tee hee!! this afternoon i decided to get to work on some practice for a major project i have in mind that entails covering som big stuff in red - hell if i can't paint the town red, i'm going to just cover it in red paper!!
so while i'm getting the necessary information about who i'm going to piss off for this major project, i decided to get to work having some fun in my own back yard, literally!
my trusty hills hoist in my yard is now in the process of being covered in red christmas paper. there is method in my madness, in that i need to find the right kind of paper to cover stuff so that when it rains, either it doesn't run or if it does, it doesn't end up staining the crap out of everything and ruining the ground water. for those who are regular readers, you may remember the frustration at not being able to do the red paper wrap stuff at Mt Kembla - well, this is kind of the next step :)
even though this was a test and i could have had a furrowed brow about the whole thing, boy was i having fun! i got my flatmate Jason to be my tape boy and i was leaping around like a cheeky monkey, jumping up on the wheelie bin, giggling with delight as my humble clothes line became a bit of a monumental red icon amongst the lush green of my freshly mown lawn!!
there's more to do, but it's dark now, so i thought i would upload progress shots because it was oh so fun to do that i want to share the giggles with you all!
bring on fun and games to installation i reckon!
After spending the last 2 years involved in the re-establishment and running of Project, I very rarely questioned why I was doing it. Not because i was mindly following the masses, but the whole thing just felt so right and important that it was almost a rhetorical question.
Having resigned as chair and reducing my involvement considerably, I've had time to think about what the whole thing meant and the wider implications having of my heart and souls invested in that space. After giving a guest lecture to 3rd year students about 'life after art school', i realised exactly why it was so important for me to be part of Project and for those that don't know, or have never been part of an artist-run-initiative, here is why you give your life away for a couple of years.
Top 10 Reasons Why Getting Involved in an ARI Will Change Your Life.
1. It's a crash course in nuts and bolts. no matter how much you think you know about how the australian art scene runs, who is doing what (or who), where all the money goes and why the arts really does get a raw deal, you don't know it until you're in the scene itself. filling in grant applications, preparing business plans, organising insurance - all of these things will chuck you in the deep end of the 'industry'. and once you know these things, the sweet blanket of denial with 'my work can just speak for itself' will never feel comfortable again. the other aspect of the nuts and bolts is because you are part of an ARI, you go to other ARIs. like some form of solidarity, you check out who else is doing what. you have something in common now and this only adds depth to the whole experience. and you get to see some wicked shows there too.
2. you feel like you can change the world. once you're involved, you suddenly have a bit of power. and this isn't always a bad thing. you feel like you can begin to show the world that there are important things that people are saying and it's important that they be said. you begin to realise that not being tied to government cash (or not much of it anyway) means that you have the power to open up the space for some incredibly amazing artwork. you begin to realise that as an artist, you can say what you need to and that it may make a difference some day. being in a regional area, and encouraging audiences to engage with a few shows that were almost mind-blowing and certainly so far from the beaches and frangipanis that people were used to was incredibly exciting! that's the kind of stuff dreams are made of!
3. you start talking a new language. this bit partly relates to the nuts and bolts from above and partly relates to the one below, but you begin to realise that art isn't always about 'self expression' (thank fuck for that) and you start to actually discuss work on a whole new level. you start discussing work in terms of context, execution, content, etc. now this may annoy the fuck out of a whole bunch of people, but it changed my life. i started to be able to think differently about contemporary and emerging art. i started to be able to actually engage with critical debate about work being created based on my own experience - real experience (not just based on a slides from a lecturer). this may seem pretty ordinary or even obvious, but had i been left to my own devices, just reading magazines (maybe), going to the occasional opening and maybe having a bitch about the art scene with friends, there is no way that my interaction with art would continue to be at a deeper and intellectual level.
