Grunt

My sculpture Grunt made from welded iron spray-painted orange and wrapped in black industrial plastic is showing at Alternating Current Artspace, 248 High St, Windsor, Vic, 3181 until the 5th of October, 2019.

The work is wrapped in a length of wide industrial strength black waterproof plastic called ” grunt “. It is commonly used as a waterproofing membrane to protect building applications or to be incorporated into building techniques. I sourced a small role of it discarded on a footpath in West Melbourne early in 2019 at the front of a building site.

corner space

The work consists of three four disparate sized screens welded and hinged together.

compacted

The metal for the screens was sourced from a metal fabrication workshop in Williamstown. It was purchased in three uniform lengths, cut down to size so it could fit in my car and welded together in the the desired shapes at the workshop. Each screen was subsequently hinged together in the required configuration.

“Grunt “squeezed into a small space

To enable it to be spray-painted much cleaning and rubbing back of the metal was required to remove impurities and to create the best surface to which the paint would adhere seamlessly. Ultimately the piece was carried to the spray booth where it received three layers of spray paint manually applied from the can.

Angled placement of “Grunt ”

Many iterations where experimented with for both the placement of the screens and the encasing wrap of the “Grunt”.

.

Ideally this sculptural work, ” Grunt ” needs an expansive space for suitable display and to allow the viewer to walk around it.

Opening Night at Dirty Dozen

Always difficult to schedule the opening of a gallery show but none more difficult than a cold, wet, Spring friday night in Melbourne when AFL Football Finals have just started.

Only the hardy souls, friends and family will venture out , or will they ?Friday night in town is lively with many revellers wanting to go to footy finals, clubbing, watching live music, theatre and performance. “Subterranean” opens on the 6th of September in Campbell Arcade at 7.30pm.

For an other worldly experience brave the elements and view sculptural works in the subterranean atmosphere of the timeworn Campbell arcade in the bowels of Melbourne Town. It will be an experience quite unlike any other. The work continues to be on display until the 30th September. So have a look at all twelve windows at your leisure .

Out Loud

Exhibition “Outloud”

Out Loud was the exhibition of some work I made whilst on my Cove Park Residency in July in Scotland. It was a fun, semi impromptu show of small sculptural pieces made from various materials foraged and scavenged from my limited travellers supply cache.

out loud
outloud sculpture from poundland cardboard and rubber bands

Largely working the fluoro colour palette through material exploration of paper, rubber bands and string I achieved a massed culmination of work. It developed through a combination of colour, shape and utilisation of ready made, cheap, easily accessible materials. The concept forced me to create a body of work from the everyday common and found materials. I had a playful interaction and believe I created a thoughtful body of small readymades.

ready made sculpture

ready made sculpture

Cove Park Residency Scotland UK

In July 2019 I completed an artist residency at Cove Park, Peaton Hill, Argyll & Bute , a remote location on the west coast of Scotland. The weather was invigorating , the site stunning and the creative company stimulating.I was in residence with performance artist, MVBrown, poet, Conor Cleary, textile artist, Raisa Kabir, and sound artist Natalia Papaeva among others.

Daily walks around the surrounding area of Loch Long, observation of the local life and use of the facilities of shipping container sleeping quarters and studio workshop proved fruitful.

A unique environment and the scope for total immersion in the creative process was a welcome and daunting experience. Self discipline, focus and control were all essential in the idyllic surrounds. I created a body of work drawing on the landscape and found objects for inspiration . As a traveller I also utilised the limited objects in my luggage or charity shop and cheap chain store purchases as my resources.

It taught me the value of spontaneous creative practice, using my ability and training to work intuitively and resourcefully from a minimum of materials . The creative process was further enhanced by the interaction with fellow creative practitioners. I valued my time spent at Cove Park and realise that artists residencies are a rare and necessary nurturing opportunity.

