David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

29 November 2015



 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...



26 November 2015

Label rhymes with Babel

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...
 LOGOS/HA HA       


 Picture Titles:
 How and Why Western Paintings Acquired
 Their Names
 Ruth Bernard Yeazell

  Hardcover | 2015 | $35.00 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691165271
  352 pp. | 6 x 9 | 16 color illus. 108 halftones.
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...

Our copy has just arrived and we're looking forward to reading it, particular the earlier section. The final section disembarks at Jasper Johns.

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...
 Summer reading, perhaps, under the Label Tree.

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


25 November 2015

Ikkyu and the TARget

Ikkyu (1394 - 1481)

The poem :

Rinzai’s descendants do not know Zen.
In front of Crazy Cloud, who dares to explain Zen?
For thirty years, on my shoulders I have carried
The weight of Shogen’s Red Thread Zen.

The accompanying calligraphy :

I am teaching you the gateway to essential Zen. 
Zen is endlessly discussed with empty phrases and 
pretentious words; 
all that effort goes on and on missing the mark…

Former Abbot of Murasakino Daitoku Zen Temple, 
Jun Ikkyu, world’s number one venerable priest.

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


21 November 2015

Vale Bob Jenyns - a brief recollection

Just two weeks ago, we showed a photo here from 1976 : seven artists of the Ballarat region posing together on the staircase of the Ballarat Art Gallery. Seated at the front, with his sculptor's chisels on his lap, Bob Jenyns.

Yesterday, the sad news that Bob has died of cancer. He will be greatly missed by many, from his years in Daylesford and those in Tasmania.

photo : Merle Hathaway  
Below, from that same photo session, the catalog cover of Some Recent Art from the Ballarat Region, 1976. Lorraine Jenyns is in the first chair, Bob is in the second.

photo : Merle Hathaway  
... and a close-up :

Bob had five works in that exhibition. The one documented in the catalog via this photo triptych has its full poignancy today, titled STILL LIFE MUST GO ON

photo : FIAPCE   
  A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
  someone looks at something...

20 November 2015


 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


19 November 2015

Elvis & The Two Truths

The two truths : relative and emPTy

Post script to yesterday's blog post : just in, this Biennale JOGJA X111 T.A.R tableau vivant of Nicolas Bourriaud with Punkasila & Slave Pianos.

Relational art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Relational art or relational aesthetics is a mode or tendency in fine art practice originally observed and highlighted by French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud. Bourriaud defined the approach as "a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space."[1] The artist can be more accurately viewed as the "catalyst" in relational art, rather than being at the centre.[2]

Upon first seeing NB with P & SP : 

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

- John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Kissin' Cousins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kissin' Cousins is a 1964 American musical Panavision Metrocolor comedy film directed by Gene Nelson and starring Elvis Presley. Written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Gene Nelson, the film is about an Army officer who returns to the Great Smoky Mountains assigned to convince his kinfolk to allow the Army to build a missile site on their land. His mission is complicated when he meets his look-alike cousin and two beautiful country cousins who compete to win his affections. Presley played two roles in the film: the Army officer, with dark hair, and his look-alike cousin, with blond hair.

Looking back:
Figure and ground at 100
Jörgen L. Pind examines Edgar Rubin’s dissertation on the figure–ground distinction, one of the great classics of perceptual psychology

"In July 1915 Edgar Rubin, a 28-year-old Dane, defended a doctoral thesis titled Synsoplevede Figurer (Visually experienced figures) at the University of Copenhagen (Rubin, 1915). His official opponents were the two outstanding representatives of psychology at the university: the philosopher Harald Høffding, and the experimental psychologist Alfred Lehmann. Neither of them, it is fair to claim, could have foreseen the influence this thesis and its findings would eventually come to play in perceptual psychology. It was in this work that Rubin first elucidated the figure-ground distinction, now a staple of every introductory textbook of psychology...

Two views of double mPT with that? 
Yeah, thanks, fill 'em up.

 Nat Finkelstein. Andy, Bob Dylan, and Elvis. 1965. ©
TAR : Dried Pixel Arrangement

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...

 PPS : Yes, it can all get very messy.