4. it sorts out the good from the bad and downright ugly. having said all that, you realise that some artists take themselves way too seriously. seeing the range of shows, exhibitions and proposals that you do, your taste in artwork changes and you begin to actually see what good artwork looks like. again, some people may have this knowledge in their genes, but being straight out of art school, i really don't know shit and it was only through seeing the crap coming through the gallery, seeing the great stuff, going to other ARIs and seeing top stuff and talking with others about it that i've come to hone my tastes and opinions. being involved in an ARI and the art scene in general (which, like i've said before, means actually going to other ARIs) also means that you begin to solidify your opinions. i'm generally an opinionated person, so maybe my friends will hate this change to my life, but i can now have an opinion and not have it swayed by someone who i think knows a lot about what's going on in the scene. i still feel like i know squat, but what i do know is based on experience and practice and this makes for quite a nice sense of security. and this security about where you stand in relation to other artists, their work and what they're investigating is incredibly important in being able to also create work that's of value. i may not be the greatest artist in the world, but at least i know why now 'cos i've seen a lot of crap work out there.
5. friends? what friends? actually, that's not true. you make some very good friends being on the board of an ARI, or even volunteering! (go volunteers - we love you all!) and not just any kind of friends, but friends who have a similar interest in being artists, being involved and taking the initiative (pun intended). these are the kinds of friends who you can now share a studio with, go on a road trip with, share houses with, be in a group show with and get them to help install your show! these are very valuable kinds of friends indeed. these are the friends who will not raise an eyebrow when you say that you can't come to the pub because you're filling out a grant application, finishing off a work, installing a show or uploading your images to flickr. they're also the same friends who, when you say ' i'm depressed after having my show' or 'i'm scared that my work will be crap' will completely understand, do their best to give you a reality check and not flip you off with 'it will be fine!'. in fact, they'll probably help you finish off that tub of home-made icecream, or carton of homebrew.
6. you begin to have a public persona. when i got involved in project, i suddenly became 'lauren from project' and a bunch of people from other ARIs i only know as 'liz from first draft' or 'simone from platform'. this may be a little annoying to some, but having that extra identifier changed my life. suddenly people recognised me based on what i was associated with and it opened doors. both for the gallery and for myself as an artist. it sounds incredibly egotistical, but hey, it's the truth. suddenly i belonged to something, and when you belong to something, people find it much easier to put you into a category and remember who you are and why they're talking to you. this helps. believe me.
7. when you want something done, give it to a busy person. once you start juggling the myriad of things that need juggling when running an artist-run-initiative, you become incredibly efficient. there are only so many hours in the day and the better you are at finding ways to fit everything in, the better it is for everyone. and the more efficient you become, the more you get done, so while i was writing grant apps, organising committee meetings, putting rent reduction submission papers in, answering enquiries on invitation design and sending out press releases, i also made time to create work for a solo show, set up this blog, work part-time, have a social life in there somewhere and still make sure my cat got fed. granted, living such a hectic lifestyle doesn't last that long, but being able to manage it will change your life.
8. you begin to realise that 300gsm really does matter. i don't care what anyone says, if an invitation to an exhibition is on shitty paper, it's very rare that i give it a second look. this was enlightenment on satin art card! marketing matters and the more i saw invitations for shows, catalogues, etc i realised how important it was for the gallery to look professional, but also for my own stuff to look professional. you are judged on these things, whether you like it or not and the sooner you realise and accept it, the better it is for the gallery and for your practice.
9. you have a space to show your work. it's not always guaranteed, but i don't know many artist-run-spaces that don't provide an opportunity for its directors to show at least once a year. it's called compensation. ha ha! it's also a great way to have a couple of shows up your sleeve very quickly, and depending on your cohorts, to show with some great artists to boot! bring on the expanded CV...
10. participation is the key to harmony. as an artist, you probably aren't really about sitting back and expecting the world to owe you a dime, but getting involved in the art scene is as pro-active as a very pro-active thing. and in the arts, especially in Australia, although i suspect everywhere else as well, being pro-active is the quintessential asset artists have over, say, McDonald's workers. and sticking your neck out, actually living your career, participating in the guts of it all is a fucking amazing way to live. you may burn out, you may get sick of the sight of a grant application, or spirit level, or the front door of the gallery, but there is no way that the kind of action you get from getting involved will ever leave you. from here on in, you will always give a shit about art. whether it be yours or others, it will matter to you.
