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Isiiad (I saw it in a dream) is an arts and design blog. It is centred in Warrandyte and the surrounding Yarra Valley but will go where ever my creative spirit takes me… so Warrandyte to the world. Creator and blog owner is Jeannette Davison.

Mariella McKinley

Mariella McKinley 01

 Photograph courtesy of the artist.

Just when I thought Montsalvat couldn't possibly do anything more to delight me, I met Mariella McKinley.  She's been working away there over the last few months, preparing her new studio space.  It's been a big task.  Moving in her lathe (which weighs in at 250 kilograms) was a huge challenge. Thankfully the film crew of  IFrankenstein (filming at Montsalvat at the time) came to her aid with some serious weight lifting equipment.  She's now ready and enthusiastic about getting stuck in to some work.

Mariella McKinley 1

Photograph courtesy of the artist.

The exquisite vessels above were first blown and then carved. Intricate painstaking work, but I think you'll agree, well worth the effort.

Mariella has excellent credentials.  Born in Melbourne, she studied at Monash University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass (with honours).  She recently returned from taking up a scholarship to Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, north of Seattle, where she was both student and assistant teacher. Well known glass making icon, Dale Chihuly is credited with starting the school. Prior to that, she travelled to Italy, again on a scholarship, to further enrich her arts practice. Closer to home, Mariella worked for several years at the Jam Factory Gallery in Adelaide where she is currently exhibiting work with other artists in an exhibition called "Transparency" (it's all about technique).  

Mariella McKinley Isiiad 4

Mariella McKinley Isiiad 6

Mariella is so happy in her Montsalvat Studio.  She looked at many studios before she settled on Montsalvat. Most of the others she looked at had an industrial edge. Montsalvat has a softer, warmer atmosphere which  creates a lovely counterpoint to her work. Typical of Montsalvat, the studio has little recesses and mezzanines to add to the fascination.  

Mariella McKinley Isiiad 1

The texture of the rendered walls in Mariella's studio adds another dimension to this magnificent vase (above).

Mariella McKinley Isiiad 7 copy

In addition to the Jam Factory Gallery in Adelaide, Mariella is represented by Veronica George Gallery High Street Armadale, Kirra Gallery Federation Square and Glass Plus Gallery South Melbourne.  It's a real treat to trawl around these gallery websites...glass extraordinaire.  Enjoy them.

My sincere thanks to Mariella for generously welcoming me in to her studio, thereby reminding me that Montsalvat provides art lovers with endless pleasure.

All work in this post is ©Mariella McKinley.

 
Parent Category: Arts

2012 Not The Archies winner- Peter Allen

Peter Allen NTA Portrait

You could be forgiven for wondering if I'm still not over the Archibald and am having yet another 'farewell' moment with this portrait. The truth is, this is the winning portrait of the 2012 Not the Archies, painted by Peter Allen.  It's a ripper isn't it. The subject, Tony Fenelon OAM, is well known in the Yarra Valley for his work with the  Royal Melbourne Hospital Biomedical Team and as a fine musician.  

Given the quality of his portrait, it's hard to believe that Peter Allen is entirely self taught. The strong compositional elements however, give away his life long work as a graphic designer.  Up until the last few years, painting was always in the background for Peter. Now he's enjoying the luxury of spending more time on it.

This year's Not the Archies was judged by Raelene Sharp and Victoria Lynn.   Both judges felt that Peter's work truly stood out from the hundreds of portraits entered this year.

Peter Allen 1

Peter Allen's paintings above and below, are quite a departure in style from his portrait of Tony Fenelon. They capture something of his great admiration for Indigenous Art, African Art, Mexican and Aztec Art. While growing up in Northern Victoria, Peter's mother worked closely with the indigenous people of the area and Peter says that his love of native art began back then. He also credits New York street artist Keith Haring with having a major influence on his work. Peter reverently brought me his copy of Michel Perrin's Magnificent Molas. The art of the Kuna Indians. The influence of the Molas is apparent in this work.

