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I managed to catch the very last hour on the last day of the Small Sculpture Prize this year and I'm so glad that I did. It's always a fascinating show, with such diverse work from all round the country and this year I found it particularly inspiring.

Liz ShreeveLiz Shreeve

Titania HendersonTitania Henderson

Maria Fernando CordosaMaria Fernando Cordosa

Susana StratiSusana Strati

One is immediately struck on entering the exhibition with the textural variety, the tactile intensity of the works. I think there is a heightened awareness of form that comes about as a result of so many interesting sculptures on a small scale displayed so close together. It would be an etremely challenging task to 'hang' the show but the organisers did a splendid job. The result was stimulating and very satisfying.

Wona BaeWona Bae

Tavita HaveaTavita Havea

Kerrie CannonKerrie Cannon

There were three glass artists selected for this year's show: Tavita Havea, Kayo Yokoyama and Jessica Tse. Without a doubt Jessica's tiny glass tear was the smallest, simplest and yet most profound sculpture in the exhibition. I had been enjoying the poignant whimsy of Kerrie Cannon's old lady putting on make up in preparation for her departure from this world when I came upon Jessica's metaphor for Time, "based upon Kant's crystalisation theory: Time is the intent and the intent is crystalised in a tear. It is the symbol for love... the contemplation of someone, the waiting and beholding of .. romantic fantasies."

Aly AitkenAly Aitken

Ian MundayIan Munday

Jessica TseJessica Tse

Kayo YokoyamaKayo Yokoyama

Dominique Sutton: Sea of WordsDominique Sutton: Sea of Words

A good exhibition should leave the observer in some heightened state of awareness and this small sculpture exhibition did precisely that. I slowly wandered out into the sunshine and stood for quite some time watching the ocean, contemplating the pinecones on the large conifer silhouetted against a clear blue sky.... and spent the next hour or so lost in Christopher Tsolkas' "Dead Europe". Gold.

Exhibition title with bespoke bookcaseExhibition title with bespoke bookcase

Curator Daniel O'Toole has done it again with a brilliant solo exhibition by a young Surry Hills artist named Bennett. Their third show since opening earlier this year, Soldiers' Road Gallery goes from strength to strength, bringing a high level of professionalism to what is essentially an underground Artist Run Initiative on the 4th floor of a rambling warehouse inhabited by artists, musicians and rats.

Don't Shoot the MessengerDon't Shoot the Messenger

Section 311Section 311

Face ValueFace Value

These mixed media works show a surprising level of maturity for a young artist. They are pared back and beautifully restrained, satisfying yet simultaneously leaving you aching for more. I could live with every one of these images and relish the patina of the burnished surfaces and tiny sgraffito scratchings and minute but spare detail for a very long time.

Straight From Third to Fifth (detail)Straight From Third to Fifth (detail)

In DexIn Dex

I've Got my Eyes on the Queen of Hearts (detail)I've Got my Eyes on the Queen of Hearts (detail)

This body of work represents a paradigm shift for Bennett, with his earlier work apparently brightly coloured and quite 'pop'-y, so it will be very interesting to see where these explorations in cool retro imagery take him next. A full catalogue of the exhibition, which finishes this weekend, can be found here.

Recent Installations

02 Sep 2012

Several new commissions feature in this blog: kitchen windows in Surry Hills, an entryway in a lovely old home at Milson's Point on Sydney's Lower North Shore and a private chapel at a country property near Cessnock.

New door panelsNew door panels

The main panelsThe main panels

The two lower panelsThe two lower panels

The full entrywayThe full entryway

Regular readers of this website might remember images of this project in Milson's Point underway on my ABOUT page, showing the original door as a solid timber door with a fanlight above. The commission called for the replacement of the 4x timber infill panels with glass, which entailed quite a bit of onsite work. The photos were taken just as I'd completed the installation but prior to the stripping and painting of the timberwork. I used a collection of found bevels from old leadlights and while there was a need to respect the original fanlight I was asked to provide something more upbeat and contemporary.

Pair of highlights in Surry HillsPair of highlights in Surry Hills

Looking out to the gardenLooking out to the garden

The two photos above show a pair of windows installed as highlights over the back entrance of a Surry Hills residence just three weeks ago. I had a lot of fun with this design; it is intended to pay respect to an existing traditional leadlight in the adjacent bathroom and also takes its cue from the black and white rectangular tiling in the kitchen. Here again I've used some 'found object': an interesting bevel out of an old leadlight and some cast jewels and rondels.

Highlight to a private chapelHighlight to a private chapel

This window was a really enjoyable project to work on. Commissioned by Liz Mullinar, Director of Heal for Life the window sits above a door leading from the bedroom to a chapel and was intended as an inspirational piece for private devotion. The house is situated on a beautiful property in the Quarrabolong Valley near Cessnock, about 2 hours north of Sydney, with panoramic views of rolling hills, farmland and distant bushy ranges.

Australian-Turkish artist Aziz Ulas died 22.05.12, losing his battle with lung cancer. He left a huge body of work and a young son, Joscha, who is living in Berlin with his mother. On Saturday night (July 21st) Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst hosted a memorial exhibition celebrating Aziz's life and work. Proceeds of sales are to benefit Joscha.

