Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beatrice Fisher

One of the delights of being an artist is the contact with fellow artists of different ages, from different countries and from very different backgrounds.
There was no Friday report this week because it was a regular sort of week and I feared it would be repetitive. On Saturday morning I opened my inbox to find a series of emails from some of the artists I met at Ragdale.
Lorena Rios, a young artist from New York, contacted us to let us know that Beatrice Fisher, who had been at Ragdale with us, had passed away.
So I guess this is one from the series 'artists I know whose work I enjoy'.
Beatrice Fisher 1939-2009.

'Every time I think of Beatrice, a silly smile comes over my face and every memory makes me giggle. I read this article about Beatrice, that a curator selected a piece of hers for a group show, it was a row of penises with different color hats, the curator was surprised when she met Beatrice and Beatrice responded,"u didn't expect an old lady?"
Hilarious...and age was so irrelevant with Beatrice, her curiosity and openess was genuine & magnetic...I felt like I could finger paint and throw glitter with her or discuss literature with her, in short- she was fun. I would drive her to get starbucks coffee and she told me she loved how I drive, from then on I knew she was eccentric! Driving is really not my strong suit, still don't know if she was pulling my leg...' This is a quote from Lorena's email about Beatrice and it describes her perfectively.
Beatrice described her work
'My work evolves from psychological states and experiences that become externalized through the use of visual elements I encounter or research. With a penchant for ambiguity and the absurd, I combine incongruous elements to suggest mysterious narratives and investigate themes of separation, love, and loss.'

Under the Table © Beatrice Fisher
The image above comes from the website dedicated to Beatrice's work. Visit and be delighted.

Beatrice and Lorena, wonderful artists, old and young, it was so good to meet and spend time with you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Little Annoyances :(

After my last post I feel I must blog this off my chest.
It is fashionable to bag commercial galleries for the way they mistreat artists but little is said about the relationship between regional galleries and government funded museums with the artists they show.
Last year a collaborative project I am involved in was scheduled to be shown in association with a curated exhibition at a regional gallery in 2010. We were advised of the exhibition dates and asked to submit images for media releases and gallery publications. I entered the exhibition into my schedule for 2010 and took advantage of the release of discounted airfares to book my flights to attend the opening. I also made sure that no other commitments interfered with the exhibition.
After the Christmas break my collaborator called the gallery to check that their projection equipment would be compatible with our video only to be told that the curator was no longer with the gallery and as a result the exhibition that was on at the same time as our exhibition had been cancelled. This seemed reasonable given the circumstances. Then we were told that our exhibition dates had been changed and that they were intending forward us the new exhibition schedule.
I am aware of the disruption that must have been caused by the staff changes and that it takes a huge amount of organisation to run a large regional gallery but, I am a little annoyed that we were not consulted to see if the changes were convenient. All to often the artist is forgotten.
I'm really happy and appreciative of the opportunity to have my work shown in regional galleries and I'm not playing the prima donna here. I'd just like to say 'hey we are part of the show too'.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Two Coats of Paint: Saltz: The blogosphere is the new Cedar Bar

Jerry Salz, New York Art critic, in this article Two Coats of Paint: Saltz: The blogosphere is the new Cedar Bar has advice for bloggers which I will try to follow. I am often shy/nervous about putting strong opinion into print even though I have overcome this difficulty when presenting my art work. I also recommend Two Coats of Paint as a great blog to follow.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

The Friday Report

Following on from yesterday, the mist continues. I don't know what draws me to it. It is like water, everywhere but nowhere, it's intangible and unresolved, two qualities that interest me. But most of all I enjoy the cool damp caress of nothing as I walk through it.

This week I have also worked on two ongoing projects involving group shows and collaboration with other artists. Nicola Moss and I have been planning our joint video work which will show at the Gold Coast Art Gallery in May this year and I have continued posting on my weather blog and reintroducing the process of serial observation to my practice.

