Proposed new art app will support local artists

Imagine going into a cafe, seeing a work of art for sale that you just have to have and then, using an app on your phone, you buy it right then and there. That is the idea of Geelong innovators and art lovers, Ian Priddle and Glenn Schmidt from Codeacious, who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to get their Arti app up and running.

Arti will help art lovers discover and purchase artwork displayed in casual spaces like cafés and bars. But it will also help Geelong artists find local venues willing to showcase their work, as well as assist venue managers to find local art for their premises. A win-win situation for Geelong artists and the local hospitality industry. Although the app would be great for Geelong, the app could also encompass other towns and cities. The boys at Codeacious have big plans and would like the app to be usable anywhere in the world.

Arti mockupsArti mockups. Image via

With only one week to go on the Kickstarter campaign, Glenn and Ian are seeking small donations to help make the app a reality and would like input from artists about what features the app should have. Glenn says they love the idea of loads of artists putting in small amounts of money and “then having a say about Arti. One of the best things about crowd funding is that it builds a community of people who care about the idea as much as we do. We’ll want their input to shape the app, if our campaign is successful.”

Anyone will be able to create an artist profile on Arti and list their work, with all types of physical artwork allowed. The app has scope for a review system so that artists can know which cafes are best suited for exhibiting in, and other features could include buyers bidding for works or tipping artists whose work has impressed them. 

Geelong artist, Glen Smith thinks that the Arti app could work on several levels of the market. “It makes a great stepping stone for artists trying to break into the world of selling art, while the more experienced practitioner can use the app to break into new areas and towns with minimal risks involved.”

Delivering a product like this to a high standard takes a lot of time and money so if you are passionate about art in Geelong, and would like to see this project get off the ground, get on board and pledge your support on the Kickstarter website. I am! All you need is some vision to see the potential and a few bucks to toss into the project.

For more details about the Arti app, go to Kickstarter or check out the Codeacious website.


(Even the Kickstarter staff, who must see a lot of wild and wacky ideas, see value in the project. Within an hour of launching on Kickstarter, Arti was selected as a Staff Pick and listed as New and Noteworthy.)

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VCE Art at Shearers Arms Gallery

Blog post by Linda Edgerton (

For the past six years the Geelong Art Society has sponsored the VCE Students’ Art Exhibition at the Shearers Arms Gallery to showcase and encourage the young artists of the Geelong region. The 2014 show features the works of over 50 students from Geelong schools, from Lara to the Surf Coast.

The exhibition is supported by the City of Greater Geelong’s Community Arts Grant Program and is organised by Michele Karakasch and artist Jacinta Leitch of the Geelong Art Society.

“From our first show with five schools, to now having 20 schools participating, the VCE exhibition has grown in recognition and popularity. We love being able to give emerging artists an opportunity to have their work exhibited and seen by hundreds,” Leitch says.

A selection of student folios also on display in the exhibition give a fascinating insight into the creativity and immense effort that goes into each of the final artworks on show.

The Geelong VCE Students’ Art Exhibition awards prizes and certificates for outstanding work and provides the opportunity for the prize winners to return the following year to run their own exhibition at the Shearers Arms Gallery with the support and guidance of the gallery’s curators. 

Through their involvement in this show, the students learn what’s required to set up and display their work in a public place. They are mentored by established artists from the Geelong region and gain an insight into how to promote their work on a professional level. The students can include this exhibition experience in their applications to future tertiary education in the arts.

Congratulations to the students who were selected to exhibit in the show and those who won an award.

2014 award winners

The Geelong Art Society Bruno Callori Emerging Artist Award was presented to Jake Hunwick from Surf Coast Secondary College. Using charcoal on paper to create Bagua-Taiji- Xing Yi, Jake explored the energy of Yin and Yang and produced a balanced work that engages the audience to reflect on internal nature and struggle.

VCE-Art-Show-1Jake Hunwick, Surf Coast Secondary College, with his work Bagua-Taiji- Xing Yi, charcoal on paper. Photo: Joshua De Hoog.

The Most Outstanding Exhibit was awarded to Isobel McVilly of Sacred Heart College for her coloured pencil self portrait. 

VCE-Art-Show-2Isobel McVilly (Sacred Heart College) with her sister and VCE artworks. Photo: Joshua De Hoog.

Outstanding Exhibit awards were presented to:

  • Emma Vecoli, Sacred Heart College
  • Jake Hunwick, Surf Coast Secondary College
  • Pru Illingworth, Geelong Grammar
  • Jades Feakes, Oberon High School
  • Rebecca Chapman, Kardinia International College
  • Brody Webb, Surf Coast Secondary College
  • Riley Sherman, Saint Josephs College
  • Georgia Blood, Geelong College
  • Martha Dawson, Christian College    

The judges were local artists Lianne Gough and Ren Inei (Director of Boom Gallery).