18 November 2015

PUNKASILA + SLAVE PIANOS @ BIENNALE JOGJA XIII : 'Like A Trailing Plant, It’s The Way Art Perceives Chaos'

click poster image to enlarge  
Punkasila & Slave Pianos 
Rough Ride/Soft Power

Musical instruments, costumes, flags, music performances on stage and in public spaces
In collaboration with: Fitri Setyaningsih, Erson Padapiran, and football supporter community ‘Geng Liyud’

In this work, Punkasila explores how confusion and fear are managed as a cultural modality in society. For those in power, such as the state, markets, and paramilitary groups, creating and managing disorder is a valuable political modality. For oppressed societal groups, however, confusion is a way to combat the domination of the regimes in power. On the streets, societal groups can stand up to authoritarian power by making noise and planned presentations. The uproar of mechanic noise, choreographing driving routes, and various other performances are a common language in the battlefield of contesting power.

Punkasila starts from an art project initiated by Danius Kesminas, an Australian artists, with some other Indonesian artists, musician and researcher in Yogyakarta 2006. This project has continued to be a Melbourne and Yogyakarta based artist collective.

- from Jogja Biennale XIII website

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


16 November 2015

SLAVE GUITARS @ RMIT Geniale Dilletanten (Brilliant Dilletantes) : Subculture in Germany in the 1980s + Australian ingenious amateurs

 Geniale Dilletanten:  Subculture in Germany    in the 1980s  

RMIT Gallery, Melbourne
13 NOV 2015 - 27 FEB 2016
   "The Goethe-Institut’s international touring exhibition Geniale Dilletanten (Brilliant Dilletantes): Subculture in Germany in the 1980s explores the influence of German punk artists, filmmakers and seven bands including Einstürzende Neubauten."
   "Geniale Dilletanten (Brilliant Dilletantes), the deliberately misspelled title of the concert held in Berlin’s Tempodrom in 1981, has become a synonym for a brief era of artistic upheaval in Germany."

 + Australian ingenious  amateurs  

Accompanying Geniale Dilletanten is a slim representation from the comparable Melbourne scene of that period + Australian ingenious amateurs .

It includes some early drawings, manifesto drafts and photos of SLAVE GUITARS material. There's even a German connecti
on : in February 1980 the Cologne artist magazine Salon (No.8) ...

... published this early drawing of Slave Guitars of the Art Cult.
There's also a proof sheet of SLAVE GUITARS publicity images.
click image to enlarge  
These were photographed at Art Projects (566 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne). The sheet also includes a couple of rare exterior views of that important Melbourne gallery (1979-1984), now demolished.
click image to see more  
Art Projects was founded by Melbourne artist John Nixon. Artists who exhibited there included Peter Cripps, Bonita Ely, John Nixon, Imants Tillers, Mike Parr, Ania Walwicz, Jenny Watson, Tony Clark, Brett Colquhoun, John Davis, Robert Jacks, Robert MacPherson, Robert Owen, Richard Dunn, Jill Orr, John Dunkley-Smith, Virginia Coventry, John Matthews, Dale Frank, Peter Tyndall, The Society for Other Photography and, in the context of 80s Melbourne + Australian ingenious amateurs, ANTI-MUSIC, which is not represented in this exhibition.

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


13 November 2015

First Catch Your Self

Hey, there's a National Self-Portrait Prize.

We are reminded of
First Catch Your Hare : 
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy
by Hannah Glasse (1747)

It's such a well known phrase, but...
Ian Mayes, writing in The Guardian, quotes Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable as stating "First catch your hare. This direction is generally attributed to Hannah Glasse, habit-maker to the Prince of Wales, and author of The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy (1747). Her actual directions are, 'Take your Hare when it is cas'd, and make a pudding...' To 'case' means to take off the skin" [not 'to catch']; Mayes notes further that both the Oxford English Dictionary and The Dictionary of National Biography discuss the attribution. (Wikipedia)
Oh! First skin your hare!

Such a curious notion, a Self-Portrait, even more so a National Self-Portrait Competition. A challenging one, we'd have thought. First, catch your self!

First Skin Your Self : 
The Art of Self-Portraiture Made Plain 
and Easy
by Invited Artists (UQ 2015)

Consider : Philosophy of self

Consider : Basis for Competitive Self Assessment

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


07 November 2015

Portraits of Ballarat

This is a screen-snapped portrait of Lachlan Bence, photographer at the Ballarat 'Courier'.