January, the Bud and the Bug, Susan Buret © 2010,
Acrylic on Canvas, 150cm x 105cm. 

In the studio I have finished the work inspired buy the camouflage colours of the bug on the rose hip and begun a work using a grey which I leant about many years ago in a workshop about tonal painting with Noel Ford. The grey is made by mixing permanent rose and viridian watercolour paints and results in a beautiful silvery colour. As I now work with acrylics I mixed rose madder and emerald green to get a rich mauvy grey in the mixing bowl which proceeded to sediment out in a very interesting way when I applied it to the primed linen. The new work has a tentative title Sea Pictures Revisited as the recording of Dame Janet Baker singing Elgar's Sea Pictures was on the radio as I was painting. I like the idea of a painting of musical picture very much and I love the music.
If you like classical music here she is singing The Swimmer with words by Adam Lindsay Gordon. I found "Where Corals Lie" on a weird unco-operative Russian website but thought I had better leave it there.

If you don't like classical music I am also thinking about the Velvet Underground.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yikes... technology!

Those of you who know me well will know that I have never really comes to grips with the use of a camera. So, you will very very surprised to hear that I now have a digital video recorder, an even more bewildering apparatus, which fortunately has an automatic setting.
Today turned out to be misty so I decided it was time to venture into the world of new media.
I love mist. Several years ago when talking with two other artists we each nominated our dream environment. Mine was a clear cube filled with mist. Little did I know then, or when I decided to move here, that I was probably moving to the mist capital of Australia. What a lucky coincidence.
So here it is the first unedited film. Still have to work out how to zoom and...... a thousand other things.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Friday Report

Friday Report? Well I did post on Friday!
One of my pleasures is working with new and beautiful materials. When I decided that I would like to continue the work I had developed on paper and work on a larger scale on canvas I new that I would have to experiment with new materials. After years of working with collage and lino cut printing on canvas I wanted to return to painting without losing the luminosity of the watercolour works and I wanted to make the marks which I had drawn with pigmented ink on a larger scale. Pigmented ink was not totally suitable because it tends to be water resistant rather than waterproof and is not always very opaque.
Last week I found the technique and combination of materials that I am really happy with ( a Eureka moment). Using stretched fine tooth linen from Fitzroy Stretches I work with Matisse Flow acrylics thinned with acrylic medium and water. The Flow paints seem to dilute more smoothly than Matisse Structure even thought the pigments still drop out to produce sedimentation effects which are always a surprise. I then use beautiful sable brushes and thinned flow acrylic to paint over the geometric designs. This takes from one to four time consuming coats depending on the degree of opacity required. The whole process is a rather expensive but very sensuous experience.

January, The Odd Golden Leaf Appears in High Summer, © Susan Buret 2010
Acrylic on Linen, 100cm x 70 cm

Friday, January 8, 2010


This work resonates strongly for me with it's use of repetition and serial observation. The power of over five thousand small images must be overwhelming as a memorial should be. Below is a direct quote from the article which appeared in Art Daily's newsletter

Visitors view hundreds of drawings of U.S. servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan by artist Emily Prince at the Saatchi Gallery in London January 7, 2010. The exhibit, on show from Thursday at the Saatchi Gallery in central London, is a long room where the white walls are lined with over 5,100 postcard-sized illustrations of fallen soldiers, their skin colour reflected by different-coloured paper.

REUTERS/Kevin Coombs.

By: Mike Collett-White

LONDON (REUTERS).- U.S. artist Emily Prince has been working on "American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan" for five years, and is likely to have to do so for several more.

On an almost daily basis, the 28-year-old from California visits a website that tracks U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq to see if there have been fresh fatalities.

When there are, she calls up the image of a dead soldier if one is available, copies it in graphite pencil, writes some basic personal details and includes a short commentary about the person when there is enough information.

