Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday in Sydney

On Saturday I went to SNO Contemporary Art Projects. It was my first visit to the gallery which is housed on the first floor of an Arts and Crafts style building in the culturally diverse Sydney suburb of Marrickville.
We were planning to stay overnight in Sydney and had Pino our Maltese/Poodle cross with us and I noted with amusement that there was not another small white dog to be seen in the busy Greek and Vietnamese shopping strip.
Upstairs the gallery is comprised of a group of small, well lit and pleasingly proportioned rooms which reminded me a little of the upstairs area in Ray Hughes Gallery in Red Hill, Brisbane in the 1980’s.
It was the last day of the Emma Landridge, Shiau-Peng Chen and Cathy Blanchflower exhibition and the first time I had seen Cathy Blanchflowers work in the ‘flesh’. I have admired her work online and it was great to enjoy her palette and to see the brush marks that give vigour to her beautiful patterned works.

Oil on Canvas. 30cm x 30cm. ©2009 Cathy Blanchflower

Later in the afternoon we went to the opening of the Flower Show at Brenda May Gallery at Danks Street.
This is the second group show I have seen at the gallery and once again I was impressed by the curatorial skills of the gallery. The exhibition includes some wonderful works by Tanmaya Bingham, Nicola Moss, Ruth Howard, Fiona Fenech and Melinda Le Guay and continues until 18 October.

Works by Nicola Moss

Works by Tanmaya Bingham and Andrew Best.

After the opening we went to dinner at billy kwong, one of my favourite restaurants and I had the chance to catch up with my colleague and friend Nicola Moss and then we went off to our dog friendly hotel the Hughenden in Woollahra where little white dogs are almost de rigeur. Breakfast next morning was like a scene from a Woody Allen movie with a cast of wonderful extra and dogs on dining chairs and laps. It was a lovely weekend and we returned home to find that our chooks are back on the lay!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Friday Report

Well here it is the second in the series of Friday reports. I must remind myself that two reports do not a series make!
Firstly thank you to everyone who commented on my blog last week. Your thoughtful feedback was greatly appreciated. Please keep it coming, good or bad, and include any topics for discussion you might find interesting.
The week has been totally occupied by my ever growing studio.
The shed arrived as a flat pack on Wednesday during the once in a life time dust storm which covered the entire eastern side of Australia with a thin layer of the Simpson Dessert. It looked very small stacked in the front garden. I was very glad it wasn't from Ikea as we had already had an alan key incident earlier in the week.
On Thursday morning three very clever and hard working young men arrived to erect it.

Thursday Morning

By this afternoon I had two walls.

The outer shell should be completed by the middle of next week. With all this going on it has been difficult to get down to work.

I have managed to
• Send off my entry for the Liverpool City Art Prize. I am entering Mirror of Uncertainty, a diptych which I completed late last year.

Mirror of Uncertainty. Acrylic Shredded Visa
and Ink on Canvas. Diptych. 100cm x 140cm. ©2008 Susan Buret

• Read and work on my artist's statement. It really helps when I am making new work as it focuses my thoughts.
• Accept an invitation to show work in the Doggett Street Christmas Show.
• Enjoy an interesting blog discussion with Janice Mason Steeves about the experiences of making and showing new work. I love the opportunity to share ideas with someone from the other side of the world. Thank you world wide web.
• Make several more new works in the post card series.
• Mail off images and catalogue from the Brisbane show to my gallery in Melbourne. I had prepared two other packages to send off to galleries in Brisbane and Sydney but I got cold feet at the last moment. I will do some deep breathing and think about it again next week.
However, with so much going on I feel like I have let lots of things, especially correspondence, slip this week.
Next week I hope to
• spend more time in the studio.
• catch up with all my correspondence.
• plan a trip to Canberra to look at galleries there.
• at least think about my entry for the Chapman and Bailey exhibition in Melbourne
Tomorrow I am off to Sydney to see Nicola Moss and Tanmaya Bingham's work at the opening of the Flower Show at Brenda May Gallery.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts About New Work.

