Visiting Artist Talk at Chisholm Frankston
Painter Sarah Faulkner gave and interesting talk about her career and her paintings today. Having start at RMIT and Prahran Institute around the 1980s Sarah now has an impressive career of over thirty years.
With a good amount of experience producing paintings and working in the arts, Sarah had a wide range of work to show us as well as stories of travel to such places as Italy, France, Central and South America and India. Always with her it seems, was her sketch book and gauche paints.
Starting her talk with memories of her time at university, Sarah moved on to the establishment of the Roar Studios, in a former shoe factory on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. The group’s medium of choice was paint and they used it in a ”raw” and primitive style. They were railing against the hard-edged abstraction, minimalism and conceptualism of the times in preference for a more expressive figurative style of painting. Joining Sarah in the group were Jill Noble, Andrew Ferguson, Karan Hayman, Mark Howson, Mike Nicholls, Pasquale Giardino, Peter Ferguson, Richard Birmingham, Judi Singleton, Margaret McNamara and David Larwill.
After a few years in the group, Sarah moved on and Roar was managed by a new group of people finally running its course about twenty years later. Sarah was now travelling and sourcing material for paintings that she would complete on return to Australia and for exhibition and sale. The sales supplying her with materials and the ability to travel yet again for more material.
This worked very well until the crash in 2008-9 when a lot of discretionary spending dried up world wide. Art sales haven’t picked up since – especially in the middle of the market. Artists such as Sarah have used their initiative to earn income as Artists in Schools, or working on government sponsored projects such as Artist in the Community etc. Many have gone into teaching as well, as there are always kids and adults keen to learn to be more creative and enjoy the process of making artworks for themselves.
The Artist in Schools project is run by VicArts and Sarah enjoyed her time working with the kids especially, just as I have as a volunteer at McClelland Gallery near where I live, so I am interested impossibly following up on this idea in the future for our nearby primary schools. A good tip farm Sarah which I thank her for.
Sarah’s Style and Method of Painting
Sarah, I must admit paints in a style that I am not that interested in. Her naive and primitive design and application of colour and painting technique is a direction that I am not taking my work. Some paintings reminded me of the Post Impressionists, Cezanne came to mind in a few pieces, I also thought of Van Gogh when looking at a few, someone else in the group compared her work to Percival. Her quick application of paint and expressionist/nearly abstract style of painting is probably more contemporary than what I do but I think I am happy going in the direction I have chosen for the moment.
That said, she did talk about the need for composition, understanding of colour and of your materials (oil paints for her). She loves her paint and enjoys her work with it and producing paintings. Her long-established career shows that being dedicated to your passion can yield results including personal and professional satisfaction.
Having loved art from the age of around five, just as I have, I understand Sarah’s desire to be creative, to paint, and that love of the medium. When it takes a hold of you and you get in front of the easel to work, the world disappears. That passion and love, was something worth hearing about. Even if you don’t get excited about the style of an artist’s work, there is always something you can learn, and always things of interest, as I found with Sarah’s talk.