Sex, Lies, and Flowers

 

It seems like absolutely ages since I last made a post. The break came about because I moved house (yes again!) and as usual Telstra and iiNet cocked the whole re-location up resulting in me being without phone and internet for 6 weeks. Now I have signed up with Optus and I’m the proud owner of a fantastic broadband connection.

So in the last six weeks what have I been up to? Well I’ve definitely not been slacking off I can tell you!  I’m pleased to announce that for the whole of September I will be artist in residence at Beverley Station Arts and I’ll also be showing a body of work entitled “Sex, Lies, and Flowers”. Sex, Lies and Flowers is a project on the terrestrial orchids of the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. The word orchid comes from the Greek “orchis”, which literally means ‘testicle’ (with reference to the shape of its tuber). Orchids are distinguished from other flowers by their uniquely shaped column which is composed of the fused stamens and pistils. Often the petals are modified to mimic the shapes of insects to attract male insects to mate with the faux female and pollinate the flowers. Some of the forms they take also resembles human genitalia Hence the title “Sex, Lies and Flowers”. Over the last eight years I have travelled within the region photographing the plants on location. Instead of taking the standard approach of photographing the plant in its environment showing its full structure I’ve chosen to photograph them in a style more used in portraiture so as to bring out the distinguishing features and characteristics of the plants. The aim is not to produce an exhaustive catalogue of the plants but to produce a series of images that show case the beauty of the plants and raise awareness of them and how fragile they are. Hopefully some of you can pop in and see me and the work, if you are unable then the images from the exhibition and many more can be seen here.

Below is a video clip I made a while ago about photographing orchids in the Avon Valley of Western Australia.

Thanks for your patience everyone and regular programming should now resume.

Moaning About MONA

 

Bad Parking Or Work Of Art.Swiss artist Roman Signer slammed a car into converging concrete walls in the MONA Car Park.

 

Hello everyone, I’ve just got back from a very enjoyable trip to “The Apple Isle” or Tasmania as it is properly known. The trip wasn’t all beer and skittles as we had some business to attend to in Hobart, but while we were there we did manage to slip in some fine eating and a visit to MONA.

 

Gothic Truck. Wim Delvoye creates oversized laser-cut steel sculptures of objects typically found in construction in seventeenth-century Flemish Baroque style. MONA, Hobart, Tasmania.

 

The Museum of Old and New Art, to give it its full name is the largest privately funded museum in Australia and houses David Walsh’s art collection. Like MONA, Walsh is a polarizing figure – you either like him or you don’t there is no middle ground. Even his bio on the MONA website describes as being “a prick because he like it”. According to The Age he is Hobart’s most infamous son making his fortune off of gambling systems and card counting in casinos, and then apart from the paltry $32 million AUD owed to the Australia Tax Office used it to build the museum ($75 million) and buy his art collection ($100 million). To get an idea of what he is about Walsh recently MC’d his own wedding and out dressed the bride and his parking space at MONA is labelled “God’s”. The words vanity and control certainly spring to mind.

 

Heading towards the entrance of MONA. Hobart, Tasmania.

 

MONA is much hyped in Tasmania and indeed Australia, in fact so much so you’d be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing else. When you arrive there you realise that it is much, much more than just an art museum. It is a vineyard, a micro brewery (I’m very partial to the Moo Brew Pils so I’m not all anti Walsh), an upmarket resort, restaurant, event space and gallery. As you go through the mirrored entrance and descend into its deep dark depths it feels like you are entering a Bond villain’s secret lair. When I got to the bottom I fully expected to be met by a pudgy bald man in a grey Mao suit sitting in a swivel chair and fondling a siamese cat. It was a bit of an anti-climax not to be. There are some nice pieces of art in Walsh’s collection, I’m particularly drawn to the works by Australian artist Tracy Moffatt and South African Roger Ballen, but (and there always is a BUT) the overall the impression given is that a huge wedge of cash was given to an adolescent with which to indulge his puerile imagination. The central theme is that of sex and death and the collection relies heavily on shock value rather than other form of merit. Walsh obviously sees himself as a provocateur and impresario in the mould of Malcolm McLaren, but all that was done over thirty years ago and so Walsh’s attempt seems like a limp lettuce sitting in a supermarket cool shelf after a long hot day – in other words past its expiry date.

 

Interacting with the exhibits. MONA, Hobart, Tasmania.

 

Perhaps I’m being a little disingenuous and a tad cynical, but I came away thinking that perhaps the real art at MONA is the marketing and relieving the punters of their cash, which would make all rather ingenious. Maybe Walsh is a Bond villain after all. For me the most enjoyable part of the whole MONA experience was watching how the visitors interacted with the exhibits.

 

Sand Buddha.

 

Hold That Pose. Wim Delvoye’s gothic chapel, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania.

 

Looking Up. Interacting with the exhibits. Wim Delvoye’s gothic chapel, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania.

A Good Day Out

Well the long weekend brought a few very pleasant surprises. I had entered the Kalamunda Spring In The Hills Photographic Competition on a last-minute whim. Literally there were minutes to go as I entered online. This was the image I chose to put in the open category.

White Spider Orchid
White spider orchid, caladenia longicauda, is one of Western Australia’s most well known orchids. Mokine, Western Australia. Canon EOS 5D Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Exposure 1/100 s at f/4.0 ISO 100.

I went to the opening of the competition at The Zig Zag Cultural Centre and was very chuffed to win third prize in the open category. The winners can be seen here. The icing on the cake came when I was told that I’d also sold the print. So all in all a very successful day out. Thanks to all the folks at the Gem Camera Club who organise the competition and the Shire of Kalamunda who are the hosts.

Copies of the print can be bought through my gallery .

Nemesis Exhibition Opens

A frantic day today. We traveled down to Fremantle to hang my exhibition and that of my partner. Thankfully both were hung without hitch. Here is a slide show of my exhibition:

Nemesis is an autobiographical narrative about how an accident causes change. It explores the loss of innocence and the struggle to come to terms with life in an altered physical and emotional state and how with perseverance and persistence it is possible to over come those circumstances. The story is told over a series of ten monochrome photos which combine text and imagery. The title for the story and the captions, came from actual conversations with people as I went through this experience. While the telling of this story has been cathartic it has not provided instantaneous emotional relief and self-awareness. In the same way a pebble when dropped into a pond causes ripples that slowly spread and then dissipate, the accident and its consequences have played out over a long period of time. I count myself lucky, many are not so fortunate.

Nemesis is part of the FotoFreo 2012 Open Exhibition Programme. The exhibition is being shown at the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, 16 Phillimore Street, Fremantle and is open from 16th March to 13th April 2012. I hope as many people can see as possible.

My partner Helen has curated a group exhibition entitled FotoVisPo and this being shown now at The Fremantle Library.

For more details of FotoFreo 2012 visit www.fotofreo.com .