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I managed to catch a superb exhibition of drawings by Australia's Brett Whiteley on its last day at the Art Gallery of NSW. Whiteley was not only a superb draftsman but a virtuosic artist with brush&ink, charcoal and pen. He used ink washes sparingly but to great effect. And drawing for Whiteley was no means to an end: it WAS the artwork.

Self PortraitSelf Portrait

Patty SmithPatty Smith

Whiteley's line is so vigorous and full of life, and he has a knack of contrasting strong, simple forms with intense detail.

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His line is so sinuous that at times it becomes sensuous. The famous "Road to Berry", inspired by a drawing of the same name and location in southern NSW by Whiteley's hero Lloyd Rees, is an early example where his landscape surreptitiously describes the female form.

Road to BerryRoad to Berry

A master of composition and invention, Whiteley also plays with perspective and the picture plane, attacking a canvas boldly.

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These shots were taken rather hurriedly at the last minute, just before closing when I discovered there was no catalogue to the exhibition. And reflection is always a problem with works under glass.

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The exhibition did include a set of Whiteley's timber sculptures-and rightly so as they are virtually drawings in space using timber as the medium. A sheet of concept drawings for the sculptures was displayed opposite.

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Drawing is an integral part of my practice also. It is not only essential in creating a stained glass window but an enjoyable and therapeutic activity and though it does require discipline its a very satisfying way to make art; this exhibition inspires me to go out and draw more!

GLAAS INC is staging a festival of glass events, GLAAS@Melbourne Polytechnic throughout the month of September, with talks by professional glass practitioners, a market, 'fringe' events and an exhibition. I'll have several pieces in the exhibition, the two shown below as well as a B&W drawing. The exhibition opens Friday 8th Sept, 5pm -7pm and launches the whole event.

Glass Painting No.5Glass Painting No.5


On Saturday afternoon, 9th Sept. I will be performing a live glass and mixed-media sculpture to the accompaniment of live drumming (Melbourne Polytechnic has a course which includes drumming and circus performance among other things).

Large VaseLarge Vase

Mount VaseMount Vase

The two sculptures shown above are examples of the sort of work I will be creating for the Melbourne event, although the new piece will stand at least 2metres tall and incorporate found object: large eucalypt branches collected form a nearby park I expect.

Opened by Bob Hawke, a former Prime Minister of Australia, at Nanda Hobbs Contemporary 66 King St Sydney, Louis Pratt's new exhibition of sculpture is a cracker. Dealing with issues of greed and corporate arrogance, it was described by the Director of the Gallery as their most important to date and pulls no punches in its political statement about the mining and export of coal.

The Apple SeriesThe Apple Series

Pratt uses coal itself as the medium for his sculptures, pulverised and reconstituted with resin, then overlaid with gold leaf to create a visually potent work heavily laden with metaphor and meaning.

Spring WaterSpring Water

Zoo YorkZoo York

Its not only environmental issues discussed however; Pratt lays it on the line where corporate culture is concerned, leaving the viewer in no doubt as to where his politics lie on the Green-Capitalist spectrum. With works such as "Snake Skull", "Business As Usual" and "Retirement" he comments eloquently on the hypocrisy embedded within the business community. And of course the irony of these works being for sale at not-insignificant prices cannot be ignored. A detail I found particularly appealing was the gold lapel pin COAL attached to one of the garments.


Suit and TieSuit and Tie

Many of these works are actual high-fashion corporate garments recently purchased, soaked in resin and coated in gold leaf. The nails pinning the three elements of "Retirement" to the wall are shiny brass-plated nails; likewise the knife thrust into the leather jacket of "Business as Usual", metaphorically stabbing the wearer in the back. Not everyone in the large audience on opening night would see that those ties hanging on the wall are also nooses.

Hung SalesmanHung Salesman

Business as UsualBusiness as Usual

Not all the works in this show are as successful of course; I found the bucket of gold-coated coal nuggets in "Fools Gold" rather twee with its rotating coloured lights. I got the reference to an imitation coal-fired heater, but it just didn't work for me. However I did particularly enjoy the graphic work, a set of four prints in black and gold leaf. As they are framed under glass, the reflections prevented me from photographing them successfully. So do get along to see the exhibition, which is open until 18th December; this is one not to miss.

The coastal walk draws thousandsThe coastal walk draws thousands

Every year many thousands of Sydney-siders, both local and visiting tourists, make the pilgramage from Bondi to Tamarama and back again, taking in the collection of over 100 site-specific contemporary sculptures from Australia and around the world. Sculpture by the Sea now has its own Wikepedia entry; it really has revolutionised the way Sydney embraces art in public spaces. This event, almost single-handedly, has brought Sculpture as an art form back from the margins and into the public arena.

