Friday, May 25, 2012

SUPER HEROES

When I Was A Child I Dreamt I could Fly  Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2004

Last week I took myself off to the movies. Yes, alone. None of my kids wanted to see this particular movie! Can you believe it?! The movie was 'The Avengers' I bought myself a chocolate covered ice cream and settled into my seat. I loved the movie. Yes, I am a fan of fantasy action packed cinema.
But, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the improbable feats of bravery and bravado, I left the cinema feeling a touch of sadness. Why?

Well...if movies reflect society's underlying beliefs, demeanors, spirit and confidence, this film, for me anyway, revealed much about society's despondency, feelings of lack of strength and direction...that 'things', such as global economic degradation, ongoing wars, global warming, cost of living etc,  are just too big for mere human kind to overcome, let alone solve. So, unlike in most other super hero films, where there is normally one heart throbbing super hero saving the day, this film 'The Avengers' is about a cluster of super heroes conscripted to save life on Earth from nighmare-ish alien cyborgian- reptilian like monsters which are allowed to escape from a portal to another universe-like place, mythological Asgard. These monsters are the soldiers of a really bad guy called Loki, a character borrowed from Norse mythology. He is the adopted son of Odin, a ruler of Asgard. He was raised by Odin as a son, alongside his biological son Thor.  

Yes, and Thor is also one of the super heroes, who is pitted against his adopted brother. Thus, we have the age-old Abel and Cain-like story weaving through the action. Thor is joined by Captain America, Ironman, Black Widow, and The Hulk. Each joins the team with some initial reluctance, but their recruiter, legendary director of the peace keeping organisation S.H.I.E.L.D, Nick Fury convinces them, at the same time as coercing and over-riding edicts from what appears to be some kind of global government committee. As a team, with some endearing dysfunction, the super heroes save the world with might, strength, some intellect, authority, larrikanism and humour.

After thinking about my feeling of sadness, I realised that maybe this film is a reflection of society's general malaise about the seeming enormity of problems facing the planet and its inhabitants ie: us. Indeed, modern media has a 'wonderful' way of infiltrating not only our lounge rooms, but also our psyches with constant reportage of mayhem and disaster across all aspects of life. It's exhausting! 'The Avengers' tells me that as a human race... a global society... we want to be saved, we are yearning to be saved, by heroes. But, then again, maybe this is a normal reaction to feeling of being on the brink, given that our ancestors of eons ago, believed in the powers of mythological Gods and Goddesses. When we don't know what to do we resort to mythology! But, maybe this is not as delusional as it may initially appear to be. Maybe superheroes, myth and legend spark a primal element within us which rejuvinates our energies, forces us to look at different perspectives, rekindles faith...maybe?

The character of Nick Fury, whilst not a super hero, is a pivotal grounding human presence. He is tough, he is brave, he is a 'real' leader. I think his defiance of the 'government committee' which only appeared a few times in massive overhead screens, is heroic in itself. His character represents a yearning for leadership, for someone to make inspired decisions, for someone to facilitate and enable super heroes! And, just maybe...just maybe...given the right circumstances and leadership, you and I could be a 'super heroes' too. 

It is a shame that only one of the super heroes was a female. Maybe they could have sqeezed in another? Or even had Thor's mother Gaea sweep her Earth Mother magic across the land, especially after the destruction wrought by the end-of-film battle between the forces of good and bad. But, where would that place a sequel, which is hinted at during the credits at the end of the film? 

I have uploaded the painting above, because it was inspired by my childhood dreams of flying. 'When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly' has a figure of a girl, propelled by red energy forces, flying above the Earth, accompanied by the moon. Yes, I did have 'flying' experiences. Indeed, even though I had never been in a plane above my parent's farm, I knew what the farm buildings, yards, silos and water tanks, gardens and roads looked like from above. When I watch movies like 'The Avengers' and see characters such as Thor and Ironman flying, I 'know' exactly how it feels!!! Really!

As a child, I had all sorts of fantasies about saving the world, from being a gutsy fighter pilot to being an intrepid missionary, to being a famous scientist! What were your fantasies?

