VU Connect 14

I went to the Opening Night of VU Connect 14, in Footscray Mall, 138 Nicholson st , Footscray, last night. Its a new gallery space, offices, co op bookshop, shopfront and coffee shop for Victoria University. The award is a biennial, and last night was its inaugural one.



Graduating, studying, and past and present students, were asked to submit works to exhibit and compete for two prizes. Six honourable mentions were made to other exhibitors. The prizes, were for $1000 and $500 respectively and were won by students, in the Creative industries Course, at Victoria University. The major prize winner was an impassioned painting, of outback Australia, a mountain range, executed in thick impasto paint, and even included the artists paint brushes. The other prizewinner was a more delicate watercolour, with a photo image transposed over the top. Both were worthy prize winners as were the honourable mentions.


The indefatigable curator was Peter Burke, who did an excellent job of hanging works with the assistance of local, emerging artist, Sarah Hayes. Megan Culhane, graduating VU student is exhibiting two lino cut prints, as am I.


Go along and have a look, see what others are doing, and what VU are up to in the West.

Blogs I follow

As a student at Victoria University, studying a Visual Arts Diploma, we read fellow students blog posts.


Culhane, Megan – mjculhane
Daly, Quinn – art-school-dropkick
Day, Kara – sillygillian
Gommers, Kate – cultural-inspiration
Heaton, Sarah – sarahjaneheaton
Jovel, Amanda – gothicaya
Loukas, Andrew – youinterpretit
Pompei, Ebony – facelesswolf
Posavec, Sarah – eroticsloth
Reid, Alexandra – alexreidart
Rezaie, Zakir – zacrezaie
Ritzert, Yvonne – yvonneritzert
Rovacsek, Georgia – georgiarovacsek
Shingles, Sophie – i-didnt-kill-yoko-ono
Stringa, Shai – shaistringa
Sullivan, Elizabeth – libbiesullivan
Thwin, John – thwinblog

Makes for interesting reading. Its a great way to view the past, and current work of the students, and to find out what inspires them. I have made comments on some of the blog posts.

The blogs are innovatively designed, are visually stunning, with matching soundtracks and imagery. It is a great way to keep in touch with fellow students.



My time at Victoria University, studying the Visual Arts Diploma 2014, is drawing to a close. The studios are swept, work is displayed, and final submissions are being pulled together. Tomorrow is the Final Assessment Day, other assessments having already taken place last week. Relief washes over most, as the door is closed on a years work. A period of nervousness will ensue, indecision being the lot of most visual artists

no limit
no limit

Hope is writ large as we scramble to secure one of the Fiona Myer Travel, or folio awards. It is with some sadness I will bid farewell to my fellow classmates. Much of their work is exemplary, and I expect their imagery will stay with me through the years. I hope to see their trajectory rise, all of these “bright stars”. I will retain my fond memories of them as VU collaborators, and thank them all, they have taught me much.

The Palais


Much loved local icon, the Palais Theatre is under threat! Local rocker and frontman of the Dark Horses, Tex Perkins has stepped up to its defence. Mysterious scaffolding has encased the mighty structure for some time now. Apparently this is not a renovation precaution, but is in place to prevent bits falling off and striking the general public, and theatre goers.


Luna Park
Luna Par



She is a much loved piece of the St Kilda landscape, and integral part of the Melbourne theatre, and performance scene. Concerts are regularly held there, and she continues to host local and international acts. Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer, referred to the Palais in his recent Melbourne Show saying they performed at the Palais in 1966 and urged fans to save the venue.

I have attended many memorable performances there. Annually the Sacred Heart mission’s, Heart of St Kilda Concert, to raise funds for the local homeless, Missy Higgins, Rockwiz tribute night to Vanda and Young, Birdy, and Boz Scaggs.




