Gallery Gallivanting: Part Two

I mentioned in my last post how much I was looking forward to another trip to Mona in Tassie. This one differed from the many previous visits because I have been given the absolute pleasure of placing a little bit of myself into the famous gallery. First, some background . . .  

I love most of the exhibits at Mona but there is one that literally takes my breath away. It is as though I see it anew each time I visit. The first time I entered the room, I cried into the white silence.  And now, all these years later, it sits at the periphery of my brain whenever I write. Or do I sit at its periphery? It means so many things to me. Here is a picture of Wilfredo Prieto’s “Untitled” (White Library) for you to feast on but you will not fully appreciate it until you stand amidst the whiteness yourself.

White Library

Image: Untitled (White Library), 2004 to 2006, Wilfredo Prieto (Photo credit: MONA/Rémi Chauvin.)

Back to me and the gallery. I was given the opportunity to write for the O Minor. (An explanation for those who have never been to Mona [what is wrong with you?]: The O is the device available at Mona which replaces traditional museum wall text. What I love about the O is that it seems to invite the viewer to respond to the art viscerally first before branching out for perspective.) My piece for the juniors (O Minor) reflects and ruminates on the ways in which we can write (and perhaps rewrite) personal life stories. I also wrote a piece aimed more at adult consumption but both are equally relevant regardless of age. I do hope you get the chance to listen to and read my slant but, more importantly, that you will have the opportunity to revel in the white library space and allow it to permeate your brain.

 Speaking of brains, be sure to check out musician Ben Salter’s piece for juniors in response to Gregory Barsamian’s mesmerising strobing brain. Barsamian’s phrenological “Artifact” is among my favourites (although my brain can experience conniptions in response to it so I have to limit my viewing).  

Pinky Beecroft (yes, the Machine Gun Fellatio guy) has  given a wonderful insight into Jannis Kounellis’s challenging exhibit of goldfish swimming around a kitchen blade in an enamel bowl.   Pinky also wrote [fabulously] for Erwin Wurm’s “Fat Car”.

I think the Junior O is an important addition to the viewing experience and I hope it encourages more visits by, and art conversations with, youngsters.

Time was not on my side for this visit (and there was all that fine Moorilla Pinot to drink) so I missed revisiting some of my other favourite works. In particular, I was looking forward to Patrick Hall’s “When my Heart Stops Beating” which sometimes makes me smile (or even laugh) and sometimes makes me weep. I imagine myself visiting Hall’s installation alone with hours to spend opening drawers and slowly savouring the words of Love. Then I would return to the room of white books to write for days on end with no sleep and a servant to bring me cheese and wine . . . but enough of my fantasies.

I hope to be back at Mona sooner rather than later. In the meantime, my work-in-progress has not progressed of its own accord so I will chain myself to the keyboard but my brain will be nestled into a corner of the untitled white library as I write.

 

 

 

 

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Gallery Gallivanting

I needed a soul lift yesterday so carted myself off to Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). Ah, ‘twas a feast for the senses. But first . . .

(Above: ‘The Blue Alice’: Charles Blackman 1956-1957 (L) and ‘My left Foot’ (R))
Following another exhilarating ride on one of those electric scooters, during which my ankle had a slight altercation with the heavy back end (see pic), I popped in to the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) to see if ‘The Blue Alice’ was back on show. Indeed it was. I always look at it with fresh eyes , I always hear music (piano and violin) and I always get extremely light headed. Someone had thoughtfully placed a couch within easy viewing distance and I may have sat there looking at Blackman’s work for longer than I had anticipated.

Eventually, it was on to GOMA where I gorged on all manner of treats for the senses. Unfortunately, my phone went flat so I have no further pics to share but do yourself a favour and check out the current exhibitions if you get a chance. The stand out for me (and for many others, going by the conversations around me) was an installation by Jonathan Jones in collaboration with Wiradjuri leader Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM ‘(untitled) giran’. The work features small sculptures made up of various items like shells, bone and feathers. The sculptures, arranged in a wind pattern design, give the installation over to a flock of birds. Stunning.
With no solid intention, I found myself detouring to QAG again for one more gaze at ‘The Blue Alice’ and it occurred to me that everything I feel about everything I am is right there in that painting.
Anyway, my little day trip definitely gladdened my heart and should sustain me until next month’s Tassie trip when I will, once again, get to roam through the Museum of Old and New Art. Oh! Mona, Mona, be still my beating heart!