Below are a couple of other paintings which depict flying. Both these paintings show a bride flying above a landscape. I don't think she is a super hero, but hey who knows?

 Flying Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2003


Living With Distance Oil on linen 120 x 160 [diptych]

Cheers,
Kathryn

Friday, May 18, 2012

TALKING

A Road Somewhere Oil on linen 120 x 80 cm  2002-3


I've uploaded this older painting 'A Road Somewhere' because it illustrates the unexpected traversing of many horizons on life's journey.

Why am I being nostalgic about life's journey? Well...this week I was interviewed by Heather Price for her segment on the BLOG TALK RADIO show The Difference. We discuss, over nearly 40 minutes, various subjects stimulated by art. Heather particularly focused, at one stage, on my recent painting 'Ouroboros'  [below]

This is Heather's second interview with me, and I enjoy her deep and spiritual insights and questions. We both grew up 'out west', on farms. We did not meet until the early 1980s, when we were both young brides...me living in the town of Goondiwindi and Heather on a nearby sheep station. We painted together in Goondiwindi with Flying Arts and also worked, with 4 others, on a collaborative installation piece with artist in residence, Lyndall Milani. This installation was facilitated through Arts Queensland and the Insitute of Modern Art, in Brisbane. Both Heather and I now live in Brisbane. We both still have a very close connection to the land. Please check out Heather's fascinating website HERE


                                       Go West Young Woman  Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm 2003


                                             Ouroboros Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm 2012


MORE SPEAKING

In July 2008 I was the invited guest speaker for the University of Queensland's graduation ceremony for the Faculties of Arts, and Behavioural and Social Sciences. I chose the topic of 'Perspective' and even though the event was a celebration of academic success, I wore my artist's 'hat' with the intention of discussing how my art practice stimulates my intellectual life and vice versa. I got some great feedback from academics, graduating students and their parents. I discovered yesterday that there is a audio recording of my speech. Please click HERE to hear it.


NEWS

SCOPE GALLERY
My entry into Scope Galleries Art Award-Art Concerning The Environment is a finalist. I sent the painting to the gallery last week. The award is announced June 2.

BRISBANE GRAMMAR ART SHOW
I have been invited to exhibit again in the BGS Art Show opening Friday 3rd August until 4th August.
My work sold last year and received good feedback, so I am keenly looking forward to this year's exhibition. The BGS exhibition has a reputation for its quality and curation in a non-gallery situation.

TATTERSALL'S CLUB LANDSCAPE ART PRIZE
I have been invited again to enter the $25,000 Tattersall's Landscape Art Prize. It opens at the Tattersall's Club, Brisbane September 5th. The exhibition is moved to Waterfront Place for public exhibition on the 8th Septmber until 21st September.

And, I am wating to hear about a few other prizes, opportunities etc. Will let you know what happens!

Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com

Sunday, May 13, 2012

MOTHER

Quiet Fierceness Of Light Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm

Today has been Mothers' Day in Australia. A beautiful autumn day in Brisbane. Families out and about, breakfasting, lunching, out to dinner, picnics in the park. A great day. I have had a wonderul day, with breakfast out with my children, lovely presents, a heated discussion about someone's homework, an old school friend and her mate over for a drink. I phoned my own Mother this morning and had a long chat.

Regular readers will know that I often depict a figure of a woman in my paintings. She has been variously; Eve, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, the young bride in the landscape, me and you. I would suggest that in all cases she has actually been the personification of Spirit, the Sacred Feminine. As such, she is neither male nor female, but the essence of life which exists within us all, man and woman.

As Spirit or the Sacred Feminine, the female figure is illuminatory...she casts light at the same time as attracting it. She lights the way, but the journey also finds her. As she attracts the light it fills her, penetrating the intimate spaces of her soul, as she sheds light for humanity's guidance. As Light she is also Knowledge. For indeed, illumination reveals information, in its never-ending detail as well as in its broad glimpses of horizons beyond. These perspectives add to our knowledge of the world and us...and the universe/multiverse. It propels us. Please check out Colour of Knowledge for more of my thoughts. The painting Colour Of Knowledge is also below.

