Auglass Conference Canberra 2008: last Friday…

31 01 2008


The Gang spent most of the day Friday burning around town organising the grog and food and setting up for the spunky Hunks opening and after-party. Lotsa love and thanks go to Danno and Brucie from All Bar Nun (the spunkiest bar in town) for both the donation and delivery of the keg of Coopers – it goes without saying that it went down a treat! And thumbs up to good old Megsie who’d been up ’til 1am the night before whipping up the paté. A swing through the cheese room at that beaut grocer’s in Manuka, a cartload of bread and a huge sieve of blood plums from Jas’s backyard (thanks Jas!!) took care of the rest of the tucker, and after a late arvo dash to Gungahlin Local Liquor for bubbles/vino/ice (thanks for the discount Justin!) the Gang was finally sufficiently abreast of things to…

… join the throng in downtown Civic for the start of the evening’s progressive exhibition launch/marathon. It started at CMAG with the opening of Stephen Procter: Lines Through Light, worked its way upstairs to Craft ACT for the double-whammy Gather and Mamana Mamanta and then wended its way across to ANCA in Dickson for the Hunks of Glass show and fall-about. (For the purposes of this post, we’ll only cover the social aspect of the night – we’ll bring you a recce proper of the CMAG and ANCA shows a little further down the track. See previous posts for the Craft ACT offering.)  

We did a quick flick’n’flash around the first two happenings before high-tailing it back to ANCA to meet our favourite sound engineer/arts entrepreneur, the spunky Nigel McCrae, who was setting up the PA for those drop-dead-gorgeous O’Hooligan boys, our spunky band for the night. And then of course the crowd soon caught up, and the exhibition was formally opened by the original Hunk of Glass, our favourite old spunk Klaus (okay, okay enough of the spunks already – but you get the picture, right?)…

Anyway, all said and done it was a really fabulous evening, and the after-party finished it off with plenty of bang. We should at this juncture point out that the Hunks party had not been organised by Ausglass; it was an entirely indie/fringe affair – to which all and sundry were of course sincerely welcome. We figured the poor buggers at the conference could probably do with one evening, at least, where they could have a good time without being obliged to keep digging into their pockets…(a little resurrection of the old spirit of hospitality and generosity wouldn’t go astray in future, we reckon.) 

Many thanks to the willing hands on the night – most specifically Amos, Netty and Annie M – who manned the bar and kept the good cheer flowing.  

Happy snaps at…(though, having our hands a little full, we missed many of you, sorry)

Where’s Nigel?…postcard from Wyndham

30 01 2008


We’re reprising the ‘Where’s Nigel?’ series of postcards, given that he’s taken 6 months research leave and is going to be all over the planet this year. But today he was only at Wyndham (with Aki and Axel) chowing down on Eden mussels. Doesn’t get any better than that…

Hottest g(l)ossip from the conference – Kirstie Rea resigns from Glassworks…

30 01 2008


In all the excitement of the gallery openings and the mad organisational rush for the Hunks, we completely forgot to bring you the most interesting goss doing the rounds of the traps – Kirstie’s resigned from the position of Artistic Director at  the Canberra Glassworks ‘to spend more time on her own art practice’. Which is a little akin to a politician resigning their portfolio ‘to spend more time with their family.’

Looks like another protracted round of the application-and-interview game.

Stay tuned for developments…

Ausglass Conference Canberra 2008: last Thursday…

29 01 2008


Ausglass Canberra 2008 officially kicked off with a formal launch at the ANU School of Art on Thursday evening – though it’s a miracle that any of the conference faithful who were unfamiliar with the location/venue were able to even find it, judging by the signage above(…!?!)

The Gang swung by the SoA Gallery to check out the Ausglass Members show – which had been lumped with the unfortunate title of Open Slather. Though, of course, given the open invitation/unselected nature of the beast, there is always the danger it’ll be a bit of a dog’s breakfast (not unlike the Ranomok). But this year a good number of established artists stepped up to the plate and consequently the show had plenty to commend it.

