Canberra glass goes radioactive…

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Who would have thought, with such a plethora of “superior” glass around the traps, that so much interest should be engendered by Megsie’s uranium poo! Well we understand it, of course, because we have a natural scatological bent and a whimsical – nay, downright capricious – outlook on life. But we never really expect other people to share, or even ‘get’, our somewhat perverse and wayward perspective (though we’re always quite tickled when they do.)

So for those of you who want to know, Megan (Megsie) Bottari’s НАСЛЕДИЕ ГОВАРДА (Howard’s Legacy) 2007 is cast from Gaffer uranium glass, which glows (ominously, in the case of the faeces) under UV light. The work addresses the perfidious contract, signed by Howard and Putin at the Sydney APEC summit late last year, permitting the sale of our uranium to the Ruskies  – thus dooming us all to a future of radioactive excrement. (And let’s not even think about the attendant government agency monitoring…)

Jesus wept! – how short is our faffing memory? It wasn’t that long ago that the high moral ground of the anti-nuclear policy was so hard fought for. It’s a travesty, we tells ya!

See previous Craft ACT Gather post…

Craft ACT’s ‘Gather’ exhibition first off the blocks in the 2008 Canberra glass stakes…


Craft ACT has kicked off the glass brouhaha a week early, stealing the march on the Ausglass conference with a show that’s cool, edgy and (in the main) totally out there.

Curator Jas Hugonnet invited Craft ACT members to ‘examine the possibilities of combining glass with other materials in a constructed approach after the annealing process’, and the resultant exhibition is refreshingly diverse and (perhaps more importantly) intelligently progressive.

One of the most striking aspects is the preponderance of (totally unsolicited) socio-political commentary – which of course lifts the Gang’s skirt no end. We do like to be engaged on a level a little loftier than ‘gee, how did he/she make that’ and ‘that’d look nice in my loungeroom’. (Or worse, ‘how can I rip that off and make it my own’…)

So the show is a bewdy (though this is probably hardly surprising given the cast of contributors) and, sitting as it does at the contemporary art end of craft-biz, it sets a quite gratifying intellectual benchmark; which is always to be applauded.

Some of our absolute faves are Alex Asch’s another beautiful day at the factory, Diedre Feeney’s out of time, Mariana del Castillo’s momento mori series (Mariana’s work is always so wonderfully intriguing) and Elizabeth Kelly’s AT YOUR OWN RISK. (This latter being a commentary on the ‘no care, even less responsibility’ policy and culture of the new not-to-be-named-you-know-what. We’d tell ya but we had to sign a confidentiality clause with Liz…er, not! Clue #1: it’s a shark’s nest.)

Luna Ryan’s 1-2-3 Bears (from the Transformative Toy series) is simply darling – and a complete break-away from the Mamana Mamanta work showing in Gallery 2. After some two years of working tirelessly on the Tiwi project with Jock, she’s swapped the weighty responsibility of the pukumani poles for some light-hearted R&R and studio playtime. The resultant ‘honey bears’ are irresistibly charming, and herald a completely new direction in Luna’s ongoing practice.

But back to the political…Itzell Tazziman’s Citizen of the World  is a classic reflection on the Howard era (and indeed the piece was made back in 2005, at a time when we were all most despairing of Little Johnny’s insidious social and political agenda.) Megan (Megsie) Bottari’s НАСЛЕДИЕ ГОВАРДА (Howard’s Legacy), on the other hand, is a direct response to Howard’s recent agreement with Putin (signed at the Sydney APEC fiasco last year) to flog our uranium to the Russians. (No deep and angst-riven meaningfuls here – the foreboding message is alarmingly simple: our shit will be radioactive. Period.) Even Blanchie came up with a military thematic in her eloquently elegant Perpetual bandolier. And Simon Mayberley’s signature Perception Series (silver blue) lends a certain sense of mummery and manipulation…

For those of you who remain faint/feint hearted, never fear; there’s plenty of serious craftmanship for the crotchety old purists. And the exhibition’s not entirely spiky and confronting (Amy Schleif Mohr’s Duality is characteristically Classic-School-of-Bullseye, for instance, and Rozlyn de Bussey’s Aerated Form 2 is completely innocuous…)

Meanwhile the techno stakes are represented by the work of aforementioned Diedre Feeney (glass and video projection) and Denise Higgins (a fascinating light/glass/kinetic piece), both of which need to be seen in the flesh to be properly appreciated. Suffice to say they’re worth the trip.