If there is no picture available, Prince leaves most of the piece of card blank. The result, on show from Thursday at the Saatchi Gallery in central London, is a long room where the white walls are lined with over 5,100 postcard-sized illustrations of fallen soldiers, their skin color reflected by different-colored paper.

"It was just out of curiosity, because my country has such a heavy hand militarily and ... I guess I felt something of a responsibility to know more about that since I was connected to it, though may be indirectly," Prince told Reuters. "It's most moving reading about the people more than looking at the faces because that's when you have a more in depth idea of an individual and that's when I have more of an emotional response to it.

"But I'm also doing it so much that I don't think I could possibly sustain a total emotional engagement with it the whole time." The postcards are arranged in columns, each of which represents a week.


The gaps are designed to portray how much space on the walls remains for fallen soldiers to fill as well as the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who are not represented.

The full title of the work, which Prince began in 2004, is "American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis Nor the Afghans)."

"In a metaphorical way I am definitely interested in pointing to negative space that accounts for how many more there might be, or more importantly all the individuals who are not seen here at all on the other side of the war.

"I'm hoping that the piece can point to the absences that are here as well in that way."

Prince plans to continue adding to the work until U.S. troops are withdrawn from both countries.

"That's been my plan from the beginning. The longer that I do it the more committed to it I feel. It's been almost a daily practice for almost five years now and I can't imagine not doing it for as long as these (military) engagements continue."

The work is on display at the Saatchi Gallery until May 7. (Editing by Paul Casciato)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beautiful Bugs

When I was deadheading the Mutabilis Rose this morning I found this beautiful camouflaged bug. My photo doesn't really do it justice and unfortunately I had removed from the bush before I really saw how beautiful it was.

It's magenta and lime markings matched the rose hip perfectly. I am now inspired to make a new work with these beautiful colours.
ps. please click on the image to get a better view of the colours.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Naomi Grossman

Today, when I received a catalogue for American artist Naomi Grossman's  exhibition Writing the Body in the mail, I was reminded that it was a while since I had posted about some of the wonderful artists I know.
Naomi and I where at Ragdale together in May 2009. While there I saw some of Naomi's beautiful wire sculptures which  also function as drawings. Naomi's practice ranges across sculpture, drawing, photography and drawing and explores ideas of strength and vulnerability with a sensitive touch that invites the viewer to respond to the messages buried within the skin of the works.

 Together, 2007,© Naomi Grossman, wire, 30" x 40" x 10"

Naomi Grossman's exhibition Writing the Body continues at the Queens College Art Center New York until February 17 2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sky 1

Susan Buret. Sky 1 © 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 150cm x105cm.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Friday Report

My first report for 2010.
For the last few days we have had friends visiting from Brisbane and we have once again done the tour of the Southern Highlands which I really enjoy as I still feel like a tourist in the area myself.
We wound up the 'tour' yesterday with a visit to the Illawarra Fly an elevated and partly cantilevered walk way through the canopy of the rain forest with spectacular views of the escarpment through to the Pacific  Ocean. It is quite wonderful but a little daunting for me as I have nightmares of climbing large flights of metal stairs with gaps between the treads. Get out your pocketbook guides to psychoanalysis and send me your theories.

Illawara Fly Walkway

Bark and Flowers of the Local Gums

Afterwards we went to Tertini Wines to try some of the best wines of the region. They produce beautiful Riesling and Pinot Noir which are worth trying if you get the opportunity.

After a week of little work and lots of pleasure I sent off an entry to the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing and wrote a list of the things I would like to do in 2010.
Carefully avoiding the word resolution I have decided that I will (not necessarily in this order) :
• have a good day every day
• earn enough money to do the things I would like to do and cover everyday expenses
• be more tolerant
• get nagging tasks out of the way
• be more organised
• have very successful exhibitions
• look after my health
• support other artists
• volunteer to work at the local community centre
• use my contacts list more effectively
• print and mail out a new postcard soon
• have a successful and fulfilling career as an artist.

Happy New Year