Rosemary Coleman (1930-2014) artist

On Wednesday the 23rd of July 2014, Geelong artist, Rosemary Coleman after a long illness passed away at her home of natural causes. She was 84 years old.

Rosemary Coleman’s life as a serious contemporary artist with a thirty-two year career deserves to be remembered. Rosemary Coleman was a determined woman with a vivacious personality that was expressed in her art. She had delayed her artistic career by a couple of decades to be a housewife and mother but with her art she was her own woman. Her paintings are frequently abstractions of landscapes with female figures, for example, Women at Play (1989) a large acrylic painting in the collection of the Geelong Gallery.

Her art was part of the return to painting and she was interested in linear forms and the calligraphy of brush strokes. Her art was experimental, not in the sense of avant-garde but in that she kept on experimenting with how to express her vision in media from printing to painting. Every mark was an experiment in creating the image.

She was involved with the development of local Geelong art scene. In the 1980s and 1990s her work was often in group exhibitions at the Geelong Gallery. In 1983 Rosemary Coleman was included in the annual exhibition, Survey 5 at the Geelong Gallery along with a younger generation of local artists: Robert Drummond, Lachlan Fisher, Don Walters. Later in the 1980s Rosemary Coleman was amongst a half dozen artists who initiated Artery, the first artist-run gallery in Geelong. Rosemary also taught art history at the Geelong TAFE in 1980s. She also exhibited in Encounter Confrontation–Australia–Itay, a group exhibition exchange with a city in Italy organised by the Geelong Gallery.

The Geelong Gallery has two of her works in their collection: Mixed Media Man (1986) a coloured linocut and Women at Play (1989) a large acrylic painting. There are four of her works in Swan Hill Regional Gallery’s collection: two from 1987, Media Man and Graffiti, and two from 1992, Icarus flees the crowd and Icarus flees the hand.

There is also art by Rosemary Coleman in the collections of the Swan Hill Regional Gallery, Warrnambool Art Gallery, Swan Hill Regional Gallery, Deakin University, Geelong Grammar School and private collections. During her artistic career she had eleven solo exhibitions and many more group exhibitions in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Geelong, Castlemaine, Swan Hill, and overseas in Italy and Japan. In 1991 she received a high commendation in the Blake Prize for Religious Art. Her first solo exhibition was at Young Originals Gallery in Melbourne in 1974 and her last exhibition was at Rinaldi Gallery in Brunswick in 2006. Unfortunately in the 1970s and 1980s Australia’s contemporary art gallery scene was still a developing and Rosemary Coleman did not have good luck with the galleries representing her; she complained that they kept on closing down.

I first encountered Rosemary Coleman’s art in the lounge room of a shared house in Clayton where I lived for a year. I was surprised to learn that this work was by the mother of one of my housemates, John Coleman. John was always happy that his mother had her own interesting life as an artist. It was a mixed media work on paper with ‘J’ai froid’ (I am cold) written amongst the calligraphic brush stokes. It was appropriately located about the single, inadequate gas heater in the uninsulated, run-down weatherboard house. I would look at it and sympathise with Rosemary painting in a cold studio.

Since then I have seen her art regularly, at several of her exhibitions and hanging in the houses of friends from that shared house. In 1986 Niagara Galleries had an exhibition of her large abstract paintings. I remember one in particular, as it currently hangs in a friend’s living room, a densely coloured field of flowers and faces that has been painted over, obscured by a thick white swirls of brushstrokes and a cyan calligraphic gesture.

Rosemary Coleman
A detail of a Rosemary Coleman abstract, 1986. (Image courtesy Mark Holsworth, Black Mark)
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Time for Change

I am so busy these days that I am not able to devote much time to this blog focusing on the visual arts around Geelong. Now that I am studying, all my energy is going into my own art practice. I don’t want to give up the blog, but I am going to take a little break from it so I can concentrate on my work.

So to keep the blog going, if anyone out there would like to contribute a reflection about an art exhibition you have seen around Geelong, please send it to me with an image or two and I will publish it, if it is of interest. It doesn’t have to be long or academic – it only needs to be a paragraph or two – just a genuine, thoughtful response to an art exhibition, in Geelong. My email is artingeelong [at]

Here is an image of a painting by Geelong artist Shelley McKenzie that I saw yesterday at Boom Gallery. I love how Shelley layers her paintings with motifs from both her inner landscape and the outer world, to create demanding compositions of bold colour, line and form. She nails it in a style that is distinctly her own. You can see more of her paintings over on Boom’s website and read more about her work in a previous post here.

