Tuesday 2 August 2011

    sunshine in a dud day


    Some days just don’t behave! Today was one of those, and just when I’d had enough of life’s adventures

    ~ gashed knee after tripping and flying spectacularly through the air;

    pear shaped event pressure; and a funeral tomorrow…

    I saw this apt image on Absolutely Beautiful Things this afternoon when I dropped by Black & Spiro.

    My dud day got better when I visited Anna with my collection of Monte Lupo artworks.

    Anna is enamoured with the work of a Monte Lupo artist and the timing of my visit was perfect.

    Thank you Anna for putting some yellow in my day!

    {Image Dare Yourself Absolutely Beautiful Things via coco & kelley}

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    Monday 1 August 2011

    Absolutely Beautiful Things ~ bravo Anna!


    Anna Spiro’s online store opens beautifully!

    Now you can virtually pop into her online store to pick up some unusual treasures…

    As a fellow Brisbanite, I’ve enjoy the indulgent pleasure of  visiting Anna’s interior design store

    Black and Spiro lured by the eye-candy window displays

    and inspired by her Absolutely Beautiful Things blog.

    About the launch, she writes, “First and foremost I am a designer and I really wanted that to be reflected in our online store. I wanted to create something which was different and exciting. . . .  In an attempt to make this succeed I thought it would be wonderful to present a series of seasonal vignettes, which will showcase special things I have either found or had custom made…. I really want to showcase items in our store which are very special, unique and of high quality and once sold out it is our intention not to repeat items.”

    The way in which we are going to present the store is the most exciting part. Each season {Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn and maybe a few other special dates in between like Christmas and Easter} we will upload a beautiful image of our selected goods for that season which I have put together in a room scene/vignette. 

    The store is laid out as a “vignette” where each item is numbered, and you can click the product numbers for more details and purchasing info. Anna’s first vignette is the Winter look, comprising a mixture of one-off vintage/collectable items, custom made items and other limited edition pieces.

    And  I’m dreaming of a wild shopping spree…

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    Tuesday 26 July 2011

    “My paintings are all about celebrating life”


    Vale Margaret Olley ~ beloved Australian painter acclaimed for her still lifes and domestic interiors paintings.

    In the 50′s my mother lived in a flat under Olley’s West End home. My mother had fond memories of that time and would occasionaly model for the artist. She was witty and forthright, and enjoyed the banter of conversation with my grandfather Ted when he visited.

    Prolific, free-spirited and much-loved artist Margaret Olley

    “I insist on having interesting people around the dinner table: painters, writers, people who are doing things. Barry Humphries is an ideal guest – a most intelligent and amusing person. I’m a little frightened of Dame Edna Everage, though, so have never invited her to my table!” The Artist’s Lunch

    Her terrace house studio was the scene of lively dinner parties attended by the likes of Barry Humphries and Leo Schofield.

    Margaret Olley Untitled (Still Life with Cornflowers and Grapes), oil on board

    Margaret Olley Flannel Flowers, 1976

    In 1965 she bought her Paddington terrace home in Sydney, a former hat factory, that was also her studio. It was a mecca for artists, bohemians and intellectuals. It became famous as a magpie’s bower of bric-a-brac and treasures – littered with flowers, fruit, vases and books (and ashtrays) that were the subject of her still lifes, scattered about in various states of completion.

    Margaret Olley’s house and garden is a sublime jumble, famous by reputation.  Her clothes, often worn in layers, a collection of blouses, sheeny, with light scarves, sometimes cheap sometimes expensive, speckled or striped, over-jackets of Chinese silk and quilted velvet, Van Eyck bonnets, battered straw hats, and an old cardigan for a cold body. Margaret Olley’s mind reverberates with causes; but in the end her purpose in life is to turn this world, this illusion in which we live, into art.  Barry Pearce, Head Curator, Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales

    Still Life PomegranatesOil on Board

    “She could be grumpy, forthright and immoveable – but she had a heart of art.”

    Stuart Purves, owner of Australian Galleries

    Far from a Still Life, 2005 biography by Meg Stewart.

    THERE’S nothing like painting what you’re familiar with,” says Margaret Olley. “You can do all sorts of things with the ordinary.” She pauses to consider the alternatives. “To go off and paint the Swiss mountains is a monumental task, best left to God!” But though Olley, 76, mostly paints still-lifes and the interiors of her own house, her world is anything but limited. She is a knowledgeable benefactor, who has given to public galleries works by Arthur Boyd, Edgar Degas and Georgio Morandi, as well as early Indian sculptures and miniatures.  Sue Smith

    Margaret Olley, Brisbane River 1956. Ink and watercolour on paper.

