Tag Archives: art

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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People and Places Exhibition

I was delighted to attend the opening of the latest exhibition at the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery.  It is always a pleasure but the level rises when the artist is local, and even more so, when the artist is known to me which is the case with this exhibition, Franco Arcidiacono’s People and Places. As someone who is incapable of sketching or painting anything remotely realistic, I am in awe of artists and love to bask in the reflected glow of those I know.

Franco Arcidiacono is a local artist whose talent is phenomenal, according to many of the admirers at the Gallery gathering on Friday night.

Elspeth Cameron acted as Emcee in her inimitable classy fashion and Counsellor Vic Pennisi gave us a rather lengthy rundown on Franco’s achievements (to be fair, said achievements are vast so it would be hard to condense).

One look at the artwork so carefully and thoughtfully hung, and you realise there is no need for words anyway.  Franco seems rightly proud of his portraits, of which there are many, and it is fun to spot a face in the crowd and compare it to the one framed on the wall.  But it was the landscapes in all their variety of location, medium and style that struck me the most.

I sometimes refer to myself as a synesthete and certainly, when I look at artworks, this affliction (or gift, depending on your point of view) comes to the fore.  So, in the spirit of that old adage that you don’t have to be an art expert to know what you like, I’ll describe my reaction to my favourite painting.

I saw it as I ascended the stairs and stood motionless until someone bumped me up a step.  I couldn’t have spoken if you’d asked me to.  Fellow art-admirers disappeared into a whitewash of blurred images around me as I stared at the 202 x 52cm Granite Belt Landscape in Greys.  I heard its music instantly; a distant haunting harp.  It spoke to me of seasons, silence and secrets.  The silveriness of some of the greys suggested a frosty morning to me; to someone close by, the same colours were “scary, almost sinister”.  Yet another admirer remarked that it was like the aftermath of a bushfire in reverse.  I got to listen to all these comments as I stood, rooted to the spot, hearing the music and whispered voices, the hairs on my arms at attention, shivering with goose-bumps and temporarily transported to a place created by my reaction to the landscape.

I believe Granite Belt Landscape in Greys was quickly nabbed by an astute buyer.  If I find out it was a local, I’ll be angling for an invite to coffee.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for me, you’ll probably find me at the gallery, all glassy-eyed and distant.


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200: Art for fart’s sake


(includes the answer to Friday’s Fictionary Dictionary)

                What is Art?
                ‘Too Arty-farty,’ my Aunt used to say about contrived post-modern pieces and their slim-hipped EMO creators.
                Much modern-day art leaves many of us cold, yet John F Kennedy told us that an artist should be free to ‘follow his vision, wherever it takes him.’ 
                And anyway, perhaps one persons ‘art’ is the next person’s ‘fart’.  Which begs the question…is this art?

 This art installation at the Tate Modern ‘A carpet of 100 Million Sunflower Seeds’ does, at first glance, appear to fit my Aunt’s ‘farty’ criteria but when we learn that the sunflower seeds are in fact porcelain replicas handcrafted by 1600 Chinese Artisans, one wonders if Ai Weiwei is an artist or a sweat-shop owner.


In his essay collection Nobody Knows My Name James Baldwin tells us that in order to survive artists must ‘tell the whole story, vomit the anguish up’.    

‘Retch Like an Egyptian’ (artist unknown) from the Museum of Bad Art surely meets Baldwin’s criteria.

           William Faulkner thought that an artistic creation should be capable of being looked at a hundred years later and it should ‘move again, since it is life.’
                Hmm…I wonder if a McDonald’s cheese slice classifies as art?
Answer to Friday’s Fictionary Dictionary… 
(c) Dycrasia is
any abnormal physiological condition, esp. of the blood


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