In this post I have uploaded some images of paintings where light and the female figure, representing her various incarnatons, 'speak' of the sacred feminine.

Please also check out my website 'Gallery' My Women 1990-Present

Seeking The Light Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm


Monday, May 07, 2012

ON THE EDGE

On The Edge Gouache on paper 34.5 x 53.5 cm

So, since Quiver finished a week ago I have cleaned out my studio, ready for me to start work again soon. In my clearing out I have re-discovered some old paintings, including On The Edge above. It was painted in 2001. I had forgotten I painted it and indeed was rather pleased when I saw it in my map drawer. I like it a lot! It has never been exhibited.

So, even in 2001 I was interested in galaxies, universes, mammoth spaces and places, but also the minutae of distance. This painting reminds me of my dreams...being on the edge of sleep, on the edge of the horizon! Such an intimate place, the edge of sleep, but what a massive dimension it becomes.

I like the way this painting appears to be a landscape...one of the edge of the planet, or maybe the galaxy...or maybe the universe? I also like the way it could be a microscopic view, a cross section of something much smaller than a galaxy of stars, but with the same miraculous intensity of one.

 STUDIO



The photo above is of my now clean studio. Well, I know, I know... it is not perfectly clean, but it is a lot cleaner than it was. You will notice the side of the hot water system on the right! I paint my works on paper in this room. The larger oil on linen paintings are created in my garage, which is a great studio.

VIDEOS

Just in case you missed them:
Two new videos!

Murray Darling Currency

Ouroboros



NEWS: FINALIST

And, some good news. My entry in the
SCOPE GALLERIES Art Award - Art Concerning Environment
has been selected as a finalist.

Click HERE to read more about it.
I shall keep you posted on how it all goes.


Cheers,
Kathryn

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

AN ARTIST'S LIFE

QUIVER finished on Sunday! It was a great success with many more people through the exhibition than my last one. Plus, I sold some paintings!! Very happy.

I had a number of people visiting the exhibition on a daily basis, plus about 80 people came to the opening, with another 25-30 attending my artist's talk.





Many people asked me about the process of exhibiting my work, as an artist who is currently unrepresented by a commercial gallery. I do hope that one day I am represented by a gallery/ies. In the meantime I just get on with my painting, exhibiting, writing and so on. Persistence is my middle name!

So, as an unrepresented artist, who wants to exhibit every 12 - 24 months, I have to find spaces that are available and suit my work. Graydon Gallery, in New Farm, Brisbane is a rental space and a really beautiful one too. I have held my last three exhibitions there and each one has been successful in many ways including sales, numbers of visitors and providing me with an opportunity to really reflect upon my work. The latter is possible because the artist has to look after the exhibition each day. Another delightful outcome is that I can chat to people.