We took a few photos of some stand-outs before being engulfed by the hail-fellow-well-met-social-component of the occasion, so please note that any work not represented in our happy snap parade isn’t necessarily indicative of our critical appraisal. (Actually, we’d really only managed to make one fairly perfunctory circuit of the room before the darling Brigitte turned up (straight off the bus from the coast) and the two of us immediately made a bee-line for the bar…as you do.) And then there was another hour or so of back-slapping/huggy greetings, punctuated by the formal speeches – during which Klaus was presented with Honorary Life Membership, and the conference was declared officially open.

By now most everyone had arrived: Scotto, who’d just flown in direct from Berlin; the rest of the Adelaide mob (except the Leader of the Free Glass World, Debster Jones, whose plane had been delayed an hour or so); various lovely bods with whom the Gang had become acquainted over the several Summer and Winter School courses we used to co-ordinate at the Glass Workshop; Roger Parramore, who was teaching at the ‘Chuck both times the Gang went over; Wazza on crutches (with a matching comedic line or two thrown in); Danilo, who always supplies that element of delicious confusion; and lots, lots more besides…

We didn’t stay for the official opening party – apart from having already caught up with nearly everyone we wanted to, we had serious glass biz elsewhere…with the Beam boys. It was to be our second session with those intrepid projectionists (see previous post, Spunks in the City) but for those of you not in the know, we should perhaps bring you…


             A Potted History of the Beam Story…

Beam began early in the new millennium when Canberra artists Peter Jordan and John Pratt experimented with projections at the ANU School of Art – displaying predominantly Russian constructivist slides around the walls and facades on campus. It was, recalls John, primitive but rather interesting – and it encouraged them to push the concept further. Their prime motivation was a desire to make images that moved beyond the conventional gallery space and scene (with its stagnant, repetitive audience), out into the realm of chance encounter; the wider public domain. The aim was to make provocative, political work on an ephemeral basis, but they wanted to elevate it beyond the scarring semi-permanency of graffiti.

They applied for, and were successful in gaining, a small grant from ArtsACT and Beam was born – a Printmedia Workshop initiative that brought together a shifting bunch of like-minded practitioners that included Rose Montebello, Frankie Sparks, Penny Cain, Joe Broad and, later, Ivo Lovric and Patsy Payne. The grant enabled them to stage 3 projection events: Beam 1, City Walk Civic (the old boulevard opposite the original Electric Shadows) in 2003; Beam 2, City Walk (in the large, empty ex-Medicare space) in 2004; and Beam 3, on the ANU School of Art facade (during the Print Symposium) also in 2004. Of the three events the last was the least concerned with socio-political issues, sourcing instead images with content that specifically played off the architecture of the building; heraldic school mottos juxtaposing fragmented figures and text, and images (such as Rose Montebello’s smoke plumed Mt Helena) that served to dissolve the certainty of the edifice.

During this time (in 2003), in the lead up to the 2004 Federal Election, they also projected an arts and human rights event, Discrepant, on the Garema Place screen in Civic and the Canberra Theatre facade, addressing innumerable socio-political issues concerning the Howard government’s nationalism, values, ethics….the shameless list goes on.

In 2005 they followed up with the 24/7 Projection Works at the High Court of Australia – with a work that explored questions of security and surveillance and the insidious government agency intrusion into privacy and personal space.

In 2006 they participated in Domain – a temporary public art event held annually in Alinga St, where they projected an eclectic range of material onto the Post Office Clock tower to make odd, formal commentaries apropos the clock-face itself.

In 2007 they did their thing at the National Library with Beam: 4 Story High Art during the Festival of Contemporary Art. And throughout all this time, juggled between the more formalised events, they continually facilitated countless experimental student projects (like Ben Forster’s amazing ‘computer drawn’ work.)

…and then the poor buggers came up against the Gang and were inveigled into a spot of (faintly) lascivious glass-centric subversion (with an empathetic willingness and generosity of spirit and time, for which we will remain profoundly grateful.) Hunks of Glass: beamed graced the wall of the building opposite the Legislative Assembly over the two nights leading up to its namesake exhibition opening, held at ANCA in Dickson on the Friday night of the Ausglass Conference Canberra 2008. It was truly luscious to behold.