For those that have done it before me, I hope you got all these things too and for those that haven't done it, i hope i haven't scarred you for life. trust me, it's worth it!
Posted by lauren at 02:34
i'm not normally so tardy with my blogs, but this week, blogger has been a bit of a pain in the ass and not loading my images, but i think i fixed 'em good now..
anyway, it's been quite a mammoth week really. tuesday i walked into de havilland gallery in wollongong to say hello to Kylie and walked out participating in the next show! I'm going to be showing work called Ova Mortis Incubus, some of the egg shell stuff and i'm hoping to make a little incubator looking thing out of it. I haven't done a last minute work in a while, but i'm trying it on for size again this week. Show installs on Sunday! [insert maniacal laughter here]
Show is called The Contemporaries and opens at 5:30pm on Friday 1st September at Cnr Church & Stewart Sts Wollongong. I'm not on the official invitation (thanks to such a late inclusion) but the artists that are include:
Didier Balez • Jennifer Bult • Beth Crawford • Gillian Day • Rosalie Duligal •Christine Hill • Joseph Horvat • Jennifer Jackson • Wendi Leigh • Csaba Loosz •Kati McBride • Rhonda Morris • Angela Win Rigoni • Robert Wood
Check it out, if you're in the area.
I'm not all that attached to the show per se, which is kind of nice for a change. Nice to just swan in, have a show and swan out again. Not that I don't think the show will be interesting, but I haven't sweated over it, so it's a little strange in a way.
Other big news is:
I officially resigned as chairperson from Project.
It had been a while coming, thanks to realising that i was running out of time to develop my own career whilst helping develop others'.
I'm super sad to seeing the end of the position and i think i cried when i had to delete my email signature saying 'chairperson, project contemporary artspace'.. but hey, i could just be kidding.
no, really. it has been a huge part of my life and my career development as an artist, so it's really weird to be leaving it behind, but all is well and the gallery is in good hands, trust me.
for anyone out there kind of floundering and wondering how to sink your teeth into the art scene, no better way than getting involved in an ARI. in fact, next post will be in list form. i'm thinking something like 'top 10 reasons why getting involved in an artist-run-initiative will change your life'... stay tuned.
Posted by lauren at 08:03
Regular readers of she sees red will know that i've developed a piece called Entropy, which will be showing at Platform 2 in Melbourne, in November. Checking out the Art Life blogspot yesterday, I noticed that Tim Silver, who I might say is one of my super-favourite artists at the moment, is developing photographic works on entropy in Tuvalu! (For those who aren't fantastic on geography, Tuvalu is the island most noted for its domain tag .tv that has enabled them to build roads and hospitals from the proceeds of selling domain space to tv networks!)
How does that happen? Entropy isn't exactly a term bandied about, and I find out that someone who i totally dig is working on it as well! Not that I have to be exclusive - not at all! I'm stoked that I seem to be keeping some half-decent company, but the same happened with Liminal Personae - we thought we were being all niche-like and selective, then there are 3 shows that deal with liminality within 3 months of each other!
It's all just freaky man!!
Posted by lauren at 05:47
well, what a week it has been! having to adjust after a lustre trip to melbourne, i could have wallowed in the mundane inanity of my life, or put my kick-ass snakeskin boots on and kicked ass. needless to say, i've managed to do the latter.
first things first, i have to rave about the last show i saw in melbourne. Daniel Von Sturmer and Uncanny Nature group show at acca. opened on monday 7th august and was a killer opening. although perhaps due to the nature of daniel's work, most people were standing in the foyer. i'm gonna quickly talk about the uncanny nature show first, 'cos i'm gonna save my most lavish praise for last. uncanny nature featured 13 artists, and, as the title suggests, were works that looked at nature in a very skewed kinda way. hany armanious had this amazing contraption Bubble Jet Earth Work with glycerine and worm castings that made brown bubbles that popped onto a continuous roll of paper, making these cool drawings. on opening night there was already a pile of paper roll in the corner and according to Sary Zananiri, who works at acca, the paper would be piled up on a daily basis until the show ends. i can imagine what it will look like - a whole room bursting with burst worm bubbles! i love it! hany's work is so gross, it's delicious!
