Endure is an exhibition of dry foliage and wilting flowers painted in still life. The subjects are given the space on the canvas to breathe, to drive the whole composition.
It was Alexander of Macedon, whose portrait was the first in history to grace a coin around 300 BC and it manifested his claim to be the ruler of the known world. Money was the visible mirror of Alexander’s power and his image, stamped on a coin, also stamped his rule on the territory in which it circulated. But circulation of money not only affirms a delimitated space. In a globalised world the distribution of currencies reflects power beyond the national borders in which they are legal tender and stakes out visible claims of colonial and hegemonial influence.
But one decade into the 21st Century, money is becoming an increasingly invisible – faceless – force that seems to spiral out of control. With the world tumbling from one financial crisis into the next, the same national governments, that once emphasized their power on the currencies they released, seem to loose the ability to control the unfettered force of a globalized financial market. Financial trading is increasingly becoming a virtual realm, beyond a corporeal terrain, in which computer programs trade unimaginable amounts of assets at unimaginable speed. Simultaneously a cashless society is emerging. We pay with our credit or debit cards, our wages are electronically transferred into our bank accounts and we pay most of our bills online. Cash, and coins in particular, is left as small change.
My images refocus on this small change by taking portraits found on coins from different eras and nationalities out of their numismatic context. Lifted to a larger scale and with all references to their monetary value digitally removed, the portraits in my images now look like ancient sculptural reliefs. Now isolated, they first and foremost focus on the individuals whose busts were used as statements, which were meant to passed on by countless hands to proclaim different national identities. In a broader sense however they also reflect back on the base they were taken from: money and with it the visible, and invisible process of exchange that it facilitates and which continues to shape the fate of human society.
Joachim Froese, January 2015
Elsewhere carries on from Kate’s most recent exhibition at The Hold Artspace. In an accompany essay Eileen Abood notes, ‘McKay’s compositions are spiritual and surreal inner worlds where we can escape civilisation via the myth of an untouched and vast wilderness. These are spaces of fluid emotional and psychological connections that invite the viewer to imagine themselves as the sole figure sometimes featured amid a wide and desolate landscape. In this region the viewer is free of their surroundings and in an immense space of possibility.’ (The View from Here, Eileen Abood, 2014).
There is an apocryphal story of the painter J.M.W. Turner having himself lashed to a mast during a storm and deciding that if he survived the experience he was bound to record it. I say apocryphal for it appears that Turner was as good a showman as he was a painter. It is a story that sticks, an unctuous and oily legacy despite Turner’s light hand with paint, to any attempting to work with landscape, even photographers. There is a demand that nature must be experienced so that it can be translated, it must be seen as wild, irrepressible and above all sublime.
“The gem is such a powerful object and can be viewed as a symbol of time as you can hold the passing of millions of years in your hand. The push and pull literally and figuratively between objects like moons, stars and planets and humans is so intriguing.”
Nadine Cameron utilises materials traditionally associated with gold and silversmithing, including precious metals, semi precious and precious stones to create three-dimensional artworks.
Through her practice and creation of exquisitely beautiful, hand crafted objects, Cameron explores various concepts including the cultural relevance of body adornment and heraldry, and the symbolism and awarding rituals of medals.
Creations of Nebulae will present examples of Cameron’s ongoing inquiry into the cosmos, geological time frames, the ephemerality of time and space, and the overwhelming and unfathomable enormity of the reality within which we exist.
“Seems like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground…
Broken bodies broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath feel like you’re chokin’
Everything is broken.”
Like this lamentation by Bob Dylan, everything in the work of Michael Riddle is broken. Black panels bear deep cracks in their surface. Lattice forms that we imagine once stood proud and strong, are crumpled, some under the weight of rocks, others by circumstances unknown. The titles of the works carry suggestive words such as catastrophic, collapse, control, and failure. The materials the artist uses are pulled from the industrial world, among them pewter, steel, acrylic resin, fiberglass, and concrete. Commonplace things, yet here alchemised to create bitumen-like surfaces and stoic metal structures. These materials are made to stand the test of time—they speak of willful permanence—yet each artwork is frozen in some state of undoing.