Subterranean Dirty Dozen dhonan

Mitt in dirty dozen Campbell Arcade Melbourne
Mitt

I am showing a series of sculptural works, for ‘Subterranean’, my show at the Dirty Dozen Campbell Arcade Melbourne 2-30 September 2019.
I feel a emphatic connection with the space, one I traversed frequently in my youth as a student at RMIT and later as a city worker needing to access flinders lane. I have always felt much affection for the style, grace and history attached to the area and the 1950’s fixtures of metal signage, old telephone boxes, pink tiles and black columns. The Campbell Arcade was originally built in 1955 as a pedestrian thoroughfare for spectators attending the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games . From its inception it has witnessed a steady stream of ambulatory traffic.

claw
claw

Laterally with the creation of the Met Tunnel to facilitate easier access to public transport the dirty dozen fortunes have waxed and waned. Threatened with expulsion and destruction this grand old dame, long a part of Melbourne’s history and possibly the best exhibition space in the city lives on.With this in mind i felt honoured to have my proposal to exhibit accepted and gleefully embarked on a series of feet and hand casts made from various materials to allude to the human traffic of the area. I have loved creating the work, am extremely grateful to be able to exhibit, and applaud the resilience of the Dirty Dozen’s claim to the title of “Melbourne’s coolest exhibition space”.

Wrapped

I hung sixty metres of silver polyester fabric and covered a floor with fluoro sticky paper  to create an installation in a small enclosed space as a trial for studio practice.

wrapped
wrapped

I am interested in corrupting spatial boundaries , exploring materiality and finding a use for discarded fabrics or commercially unviable materials. 

Projection
Projection

I also use films I have made to create projections onto the surface of the materials to explore and develop an investigation of colour and light.

Installation
Installation

Orange Rain

I completed studio practice in 2018 with a performance of 3600 pieces of hand cut orange tracing paper falling in the internal stairwell of Building D at Monash University , Caulfield.

Overhead view of the completed performance piece Orange Rain by dhonan
Overhead view of the completed performance piece Orange Rain by dhonan

It signified the amount of time I had spent working on studio practice whilst completing my Bachelor of Fine Art Degree.

The paper was placed in four black buckets and flung from various elevation points within the space.

stairwell with orange rain debris
stairwell with orange rain debris

It was a joyous, embracive  and exhilarating work celebrating the support I had received, and the strength through knowledge I now have to embark on my own artistic journey.

Orange Rain
Orange Rain

 

The Vault aka The Yellow Peril

Small Sculptural Maquette
Small Sculptural Maquette

I chanced upon an artist talk on a cold wet saturday in Melbourne,  by sculptor Ron Robertson-Swann at Charles Nodrum Gallery in Richmond.

Ron Robertson-Swann
Ron Robertson-Swann

 

 

This unassuming, diminutive man produced the infamous large sculpture “The Vault ” or as it was famously labelled  ” The Yellow Peril”.

 

 

found objects
found objects

The piece was a winner of a competition staged by the Melbourne City Council who were looking for a distinctive signature piece for City Square. It won and was  installed in May 1980 , just prior to the then State Government sacking the Melbourne City Council.

The work , initially called ” The Thing ” by Roberston-Swann and “Steelhenge ” by the workers who made it , was critically labelled  ” The Yellow Peril ” by newspapers of the day . In September 1980 Robertson-Swann called the work  ” The Vault ” but to many the work has remained known as ” The Yellow Peril ”

Small Sculptural Maquette
Small Sculptural Maquette

In 1981, the Vault was re-erected at Batman Park, a less prominent part of the city. At the time Robertson-Swann was interviewed about its relocation which he described as it being placed in a wasteground of a holding yard for the railways. It remained there until 2002 when it was moved to a position outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank.

In 2017, the sculpture was recommended for heritage protection, through inclusion in the City of Melbourne Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay, following a heritage study of the Southbank Area.

 

“The Vault” has been inspirational for some built and propositional architectural projects designed in Melbourne. Several of Denton Corker Marshall‘s works have “adopted peril’s yellow almost as a point of pride and solidarity” while its form has been manipulated in some works by ARM Architecture (Ashton Raggatt McDougall).

