Archive for the ‘ Exhibition ’ Category
Here’s some photos from the art launch of Heinz Reigler’s 7-inch launch at Doggett Street Studio. The show is on for another week.
My best friend Heinz, is launching his new 7″ record tonight. It’s the first installment from his forthcoming full-length record. The music he makes is wondrous in a 60s Scott Walker style even though it’s usually stripped down to real Leonard Cohen vibe when he plays live. He’s launching this at Doggett St Studios, Friday 8th October and in a novel (and visually awesome) turn, he is going to be displaying all 200 copies of the 7″ at the gallery as well as perform a few songs…
What makes all this pertinent to this blog page is that Heinz commissioned three of his friends to make the coverart for the records of which I was one of them. The others were Stephen Mok and Bo Stahlman. I did a woodcut of one of the characters in the title song ‘And The Lovers Make A Scene’, it was of a girl named Penny and it’s her you can see above. I’ve had a mixed feelings about commission work in the past with it not always going according to plan but I have to say that this one worked out perfectly and I’m really proud to have done something creative with Heinz.
If you can’t make it Doggett St Studios in the next three weeks (which is how long they’ll be hanging), you can go to Heinz’s website to nab one of the records: http://www.heinzriegler.com/
Here’s some nice promo from Brisbane’s daily paper, The Courier Mail:
Well, the annual art show might be all wrapped up for another year but that doesn’t mean that things have slowed down any or that I’ve been lolling around watching tv. No, from one thing straight into the next and boy have I been busy with the next…
The fine folk at Nine Lives Gallery asked me to contribute to their mobile gallery that they are hosting at the Splendour In The Grass festival. I’ve contributed three pieces and while I will not be there in person, It’s nice to know plenty of gumboot wearing people will get to see some fine art amongst the myriad of things happening up there. If I get my hands on some photos I’ll throw them up here.
There’s a good and a bad side to making limited numbers of your art. The good is that you don’t often have to find storage space at home for all your creations. The bad side is that your friends and others miss out if they’re not quick enough. This was the case with a series of souvenir handmade books I made for my Doggett St Studio art show. The books showcased most of the woodcuts in the show (and one or two not in the show) in a nice little hardcover concertina styled creation. The book was an edition of 11 and was all sold out in around an hour on opening night. Still you can check them out here.
So fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and while I was at GOMA buying some great woodcuts from North Korea (more on that below) the bookstore manager Peter asked me if I would put some of my books in the GOMA store to sell. What an awesome opportunity! And so I’ve made a second edition of books. This time I’ve made 20 copies and have made some changes. This edition is green and like the first edition, has an original, unique woodcut print in the back of the book only this edition has a different print which will be available nowhere else.
The other project that has taken up a huge chunk of my life germinated some time ago but became a reality only recently in the form of a collaboration I’m doing with a good friend and fellow local artist Murdoch Stafford. We are collaborating on a triptych based around Japanese mythology, Murdoch is creating the initial illustrations and I’m making woodcuts out of them. In my way of always seeing if I can bite off more than I can chew, I’ve decided to do the woodcuts as big as possible – which is an A0 sized piece of plywood (for those overseas, that’s 33 x 45 inches)
This morning I finished the first of the three parts which happens to be the second of the three panels – it took around 52 hours just to carve it. This is as much as I’m going to show you for now…
…and the last bit of exciting woodcut related news I have (and mentioned above) is in regards to some art that I’ve purchased recently. A few months ago the state gallery had it’s triennial of art from the Asia Pacific region and amongst it all was a room full of wood and linocuts from The Mansudae Art Studio in North Korea. I spent a lot of time looking at these full colour relief prints and putting the politics of North Korea aside, I believed that these are great art. A few weeks after the exhibition closed, I went into the galleries bookstore and saw four of the prints in the show on sale. I could only afford two of them but I was so chuffed to have them to look at daily and be inspired by. The biggest of the two though is a meter and a half long and is so heavy that I couldn’t put it up on my wall. Instead it sits atop my shelves of records. The smaller one however currently sits pride of place in the loungeroom.
With these two pieces coming into my home, I got all inspired to frame up another print I got earlier in the year of a local artist named Sue Pickford. This is her linocut and it currently hangs on my “art wall” in my music room.
I have more art currently at the framers and so I’ll tell you more about those when I get them back home. Now I’m going to turn my attention towards the second panel of my collaboration so I guess I’ll be quiet for quite a few weeks to come.
