Intuitive Thoughts

Vida Ryan

Vida Ryan,  Unconscious Abstract

Vida Ryan, Unconscious Abstract

A painting has its own presence to the viewer and is saying something that connects to the viewer, something that is intangible but it is there, this is what my art means to me. It is a means of communicating the abstract unconscious using more of the intuitive side of myself to connect with people. It means that I can express through painting what I feel.

Vida Ryan’s contemporary process and practice is fuelled by her lived experience, personally and socially. The places she traverses, the beauty she sees in the natural and urban environment, and the people and places she interacts with are rendered into poetic compositions that trigger the soul. Her abstract works are created with freedom, the paint applied directly to the canvas in layers that are guided and manipulated with a combination of paint brushes, studio materials and everyday objects, “whatever is at hand”, Ryan says to paint from within.

A scintillating collection of her works have been assembled for Intuitive Thoughts – an exhibition by Vida Ryan that through their colourful and expressive qualities captivates and visually transports the viewer into a realm of infinite possibility. The works feature vibrant and varied symphonies of layered colour and free-flowing brushstroke that collide, overlap, and take form; transforming the experience of art into a voyeuristic journey that encourages the imagination to run wild. As reflections of her own experiences, these works for Ryan, operate as a means of communicating, expressing and connecting to life, art and the people and places around her.

Vida Ryan,  Resilience

Vida Ryan, Resilience

Her process is one of action in the moment, carried out with spontaneity, feeling, and an intuitive awareness of the materials and objects she works with. The layers and layers of highly textured paint that fill Ryan’s typically large canvases, and her infinite colour palette, are inspired by the subconscious, to convey and reflect on the internal and external influences that provoke emotive reactions and reflections on the subconscious. Her ability to let go and create through an intuitive state of awareness, reveals the sensorial interplay between the movement, light and rhythms of the natural world and our experiences of it.

The expression of the subconscious excites and inspires me, I like to connect here to let go of self to create images, to bring forward or communicate the feeling and sense of connection that is a part of the human condition.  It is the unknown that inspires me, I create from that point.

It is easy to get lost in the works of Vida Ryan, mesmerised by her performative layering of colour and texture. Intuitive Thoughts reveals Ryan’s instinctual process and passion for colour, presenting an eclectic collection of abstractions that operate between the planes of thinking and feeling, the conscious and the unconscious, an experience that is alive and felt. Her works bring into view an interpretation beyond rational thought, one that engages in an artistic play with rhythm and pattern and reflects on the intangible experience triggered by emotion and environment.

Check out Vida's exhibition Intuitive Thoughts at Collingwood Gallery until the 7th of September.

So proud to have in my home my very own Vida Ryan. It''s a constant source of inspiration and energy! 

So proud to have in my home my very own Vida Ryan. It''s a constant source of inspiration and energy! 

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Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair

DAAF - First Time Experiences

Snapshots from 'Country to Couture' Darwin 2017

Snapshots from 'Country to Couture' Darwin 2017

The DAAFF First Nations Curatorial Program was an incredibly rewarding experience for me both personal and professionally. The opportunity to continue the conversations that were I participated in Venice, connect with and build on the networks I made overseas in Venice, and be exposed to the culturally dynamic nature of the Indigenous arts sector in Australia. As an emerging curator in the most formative years of my career the opportunity to have access to these networks of support and inspiration is profound.

The curatorial symposium on Day 1 of the program provided the opportunity to reconnect with new friends and networks I made in Venice, and build on that through the program. As a proud Palawa woman I was absolutely thrilled to have met two other Palawa curators Tony Brown and Julie Gough. The talks, conversations and workshop activities provided an entry-point for us all to discuss the sector of Indigenous art and arts leadership in a safe space to share ideas, thought and concerns – it was incredibly inspiring to be a part of this, contribute to the conversation, and connect with so many incredible people.

