Thursday, 30 August 2012

Australia Council launch Art Facts

Yesterday the Australia Council for the Arts launched their new website Art Facts. First cab off the ranks was Music, with the intention of rolling out each artform throughout 2013.

This resource presents statistics in hopefully a more interesting context and brings together facts and research from across the music sector. An important aspect of the new site is the ease with which the information can be shared- with the ability to 'like' it on Facebook and 'mention' it on Twitter- the research is made readily available to a broad audience.

The facts themselves are at times humorous and at times a little disheartening, with Penmonicus on music blog Play/Pause/Play commenting "Overall, the picture painted is what we’ve been trying to say all along: Australians love music but they don’t buy or listen to enough Australian music – and we say it’s because they aren’t exposed to enough."

Art Facts is more than simply a new resource for statistics and facts- it's a conversation starter- and essentially anything that sparks debate within the creative industry is ultimately a good thing. Also, lets' be honest, it's a pub trivia gold mine.

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Petticoats, vintage & swing dancing: it's the Fifties Fair

Sunday August 26, 2012

Around this time each year the Historic Houses Trust (HHT) opens up Rose Seidler House and the surrounding grounds for the Fifties Fair. A stage is set up with bands playing swing music and good old fashioned rock & roll and stalls sell everything from vintage frocks to cookware. I love the Fifties Fair. The music, the fashion and the overwhelming good vibes- a person could spend an entire day people watching as men, women & children come out in their Sunday best.

Making meat patties the old fashioned way.

This year was the first year that the fair sold tickets pre-sale, limiting the number of entrants. This seemed a reasonable adjustment given the fairs capacity for over-crowding and it's disruption of the surrounding neighbours. However what I did find disappointing was the lack of stalls when compared to previous years. I overheard a stall holder comment that there was a strict application process and that the number of stalls fell from 40 to 15. There wasn't even a merchandise stand for the Historic Houses Trust. Part of the reason I go each year is for the vintage goods and the severe lack in this area will make me think twice about going next year. I don't understand the HHT's need to downsize one of their most popular events. It can't be from the lack of volunteers as both my friend and I were volunteers last year and not asked to do it again today- one assumes cause there was no need. Word on the grapevine is that the event is also managed by a new person, which would explain the drastic changes. While it was still a fantastic day I couldn't suppress a stab of disappointment and I greatly hope the powers that be come to their senses and realise reverting to the past is always the best option.  

Sporting some fetching victory rolls.
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Biennale Bar at Pier 2/3

Tiffany Singh

Biennale Bar Pier 2/3

Friday night had to be the coldest, windiest, most awful night we've had all winter. I should have been tucked up somewhere warm and inside but instead I braved the elements and headed out to the pop up Biennale Bar at Pier 2/3, part of the 18th Biennale of Sydney. I hadn't yet been to see the work at Pier 2/3 and was really looking forward to seeing Tiffany Singh's installation- and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I could only imagine what it would have been like had the side doors been opened, allowing the breeze to blow through and move the wind chimes- the noise would have been deafening. 
Tiffany Singh
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that drinks were all reasonably priced at $6 and bottled water was free- these are not city prices- well, nowhere I've ever been anyway and as a result of the awful weather the bar was never over-crowded. Seats were scattered about amongst the art and a DJ spun some tunes off to one side. Another pleasant surprise was the free risotto. Yep, you heard that right- free food. And it was good food. Add to that the free manicure station and this was every girls dream bar. Even with the dismal wind blowing a gale outside it was a really great place to escape. It's no surprise that on their opening night the bar attracted around 1, 200 people. 

The Biennale Bar is open every Friday night through August, 6.30pm. 
Tiffany Singh

Honore d'O

Nail bar

Printing press

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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Alive & Well: Firstdraft Fundraiser

JD Reforma, 1000,000

Various artists
Alive & Well
Firstdraft Gallery: 6-9, August 8, 2012

There was a great vibe at Firstdraft Gallery on Wednesday night with the annual Firstdraft Fundraiser which consisted of a live and silent auction with proceeds going to the gallery. Was great to see some of my favourites up for grabs like Paul Williams, Sarah Contos, Will French, Peter Nelson & Greedy Hen. The live auction was hectic with bidders jumping in at the last minute pushing the prices up into the thousands. Lot number 15, the last of the evening, Japer Knight's I Made The Yankee Hat More Famous Than a Yankee Can, sold for $3,000, the highest price tag of the evening. It falls a mere $600 short of last years best seller Ben Quilty whose work Skull sold for $3, 600.