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Aziz embraced life fully. He was one of those characters that makes an impression on everyone he meets. And his work demonstrated this passion. He explored his chosen medium of resin casting with admirable dedication but was continually frustrated with a lack of acceptance amongst the 'Art Establishment' in Australia, despite being well-recognised and supported in Germany where he lived for some years.

Gifts from AzizGifts from Aziz

wordjammin MCwordjammin MC

Lesley DymickLesley Dymick

Lifelong friend AlexLifelong friend Alex

After several warm and uplifting addresses on the night the MC announced that a box of studio experiments, photos and paraphernalia were available free for guests as a momento of the artist. I now have a beautiful little resin piece in brilliant scarlet and cerulean blue to remind me of Aziz.

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Tap Gallery's resident keyboardistTap Gallery's resident keyboardist

Guests at the exhibitionGuests at the exhibition

Guests at the exhibitionGuests at the exhibition

Guests at the exhibitionGuests at the exhibition

Last Sunday turned out to be the perfect sunny day for a viewing of my recent stained glass commission, the Breath of Compassion. Hung on the southern wall of the main stairwell, the brief for this work called for maximum reflection of sunlight so lots of iridised and silvered glasses were employed in the design.

me with my patron Paulme with my patron Paul

Breath of CompassionBreath of Compassion

I was much photographed that dayI was much photographed that day

Michael Ryan and Paul andrews were very generous in hosting the event and it was terrific to be able to share the work with a good number of friends: a very rare opportunity. Regular visitors to my website will recall seeing progress shots of the Breath of compassion on my ABOUT page last year. The work took a year to come together and was installed in November 2011. Claremont Joinery did a brilliant job of the framing; getting the work hung was quite a trick.

guests with host Michaelguests with host Michael

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Down the Rabbit Hole

11 Jun 2012

White Rabbit Gallery is Judith Neilson's gift to the poeple of Sydney. And what a rare and wonderful philanthropic gesture it is! John McDonald writes glowingly of the establishment in the Sydney Morning Herald, and not for the first time. In an exerpt from the Director's statement Judith says: "We wanted to share with Australians and the world the best of Chinese contemporary art since 2000—a turning point that I think of as the Big Bang. I hope all visitors to the Gallery will experience the surprise, delight and fascination that the White Rabbit Collection's artists and their works have given the Neilson family."

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Housed in a converted industrial warehouse, the gallery boasts 3x floors of the most diverse and fascinating artworks you could imagine. Every few months the owner, Judith Neilson, travels to China on a buying trip, collecting work from both well known and entirely unknown Chinese artists creating excellent work. Down the Rabbit Hole is a mix of mostly new pieces and work from the collection and is aptly named, as McDonald points out. It really is a journey into wonderland.

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Sunday 10th was my third visit to Down the Rabbit Hole; I've been a regular visitor to the Gallery since its opening in 2009 and I'm now recognising some works in the collection. I found the current hang particularly uplifting. The 3x light sculptures are beautiful, lyrical works, engaging the attention for long periods of time. One in particular, which could not be photographed, produced quite profound images simultaneously evocative of planets and microscopy. And the workings of gradually shifting lenses and folded wire mesh were entirely exposed, immediately debunking the mystery of the whole artwork.

ScriptingScripting

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Scripting is accompanied by a meditative piano score, perfectly suited to an entrancing artwork.

I will finish this blog entry by quoting a rather poignant statement from the work of artist Liao Chien-Chung: "Part of aesthetics is getting rid of ugliness, reek, grime: art and life both depend on cleaning up." This accompanied the work Garbage Truck, mixed media, 2011- a full-size replica without the garbage.

The Australian Designers and Creators exhibition, which grew out of the Australian Craft Show at Fox Studios in Sydney has morphed into Australian Designers on Show. The exhibnition at the Masonic Hall in Turramurra over the weekend of 23rd, 24th and 25th March 2012 was the fourth exhibition of it's kind and the first time I have taken part.

As seen from the cafe areaAs seen from the cafe area

My display at Designers on Show 2012My display at Designers on Show 2012

The fine timber craftsman Dave Jones had to pull out of this year's Designers on Show so I was very pleased to have been invited as his replacement. While the number of visitors wasn't huge it was a good show for me. I sold several of my abstract leadlight mirrors and had many worthwhile conversations and some very positive leads for future commissions. It's been quite a few years since I have exhibited on the Northside (was a member of the North Shore Craft Group for many years when I lived at Lane Cove) and I'll definitely have a presence at Turramurra in 2013.

Belisa CashmereBelisa Cashmere

Signature KnitsSignature Knits

Jones LeatherJones Leather

Aharoni jewelleryAharoni jewellery

At a wedding reception many years ago I was asked what I do for a living, the usual wedding party conversation with strangers. My reply elicited a disparaging response: "So you're a religious artist?! That's old hat, religion is dead!"

One need only spend an hour wandering through the 2011 Blake Prize to realise how wrong that statement is and how relevant religious art can be to today's society. Such a diverse range of artistic expression, some of it somewhat obscure and impenetrable to be sure but most of the work extremely thought provoking.