Susan Buret. Bower Birds Steel the Crabapple Blossoms. 2009.
Watercolour and Pigmented Ink on Canvas. 10cm x15cm.

This is one of a series of postcard sized works I have been producing lately in response to my new environment. I have written about the works in the artist statement that accompanied my recent exhibition.
I have been thinking more about these works and what they share with earlier bodies of work. How I continue to use the same almost viral repetition in all my works. I am often aware that visually my works often look like textile designs and that my manual assembly line process, obsessive and repetitive is for me a path to some sort of transcendence. Many artists talk about this aspect of their practice which Baudelaire describes as 'sacred machinery' and the process includes not only repetitive patterning but also the practice of painting the same object over and over again.
For me I use concision and repetition along with the irregularity of the hand drafted to build rhythms which are not ordered or predictable to create shifting fields. I do this constantly to create images I enjoy. So despite changes in the conceptual bases of my work which occur over a period of time I continue to pursue the same image.     

Monday, September 21, 2009

If work isn’t selling does that mean it isn’t good?

If work isn’t selling does that mean it isn’t good?
Regardless of the economic climate all artists ask themselves this question from time to time after they produced a body of work they are immensely proud of only to exhibit it and have no sales.
I have had three no sale shows only to have the work later win awards or be acquired for well respected collections but the topic came up again in a blog post by Janice Mason Steeves, a Canadian artist, whose reaction to a no sale body of work was to take a year off and return refreshed to her arts practice. Her candid and inspiring account of those moments of doubt we all have got me thinking.
I am very sensitive to this topic as I have recently begun and shown a new body of work which is quite raw (or fresh) and its formative stages.
Is this the right thing to do when I am getting recognition for my shredded works?
Should I continue to make the collage works for my next exhibition when I feel the distractions of this new body of work and the need to work with new media?
I am also aware that I am not spending much time in the studio at the moment because of the excitement of the move. Where will this lead?

Susan Buret. I Listened to the Tango in a Room Filled with Enormous Camellias. 2009
Acrylic and Pigmented Ink on Canvas. 76cm x 56.5cm.

I do know that for me the answer is to just do what I feel like and trust in what I make. But it does stir the butterflies.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Friday Report

18 September 2009.

This is the first of a series of reports resulting from the blog triage class I have just completed.
I am hoping to summarize the highs and lows of my practice in the previous week so that I can feel proud of any achievements and prioritise or commit to the waste bin those jobs that didn’t get done.

This week has been really eventful –

• The slab for my studio has been poured and I have decided that I will seal the concrete floor. I am very excited about the amount of space I will have.

• My wonderful gallery in Melbourne sold Welcome to the Neighbourhood We hope You Fit In from my exhibition Portraits of the Unknown. Yipee cashflow!

Susan Buret. Welcome to the Neighbourhood. We Hope You Fit In.2009.
Acrylic, Shredded Passport Copy and Ink on Canvas. 1500mm x 1050mm

• I sent 4 of 5 works to Kick Arts Galleries in Cairns where Curator Sam Creyton has asked me to be part of an exhibition showing artists who work with paper.
• I sent Stargazzy off to Arteral Gallery in Sydney to be part of the Tickled Pink Exhibition.
• I started work on a series of postcard sized watercolour works.
• I resolved to enter the Liverpool Art Prize.

I didn’t get around to -
• Sending off CD’s of images from Diary Notes from a New World to several galleries.
• Working on my entry for the Chapman and Bailey Competition in Melbourne.

There have been lots of tradesmen and deliveries so it has been a bit of a disjointed week ……can’t wait to get a run at some work in my new studio.