Lachlan Bence has been at The Courier since February 1985. Back then, we used to purchase various 8x10 glossy black & white portrait prints by The Courier's photographers. Later, these were exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, and at the Ballarat Art Gallery.

click image to enlarge  
As can be seen above, the CCP invitation featured a Courier 
meta-photo of local harness racing trainer-driver Les Hammond looking at a Courier front page which featured ... a photo of him. And so it goes...

   A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
   someone looks at something...

Yesterday, the City of Ballarat gave a public reception to honour its winning team of Melbourne Cup heroes - and Lachlan Bence was there as usual to record the event.

The People of Ballarat as Theatre of the Actors of Regard :

 The horse, Prince of Penzance ...
 ... and its many portraits :

click images to enlarge  
 The trainer, Darren Weir ...
 with the winning strapper, Steven Payne :
Steven and his sister, the winning jockey, Michelle Payne.

Amid the crowd, in the image above, are several contemporary totem poles. 

Two fly lurid banners to inform the locals that some portraits of 'distinguished' Australians are currently being exhibited at the Ballarat Art Gallery
The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.
The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields.
The other pole suspends a surveillance camera to record less distinguished local portraits.

In Ballarat at the moment there's a history photo recreation competition : Historic Urban Landscape (Ballarat) People & Places through Time: Recreate a Photo Competition

For their competition entry, volunteer staff of the Ballarat Art Gallery, wearing artist aprons emblazoned with 'Archibald Prize 2015', posed for a group portrait on the grand staircase of the gallery.

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
They are recreating one of the historical photo examples shown at the competition website : a 1976 portrait of seven artists of the Ballarat and Daylesford/Hepburn Springs regions. 

the original photograph was by Merle Hathaway
(l - r) Edward Parfenovics, Michael Young, Peter Westwood,
Ray Woolard, Bob Jenyns, Lorraine Jenyns, Peter Tyndall
Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


04 November 2015

Something for the Pun

Yesterday we featured this eye-catching newspaper portrait of retiring jockey Jim Cassidy with its caption about long odds and chance. We even included the cliche of the 'fairytale ending'.

Against the odds : as chance would have it, it was not Jim Cassidy who won yesterday's Melbourne Cup but a new outspoken hero of the track, jockey Michelle Payne of Ballarat on a horse trained in Ballarat, Prince of Penzance.

Immediately after the win, Michelle spoke strongly for the place of women in horse racing:
Speaking to Channel 7 after dismounting : "To think that Darren Weir has given me a go and it's such a chauvinistic sport, I know some of the owners were keen to kick me off, and John Richards and Darren stuck strongly with me, and I put in all the effort I could and galloped [Prince of Penzance] all I could because I thought he had what it takes to win the Melbourne Cup and I can't say how grateful I am to them. I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world."
And as part of her acceptance speech : “I would like to say that, you know, it’s a very male-dominated sport and people think we are not strong enough and all of the rest of it ... you know what? It’s not all about strength, there is so much more involved, getting the horse into a rhythm, getting the horse to try for you, it’s being patient and I’m so glad to win the Melbourne Cup and hopefully, it will help female jockeys from now on to get more of a go. Because, I believe that we sort of don’t get enough of a go and hopefully this will help.”
Michelle Payne's Melbourne Cup win should be a game-changer for women's sport
Isabelle Westbury / The Age
Feminism has a strong association with the track and big event racing carnivals. Most famously in 1913 when Emily Davison was killed at Epsom while attempting to attach a suffragette scarf to the King's horse.

The colours of the suffragette scarf were green white and purple, as seen in this Hammersmith suffragette banner, again with the sign of shod horses.

Seen  here too, the green white and purple of the Women's Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Deeds Not Words.

Flag of the WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union)
Collection : Parliament of the United Kingdom

Against the odds : to be the only female jockey in yesterday's Melbourne Cup, on a hundred-to-one longshot trained in country Victoria : what were the odds that Michelle Payne, having returned to the track after career threatening injuries, would go on to become the first female to win this famous race AND to do so wearing the colours of the suffragettes?! 

Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne on Prince of Penzance with her brother Stevie, the strapper.

Post Script
While trackside, we take this opportunity to also recommend last Saturday's ABC Radio National interview (click here) between Geraldine Doogue and Gerald Murnane who has just released his new book, Something for the pain: A memoir of the Turf.

And to complete this lap of the circuit, here's a photo portrait 
by Aaron Francis, of Gerald Murnane standing beside Frederick Woodhouse’s The Cup of 1862 at the NGV exhibition 'The Horse'.
click image to enlarge  
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...