Maquette for the Vault
Maquette for the Vault

I took much away from the artists talk. It gave me an opportunity to view the works of his expansive practice  and realise that no one piece defines or contains a creative practice. Also that once a piece is sold the creator loses control of the piece and its new placement which can challenge the artists integrity . Also it may be preferable to give work a title to avoid the labelling of the work by an uncomplimentary tag.

 

Maquette for the Vault
Maquette for the Vault

A prolific worker, sculptor and Head of Sculpture at the National School of Art, Ron Robertson-Swann is thriving and living proof that artists just keep working.

Beware of Falling

floor scene " fear of falling"
floor scene ” fear of falling”

“Beware of Falling” is the title of my final performance piece of my second year Bachelor Of Fine Art. It concluded my 2017 study year at Monash University, Melbourne.

The formative work began as a response to a studio project entitled ” A Narrative Tale”. Initially I decided to  photograph my wardrobe. This took some time and involved the photographing of four hundred and two items of clothing. All my clothes are sourced from flea markets, vintage sales, opportunity or charity shops, garage sales and online second hand sites. I habitually buy only second hand items. This is a personal habit formed over many  years. Financial circumstances made recycling an initial lifestyle choice.   As a visual artist I employ an ongoing aesthetic of repurposing the found object . This combined with my love of the old, quirky and undervalued has continued to inform my purchasing choices. As a weekly volunteer at a local op shop and keen sewer I have great resources and the ability to refashion rehoused items.

close up of refashioned fabric
close up of refashioned fabric

A thirteen hour photo shot started the process which took on many iterations over the course of the 2017 year. Photographic displays, artist books, diagrams and sculptural pieces, drawings and collages extended the theme. Further work included using large quantities of fabric to create installation pieces, which were hand dyed, silk screened, torn, stiffened or embellished in some manner,  all bearing the hand of the artist. I played with fifty metres, twenty metres and ten metres of fabric in various configurations in the stairwell at Monash University Building D. It rapidly became my work space, informed my methodology and forced me to address questions of scale and spatial practice.

refashioning fabric
refashioning fabric

My final iteration of the work took the form of a performance piece at the end of year show. I recruited several helpers who were to  drop their specific bag of colour coded fabric into the stairwell onto the swathe of a sixty metre piece of orange fabric hung there . It  was a total of four hundred and two pieces of fabric to replicate the original four hundred and two pieces of my wardrobe.

A film was made.

The overall process involved a huge amount of physical labour, manual manipulation and lengthy thought process. It involved a prodigious following through of the original concept . Much collaboration was required, reliance on participants labour and skills. Uncertain as to the outcome it addressed my interest in public performance, trained me to address spatial concepts and fed my imagination. Never satisfied or appeased my restless search in my practice is continuing. What do  viewers take away from a performance? How is the non static  judged?  How important is it to leave or maintain a permanent record of work.

 

Intermission Gallery at Monash University

Last week  I collaborated in a Group Show at Intermission Gallery on the Caulfield Campus at Monash University . It is a new ground floor gallery space in the recently renovated D Building which is part of the MADA, Monash Art Design and Architecture School.

My piece ” Dress ” was a Wedding Dress found in an Op Shop several years ago. I deconstructed the dress and treated it with a chemical stiffener laundry product sourced after much trial and error and experimentation with various products.

Dress
Dress

It addresses a narrative tale based on the discovery  of my mother’s 1950’s wedding dress I found hidden in a cupboard after my mothers demise to dementia. The dress was in a rather dishevelled state replicating my mothers frail and unravelling health of her later years.

 

As a homage to this memory  I recreated a rather visceral, evocative piece. Her original wedding dress remains in my safe keeping, one of the few tangible possessions I have of my mum and something I will perhaps gift to my three daughters.

 

Sap Ball
Sap Ball

The work was hung in a small, seperate room of the gallery, strung by wire from the complicated pipe system overhead. Six small beads from the bodice were placed on the floorboards beneath. A brightly jewelled, delicate chrysalis of a bloodwood sap ball was placed on the wall above.

Spotlit and extended the ” Dress” occupied the gallery area filling the space successfully. Only two of the beads remained at the de-install. Were they collected

Dress
Dress

or had they attached themselves to the sole of a viewers shoe ?