In 2010, I was privileged to win a ballot to tickets to a guided tour of the Palais, as part of the StKilda Festival. We got to go backstage, stand on the rolling stage, check out the dressing rooms, view the juliet window, site the projectionist room, and even climb up into the roof to inspect the domes, and building structure. A memorable tour, firmly etched in my memory, and probably not possible now, due to Health and Safety regulations. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and sheer beauty of the grand old dame, a fine example of art deco architecture, was breathtaking. It was also sad to see how much she had fallen into disrepair through neglect and lack of maintenance. Impossible to believe she was still exisitng at all, but she has a tenacious hold on StKilda, our hearts and minds, and is the venue of our dreams. She’s not going down without a fight, and the locals are just passionate enough to save her. Prepared to take on both the local and state governments they will fight for her survival. The infamous triangle site fiasco is brought to mind, where they repelled the attempts to build a Chadstone style complex, on the vacant land around the Palais Theatre, abutting Luna Park, and the St Kilda Foreshore



palais side
palais side

. A virulent battle between protestors, and developers, and local and state government ensued, which saw the protestors victorious, and the site remains vacant until a suitable compromise can be reached.The StKilda Pier Kiosk was burnt down, the StKilda Sea Vaults closed, St Moritz demolished, and it would appear the Astor Theatre is beyond redemption, but the Palais is hanging in there and we will save her, wrangling a truculent Local and State Government to assist.

As a visual artist, I have always found the old girl, aesthetically inspiring and have photographed, painted, and drawn her for many years. She is a big part of my local history, and I too will do whatever it takes to keep her standing. Too young to have seen the memorable 66′ Stones Concert within her hallowed walls, I remember a Dame Edna aka Barry Humphries, concert there of 30 years ago, where the grand old dame played host to the magenta haired, grand old Dame, and gladiolus, flew through the air in a floral frenzy.

The Palais will not go down without a fight, it will emerge from its encasing cocoon like a chrysalis,  and I expect to be along for its bumpy ride, to re-emergence.

Essay Writing


The final essay is to be prepared for Context and Culture . Much brainstorming to select a topic, followed by information gleaning, and finally, actual writing is engaged in. What to include, what to strip out, what is relevant, what is not ? All are valid questions, not easily answered. Now with most of the research done, I am awake at 5.00 am, to complete the final draft. Hopefully I can get it done today. I want to be able to get a good night’s uninterrupted sleep, and be able to move onto the next project, essay free. This also promises to be an engaging but exhaustive project, as I catalogue and chronicle my vast body of work, in an archival format. It will mean another new computer application to learn. The life of a visual artist is certainly more complicated than it was in Picasso’s day.


The offer of $8,000 to travel anywhere overseas to paint, draw, and more, was an irresistible offer. As VU training artists we were all eligible to apply. Much decision making ensued. Where to go, what to do and what to see. Easy right ? That decision was easy, but the writing of the grant application proved more problematic. Initially it involved detailed research, followed by a complex series of emails, to establish connections with a city to which you had never been, relying on the goodwill of people you had never met. Many questions were asked, solutions sought, and networking via cyber space was attempted. Favourable responses, were elicited from most parties, and with a swathe of references, a detailed series of proposals, and several further training prospects, the dreaded application was now to be written. Much procrastination, on my part resulted. I thrashed around ideas in my head,ad nauseam, and I became more than a little obsessive about the whole process. I slept ,thought,ate and workshopped travel grant, before I actually sat down to commence the writing process. My long suffering friends and family adopted pained looks when I started to gabble those three taboo words, travel grant application. Their eyes glazed over at the mention of the “D” word, and I’m not talking Denise

packard plant
packard plant

here, but that other “D” word, Detroit the place of my obsession, the holy grail of discarded and found objects, city of abandonment, my nirvana, and where I so desperately want to go, with $8,000 in my purse.

Several false starts were attempted before I got the nuance of writing clearly and concisely.It was a lengthy and difficult process. A lot of help from Robert, our VU teacher was invaluable, as he made me think about the themes I would be exploring, and how to articulate my reasoning. The dedication to the cause just had to be applied. It was too valuable an opportunity to let slip through my fingers. A harried Robert was seen darting in and out of the photo copy room and classrooms of the 16th floor, 300 Flinders St, VU HQ, all that long week as the deadline for the application grew steadily nearer.