But, what does it take to mount one's own exhibition...apart from actually creating the artwork?
  • Forward planning. Most rental spaces are booked well in advance.
  • Organising design and printing of invitations.
  • Then.... putting invitations into envelopes, printing address labels and posting. My children help me with this. Email invitations also go out. I also drop of bundles of invitations to coffee shops etc.
  • Marketing and promotion. This entails writing press releases aimed at the general media as well as the art media. Plus, providing images. Plus, follow up. Some media require longer lead times than others, so it is important to have a running sheet to follow.
  • Photographic documentation of artwork for internet promotion and also for hardcopy reproduction. I photograph all my own work now, but in the past I used to get a professional photographer, and many artists still do. However, I now have a good camera and I am happy with the quality of my photos.
  • Maintaining website, BLOG and other internet based promotional opportunities. I also use LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, Goodreads, Bloggers.com, Google+. Fortunately many of these can be linked to each other!
  • Arranging framing of paintings, especially works on paper.
  • Stretched frames [ I use linen] need to have hanging apparatus, so a few days before the exhibition I am on the floor with screw driver, screws, D Rings, hanging wire.
  • Packaging and wrapping paintings for transport to the gallery. Bubble wrap everywhere!
  • I have a very old Volvo station wagon and it is my freighting vehicle as well as family car! The night before the show is hung, I pack my car with the paintings. Any that need to go on the roof are put there just before I leave ie: normally only one or two.
  • Once at the gallery, and the car is unpacked, the fun stuff starts. It is also the most time consuming and sometimes frustrating part of the exhibition process ie: placing the paintings so they look good, speak to each other, flow and breath. Not all the paintings will necessarily be hung. Over hanging can make an exhibition turn into a bazaar.
  • Once placed in position, the paintings are then hung. Most exhibitions see me scrambling up and down ladders, levelling, straightening etc. I've devised ingenious ways to hang large paintings on my own.
  • Once hung, each painting is numbered and/or labelled...Oh yes, I design and print, labels and price lists too! Plus, artist's statements, CV and othe didactic material.
  • So, the exhibition is now hung and labelled. The gallery is open to the public for a day or so before the opening night. The artist sits and waits for people to turn up...and they do!
  • Now to focus on the opening night. This is when the artist turns into providor and function manager! I normally order the alcohol and hire glasses a few weeks prior to the opening.
  • On the afternoon of the opening, my Mum arrives to look after the exhibition. After giving Mum instructions, I race home to put my glad rags and make-up on. Plus I collect the cold alcohol and the hire glasses, and I buy ice for the eskies. Thank goodness for my old Volvo! Oh, forgot to tell you that stuff like eskies, white table cloths, jugs for water, bowls for chips, plastic lined big bins have already been taken to the gallery at an earlier time.
  • By this time I often feel quite frazzled! But, adrenalin keeps me going, especially as I run back and forth from the car, carrying trays of hire glasses, bags of ice, cartons of 'grog' in order to get the bar set up before people arrive!
  • The bar is then organised. By this time one or more of my children have normally turned up from Uni [or wherever] to help. The last few openings friends have been my bar maids! Thank goodness for friends. I've also hired a bar man a few times too.
  • 5.30 -  6 pm and people start to arrive! The fun, the talking, the sipping bubbly, buying! continues till around 8 pm. After this, its time to clean up and go our for dinner!
  • The day after the opening...bins emptied, glasses returned, and time for a coffee.
  • Over the period of an exhibition an artist needs to maintain a presence on social media sites... without annoying people. It's important to keep the exhibition 'out there' to maintain momentum. 
  • On the Saturday after the opening of Quiver I held an artist's talk. This involved reminding people [ever so gently], bringing out the bubbly again, eskies and ice, and setting up afternoon tea. My country living days means I have an urn, which is a great thing to have when providing bulk cups of tea and coffee. One of my children was my tea lady! And, after it is all finished...cleaning up.
  • So... the exhibition continues until the last day. I am there each day, ready to chat, discuss. The fact that my paintings 'go' 3D when viewed with 3D glasses caused lots of excitement, wonder and conversation at Quiver. I don't paint 3D on purpose and am not interested in doing it, but I am interested in the fact that it happens...after all, as regular readers know, I am very interested in perspective, dimensions and distance. Someone pointed the 3Dness out to me at my exhibition Frisson two years ago.
  • Pulling down a show is much easier than hanging one. But, all the paintings have to be wrapped, those that have sold are often collected, but sometimes I deliver. The gallery space is left clean...floors washed, fridge cleaned out, etc etc
  • Financial controller ie: issuing invoices, receipts etc.
  • Then once at home the car is unpacked and I stay in a complete mess for about a week while I recover.

By necessity, an artist is often much more than a creator of artwork. They are also business managers, event managers, function managers, marketing co-ordinators, social media experts, designers, office administrators, CFOs, freighters, packaging and handling experts, providors, curators, a maintainance crew of one [eg: I am really good at changing light bulbs], public speakers, general 'dog's body' and more. But, I love what I do, which is to paint, and to get it 'out there' I am willing to put the hard yards in.

Quiver was a very successful show and I feel confident for the future!

The painting below 'Knowing Stillness' was one of the paintings in Quiver that attracted a lot of attention and admiration. I had about 6 people express an interest in buying this painting. Each going away to think, send husbands back and so on. It actually sold to one of these people the day after the exhibition finished. Now that was a great phone call to receive on Monday morning.


Knowing Stillness Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm
Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com