Australian Fine Artist

HEIDE and Monsalvat

HEIDE

Liouse Bourgeois

Sculptures, Drawings and Prints – Later Works

Quoting the web: Louise Joséphine Bourgeois, was a renowned French-American artist and sculptor, best known for her contributions to both modern and contemporary art, and for her spider structures, titled Maman, which resulted in her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman.

I do admire a person whether male or female that can produce work to a week before their death. That passion to be creative all your life is a wonderful and inspirational thing.

The thing with looking at art though is that you learn what you like and do not, what appeals to you on an emotional level or an intellectual one. Hopefully as you keep looking and learning you develop an idea of your own taste and what “speaks” to you on some level. (or not)

With these things in mind I went along to HEIDE today to see all the work on display, as I have never been there before. Lack of funds for travel, no car to trust the drive to or before that long work hours have prevented me from following up on wishes to explore such places. That is the advantage of going back to study. The opportunity to finally get around to it with the kind support and encouragement of my husband who can now afford to help me to follow my dreams.

OK back to the art. I really did look at the pieces and tried to understand how they were created and thought about any impact they may have had on me. I can honestly say that I had no connection on an emotional level and the style was not to my taste at all. The more I look at contemporary paintings, sculptures and prints, the more I can honestly say that they really are not my “cup of tea”. Occasionally I will see lovely colour in one, or good texture in the paint, but on the whole, they do not interest me for long. I can see some technique as far as skill in building, stitching or finishing in some pieces but the composition and subjects didn’t hold me in front of them for long.

I admire Liouse for her long career, for her studies and for pursuing what she wanted to do in life. I just am not keen on her work.

I followed up by looking at Caleb Shea whose work I would have liked to see outside rather than on a floor. I think his bright symbols would look great at McClelland park on the lawn. I then had a look at Albert Tucker and decided that my impression of his work over thirty years ago is still the same. Not really for me.

I actually enjoyed the library in HEIDE as they had a huge selection of old books which I also like to collect when money allows (and also to read). I liked looking at the old buildings and the gardens and trees. The setting for me was more attractive than the art (sorry but it’s true). The artists who were able to work and live here supported by the Reeds were lucky to have patronage that helped them to produce their artworks, it would have been a great place to produce art, no matter what sort.

MONSALVAT

As we finished up fairly early I decided after a chat with a fellow student to go on to Monsalvat. Yet another place I had always wanted to get to but had failed because of the earlier stated reasons.

I have to say that it is a stunning place to visit. I started feeling the creative juices coming out of every pore as I wandered around the grounds. The buildings are beautiful, the gardens and trees very nice and the atmosphere of tranquility and being away from the rush of modern life comes over you as you go in the gate. I had a good time guessing where the building materials may have come from, with things looking like railway sleepers, poles from piers, bricks, carved sandstone and other materials, and windows etc from buildings originally in the CBD in Melbourne as they were replaced by modern office blocks. They all seemed to fit seamlessly into the site.

I had a look at the paintings on show by Justus Jorgensen and saw a lot of experimenting with various styles. It seems he was a student of Max Meldrum whose techniques are followed by many artists today. I also had a good look at David Moore’s paintings which I liked as well. His clean colour and sometimes interesting paintings of very simple objects done with simple quick brushstrokes caught my attention. I got a lot more out of looking at these than the works at HEIDE, even if some looked to me, a little “unprofessional or unfinished” in the case of Justus Jorgensen, or like works in progress. The story of Justus Jorgensen and his journey in the creation of Monsalvat by the way, is a good read and well worth it.

I enjoyed looking at the variety of works around the building as well as feeling like I was walking through something from 600 years ago. It was a tranquil experience. I sat in the chapel and looked at the religious art on the walls, walked around and checked out the artist in residence facilities which in same cases looked like they could use a bit of maintenance to be honest. Many were not open and I couldn’t see in the windows to see if work was in progress. It seemed a bit odd as I was itching to sit down on the lawn or somewhere and start painting or drawing, the place just brought that out in me.

Before leaving I did some shameless self promoting and asked about the artist in residence programs. They have the opportunity for a six week residency for artists to apply for in a couple of very nice spots on the grounds, which sounds quite attractive as a future project, even given the distance from Pearcedale! The exposure at such a highly regarded venue would be more than worth it. I left my business card and it was suggested that I email my interest to them when I am ready… well you never know!

To Finish Up

I don’t always like the type of art we go off to see. I try to glean what I can from it. What did I like, what didn’t I like, why did I have these reactions, was there any real connection at all?

I also if time permits, try to add more to the day if there is something nearby that I have wanted to get to. Today was like that. I got ideas and learned from a few areas, confirmed my ideas about others and followed up on other interests related to but not directly “arty”. I also talked about my own arts practice and direction – and people were interested and I felt confident which was wonderful for me. Then I got a few ideas for future directions which I may or may not take up, but at least it gives options that were not there before. All in all a good day out – again! Thanks Jon and everyone!

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