It was a great struggle but I managed to pull it all together, and the last day saw me typing up my final draft, after multiple scrapped attempts. My piece was finally ready for submission, and I gratefully emailed it off with several hours to spare. I learnt a lot from the whole process, specifically how to articulate, who I am, what I do, what are the principles of my artistic practice, and how much I really wanted to win the grant.

But don’t we all?

I sold

Recently I decided to enter the Linden Postcard Show , at the infamous Linden Gallery , in nearby St Kilda. I purchased the appropriate size canvas , enrolled online, and dutifully paid the fee . Scanning my studio I decided to create a Luna Park face based on a photo pinned to my wall . It was ink wash , a medium I am not familiar with but I mastered it, and left the work alone, rather than fiddle with it, as is my wont . The next day I added  grey lead pencil . Climbing the iron stairs at the back of the Victorian grandiose mansion, I was plagued with doubt . Was it good enough ?, all these other strident , confident artists seem to know what they are doing , I’m only a student after all . Dropping it off I was wished well and queried about my surname,  by the enthusiastic curator.

luna park
luna park

Luna Park” , nestled alone and forlorn amongst the shelves at Linden . My life continued . On Thursday at Tokyo Deli, with youngest child I received a text that ” Luna Park ” was to go to a new home . He had been purchased within half an hour of the show opening . I was sad he wouldn’t be returning to me but elated I had received validation as an artist . Someone else liked my work enough to buy it . A pivotal moment in my artistic career and a much needed spur to continue on my path of image making .

Thank you Linden and I hope you will be happy in your new home , ” Luna Park ” , x love from your creator .

Loretta Quinn and Annette Cook

Glen Eira Gallery, in the base of Glen Eira Town Hall ,has had a face lift . Supposedly . It was closed for two weeks ” for renovation ” . Walls have been whitened , floors polished and new art work hung .

Loretta Quinn ; Fossil  2011
Loretta Quinn ; Fossil 2011

Tonight was the re-opening of the gallery . It is exhibiting Loretta Quinn and Annette Cook . The former a sculptor, the latter a printmaker .

The gallery space appeared deserted, particularly compared to my last outing here,  for the prestigious Silk Cut Award . The self opening swung open and I saw a group of people clutching wine and cheese, and staring at the expanse of a striking print pinned to the wall . The work was Annette Cook’s . It was a combination of stencil, and collage, comprising seven uniform sized panels, pinned to the wall with thin dressmakers pins, along the wall in a sequential, horizontal format, all prints abutting each other as an assembled piece .

The monochromatic black and white colour palette was lifted by the use of a striking olive green . Subject matter appeared to be horticultural representations of native seed pods .

On an adjacent wall was a distinctive, green tinted etching ,aquatint, stencil , and linocut . It again seemed to depict botanical matter with black and white magpies perched randomly at its edges . A large piece took up most of another section of wall . It was made from earthy tones, depicting leaves, made by lino cut and stencil . Printed on thick paper, pinned to the wall, it extended onto the floor of polished boards .

Other pieces by Cook included torn digital prints of native birds,  and animals collaged onto a background of delicately carved lino prints.

he Flight of the Shroud 2006 Annette Cook
he Flight of the Shroud 2006 Annette Cook

The other half of the gallery space was devoted to the work of Loretta Quinn, a sculptor . Her pieces included whimsical child like figures made from resin, paint, sealants and plaster . With the cherubic faces of angels, they were dressed in rust coloured, fabric outfits dating from the victorian era with a proliferation of frills, flounces and ruching  . The feet were rusted into place and some of the outfits were adorned with bird feathers, providing a disturbing contrast to the perfect faces of the cherub child .