Gather will be showing in Gallery 1 at Craft ACT from 14th Jan – 27th January, with an opening night at 7pm on Friday 25th. Mamana Mamanta runs concurrently in Gallery 2.

For snaps from the exhibition go to…

Sincere apologies to Deidre, Denise and Rozlyn for not showing images of their work. In the case of the former two, the light component of each is integral to the piece and we simply couldn’t get a shot that did the work justice. In the case of Roslyn, the camera spat the dummy. We’ll endeavour to sort it out…

Our favourite chef flies the coop…


The Gang did a quickie to Canberra on Sunday for a couple of days pre-org for the Hunks show and managed to catch our fav chef Graham (Green from the Green Herring Restaurant) on the eve of his departure for Limey-land. So it’s sad news for all those looking forward to his cooking over the conference weekend – the multi-award winning restaurant, which ordinarily re-opens for the long weekend post a January break, won’t be firing up the kitchen until Graham’s return early February…

Never mind, we share your disappointment – ‘though Pa and the Gang must confess that we did enjoy the benefit of a compensatory dinner and catch up at-home-with-Graham-and-Julie on Monday night.

Bon voyage, darl (he flies out today); have a super-fabu-licious time.

Off to ‘Collect’…


We thought we’d give you a peek at some progress shots of Tevita’s work for the Hunks of Glass show at ANCA (Jan 23rd- Feb 3rd).  Meanwhile the good (yeah-but-no-but) news is that he’s off to London, to the V&A, where he’ll be giving a presentation at the Collect seminar for Australian artists (good)…which means that he won’t be in Canberra for the Ausglass conference (bad/sad). He’s leaving on the 19th and not getting back until the 29th, so will only catch the tail end of the Hunks show himself.

But never mind – he’ll be with us in more than just spirit (as you will see, come the exhibition!)

And the work, of course, speaks for itself regardless. 

Stephen Procter’s Rocky Hall…


Before the Xmas break the Gang went out to Frog’s Hollow to visit Christine Procter for a chat regarding a piece that Megsie will be writing (about Stephen’s practice/upcoming retrospective exhibition/book launch) for the July issue of Craft Arts International.

We got out there a nanosecond before the Canberra Museum and Gallery mob arrived to pack up the work selected for the exhibition Stephen Procter: Lines through Light, which will be showing at CMAG during the Ausglass conference later this month. It was lovely to spend time in the studio with Christine – looking through Stephen’s sketchbooks, getting reacquainted with his work and reminiscing about ‘the good old days’. (The Gang was fortunate enough to have caught the last couple of years of Stephen’s tenure as Head of Workshop at the ANU School of Art’s Glass Workshop…)

One of the many things that drew our attention was a line of oil paintings that literally ringed the room…strangely familiar, we mused to ourself – until Christine solved the puzzle for us…the series had been painted down at Sancy’s, at Rocky Hall. Ah, of course (the Gang’s own stamping ground!) 

So yesterday, when Jacqu and the Gang drove back through Rocky Hall to Wyndham (having spent the arvo swimming at Marcus and Helen’s fabulous waterhole) we stopped to take some snaps in the general vicinity of those very paintings. Different weather and atmospherics, naturally – but the rhythm of the place remains so true. Simply gorgeous.

More studio pics at…

Meanwhile, whatever else you do, don’t miss the CMAG show – which will feature two additional Procter treats; the launch of both the book (essay by Dan Klein) and the movie (filmed by Lienors and Dan Torre).

The exhibition will open on the evening of Friday January 25th and run through to the 8th of June.