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On Wednesday 22nd Feb I attended the memorial service for Peter Travis, renown ceramist, visual artist, textile artist, educator and revolutionary designer, held at the main lecture theatre of the University of NSW School of Art & Design (formerly COFA) I was shocked actually when my neighbour Yiorgos Zafiriou dropped by to tell me of the event; I had not heard of Peter's passing in Nov 2016. The Sydney Morning Herald carried an obituary Dec 20th 2016 (lately I've been reading The Australian)

Peter Travis graciously opened my solo exhibition at Knot Gallery in 2002. The exhibition was my first for 10yrs and an umbrella event of the Sydney Gay Games. As Peter had some association with the members of Knot Gallery and was a well-known & respected figure in Sydney's gay community it seemed entirely appropriate, although I didn't really know him until that time.

We had actually met many years prior: Travis was a guest lecturer while I was a student at the National Art School. He was the first man I had seen who wore his hair in a pony tail! -being only 19 at the time it made quite an impression (though I realised much later of course that men's hair styling has gone through many fashions over many hundereds of years -but ponytails in Sydney in the early 70's were never seen).

The Memorial Service was well attended and included many VIP's of the craft arts industry. I had the opportunity later of chatting with Roger Leong, Senior Curator at Sydney's PowerHouse Museum, Grace Cochrane, a former Senior Curator at the Museum, and being introduced to Pamela Griffith, a print maker who's work I have admired for many years. The service itself was not a sad affair at all but a celebration of a gigantic talent. Travis has made a huge contribution to the arts scene of Australia and indeed was recognised internationally. His exploration of colour and movement through the construction of gigantic and decorative kites led to many commissions throughout the world, with some installations in hotel lobbies up to 10 stories high.

At home Travis was engaged as the chief colour co-ordinator for the entire colour palette of the new Parliament House in Canberra. Perhaps his most famous creation of all is the men's swimming costume known as Speedos. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for his work as a designer, sculptor, ceramist, kite-maker and teacher.

Also amongst the guests at the Memorial Service were noted jewellery designer Helga Larsen and fibre artist Liz Williamson, Associate Professor at UNSW School of Art & Design.

In her address at the Memorial Service Grace Cochrane revealed that Peter's first studio was in the choir loft of a Church in Potts Point; he paid rent by playing the organ at services. Erudite and charming, a keen conversationalist and politically engaged, Peter Travis was a true Renaissance man. There is another interesting obituary you can read on the National Gallery of Australia's website

Gathering at the Memorial ServiceGathering at the Memorial Service

David Williams toasting Peter TravisDavid Williams toasting Peter Travis

Grace Cochrane & Roger LeongGrace Cochrane & Roger Leong

Peter Travis installationPeter Travis installation

Installation, foyer of lecture theatreInstallation, foyer of lecture theatre

Liz Williamson with Roger LeongLiz Williamson with Roger Leong

Helge LarsenHelge Larsen

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This year's masters of Glass exhibition at Paddington's Sabbia Gallery features work by Tim Edwards, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, Lisa Cahill, Emma Varga and Brendan Scott French. These artists were invited to exhibit work based on the concept of HOME.

And it seems that each artist has pushed their ouvre that little bit further, creating an exciting exhibition of new work.

Jenni Kemarre Martiniello is well known for her interpretations in glass of traditional Indigenous fish traps. For HOME Jenni has shown pairs of wall-mounted slabs of glass titled Layers of Place.

Emma Varga has ventured into new territory with a tour-de-force of Pate de Verre work, also displayed on the Gallery wall.

Lisa Cahill, who is well known for her beautiful wall-mounted fused and slumped glass sculptures has also produced a series of thick glass slabs infused with multiple layers of illustration

And Brendan Scott French, one of my favourite glass artists, does not disappoint with his semi-abstract landscapes of fused and surface worked panels of glass mosaic.

This is a small sample of the beautiful contemporary glass art on show at HOME. You will find much better photographs than mine on the Gallery website. But the work is even more seductive in-the-flesh: the exhibition continues until February 27th so get along and see for yourself.

Foreground: Tim Edwards' Line Drawing #9, #10 and #11Foreground: Tim Edwards' Line Drawing #9, #10 and #11

Jenni Kemarre MartinielloJenni Kemarre Martiniello

Jenni Kemarre MartinielloJenni Kemarre Martiniello

MinefieldMinefield

Firebush OctoberFirebush October

Road Trip, Snow in the Hume HighwayRoad Trip, Snow in the Hume Highway

Le ChatLe Chat

Bondi WindowBondi Window

Elevation The ApartmentsElevation The Apartments

View from WindowView from Window

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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.

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

The coastal walk draws thousandsThe coastal walk draws thousands

Richard TippingRichard Tipping

Video SurveillanceVideo Surveillance

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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.

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

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

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

Figure of Self-ReflectionFigure of Self-Reflection

Lines by Titania HendersonLines by Titania Henderson

Father's PencilsFather's Pencils

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The Internationally significant Powerhouse Museum or MAAS (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) is to be moved to Parramatta, the building demolished and the land sold off to developers for residential accommodation. I consider this nothing short of State-sanctioned vandalism. My opinion is shared by many of my colleagues and friends.

NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the move in February this year as a political stunt (I believe) to garner votes in Western Sydney. Now I'm all in favour of a new Museum in Western Sydney, where over one third of Sydney's population resides. Definitely, let's build more museums and art galleries. But it is patently absurd to demolish a fully functional world class institution for a return of maybe $500M, no matter how dire the need for more residential accommodation in our burgeoning city. A city is soulless without its cultural institutions. And to claim that the demographic centre of Sydney is Parramatta while building more apartments in Ultimo is completely misleading.

Alex Greenwich, Independent member for Sydney is hosting a petition (scroll down to PLANNING) requesting a Parliamentary review of the decision. If we can gather 10,000 signatures, on paper, with a NSW residential address (no email addresses) then the NSW Parliament will be forced to debate the issue. Democracy in action. the tally stands at 3,000 so far; Greenwich is wanting to submit the petition to Parliament this October, so downlaod and sign it now. Take it to your workplace, encourage your family members to sign. Let's keep this dynamic, historic and architecturally significant building.

Interstate and International residents who would like to add their voice in supporting the Museum can sign one of the several online petitions.. these will definitely add weight to the cause. Jamie Parker, Member for Balmain, is hosting an online petition to save the Powerhouse Museum.

JEWELLERY & IDENTITY

For almost twelve months the MAAS has been hosting a spectacular exhibition of jewellery with over 700 exhibits drawn from public and private collections, beautifully curated by Eva Czernis-Ryl, Senior Curator at the Museum. Craft Arts International magazine's current issue #94 carries an impressive review of the show

In the ante-chamber to the main exhibition was a selection of work by students of Jewellery and Design Colleges around NSW. Classes were invited to view the Museum's collections and to make work somehow inspired by or related to a particular piece.

UPDATE NOV 1st 2015:

Over 10,000 signatures were presented to Parliament during question time mid-October, petitioning the State Government to revere=se the decision to move the MAAS to Parramatta. Consequently a full Parliamentary debate will be held, although it is unclear exactly when that will be. for more information check Alex Greenwich's website

Contemporary workContemporary work

Peter Tully costumePeter Tully costume

Contemporary workContemporary work

Students workStudents work

Students workStudents work

Students work at Powerhouse Jewellery ExhibitionStudents work at Powerhouse Jewellery Exhibition

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I missed the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition this year, being rather busy finishing and then installing my window for the Bowral Presbyterian Church last Friday. I always enjoy the show: such beautiful location, always interesting and artistically stimulating and invigorating. And its wonderful that this exhibition is so well attended: many thousands of Sydneysiders make the walk from Bondi to Tamarama (or in reverse), not only to look at the view, but to look at Art!

However this is not the only sculpture show in town. Running more or less concurrently, in the beautiful old Waverley/Woollahra Town Hall on Old South Head Road, is the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. A strongly contested, selected exhibition, the Small Sculpture Prize is an intimate show, similar in many ways to the Ranamok Glass Prize. While the latter tended to favour plinth-based works, the former is exclusively such, with each work restricted to a maximum size of 80cm x 80cm x 80cm.

The diversity of ideas represented in this show always amazes me. What this means is, being such a small show with only 40x sculptures, it almost doesn't work as a cohesive exhibition. The observer bounces from one extreme example of creative thought to another. There are some links however, some threads to follow and works to compare. In this year's show there were quite a number of figurative pieces, each one of them very powerful and expressive. Henry, for instance, by Miraslav Kratky is almost talking to you. He stands there full of attitude and wisdom, espousing his particular philosophy on Life. Stephen Bird's Ancestral Figure, by contrast is almost impregnable, teasing you with so many unrelated symbols and references (like English Toby Jugs) that the artist seemingly defies you to make sense of the work, delighting in making something both arcane and beautiful.

Several of the works are laden with humour, some of it quite wry. The winning sculpture for instance, Form for Modern Living #2 by Natalie Guy, is a suavely tongue-in-cheek dig at Interior Design, the mores of contemporary fashion, Modern Art and sophisticated consumerism. It somehow encapsulates all of this in a pithy statement of bronze Barbara Hepworth.

And with an hilarious take on Jeff Koons' giant Puppy, Natalie Thomas takes us back to those ultra-kitsch souvenir shops of the 1950's and 60's beachside holidays where you would find all manner of artefacts made of seashells.

A constructivist steel sculpture which caught my eye was Triplex by Morgan Shimeld. I know of Morgan as a stand-out graduate in glass studies from SCA, making really interesting work. Clearly he has pushed on to great heights and moved beyond glass.

But Freja Jobbins' Anthropomorphism #1 surely takes the prize for Absolutely Creepy. Is it just me? I find these conglomerations of baby doll parts very disturbing (while also, admittedly, decidedly funny). There are unexpected echoes here with both Bird's Ancestral Figure but moreso with Thomas' shell-encased Puppy. All three share a strong sense of the absurd.