Linzie J EllisLinzie J Ellis

Martin SharpMartin Sharp

Ernest AaronErnest Aaron

Simon BlauSimon Blau

In an exhibition such as the Blake I tend to feel that using Untitled for the title of a work is disappointing, particualrly if there is no accompanying text in the room sheet; a title provides the veiwer with at least a hint of the artist's intent, an access to the work. Nevertheless one of my favourite artworks in the show is "Untitled", an unapologetic abstract expressionist painting by Linzie Joanne Ellis. As an essay on the ineffable this works supremely well.

Equally successful for entirely different reasons is another Untitled, the black and white painting of a large crowd under intense light by Ernest Aaron. As you approach this work the crowd disappears and the daubs of paint vibrate against each other. It is indeed a most successful metaphor for the transient nature of our existence, as the artist states in the catalogue.

Anne ShefferAnne Sheffer

Tim SilverTim Silver

Zoe Aliu and Christos TsiolkasZoe Aliu and Christos Tsiolkas

Fang Min WuFang Min Wu

Fang Min WuFang Min Wu

Fang Min WuFang Min Wu

I was struck by the aesthetic integrity of Simon Blau's "The relocation of the horizotal on an instrument of torture": such a strong sculptural statement, conceptually profound yet profoundly simple. And who could not be moved by a crumbling portrait looking suspiciously like Mother Teresa made of wood filler by Tim Silver?

Embodying profound meaning within an object of beauty, Anne Sheffer's printed ceramic vessel has a quietly commanding presence. There were many pieces in this show that impressed me, too many to mention here. And some are clearly addressing the more open brief of social justice rather than religion per se. A very clever and engaging work in this field is "Not in her Mother's Footsteps, New China Doll" by Fang Min Wu. I think I laughed out loud when I saw this beautifully executed work.

Certainly Religion has a lot to answer for. Religious wars are seldom about religion at all and even when they are, how misguided is that very concept? In truth the phrase "Religious War' is an oxymoron. One of my favourite art jokes is Beware of the God

Australian author and Nobel Prize winner Patrick White's comments are pertinent here. In a passage from The Solid Mandala his character Waldo, speaking of Religion and the Church, declaims that:
"Myths, evil enough in themselves, threatened one's sanity when further abstracted by incense and Latin, and became downright obscene if allowed to take shape in oleograph or plaster"

But Religion is by no means dead and nor is Religious Art, no matter what religion or lack of you or I may profess to. The 2011 Blake Prize closed today and begins its tour around the country shortly. There is an online version here.

Sign of the Times

27 Apr 2011

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Nov. last year a friend named Steve McLaren curated an exhibition at TAP Gallery in Darlinghurst entitled Not Only Black and White. It was an interesting theme to work to and I got excited and began a new collage/mixed media work on a black background, working with shades of black and all the various grades of white. The meta-meaning of gradations of black and white in a moral sense came to the fore as I was working with the piece. The exhibition came and went (I hung several pencil and charcoal drawings) and the new work languished for a time, until Brendan Penzer's call out a month ago for submissions in ATVP's annual `show of the year', entitled Sign of the Times.

The image below is the result. Quite rich in content it engaged members of the audience for long periods, which is about as much as you can ask of an artwork at an exhibition where there is much going on; ATVP's shows generally comprise a substantial performance component and are quite significant events.

It constantly amazes me the diverse ways in which artists will interpret a particular theme. I was very taken with the two posters of an atomic explosion over Marshall Island, by Jason Wing vs Mini Graf, superimposed with the words "REFUGE ISLAND".

Jason Wing vs MiniGrafJason Wing vs MiniGraf

More Than Simply Black and WhiteMore Than Simply Black and White

Roof Installation in King StreetRoof Installation in King Street

Ganbeld Lunaa presented a wonderful mixed media work entitled "Endless Bullshit Cassette Series" comprising a series of cassette tapes bound wildly in wire and screwed to painted canvases. I recognised a sympathetic sensibility of materials here, combined with a very Dada aesthetic. Each tape was labelled in various modes of bullshit.

The main gallery contained three sets of sculpted busts on plinths; the most prominent being, of course, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott in painted reinforced latex by Kassandra Bossell (below): an impressive likeness and eerily disturbing. Shown above is a wonderfully lighthearted installation that appeared on the awning of the gallery over King St. creating new meaning from truncated signage. And just inside the gallery door, down on the floor, was a delightful altar piece by Coris Evans set up on an amplifier and two speakers with looped chanting filling the gallery space.

Tapecassette BullshitTapecassette Bullshit

JuliaJulia

the Measure of Manthe Measure of Man

ATVP (At The Vanishing Point) is definitily one of the most interesting of the current crop of contemporary ARIs, always presenting challenging and dynamic exhibitions. It deserves your attention.

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The Latest Happenings in my World

This blog is where you will find my latest news. It can range from posting images of progress of the current commission to art crit to political or social commentary, both national and international. Anything, basically, that's commanding my attention and I feel is worth sharing with you, my reader. Enjoy. My previous blog can be found at jeffreyhamilton.blogspot.com