The Art Centre Bump-in on Day 2 was definitely a highlight of the program. It was inspiring, challenging and rewarding connecting with my two arts centres in helping them unpack, organize works and set-up for the big event. Working with both Warnayaka and Umi Arts and seeing the entire fair come together, being at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair for the first time was awe-inspiring. The opportunity to witness the incredible rich and diverse culture, learn directly from the artists, listen to the experience of the art centre managers and dedicated volunteers was amazing. I only wish we had been given more time to connect before the week of the event and that we had more time with them outside the mayhem of bump-in and sales. I established great relationships with the art centres I worked with in the time I did have and have continued contact post-program in the hopes of curating an exhibition of their works here in Melbourne. Exciting times ahead!

Day 3 of the program, designated for us all to continue to work with our art centres, provided a great insight into how an event like the DAAF is run, and the opportunity to witness the art centres in action. The morning was filled with some great learnings and understandings realized through the sharing and yarning between me and the art centres artsits, works and managers. I had some of the most interesting and inspiring conversations engaging with the public at each stall, contributing to the sale of work and also walking around and introducing myself to many of the art centres and their managers also attending the DAAF.

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Though not officially in the program, another highlight for me was of course the NATSIAA event on the evening of Day 3. Like the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair it has been on my goal list to experience for a while now – the opportunity to meet some of the artists and experience the preview, opening events, and the awards being presented was incredible, inspiring, and another poignant reminder of why I do what I do. I am so thankful to have been part of the DAAFF program in its first year and will most definitely be awaiting the application call out for next year!

Anwar Young, Unrupa Rhonda Dick and Frank Young, Kulata Tjuta - Wati kulunypa tjukurpa (Many spears - Young fella story), 37 spears, digital print, wood, kangaroo tendon, kiti (natural glue), 34th Telstra NATSIAA  This years winner of the NATSIA Awards. Check out thsi link for more info and other prize winners here: http://www.magnt.net.au/natsiaa-winners

Anwar Young, Unrupa Rhonda Dick and Frank Young, Kulata Tjuta - Wati kulunypa tjukurpa (Many spears - Young fella story), 37 spears, digital print, wood, kangaroo tendon, kiti (natural glue), 34th Telstra NATSIAA

This years winner of the NATSIA Awards. Check out thsi link for more info and other prize winners here: http://www.magnt.net.au/natsiaa-winners

My Horizon

TRACEY MOFFATT - MY HORIZON - Curated by Natalie King

The word horizon is an ambiguous one. It’s used to reference the line that appears in the distance where the earth’s surface and the sky seem meet, or to describe the limit of a person’s knowledge, experience or interest. For me, after experiencing Tracey Moffatt’s exhibition at the Australian Pavilion, a horizon is something more.  

A horizon is a possibility – the possibility of change, of progression, of evolution. It means to look out, to go to or above one’s limitations, an escape, realising your dreams. Tracey Moffatt’s exhibition My Horizon, for the 57th International Art Exhibition in Venice, for me, presents an insight into a possible future where the past and present converge to create the prospect of a brighter future.

Tracey Moffatt,  Passage  (view entering the Australian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale). 

Tracey Moffatt, Passage (view entering the Australian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale). 

Entering the exhibition is like being transported in time. The works, the show’s curation, and the exhibition design, gives the viewer an opportunity to voyeur into the depths of the artist’s imagination, providing an insight into Tracey’s creative nous and highly considered way of working. As you explore the Pavilion and experience her latest works a journey intertwined in time is revealed. You are encouraged to look forward and look back, and reflect on the now through the accessible and transformative lens Tracey provides.

Tracey talking about her work  Passage , 2017 on the First Nations private tour after the opening of the Australian Pavilion. 

Tracey talking about her work Passage, 2017 on the First Nations private tour after the opening of the Australian Pavilion. 

Opening with the epic photo-drama Passage – a spectacular series of luminescent photographs arranged in a brick-like formation that wrap the entry walls that fills the first portal of the exhibition. Tracey calls this her ‘jewellery box’. The story being laid is fragmented, emanating ambiguity and inviting the viewer to try and piece together the narrative unfolding. Tracey offers only a glimpse, a snap shot, into the lives of her characters that feature in the radiant film-noir inspired imagery. What I love about this series, is that it encourages you to embrace the potential of your own imagination – a result of the ambivalent hints into the lives of Tracey’s protagonists that feature throughout the stylised photographic narrative. It is equally reasonable to view the imagery with a sense of pessimism and optimism, at the same time. It is up to the viewer to decide. Are the characters escaping? Or have they reached their destination? There is a sense of desperation in the characters faces, as if they are yearning to be somewhere else, a sense of longing – or is it that they are hopeful and relieved as they look toward the distance, a horizon of possibility that leaves the past behind?