The sixth annual art show I Used To Skate is on again this week at The Zoo in Fortitude Valley. This group art show is always huge with over 40 artists contributing works and the turnout topping over 1000 people in a room that only holds 450 people.
Based around the idea of the graphics/art that goes on and under skateboard decks, the show’s organiser, Matt Brady of The Outpost and Thea Basiliou of Blonde Venus always the give people contibuting the ability to do whatever they can dream up. This usually means that there is a really divererse rang of works on show from fine art painting to wacky lo-brow and some that don’t even make it to that classification…
This is the third year I’ve been able to be a part of this art show. The first time I contributed also happened to be with my first ever woodcut which got this whole thing started. Last year’s contribution to the show by me can be seen Here and this year I wanted to take the idea of creating a printable image in wood full circle. You know, using the skateboard to create and transfer an image about skateboarding which leaves you with not only a print for your wall but a skateboard that you can still spend hundreds of hours on skating around town.
So rather than simply creating something that was only viewed upon the skateboard, I found myself an oldstyle flat deck (revived thanks to Pass Port skateboards) and carved out an image that I could print from…
The fellow in the print is Shogo Kubo (of the original Zepher Dogtown crew) and he’s shredding a pool on the exact style of board that he’s carved into. Both the board and the print will be on display (& sale) at the show. The event is for one night only with the boards being displayed for the following month in The Outpost store.
Go here for all the details: http://skateonce.blogspot.com/
…and in other news, I’ve been experimenting quite a bit of late. I see on people’s blogs all the time different woodcuts that they have done on plywood. I’ve only ever done woodcuts and etchings on hardwood like maple. Because I’ve got an idea for a large sized woodcut, I figured I’d try some plywood to see if it would work for me and hold the detail I had in mind.
While I was at it, I decided to also do some testing with printing on different surfaces. I went to the fabric store and bought some thin, good quality linen, put my experiment into my screw press and crossed my fingers.
I call this one ‘The Deepest Sleep’. He/she is the skeleton of an extinct dinosaur that curled up deep in a cave to shelter from the cold only to (for reasons we’ll never know) never wake from their slumber.
And so, the plywood experiment is a sucess! The cloth experiment is a sucess! and with more ideas and options open to me than ever before, next I’m going to try my hand at colouring my prints with Gouache to see what other effects I can achieve.
Well the show has been going for about a week and a half and has a bit over a week till it finishes. For those who aren’t in Brisbane or simply haven’t gone over to the Doggett St website then I thought I’d put up pictures of what’s in the show. It should be said too that if there is anything that catches your eye or might look good on your wall, I have prints for sale of almost all of what’s here and you can contact me for more information.
I know everything is in the eye of the beholder and all that stuff but I figured I would also give some thoughts of what’s here too. All of the prints (except three done in the first half of 2009) were carved and created between July 2009 and June 2010.
Title: The Machine Breaking Riots of 1811-1816
Size: 30cm x 30cm
These are my hands, at my typewriter which still gets used regularly to send letters to friends. It sure beats email and is the centerpiece of my prints focused on antiquated technology. I am astounded how many people have reacted to this image in such a positive way, it’s great. The title is a signal towards those British individuals that brought the word ‘Luddite’ into the common English vernacular. I also have my friend Heinz to thank for inspiring this image… even if he did so by accident.
Title: Hello, Hello?
Size: 20.5cm x 38cm
This is the Palm Cockatoo from North Queensland, Australia. It’s the largest of the Parrot species in this country and is distinctive not only in appearance but in its personality. I saw a documentary on it last year and was fascinated by it. Look it up! It has rhythm and a matting call that remarkably sounds like the word “Hello?”
Size: 22cm x 31cm
When I sit at my makeshift school desk come work table and spend hours staring at a block of wood, I look up to adjust my eyes and out the window, this is what I see. The view looks out north-west and for a few weeks a year the leaves all drop off this tree and I can see the currawong birds that stop in to say hello. The currowong’s song in the early morning and twilight is really beautiful.
Size: 40cm x 32cm
This is my tribute to all things punk rock and metal. And as you can maybe tell by the cuff, anyone can make a statement if they know what they want to say.
Size: 28.5cm x 38cm
This is my friend Adam. This is from a photo I took of him with his band Turnpike. He’s a really awesome person and I just wanted to revisit this image. From memory, I did this all in one day.
