Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stripped Bare

This post is devoted to a series of work that I produced in 2001 and 2002 called Stripped Bare. I had been working with wire figures for a number of years (see this post), and decided to explore a 2-D version of these figures. In the beginning all the "dolls" were stuffed with hair, but I decided to exhibit some with just the wire. The shadows cast on the wall became part of the work, and this led to me thinking of doing photograms of them. The white figures on black are the photograms of the sculptures, and the black figures on white are the photograms of the photograms. I framed the two images from each work together for contrast.

Having obtained a "drawing" of the figures, I decided to work with photocopy "static" to get more texture in the images. I used 3rd, 4th or 5th generation photocopies and printed them on rag paper to simulate an intaglio print.

I also continued photocopying each image until it became a blob of ink. I pinned all the photocopies to the wall so that an original image slowly got darker and darker, then swapped to the next darkened image and went back in steps until I reached its original image.

I had also made a number of works with hair boxes so made photograms from variations of those.

I quite liked these red/pink variations but have never exhibited them.

Off the Wall again

I posted a while back a rejection from Off the Wall, a part of Art Sydney that allows emerging artists a chance to show their work. They've put images from the rejected artists on their site. It's now possible to see the people who were selected as well as those who weren't. My image is on this page. You can see the variety in the work they've chosen, but it's difficult to see much difference between those selected and those rejected. And it's so depressing to see so much art by so many artists! It's even more depressing seeing really bad art by really successful people (not at this site, but generally in the galleries and museums!). Still, that's the art world, I guess. Like it or lump it...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hair works

I'm still working my way through a pile of existing images that I made webready a couple of years ago when I still had my website, but never got around to adding. Some of the images are of questionable quality and I'm not sure why that is. A bad batch... All the image in this post are works made with human hair. It's a material I've used a lot, and will continue to use in the future. It has lots of material potential, as well as conceptual ones. I'll probably eventually recycle some of my BFA Honours paper here; it was all about hair and its meanings.

This first image is not really a work, it was just a filler for a show I had at UNSW in 2002. I had collected hair from 100+ people to make paper, and I exhibited the bags with the remaining hair, and some people's photos.

This is one of the earliest works I made with hair. I was using a lot of wire at the time, and was looking for things to stuff in these wire shapes, or to put around the outside. The wire's very messy, and there's no order to the colours. As with a lot of my work, things start off chaotically, but eventually firm up and become neat and tidy. This was called The Muses, I think, and was part of the first group show I was in, Crack, at PCL Exhibitionists in 1998.

This is how they ended up: less wire; wire coated in ink and acrylic medium to give support and contrast; uniformity of colour; better photography. This is The Blonde Leading the Blonde, from 2002, and was exhibited in my Honour's year graduation show at COFA.

Also from my Honour's year grad. show was this work, As Above, So Below. The one above is about 15cm square. The one below is about 2m wide and 1.5m high. I thought I should at least make one really large work. There is a close-up below. As you can tell, my skills at colour matching are not that great! Each block is the size of a cigarette packet.

Below is an installation shot from the Sculpture 03 show at PCL. The colour here is pretty lifelike. Below the large panel I've put an installation of hair figures. As I wrote in an earlier post, these dolls have been in a number of shows, each with a different arrangement, and usually a different name. I can't remember what I called them in this show. I'll have to check my archives.

Here's another installation shot from the same show. On the right hand side are three framed dolls. Each has a piece of hand-made paper with a person's hair in it, and that same person's hair is in the doll. They are three portraits: Bob Hunt, Myra Thurner, and Careen Furner.

This is Myra Thurner.

I can't tell which is which of the following two as they both had long dark hair. One is called Bob Hunt, and the other Careen Furner.

This is a work that has never been exhibited as I never thought it worthy! It's a hair doll that has been woven into a bag. I made a double-woven form, put the doll inside while it was still on the loom, then wove up the top. It didn't really speak to me. It was a spin on the idea of cages that I had been working with for a number of years, but it doesn't have the power of a metal "cage".

