Art Chat by Greg Johns Winner of the 2012 Survey
Date: April 21 2013
Venue: McClelland Gallery
Today we had fantastic weather for an outdoor chat by the winner of the current McClelland Survey Award. A good sized group attended the talk which was held in front of Greg’s sculpture. The afternoon sun was highlighting the bush setting around the piece and looking through it to the trees and sky gave a new appreciation of how much thought had gone into not only its creation but also placement in the park.
Greg was born in Adelaide and still lives there. He has been a practising artist since the 1970s and has a desire to reflect the organic in his work through an understanding of the Australian landscape down to the smallest level. Greg feels that true “Australianess” isn’t always reflected in our sculptures, as much as it has been in painting. He is looking for a type of holistic look and feel to his work which has been developing over the past thirty years.
From Australian flora and fauna the patterns of the organic can be seen translated into the work that Greg is producing. He tries to understand where his works will be put when completed so that during the design process, which includes a lot of sketching, maquettes and measuring, fabricators don’t drift off design specification. This instinct and planning means that the finished product will be as suitable for the site as he can make it whilst still being very creative.
The use of Corten Steel is a deliberate decision to show up the natural colours in Australia’s iron rich soil. As the piece is allowed to naturally gain a rusted look, it picks up colours from the environment around it.
As you walk around this sculpture, the scene behind it changes. The shape is not symmetrical so that also changes. With every step you get something new to look at.
Something that you gain from attending a chat like this is the amount of thinking, planning and effort goes into production of an artwork – especially of this size. The thinking from the artist’s perspective is far better than getting an opinion from someone who has never been involved in the creative process and possibly doesn’t even know the artist. It makes walking around the park more enjoyable and each piece more interesting.
As an artist, you gain more understanding of your own profession and processes available to you that you may not have explored before, or how to achieve things that you are trying but not getting the results you want, by taking the time to attend these sessions.
I highly recommend these to any art students or even practising professional artists who are interested in broadening their skills.
Behind the Scenes Offer to Chisholm
As I am a volunteer at the gallery and a student, Imogen has suggested that Chisholm might like to bring the art students over for a Behind the Scenes tour of the gallery. This would take us where visitors are usually not allowed, and we would see archiving areas and what is done in the day to day running of a public space.
I haven’t had the opportunity to talk this over with any teachers at TAFE yet, but am hoping that when I do they think it is a good idea, especially as it is so close! I think it would be an enjoyable activity for the second and third years’ especially. Feedback about this is most welcome. Look forward to a blog about it if it goes ahead! (If it doesn’t I may ask if I can do it as a solo effort anyway as I am really keen to do it!!)