On the BlowerShelley McKenzie, On the Blower, acrylic on canvas, 110cm x 110cm. Image courtesy Boom Gallery.
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NAIDOC art exhibition in Geelong

Being the first week of July, it is NAIDOC week, a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

The Gordon Gallery will mark the occasion with an exhibition of artwork by students and local indigenous artists. The exhibition runs next week from Monday 14 July to Friday 18 July, 10am until 4pm daily. An opening evening will held on Wednesday 16 July from 6 – 8pm, and all are welcome. Drinks & nibbles provided, no RSVP required.

NAIDOC Art Exhibition

And don’t forget the excellent 3-part series Art + Soul exploring the work of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists presented by curator Hetti Perkins (Tuesday evenings, July 8, 15 and 22 from 8.30 pm on ABC1). If you missed the first program last night, you can catch up with it on iview for the next couple of weeks. It is genuinely engaging, poignant and inspiring in equal measure and offers a real insight into the art practice of indigenous artists, showing how their work is informed by the past as much as the present.

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Time and Place exhibition at Metropolis Gallery

Paint may be considered an old fashioned medium these days but for me, nothing can beat a good painting that intrigues, inspires and moves me and demands closer inspection or later reflection. A fine exhibition of paintings, Time and Place, is currently showing at Metropolis Gallery by four artists, Ben Davis, Michael Gromm, Steve Singline and Phil Suter and is well worth a look if you can get there before the weekend. If fascinates me how differently the application of paint is expressed by the artists yet they are united by the common theme of time and place – places both real and imagined, places of the past, present and future.

Phil Suter, The Mill of Mystery, Acrylic & mixed media on Belgian linen, 76 x 101.5cm. Image courtesy Metropolis Gallery.

Phil Suter’s precise and meticulous paintings of iconic buildings and streetscapes around Geelong verge on the surreal and his strong use of complementary colours almost bowl the viewer over. The retro buildings are celebrated in glorious detail such as The Mill of Mystery, an historic 1920s art deco textile mill (recently reopened as the Little Creatures Brewery) and Rendezvous at Burnham Flats, a classic art deco building on Latrobe Terrace.

5. yplcyfmzttrclarityegrytuyt. 2014. oil, polymer on canvas. 107 x 134cmMichael Gromm, yplcyfmzttrclarityegrytuyt, Oil & polymer on canvas, 107 x 134cm. Image courtesy Metropolis Gallery.

Surrealism is taken to a new level in the process-driven work of Michael Gromm where time and space get lost in a seemingly random assortment of contrasting shapes, lines and striped patterns. The figurative and the abstract collide in a mash up of control and chaos where opposites are held in fine balance.

Ben Davis, Incident, oil on plywood, 24 x 26cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Ben Davis paints in a fluid gentle style, depicting imagined and half-remembered places that serve as a backdrop for unfolding narratives. He employs an aerial view in many of his paintings giving a cinematic feeling for the viewer, as though we are watching a movie. Ben creates compositions from sketches, internet images and memories so that the places depicted are familiar but not exact.

SteveSingline_YearnSteve Singline, Yearn  oil on canvas and masonite, 30 x 30cm. Image courtesy Metropolis Gallery.

Steve Singline’s series of paintings The Signs of Life, are textured and multi-layered, sanded back to reveal what is underneath or to convey a weathered surface that has been marked by the elements, a reference to the transitory nature of life. He uses text to explore the relationship between feelings and place, choosing words that have an emotional resonance.

The exhibition evoked memories and feelings about particular places for me as I pondered the intersection between time and place. A place can be defined by its physical characteristics, as so carefully observed in the paintings of Phil Suter and a place can be described by the events that occur there as seen in the cinematic viewpoint of Ben Davis. Maybe a place is simply a construct of the mind and what we think of as ‘reality’ is simply an illusion which Michael Gromm’s work suggested to me. Or perhaps a place can be identified by the feelings and memories that we hold about it as described in the pared back paintings of Steve Singline. And all places are marked by time.

This is why I love art – it can can trigger new thoughts and ideas and offer a fresh perspective.

Time and Place: Ben Davis, Michael Gromm, Steve Singline and Phil Suter
6 -19 June 2014

Metropolis Gallery
64 Ryrie Street Geelong. Open 9-5.30 weekdays and 10-4pm Saturday.