VCE-Art-Show-3Rebecca Chapman (Kardinia International College) with her work Dripped with Colour, silk screen on fabriano paper, hand painted watercolour. Photo: Joshua De Hoog. 
VCE-Art-Show-4Jades Feakes (Oberon High School) with her work Untitled, ink and pen on panel board. Photo: Joshua De Hoog.
VCE-Art-Show-5-The 2014 Geelong VCE Students’ Art Exhibition features an array of art mediums.
VCE-Art-Show-combo(Left) Student folios on display gave an insight into the creativity and huge workload of a VCE student. (Right) Tyler Sheedy, Western Heights College, Hendrix, pencil on wood panel.
VCE-Art-Show-7Scott Reid (Belmont High School) Time Square Odyssey, ink on canvas.

VCE Art Show flyer

Geelong 2014 VCE Students’ Art Exhibition
18 Nov – 6 Dec 2014
Shearers Arms Gallery, Geelong Arts Society, 202 Aberdeen St, Geelong West
Times: 11.00am to 3.00pm Monday – Friday 1.00 – 4.00pm Saturday and Sunday
Admission free
• VCE Art Exhibition Wrap Up 2012
• I am Mail – Joshua de Hoog
• Awards in Geelong VCE Students Art Exhibition 2011
• Geelong VCE Art Exhibition 2010 
Posted in Art, Art Education, Group Exhibition, Guest Contributor | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jiri Tibor Novak’s Ninety Postcards

Guest post by Ruth Gador.

Jiri Tibor Novak’s exhibition, Ninety Postcards showcases an array of ninety individual postcards, all created during his most recent travels throughout Europe.

Exclusive to the Boom Gallery, Geelong, this stunning exhibition documents Tibor’s journey through each unique postcard creation.

The postcards feature abstract watercolour paintings, etchings and prints of the places, people and landmarks most memorable to him throughout his journey.

Jiri Tibor Novak Postcards 2

Jiri Tibor Novak Postcards backA selection of postcards, front and back, by Jiri Tibor Novak. (Images courtesy Boom Gallery.)

Over a period of four months (ninety days, to be precise), Tibor travelled through Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and returned to Belgium and Germany. Working from a sketchbook, at the conclusion of each day a postcard would be created and sent back home to friends and Boom Gallery. 

It is fascinating to see how each postcard is a distinct, meaningful viewing experience – each one completely different from the last. Whether it be the flat landscapes of Holland, or various depictions of his favourite city, Berlin, each postcard evokes an atmosphere unique to the place in which it was created.

South Bohemias RooftopsJiri Tibor Novak, South Bohemia’s Rooftops, 2014, tempera on paper, 85 x 65 cm. (Image courtesy Boom Gallery.)

Tibor’s warmth and Czech/Hungarian charm are reflected in his work, as is an appreciation of the beauty of everyday life. Be it through bursts of vibrant colour, or through more muted, placid tones, his ability to capture the characteristics of each place is truly remarkable.

One gets the sense that they too have travelled. Whether it be sweet, fleeting moments of simplicity – a woman walking a dog in Paris, a glimpse of a tiny alleyway – or perhaps the more significant, awesome sights, such as the oldest building in his hometown of Prague, it is evident that each postcard invites the viewer to delve deep into the European cultural world and soak up it’s pot of wonders.

TownshipJiri Tibor Novak, Township, 2014, pen and ink on paper, 36 x 26cm. (Image courtesy Boom Gallery.)

I am mesmerised by the sheer quantity of them all. I listen to the cascading waterfall of Tibor’s voice as he talks of his love of literature and text. His background as an illustrator has influenced his passion for printmaking and etchings; the fifteenth century Flemish Primitives are his inspiration. He insists that music and poetry are the higher art forms; however I beg to differ as I handle each beautifully crafted postcard with a gentle caress. With his lilting Czech accent, he is a born storyteller as much as an artist.

It is a feast for the eyes, a visual treat. A postcard a day.

untitledJiri Tibor Novak, Untitled, 2014, tempera on paper, 85 x 65 cm. (Image courtesy Boom Gallery.)

About Jiri Tibor Novak
Tibor is responsible for many solo shows and books here in Australia and overseas. He has been a dedicated contributor to the arts in the Geelong and Surfcoast area having taught at The Gordon TAFE and mentored many young artists over the last 15 years. One of his recent endeavours was an artist book titled Visitors (a limited edition of 12), made in collaboration with Gregory Day. It is now in the collections of Deakin University, University of Queensland, National Library of Australia, State Library of NSW and Victoria. Tibor is well known for his quirky and engaging artworks. His paintings are delicate, poetic and whimsical. He works with gouache and watercolour, and also makes etchings and oil paintings.

You can read an interview with Tibor in an earlier post here:  20 questions for artist illustrator Jiri Tibor Novak

Ninety Postcards
30 October – 22 November 2014
Boom Gallery
11 Rutland St, Newtown.
Posted in Art, Drawing, Exhibitions, Illustration, Watercolour | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight on the Geelong Gallery’s permanent collection and upcoming exhibitions

Guest post by Linda Edgerton (
The Geelong Gallery’s impressive collection of around 6,000 works of art has been built over almost 120 years. Established in 1896 the gallery has a magnificent collection of 19th and 20th century Australian and European paintings and decorative arts, including 18th and 19th century English porcelain, British art pottery, colonial Australian silver, as well as contemporary and modern Australian paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics. A focus of the collection is images of the Geelong region.
I invited the Geelong Gallery’s curator Lisa Sullivan to share her top picks and the highlights of the current and upcoming exhibition program.

