Three paintings of gum trees at the Gibraltar Falls picnic area, Easter Monday.
Bodies of Art: Human form from the national collection, is currently on display in the downstairs sculpture rooms of the National Gallery of Australia. I spent the morning there quietly sketching away. The exhibition is a stimulating mix of sculpture, paintings, photography and video works which provided me with lots of interesting compositions to work on.
My first sketch was a grouping of stone sculptures, Torso, 1948 by Rosemary Madigan and Number 24, Harry Boyd by Robert Klippel and a third piece, an Anthropomorphic monument [gowe nio niha], (19th century or earlier) from the island of Nias in Indonesia. I was instantly drawn to the sandstone used in the two Australian works. The deep gougemarks on the Klippel sculpture acted like lines drawn across the surface. In contrast the smoother texture of Madigan’s work supported the subtlety of her torso’s carved planes.
Behind me was an interesting juxtaposition of a hanging work by Giulio Paolini, Aria (Air), 1983 and beyond that, Triptych, 1970, by Francis Bacon.
Paolini’s work consists of two photographs of a renaissance sculpture sandwiched between perspex and hang from a steel cable. The work slowly gyrates beneath the high gallery ceiling, while underneath lies a piece of shattered glass. Behind it hangs Bacon’s equally fractured figures, curiously feeling much more grounded and solid than Paolini’s figure does.
While I drawing the partial elements of the Bacon triptych into this sketch, I became quite intrigued by the figures in the work’s central panel. After a restorative cup of coffee and some biscuits in the Member’s Lounge I returned to my final sketch of the day, the detail of the central panel.
There is certainly scope for more drawing here, so I will plan to make it back there soon.
All the sketching was done in the gallery and the watercolour was added afterwards.
Looking back on my blog I just realised that I hadn’t posted about the Dobell Drawing Prize 2019, which includes my work ‘365 Days’. Spoiler alert – I didn’t win the $30,000.
The big announcement was made two weeks ago, at the end of March and I went up to Sydney for the event. I always find openings and suchlike quite intense experiences and this show, being the most prestigious I have been selected into was no exception.
The 2019 prize panel called for, among other things, drawings in non-traditional media. This resulted in a wide display of techniques and materials across the 58 finalists. It appeared to me that this was a key element of the selection criteria where the public might have been a bit better informed. There was lots of “but how is this drawing” remarks floating around in the gallery on the night. I certainly had that asked about my work and Justine Varga’s winning work using paint into wet photographic medium also copped a lot of the same.
I think the gallery might have also increased the understanding of the works by including the artist’s statements in the wall text. I doubt that anyone would realise that my work was made over the course of a year, just by looking at it. When I did look at works with the catalogue in my hand l really came to appreciate a many works that had previously appeared quite difficult to grasp.
With such a broad range of styles on display it must have been a challenge for judge Ben Quilty to make a final choice. There is both seriousness and fun in this show. Chris Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa) certainly got my prize for the best use of glitter in a drawing.
There were also a number of exquisite pencil drawings and this wonderful landscape by Western Australian artist Sonia Kurarra.
The Dobell Drawing Prize exhibition is being held at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Sydney and will run until 25 May 2019.
PS My work is featured on the inside back cover of the catalogue!
Since I launched the Opening Stitches Project at the end of January this year, I have had 15 people sign up to the project. I also have a couple of family and friends who keep telling me they will be coming on board sometime soon.
While many of the participants come from Australia, I am also really excited that I have a number of contributors from overseas. Indeed the first person to sign up lives in Japan. I also have two contributors from the UK, one from Scotland and one from the Czech Republic.
So far I have received 11 squares from 7 people. Yes, some of you are sending more than one square and that’s fine by me. I have completed working on 6 of those squares. This photo shows you what I have done so far.
I am still not completely clear where this project will lead me/us. Until I get a good idea of what squares people are sending in I can’t really decide how I might combine or display this work. But one of my goals is definitely to show this work in an exhibition.
If it seems odd that I am thinking about exhibiting at such an early stage this is quite necessary as most galleries advertise a year out for future exhibitions. I continue to look for exhibition opportunities with the idea of showing the work in 2020 or 2021.
I can also tell you that your stitches have already started me off on several new pieces of my own, which I also hope will be part of a larger exhibition. Here’s a current piece I am working on, alongside its inspiration, a square contributed by Catherine Stern.
I am posting updates about the project both on my Instagram page @leonieandrewsart and also on the blog on this website https://leonieandrews.wordpress.com. You are most welcome to re-post from my Instagram page or link to my blog posts.
I AM STILL LOOKING FOR MORE PROJECT PARTICIPANTS.
Please feel free to promote the project to your friends, family or followers. The best way to link to the project is via the dedicated project page on my website. https://leonieandrews.wordpress.com/gallery/opening-stitches/