Meagan Williams – Acting Senior Curator/Curator (Public Programs) QUT Art Museum
I work with and against a broad range of cultural references such as contemporary abstract painting, gestural and colour field, Chinese ink painting, and the decorative excesses of the rococo, oriental carpets and chintz. My paintings are cyphers to this inclusivity where a gestural exploration of the surface and paint is combined with an understanding of the painterly ‘field’ as a field sensitive to the allusive, that is the poetic, and the discursive, the conceptual. I work this dynamic conception of the field with figurative and abstract elements that shape and twist themselves into expressions of lyrical promise. This “lyric” grows out of a marriage between the materiality of paint and pre-existing floral images, where they together coalesce within of the very activity of painting itself.
Détrempe et Tourage
Used in patisserie to describe the process of layering and the building up of surfaces, ‘Détrempe et Tourage’ is a technical term I have borrowed to highlight the physical processes involved in the act of painting.
The painter and the patissier share a common pursuit – both are concerned in some way or another with the amalgamation of independent stratums that combine to generate an overall experience for our senses. For the painter, oil, medium and pigment are blended to the required chromatic and material consistency and then applied to a support with a spatula, brush or tool. Layers are developed and combine in often surprising, mysterious ways.
I find this process of layering to be most compelling – these works are testaments to my desire to render the act of looking into a visually sensual, tactile experience.
Through Robyn Stacey’s photography we imagine other people’s private worlds. Stacey brings our gaze to contemporary life and the transitory meetings of private and public worlds within the modern hotel room. By turning the hotel room into a camera obscura, the interiors of Brisbane high-rise city hotel chains and Sunshine Coast holiday apartments are transformed into darkrooms for dramatically projected landscape vistas which literally wallpaper the room.
Camera obscura is a term from the Latin for “dark room,” the name given to the phenomenon whereby an image of the surrounding world is projected onto a screen or wall in a darkened room. Cited in the writings of Aristotle, and Da Vinci, used by Vermeer and Caravaggio to create their paintings, the camera obscura is in many ways the technological prototype for the modern camera.
Because light travels in a straight line, the camera obscura projects an upside down reversed image of the external world onto the walls and roof of the hotel room creating a surreal or hyper real space within a fairly prosaic and generic hotel room. Colonnades of buildings, cityscapes of roads and parks, well known landmarks such as Anzac Square, the Albert Street Methodist church and Customs House as well as everyday life are visually inserted into the closed and autonomous insularity of the room.
Underlying the hermetic nature of the hotel room is an awareness of its transient quality, whether it is experienced as a mode of transit between source and destination, or as the constructed world of inward-directed experience it is a world with a time limit, surrendered to the temporary and ephemeral.
The fleeting nature of the camera obscura corresponds to the brief tenure of the guest experience. Businessmen, young couples, and solo travelers are actors in these dreamlike scenarios; the upside-down, reversed and distorted visual effects of the camera obscura, produce surreal and psychological spaces which seem to materialize their inhabitants’ distant thoughts. Like stills from the sets of movies, the images offer us fragments of untold narratives. Intimate and enigmatic moments glimpse the plethora of stories we can only imagine might play out within a hotel rooms’ four walls. Through the theatrical and distorted view of the camera obscura is revealed a roving, fragmented and homogenised portrait of contemporary life. But by imbuing the transitory with the timeless, Stacey suggests that behind these closed, generic doors, we may all be looking outwards, seeking moments of beauty, clarity and meaningful connection.
The Brisbane hotels that generously participated in Guest Relations were the Sofitel Brisbane Central, Brisbane Marriott, Pullman King George Square, and the Mercure Brisbane.