What’s the most significant work in the permanent collection and why?

There are many significant works in the collection, but the two that are often identified as iconic are Eugene von Guérard’s View of Geelong and Frederick McCubbin’s A bush burial. In addition to the significance of the two artists in the history of Australian art and these being great examples of their respective practices, for me these two paintings also represent tangible examples of the enthusiasm of Geelong residents for the Gallery – McCubbin’s 1890 painting being one of the earliest works to enter the collection through public subscription (Geelong residents of the early twentieth century pledging money towards the acquisition), and 106 years later, Geelong residents, businesses, and three tiers of Government contributing funds to secure this major painting by von Guérard. They’re both absolute must-sees for anyone with a love of Geelong and Australian art.


Eugene von Guérard
View of Geelong 1856
oil on canvas
89.0 x 154.5 cm
Collection: Geelong Gallery
Purchased through the Geelong Art Gallery Foundation with the generous support of the Victorian Government, the Australian Government, the City of Greater Geelong and numerous community and other donors, 2006

Which work from the Geelong Gallery collection would you love to have in your personal collection at home?

There are so many works from the collection I’d happily hang on my walls, and one of the most rewarding aspects of my role is working with our incredible collection. For this ‘hypothetical’, I’m selecting Jon Campbell’s neon work Pure bewdy gifted to the Gallery last year. It’s a work that sees the title (a nod to American conceptual artist John Baldessari’s ‘Pure beauty’) illuminated across a painted composition board: neon tubes spelling out the letters in a bold, italicised, upper case font. The dark background on which the tubes sit and the variously coloured drips of paint that run across the work’s edges highlight the significance of painting in the artist’s practice.

Jon’s works often include texts and imagery referencing the Aussie vernacular, suburbia, as well as music and popular culture in the form of band set-lists or sporting nick-names. He’s also well-known for his ‘Yeah’ banner – conceived as a positive, all-inclusive new flag for Australia. For those interested in seeing more of his work, he’s one of the shortlisted artists in the 2014 Geelong contemporary art prize with the work Are you fuckin kidding me (I’d happily take this one home too!).

Pure Bewdy

Jon Campbell
Pure bewdy 2011
neon, synthetic polymer paint, and enamel paint on composition board
24.2 x 50.0 x 7.2 cm
Collection: Geelong Gallery
Gift of an anonymous donor through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, 2013
Lisa Sullivan and Jon CampbellGeelong Gallery Curator, Lisa Sullivan with artist Jon Campbell at the opening of the 2014 Geelong contemporary art prize exhibition. Photography: Reg Ryan.

Could you tell us about some works of the Geelong region that are in the collection?

The Gallery has a strong commitment to collecting images of the region and to supporting the work of local artists through exhibition and acquisition opportunities. We’ve many fabulous works in the collection that interpret the city and surrounds, and again, it’s hard to focus in on one (when I could mention works by ST Gill, Alexander Webb, Fred Kruger, Walter Withers, Arthur Streeton, James Northfield, Max Dupain, Jan Senbergs and many more artists). One significant work that’s currently on display in the permanent collection galleries is William Duke’s 1851 painting Geelong from Mr Hiatt’s, Barrabool Hills. Like von Guérard’s View of Geelong (painted five years later) it depicts the fledgling city of Geelong and the Bay from an elevated vantage point so as an historical record it’s very important. Significantly, it depicts two Indigenous figures in the foreground, an important recognition of the original owners of the land.

William Duke
William Duke
Geelong from Mr Hiatt’s, Barrabool Hills 1851
oil on canvas
81.3 x 122.2 cm
Collection: Geelong Gallery
Gift of the family of Edward John Bechervaise, in his memory, 1943

What drew you to being an art curator and what do you enjoy most about your work?

It’s an obvious answer, but a strong interest in and passion for art. Once I’d decided on a curatorial career I completed post-grad studies in museum management along with voluntary work in arts organisations, with the aim of making this happen. I’ve been very fortunate in my career path, working at two great galleries – the Ian Potter Museum of Art at The University of Melbourne and here at Geelong Gallery.

What appeals to me about curating is the opportunities it presents to work creatively with works of art and artists to research, interpret and create new contexts for the presentation of works. I particularly enjoy working with institutional collections and here in Geelong we’ve a fantastic collection of almost 6,000 works. I enjoy looking into the history of collections and the provenance of works – the credit lines on work labels often reveal interesting threads about when and how a work has been acquired. And working with living artists is a treat – initiating contemporary projects is always inspiring and energising.

What’s currently being exhibited at Geelong Gallery?

The 2014 Geelong contemporary art prize exhibition runs until 23 November. Read about this exhibition in an earlier post on Artin’ Geelong:

Complementing this exhibition is Winning ways 1938–68 – the first three decades of Gallery art prizes until 30 November. This exhibition includes winning works acquired from the Gallery’s earliest painting prizes – precedents to the current contemporary painting prize. Bringing this together provided an opportunity to hang a number of works that haven’t been seen for some time, include one of my favourite collection works Harley Griffiths’ The studio, and complete research on the judges of various prizes as well as contemporary press coverage (all of which appears on the exhibition labels). It’s an opportunity to see winning paintings in oil and watercolour by Arnold Shore, William Dargie, John Loxton, Sali Herman, Ian Armstrong, William Harding, Ernest Smith, Jon Molvig, Thomas Gleghorn and Louis James, amongst others.

