Busting out of the parochial mountains hub I find myself in is mandatory from time to time not only for inspiration but to widen my view on artists and their practice in general.
Melbourne is the perfect remedy and prescription for the malady of artists block. So many galleries, so little time. It was a 4 day forage, sauntering around Flinders Lane and the arts precinct. As an entrée to galleries on our list, we viewed the famous laneways of street art around the CBD. Not one for too much colour - I found it a bit overwhelming, especially with a throng of tourists bustling with cameras and selfie sticks.
Quite by accident, stumbling into Karen Woodbury Gallery, I found myself face to face with my favourite contemporary landscape painter Philip Wolfhagen’s exhibition 'Other Worlds’. What a find!
Wolfhagen’s paintings are juicy, subtle, intriguing, elusive and poetic. Wolfhagen states- 'For me, landscape is a concept rather than a representation of a real topographical place … the emphasis I believe should always be on the act of painting itself, the poetry of its execution, the emotional power of the medium’.
There is a melancholy within these works which I find reflected in my own internal state as I wander through the vastness of the Blue Mountains where I live. There is a longing to be part of the landscape but I am aware that I am only ever a spectator, filled with a need to know my place in it. Its timelessness so vast as to knock the mental clutter from my mind.
'Index, 2015 is a new series of unique state screen prints made in collaboration with Negative Press and representing a catalogue of Floyd’s ongoing library project. Texts are rendered as brightly coloured blocks, continuing the artist’s long term interest in the confluence of Cultural Studies and radical forms of play.
Field Libraries, 2015 comprises 11 free standing painted aluminium sculptures stacked with an ever expanding “fair use” library of booklets dedicated to eccentric perspectives on the subject of work, including Zombie Marxism and Feminist Autonomism. Each Field Library incorporates utilitarian paperweights, including a bronze cast facsimile of the final volume of Maxim Gorky’s childhood memories My University, 1922.'
Next stop on the culture trail was Flinders Lane Gallery where we encountered the final day of Exploration 2015.
Exploration was created to provide a platform for emerging artists to successfully exhibit their art within a commercial gallery context. A tightly curated selection of artists practicing across the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation and video art are presented. I was fortunate enough to be selected as part of the 2014 Exploration exhibition, so I was interested in this years crop of artists. My favourite artist at this years exhibition was Thomas Bowman's intimate sculptures measuring only a few centimetres in height. Having completed his study of sculpture at RMIT between 2011 and 2013, Thomas has since emerged into the art world and has exhibited at a number of galleries. In 2014, First Site Gallery on Swanston St Melbourne, saw 'Miniscule', an exhibition of tiny proportions with almost a dozen tiny artworks consisting of tiny hand sculpted people around the height of 30mm or smaller.
Our last day in Melbourne was spent at the Museum. It was a cold, rainy day so it was no surprise to find hoards of children and half of Melbourne wandering around the exhibits. It was my first trip to the Museum and honestly, I think its worth coming back to Melbourne to spend the next four days being inspired by nature condensed into cabinets and dioramas.