    Born in Lismore on 24 June 1923, Olley began painting as a young girl at Somerville House boarding school in Brisbane, going on to study at the Brisbane Central Technical College and then at East Sydney Technical College graduating in 1945.

    In the 1980s, philanthropy became a passion, partly prompted by her inheritance of the Hughes estate. In 1990 she established the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust, providing purchasing funds for regional galleries in particular. She also donated more than $7 million in art to the Art Gallery of NSW, including works by Picasso, Cezanne and Bonnard, and many of her own paintings. Comprehensive estate planning was instrumental in the smooth transition of her valuables.

    Olley was the subject of this year’s winning Archibald Prize portrait by Ben Quilty {above} and in 1948 sat for William Dobell’s prize-winner.

    Margaret Olley never married and when asked about the subject said “I had a few lucky escapes.

     She ”never liked the institution of marriage – I dislike the notion of being owned”

    and shunned motherhood: ”I never had that nesting urge.”

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    Saturday 25 June 2011

    launch of the postale society


    While celebrating my love of paper, I want to share the Postale Society with you. Such a lovely idea.

    Kristina and Lou are pleased to announce

    the launch of

    the postale society.

    crumpled pages smoothed out,

    bent corners turned back,
    taped together remnants of a letter.

    keepsakes treasured.

    knowing our stories
    are part of where we come from,
    where we are,
    and where we will go.

    for a sneak peek of the characters and their tales, click here.

    subscription is available for purchase in the on-line store.

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    Sunday 19 June 2011

    my wandering heart, enhances the everyday


    A little bit more Pia magic ~ she has captured her My Heart Wanders brisbane book launch on her on her blog.  I posted about this beautiful day previously.

    This book launch was the creation of the gorgeous Kylie from paper boat press,

    who inspired Brisbane’s creative community to celebrate the event.

    There was much anticpiation when the raffle was drawn

    ~ many of Brisbane’s most creative and generous crafters had contributed their artistic delights to the prize.

    To discover the beautiful treasures they make and sell, click on the links below…

    michelle at nook
    nicole from hot toffee
    alarna from little jane street
    sarah from red felt flower
    kia hing-fay
    erin from blossom creations
    toni from giddy girl design
    kim from udessi
    tiel from tsk tsk
    sharon muir
    louise from loose.leaf paper
    liana kabel
    kristina from old yarns
    alischa from bespoke press
    selene from heikehaus
    jennifer orland

    A visual delight were  the garlands made by the lovely Kristina from old yarns

    – she had collected pages from old french books, maps, and soft blue card that matched the colours of my book cover, cutting them into pretty circles and flower motifs and sewing them together to make long garlands which were strung between the stone pillars.

    Photos were taken by Natalie McComas who is a Brisbane-based photographer, and Pia was very gracious to mention fellow bloggers who were there to enjoy the moment….

    Among the beautiful Brisbane bloggers who came along for the event was A-M from the house that A-M built – I’ve been following her blog for a few years now, inspired by her two beautiful boys who always write her the most incredible letters (I posted one here some years back). It was a treat to meet the lovely and talented fashion designer Mady from an abundance of and her friend dayle of green bean food.  There was also Tracey from Quiet Paws, Ana from coleccionando estrellas, and Cate fromA White Carousel. I also met new blogger Hayley from stylimerence who interviewed me on the day, you can read her beautiful post about the event right here.

    {Images: 1. a white carousel; 2 -6  by Natalie McComas via pia jane bijkerk}

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    Sunday 22 May 2011

    a dance for two thousand and eleven


    at the barre with Queensland Ballet dancers on the Kurilpa Bridge in South Brisbane…

    the World’s Largest Ballet Class.

    The weather was a bit iffy this morning so they moved to the State Library ~ a sea of tutus and tights!

    It was a fun 30 minute classical barre class

    to beat the current record of 1,055 participants set by Staatsoper Hannover in Germany last year.

    {Images by Arthur Elgort via sem marcha-atras}

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    Sunday 8 May 2011

    my heart wanders under beautiful blue brisbane skies


    What would happen if one day you decided to follow your heart?

    Where would it take you?

    with friends, Julia and Angela, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea on the veranda of the old Bishop’s house

    in the beautiful, tranquil surrounds of  St Francis hosted by the gorgeous Kylie from Paper Boat Press

    to celebrate the Brisbane launch of Pia Jane Bijerks new book “My Heart Wanders“.

    we enjoyed butterfly cakes, homemade sweet things,
    petits sandwiches, tea and coffee with Pia
    who was there to chat, sign books, and shared some
    of her inspiring stories with us all.

    The veranda was festooned with beautiful garlands of recycled papers including maps, book pages and blue circles made by one of my favourite Brisbane artisans, Christina from oldyarns. When we left we were given a little brown paper gift bag of goodies including a special memento of a ceramic my heart wanders broach.

