Sunday, 27 February 2011

Photo-journalist Kylie Jury's practice

Kylie Jury was kind enough to bring over some of her photographic prints for me to see. I had seen the works online and we had talked by phone before that, so I knew which series of her work I wanted for this exhibition. Seeing photographs online can fool you into thinking you know just what the work is like - and of course the subject is clear and visible - but it is always good to see the actual prints, and good too to discover that the prints can still surprise you!

The prints I am interested in for Drawling, and I'm not going to let you know which they are till the show is open, turned out to be larger than I had expected, and Kylie has printed them with a matt surface that works so well! The dimensions of the photograph and the surface are the two things you don't get to experience via a screen. Both can really change the way you respond to an image.

Kylie works mostly in series, sometimes to a brief and sometimes to her own chosen subject. Her work can be seen at

I have added a couple of my favourites here too:

Peter Biddulph's work

I first saw Peter's work at the Artisan shop in Fortitude Valley: some interesting containers with wonderful glowing colours inside. I remembered the work, but didn't take note of the name of the artist at the time.

Then I discovered his website and put two and two together. Peter's use of Southern Ice porcelain gives a particular apparent delicacy to his works, but he can tell you more about his processes when he gives a talk as part of Drawling.

This is work called Biomimesis:

Peter currently has some work in the BIA gallery in the Watermark exhibition. Check it out! You will see that the lamps he has in the current show are taller than they appear in this image!

This is work called vol_Luminous

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Meeting Phoebe McDonald

      I went to meet Phoebe McDonald and to see her artworks at her studio. Her works were great, as I had expected - I had seen a couple before - and though she uses different media (including digital photographs, 'pin pattern' works and some 3D forms), there is a consistent sense of quietness about them all, and a consistent engagement with time or duration. They often incorporate the measure and slowness of watching daylight change. Here's a link to her website:
      I had begun to notice that the works I was inclined to put in the show all seemed to have what I would call a 'quiet' aesthetic. Works that are still and quiet. Is there a connection between making things slowly and having the end product incorporate quietness?  And if there is such a connection in the works for this show, is it necessarily or coincidentally? Maybe, in other words, it is merely because I'm choosing the 'quiet' works and passing over others. Perhaps I am confusing slow and quiet? On the other hand, I guess we do associate speed with high energy; with 'noise'.

In fact Phoebe's pin works  are not still when they are installed where sunlight falls on them, because the pins stand out from the wall (well, from the backboard) and cast shadows which move as the sunlight moves. The pattern made by the pins changes quite remarkably according to where the shadows fall. But all at the slow speed of - well - daylight.

In other works, Phoebe has taken a number of photographs over time at the one location, or photographed the changing light on clouds; on the white dome of a building.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Talking with Richard Stride

Richard Stride came to BIA to have a look at the exhibition space, and to talk about the Pace project. Over the summer, he has completed some more of the works I am interested in for Drawling, and we talked about which space in the gallery might suit his works. Richard is one of the two artists I mentioned who does have drawings for the Drawling show – these are quite meticulous works in pen, which in terms of the working process means that errors cannot be erased. Slow and concentrated works.

I also like Richard's colourful installed works; some of the earlier ones incorporated what looks like graphite dust with plastic crates, and the work appears deceptively small in the images, until you notice the corners of the room! 

All images on this blog are by courtesy of the artists or curator, and have all rights reserved.

Floods & talking with Judith Kentish

2011 in Brisbane started, as much of the world knows, with floods. Of course, it was more drastic for places in other parts of Queensland than in Brisbane, and the repercussions are not over yet. Pace Project was put to one side while more immediate and important things needed to be done.

 So starting a little later in January than planned, as the flood waters receded in Brisbane, as roads were reopened and the city was still very much mud-coloured in many areas, I began visiting the artists I had contacted about the exhibition called Drawling. I already had a fair idea which works I wanted from them, having trawled through galleries, my memory and online images, but new works made over the intervening months between last August when I first started looking and this January were also in the mix.