Harley C Griffiths The studioHarley C Griffiths
The studio 1946
oil on plywood
Collection: Geelong Gallery
JH McPhillimy prize, 1947

Julia Gorman’s Growth habits, a major wall drawing in vinyl commissioned by the Gallery, is on display until 5 July 2015. It’s inspired by the way succulents grow in random ways and in unexpected places and looks fantastic across the two gallery spaces.

Geelong Gallery interiorGeelong Gallery interior
Julia Gorman
Growth habits 2014
vinyl wall drawing
Commissioned by Geelong Gallery, with the support of the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria
Reproduced courtesy of the artist
Photography: Andrius Lipsys

Works from the permanent collection are on ongoing display: these are hung thematically giving us the opportunity to bring together works from different eras. Currently on display are works by Australian artists Syd Ball, Sybil Craig, Sam Leach, Sally Ross, and David Wadelton, as well as more historical British artists such as Stanhope Forbes and Benjamin Leader.

Sam Leach Peacock going up
Sam Leach
Peacock going up 2006
oil on canvas
Collection: Geelong Gallery
Fletcher Jones art prize, 2006

Sam Leach recently presented a Sunday afternoon ‘Drop-in and Draw’ session at the Gallery.

In the decorative arts gallery until 30 November 2014, we have an exhibition of exquisitely handcrafted porcelain produced by Ireland’s Belleek Pottery, drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection.

What’s coming up at the gallery over summer?

Over the summer months we’ll be presenting a suite of diverse exhibitions that celebrate Geelong and the region.

Moving through the building, we’ll have an installation by street artist Glen Smith that’s inspired by the well-known, and often controversial, Ritz Flats; a touring exhibition that looks at Australian surf culture in the 1970s and ’80s, Arcadia – sound of the sea consisting of large scale black and white photographs by John Witzig (who was behind the surf magazine Tracks and photographed Bells Beach and Torquay in the 1970s) along with drawings by Nicholas Harding; historic photographs from the archives of the Geelong Advertiser that document aspects of life in Geelong through the decades; an exhibition of prints, drawings and photographs of the early township of Geelong; and in the decorative arts cases, an exhibition celebrating a range of individuals who have contributed to life in Geelong, or who were born in Geelong and achieved great things further afield.

Glen Smith Ritz flat study
Glen Smith
Ritz Flat (Study) – work in progress
Mixed media on board, 2014
Image courtesy the artist.
John Witzig
Bells steps c. 1975
pigment print
Collection of the artist
Reproduced courtesy of the artist

This exhibition suite will remind visitors that there’s much to celebrate about our city and surrounds – and our gallery.

Visit the Geelong Gallery

The Geelong Gallery (
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55 Little Malop Street
Open daily from 10am–5pm
Admission is free

Support the future growth of the Geelong Gallery’s collection and programs

A donation to the Geelong Art Gallery Foundation will ensure the Geelong Gallery, one of Australia’s leading and oldest regional galleries, continues to inspire, educate and delight audiences from near and far.

To find out more, please contact:
Richard Ferguson, Development and Business Manager
Tel. 03 5229 3645 or email

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Guest Contributor, Painting, Public Art Collection | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Urban Delusions by G-TWO (Glenn Fry) at ETCH Gallery

Guest post by Linda Edgerton (

The works being exhibited in Glenn Fry’s Urban Delusions are intricate in their crafting – and in their evolution. They form part of a unique ‘cultural identity’ called the Conceptual Delusion, devised and developed by ‘G-TWO’ over two decades. 

Everything in Glenn Fry’s world has context and connections; he’s fascinated by how things can fit together to form a reality – or a delusion – that makes sense of life’s confusion. From the complex layering in his art, to creating his own culture that includes a written language and aesthetic branding, one thing builds upon another. It’s not at all surprising when Glenn creates a number of limited-edition original artworks for special invitations to his show, such is his attention to detail and to the experience he is constructing.

Opening at ETCH Gallery on 4 October and running until 25 October, Urban Delusions invites us to experience a parallel world: a place where lines and structure are perfected, but where imagination also soars. It is a world that reflects the layered precision of art on the streets.

I interviewed Glenn Fry about his artistic vision and the upcoming solo show at ETCH.  

How long have you been creating your art?

I’ve been an artist since I started at the Gordon in 1993 at the age of 16. I’m always looking to interpret what I see in the world and to reinvent my art, but at the same time I can look back at my past works and recognise how they each feed into the next incarnation. My cultural identity continually evolves.

Glenn FryGlenn Fry pictured with some of the three-dimensional, futuristic abstracts featured in a past exhibition. (Image courtesy the artist.)

Can you tell us about your new exhibition Urban Delusions and its connection to street art?

As you walk through the streets and laneways of most urban centres you come to realise that the walls around you are living, breathing works of art. They’re ever evolving and changing, either by being painted over by other artists or from effects of the weather and the ravages of time. This transitional form of existence creates a beautiful aesthetic that I’ve used to create the works in Urban Delusions.