Hany Armanious, Bubble Jet Earth Work
the other work i really liked was Richard Giblett's Escalator. I'm hoping that's the correct title, 'cos they didn't have catalogues (which i would have bought if there were). He'd made this amazing escalator replica out of ply (which was amazing itself) and underneath the escalator was a green house, with indoor plants, green light and beautiful nature kind of noises! an excellent urban design i thought - pity more green spaces are created under escalators in real life. it was a nice little escape place. although i did start thinking 'when did raw wood become fashionable?' Richard's work was raw wood, Christopher Hanrahan always uses raw wood, Ricky Swallow... ah, that's who i'll blame it on. I like Ricky's work, but for now, i'm pointing my finger squarely at him for the surge in raw wood installation!
Richard Giblett, Escalator
Daniel Von Sturmer, Field Equation
In the Helen McPherson Gallery, Daniel Von Sturmer's Field Equation was like heaven for me! I've always liked his work and it was great to see a whole show of his stuff. All that hard line geek field plane perspective optical illusion stuff really floats my boat and it was awesome to wander around the maze of mostly empty white plinths to check it out. I particularly liked the attention to detail with the reflective screens that the video work was showing on, you could check it out from both sides. And the little bump/hole made from cutting mats were awesome as well. Apologies for not having correct names, like i said, no catalogues and I didn't go to make a review. The other thing i totally loved was the spinning red cube on the white disc. Shouted at me loud and clear (maybe the red cube had something to do with it), but it tickled my fancy nonethelss, as did the two video pieces with the disappearing square blobs.. like a piece of blu-tak had been dropped on the floor, then swallowed up. I could've watched them for hours, but did't want to bore my family who i'd dragged along for the ride. Actually they really liked the show as well, and despite wanting to ride the wooden escalator, they were very well behaved!
So I got home on tuesday and moped around like a wet dog for a day or two, but then yesterday i smartened myself up, straightened my collar and decided to get my shit together. Had a catch up with my mate Sarah Mosca 'cos we're gonna have a group show, somewhere in Sydney in the next 6 months - more info when it comes to hand. On the way to the Lounge, I got a voicemail message from the kids at Platform Inc - My application was successful and they want me to have the space in November! Fuck yeah!!! I was so fucking excited! I did the happy dance while i was in my chair and Sarah was looking at me saying, "what?".. I rang them back pronto and although i tried to be Miss I'm-so-cool-I-don't-need-to-get-excited-about-a-solo-show-in-Melbourne, i was too fucking hyped and I can't remember the shit i spilled on the phone. All I do remember is that I'm after Benedict Ernst's show - The Chocolate Manifesto, which is cool 'cos I seem to be applying to the same places he's been applying to! lol!
So yesterday was a really good day - a solo show in Melbourne lined up and a group show in Sydney, all within the next 6 months! Boo yow!
I'm outta here..I've got some cornflour paste to make...
Posted by lauren at 11:10
i think in the census next tuesday, i'll be marking my religion down as a coffee-ist. i've been worshipping the coffee gods mercilessly this morning and i give thanks to the joy of roasted beans.
yesterday i did a mammoth gallery run and it was fantastic! got to visit a bunch of galleries that i had heard so much about, chatted with volunteers, saw some kick ass art stuff, loaded up my bag with a bunch of paper - free shit and paid catalogues galore!
started off at Platform with this great exhibition of works on paper by Betthany Edwards which had cute little nostalgic quotes of the artist's childhood memories, illustrated by rubbings of kids books illustrations, my favourite was "i started off in highschool with a spiked fringe and a spiral perm. hey, it was the 90s". I popped in and said hey to Simone at Stinky, bought a cool zine and raved about the Melbourne scene, bitched about Sydney scene while she did the opposite. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence it seems.
From there I wandered up to Swanston St and looked for Blindside in the rabbit warren at 37. The show was great, as was the gallery - Beth Arnold and Sary Zananiri's Resurface show was simple and effective. The main piece was this growth of plaster 'tiles' almost oozing out of the white concrete walls, like a pregnant belly, or blind pimple about to burst. They had intervened with the space with tubes attached at various points in corners and on the floor, but they weren't quite as successful as the baby bump.