Panoramic view of  Body Remembers , 2017 inside the Australian Pavilion

Panoramic view of Body Remembers, 2017 inside the Australian Pavilion

As a result of this ambiguity the characters appear stuck. ‘In-between’ time, between night and day, the past and present, in unidentified places and spaces. Tracey will not reveal the locations depicted, rather, she acts as a novelist envisaging her characters that materialise as products of her imagination and memory, open to interpretation. The second, and similarly stunning photographic series Body Remembers continues this thread of the unknown and unidentified. This time, Tracey plays the lead role, placing herself in dream-like landscapes of ‘ruin’ that seemingly operate within the Surrealist realm.  She draws on memories reimagined, presenting the series like the negatives of a film, cut-up, broken, and arranged in a linear formation that stretches across the back wall of the Pavilion like a frieze Looking at the imagery before me, positioned up high as if suspended in time, I am transported to the depths of my own imagination. Where do I stand now? I wonder, I wander. The subtle ochre-colouration of the images are reminiscent of the earth from which we all come, materialising like treasures dug-up, a rediscovery. The colours and the presence of the ruin represents a forgotten place, a place of longing – poignant now as I reflect on the places I have lived and traversed on my journey toward MY own horizon. Listening to Tracey talk about this series she comments, “I do, I undo, I redo”, referencing Louise Bourgeois and also the poet Elizabeth Bishop; “into a world inverted where left is always right”. It is here I connect most. These words for me are telling of my place here and now. Searching for something more, a sense of belonging, of purpose, my passion. Body Remembers is by far the most personal of the four works in the exhibition, as the title suggests, Tracey reconfigures memories of the past to create new narratives, transforming an inkling of truth into a cinematic commentary of her life led.

Opening of Tracey Moffatt's My Horizon at the Australian Pavilion - Vigil is projected on two exterior screens as well as inside the pavilion. The performance by Deborah Cheetam to open the exhibition was absolutely incredible! 

The presence of the ethereal continues in Vigil – a video work interestingly positioned opposite the large-scale frameless photographs of Body Remembers. The film is sharp, loud and dramatic, a distinct contrast to the experience til now. The screen itself encased in yet another portal, in shape and form, is reminiscent of an old-style TV set or a ships portal, that invites an intimate viewing experience – looking in as the characters that flash across the screen look out. The film is made-up of a montage of screen grabs from a variety of sources; old movies that star celebrities in scenes, expressions of terror and desperation on their faces, cut between short bursts of stories reported that depict distorted shots of refugee boats being destroyed in rough seas and against the rocks. The cinema grabs together with the heart-breaking scenes of the crashing boats are reflective of the refugee crisis that has ensued nationally and internationally since the 1980’s – something Tracey has witnessed throughout her life in Australia and abroad. The film can be read as a voyeuristic social comment on race, symbolic of borders being smashed to pieces, the current state of the world as a result of increasing globalisation. Her love of the cinematic shines through as she cleverly captures the humour and irony of it all – journo’s taking shots, filming tragedy, perpetuating the story, helpless in the fight. Vigil also hit home, as I think about my experience in the safety of my own lounge room, the news on TV, being forced to watch disaster unfold, in a constant state of helplessness.

The White Ghosts Sailed In  (still), 2017

The White Ghosts Sailed In (still), 2017

The fourth and final work of the exhibition titled The White Ghosts Sailed In is another video work, this time presented at a scale of grandeur. The screen dominates the wall and is again encased – this time in a battered and beaten ‘old’ wooden frame, like a treasure from the past reconstructed and incoherent in the now. The visuals show a tranquil ocean, the horizon in sight. What seems a calm and soothing place is disturbed by the interjection of illegible imagery flickering like the static of an analogue TV and paired with the deep and eerie echo of military drums and a baby’s desperate scream. The video is contextualised with a story, that for someone who knows nothing of Australian history, could be forgiven to view as truth. The story goes that the film was made on the 26th of January 1788 by the Aboriginal people living in Sydney Cove. The camera used was left behind from Joseph Banks the Botanist who accompanied Captain Cook on his voyage to Australia on the Endeavour. The film itself is sketchy, grainy and spoiled, a result of the works material – made from celluloid the Aboriginal people ‘fashioned’ from “melted down pig’s hooves”. This blending of fact and fiction paired with the unnerving sounds of silence and distress provide insight into a tormented past that in dialogue within this space, incites a collectively poignant socio-political commentary on our time and place now.