I see my works as delusional relics of urban street art culture. It’s an idealistic view of street art that ties in with ‘the Conceptual Delusion’, my own created culture that I’ve been developing over the past two decades.

Some aspects of this delusional culture include a written language and wallpaper designs based on characters in the language. It also includes glyphs and symbols, representations of pop culture icons and commercial advertisements such as Gremlins, Daleks and Coca Cola. This diverse imagery has been interwoven in multi-layered impressions of the urban art aesthetic.

In the Conceptual Delusion, the artist is not just the creator; my life is woven completely into the story and the theory of the art.

Glenn Fry, Delusional Urban Remnant-C6, mixed media on board, 2014. (Image courtesy the artist and ETCH Gallery.)
The Conceptual Delusion
The Conceptual Delusion, G-TWO’s personal culture that drives his work and life. (Image courtesy the artist.)

What’s your creative process for these works?

Over the years I’ve used various mediums and techniques to mimic the look and feel of urban street art, including stencils, colour washes, sanding and paste ups.

With the works in this show, I started by creating a repeatable design on the computer which is based on the language I created for use in my work, then I turn the pattern in to a series of stencils which I cut by hand. Combining all the elements involved, the works take about two weeks after I have the stencils ready. 

I strive for perfection, balance and difference. Even though the works are design based, the creating of the actual painting is improvised and of the moment. I feel they are organic, they have freed me up artistically.

delusional_urban_remanant-C8Glenn Fry, Delusional Urban Remnant-C8, mixed media on board, 2014  (Image courtesy the artist and ETCH Gallery.)

In this exhibition you’re also showing a series of drawings from your 2013 project, When Gremlins Attack. Can you tell us about that project?

Last year I created 76 Gremlins-inspired works of art, which I distributed in a single day on the streets and laneways of both Melbourne and Geelong.

My use of the gremlins imagery was a comment on street artists and how they’re a lot like gremlins, adding a bit of colour and chaos to a grey urban landscape. All of the works were free for any passer-by to pick up and take home. I left some at tram stops, train stations, in laneways, outside shops and even placed some in and around the NGV Australia at Fed Square. A Facebook page to document the event enabled people who took a work to upload a photo of the gremlin in its new home.

I find numbers significant and was also inspired by the idea of giving away 76 artworks on my birthday (I was born in 1976). 2013 also happened to be the 70th anniversary of the book The Gremlins, written in 1943 by Roald Dahl, his first children’s book.

The opening of this new exhibition Urban Delusions will be exactly 12 months to the day since I unleashed the gremlins on mass in Melbourne and Geelong – and yes, on my birthday.

The new works follow directly on from the gremlins and how they were a comment on street artists, that in turn inspired me to create my own street art for my culture.

Gremlin artwork in Hosier Lane Melbourne
A Glenn Fry Gremlin artwork in Hosier Lane, Melbourne. (Image courtesy the artist.)

What does your part-time role as Artist-in-Residence at the One World for Children child care centre involve? What do you enjoy about this work?

I’m the go-to person when they need something created or they need a creative idea. We recently created a mural for the centre that features repeating wallpaper patterns incorporating drawings done by children at the centre. It was satisfying because it not only added life to the centre, but was exciting for the children seeing their art recreated on the wall.

Working with the children has helped me to push the boundaries in my recent work, especially when it comes to colour. When children create they do so with no preconceptions of how something should look, they naturally use abstraction as their form of expression. I love how children let their imagination run free – a lot like myself when I’m fully immersed in my art.

You’ve been involved in several community arts initiatives around Geelong. Can you tell us about some recent ones?

A highlight was the ‘Unhindered Abstraction’ charity auction and exhibition held in July this year. It raised over $4000 for Wombats Wish, who work with bereaved children in the Geelong region. The concept of this project was to create artworks inspired by children’s drawings (like I did for the mural at the child care centre). This time I had eight Geelong artists involved, each donating their time and talent to create artworks for the auction and exhibition held at the Shearer’s Arms Gallery.

I was also one of the artists who created a paste-up work on the wall alongside the Geelong Library building site. After months, the rain has finally started to wear them away.

You’re quite a film buff, particularly of sci fi. How has film influenced your art?

I like how sci fi pushes the boundaries of imagination, scientific exploration and technology, and this inspires me to push boundaries in my own culture.

What’s next for your art?

I see this work evolving, getting a lot more layered, and even getting larger. I would like to do some mural size pieces, and incorporate more pop culture iconography.   

I also invited ETCH Gallery’s curator Bianca Brant to share her thoughts on Glenn’s work.

… Street art and graffiti provoke controversy. It is the artistic expression of our times so naturally people have strong opinions about it. Is it art or not? Melbourne laneways are now popular public art spaces. Geelong has also embraced this sub-culture and yet those stung by the frustrated tagging of a few bored teenagers might need persuading and G-TWO’s Urban Delusions exhibition will challenge that perception.