Peter Allen 2

I so hope I see more of Peter's work in the future- maybe in the Archibald itself next time.

If you would like information about last years Not The Archies follow this link.

 

Parent Category: Arts

Farewell the Archibald

Juan Ford s

Juan Ford Ultrapilgrim, oil on linen, 168cm x 214cm  © Juan Ford Archibald Finalist 2012

The 2012 Archibald closed at TarraWarra Museum of Art on the 8th of July.  Over three thousand people attended on the last day. I feel a bit wistful as I write that...the Archibald's been a real feature of my blog calendar for the last two years and since it is only allowed in regional galleries for two years at a time, it won't be back to TWMA next year. To assuage my grief, I want to describe the last of my 2012 Archibald experiences.

As a part of their Archibald program, TWMA organised several evenings where they opened the gallery to the public after hours. Those lucky enough to attend,  could meet one of the Archibald finalists and hear about their arts practice and the making of their portrait. On the night I attended, visitors were nicely primed with a glass of wine and nibblies in the foyer on arrival.  A musician filled the airwaves with Bach and Mozart.  TWMA's new director Victoria Lynn hosted the evening with warmth and grace, but the true star of the night was a very articulate Juan Ford and his self portrait.

Oh that self portrait... If I say I find it simply stunning, even spectacular, I hope you'll forgive my alliteration. The portrait speaks so eloquently of the inner life of the artist.  A pilgrim searching for meaning, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, with nothing more than his creativity to sustain him.

It was one of two faceless portraits in this years Archibald, powerfully asking the question- can a painted figure without a face be called a portrait?  A hotly debated theme of the 2012 Archibald. I made my decision to join the affirmative team very early in the debate, engaging in several robust discussions from that position. I found opinions to be polarised, always passionate. So I guess I expected that Juan's audience that night would be keen to enter into that debate. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The crowd was utterly respectful, simply wanting to hear from the artist and understand his process.  Wise art lovers, like the pilgrim himself, searching for meaning, perhaps trusting that the artist is the expert. That being said, when I read the statement published with the image of Juan's self portrait, on the Gallery of New South Wales website, I could be in no doubt that the self portrait's shortlisting for this countries most notorious portrait competition, was spot on...

This year he realises it’s been over 10 years that he’s been living from art, with its many scary, precarious moments. So it’s time to make a painting about it all. What he looks like is beside the point, there’s no need to represent that. That wouldn’t explain anything. But the lonesome pilgrim, going who knows where, keeps coming to mind. It’s a funny image, simultaneously serious and absurd. Like himself.’ 

Juan Ford TWMA

Incidentally, I was pretty chuffed to discover that Juan Ford is a local, living in Eltham.  By my calculation, almost 10% of this years Archibald finalists share my hood;  Raelene SharpKate TuckerMichael Peck and Juan.  It's official, there's something in the air along the north eastern fringes of Greater Melbourne.  

Juan Ford is represented by Dianne Tanzer Gallery.

Juan Ford 3

The only good thing about saying goodbye to the Archibald at TarraWarra is that it makes way for something new. In a few weeks time, the TarraWarra Biennial 2012: Sonic Spheres, curated by TWMA director Victoria Lynn will open. It will marry sound and visual arts in a way not seen in the Yarra Valley before...perhaps I'll be able to forgive the Archibald for leaving after all. Stay tuned to Isiiad for some of the sights and sounds of Sonic Spheres

Parent Category: Arts

More Articles...

  1. Ekphrasis Awards-2
  2. First Train to Allwood
  3. Emmy Mavroidis
  4. Indigenous Artists
  5. Michael Peck-Archibald Finalist 2012
  6. Archibald Finalist- Kate Tucker
  7. A Heide Installation
  8. So when do you throw the flowers out?
  9. Ev Hales-Static Motion
  10. Mike Emmett and Bec Jones
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