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Three vessels from the Skin Deep seriesThree vessels from the Skin Deep series

Internationally renowned glass artist Clare Belfrage has a new solo show currently on display at Paddington's Sabbia Gallery. These works are a lovely iteration of the subtle and refined beauty for which Clare is known. These beautifully formed vessels are full of grace. The delicate almost-matte surfaces absorb light and contribute to their quiet but powerful presence.

Director Anna Grigson introducing Gabriella BisettoDirector Anna Grigson introducing Gabriella Bisetto

Drawing Out Time opened on Wednesday 15th Nov, with an address delivered by Gabriella Bisetto, Head of the Glass Workshop at the South Australian School of Art, Art Architecture and Design , University of South Australia. An accomplished glass artist in her own right, Gabriella spoke eloquently about Clare's work and the accomplishments of the Australian contemporary glass community.

Quiet ShiftingQuiet Shifting


Gabriella & ClareGabriella & Clare

Clare & myselfClare & myself

Closing December 9th, this is a delightful exhibition and well worth a visit.

Camp Creative 2015

01 Feb 2015

On Thursday 8th January I loaded up the station wagon with glass, lead and tools from Australian Stained Glass Supplies in Leichhardt and headed North the next day toward Bellingen. I was booked to teach a group of 7x students the basic craft of leadlighting, aiming to instill a passion for stained glass; by the end of 5x days solid work I think I achieved that aim. Everyone enjoyed themselves and seemed to be pleasantly surprised by what they made during the week.

Our Classroom (Morning of Day Four)Our Classroom (Morning of Day Four)

Cutting underwayCutting underway

Glass all cutGlass all cut

Cutting underwayCutting underway

Glass all cut & laid outGlass all cut & laid out

Cutting in progressCutting in progress

Finalising designFinalising design

Leading upLeading up

Leading upLeading up


Checking for accuracyChecking for accuracy

Selecting glassSelecting glass

Cutting in progressCutting in progress

Laying out the glassLaying out the glass

Morning of the Final DayMorning of the Final Day

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Completed workCompleted work

Camp Creative is held in Bellingen every year, with the whole town getting behind it. Around 1,000 students participate in everything from Chinese Calligraphy through Saxaphone and Drumming to making a fountain out of bamboo cut from the surrounding bush. Many students come back year after year, taking on different skills each time or pushing their previous course to new heights.

Contemporary sculpture of the highest order: Greer Taylor has trumped it with her latest show "out of rain" at the Brenda May Galleries in Dank Street Waterloo.



cloud 8 +1cloud 8 +1

pool and seeppool and seep


falling throughfalling through

falling throughfalling through

Greer TaylorGreer Taylor


the other sidethe other side

falling throughfalling through

out of rainout of rain

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.


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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.

I spent a delighful few hours this wintry afternoon at two exhibitions in Macquarie St Sydney. The Australian colonial artist John Lewin is being showcased at the State Library of NSW in a huge exhibition of his work. Lewin is considered to be the first Australian professional artist, with a keen eye for seeing the natural world as it is and the skill set to convey that vision into beautiful works of art. Lewin was collected by Governors, his works gifted to dignatories around the worl. With only a week to go (closing May 27th) this exhibition is well worth getting to.

The detail in Lewin's works on paper is amazing. As a former artist for Taronga Zoo I know just how difficult it is to portray a platypus as an intersting artwoprk. As for wombats, they have no shape at all! But it is John Lewin's portrayal of the Doryanthes Excelsior (Gymea Lily) and Telopea (Waratah) which are the standout works. They are stunnning illustrations of beautiful plants. And the naturalist's detailed pencil drawings of the plant's segments at the bottom of each picture give the works an interesting context and depth.