G-TWO is a local contemporary artist currently showing a strong body of new works at ETCH Gallery. Audiences will discover a series of complex and layered paintings filled with symbolism and personal iconography. Each work is a unique composition rich in a new artistic language of layered paint, detailed drawings and stencil images. They are pictures influenced by our urban environment; our town and suburbs, our culture and heritage. This remarkable art exhibition by G-TWO is where viewers can consider and explore an authentic grassroots art movement in the gallery environment of an artist-run space. All great art should exist for a time in a gallery setting, a place for contemplation, invigoration and the chance to buy what you love and admire …

Urban Delusions by G-TWO, Glenn Fry
ETCH Gallery
4-25 October 2014
215 Moorabool Street, Geelong
Opening hours 10am to 3pm, Wed to Sat.
Glenn Fry, G-TWO Artist on Facebook

Urban Delusions Exhibition flyer

Posted in Art, Artist Interview, Drawing, Exhibitions, Guest Contributor, Painting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

In the studio with the 2014 Deadly Art Award winner

At the end of a winding driveway lined with eucalypts, nestled on acreage in the rolling hills of Bellbrae is the home and studio of Jenny Crompton, who recently won the Deadly Art Award as part of the 2014 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Her property is a peaceful oasis of bushland with the pleasant warble of magpies and other birdsong ringing through the valley. Inside her studio, artworks in various states of progress are crammed into every nook and cranny: abstract paintings inspired by macro photography of seaweed lean against the exposed brick wall, boxes of dried seaweed which Jenny calls “shrapnel” or “fluff” sit on makeshift shelves, and long black strands of seaweed, like unravelled cassette tapes, hang from a piece of dowel. In one corner a pile of books about art and aboriginal history totter precariously.

Jenny has lived in Bellbrae with her partner and son for four years, devoting many hours to her art which is informed by natural materials and expresses her relationship to the land. She has been experimenting with different varieties of seaweed, collected from nearby beaches, to create sculptural forms. It is a process of trial and error, both laborious and unique. Now all the hard work has paid off for her with the $30,000 Deadly Art Award win.

Jenny with her winning work-1Jenny Crompton with her award winning work Gathering at Godocut at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Photo: Nigel Clements

Jenny’s winning work, Gathering at Godocut, is crafted from seaweed and binder. It comprises twenty-five long shapes similar in form to aboriginal tapping sticks and message sticks. These delicate and intricately laced sculptures, in pink, black, white and brown, appear to hover, gently swaying as people move past them. Her work pays tribute to her indigenous ancestors of the Wada Wurrung people.

“My piece is about celebration,” Jenny explains from her studio. “The fineness of these people – magnificent and resourceful. My work is celebrating them and I have tried to use natural materials in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”

Jenny Crompton in her studio-1
Jenny Crompton at work in her studio. Photo: Brett Kiteley.

Jenny’s art practice is deeply personal and conveys a strong sense of place and connection to the past. The title of the work plays on the word ‘gathering’, referring to her practice of collecting objects from the beach but also to the gathering of her ancestors who once frequented the Point Addis area, called ‘Godocut’ in Wada Wurrung language.

“Collecting the seaweed before it disintegrates resonates with what happened to Wada Wurrung cultural life,” Jenny says. She has been learning everything she can about the Wada Wurrung since discovering her aboriginal ancestry about five years ago.

“I have just finished reading a book about the Bunting Dale mission in Birregurra. It is highly informative and incredibly devastating. It was a horrible book to read but it had to be read. Basically the white settlers just had the right to kill.” The book, Campfires at the Cross, by Heather Le Griffon gives an account of aboriginal-settler relationships in south western Victoria in the 19th century and in doing so reveals the horrifying injustices many aboriginals experienced at the hands of the colonists.

A self confessed “fiddler” and avid beachcomber, Jenny’s art practice is process driven. She says the best part is scouring the beach for interesting finds.

“When I collect things on the beach everything else just shuts out. It is so relaxing to do. You let everything go. That is the really special part of gathering,” Jenny says. “By gathering and preparing seaweeds I acquaint myself with activities that have been happening here for thousands of years.”

Jenny Crompton beachcombingJenny beachcombing along the Surfcoast. Photo: Brett Kiteley
Jenny with her dog
Photo: Brett Kiteley.
Jenny Crompton-1Photo: Brett Kiteley

Seaweed is a tricky medium to work with and Jenny has had to endure many failures along the way as she developed her technique. She is fascinated by the seaweed’s different shapes and subtle hues and she uses a variety of drying methods to preserve the colour. Once the seaweed has dried on sheets of glass, which can take up to 12 months, Jenny rolls the seaweed in a watery binder and slips it over a foam mould, sometimes redoing it three or four times to achieve the right strength and consistency.

Besides pioneering new ways of working with unusual materials, Jenny also works in more traditional mediums such as paint and ink. Over the years she has developed her gift for making things to include basket weaving, woodcarving and metalwork. She travelled extensively in Indonesia where she learnt traditional woodcarving techniques and spent time in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, learning how to make filigree jewellery. “I’m a big soldering lady,” she laughs. “Filigree is one of my favourite artforms.” Her affinity for filigree can be seen in the intricate lacelike structure of Gathering at Godocut.

Jenny was surprised to win the Deadly Art Award but gratified that the judges could see what she was trying to express.

“I am still in shock. Having your work judged is a scary thing. I have worked really hard and I have tried to present what I feel, in here,” Jenny says, tapping her chest. “The judges got everything I said.”