Title: A Song For You
Size: 28.5cm x 38cm
Inspired by a bet between two people that one of them could collect one million hand-made pictures of giraffes in one year. This is me experimenting with texture and detail… and the fact that I love carving pictures of animals. When I was done, I scanned the print in and sent it to the fellow collecting the pictures. It’s hidden somewhere amongst all the other giraffes here: http://www.onemilliongiraffes.com/
Title: My Fixed Gear
Size: 28.5cm x 38cm
This was a woodcut made for one reason that didn’t work and I was left with a fellow on a bike with nowhere to go. So I went back, gave him a new bike and a shock of colour and off he went. I’m still not sure where he’s going but I recently found out that he’s coming back to Brisbane soon. The fellow on the fixed gear has a name too, it’s Jamie Stewart. He has a band called Xiu Xiu
Title: Lost At Sea Pt.1 (From the Series ‘Lost At Sea’)
Size 18cm in Diameter
This print and this series mean more to me than one brief paragraph can explain. The three images are inspired by a tattoo I have on my right forearm, also in three parts. Many years ago, instead of getting a wedding ring, I got a tattoo. It symbolised her, me and us, it was below the water, on the waterline and in the sky above. It was about finding and it was about searching. 10 years after I get the tattoo, I made these prints. The same ideas only updated.
The compass in the center of the image above is also tattooed on my left forearm. It’s part one… where are you going? Do you know?
Title: Lost At Sea Pt.2 (From The Series: Lost At Sea)
Size 18cm in Diameter
I love tall ships, I have since I was a child. They make me think of being free, away from cities, they make me think of my godfather and that makes me happy. This particular ship was the third woodcut I ever did (on a skateboard no less) but I never took any prints from it so I came back to it and this time I got an edition from it.
Title: Lost At Sea Pt.3 (From The Series Lost At Sea)
Size 18cm in Diameter
…again, the wandering spirit. The wise old turtle who may just outlive us all. I love turtles as much as old ships and even stormy seas will pass if we wait.
Size: 18cm x 14cm
This is another friend of mine who also happens to be a great musician. This is me starting to experiment last year with colour and multiple block registration. Of course I didn’t want to make my task too hard so I went with these two colours and am happy to say that it worked nicely.
Title: Bird On A Wire
Size: 20cm x 55.5cm
People don’t look up enough! They should look up or around more often.
A few months back, I agreed to collaborate with a friend of mine who is a terrific illustrator in his own right. We tossed about different ideas and tried to work out what would inspire us both equally. One idea centered around crows and in my collecting and researching of ideas for the image I stumbled upon this gang of nervous birds.
Well the co-lab is still in full swing but it now has nothing to do with crows or birds of any kind. However I thought this image was strong on it’s own and so ran with it. The background is also a monoprint done on glass. Again, more experimentation in the continuing search to work out what on earth I’m doing within this medium.
Title: ’32 Coupe
Size: 52cm x 22cm
Again, it’s me and antiquated technologies. The theme of the show wasn’t prevalent until I had a few works laying around and I started to see a pattern emerge. This woodcut was as hard as it looks, I didn’t have a fancy tool or some trick method – I hand-carved out every single line with a v-shaped gouge and think this could be the closest I’ve come to a perfect woodcut so far. I really do love this one a lot. It might be obvious to some that part of this piece was inspired by the wood engravings of Barry Moser. He’s a truly gifted artist in this medium and he gives me something to aim for with my own expression of illustration through relief printing.
Title: My Favourite Mix
Size: 20cm x 14cm
I did a series of seven prints of this cassette, each one a different colour (blue, green, orange, purple, red, black & yellow). It was a little offshoot edition to the main print run which was of 60, hand printed onto small envelopes which held an actual cassette. These all went to my friend Heinz who did the limited cassette release of his music and from what I remember, he sold out of the cassettes in about a week. This was a fast and fun project and I enjoyed being a part of it very much. It doesn’t hurt that the music in the tape was also really really good.
Size: 26.5cm x 40cm
This is one of the few woodcuts that I actually had in my last show in July 2009. I did have an initial small run of 3 prints which were black on Japanese rice paper. Since then I returned a few months later when I had come across much better paper and had spent more time practicing my printing. I made this one off print with a blue/black mix of ink and wanted to show it again because I love the image. Now what need to practice is how to label the prints that I make… that seems to be more confusing than making woodcuts.
Title: Bruce ‘Utah’ Phillips
Size: 26.5cm x 40cm
This like the Anchor was from last year and the previous print I had displayed was the one off Artist Print. Again, around the same time as the Anchor. I came back to Utah because I wanted to add more to him. I carved out a second woodblock so as to give him a background and he looks much better for it. This print hasn’t sold in the current show so far and that’s fine with me. I think I’d like to send it to Colorado where there is a small museum dedicated to Utah and all the amazing things he did with his life.
Title: I Will Protect You
Size: 40cm x 29cm (just the owls. paper is 70cm x 35cm)
I wanted to test my skills and these Owls were a big leap for me. I still can’t quite believe how well they worked out. The print above is an open edition where each print is done on a different type of paper and no two papers are ever repeated. It was the start of an idea seeing as I knew that this image wasn’t finished…
Size: 80cm x 50 cm
…and so here is the second installment of my owls, with passing clouds and a background landscape from multiple blocks. Somehow in my mind I think there’s a third or fourth installment to this image. I’m going to keep experimenting until I decide on the perfect surrounds for these two, kind of like the changing seasons perhaps?
Title: WWI – Curb Your Enthusiasm (From The Series: Feel Free To Laugh)
Size: 24.5cm x 33cm
Title: WWII – The Biggest Loser (From The Series: Feel Free To Laugh)
Size: 24.5cm x 33cm
Title: Vietnam – Big Brother (Eviction Special) (From The Series: Feel Free To Laugh)
Size: 24.5cm x 33cm
There is a hell of a lot I could say about this print and the other two above it in this series. I won’t bore you with long rants or diatribes though I do feel like saying one or two things that motivated me to make them. As you’ve seen above, I’ve done lots of birds, sunsets, people etc… all lovely or pretty pictures in some way. I decided to challenge myself at the start of the year and purposefully spend days and weeks carving out blocks of images I found distasteful, off-putting and essentially ugly. I’m not a fan of war, I don’t think most people are. But lots of people have come to a very violent end fighting for a lot of things we take for granted today. I wanted to (in my small way) make people look at these images, maybe read the titles, maybe laugh at the titles… and then ask themselves what was so funny? Some things are worth fighting for and some of the things we occupy our modern-day leisure time with are not the worthy spoils of others sacrifices…
Well there you have it, The end-point of my two years making woodcuts so far. I also have, hanging at the gallery, some of the woodblocks that these prints came from and one or two more personal prints that are to be seen more so than disseminated on the internet.
I’m part of a different art show next week, I Used To Skate Once 6. It’s a huge group show with 60 different artists. I’ll post up more details about that in the coming days. I’m also planning to have a co-lab show with a friend in November. More large mountains to climb and challenges to get my head around between then and now though. I’m off to try my hand printing onto fabric for the first time now, wish me luck…
Thank you to everyone who came down to Doggett Street Studio last night for the opening of my show. It’s a shame that it was all such a blur because I had great conversations with so many terrific people and friends. If you’re yet to make it down or would like to see it all again, Doggett has put up pictures on their website of all of the works that are available. The show is still hanging until the 26th June so you can pop down and have a look in person between Wednesday and Saturday over the next three weeks. Should something catch your eye, there are still prints available in each edition so feel free to give the gallery a call.
Such a big chapter of learning seemed to close last night with everyone seeing the last 12 months of my excursions, experiments and ideas made real. But that’s not actually the case. Today I start the next experiment and my next big challenge with a new type of wood that I’ve never carved into before… stay tuned to see where this leads.
My friend Heinz hung all the works for my art show yesterday and took this sneaky video.
Luddite: New works by Alex Gillies opens tomorrow night at 6pm!
Last year I thought it a good idea to make a book to document my adventures in this medium. That book in 2009 took three and a half months to make 6 copies and ended up being over 60 pages long. This year I decided to do it all again but I wanted to make it smaller and more manageable. In the post below are all the parts laid out to make that second little book to coincide with the up and coming show at Doggett St Studios. Well After doing a bit each week, I have now completed my edition of 11 books and considering this one took four weeks from start to finish, I’m more happy with this one than last years. Inside it are most of the woodcuts and engravings that I have done over the last 12 months of which the originals of those will all be on show in a few weeks.
The books are based on an accordion style of book with a hard cover in gold silk threaded Japanese paper. I’ve made some changes to the original idea by laying out two smaller accordion pages on the left and right that pull out. Also included is an original print in the back of the book that will only be available within this single edition of 11 books (which is 10 for sale and one for me to keep) and will be available for one night only at the opening night of the show on Friday 4th June.