Just up the road from the Library is the NSW State Parliament. The 2012 Plein Air Prize for Painting is the 5th such prize and makes for a beautiful exhibition. Some well known names are included, such as Tom Carment, Geoff Harvey and Guy Maestri. I absolutely love Tony Hulls' "Looking South from Coledale Hills" and Rachel Ellis' "Eglington Landscape 11" which was Highly Commended. But the stand out for me was Amanda Penrose Hart's "Hill, Sofala NSW". Hart captures the essence of the Australian landscape with economy and verve, her vigorous painting technique enlivening the canvas with dark passages of eucalypt leaves dancing across the composition.

I was lucky enough to walk in on an artist's talk by Brigiat Maltese who made a most enjoyable presentation and spoke eloquently about the space that an artist inhabits while painting "en plain air". Her book, "Capertee Valley Diary", which was taken out of it's glass case for us and laid out on the floor of the House for close inspection, is made up of a continuous, concertinaed sheet with smaller pieces of paper collaged into the landscape to produce a beautiful panorama of the Capertee Valley, west of the Blue Mountains. Measuring over two metres long, the viewer's interest is maintained throughout the work. In fact one gains an insight into the artist's working method by examining the detail contained within the various sheets, produced over different times and lighting conditions

For a start, Cockatoo Island has to be the grandest venue in the world for an arts festival. Set like a jewel in the middle of Sydney Harbour, the island is home to an industrial wasteland worthy of Mad Max #4. Enter the denizens of the streets, those artists who are reviled as vandals in the corridors of power yet weirdly in this case supported and indeed lauded by Maritime Services (Sydney Harbour Federation Trust). Following hot on the heels of Space Invaders at the National Gallery in Canberra (now touring the country), and with Anthony Lister gracing the cover of Art and Australia Magazine, it could be said with some authority that street art, paste-up, graffiti, stickering, skate boarding, stencils, in short contemporary street culture, has moved centre stage. And a good thing too.

Detail from PM3Detail from PM3

Paste Modernism 3Paste Modernism 3

Detail from PM3Detail from PM3

Detail from PM3Detail from PM3

Detail from PM3Detail from PM3

Paste Modernism 3Paste Modernism 3

As well as Paste Modernism 3, there were many individual galleries on the island and dozens of boards erected around the cliff faces and outside the old warehouses featuring graf and artwork by many well known Australian artists. Numskull, Phibs and Beastmen did a collaborative Temple. There was also an enormous exhibition of screen-printed T-shirts dating back decades and of course lots of appropriately funky merchandise.

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Teepee TempleTeepee Temple

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Out of all the amazing work on display at Outpost what really inspired me, in fact blew me away, was Kid Zoom's installation. A Perth artist who moved over to Sydney and into Hibernian House for a time, Kid Zoom's career has skyrocketted and justifiably so. He is "possessed by a vision, by a madness, by a rage to live, by an all consuming fire to MAKE ART!" Kid Zoom is so much more than a street artist: his multi-media installation Home on Cockatoo was worthy of a Biennale.

Home by Kid ZoomHome by Kid Zoom

Still from the videoStill from the video

The graphicsThe graphics

Still from the videoStill from the video

The carsThe cars

Still from the videoStill from the video

In the driveway to the house, which Ian built while living in the island, are the three vehicles which star in the video projected onto the inside wall of the house. With a deafening industrial soundtrack the piece was completely enthralling. The artist takes to the cars with a sledge hammer, jumping on them, pounding them with his feet, then begins overspraying them, with flames still leaping into the air and at one stage igniting the spray can: gripping stuff.

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


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.

Vale Richard Millard

07 Apr 2011

There are many exhibitions and events of the past few weeks that I could choose to comment on but in terms of the stained glass industry none so important as the passing of Richard Millard, who died peacefully on Feb 26th 2011. Geoffrey Wallace of Melbourne was fortunate to host a workshop tutored by Dick, who spent his youth in Australia, just last year. Geoff and his wife Suzie attended the funeral in Peterborough NH. Here is a transcript of the eulogy, reproduced in full, care of Donna Cooper of the AGDA:

Dick Millard was a colourful man. He was full of colour in many ways - in the art he created, in the stories he would tell, in the cuss woirds he would use, in the ways he wore his hair and clothes.