Phone 5221 6505


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Mortimore Prize exhibition comes to Geelong

Regular readers may recall Lianne Gough’s enigmatic portrait of her daughter ‘Cails’ won the Mortimore Art Prize 2013 (see the post here) and now the Mortimore Prize has come to Geelong after touring the eastern states for the last eight months, so this is a great opportunity to see Lianne’s work in the flesh so to speak.

Lianne Gough Cails 60x90 oil
Lianne Gough, Cails 2013, oil on canvas, 60 cm x 90 cm.

If you like paintings based on realism, you will enjoy this exhibition at Courthouse Arts gallery featuring about 45 selected works, including the section winners, in the genres of still life, landscape, waterscape, figurative, drawing, ‘smalls’ and the newly added surrealism.

And Lianne is not the only local artist in this exhibition. Geelong West artist Janne Kearney is a finalist, for the fifth year in a row, with her painting Another Love in the Surrealism section. Her mixed media work can be viewed with chromagraphic 3D glasses to give the perception of depth, as though there is an additional plane to the picture plane in which the air-kissy lips seem to hover in front of your eyes.

Another love
Janne Kearney, Another Love 2013. Mixed media, 100 cm x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Further details about the Mortimore Prize can be found at

Mortimore Art Prize 2013
11 – 30 June 2014,

10am – 5pm weekdays.
Courthouse ARTS
Cnr Little Malop and Gheringhap Sts, Geelong.
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Winter Harvest by Tiel Seivl-Keevers

With the coldest season of the year upon us, when we can only dream of sunny beach days and warm balmy evenings, an exhibition at Boom Gallery celebrates the many mysterious moods of winter. Tiel Seivl-Keevers is exhibiting a series of paintings in ‘Winter Harvest’, inspired by the seasonal changes she has observed in the environment around her.
Working mainly in acrylics, ink and oil pastels, Tiel (pronounced teal) has developed her own distinctive visual language, partly informed by her earlier career as a graphic designer and illustrator. Her paintings are richly layered with intricate design elements and harmonious blocks of colour exploring concepts of the cycles found in nature – dormancy, death and new beginnings. She erases or paints over parts of her work, a process she likens to the way the weather can add or subtract from the environment.
A keen quilter, Tiel often sews subtle lines of cotton stitching into her works, symbolising attachment and anchoring moments in time. She finds the process of stitching “a completion of a journey”.
Tiel originally grew up in the southern states but is currently based in subtropical Brisbane. She actually misses the cold winters (!) that left a strong impression on her childhood memories so now she tries to pay attention to the minor changes that happen in her environment and convey them in her mixed media works. The harshest season of the year has never looked so beautiful!
‘Winter Harvest’ is on at Boom Gallery for the rest of this week until Saturday 14 June – along with an exhibition of endearing bird illustrations by Amanda Carson and evocative photography by Anita Beaney.
A special thanks to Tiel for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her work and thoughts with us on the Artin’ Geelong blog in the Q&A below.
augustspond_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, August’s Pond, mixed media on paper, 46 cm x 52 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.

How would you describe your work in this exhibition and what do you hope the viewer gets from it?
Describing my work is by far one of the hardest parts of the process. To clarify the jumble of words, thoughts, emotions and ideas that are in my head openly to others is difficult. Basically it is a show where the pieces are intended to celebrate aspects of the changes that occur in Winter. I wanted to focus on the dormancy of nature and how it can aesthetically be a beautiful part of the year. I hope that the viewer can discover and lose themselves in the layers of my work and that they can get a feeling that provokes a memory about being connected with nature or the outdoors.

What is the main medium you work in and what do you like about it?
Mostly I work with acrylic, ink and oil pastels and then whatever is at hand. I love layering the media, building depths, then erasing and eliminating parts of what I have already created. My process is very much like how weather patterns and seasonal changes can add or subtract from the environment.

What sort of research and or reference materials do you use for your work? Can you tell us about a typical day in the studio?
I don’t think I have a typical day in the studio but if I did it would start with sorting. I often find myself going to clean, but in reality it is really is just shifting piles around. I collect natural objects from my garden, walks, holidays, keep dried flowers from the florist. So I often sort these objects into different places in my studio. Arrange vases. I like the tactile feeling of pods, flowers, buds, twigs and leaves. I often see colour combinations and this alone will influence my mood or the mood and temperature of the day outside. That’s enough to get me sketching or painting and photographing. Sometimes I can work for six hours straight, other days only a couple of very vague hours. Painting requires all my energy so if I have been answering emails or doing paperwork in the morning, I find it very difficult to pick up a brush. My day stops when the children come home or I have to go and get them from school. I can’t work with them even if they are busy doing their thing at the other end of the house.

collectingthemail1_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, Collecting the Mail 1, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 80 cm x 80cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.
collectingthemail2_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, Collecting the Mail 2, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 80 cm x 80cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.

