of TRASH. Realization and acceptance, this is an unseen fine art practice that is ready to be unveiled.”
Definitely a great show to see. We’re big fans of first solo shows, and we’ll be heading there to check out Trashs work on the night – seeya there!
Who:Antonia Trash What: Trashed Youth solo show Where: Egg Gallery, 66a Johnson St, Collingwood, VIC When: Show opens Thursday 6th December from 6pm til 9pm
I can pinpoint where I met E.L.K. to the exact moment, and I can remember quite clearly, exactly, what was said and what happened. In fact, I wrote about it, so even if my memory had of, by chance, been a little hazy its all there.
It was, truth be told, something of a “moment” for me. On the one hand, that moment was the beginning of an entirely unexpected friendship with a man whose friendship I both respect and treasure, and on the other it was one of those moments that a writer looks back on and goes “I was there!” with some amount of pride (intermingled with a slight fraction of awe) – because, sitting here a year and a half later, at that time I had very little idea of where E.L.K. would be with today.
Neither, of course, did he.
Some of his words to me, back in the park where we first met, echoed in my mind as we sat down at The Vic last week, drinks in hand.
“If you can make a living, successfully,” doing what you love doing and doing what you’re good at,” he remarked “ … it’s the dream!”
In the past year and a half, a part of this dream has, in truth, come true for E.L.K. His love for art, his passion and dedication over the years have paid off in many ways, and he now spends his “working hours” creating his art – but even being granted a partial aspect of his artistic dream hasn’t come without its own trials.
“I thought it would take a lot longer to get where I am,” he remarks, humbly as always, when I catch up with him. “I thought, ten years maybe, realistically. But it really has been a big couple of years.”
“I do feel tired,” he laughs. “Not I need a nap tired – I’m fucking drained!”
The fact that he can laugh about it all, however, marks that he has also taken it in his stride – because it really has been a big fucking year for E.L.K.
After moving to Melbourne from Canberra, it seemed as if it was all systems go right from the very start. Although now residing in Richmond at Paradise Hills, E.L.K. did a short stint at Blender studios, where he immediately got to work on a new portrait piece of the much loved and notable Fr Bob Maguire.
When he first submitted Fr Bobs portrait to the Archibald prize, E.L.K. was less than certain as to how it would be received, this was, after all, one of the biggest contemporary art prizes in Australia. That it was selected to take part in the actual competition itself was not only a major win for street derived art in general, but it was a phenomenal boost for the career of an artist who had literally worked his ass off – it was another win for the acknowledgement that street derived art has a place in Australian contemporary art, and E.L.K. was at the forefront of it all.
“Its been a really big wave – a huge wave,” he explains when we start talking about his reflects on the Archibald “experience”.
“Not so much the Archibald itself, but the buzz surrounding it, the media surrounding it. Nothing prepares you for it. It’s what we all want – but when it actually happens, fuck, you can’t go back from it. Actually ‘making it’ can be pretty scary – but once you face it … well, not so much. ”
Beyond the media, the promotion and the entire “mainstream” rigmarole behind the Archibald, being a part of the whole process and event also gave E.L.K. something that he believed he was missing, something worth more in his mind than all the rest.
“It gave me more confidence,” he confided. “Which really was something I was lacking, within myself and with my art.” He sits back and takes a drink before putting on a wry grin, “Yeah, it was definitely an awesome ride.
“I felt like I was almost tapping into the zeitgeist,” he continued, talking about the entire experience. “The subject, the timing an the award, and it was just the right time. I think the Art Gallery of NSW was looking to introduce street art into the award, but they just hadn’t quite had the right piece. So, the planets aligned and it just … I felt like there was something a lot more spiritual going on behind the scenes, which is funny, coming from an atheist, but there was more to it I felt.”
E.L.K.s Archibald piece none withstanding, as a hardcore atheist, there was more than one “spiritual connection” that came from the experience – the other being the formation of a friendship with his subject.
“I’ve become quite close with Fr Bob,” he says, smiling. “He’s a great guy. I’m like a 33 year old, and he’s much older … but we’re quite the same – kindred souls. He just says it how it is, and that’s something I’ve always done, and said. I may not always be right, but that’s my perception. With Fr Bob there’s no bullshit, and I respect that. It’s just nice to come across. Particularly in regards to the art world, you come across a lot of bullshit, so it’s nice to have a bit of truth.”