Now that I review this it does seem like navel gazing. Don’t know if it should be a post (aired in public rather than in a journal if I managed to keep one) so dear readers let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tickled Pink

I am honoured to have been invited by Artereal Gallery to be part of the exhibition Tickled Pink which opens at 747 Darling Street, Rozelle, Sydney 2039, T 61 2 9818 7473, from 6 - 8pm Wednesday 7 October. If you are in Sydney please come along. The exhibition continues until 31 October 2009.
My recent work Stargazzy will be part of the exhibition and proceeds from sales will go to Breast Cancer Network Australia, so come along and support a good cause.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nicola Moss Artist

This is the second in a series of posts about my peers. I must add that these posts are appearing in no particular order and irregular intervals.
Nicola Moss is a South East Queensland artist whose genres include painting, mixed media, print making, public art projects, photography and video. her work focus on the observation, documentation and interpretation of landscapes.
I met Nicola a couple of years ago through a mutual friend and we continued to see one another at arts networking events. As we came to know one another better we realised that while our work was very different we shared a lot of interests and ideas. This has resulted in collaboration on several projects.
Nicola is currently Artist in Residence at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. You can see more about the residency on Nicola's blog Layers of Life.
I love Nicola's work with is rich and layered surfaces and subtle observations of her surroundings and was delighted to write the catalogue essay for her recent solo exhibition Greenbelt at Doggett Street Studios. In addition to being an avid fan of Nicola's work I am also in awe of her professionalism.
Nicola has been invited to be part of the exhibition The Flower Show at Brenda May Gallery from 22nd September to 18 October 2009.

Nicola Moss. Pollen Drift. 2009. Acrylic and Pigmented Ink on Canvas. 600mm x 600mm.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An Artist's Life

It’s the first warm (short sleeves) day of spring so I feel guilty about being indoors at the computer but I had to write this post as it has been in my head since last Monday and threatens to disappear.
Last Sunday night I say writer and former restaurateur Gay Bilson being interviewed about happiness.
For several years she has lived alone in the McLaren Valley, a wine producing area in South Australia. She spends her time gardening, cooking with the local produce, writing and indulging in her favourite pastime, reading. Her book Plenty talks about food and her life.
Lacking any capacity for loneliness, she made the point that it is not an extravagant life in the monetary sense but that she felt that being able to do exactly what she wanted was a source of great happiness. She also said that having plenty of what she enjoyed was a prerequisite for creativity and happiness.
I though that what she said was true and described the life led by a lot of artists. The stereotype of starving in a garret, partying and indulging in excesses is a romantic vision that most artists probably leave behind a few years after graduating.
Later in the week I encountered similar references to an artists life. Joanne Mattera has recently visited the studios of several artists and her post about her visits to Mary and Craig Barnes and Gerald Coble and Bob Nunnelly was filled with pictures of the good life which were remarkably similar to the images of Gay Bilson’s garden and the millions of spring garden images that I long to post on this blog, I hesitate to in case it looks like a gardens illustrated rather than an artist's blog. It’s a dilemma but here is just one image of the spring blossoms in my garden of plenty. What is your artist's life like?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Great News for Australian Artists and Australian Business

'The Australian Tax Office has confirmed that small businesses are eligible to receive an investment allowance of up to 50% on the purchase of art (over $1000, which includes multiple works regarded as a series, by artists with an ABN) for the 2009 income tax year. The ATO accepted that an art enhanced work environment can generate productivity and that there is a causal relationship between businesses displaying artwork and the income of their clients. Works must be purchased before the end of this year.'

I have known about this for several months but due to the time lag with publishing I am only beginning to see this in print. The above statement is an extract from Art Monthly Magazine Artnotes. More information can be obtained from the Australian Tax Office or your accountant.

We should be shouting this from the rooftops. So if you have a business and like my art work I have an ABN and you can view my works on my website or visit Anita Traverso Gallery in Melbourne

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grand Designs

Levelling the Site
Like about half the population of Australia and the UK, I am addicted to the program Grand Designs in which we follow the joys, trials and tribulations people built their dream homes.
I am about to build a new studio in my back garden and, while my budget doesn't run to the architect designed building of my dreams, I have had some input in the design of the prefabricated shed which will be sympathetic to the rural out buildings in the area.
The work started today so stay tuned for the Grand Designs commentary of progress from the architect manque. Kevin McLeod eat your heart out!
I have had a frantic morning removing violets from the path of the bobcat and now hope to spend the afternoon catching up with my blog class.
I might add that the soil is barely turned and I have already issued an invitation to German Artist Maja Spasova, who I made collaborative work with at Ragdale, to come and visit.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Susan Buret. Stargazzy. 2009. Acrylic on Canvas Board. 457mm x 356mm.