These figures were grouped in a semicircle in the thoroughfare of the gallery and were confronting and demanding of your attention . Metal sculptures of layers of leaves, also formed part of  her body of work . Several resembled large Faberge eggs, a pedestal arrangement with a gold metal egg on top constructed of many layered leaves . Continuing the child theme Quinn placed a turn of the century child’s gown or christening robe in a clear oval resin block, with stalks of wheat assembled around it .

Portrait of a Torn Bird , Annette Cook 2014
Portrait of a Torn Bird , Annette Cook 2014

Both exhibitions worked well in the space . The clean white walls and subtle lighting in the sculpture exhibition enhanced the spooky , mystifying atmosphere surrounding the strange , miniature humans of Quinn’s work . Their placement was pivotal to the exhibition and commanded attention . The sculptures placed around them were more brilliantly lit, and were strategically placed to stand alone, in their own right but also complemented the figures .


Cooks work was innovatively hung, with the majority of the work being directly pinned to the wall . Only two prints were framed in the traditional way.  A nice touch was a vertical line of  “Remnants”, several pieces of discarded prints, lined up at the edge of the exhibition which worked most effectively .


Cataloguing was simple, instructive and clear . Wine, cheese, fruit, and beer was on offer, as a pleasant accompaniment, to the gallery viewing . A small crowd where in, but as the exhibition progresses, it will almost certainly draw a greater crowd as the work is definitely worth a look .


The finishing VU students could benefit from a look at the hanging and display techniques, deployed by the artists .

Bavarian Boozehounds


Swaggering down the narrow aisle of flight H1273#, from Leipzig to London, came two large drunken examples of german manhood.
Flinging themselves into two seats opposite, they began a loud conversation with the little blonde fraulein, cowering in her window seat.
Nestled in each giant paw was an oversized can of German beer offering 5 % gratis. They began a loud, guffawing, drinking session extolling to all, in loud German, their travel plans. Dressed in top to toe camouflage gear they were ready for anything, but were we ? their fellow travellers.
For the next forty minutes the cacophony of guttural sounds, brought forth from their beer lubricated vocal cords, was deafening.


Manchester Canals

With our eardrums ringing, the refreshments trolley appeared, being dragged along by a harried, Celtic beauty.
You cannot bring your own beer sir, she politely admonished. Nein nein, they responded, as both gallantly purchased a token Heineken, from the diminutive lass. Having quickly scoffed that down, the bavarian boozer deftly produced yet another jumbo can from his seemingly endless supply, stashed in his leather coat pocket.

The musical backdrop to our flight became the ripping sound of rings pulling, loud exclamations in german, farts, belches and rapid beer quaffing noises. Spill overs were rubbed into seats, cheeks and apparel, as a thick acrid beer film formed a barrier round our seats, and gave my fellow passenger, residual hiccups .

Astride the aisle seat Rolf, refused to be constrained by a mere seatbelt. His assault on the overhead locker, during landing brought gasps of disbelief from his fellow seated passengers, and feeble admonishment from the cabin crew.

Upon landing, the two belligerent, and by now extremely intoxicated, bavarians staggered down the aisle , careering into anything that crossed their path. They drunkenly charged down the flight steps, tore through airport arrivals, and blundered out into the cold London night, oblivious to the havoc they had wreaked on their fellow Ryanair travellers, and staff.

Linden Postcard Show

I am an exhibiting artist in the “Linden Postcard Show”

postcard show
postcard show

. My mixed media work , entitled, “Luna Park “, was delivered today. I registered and paid the entry fee on line. Although reluctant to enter I was encouraged by a friend who has entered in the past and sold some work. Also as a visual artist I believe it is important to exhibit work , as part of the creation process.

Housed in a beautiful old Victorian mansion, down the quiet end of Acland st, St Kilda, Linden is an innovative gallery space showing ambitious, creative work .

The postcard show will be an eclectic collection of many diverse visual artists work, displayed together, all of uniform size, but of diverse theme and execution.

I,d better go and see how ” Luna Park ” fits in the space, and whether I sell it !

linden 2
linden 2