Seemingly always ahead of her time, Tracey Moffatt’s My Horizon is something more and definitely one of the stand-outs at the Venice Biennale. What I enjoyed most about the exhibition is the experience it ensues as an open invitation for all. The room for interpretation that stems from the ambiguous narratives revealed only in snippets and therefore subject to your own interpretation and imagination – encouraging you to consider your own story and acknowledge the importance of the past and present in creating your own future, YOUR horizon within reach.

JAC. 

My Horizon

My Horizon

Viva Arte Viva

View from San Marco Campinile

View from San Marco Campinile

Having gotten lost in the beautiful maze-like streets of Venice yesterday, noticing the ornately textured detail of the streets, and exploring the spectacular sites – like the Doges Palace, Saint Marks Basilica and San Marco Campanile – I am ready.

I feel so incredibly privileged to be here, living-out this dream with my strong, deadly and inspirational colleagues, my sisters and brothers, working together as part of the First Nations Exchange Program for the Venice Biennale 2017 to support and promote the incredible Tracey Moffatt, make known our powerful presence, and initiate the those much-needed critical conversations about Indigenous art – considering both our national and international context in the art world. I am ready.  

Today was our first programmed day. Beginning with a welcome breakfast at the Biennale Café for croissants, coffee and introductions – we shared, we laughed, we listened, to all the amazing work our mob in Venice are up to, both here and back at home. This is where it’s at! I am in awe.

As the breakfast wrapped-up the excitement ensued, for the next task on our agenda; to receive our Giardini passes that grant us all, unrestricted behind-the-scenes access to the Biennale before the world, as well as pre-Vernissage access to Tracey Moffatt’s highly anticipated exhibition in the Australian Pavilion! On a side-note for a minute… How has it actually taken this long for the likes of Moffatt to take centre stage in our Pavilion? Unbelievably so (or I guess more believably so, through Australia’s colonial pretences), this is the first-time Australia has been represented by a First Nations artist in a solo exhibition at the Australian Pavilion! Given Moffatt’s enduring presence in the art world nationally and internationally, this really blows my mind. I am ready for these conversations.  

Australian Pavilion (Entrance View)

Australian Pavilion (Entrance View)

After we received our passes we were off for our glamour-shot with Tracey in front of the Pavilion, catching-up with the remarkable Australia Council for the Arts team, chats with the inspirational curator Natalie King and assistant curator Hannah Presley who have worked tirelessly over the last year to put this incredible exhibition together, followed by an indulgent seafood risotto and spritz (or three), and a private tour of My Horizon with Tracey herself!

Embargo, embargo, embargo -you will all have to wait unto Wednesday, along with the rest of the world, to find out more after the official opening of My Horizon… One day to go!

The remainder of the afternoon was spent spritz-ing (again) and sharing stories and experiences with each other – I am surrounded by deadly, strong, inspiring women in this program! Realising we may have over-spritzed, we quickly raced to get ready for the evening ahead; a cocktail dinotoire and private viewing of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (organised especially for the Australian’s in Venice for the Biennale – Champions, Benefactors, Donors, Curators, Artists, Exhibition Leaders, Attendants, Interns and Emerging Curators). What a way to end the first day! The opportunity to explore the Peggy’s Collection after hours after yet another spritz (when in Venice do as the Venetians do), I walk up the stairs to the entrata and once again find myself balling my eyes out in front of a Kandinsky (this may have also happened at MOMA a few years back). Unwillingly pulling myself away to try and clam my farm I turn to see; Picasso, Braque, Brancusi, Arp, Ernst, oh shit it’s a Dali, Twombly, Magritte, Kandinsky again, Pollock, Cornell – I am losing it! And this is only a small portion of the collection!