I am one of several women artists invited by Artereal Gallery in Sydney to take part in the Exhibition Tickled Pink which runs from 7 to 31 October 2009. The exhibition is being held in association with Breast Cancer Network Australia a cause very close to my heart.
Stargazzy is my contribution to the exhibition. Once again I have worked with geometric patterns which suggest tile designs and form a screen through which the sky is viewed.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eye Candy

I have already mentioned that I have moved to a beautiful part of the world.
Everywhere I look there are beautiful spring colours to inspire and stimulate new ideas for my work and, I don't do landscapes or figurative work!
Today I was watering the irises when I noticed the beautiful colours on their leaves - sage green, blue greys and almost cerulean. I started to think about their Van Gogh's irises with their rich strokes of wonderful colour. Now I cant wait to get into the studio again.
My photographic skills don't really capture what I saw. Who can say painting as an art form is dead when we make work about what we see and think?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sydney Galleries

John Nixon EPW: Polychrome. Installation view Sarah Cottier Gallery
Matt Calvert. Eye Shadow #1, #2 & #3.2009. Installation sullivan+stumpf Fine Art.
Melinda Le Guay. Bethany. 2009.

Yesterday I went to Sydney to look at exhibitions in some of my favourite galleries. I saw some really beautiful and exciting work and, to my delight, lots of red dots – great news for the artists and galleries involved and very reassuring for all artists.

My first stop was 2 Danks Street.

Scott Baker showed a series of Assemblages using small off cuts of distressed timber and, I think linoleum, to create subtly shifting images which because of their earthy palate suggested landscapes. The works reminded me of other Australian Artists Madonna Staunton, Rosalie Gasgoine and Bruce Reynolds who all work with similar media.

Melinda Le Quay’s exhibition Take Care at Brenda May Gallery featured a series of beautiful pieces knitted from copper wire that cast a delicate tracery of shadows. The knitted cylinders suggested children’s clothes and reminded me of old christening robes. As I am a bit of a knitaholic and made several works at my last residency at Ragdale these works resonated with me.

At Liverpool Street Gallery, one of my favourite exhibition spaces in Sydney there was an exhibition of lush, richly dark beautiful small paintings by Rick Amor.

Then I went to Paddington to two of my favourite spaces there.

At Sarah Cottier Gallery John Nixon’s EPW: Polychrome was a departure from the more chromatically subdued work I usually associate with him.

My visit to sullivan+strumpf Fine Art was the highlight of the day. They had just hung two new shows that were opening last night.

Downstairs Matt Calvert’s Shadows and Doubts comprised a series of animals made from shattered laminated toughened glass and a series of ‘2D’ works which used more toughened glass on etched and brushed aluminium. I scribbled notes on the room sheet. ‘Lovely use of materials exploring innocence and fragility.’ Yum.

Upstairs Laith Mcgregor’s sell-out exhibition ‘Based on a True Fable’ left me in awe of this artists drawing skills and meticulous obsessive execution.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stars My Father Showed Me

Susan Buret. Stars My father Showed Me. 2009. Acrylic and pigmented ink on paper. 78cm x 56.5cm.

I recently received the CD of images from my current exhibition from Carl Warner to whom I am eternally indebted for documenting my often unphotographable works.
This work with it's really sentimental title recalls my childhood memories of lying on the front lawn with my father on a summer's night using star maps to find planets and constellations.
The work is one of my favourites as I love to paint in 'greys' made from mixing Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Sienna. Working with water based media diluted to wash consistency also results in yummy sedimentation. I hope you'll click on the image to see a bigger version that really shows the sedimentation.