Visited Judith Kentish at her studio. Jude is an artist who has undertaken a number of artist residencies in very interesting places, very successfully. A fairly recent residency for her was the Australia Council studio in Tokyo which she had for three months. The work in the exhibition Drawling though, is work Jude completed during an even more recent residency in an unusual and isolated location. But I'll leave the story of that for later, when the exhibition is open. Jude's work can be described as 'slow' in the sense that it can take a long time to make, often consisting of fairly repetitive marks or actions and layers of marks which result in great attention to the qualities of a surface. While she makes work in her studio at home all the time, every now and then the opportunity to undertake that wonderful thing called an 'artist residency' - simply time to concentrate on making time-consuming work without the usual major distractions of paid employment, the usual chaos of living etc - keeps her kind of art practice vital.

Here's Jude's workstation in the studio in Tokyo:

A residency is a perfect time-out for many artists. Do people in other professions have an equivalent where a time & space is arranged in order to get away from it all to get some work done?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Talking to artists

I contacted some of the artists whose work I thought would be good for the first Pace exhibition. Some I had known for a while, but others were new to me. There were a few limits because of the nature of the project:
  • the artists had to be local to the south-eastern corner of Queensland, because I wanted them to be able to make contact with their audience a number of times, talking face to face, and for the audience to follow up and visit any other shows or talks they may give.
  • and of course the artists had to agree to be part of the project, and for the timing to work for them.  Sharon Jewell's drawings & objects would have been good for the Drawling exhibition, and we had discussed it, but then she heard - wonderfully- that she had been successful in getting the Australia Council studio in Helsinki, and would be away for the beginning of the year. I couldn't have been happier for her - what an experience - and now we can look forward to Sharon returning and taking part in the second and/or third exhibition in some way. I had also spoken to ceramicist Mel Robson, but then a great opportunity came up for her to move elsewhere for quite some time ... 
  • there are, of course, artists who teach at BIA whose work would have been great in the exhibitions, except that for this project the aim is to introduce the BIA audience to new artists that they may not otherwise have the opportunity of encountering. 
And you will have guessed that though the title of Drawling came from the idea of what 'slow drawing' might be called, the work in the show is not - nor was it ever planned to be - all drawing. In the end there may be drawings from only two of the six artists.  

By the way, have you noticed the new grass bumps at BIA? 


    Sunday, 20 February 2011

    Pace Project for 2011

    Welcome to this new blog which is part of the Pace Project at Brisbane Institute of Art in 2011. What is Pace? It is a series of three exhibitions and associated events being held at the newly renovated Brisbane Institute of Art during 2011. Thank you to Brisbane City Council & Arts Queensland for supporting this year-long project! 

     The overall aim of Pace is to make some good and useful connections between contemporary artists and the BIA community. The name came from thinking about possible ways I might be able to manage the pace of my life better, so that I have time to do some things slowly, while getting through other things very quickly. Pace looks at the ways artists, as creative and competent individuals, use their time to be able to make time-consuming artworks and to live their lives in an environment that is not always encouraging.

    The first of the 3 exhibitions is called Drawling. It involves 6 artists whose works could be said to be slow or extended in some way. The name of the exhibition came from thinking about what slow drawing might be called - the kind of drawing that in a world of efficiency evokes the idea of taking much more time than appears to be necessary. The 'drawl' is that slow lengthened tone, dawdling along in speech, and already has some common ancestry etymologically with drawing - in the sense of extending or pulling something out, or to distance (withdraw), often an action associated with a slower pace of life.

    For me it also involved the act of trawling - searching for artists for Drawling has had me trawling local galleries, the internet, and my recollection of works I have seen in the past to find the right combination of artists and works to make an exhibition that would hang together visually, and in which the works could act as a catalyst for connections between the artists and the BIA audience.

    In the meantime, I took a short trip that had long been planned, to Japan.