Richard TippingRichard Tipping

Video SurveillanceVideo Surveillance

This year, the 19th year of continuous exhibition, there was a very strong element of irony running throughout. The Curatorial Panel went so far as to include a well-known feature of the Bondi landscape as a work by Unknowable from the N.A.S., the Natural Art School, completely in its natural state. Materials: Sydney sandstone. Dimensions: constantly changing. Price: priceless. Artist Statement: "Here sits a large stone. It has been here for eons and it will remain here long after those who view it have come and gone."

Richard Tipping's Speed Trap is also priceless (although you can buy them for $3,300 or less). Reduce Need is so good you almost miss it. And I found a lovely synchronicity between Video Surveillance, beaming images of viewers to the internet, and Tipping's statement that PHOTOGRAPHY IS EASY AND ALL ART IS THE SAME.

Motion was also a common theme throughout the exhibition. Being an outdoor show, this is almost unavoidable, and there are always great kinetic sculptures which play with the wind. But this year motion and interaction seemed to me to be particularly emphasised, as you will find by viewing my short videos of various works, the way they move (or don't) and the way people interact with them:

No.103 The bottles by RCM Collective, VIC

No.46 Eye by Anne-Marie Pedersen, Denmark

No102 X by Sarah Fitzgerald, NSW

No51. Kakashi (2012) by Zilvinas Kempinas, Lithuania/USA

No56 Treasured by Martin George, VIC

No105 Wave by Annette Thas, WA

No79 Open Home by Kate Carroll, VIC

No23 Half Gate by Matthew Asimakis, Clarence Lee & Caitlin Roseby, NSW

Took time out of the studio last week to catch the 2015 Small Sculpture Prize exhibition before it closed on Sunday 25th. I try to see it every year because I enjoy the show so much and while it couldn't be called the best ever I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Purple,White,Orange & BluePurple,White,Orange & Blue

Figure of Self-ReflectionFigure of Self-Reflection

Two sculptures I particularly enjoyed were the abstract aluminium construction by Yioyios above and the very whimsical ceramic totem by Stephen Bird, a regular contributor to the show. Another work I found particularly beautiful was Lines by Titania Henderson

Lines by Titania HendersonLines by Titania Henderson

Father's PencilsFather's Pencils

Father's Pencils by Wendy Black struck a particularly strong emotional chord with me. Probably the smallest piece in the whole show iot definitely had the most profound impact. WEndy explains that while her father constructd modest dwellings, the work alludes to skyscrapers, but it was her acknowledgement of communing with him while making the piece that resonated so strongly with me

Last weekend I attended an opening of a group show by my friend Di Holdsworth at Stella Downer Fine Art in the Dank Street complex in Waterloo. Di has two delightful new assemblage works in the show, along with two shown at the Museum of Sydney exhibition "City of Shadows"

While there I was captivated by an exhibition in the Depot Gallery by Merrick Fry, an artist of whom I had heard but remained unfamiliar with his work. I found a strong empathy with Fry's debris and found object constructions. Although I have such little time spare to indulge my passion for constructionist art these days, it is heart warming to see the genre being embraced with such enthusiasm and indeed gaining ground. Merrick's work is truly a tour-de-force of assemblage/found object/bas-relief/constructionist sculpture.

The Charmer's PicnicThe Charmer's Picnic

Still Life with Red PitcherStill Life with Red Pitcher

Amber Still Life with PearsAmber Still Life with Pears

Philip Street, 1969Philip Street, 1969

As you can so easily apprehend from the above images, Fry's body of work is full of dry humour, whimsy and wit whilst remaining rigorously eloquent. His neat execution withstands close scrutiny yet he is by no means precious about what goes with what or for that matter how his materials may have been manipulated. The glass artist purist may well throw up their hands in horror at mixing slumped glass with formed perspex but in context it works, and here context is everything.

The exhibition continues until Saturday June 20th, with the artist attending 11am - 6pm Tuesday to Saturday. The Depot Gallery, 2 Danks Street Waterloo.

Viaduct with Council ThrowoutViaduct with Council Throwout

Still Life with ViaductStill Life with Viaduct

Long CabinetLong Cabinet

Enjoying the workEnjoying the work

A vigorous discussionA vigorous discussion

Portrait photos by Tony Grech

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.


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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