Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Not You, It's Us - A Collection of Rejections

I recently applied for an Australia Council New Works Grant, but was tragically rejected. I thought I'd add all the rejection letters that I've received over the years. I've written about a few before in a couple of posts. There aren't actually that many, given that the first ones are from 2001.

The one above was a rejection, but at least I got this slight boost - I was runner-up. Unfortunately the winner was able to fulfill his duties and I didn't receive the scholarship!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One-off toaster

This is a work I made around 2000 for a class in electronics in art. I attached light bulbs to the bottom of the toaster (inside) and when the button was pushed down, usually turning the toaster on, the lights came on instead. I had a translucent red gel over the slots so a diffuse red glow resulted. The image of the gagged man on the side was sandblasted on. On the other side it had "STOP ME." The man is a found image which I've used a couple of other times (here and here). I've thought that if I ever got a tattoo I would use this image. I like it because it's so ambiguous - Is it someone held captive? Is it about censorship? Self-censorship?

Sculptural Figures

Here are some more wire figures. It's a subject I've explored on and off over the years. I made some similar works for my first solo show (the work at the end of this post), but wanted to try some different things a few years later. The pin work below and the group of figures were included in my graduation show in 2001 at COFA. The group show was called Mint. I went to the cd-rom catalogue to check on titles and found that the format is "no longer supported" I think it said. If you're planning a catalogue for a show, DO NOT go for anything digital/electronic/web-based if you want people to be able to see it in three years time!

I remember that this work was called Comfortably Numb, after the Pink Floyd song from The Wall. It was a wire figure stuffed with cotton wool and covered in silicone sealant, which then had thousands and thousands of pins stuck into it. Unfortunately the neck disappeared with all the pins stuck in! I left this on the street when I moved out of one apartment and it was snapped up by someone. God knows what happened to it. Hmmm... I've found a hard copy of my blog from a few years back, and this title is actually Relaxed and Comfortable, but the connection to needles is the same.

I don't recall the title of this work. It was refugee/detention centre themed (this was at the height of the Howard regime's anti-refugee policies). The wire in these ones was covered in papier-mâché which was burnt and coated with a number of layers of shellac. They stood in a layer of sand. Oh, maybe it was called United We Stand? Something like that... Something to do with solidarity? No, I've found this title, too. It's actually Amicus Humani Generis. I'm not sure where I got that title from. It means "friend of the human race." I assume I was being ironic...

This is the first of this type of work that I made. It's called Schadenfreude, and I wrote about it here. I didn't include a full-length shot in that post so I'm showing it again here. It was covered with resin which made it very shiny. I wanted to avoid that in the work above, so used shellac.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Felted double-weave textiles

I showed some double-weave textiles here, but thought I'd present these ones by themselves. The white is wool, and the blue is a plastic twine. It's a plain double-weave cloth which I then felted. The wool has shrunk, but not the plastic which has buckled and puckered, adding texture and a sculptural element to the weaving.

This is a shot of the weaving before felting. It was basically a flat piece of cloth.

This was another pattern from the same warp:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Momentum in Canberra plus Education Resource Kit

Momentum: 18th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial is making its next stop in Canberra at the ANU School of Art Gallery from July 8 to August 1. Instead of a big opening, there's going to be a closing event, to coincide with some workshops, a symposium, and artists' talks. See the details below (they all look quite faint, but click on the images to get a better view):

There's also an education resource kit available for schools to use when art students visit the Biennial. It's a PDF available online here. Unfortunately I had some trouble getting the info from pdf format to jpeg images on some of the pages. The first two pages are as they appear on the pdf, but the next page had to be converted to Word which has affected the formatting. See the original document for the better version.

The kit talks about various works in connection to themes to be explored by the students to get them to think about the art, and to give them ideas for their own art. This is the section on my art (not in the original formatting):

Exploring connections

Hair is the unusual weft material in Rodney Love’s Six Degrees, a set of framed weavings with stencilled lettering of the names of each hair donor. In a frame there is a collection of people’s hair woven in sections butted against each other in one continuous strip. This suggests the closeness of groupings in our society and the way that people are linked through being part of a group. The stencilled name and the hair colours define the individuals. The works have no obvious beginning or end so represent a selection of groups that could extend beyond the limit of the number in this series.

Writing about his work Six Degrees, artist Rodney Love says:
“The work is concerned with what it means to be an individual within a group. Imagine this work extending beyond its boundaries to encompass everyone in the world. And imagine the population of the world as it inexo¬rably becomes larger and larger. We, as a species, may reach a tipping point where the planet can no longer sustain us. Then, whether you are concerned with individuality or collectivity, we will all share the same fate.”

What do you think about Rodney’s description of the connections between human beings and the way that he has illustrated it?

How would you create an artwork that explores the idea of ‘connections?