Beth Arnold, 2006
As cool as that show was, it wasn't nearly as cool as the lift experience. The lift is an old school rickety one, attended by a guy in a pince nez and a dali moustache, who was on his first day in the lift. The inside of the lift was covered in leunig cartoons cut out from the age and pictures of kids and animals, and as he missed the 7th floor (punctuated by an 'oops!', as the lift zoomed past) he told me desperately that they weren't his pics, that he was into zombies and ghouls, etc. I love the idea of that space being an exhibition space of sorts. Portable and oh so confined - talk about a captive audience!
Next it was off to bus to check out Alice Lang's Supple and Claire Watson's Jelly Bean Lab. There was a strange correlation between the two exhibits - the whole beany, globular shape thing was happening. Although the whole jelly bean lab wasn't entirely captivating for me, there were elements of it that tickled my fancy - the little sculptures made out of mangled jelly beans were ace and the 'flood' of black jellybeans seeping under the wall was great as well. I love multiples and bright colours, so this was right up my alley. Of course, if I had done it, there would have been a bunch more red jelly beans and i probably would have used up a lot more of the space with them, but hey, it wasn't me.
Alice Lang's Supple was small and succinct. A hanging sculptural piece of a vinyl, bulbous-looking 'thing', which kind of reminded me of intestines, sausages and offal, all at the same time and had the decorative element of frilly bits to totally wack it all out of kilter. On the wall were 3 photographs in oval frames of (I'm assuming) Alice wearing said scultpural piece as a gorgeous headpiece to go with her Victorian dress. They were so pursed, it was awesome! The 'hat' fell over Alice's eyes and I could imagine it squelching on her forehead, but she kept her cool for the photos. Queen Vic would have been proud.
Popped in to Outre Gallery to see my bud Gemma Jones, which was ace. We skitted across the road for lunch and over a regular vegetarian special at the Curry Bowl, we discussed female masturbation, a friend's convalescence from depression and the finer points of forging out an art career. Totally modern girls we are! Outre have the Charles Krafft book at the moment and a few of his grenades and a gun pack. I covet the AK-47s and one day i will own one. In the mean time, i'm going to save up a buy a grenade instead. And maybe the book.
Charles Krafft, Grenade 2005
Finally, i wandered up to West Space, which i've been looking forward to for ages! Selekta 06 is on and the show is such a great idea that i was sure the work would reflect it too. They explain it better than I do, but basically it's about 10 artists choosing 10 other artists who chose 10 other artists to participate in the show. So the curatorial 'power' is taken out of the curators and put in the squishy hands of the artists. There are some great artists there and the catalogue is ace, especially for gold coin donation! I was pleasantly surprised to see my mate Christopher Hanrahan there again - I didn't know he played guitar! And the influence of Wesley Willis on his work is perhaps only obvious to me, but hey. His interview in the catalogue with Peter Volich is pure Hanrahan pricelessness! Other highlights included Hany Armanious' squidgy puddles of resin goopy looking things, more visceral body-type stuff; Darren Sylvester's Ode to Clinique piece takes the prize for the Out of Left Field Award. I loved it, and it's something that my mate Megan Sproats needs to see in relation to her eye shadow pieces, but I would not have picked it as being by the darling of the photographic scene, that's for sure! Vanessa David's seabed pillow was cute and I did like Jessica Maurer's collage portrait. It was a really easy show to spend time in as well, which was such a nice change from the breeze in, breeze out aspect of the art fair.
I finally had a chance to check out more stuff at the fair today, and there are some ticklish works that i want to rave about but i'll save that for the next installment!