 

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A Big Shout Out for the Big Issue

Everyone knows I’m a Big Fan of The Big Issue  .  . .  especially when I’m in it!
Well, not me precisely, but something I wrote.
How gorgeous is the cover of this Love Issue?

The Big IssueThey tell me we’ll need the tissue box handy for some of the stories including – I’d say – for the true love story of Big Issue vendors Greg and Kelly who rushed forward their wedding date due to Kelly’s spina bifida.

The Big Issue magazine is a fortnightly, independent magazine that’s sold on the streets by homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people.

Social enterprise at its finest! So please keep an eye out for your local vendor. 

Check out The Big Issue on Facebook: The Big Issue Australia, Twitter: @thebigissue or Instagram: @bigissueaustralia.

 

 

 

 

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A Beautiful Collection . . . and my work is included

Delighted to receive a copy of the Grieve Anthology (published by the Hunter Writers Centre) which is filled with stunning Stories and Poems about Grief and Loss.

Grieve Cover

I can highly recommend this beautiful collection which is now available for purchase. You can ask at your favourite bookstore or order online through the Grieve Project site

I was chuffed to learn, via the online announcement that my poem ‘Hashtag’ had won the Blue Knot Foundation Award. My poem is not about death but about a different type of grief and one which I think many of us can relate to. # I hope you will check it out, along with the many poignant pieces that make up the collection. I am proud to be in such company.

How is this for a title?
‘I Have the Weight of a Life that is Substantive and Real on my Shoulders’. That is one of the winning short story titles by Sook Samsara.

The three major award winners are:
Justine Hyde with ‘Blood and Bone’
Lisa Jacobson with ‘Not Horses, or Mothers’
Alyssa Sterry with ‘Time’
All incredibly worthy of their winning places. One of them in particular has nestled deeply within me and I doubt it will ever budge.

Anyone who has suffered a form of grief (and surely that is all of us?) will find much to relate to between the pages of this anthology.

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For the Love of Poetry

I’m poking my head out from behind my screen to say – to anyone who is interested – I’m still here. Still writing. Still completely sane for a certain number of hours most days, completely off the rails the rest of the time.

I am probably half way through the first draft of my ocean-themed, sea-sprayed, water-logged novel (which means I’m only running about twelve months behind schedule) but, in the process of dredging things from the ocean floor and peering into the blurred blue/green horizon, I’ve rediscovered my love of poetry.

So anywhere from midnight, through to the witching hours, I invariably find myself hunched over the keyboard, bathed  in a strange mix of lighting – the beige from the salt lamp and a sort of extra-terrestrial green from Wi-Fi gadgets – tapping out phrases and words that sing with impetuous desire.

Just one more switch with which I flail myself
unflinching/flailing/flinching/falling

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Ending 2017 on a High

In a year of some incredible highs (and to be honest, a couple of difficult lows), it is a delight to end on a note of surrealistic loftiness.

Followers of this blog will know of my admiration for Lisa Hill of ANZ LitLovers. She holds the literary spotlight for Australian and New Zealand authors and spreads news and thoughtful criticism to the world.

So to have my book of short fictions Flame Tip featured amongst some real standouts in Lisa’s favourite 2017 reads was astounding. As I read on and discovered I had made her shortlist, well, I must confess words failed me.

But wait . . . there’s more.

2017 ANZLitLovers Australian and New Zealand Best Books of the Year

 Oh my!

flame-tip-front-325x475-front

 

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Time Out

There are times in a writer’s life when a certain amount of withdrawal seems necessary.
Time for serious writing.
Time to smell the geraniums and eat sensibly and swim and get some fresh air.
Time for serious writing.
Time to stop worrying about uploading this and tweeting that and commenting here and liking there.
Time for serious writing.
And I am writing. Seriously and well [I think].
And hopefully I will have things to share with those who are interested in the not too distant future. I am always contactable. Still always happy to read and edit and help out if you need me. I’m easy to find. Here with my fingers on the keyboard, working earnestly, honestly and happily on what I think are my best creations yet.
Of course, that’s what all writers say.
All the time.
Seriously.

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