With a second trip to the Gugg planned for tomorrow and a visit to Damien Hirst’s exhibition treasures form the Wreck of the Unbelievable at the Palazzo Grassi, it goes without saying I am in my element. Seemingly living-out a dream in Venice!

JAC 

 

 

Game Time

Over the last few weeks I have been playing around with the games invented by the Surrealist as a way of condensing my thoughts and inspirations. The 'Automatic Writing' game in particular has been a lot of fun and really insightful while working on the multiple projects I have in development at the moment. I thought today I would share an article I had published in Catalyst Magazine about the games the Surrealist's invented to spur the imagination and harness their creative subconscious... Read on for a short article about the games, examples, and instructions for you to give a go (would love to the the results)!

JAC


For the Surrealist’s it was all about the imagination. To harness the power and potential of their minds, and to spark creativity, the pioneers of the movement devised artistic, literary and poetic games to spur their imagination and unlock the power and potential they believed lay dormant in their subconscious mind.

Created with the intention of freeing words and images from their predetermined associations, these games broke the rules and challenged the norm. The key figures of the movement–Andre Breton, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte–all used these games as a starting point for new works of art. 

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    Salvador Dali,  The Persistence of Memory,  1931

Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, 1931

As products of their outlandish games, Surrealist artwork was typically bizarre, disconcerting and uncanny. The games they invented are still used today by artists and writers; to spark ideas for new projects, as a creative therapy, and even at parties! Below are three of the most famous Surrealist Games to inspire your creativity, will you dare unlock the unknown? 


Exquisite Corpse was invented by Andre Breton in the 1920’s and is probably the most well-known of the Surrealist Games. Best played with three, the Surrealist’s used this game to come up with new ideas, creatures and juxtapositions.

You will need: 3 players, 1 sheet of A3 Paper, Pencils or pens

How to play:

  1. Fold the paper into 3 even sections.
  2. Player 1 draws a design in the first section, extending their drawing slightly over the next fold.
  3. Player 1 then folds their drawing under so it is concealed and then passes it to player 2.
  4. The process is repeated until all players have contributed.
  5. Open up the paper to reveal your Exquisite Corpse!  Colour and add detail as you like. 

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    Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morise, Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky),  Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse),  1927

Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morise, Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky), Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse), 1927


Many of the Surrealist’s used automatic writing, painting and drawing to begin their compositions. Artist’s like Miro and Dali used this game to free the mind, tapping into the in-between–between consciousness and unconsciousness.

You will need: You, Some butchers paper, Pencils or pens, A blindfold

How to play:

  1. Lay a large sheet of paper over a table, set-up your pencils, sit-down and put on your blindfold.
  2. Begin to draw anywhere on the paper – try not to think, relax and let it the creativity happen. (If you feel stuck, try a continuous line drawing and let the spontaneity flow).
  3. Stop when you think you’ve finished and remove your blindfold.
  4. Turn the paper around, look at the shapes, lines and patterns you have created. Can you see anything?
  5. Add to your drawing by connecting lines and creating shapes.
  6. You have created an artwork of your inner mind!

Note: This game can also be reinterpreted using paint or text. 

Joan Miro,  Constellations , 1940

Joan Miro, Constellations, 1940


Decalcomania was a game used by artists like Oscar Dominguez and Max Ernst to create paintings of chance. They painted and printed tactile surfaces onto their canvas or paper to create abstract patterns that revealed (to them) the hidden language of the mind.

You will need: Paint (2-3 colours), Cartridge paper, A plastic sleeve, Pens and pencils

How to play:

  1. Squeeze colour swatches of paint directly onto the surface of the plastic sleeve–in lines, dots, any way you like.
  2. Place the plastic (paint side down) onto the paper.
  3. Use your fingers to spread and blend colours.
  4. Peel the plastic away, set both aside to dry.
  5. As it dries, hidden imagery and patterns will appear. Use pens and pencils to detail your new-found imagery. 
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    Max Ernst,  Le chant de la grenouilles (The song of the frog) , 1957

Max Ernst, Le chant de la grenouilles (The song of the frog), 1957

 

(First published in RMIT Catalyst Magazine, February 2017).