Who or what provides inspiration for your work? How has this shaped the course of your work? I saw on your blog that you did a workshop with contemporary artist Judy Watson – can you tell us a little about that?
Well nature is key. Apart of my career has been in the graphic design and illustration sector and these reflect in my work. Eg the elements of design are always something I am thinking about. I have a lot of detailed and intricate elements to my paintings. But I also majored in printmaking at Uni so I have this love of how a hand constructed and pulled print can bring the most wonderful surprises. Doing a workshop with Judy recently made me remember how the process of printing through experimental techniques can enhance your style or way of looking. I’d forgotten how fun it was to work with acids and inks. I really hope to continue in this area. Specifically who inspires my work, I couldn’t name just a couple, but I am constantly inspired by Australian artists such as Emma Watson, Tania Rolland, Richard Dunlop, Sarah Amos and Michael Cusack. On a personal note, Rob Brownhall and Miranda Skoczek always keep me wanting to stay on track and do what I am doing.

What sort of challenges have you experienced in your art practice?
Self worth. Confidence. Marketing myself. Believing in myself. Receiving constant praise from friends and strangers, but not seeing rewards in sales. That’s disheartening. The latter part not the praise!

If there was one piece of artwork you could have in your collection, what would it be and why?
If I had a big enough wall space, I’d have a Richard Dunlop painting. I love his ethereal qualities of his work. He uses colour extremely well to enhance mood. Sadly I don’t have big enough walls or wallets.

Which is more important – aesthetics or conceptualism in art?
I’m more about aesthetics, but believe conceptual art is integral to the history of art It teaches us to challenge ideas and ways of thinking both in and out of the gallery arenas.

indigostorm_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, Painted Garden 1, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 20 cm x 23cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.

What are you hoping to explore in the future?
Still life. I love beautiful 3D objects, particularly handmade ones in my domestic life. I find making 3D objects challenging, but have this connection with them and what they mean to us…my family and friends.

You are very active on social media. Has it given you more opportunities?
Yes, particularly Instagram. I find it very easy to use and have connected with many interesting people who have a love of the visual everyday. I have received quite a lot of business through Instagram. Over the years I have used Flickr and blogged and still use facebook, mostly as my TSK TSK page, although I find facebook really dull to work in. I have met some very special people who I now call my friends through these portals.

paintedgarden1_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, Painted Garden 1, acrylic and mixed media on wood, 20 cm x 23cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.
quiltedwinterdays1_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, Quilted Winter Days 1, acrylic and mixed media on paper, 40 cm x 63cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.
weepingwaters_Tiel Seivl KeeversTiel Seivl Keevers, Weeping Waters, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 92cm x 122cm. Image courtesy the artist and Boom Gallery.

Winter Harvest is on exhibition at Boom Gallery until 14 June 2014. You can find out more about Tiel’s work on her website,

Winter Harvest by Tiel Seivl-Keevers
Boom Gallery
11 Rutland St, Newtown, Geelong
Open Wed–Sat: 9.30am-4pm


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Two Geelong artists in Hatched 2014 at PICA

Two Geelong-based artists, Bianca Brant and Alexandra McKim, are currently exhibiting their work in one of the most well-known graduate art shows in Australia, Hatched National Graduate Show at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. This year the exhibition features works by thirty-four of Australia’s top art graduates and is currently showing until the end of June 2014. Hatched has developed a reputation for indicating current trends in contemporary art and has launched the careers of many Australian artists. It boasts impressive alumni including David Noonan, Julie Dowling, Raquel Ormella and Shaun Gladwell, to name a few. So who knows, Bianca and Alexandra could be future stars of the Australian art world!

Bianca Brant at PICA. Photo: Lance Youston.

Bianca Brant’s body of work The Space Between Series, comprises eight paintings which take the viewer into imagined landscapes and is based on her graduate exhibition last year. Bianca Brant graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) from Deakin University. You can read more about Bianca’s work in a recent post here.