“We do talk quite regularly. I had a call from him last week and he said ‘what’s this about my face popping up all over town” he laughs, obviously making mention of the many Fr Bob stickers that have surreptitiously been springing up around Melbourne of late “… I kinda said, well, I can have a chat to them if you want, and I can see if they’ll stop doing it!”
Not only did E.L.K. form a bond with Fr Bob over the work, but it also lead him in a new direction with his work. Whereby previously, his work focused heavily on the portrayal of issues and other societal concerns, he found himself recently changing direction towards a more classically orientated bent – portraiture.
“I’ve actually concentrated a lot more on portraiture and less on the street sort of social commentary work that I’ve done,” he explained. “I think id like to establish myself more as a portrait artist than a stencil artist, to be honest.”
“The whole process of selecting a subject, meeting the subject and making the art and capturing that subject is great. Also, for me, and mainly, just the whole unveiling of the piece to the subject can be really touching.”
As a man who has for time now been acknowledged as a master of his chosen technique, with stencils comprising up to seventy different layers of high degrees of detail, as well as an individual who has tackled subjects including war, religion, consumption and greed, it is this human touch to his new works in portraiture that have him flowing with exuberance.
“I don’t know what it is about it – its all, imagery creation,” he says, laconically, “but it really has nothing to do with technique anymore. It’s all about subject and content. I have the technique down pat – but getting the right image, and making it all work, that’s the hard part.”
Thus, his upcoming solo show at Metro Gallery, “Not With It”, is something of an explorative body of work for E.L.K.. Of course, within the show are several of his older themed pieces of social commentary, older themed work, but the body of the show, and the epic mainstay for a certainty, is in the portraiture that he will be displaying. Having been through a portion of the maelstrom of “success” and not gone down with the ship in the process, it seems that this has had nothing but a positive effect.
“It was really about pushing myself, in many ways,” he explains, “and to not worry about it too much. Just man-ing up and getting into it – which is what I did – but it wasn’t easy.”
In fact, when we caught up at Paradise Hills that night, before our sojourn down to the pub on Victoria Street, E.L.K. had only just finished a portrait of aboriginal actor Jack Charles. The work is massive, one of the largest and most intricate pieces that I have ever seen him produce. The shades and tones of the work left me breathless, and as he pulls up a photo of it I can’t help but think that for all the “success” that he has had thus far, that this is only the beginning.
“It took me three weeks to do that piece,” he says, almost belying the effort behind it. “It was all about pushing things further … I can’t do what I used to do. I can’t sit down and cut for a hundred hours … it’s really good, but I’m tired.”
Melbourne artist Miso has a new show coming up tomorrow night at Hugo Mitchell Gallery in Adelaide.
Pushing further into her cut out paper phase, Misos latest work is an absolute delight. Intricate, fragile and beautiful, her new pieces look to be an absolute labour of love and cutting. Some of the details on these works are so fine that we have a hard time imagining exactly how time and effort has gone into them – and we love them for it!
Cutouts, illustrations, girls, strange dreamlike scenery and elements of the fantastical pervaded both artists works, and though they both have very different illustrative techniques, common elements (particularly an array of several notational strokes) carried over between all of their pieces. The work on either side of the gallery was in harmony, bonded together by a gorgeous, hat catching installation in the centre of the room. Wonderful.
After having followed their work for so long, it was also really nice to finally get the chance to meet both of the artists! Check out all the pics from the show below, and head down to Egg Gallery over the next week or so to see it all for yourself!
Super cool creative things coming up this week in Collingwood! Rambler Collective is putting on a show featuring Hollie M Kelley & Ryan McGennisken, two amazingly talented fine artists. We’ve actually already had the pleasure of interviewing them in the past, and each artists style and vision are completely unique, and quite dreamlike in their own way.
Hollie M Kelly creates amazing illustrations of watercolour and ink based on nostalgic notions and ideas from childhood, transporting her viewers into a time from memories, long past. Her delicate mixed media works allow the mind to wander down a path of innocence and simple appreciation for her beautiful skill. Check out her interview for more insight into her works.
Ryan McGennisken is also a wizard of the watercolour, who often creates work to play on the dreamlike qualities of the mind. His detailed fantasy worlds create a sense of intrigue, leaving us curious and searching each picture to decipher the meaning within. Take a look at his interview and to see a small sample of his amazing awe inspiring work.
This show combines the talents of both these guys, and goddamn it is truly an illustrators dream to see what they may create together. The show will comprise not only of drawings but installations also!