Crompton, Jenny, Gathering at Godocut
Jenny Crompton, Gathering at Godocut. Photo: Nigel Clements

The fragility and strength of the work impressed the three judges, who independently chose it as the winning piece. They said they were impressed by the “delicate construction techniques, the sensory elements and the carefully considered installation”.

This year’s judges were Tina Baum, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia; Tom Mosby, CEO, Koorie Heritage Trust; and Carole Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Honours and Research Degrees Co-ordinator, Faculty of Education and Arts, Federation University Australia.

More than $50,000 in prizes were presented at the Awards ceremony, with Wonthaggi artist Patrice Mahoney receiving the $5,000 Federation University Australia Acquisitive Award and Deanne Gilson of Brown Hill, Ballarat, receiving the Australian Catholic University Acquisitive Award, also with a $5,000 prize.

Other Award winners included Footscray artist Paola Balla, and Glennys Briggs, a Victorian-born artist now based in Maudsland, Queensland, who took out the Copyright Agency Limited’s Awards, for three dimensional works and works on paper, respectively.

The exhibition of the 35 shortlisted works is on display at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until 5 October 2014. The exhibition features a diverse range of works including basket weaving, woodwork, photography, painting, video and sculpture.

Group_Winners -1Indigenous art award winners (left to right) Paola Balla, Patrice Mahoney, Cynthia Hardie, Deanne Gilson, Jenny Crompton and Lisa Waup. Photo: Nigel Clements

If you can’t get up to Ballarat this week you can still see the works online here and cast your vote for the $2,500 Arts Victoria Peoples’ Choice Award. Voting closes tomorrow Monday 29 September so you will have to be quick!

Victorian Indigenous Art Awards 2014
Art Gallery of Ballarat
40 Lydiard St N, Ballarat VIC 3350
P (03) 5320 5858
Posted in Announcements, Art, Art Award, Australian Indigenous Art, Sculpture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

art@wintergarden celebrates ten years

Welcome to our new guest contributor, Linda Edgerton who is usually busy writing her health and lifestyle blog over at Lollypop but she also has an interest in the arts and has kindly contributed this interview with Jill Shalless, artist and proprietor of the art@wintergarden gallery. The gallery is celebrating its 10 years of operation and here we discover some of Jill’s highlights over the last decade and what’s ahead for the Wintergarden. Special thanks to Linda for organising this, and congratulations to Jill and staff at art@wintergarden for supporting the Geelong art community for a decade.


Jill Shalless at Wintergarden
Jill Shalless at art@wintergarden. (Image courtesy art@wintergarden)

Celebrating its tenth year in 2014 art@wintergarden is a vibrant art space that continues to evolve and build its presence in Geelong. Located upstairs in the iconic Wintergarden building, it includes an active art studio and atmospheric gallery that hosts a rotation of monthly exhibitions, traditional and contemporary, showcasing art works of excellence including landscapes, still life, portraiture and sculptures. The emphasis of the gallery is on local content with 90% of exhibitions showcasing the breadth and depth of talent in the region.

Jill Shalless, resident artist and proprietor of art@wintergarden, shared some of the highlights of the last decade and the exhibitions coming up over the next few months.

Congratulations on ten years of Wintergarden! Which exhibitions of the last ten years stand out for you?

The 2013 sculpture show transformed the gallery and received amazing feedback, and has now become part of the annual exhibition programme. The 2nd Annual Sculpture Exhibition at art@wintergarden opens 5 September and runs until 29 September 2014. This year sees the return of many contributors along with many new sculptors bringing together 19 artists. Visitors can meander between the plinths and gaze across the balcony, taking in stunning glass wear, various textures of steel bronze and ceramics with concepts both humorous and thought provoking, a feast for the eyes.

A stand out memory of the last ten years is the Plein air field trips to Marysville, before and after the devastation of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. This led to two exhibitions validating the power of art as a vehicle to express and share deep emotions and memory.

I’m also proud that for seven consecutive years art@wintergarden has hosted an International Women’s Day exhibition and fundraiser.

The exhibition Le Jardin de ma mere was the first time we combined theatre and art, with booked out performances.

art@wintergarden has also hosted five consecutive years of Friday Printmakers exhibitions, the most recent in July 2014 was a resounding success.

Another highlight was the friends of Studio Girasole , a tribute exhibition celebrating the contributions of the late Bruno Callori.

The recent Ten 4 Ten exhibition was wonderful because it brought together some of the exceptional artists who’ve played a part in the gallery’s success over the last ten years, not only through their art, but their giving of time, ideas and friendship. The opening of Ten 4 Ten was a joyful celebration. Artists featured included Bruno Callori, Victoria Edgar, Lianne Gough, Mick Kupresanin, Jacinta Leitch, Mirjana Margetic, Faye Owen, Steve Parkhill, Louise Price and myself.

What are some other highlights and fondest memories for you at Wintergarden?

2012 saw art@wintergarden employ Chantelle Campbell as Gallery Assistant. This is an exciting development and she brings to the gallery a wealth of experience. Chantelle manages the social media, press releases, administration and supports myself enormously in an advisory capacity. Working at the gallery on Fridays, Chantelle’s contribution is a significant part of art@wintergarden’s success.