Bianca Brant - installation view
Bianca Brant, The Space Between Series, 2013. Oil paint and ink on archival paper. Installation view at Hatched. Image courtesy the artist.
Scatter Cushion Attack Dogs
Bianca Brant, Scatter Cushion Attack Dogs, 2013. Oil paint and ink on archival paper. Image courtesy the artist.
Brant B
Bianca Brant, Altitude (detail), 2013. Oil paint and ink on archival paper. Image courtesy the artist.

Text from the Hatched exhibition catalogue:

The Space Between is a series of imagined landscapes. Bianca Brant’s emotional landscapes apply movement, rhythm and change. Building on the history of abstract and landscape painting Brant employs a mixture of drawing and painting methods. They are initially derived from particular places and locations but through the process of improvisation they become abstract. This suite of work considers the internal and external worlds and the space between. The troubles of the human condition are expressed in topographical anxieties. The restorative nature of the earth, sky, land and sea is represented as a patchwork fabric that comforts us providing hope.

The romantic notion of the individual artist working in the landscape continues. Bianca Brant paints in a visual language that is rhythmic, improvised and performative. Her en plein air practice of landscape painting examines the collaborative space between artist, place and audience. From the imagined elevation of a bird in flight, the artist ascends to a small world experience of detachment to explore themes weighty and profound. Nature’s restorative power is painted in a bright emotional palette celebrating life’s safety nets: the meditative state of the runner, a gardener’s pottering or the surfer at dawn. This Kantian understanding of humanity’s resilience and ability to reconcile shock is documented on archival paper, a medium that appears fragile but is strong. Real-time experiences, triggered memories and future projections of hope are made-by-hand in evocative landscapes expressing what 1000 words spoken cannot.

If you interested to find out more about Bianca Brant’s work, you can contact her at Etch Gallery and Studios, 215 Moorabool St Geelong. Open Wed-Sat 10am to 3pm.
Phone 0459 188 086 or email etchgallery [at]


Alexandra McKim received a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Fine Arts) from Federation University in Ballarat and her ceramic work in Hatched features delicately patterned porcelain spheres which she first exhibited in her university grad show. This body of work reflects her interest in the natural world and micro environments.

Alexandra Mckim-Untitled-2013-Photos By Shelley Hinton
Alexandra Mckim-Untitled-Photos By Shelley Hinton 1
Alexandra Mckim-Untitled-Photo By Shelley Hinton 4
Alexandra Mckim-Untitled-2013-Photos By Shelley Hinton 2Alexandra McKim, Untitled, 2013, Southern Ice porcelain, 15 x 15 x 15cm each. Photo: Shelley Hinton. Installation view  from the Federation University graduate show. All images courtesy the artist.

Text from the exhibition catalogue:

In Alexandra McKim’s work, patterns occurring in nature have been interpreted to capture a quiet, harmonic sensibility. Delicate subtleties present in micro-environments fire McKim’s imagination and inform her use of a restrictive monochromatic palette. The magnificent coastline of Southern Victorian supplies a point of reference as McKim creates decorative patterns from the countless textures, surfaces and plantlife in this region. Through this untitled piece McKim has endeavoured to create a body of work that explores her fascination with the biological world and its naturally occurring nuances.

Alexandra McKimproduces porcelain pattern sculptures derived from the subtleties found within the natural world. Through her use of slow and meticulous methods of working and shaping the porcelain clay, her art is imbued with a delicate quality. McKim’s creations, both her sculptures and support drawing, have a fragility and precision to them. The production of this body of work in particular has also led the artist to gain a meditative enjoyment in the process as well as the finished objects.

If you wish to find out more about Alexandra’s work you can contact her on email alexandramckim [at] and you can read a recent interview with her on the Ceramics Victoria website. Boom Gallery also stock some of Alexandra’s ceramics (from a different series).


The Hatched $35,000 Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize was awarded to Zoe Kirkwood (University of South Australia) for her installation The Neo-Baroque Spectacle. Four artists were highly commended: Michael McIntyre (National Art School, NSW), Simonne Goran (Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, NSW), Briony Galligan (Monash University, VIC) and David Brophy (Central Institute of Technology, WA).

Zoe Kirkwood Hatched
Zoe Kirkwood, recipient of the $35,000 Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize, in the throes of installing The Neo-Baroque Spectacle. Photo: Bianca Brant.

You can find out more about Hatched and all the exhibiting artists on the PICA website.

Imagined Landscapes by Bianca Brant
The Space Between – Deakin Graduates Art Exhibition

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