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what goes around comes around

after all the bitching and moaning about grant applications i have to do, one of them fell through and i found myself being simultaneously relieved and disappointed. relieved because i got about 5 hours of my life back this week and disappointed because it was one of the applications that was for myself, not for project or anyone else. it was an opportunity to create some work of my own and to further my career and get my ideas happening and out there into the public domain, so to speak

the works are based on the domestic cycle (see previous blog) and were planned for the grounds of a new housing estate near here.

in my sulk, i decided to flagellate myself more and scour the art life blogspot blogspot, seeing how well everyone else is doing and what the cool kids are up to - boo hoo. and then i found the gem! i discovered terminus projects' new round of site-specific works and their call for proposals for the next round ' comfort zones'. ok, so it's more paperwork, but it sure picked me up out of my childish tantrum! even if i'm unsuccessful, it's so great to know that organisations like that exist - that they live to create more opportunities for site-specific works - tops!


oh, the paperwork

Part of the inspiration for setting up this blog was an piece by Gregory Pryor in a publication called Artists Talk, published by west space.. It was a copy of his diary over a week and notations of all the things he had to do as an artist, especially in the week leading up to a residency in Queensland. He mentioned the paperwork. Now I'm mentioning the paperwork. Outside of my almost-full-time job, I am the chairperson for Project Contemporary Artspace and a practising artist and this week, i'm working on 5 grant applications. For those that understand - yes 5! For those that don't, here's a breakdown of my life, otherwise known as a timetable.

This week -
work - 30 hours.
commute - 20 hours
ministry grant - 4 hours
wollongong city council small grant cat 1. - 3 hours
wollongong city council small grant cat 2. - 1 hour
wollongong city gallery residency - 3 hours
liminal personae content - 1 hour
project fundraiser trivia night - 5 hours

Total work: 66 hours
Total pay: 30 hours

Next week
work - 30 hours
commute - 15 hours
wollongong city council small grant cat 1. - 4 hours
wollongong city council small grant cat 2. - 1 hour
wollongong city gallery residency - 3 hours
rent reduction submission to council - 2 hours
liminal personae content - 4 hours
project fundraiser trivia night - 2 hours

Total work: 61 hours
Total pay: 30 hours

That's 2 week's worth of unpaid work, in order to possibly get some more money, in order to create more unpaid work - either for the gallery or myself! Does any other profession produce that much paper work, unpaid, in order to get more unpaid work? Possibly the unemployed...



i don't usually use syncronicity as a term in regularly conversation, (thanks to the overuse of it by hippies) and very rarely do i use it when talking about artwork, but today, it's just right. for the 'cube' project and various applications i've been filling out for it, i've been talking about my influences and theories behind the works and one of the artists i've been referring to is Rachel Whiteread - great YBA who made those monumental plaster casts from demolished builings. Back in the day when i was working on my 'impactograms'.. long story - i was thinking about creating an impression from destruction in a similar way. anyway, for a while i forgot about her and kept doing my own thing, referencing a bunch of suprematists and a bit of christo, etc, when i stumble upon the poloxygen website in research for work. and then i saw it. Rachel Whiteread has created these amazing plaster works that are so much like the plan for mine!! D'oh!

I'm not going to do the typical art school thing and shy away from what i'm doing, because they are different, and mine isn't about memory, in the same ways hers is, but it's still a little annoying. for the simple fact that i'm an emerging artist from a small town in NSW and she's an internationally renowned sculptor and installation artist from the UK - i can hear it now 'hmm.. someone's copied someone else's work..' - bah! it is impossible to create purely original work and the more i'm afraid of referencing works, the more anal and egocentric my work will be. so i'm going to keep creating these cubes, but be aware that there may be some flak headed my way. or maybe its just a form of flattery - hopefully so.


Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought

Boy do i love this book! I've been working on some new projects recently and doing some research and theoretical thinking about a few things and whenever i've looked up a relevant topic in this book, my mind just explodes with the relevance of it all. One project I'm working on is a public art project based at a development site and i'm going back to the stacks of red, but instead of milk crates, i'm looking at fibreglass red cubes. I looked up a reference for 'development' and found the following:

developmental cycle: Concept develped by Meyer Fortes to understand the changes which take place within the Domestic Group. It provided as a concept the link between the individual and society. Fortes analysed the domestic group as the focus of social reproduction, where members move through a cycles of recognised roles at different stages of their lives. The cycle is expressed in spatial or residential arrangements. Fortes identified 3 phases in the developmental cycle: 1. expansion - the period of marriage, birth and rearing of children; 2. fission - the marriage of children, departure from the domestic group and the establishment of a new conjugal group; 3. replacement - death of parents and birth of children to second generation. Relations between individuals within the domestic group may be reflected in its different stages of development; e.g tension between father and son over succession may be lessened through the establishment of a separate residence.

For me, that stuff is loaded with connections to the work i was thinking about and has completely validated my original idea - not mention giving me further study for some of the relations between groups and within groups!

After the slog of putting on a show, it's so nice to move onto the next work and see it rolling out before your eyes. Other projects I'm working on have also had connections to theories in this fantastic publication and i'm sure i'll be quoting it again really soon!


the bloody cabinet saves my house

well, i never would have thought that an artwork would be considered a security device, but i think my cabinet of bloody curios has become one! tonight i arrived home from work to the front screen door swinging and front door open. I called out and heard someone racing through the house, opening the back door and running. I went round the back, heard the fucker jump the fence and get away. "Get the fuck outta my house" was the best defence I had and I went back inside to call the cops. Nothing was taken, nothing disturbed and my undies draw wasn't even rifled through... When i walked back through the house, i realised that my cabinet full of bloody weapons was right in the doorway and I'd like to think it frightened the fuck out the little bastard! Installation strikes again... Even the cops enjoyed the irony of it all.

So thanks to all those who didn't enquire about purchasing my artwork - it has turned out to be a fine security system!


the carnival is over

it seems that the origin of the word "carnival" comes from the Italian words carne vale, which mean a removing of meat, as a proof of the sensual licences given to the faithful during shrovetide. oh, how appropriate..

and the removal of the 'meat' is now complete and the works for she sees red are back in my spare room. it was a fantastic experience and to have 320+ people through the doors to check out my show, was pretty exciting, especially because most people had heard about the concepts and were interested. it was great to have some intelligent discourse in the gallery!

the carnival theme seems to be continuing in my next work as well. jade pegler and i are putting in a proposal for the wollongong city gallery residency and one of the projects we're working on is slightly based around the idea of carnival -in the original sense. a little bit middle ages, a little bit rob zombie/mike patton and a little bit louise bourgeouis. hopefully we're successful, 'cos if nothing else, i'm looking forward to developing a soundtrack for it.

the works will be based on the eggs that i do, plus jade's puppetry/construction/textile works, with a background in theatrical display and viscera. a kind of macabre and discombobulated look at the mechanations of life cycles, in a way.


last days

tomorrow is the last day of she sees red:an installation! if you haven't had time to check it out, pop into the gallery and come say hey: 255 Keira St, Wollongong. project is open 11am - 4pm and i'll be there all day. then the mammoth task of restoring the gallery to its original condition begins: painting red walls white, going over the stencilling, filling in holes and taking down the paintings (that is the easy part!). there has been a lot of great feedback about the work and i'm grateful for the conversations here and there with visitors who have been interested in the ideas of the work. i think i underestimated people's capacity to think about challenging issues and have been pleasantly surprised. thanks to all those who came and checked it out and watch this space for more info about upcoming work.