"We are the fragments of a small portion of the universe’s timeline, we will remain for a duration, but before this timeframe, how many years was the world here before us and how long after death will the universe go on? Something, to touch, to think, to move, to breath, feel, love. To be afraid or braver than you could have ever imagined. There is a special place between sleep and wake where thoughts, dreams and matter culminate – does life matter and if it does, how are you crafting your fragment of time?"
Check out some of these preview images …
Will you be there to see these amazing creations? We certainly will!
Who:Hollie M Kelley & Ryan McGennisken What: Sleep and Wake Exhibition Where: 66a Johnston Street, Collingwood When: Show opens Friday 25th May from 6pm til 9pm and runs til the 4th of June
Backwoods, as usual, are putting on an awesome new show next week by a super cool and talented Melbourne artist. This time it’s the likes of Ghostpatrol, a guy who was definitely one of Melbourne’s first and most inspiring street artists.
Ghostpatrol smashed it at his last exhibition in Backwoods last year, and we can’t wait to see the amazing magical things he has created this time. As an artist, he is most famous for the amazing worlds and characters he creates, each with such personality that they demand attention. He works across many mediums, and his works inspire each person who sees them to think in an alternate way, outside of the world as we know it.
Ghostpatrol’s quirky contraptions are seen not only on canvas and board, but most divinely on the streets of Melbourne, ranging from pasteups to eye catching large scale murals.
This show is comprised of 5 large scale works on linen, appropriate size to tackle the intense questions of the universe it seems..
‘Across this new series of paintings, the artist imagines shapes and forms created in the super future, beyond human kind in the great transformations of matter and dark matter in the cosmos.
That’s not to say that the work presented is intense in nature, with Ghostpatrol’s highly stylised worlds inhabited by characters as curious about their place on the canvas as their artist is about his in the cosmos. “My studies of cosmology and the evolving quantum theory set the scene for the worlds I create,” says Ghostpatrol, noting the recent work of scientists Michio Kaku and Brian Cox as inspirational touchstones.’
Here are some sneaky shots from the upcoming show..
Check out some more here – we’re totally excited for this! See you there!
Who:Ghostpatrol What: Cosmic Scale and The Super Future Solo Show Where: Backwoods Gallery, 25 Easey Street, Collingwood When: Show opens Friday 18th May, from 6pm til 9pm and runs until the 13th of June.
After completing a bachelor degrees in fine arts and education, and subsequently teaching art in Queensland high schools for five years, Sarah Hickey started to produce art again after a long hiatus from her creative practice.
“In three years, Hickey has held seven solo shows and participated in thirteen group shows. A recent recipient of the Sponsors Prize at the WLS From the Heart exhibition and a featured artist in Curvy magazine, the 2009 Goddess series was chosen as the brand identity for Barossa Belle wines.”
This latest collection, like most of Sarah’s work, focuses on portraits of women depicted as goddesses and idols. These ladies are adorned with lace like patterns and rich textures, tones and vibrant golden colours all blending in to one another to create blissful, refreshing works that move between ages, genres and cultural origins.
One could look at any number of the pieces in both this, and Sarah’s previous collections, and see the present, past and future of artistic style intermingled. The works transport us to ancient lands, or spiritual realms, and into the goddesses that surround us or which we hold within. Sarah is an Old Soul who is before her time. A contradiction in terms that creates something so unique it is almost too hard to explain – especially when you are gasping for air, and words, at the sight of these beautiful works.
“Most recently the women have been sporting horns. Not the devilish horns associated with satanic worship, but bull horns or stag horns, which resonate with the hybrid pagan Gods worshipped before Christianity. To me they represent strength and bullheaded determination, the potential to defend or protect the herd and to warn off potential competition – all attributes usually associated with masculinity.
Despite their organic crowns these women are not overtly aggressive. They wear them as a badge of honour or status, as if to say: ‘I may seem immersed in this timid floral lace landscape but I have these horns, this pride, this potential for danger, this potential for strength’” – Sarah Hickey, on speaking of her latest creative foray.
If you are lucky enough to be in Brisbane at the time, we implore you all to attend this exhibition, this astounding artist and her powerful women have a lot to say.
Who: Sarah Hickey What: Horned Lace Idols – New Works Solo show Where: White Canvas Gallery – 26 Church St, Fortitude Valley QLD When: Opening night Saturday 1st October 5pm. Show runs til 11th October 2011