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”.

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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 .

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”.

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.

Vintage Sale Phillips Shirt Factory

 

shirtfactory

A Melbourne City Council email advertising a Vintage Sale at Phillips Shirt Factory in Little Lonsdale St piqued my interest. Gasp! a post industrial factory, hidden in a Melbourne laneway, not accessed by the public for aeons, selling vintage shirts and retro fabrics. Sounds like my dream come true. It was!

Shirt Factory
Shirt Factory

Vast quantities of vintage garments, dishevelled, abandoned sewing machines and garishly printed cotton. The only problem, it was all mens wear. Sigh.

 

Me At Shirt Factory
Me At Shirt Factory

I managed to bag a few small sized shirts which I will alter to fit my frame with the help of Mum’s old Singer sewing machine. A remnant of vivid seersucker also came home with me to be transformed into a nice frock.

The fittings and fixtures are straight from the 1950’s, and provided endless fascination to my creative eye. The building has been sold, I don’t know what will become of this treasure trove of fashion and nostalgia, her heady days as a doyen of the rag trade clearly behind her!

Seersucker for a nice frock
Seersucker for a nice frock

Shirts and more shirts
Shirts and more shirts

Dominoes

Dominoes, no not the age old game I played as a child, but a living art installation played out in Melbourne’s CBD,  on a hot, lazy summer afternoon last Saturday.

dominoes
dominoes

flinders lane dominoes site
flinders lane dominoes site

 

My niece was in from out of town for a few days and cajoled me into going. I’m glad I did. The circuitous route of the domino path embraced parts of flinders lane, the Melbourne Town Hall, St Pauls Cathedral, Degraves St and even beat a path through the Crumpler store.

 

The domino pieces, which were blocks of chalky, lightweight concrete mix had been placed in perfect symmetry  along the route, some lying, many upright but all in perfect accord of the overall plan. This plan was for each to tumble onto the other, causing all to fall in a sequential order. Volunteers were placed along the route to hand out information and guard the blocks. From my vantage point our “marshall ” complete with walkie talkie told us when they had started and how far away they were. A victory yell went up from the crowd as they tumbled toward us. Yes they fell in perfect formation, spectators stood transfixed, and it was evidence of an art installation involving all that captivated and engaged the audience.

doms1

dominoes
dominoes

Brilliant Dilletantes

Brilliant Dilletantes, Subculture in Germany, in the 1980’s,  is on at RMIT Storey Hall Gallery now until 27 February 2016. I liked what I saw. Tonight, 3rd December at 5.30pm a talk is being given about a new book by Australian writer and Berlin resident, Stuart Braun, discussing his new book  “City of Exiles:Berlin from the Outside In” with Dr Peter Milne.

Brilliant Dilletantes
Brilliant Dilletantes

I believe both are worth a look.

Subculture in Germany in the 1980's
Subculture in Germany in the 1980’s

MADA Graduate Show 2015

I walked to Caulfield, from my home in Elsternwick to see the MADA Graduate Fine Art and Visual Art Exhibition. I wasn’t disappointed. The work on display was extremely innovative, explorative, and visually stunning. It covered a diverse range of visual practice including installation, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and drawing.

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

Spread over the entire floors of the old, iconic, former CIT Building, in Dandenong Rd, it embraced a fine visual aesthetic and displayed a comprehensive skill base of the newly graduated practitioners.

Of particular interest was the area where the Honours Students were exhibiting. This is the proposed 2016 studio space for the first year, Bachelor of Fine Art Degree students.

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

Thursday afternoon Talk by MJ

Wheel
Wheel

Peter Burke, organised a talk from a VU former vu student, MJ, who is currently exhibiting in the VU Gallery, 17th Floor Flinders St, Melbourne.

MJ, talked about his work, his love of his craft and his passion for the work he produces . He was successful in getting into Monash University, completed a Fine Art Degree in just two years, and is now a working artist with plans to open his own gallery shortly.

What i took away from the talk were, “just have fun , try lots of different things and keep working”.

 

flinders st
flinders st

Interesting artist, inspirational talk and valuable skill share.