As a stained glass artist he worked with colour. In a 2006 article about him by Shawn Waggoner, he implies that he doesn't mind breaking the rules when it comes to using colours that are generally avoided and that he happens to like green. It makes sense that he liked green and this was the predominant colour of the natural world around him.

Dick certainly had a colourful childhood. Having an identical twin is unusual enough but how many people do you know who were child actors before the age of seven? Dick and his brother Ronald, who went by the name of Buddy, were in ads for products such as Campbell's Soups and only stopped when their mother decided the disappointment of not getting an expected large role was not worth the benefits of being on the business.

An article by Kimberly Kicera refers to Dick's 'colourful parentage'. His father ran away to sea at age 14 and his mother was born in Argentina of South African parents, though she grew up in Massachusetts. When the boys were seven the family moved to Australia, where Dick's father was from and they lived there for seven years. I understand the twins never quite lost the trace of Australian accent they acquired during those formative years there.

When Dick was in eighth grade he decided he had had enough of the harsh corporal punishment practised in the schools then in Australia and one day while waiting in the hall for his punishment just left and never came back. He pusued some colourful ways of occupying himself after that, including working in a feed store and picking oysters on the Great Barrier Reef.

After coming back to New York Dick took advantage of his father's connections in the painting and decorating guild and got into an apprenticeship in stained glass. He was only 15 years old and embarked on the career that would consume his lifetime. His work is well-known, at least in the world of stained glass and he has been referred to as a national treasure and regarded as one of thee finest traditional stained glass artists, known worldwide. His career included writing a book and writing and editing for journals in the field. It also included teaching, which he did more of later in his career, establishing the Antrim School with his wife Victoria.

Dick with badger brush in handDick with badger brush in hand

co-authored with Anita and Seymor Isenergco-authored with Anita and Seymor Isenerg

But more colourful even than his fascinating childhood or his illustrious career was the man himself. His daughter-in-law, Melissa, called him "larger than life" and she was referring to the personal presence he exuded. Though Dick's formal education outside of art school ended in eighth grade, he was well-read and self-taught and was knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, with an especially rich knowledge of art and literature.

Dick was a great talker but also a great listener. He would find out a person's passion then engage with them about it. He was people oriented, very entertaining and charming.

Dick definitely had his opinions and wasn't afraid to voice them. He was a passionate man and would address things he disagreed with with the same passion that he would address the things he agreed with. He would get frustrated with the organisations he joined, because they didn't always do things his way. I understand he didn't like anybody's driving.

And yet, Dick saw the beauty in everyone. He was very perceptive and could tell if someone was genuine or not. But rather than focussing on people's flaws he lifted up their strengths. He was a natural teacher because of this and was great with children as well as adults. Even animals - I heard that at 75 he was still getting on his hands and knees to give affection to his cats and visiting dogs.

This was a man who was very secure with who he was. He had no personal vanity - definitely not a slave to fashion. He had no problem expressing his affection, calling people "lovey" or "dearheart" or, if you were really special, "monkey". He expressed affection for his sons, hugging and kissing them right into adulthood. Dick was a very supportive father and would ask his sons great questions and listen to what they had to say. He adored his grandchildren and it is a shame he didn't live long enough to be there for all of them growing up.

His first marriage to Vera, with whom he had his two sons, Kent and Christopher, unfortunately ended yet their relationship remained good. It was some time later that Victoria came into his life, a fellow stained glass creator. Vickie and Dick were great creative partners and had a great relationship. She was good for him and with her he finally went back to Australia last year for the first time since he left as a child. With Vickie, Dick also started doing the things he needed to do to improve his health and Christopher believes it is due to her that he was around for as long as he was. Dick's flame is now extinguished but the colours he leaves behind will never fade. His legacy will endure not only in the art he produced but in the love he planted and nourished everywhere. He connected people and connected with people in ways that have lasting impact.

The world is unquestionably a better place for Dick having lived and his loss is a great loss not only to those who loved him but to the whole world.


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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