Posted by lauren at 04:11
I'm stealing a quick 5 minutes to update you all on my melbourne sojourn. am at the melbourne art fair, working at a stand and so far it's going pretty well! there was lots of 'sweety darling' action last night with the who's who of the australian art scene and me standing, watching and trying to figure out who was who. apparently name tags aren't in this year.
there are a few really ace stands which i've had a little bit of a chance to check out and hopefully when i'm back here on saturday i can check out the balcony level.
cool stuff on the ground floor so far has been Alasdair Macintyre's Journeyman dioramas. i'm so in love with alisdair's work it's ridiculous! When I have a cool couple of grand lying around, Joanna and Ursula from Sullivan and Strumpf can expect a knock on their door from me. Other highlights include Darren Knight's stand - haven't had a chance to really check it out, but when i walk outside for a cigarette, i love gazing at the whole thing. Kate Just's LOVE work is cuddly as always, as is her super-furry policeman that just makes you want to hug a law enforcement officer for the hell of it. There are these amazing wall pieces which look like Kyle Jenkins' work in a gallery somewhere along the back.. possibly Conny D, possibly Greenaway... as you can tell, i've been here with my note pad and pencil and a killer memory!. The thing is with the fair, it's overkill. There's so much stuff that some of it all melds into one, like acrylic paints in egg containers at the Belvedere Kindergarten. But we all know that and we do what we can.
Yesterday i popped into CCP and checked out the show with Kate Just, Guy Ben-Ner, Derek Henderson, Julie Davies and Dominic Redfern. Julie Davies' A Study of the Insignificant was amazing, although I wanted to throw up. I walked through the gallery with my hand almost over my eyes. The images of dead birds were almost more than i can handle and i'm a tough nut when it comes to blood and guts. The way she presented them reminded me of Anne Ferran's works of children's dresses a few years ago. The other work at the CCP that almost made me throw up was one of Guy Ben-Ner's video works. He was trapped in a cot, a prisoner of a nursery and couldn't reach the desperately-needed bottle of water. He chewed his finger off to get it and you got it in high definition detail! Oh my god, it was revolting. In an exciting kind of way. Dominic Redfern's discussion to a lover was quite entertaining video too. Apart from being in the little hidey hole gallery, which is a nice place to sit and ponder, the work was intimate enough to want to stay there for a while. Although the main character, which may or may not be Dominic, had a very hairy chest, which was not quite as bad as the dead birds, but definitely more disturbing than the images of New Zealand outback by Derek Henderson. His photos were beautiful, but honestly, I'm bored of urban, suburban, pastoral portraits on 6 x 6. Nothing personal, there's just a lot of them and i'm a little ho-hum about them now.
And speaking of ho-hum, the Picasso Love + War at the NGV was BORING!!! I took my mum and my nanna, so there was a nice little intergenerational appreciation of Picasso thing happening, but that was probably the most gratifying thing about the whole day. I love Picasso's work. I'm daggy and think he is one of the most important artists of the 20th Century and without him we wouldn't have a whole bunch of artists, etc. But the NGV did an absolute disservice to the man by putting on this exhibition. The choice of works were loose, the connection to Dora Maar was tenuous and there was loads of works by her, which is fine, but put her in a room of her own, for crying out loud. The way the show was over texted - ie too much wall text for the general public, which i always find slightly patronising. Although the audio guides are now iPod, which is rad, 'cos a whole bunch of people walking around a gallery with a mobile phone-looking audio guide used to drive me spare. The best pieces of the show were actually sculptural works, although a few of his early Minotaur etchings were beautiful and his Vert Galant piece is amazing in its separation of spacial treatment. I loved it and I kept thinking of Ron Adams' work. Which is not meant to be a put-down, although Ron, if you're reading.. hi.
The other thing that pissed me off was that the show was supposed to be about Love and War, according to the title.
Well, they didn't really address the plethora, yes plethora, of Picasso's other lovers and they sure didn't investigate Picasso's treatment of War. A few death heads and vanitas pieces just don't cut it really. Nothing from Guernica. And I mean nothing, not even a little drawing study of the left hand corner! Maybe I'm mistaken, but isn't Guernica the most well-known discussion he ever did on war?
Enough ranting from me.
Tomorrow I'm off to West Space, Platform 2 and Outre Gallery, to see my friend Gemma Jones and hopefully I'll get to see Conical and Gertrude on the weekend. Watch this space for more rants and ramblings.
Posted by lauren at 08:15