My personal favourites were Yusuke Takemura's Ho-Zuki and Seraph by the Peculiar Annes. Totally unrelated and appealing to completely different aesthetics, yet both works share a highly developed sense of finesse in both craftsmanship and concept. Take's work celebrates the beauty of materiality and technical virtuosity while the Annes' magical figure possesses such power and spirit that it can transport the observer to another place entirely. And that surely is the achievement of Art.

HO-ZUKI by Yasuke TakemuraHO-ZUKI by Yasuke Takemura

SERAPH by Peculiar AnnesSERAPH by Peculiar Annes

Henry by Miraslav KratkyHenry by Miraslav Kratky

2014 Winner2014 Winner

Puppy by Natelie ThomasPuppy by Natelie Thomas

Triplex (detail)Triplex (detail)

Triplex by Morgan ShimeldTriplex by Morgan Shimeld

Ancestral Figure by Stephen BirdAncestral Figure by Stephen Bird

AnthropomorphismAnthropomorphism

by Freja Jobbinsby Freja Jobbins

CMS added image

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The 2014 Sydney exhibition of the last Ranamok Glass Prize drew to a close on Sat 18th October with 5x of the 28x finalists presenting talks about their work: myself, Ben Young, Paddy Robinson, Mark Elliott, Lee Howes and Yusuke Takemura.

-hale by Richard Whiteley-hale by Richard Whiteley

Farewell to the King by Christian ArnoldFarewell to the King by Christian Arnold

Blue world -Polar by Emma VargaBlue world -Polar by Emma Varga

Forest Fungi 2 by Rodger BuddleForest Fungi 2 by Rodger Buddle

There is nothing more expensive by Yusuke TakemuraThere is nothing more expensive by Yusuke Takemura

Last Supper by Evelyn DunstanLast Supper by Evelyn Dunstan

The Magpie's Hoard by Rob WynneThe Magpie's Hoard by Rob Wynne

Mount Selwin by Holly GraceMount Selwin by Holly Grace

Te Kahu by Te Rongo KirkwoodTe Kahu by Te Rongo Kirkwood

Three Painted Vessels (foreground) by Jeffrey HamiltonThree Painted Vessels (foreground) by Jeffrey Hamilton

for health and assurance by Nick Wirdnamfor health and assurance by Nick Wirdnam

Philumeny by Lee HowesPhilumeny by Lee Howes

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Over the weekend of 28th, 29th, 30th March I took part in the Designers On Show exhibition held each year in the Turramurra Masonic Centre on the Pacific Highway at Turramurra. The centre has two exhibition halls accessed via a common entry foyer. It was my task to design and hang the entry foyer exhibition and then play host over the weekend, meeting and greeting visitors as they arrived.

The entry foyer was my exhibition space; I didn't have a display stall in the show as did the other exhibitors. In this way I was able to integrate my work into the building and take advantage of discreet spaces not otherwise utilized. It made for a strong impression when entering and also when leaving the Show.

Other exhibitors in the Show included Mark Jones [leather], Carol Page [bespoke shoes], Alice Leda Pettirosso [merino woollen garments], Denise Smith [lampworked glass beads], Jane Stapleford [watercolours], Bob Taber [jewellery], John Hablitschek [jewellery], Jane Slicer-Smith [hand-knits], Lyn Hart [ceramics] and many other former exhibitors from the former Australian Craft Show run by Bibby and Shields from 1984 thru to 1999 at variou svenues but primarily the old Sydney Showgrounds at Moore Park. We were also supported by Craft Arts International who had a stand displaying their magazines in the foyer.

EntranceEntrance

StaircaseStaircase

Craft Arts MagazineCraft Arts Magazine

View from the elevatorView from the elevator

Last (and hopefully lasting) impression exiting the ShowLast (and hopefully lasting) impression exiting the Show

Frozen KimonosFrozen Kimonos

Jones leather and Ken and Susan FlowerJones leather and Ken and Susan Flower

Lyn Hart ceramicsLyn Hart ceramics

Alice Leda PetrossinoAlice Leda Petrossino

Marion Matthews quiltsMarion Matthews quilts

Signature HandknitsSignature Handknits

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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.

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.

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."

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.

Liz ShreeveLiz Shreeve

Titania HendersonTitania Henderson

Maria Fernando CordosaMaria Fernando Cordosa

Susana StratiSusana Strati

Wona BaeWona Bae

Tavita HaveaTavita Havea

Kerrie CannonKerrie Cannon

Aly AitkenAly Aitken

Ian MundayIan Munday

Jessica TseJessica Tse

Kayo YokoyamaKayo Yokoyama

Dominique Sutton: Sea of WordsDominique Sutton: Sea of Words

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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.

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.

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.

Exhibition title with bespoke bookcaseExhibition title with bespoke bookcase

Don't Shoot the MessengerDon't Shoot the Messenger

Section 311Section 311

Face ValueFace Value

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)

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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