For the mug parade of the evening, go to…  

Ausglass Conference Canberra 2008: last Wednesday…

28 01 2008


(Above) David and Margaret checking out Mel Douglas’s work at Beaver Gallery.

Well the Gang has finally beaten a retreat to Wyndham after a frenetic week in the ‘Berra and we can now turn our full attention to bringing you a review of the general shenanigens. We must confess, though, that we didn’t do the Conference proper (just reading the program put us to sleep quite frankly…and besides, we had to gallery sit the Hunks show in any case), but we certainly did the rounds of most of the openings and managed to catch up with all our favourite pals.

Wednesday night was the precurser of things to come (registration for the conference commenced the next day); Beaver Gallery launched a double banger show featuring Mel Douglas and Mel George/Jeremy Lepisto, and the usual list of suspects turned up to get some swilling practice under their belts for the looming long weekend.

Both Mels (affectionately known as Big and Little Mel to avoid confusion) are Canberra gels of course, but Mel G now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she runs Studio Ramp with husband Jeremy Lepisto (who the Gang had the good fortune to run across at Pilchuck a coupla times – he’s a great bloke.) We always like catching up with these guys – they’re genuinely nice people…and, it goes without saying, we’re into their work as well!)

So it was the beginning of the rolling interstate invasion/reunion: Netster was back from Adelaide, along with Hils, Vicky and Stephen…Maureen, Damien and Michelle formed an advance party for the Victorians…Lee blew in from Sydders…

But it was, for the most part, the regular Beaver crowd.

Check ’em out at…

Street racing fuelled at the pump…

28 01 2008



When Brenny and the Gang swung into the Shell petrol station at Dickson the other day we were a tad horrified to read the latest choice of petrol at the bowser. If the powers-that-be are genuinely looking for an effective way to discourage street racing/petrol head buff(h)oonery/carnage on the roads, perhaps they should have a little chat with Shell. Is this just a spin-off from the Summernats, or is it the company’s blanket endorsement of speed? More importantly, is it being flogged to P-platers?

Canberra glass just got a whole lot sexier: Hunks of Glass – the exhibition, Mark I…

25 01 2008







Yeah, baby! That’s what we’re talkin’ about! Curator’s pick of the spunkiest blokes in Australian glass…

Hunks of Glass opens at ANCA Gallery, Dickson, tonight, and we promise that we’ll be bringing you the good oil from the opening (and, indeed, all manner of stuff from the Ausglass Conference 2008 social program in general) but not until we have time to process all the snaps. Stay tuned over the next week for all the fun and frivolity.

Meanwhile we’re still heads down and bums up, in serious org-mode for tonight’s extravaganza….

See you there…

Lene Lunde exhibition…

25 01 2008


The lovely Lene Lunde has just sent through the invitation to her latest exhibition. So if anybody’s in the neighbourhood of Bergen, please drop by (and send the Gang some happy snaps of the occasion…)

Spunks in the city…

24 01 2008



(above, top) Brenden and John, (right) the perennially camera-shy Ivo and (below) hot property, that’s what we’re talking about! (click on thumbnails to enlarge)

Brenden and the Gang joined the Beam team (John Pratt and Ivo Lovric) for the spunky Hunks of Glass projection in downtown Civic last night (after the Beaver opening). Nothing like a bit of serious bloke action for a night-cap, we reckon.

It’ll be on again tonight, ladies, if you fancy wandering down…(opposite the Legislative Assembly)

Talking about haircuts…

23 01 2008


The Gang had a bit of a hairy moment over the Xmas hols: – at the end of an evening of dedicated carousing Megsie and Luna decided to give each other a hair cut…which by the harsh light of (the following)day turned out to be not such a good idea after all. 

Ah never mind – it’ll only be a month before it’s vaguely reasonable again.

Meanwhile thanks Helen (down at Rocky Hall) for kindly sending us the above ‘cheer up, it could be worse’ snap of another really silly bugger…