Peter Nelson, Extensions of a No- Place (panel 15)
 I love the Firsdraft Fundraiser. There's something amazing about seeing so many people coming together is support of not only the long standing Artist Run Initiative but also in support of the artists and their practice. The atmosphere is vibrant with cheers erupting as work sells for fantastic prices. It's encouraging and oddly comforting. 
Paul Williams, Midnight Snack, 2011


Will French, Going Going Gone, 2012: $410
Di Smith, ARTIST DINNER with Diana Smith, 2012: $70
Newell Harry, Untitled, 2006: $800
Peter Sharp, Stone Shadow, 2002: $320
Kate Scardifield,Untitled (Patterns for Penance) 2012: $450
Emma Wise, wobbelisks (balsa duo) 2012: $270
Eric Niebuhr, Bridge, 2009: $440
Oli Watts, Princess Eugenie's Hat, 2011: $700
Peter Nelson, Extensions of a No-Place (panel 15): $900
Guy Maestri, West Macdonnell Ranges, About 5.30pm: $750
Matthew Bromhead, Community, 2011: $600
Idris Murphy, Minindee Lakes (night drawing)1992: $1000
Charles Dennington, Blue "Vase", 2012: $420
Troy Emery, Beast, 2012: $2,400
Jasper Knight, I Made The Yankee Hat More Famous Than a Yankee Can: $3,000

Greedy Hen, Gnarly Beard

Sarah Contos, (untitled) Mandela Study, 2012

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little reviews Harrie Fasher

If Only, Harrie Fasher

Harrie Fasher
The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)
Maunsell Wickes Gallery: July 31- August 11, 2012 

Harrie Fasher’s second show at Maunsell Wickes Gallery features twelve works that combine elements of both drawing and sculpture. Fasher works with found objects, such as feathers, rusted bits of iron and feathers, which she incorporates into her steel rod sculptures.

Fasher obviously has a huge affinity with horses, and the horse motif figures largely in her art. Dancing to Battle is a steel rod work that takes the shape of the front of a horse, his neck arched and left hoof raised. In The Prowler a horse’s neck and head emerge from a wall, like a steel ghost. Desert Warrior is a smaller sculpture comprised of steel rod and what looks like the pelvic bones of a small mammal, possibly a wallaby. Many of Fasher’s horses are fragments, alluding to a whole animal through a sketch of only part. Desert Warrior with its bony face and two legs could be a new evolution of the horse.
Harrie Fasher, Desert Warrior

I enjoyed the linear quality of these works, and found that they could be read as three dimensional line drawings, as well as sculpture. Under bright lights these sculptures also cast a clear shadow that created a secondary drawing. In contrast to these open line sculptures was a small sturdy porcelain draught horse who drags and strains against the impossible weight of a feather in If Pegasus Broke a Wing…

If Only and Blind Gallop are large works that combine drawing, collage and ink painting, and in which a loosely yet clearly defined line drawing of a horse emerges from an layered open background. Additional texture has been added through the creasing and tearing of the paper.

The title of the show refers to the 1916 poem by Robert Frost, that conclude with the lines…
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.

All images supplied by the writer.

Harrie Fasher, Blind Gallop

Harrie Fasher, The Prowler

Harrie Fasher, If Pegasus Broke a Wing...

Harrie Fasher, Dancing to Battle

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Pardon my absence...

It feels like I've been a bit MIA on the blog front lately  and by way of explanation I thought I'd write a blog post to fill you in on what's been happening behind The Near & The Elsewhere.

At the beginning of June I left my job of four years (with two years off in between when I was in the UK) at the College of Fine Arts and began a new role at the Australia Council for the Arts. I've also started writing on a more regular basis for Art Guide Australia and will try to churn out content for their website every week or so. I was also contacted by the Editor of Australian Art Collector to write a piece for them which is fantastic. So the new job combined with an increase in freelance work has meant that life's been pretty hectic!

This being the first weekend I'm not on deadline I'm endeavouring to dedicate some time to the blog and sort out some shows I'd like to see and line up some more interviews. So stay tuned for new content soon!

Massive thanks to anyone who takes the time to read The Near & The Elsewhere- it's greatly appreciated!
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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Tina Fiveash at Platform 72

Tina Fiveash
Selected Works
Showcase Gallery/Platform 72: July 27- August 16, 2012

Last week I headed to the launch of a new commercial space, Showcase Gallery. Platform 72 sells amazing designer wares and takes no commission on sales. They have turned their back space into a gallery space to exhibit mid-career artists. The first show is selected works from Tina Fiveash

Being already familiar with Fiveash's work it was great to see work from her 2011 Grace series and work from her series-in-progress, Pin-ups. The space is small but workable- I'd like to go back when there aren't so many people there and take a better look. I think it's great that the space is diversifying and opening up more possibilities for artists to exhibit. Just a few doors down from He Made She Made and the The Fortynine's new studio, this little section of Oxford Street is turning into a hub of creativity and innovation.

More images from the launch can be found on the Facebook page.

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