    And the launch inspired me to create this little installation of lovely objects from the day {broach, garland, sweets} together with some of my favourite things

    ~ wishbones, china, tulip tea bag by Jo from Paper Couture

    and a Paper Boast Press paperweight.

    The book is a visual feast ~ Pia Jane Bijkerk takes us on her journey as she leaves behind a comfortable life in Sydney to follow, unconditionally, her instincts. Setting up home first in Paris, then on a houseboat in Amsterdam, Pia observes the serendipitous moments that present themselves when letting go and following one’s dreams. My Heart Wanders is a reflective, inspirational, tender memoir that speaks to ‘the wandering heart’ in all of us..

    {Images: 1. book cover; 2-7 a white carousel 8-9 Pia Jane Bijkerk}

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    Sunday 1 May 2011

    a little birdie told me…


    French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s musical artwork From here to ear (v. 13) 2010 is still on display at GOMA… the installation is a seductive experience and aesthetically beautiful.

    I know that with all my Royal wedding blogging you may have the impression that I have done nothing else but be absorbed by the British monarchy. Not true, I have been out and about!

    Whilst the 21st Century: Art in the First Decade exhibition has officially closed,

    some of the artworks can still be viewed. And I enjoyed a return visit.

    The contained space of light and natural elements is  filled with hundreds of wire coat hangers, nests and numerous fluttering finch birds.

    The sound installation is an unconventional musical instrument that is played by the birds, but also a fully functional habitat for the finches. In fact, the finches have been so comfortable, a new generation hatched in the custom made nests. The Queensland Finch Society has been monitoring food, water and conditions in the Gallery to ensure a happy, healthy environment for the birds and their babies.

    It works like this: right before your eyes, dozens of tiny finches alight on coat hangers that hang in pods from the gallery ceiling. The movement of each bird triggers a sound. By capturing the movement of the finches and letting these random notes mingle with the birds’ own singing, Boursier-Mougenot has given us a great privilege, allowing us to briefly become part of their natural world. Sharne WolffLost at E Minor

    After training as a musician and composer, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot forged an art practice that merges the visual and the auditory. Boursier-Mougenot considers music the medium through which humans most commonly experience the intangible and abstract. He aims to create the conditions for experiencing what composer and innovator of ambient music, Brian Eno called ‘the long now’, by interrupting the constant assault of sensory data which passes for experience. Queensland Art Gallery

    Another popular work also remains on display, Swimming pool 2010.

    This is a visually perplexing installation by the Argentine artist Leandro Erlich.

    My god-daughter and her gorgeous mum Angela experiencing the installation.

    Erlich has constructed a full-size pool, complete with all its trappings, including a deck and a ladder. When approached from the first floor, visitors are confronted with a surreal scene: people, fully clothed, can be seen standing, walking, and breathing beneath the surface of the water. It is only when visitors enter the Duplex gallery from the basement that they recognize that the pool is empty, its construction a visual trick fashioned by the artist. A large, continuous piece of acrylic spans the pool and suspends water above it, creating the illusion of a standard swimming pool that is both disorienting and humorous. Artabase

    {Images: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot From here to ear (v. 13) 2010 [b. 1961 France, lives and works in Sète, France] via QAG; Leandro Erlich Swimming pool 2010 [b.1973 Argentina, lives and works in Buenos Aires and Paris] via urban titan}

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    Saturday 23 April 2011

    The Art of Chess :: Your Move


    I have come to the conclusion that while all artists are not chess players,

    he memorably remarked, “all chess players are artists.”

    Marcel Duchamp

    Imagine some of the world’s most innovative artists being asked to create a chess set.

    The end product is an exhibition called The Art of Chess.

    Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin Chess Set 2003, hand-painted porcelain, leather, timber. Courtesy of RS&A Ltd, London.

    A highlight today was visiting the UQ Art Museum to view two exhibitions of chess inspired works ~ one  was Your Move — Australian Artists Play Chess, and the other is an international touring show called The Art of Chess that included works by two of my favourite artists, Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama.

    Extraordinary spotted fungal sculptures by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. [Detail of Pumpkin chess]

    Apparently approximately 600 million people worldwide know how to play chess.

    Chess is the great and ancient tactical game — a life and death struggle on a board of squares,

    between two sets of characters: characters that each have their own special powers and status.

    It’s a war-game of immense simplicity and complexity.

    Michael Doolan Chess, a cautionary tale 2010 (detail) Polystyrene, polyurethane, earthenware, auto enamel

    A chess set has two functions – it’s a great game to test your strategy and your patience,

    plus it can also be a work of art you can be proud to leave on display.