one true life

well, today is officially the last day of my life as an artist (weekends just don't count). don't get me wrong, i'll continue to be an artist, create work, generate grant application forms, put on exhibitions,etc. but for the last 3 weeks, i haven't had to squeeze it around 'gainful employment'. i took time off so that i would have time to install and sit the space for the show. and i've spent the rest of the time being an artist - working on ideas, putting my invitations in all the right places, talking to people about my work and setting up this blog, basically to let the world know about my work. and all of this has been done at a suitably relaxed pace (ignoring the frantic nature of the installation week, of course). i haven't had to squeeze it in between the 5:36 limited stops to kiama and the 7:05 express to sydney. now, i love my job - i work for a great organisation and it has given me a depth to my understanding of the arts sector in australia, but it has been nice to just BE an artist, to feel supported in my vocation (thanks to paid leave.. ahem, mr andrews.. did you hear that - paid leave..). and i've had time to think. to actually develop new ideas. inspiration has been wonderful and i'm still going to develop these ideas and apply for residencies, organise grant applications and keep my little blog updated for my artistic career. i'll just have to resume the juggling act with work, chairing the project committee and an assemblance of a social life. thank goodness i live alone!
i'm glad i've had this time to experience a true life as a professional artist and i'm hoping to return to it one day..
and i've decided that my next artwork is going to be this ad in the paper:


Room 3: in the red corner!!!

In the red corner, lauren brown and her trusty assistant jade pegler plotting to conquer the art world of Wollongong!!!

The final room is about the finality of violence, the evidence of the act, the completeness of a wound in flesh. It is the sight and the site of a result borne of rage. Here lay the cuts and the rips, the shards and the explosions of muscles and body parts across the paper.


The order of the frame does little to hide the core of catharsis.

An 'evidence cabinet' or 'curio box' sits in the middle of the room, bringing the weapons into a tangible object, one is forced to accept the reality of violence. The objects invoke references to crime scene investigation or a psychopathic obsession, a keepsake or trophy.

And the viewer is enveloped in a fractured expanse of red before escaping out the door.


Room 2

From behind the black curtain, you can hear snoring, groaning.. "i said, Fuck Off!" and "What the fuck do you want?", then an almighty scream. I hear this day after day while i mind the space. The rest of you hear it for a minute.

The videos begin to illustrate the point of impact. The time when a woman officially 'loses it'. Whatever 'it' is. Little vignettes of that point in time when she'll see red, the blood boils and whatever has pushed her to the limit is now in danger of not existing at all.
These woman commit heinous crimes - stabbing, cutting, choking in rage. Or is it just in their heads. For most women, this is the place that is the most violent of territories and this projection room has that cerebral kind of feel. But the works actually bring such violence into the open. It is now seen in real time, with sound and movement, not hidden or secret.

This element of the installation is the crux of the show. It's about actually representing women's violence and being aware that it exists. In fact, all humans are violent. We commit the most disgusting atrocities on each other, on animals, on the environment. This exhibition doesn't condone violence, but simply presents it. The sooner we accept our violence, perhaps the sooner we will be able to refrain from bowing to it.

And the videos provide women with an opportunity to see their violent minds enacted. The next room provides the evidence, the blood and gore and the aftermath of these acts.


Room 1

The first 'room' of the installation is the beginning of the end. A twee loungeroom setting, complete with cup and saucer and a vial of pills, dear, the edges of wallpaper are beginning to wither and the whole feeling is that of 'not quite right'.

The paintings, still lives, are of seemingly innocuous objects, although each contains a sharp object from the home. And sitting in the chair, the viewer is staring at a murder weapon hidden amongst the domesticity of daily life. A little like the violence of a woman. Hidden, brewing under the apparent sweetness of her nature, these images introduce the slow decimation of order and acceptability.

The initial comfortability of the first room slowly slides as one looks closer and moving onto the next room, the reasons become apparent.


post exhibition sludge

it's official... i've now entered the post-exhibition sludge stage. i surfed the net for about 4 hours, not actually thinking about anything insightful, i slept 'til 11 this morning and am about to have a nanna nap. i've got absolutely no drive, inclination, inspiration or foresight. all gone. sapped up by two weeks, in fact, make that 12 months of gestation for this 'baby' that i've just given birth to. walking around town with my very pregnant friend Mel today helped me come up with that analogy.. clever huh... pfft... that's about as witty or thoughtful as i can be today. tomorrow i'm hoping to set up a bit of an archive of my work and writings on them, so you can check out what i've been up to before this mammoth installation. and i guess so when i post about upcoming ideas, etc - there's a connection. until then, i'm catching some serious zzzzs