A few months ago I started a search of contemporary art and glitter, this part is about the influential discovery of an a 2014 Perth exhibition entitled ‘Glitter’ featuring the works of under-recognised Australian artists Pat Larter and Lola Ryan, curated by Gemma Watson.
Larter’s work was considered kitsch and uncultured in her time. Highlighting gender issues, she fearlessly parodied masculine motifs of representation. I use the term uncultured in her time, as there was an elitist attitude where art that caused a guttural, or instinctive reaction of repulsion was considered vulgar. She was considered outside of the arts community and her work viewed as uninformed.
Pat Larter choose not to align or fit in with what was expected of her at the time. She dominated her work, in control of her own body, her own gestures, and any other body she chooses to feature in her work. Her work is confronting because it exposes us to a side of us that may seem vulnerable but need’nt be at all.
Ryan like Larter was classed as an outsider, until recently her work had been viewed as something created without intention, more so as a commemoration of tradition and skill. Her deviations from her learned skill set of shell work, a practise introduced in the 1880’s in the missions, where ignored and passed of as part of an Indigenous souvenir craft trade. Both artists commented on gender, class and woman’s work.
Ryan built on the more usual adaptations of Sydney’s iconic harbour bridge, combining natural and man made ornamentation with bright hues. She choose shell-work to further transmit her connection to nature,. These 2D representational shell-work pieces show a much greater understanding of of how a work can be read, and the In works like Untitled bird (gallah) 2000, Ryan transmits her connection to nature, over man-made objects. I feel that this work shows how a work can be loaded with narrative, It offers another way of seeing through the artists eyes.
Now, I know there are many female artists out there, they just seem a little harder to find. So, Im on a mission to learn about more female artists working with processes and themes that I respond to.
I found Liza Lou’s early works mesmerising and multi faceted. I interpreted her hand beaded ‘Kitchen’ from 1996, as a beautifully gilded comment on materialism, domestication, obsession and identity. But having listened to her talk about this work on ‘Liza Lou talks about the ‘Marathon of Making’ at Anderson Ranch’ on youtube, my interpretation is a little off. She talks about highlighting the makers hand and wanted the ‘Kitchen’ to be a ‘monument to unsung labour’. This work took 5 years to complete, so Lou slowed down time to appreciate every detail of an idealistic American surrounding, immersing herself in the act of doing.
I also value her approach to what is considered a craft or jewellery materials. She states in the video, she saw the beads in a bead shop through the eyes of a painter, and this opened up new possibilities using these concentrated colours glistening like wet paint.
I appreciate this work because of its shear scale, I can see as a maker that this really is a work of endurance. Incredibly challenging both physically and mentally.
Through his Slapdash Supercars project, Max comments on our desire to “personalise everything to be unique”.
“We live in a time where individuality, self-expression and status are at an all-time peak,” he says. “However, for some reason the individualisation of one’s car has drastically decreased over the past few years.
“I tried to think of a way to make the most ordinary cars for just a few euros into their own supercar.”
During Harrod Blanks documentary film I came across Kathleen Pearson and her great Art Cars. What struck me the most was her had made clothing, re-purspoing handmade tapestries into dresses and coats. See screenshots below from Harrod Blank short ‘Diva of Kitsch’.
I also found Suzie Stanford, who upholsters chairs with these same materials. Both of these applications give a sense of value back to the tapestries. They are an ode to the makers, and effectively an ode to those who see the beauty in them. They are also repurposed for the sake of comfort, and create an almost camouflage/all consuming effect dues to the style and contrast of the imagery.
Harrod Blank folk artist, documentary filmmaker, and art car aficianodo created Wild Wheels 1992, and Automorphosis 2007-8 to show the world that there are many people who express themselves through the decoration of their vehicles. Seeing them as the ultimate form of self expression, a mobile unit screaming this is me, this is what I think is important, and I want to share it with you.
Both of these documentaries made me really happy, I felt I could relate to the reasoning behind there desires for self expression in such a way. And, also the d.i.y techniques, choice of materials, and more importantly the ability to see the potential in unusual or questionable materials, like coins, rubbish, kids toys, cigarette butts, and more.
Theres some really great characters, and skill, in this film, like the ‘Button King’ and ‘Spoon Man’, but I have decided to show the following (all images taken from Harrod Blanks films listed above);
Curing The Curator – Experimenta Social at ACMI. August 2017.
Joel Stern of Liquid Architecture and Alicia Renew of Channels Festival, and much more
As Joel Stern worked through his presentation, internet tab by tab, addressing definitions of words or larger questions like, ‘what is music?’, and [next tab] ‘What is sound?’, I begun to reflect on my own work, what I consider art to be, and whats the difference in my mind between art and contemporary art – should I distinguish the two? Do I place to much importance on the differences? In every reference Stern makes to music I begin to replace it with art.
Stern worked through the question – Do I hate music?? and discussed how some artists see sound as whats experienced when the vibration touches an object or surface. This offers a fresh way to consider how I, and how others experience viewing art. The first thing to say is that its not experienced at all if no one sees it. It is solely felt by the artist, but this is about what happens after the creation process. Sound reverberates off of objects, what happens with visual stimuli? Our visual cortex goes through several notions, determining: shape, colour, motion and detailing. And, I’m guessing once we process this, we join it to any pre-existing images in our memory, which draw us into or set us further away, form the experience right infant of us.
My favourite part of the talk was about trying to pull apart the difference between sound and music, concluding that sound is about whats not included. I reflected on my own practice, considering craft and illustration – two things which I feel sometimes don’t have a place with art. But, Ive learned its about ‘whats not included’ that counts. When I use craft or illustrative techniques in my work, they are solely techniques pulled into add a note to my work. The work is not solely a craft piece, or illustration, but it undoubtedly will speak to either practise.