This was similar to the dolls-on-paper works above, but I used the boxes, and also used anonymous hair. There are two of these, with different-sized boxes, and both called Group Portrait. Also from 2002, I think.

These are two of the earliest hair weavings I did. I'll have a separate post at some point in the future. The first one is the very first I ever made. It's very chunky because I didn't know how to make the hair into a yarn that would stay together other than making it really thick, like a dreadlock. This is called Human, All-Too Human, and is from 2000, maybe 1999. It's about 50cm wide, and nearly 200cm long. It can be seen at the Planet store on Commonwealth St, Surry Hills.

I think this was the third weaving I made. Not a great photo, but you can see that the yarn is much thinner, making a much finer piece of textile. This work is called After Me No Lover But Death Will Know You, and was originally installed along a corridor wall with names of WWII concentration camps leading up to it. One of many works I've made dealing with the Holocaust. This piece will be going to Beijing next month for a show in November. It's called From Lausanne to Beijing: The 5th International Fiber Art Biennale. It's about 13cm wide, and about 200cm long. The hair, like in the work above, and all of the works I first made with hair, is from anonymous people all mixed together. The conceptual concerns were about groups that de-emphasised the individual, and reflected the importance and dominance of the group. Since then my work has tended to show the individual as part of a group, but not subsumed within it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New to Facebook

As with the blogging, I'm well behind the curve for Facebook use. So far I've had a profile for about 24 hours. There's often talk of early adapters/adopters (both seem to be in use. Is one a mishearing/misspelling?), but nobody's much interested in late adapters. Coming well after everyone else, though, means that everyone I know is already part of Facebook, and it's easier to add people as friends. It's really just another attempt to get more people aware of my art, my blog, my exhibitions. I'm trying to get the Rodney Love meme to spread some more.

This is my Facebook image:

The major problem seems to be that the more time I spend spreading myself on Facebook and posting to my blog, the less time I have to actually make new art! The curse of the technological age.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Collage memories

This is another post showing some old work. This time all the pieces are collages. Our whole lives are like collages nowadays, aren't they? Wasn't this the Cubists' position? That our cities (and later our whole lives with the introduction of new technologies) are awash with imagery that constantly gets recombined, and rejuxtaposed? These works are all about 15 years old, the first lot closer to 20. I think they're all collage on card, possibly covered with adhesive plastic. The ones in the first section and the last section were given to people, so who knows what has happened to them.

These first 6 are part of a series that I made for friends when I lived in Japan. I think it was on the occasion of my first Art For Art's Sake party when I invited people around to finger paint (the 2nd party was a poetry-writing event!). They all got a collage from me as a gift. Wasn't that sweet of me? I think they also got photos of themselves that I had taken. They're all poorly cropped because I scanned badly centred photos and had to crop bits to get a rectangular frame! There were probably another 3 or 4, but I think the photos were even worse for those ones. Should anyone who ever received one happen to read this and still have the work, feel free to scan it for me and email me! The text was matched to the various recipients, but sometimes they just got a random text because someone had to get it! Probably A4 size, maybe a little larger. Probably 1988 or 1989. No titles (I guess they could be the Art For Art's Sake Series).

This next series was never really explicitly an art work. I taped 35 A4 photocopies of Debbie Harry's face to my front door and gradually built up layers of collage. This may not even be the final version. I ended up cutting the 35 sheets apart and still have them. Maybe I'll make a book? Or frame each one individually? Either option, or some other will have to wait until one day when I have some money (if ever). This was when I lived in Tokyo. I subscribed to about 6 or 7 newspapers and magazines at the time, so always had huge amounts of interesting (to me at least) images and text that I needed an outlet for.

I took photos on a regular basis because interesting bits got covered with other bits, so i wanted a history. The first 2 photos are before and after shots.

Note the door handle on the right. The next two photos are the same section at different times.

This last series was supposed to be placemats, but the plastic coating would not really have been suitable for hot dishes! More photocopies, more images, more text. No real theme or intention. Or title, as they weren't really intended as art works. They're about A4 sized. Probably from the early 90s?