    Damien Hirst, Mental Escapology 2003

    The Art of Chess features innovative and curious chess sets

    commissioned from acclaimed international contemporary artists:

    Maurizio Cattelan (Italy), Jake and Dinos Chapman (UK), Oliver Clegg (UK), Tracey Emin (UK), Tom Friedman (USA), Paul Fryer (UK), Damien Hirst (UK), Barbara Kruger (USA), Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Paul McCarthy (USA), Alistair Mackie (UK), Mathew Ronay (USA), Tunga (Brazil), Gavin Turk (UK), Rachel Whiteread (UK).

    Damien Hirst, Mental Escapology 2003

    glass, silver, stainless steel, acrylic, timber and leather. Private collection, London.

    Damien Hirst has cast medicine bottles in silver and glass (complete with engraved labels) on a mirrored glass board displaying the biohazard sign. The installation includes the finely crafted set of glass and silver pill bottles with surgical trolley chessboard and two medical stools.

    Alastair Mackie Amorphous Organic, 2008

    Each chess piece encapsulates a single suspended insect; the “white” pieces are represented by flying insects and the “black” side by ground based insects. The chessboard design a light box set into the surface of the table to illuminate the insects trapped in the clear amber pieces. An evolution from his previous set of dices, which consisted of a set of dice cut from amber with mosquitoes making up each of the die’s digits.

    Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Good versus Evil), 2003

    Hand-painted porcelain, Wenge, American Black Walnut, foam, suede

    Based on the concept of good and evil, Italian artist Maurizo Cattelan’s chess pieces are fabricated in porcelain and represent figures that he both admires and despises. The line-up of fictional and real villains and heroes from history include Hitler and Cruella de Ville cast as the King and Queen of evil, and Martin Luther King is Hitler’s equal on the white side. Other notable figures appear as pawns, including Donatella Versace, Rasputin, General Custer, Superman, Mother Teresa, and Sitting Bull.

    Barbara Kruger,Untitled 2005, Corian, electronic components, speakers. Courtesy of RS&A Ltd, London and Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York.

    In 2001, a newly formed art company called RS&A commissioned five prominent artists, including Damien Hirst and the Chapman brothers, to create bespoke sets that were then exhibited at Somerset House in London two years later. Facing off against the stellar international line-up is Your Move: Australian artists play chess.

    Artists featured in Your Move include Benjamin Armstrong, Lionel Bawden, Sebastian Di Mauro, Michael Doolan, Emily Floyd, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, Robert Jacks, Danie Mellor, Kate Rohde, Caroline Rothwell, Sally Smart and Ken Yonetani.

    Players in Your Move include human-animal hybrids, literary characters and beer bottles and coasters set up to play on a rickety Australian picnic table. There are chess sets made from exquisite glass and ceramic, sets made from rustic homemade pieces and even a chess set that speaks its mind.

    The UQ Art Museum is one of two Australian venues for the travelling exhibition, The Art of Chess from RS&A Ltd, London. The Art of Chess is an ongoing project featuring chess sets designed by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists in a celebration of the game of chess and its continued relevance to the creative arts.

    Marcel Duchamp

    In 1927, Marcel Duchamp, the French-born trail-blazer of conceptual art, married a young heiress called Lydie Sarazin-Lavassor. The honeymoon did not go well. “Duchamp spent most of the week studying chess problems,” recalled the artist’s close friend Man Ray, “and his bride, in desperate retaliation, got up one night when he was asleep and glued the chess pieces to the board.” Bad move. They were divorced three months later.

    Duchamp had played chess since he was a boy, and over time became more and more obsessed by the infinitely intricate permutations of the game. In his thirties, he stunned his friends by announcing that he was giving up his career as an artist to become a full-time chess player. He moved to Buenos Aires, where he frequented local chess clubs and even designed and carved a chess set of his own.

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    Sunday 20 February 2011

    Greening La Boite


    La Boite’s Green Sundays ~ what a fanatsic initiative by La Boite Theatre!

    It’s exciting to see how companies can engage with

    environmentally green behaviour with meaning and integrity.

    Brisbane’s La Boite Theatre has a range of innovative ways they are making a positive contribution

    ~ BRAVO!

    Here is one I am excited about given I can walk there and enjoy the multiple benefits of art, fitness, environmental goodness and fun. Almost toooo good to be true!

    La Boite Theatre Company is offering free tickets if you can get to the theatre in Kelvin Grove using your own two feet. Cycle, skate or walk to La Boite (and prove it!) and a ticket to the shows listed below will be yours. La Boite says trust is involved.

    “The free tickets are available to people who book in advance and ‘prove’ they walked, rode or skated (there are many more options) to the theatre on arrival. A bicycle, helmet, skateboard, wheelchair are all examples of what you may be able to present to our box office staff.”

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