The Sculpture exhibition [currently showing during September] has been Chantelle’s brain child introducing some world renowned sculptors to our gallery along with emerging and familiar artists, due to her vast experience. Because of the success of the first dedicated Sculpture exhibition Chantelle once again put her skills to work and curated this second exhibition, bringing together more extraordinary contributors to mount a very impressive exhibition.

Being part of and watching the growth of Geelong’s art culture is extremely satisfying. Our focus remains on the world-class talent of the local art community. Being in a smaller community such as Geelong has made it easy to make close connections and friendships with other artists in the region. The great support, encouragement and ongoing patronage of the business has kept my enthusiasm to evolve and grow art@wintergarden.

In 2011 art@wintergarden received the Best Micro Business Award in the Geelong Advertiser Business Excellence Awards. This was a wonderful recognition of our commitment and achievements.

For five years I’ve also been involved with Council in submitting proposals for arts grants in conjunction with the Bluebird Foundation to present Masters in the Making, an exhibition for junior artists giving them an opportunity to reach for the stars. It is truly delightful to sit on my studio steps and chat with a young person and hear their ideas on art and be inspired by their enthusiasm. You never know what new door it may open.

The Wintergarden building, with its café and shops downstairs, has been a good fit for the gallery. Can you tell us about being part of Wintergarden?

The Wintergarden ambience adds a unique quality to the gallery and allows versatility of exhibitions, design markets and performing arts programs. Sometimes we’ve hosted music and theatre in conjunction with the artwork bringing a different sensibility to an exhibition. The compatibility of all businesses in The Wintergarden creates a complimentary clientele and sense of business community. The beautiful architecture has an extraordinary quality and continually delights visitors.

Wintergarden gallery view
Gallery view of art@wintergarden. (Image courtesy art@wintergarden)

Another part of the business is the studios. What’s it like having your studio located alongside the gallery? What are you currently working on in your own art?

art@wintergarden is a working studio space, as well as a gallery. The studio is the best space in the building with perfect south light. Despite being cosy, the adjacent mezzanine floor makes it feel extensive. The buzz of activity and interaction with the public is stimulating for me and painting in public breaks down the mystery of making art, I often find helpful comments are exchanged. Small classes and workshops are enjoyed by many here. Where else can you have roof top views from superb arched windows and coffee as required? My most recent body of work focussed on some of Geelong’s landscape features, such as the Barwon River, Botanic Gardens, Dog Rock’s and more. Currently I have some commission work to attend to and I’m exploring some art prize entries.

Jill Shalless_Nestled in a bed of Salvia
Jill Shalless, Nestled in a bed of salvias. (Image courtesy the artist.)
Jill Shalless_A day at the seaside
Jill Shalless, A day at the seaside. (Image courtesy the artist.)
Jill Shalless painting in her studio
Jill Shalless painting in her studio, upstairs in the Wintergarden building.

We also have other artists come in and give individual or small-group classes here. Currently we have Lucy Hardie presenting one-day drawing workshops.

What’s coming up during Spring and Summer at the gallery?

The last four months of 2014 will be huge for art@wintergarden, we have a wonderful program booked in.

I’m very excited about the 2014 Sculpture Exhibition from 5 – 29 September. Again the gallery will draw on outstanding artists from around regional and city centres throughout Victoria and interstate. These artists have employed varied mediums such as timber, steel, glass, stone and porcelain. [You can read about the inaugural 2013 sculpture exhibition here.]

This year’s exhibition features artists David and Lyn Dickson, Donal Molloy Drum, Cas Duff, Jia Xin Nong, Mark Cairns, Victoria Edgar, Brian Keyte, Jacinta Leitch, Philip Stokes, Deb Taylor, Stefan Nechwatal, Phillip Doggett-Williams, Gregor Wallace, Nadia Mercuri, Melinda Solly, Ana Hernandez Y Jensen, Steve Drew and Cinnamon and Rowan Stephens.

Core stoneware by Brian Kyete
Core stoneware by Brian Kyete. (Image courtesy art@wintergarden.)
Nadia Mercuri Trientalis Borialis
Nadia Mercuri, Trientalis Borialis. (Image courtesy the artist.)

In October, art@wintergarden will host the Waites Robson Stonemason 150th Anniversary Art Show, which also promises to be stunning.

Jo Kemerer Beautiful Sorrow
Joanne Kemerer, Beautiful Sorrow, created for the Waites Robson Stonemason 150th Anniversary Art Show. (Image courtesy the artist.)

In November, the gallery will present Red, artists exploring the pallette of Red. Themed exhibitions always show the diversity and extension of artistic ideas and possibilities.

December has become the month to focus on a specific Geelong icon or iconic view. Past themes have included the Eastern Beach steps, St Mary’s church, the You Yangs, and this year will showcase paintings of the Barwon River by regional artists.

This year was the seventh year of the Annual Gallery Program of monthly exhibitions. There’s still a lot of scope and support for art@wintergarden and I’m already looking towards 2015 for what we can offer. If only we could accommodate all of our ideas!

51 McKillop Street, Geelong
Open daily 10am – 4 pm

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Q&A, Sculpture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment