18 Mar 2017
After several months of intense work my new window illustrating Dorcas in a gesture of giving cloth to a pauper was installed into one of the last remaining openings at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Nowra, southern NSW. The window fitted quite well and installation proceeded relatively smoothly, with only a slight adjustment in the height required onsite.
The subject matter of Dorcas was a request from the donors, in consultation with Rev Fred Monckton, Parish Priest, as best representing the generous and giving nature of John and Joan Coulthart whom the window is in memory of. There was also a requirement to portray the old Presbyterian Church of Numbaa, which stood on the Coulthart's property some 20kms to the East of Nowra. A lot of research went into the design of the window, as is often the case. It was over a year ago that I drove down to Nowra to meet with the four Coulthart sisters and visit the Numbaa property. The old corrugated iron shed with its cast iron pillars still stands but the weatherboard and shingle porch has long since gone and the windows to the shed have been sheeted over. The building was erected as a Church in 1885.
I wanted my figure of Dorcas to be beautiful and compassionate and decided to attempt a recreation of an angel by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones', changing the colours a little, without the wings and giving her a headscarf instead of flowers. As was common for the studio, more than one window was created from this same design. My figure of the pauper is based on a frescoe showing St Cecilia by Renaissance painter Lorenzo Costa. It seemed particularly appropriate as St Cecilia is shown divesting herself of all her possessions.
24 Feb 2017
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.
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
24 Jan 2017
So its back in the saddle with lots of glass painting underway. Above is the central motif for the Balmain entryway, just finished after 6x firings, and below the first trace for the scrollwork in the arched portion of the Dorcas window to be installed into Nowra Presbyterian Church
The fanlight for the Balmain residence has just been built (above). Pictured below are close-ups of the two bird paintings. While the general approach of the design has been quite traditional, I've aimed to keep the painting fresh and forward-looking rather than imitating what can be seen as drab traditional work. Part of this decision-making was not giving the birds a matted background.
The past fortnight hasn't been completely all work and no play -its still January after all, but I'm afraid I won't be heading off to Canberra this week for the Ausglass Conference, nor dancing my feet off at Electric Gardens for the Australia Day celebrations on Saturday (as much as I would LOVE to).
There's still a lot of painting to go for the Dorcas window for Nowra Presbyterian and the donors have been extremely patient with me already... can't keep them waiting!
But I did get along to a couple of Sydney Festival events: SPECTRA at the Seymour Centre was spectacular, truly inspiring and captivating with a set by Tatsu Miyajima, Mongolian throat singing, and superb coreography. Fortunately I had spent a whole day at the AGNSW and then MCA in the week between Xmas/New year so I'd seen the Miyajima exhibition and was thrilled to see his work used in a live performance situation. Made it so much more meaningful for me. [More on Miyajima in my next blog]
And the other fascinating performance I caught as part of Sydney Festival was Long String Instrument at Sydney Town Hall. Contrasting completely with the hectic, even tortured though engaging cello work preceeding the main act, Ellen Fullman's performance was totally mesmerising and meditative
27 Dec 2016
Having completed a rather exhaustive program of installations in the last few months of 2016 I am taking a break for two weeks, with the studio closed until Monday January 9th. We have already begun work on the new jobs however: shown above are the full-size charcoal cartoons for a private residence in Balmain and a memorial window for Nowra Presbyterian Church.
All of the glass for Nowra has been cut and waxed onto plates ready for painting. Most of the glass for the Balmain residence has also been cut and some of it already painted, with one small section built (below)
Thank you for visiting my website and reading my blog. I wish you peace and good cheer for the holiday season, wherever you might be in the world. See you with renewed energy later in 2017: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
08 Dec 2016
As I mentioned in my previous blog, the studio has been insanely busy over the past 6x months or so. Yesterday I installed the last of this year's projects, a three-panelled bathroom window for a luxurious private residence in Sutton, NSW.
The beautiful finishes throughout the home include recycled timber, brick paving for interior flooring along with sanded beech in a herringbone pattern, cor-ten steel balustrades seen in the image above and exposed rammed earth walls. The client is a design consultant and approached me with the idea of making a window comprising slices of agate. But she also had an entirely different concept of a mechanical grid made up of a multitude of colours.
I suggested combining these two elements as a design solution: the organic crystal forms are thus suspended in the geometric grid.
19 Nov 2016
Over the past 6 months my major commission has been two double window sets for St Peter's Anglican Church in East Maitland. With the assistance of Ron Jensen of Heritage Stained Glass, New Lambton, his off-sider Anthony and my assistant Hannah, we got these four windows and their quatrafoils installed over four days last week.
Two weeks prior to this installation, I completed the installation of a pair of stained glass door panels to a family vault in Frenchs Forrest Cemetery.
The brief for this project called for renderings of the Coat of Arms of the City of Lombardo, Italy and St Aloysius School in North Sydney. I took as my lead the bold deco design of the facade, echoing the bronze, brass and black granite.
30 Aug 2016
At the beginning of August I took time out from my usual Saturday afternoon work to view a rather special exhibition by my friend Michael Galovic. Michael is one of the very few icon painters working in Australia. He is exceptionally talented and not only produces traditional icons but makes very contemporary paintings, drawing on his rich ethnic background and traditional training while commenting on the contemporary milieu.
As you can see there was lots of gold and silver. It made for a beautiful exhibition, in a beautiful location. All Saints Anglican, Hunters Hill is renowned for its superb stained glass windows, including two works by the studio of Edward Burne-Jones.
Much of Galovic's recent work has focused on Australia's Indigenous heritage and this exhibition was actually a launch of his new book Uluru.
One particularly profound work was a painting juxtaposing the resurrection of Christ with the destruction of the World Trade Centre, shown (above, right).
With only about a dozen pieces, "Art That Transfigures" was a modest exhibition, in danger of being overwhelmed by the scale of its environs, but in fact the works themselves are so beautiful and powerful that it was immensely satisfying.
01 May 2016
Ausglass, AGDA and GLAAS Inc member Mark Brabham died 7th April, having sustained a serious injury to the head and remained in an induced coma since 9th March. Mark was a respected and loved member of both the glass and ceramics arts communities as well as highly regarded and active member of his local community of Richmond, Victoria. He was the founding Director of Albert Street Gallery and the long-established firm Australian Combustion Services. ..
On Saturday 30th April I attended the Memorial Service held at the Albert Street Gallery premises to commemorate Mark's life, along with over 150 guests. Donna Kennedy of GLAAS Inc delivered the eulogy, and then introduced Mark's lifelong friend and colleague Nick Wirdnam.
Mark Brabham was very involved in his local community and particularly supportive of the Richmond Primary School. Tracey Hammil, Principal of the School and one of 3x speakers at the service, spoke glowingly of Mark's commitment to his children's education and development and his unstinting support of the School. These attributes were echoed by another speaker, Malcolm Munro, who had some years ago furnished a report on the potential for Australian Combustion Services to expand Internationally, only to then convey Mark's desire to "spend time with my kids" and his decision to actually down-size the firm's operations.
After a moving service, the many guests broke off into several groups; those from Richmond Primary School gathered together for their own commemoration while many of the glass artists attending gathered in a room at the local library provided gratis by Richmond City Council. Later still I joined Stan Hawksworth, Liz Coleman and Dr Bronwyn and David Hughes for a light meal in Church Street before flying back to Sydney that night.
22 Apr 2016
The other exhibition in Glebe Point Road that I wanted to discuss is Sydney Re-Versed, an exhibition of reverse painted glass in fired enamels by Wayne Pearson and wood block prints by his partner Marina Bishop. I've know Marina since the late 1970's: we worked together as artists at Sydney's Taronga Zoo. Wayne and Marina have been partners for many years now.
Wayne Pearson was awarded his PhD in Glass from Sydney College of the Arts in 2012 with a wonderful exhibition of reverse painted glass portraits of notable glass artists as his thesis. I was lucky indeed to have been included in the series. For each portrait Wayne recorded an interview with the artist while Marina took photographs. Some of the results were exceptional.
For this small exhibition "Sydney Re-versed" Wayne is showing a series of more intimate images of Sydney wildlife and landscape
Complimenting the glass works, Marina Bishop is showing her collection of delightful lino-prints illustrating Sydney's Harbourside Pools, of which there are many. This is a second viewing of her very well received exhibition last month at the Lane Cove Art Gallery. There is a strong synchronicity between the two bodies of work; they hang together very well indeed.
The exhibition closes this weekend but the Gallery is always worth a visit: Gauge Gallery is the ground floor rental space of the Glass Artists Gallery, which has moved upstairs. Director Maureen Cahill is more than happy to take the visitor up to the next level and guide you through the very extensive collection of studio glass.
14 Apr 2016
Jeff Manning is an accomplished painter, working primarily in the magical realist style. He has collaborated with well known leadlighter Greville Wilton on several occasions to produce stained glass windows for local Churches in the New England region and in this instance the two have produced a charming suite of stained glass panels illustrating acrobats, dancers and other figures from Jeff's oeuvre.
Manning has learned much from his association with Wilton and their experience with Church stained glass work, clearly evident in the painted decoration deployed in these quirky glass panels. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of 19th Century floral backgrounds: these locate the contemporary, stylised figures within a traditional stained glass canon creating an interesting juxtaposition. Whereas the fisherman and the waitress are to my eye not as successful, harking more toward the naive style of 1970's leadlight revival which occurred throughout the USA. Merely my opinion, of course. The small detail of a bowl of spaghetti in "The Waitress" however is brilliant.
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 commentry, 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
- Successful Installation at Nowra Presbyterian
- VALE Peter Travis AM
- And now back on deck
- Work in Progress -but taking a break
- But Wait, There's More!
- New Installations
- Transfiguration:L An Exhibition of Icons by Michael Gallovic
- Vale Mark Brabham
- Wayne Pearson & marina Bishop @ Gauge
- Jeff Manning at Shopfront Gallery, Glebe