Who ate the Easter Bunny…?

24 03 2008


Easter Sunday went off with its usual bang at Wyndham – and all those cute ‘n fluffy little duckies and bunnies were front and centre on the luncheon table (and we’re not talkin’ the chocolate variety.) Megsie whipped up some ‘hot cross bunnies’, aka rabbit calzone, and Keithie put on the most luscious duck and cherry terrine we’ve chowed down on for a long time  – and that was just for starters! Over-indulgence was the order of the day, and everybody put in a sterling effort to comply – well done, chaps.

Grover won the Easter bonnet parade, followed very closely by Izzy. And in the oldies stakes, honorable mention went to Marcus’s ‘egg warmer’ (above) and Corker’s eco-conscious recycled Easter basket. Highlight of the afternoon was, of course, the continuation of the blokes’ perennial frisbee tournament (extra kudos for those who make it through the entire game drink still in hand.)

The ladies, of course, remained sensibly languid.

Happy snaps at…


Cuttagee Artists opening…

23 03 2008


Friday night saw the opening of the Cuttagee Artists exhibition at Bermagui (well, just south thereof to be more precise) – which meant, of course, our first sighting of Dira’s finished mosaic. It was also the Gang’s first outing to this annual bush event and we were quite amazed by the size of the crowd – mind you, it is a mere stroll down the track from the Four Winds concert…

Anyhoo, regardless of the hideous parking, it turned out to be a very arty-farty little scene indeed, with a veritable press of wannabe collectors and no shortage of the readies (we are reliably informed!) So here’s hoping this will translate into a sale for our mate Dira before the cognoscente leave town. We did notice that her piece was attracting a great deal of covetous attention, which does bode well…

And yep, you guessed it, not a shard of studio glass to be seen. [Hey Klausie, reminds me of Hamburg back in the mid 1960’s!  n(Ed)]

A smattering of snaps at…


24 hour c-k-Kulture marathon…

22 03 2008


(above) a real tough-titty kind of view.

Ginger, Graham and the Gang are just back from an action packed culture-in-the-fast-lane Sydderesque sojourn – a little something for everyone; high-brow, low-brow…and even some mono-brow tossed in for good measure.

We had exited the ‘Berra fairly early and made a beeline for Oxford St – for a strong morning coffee and meander down to Scott Chaseling’s latest solo exhibition, An Antipodean Journal, at Sabbia Gallery (which Megsie was  checking out for an article she might be doing a little later in the year.) Pretty interesting show actually, but more of that later in the week…we’ve whacked in a teaser snap for now, and a couple of favourite ‘others’ that we spied over in Sabbia’s ‘corner-shop’ section; a couple of Tom Moore’s pieces of pure joy and a set of Wendy Fairclough vessels. [It must be about time Wendy won the guernsey at the Ranamok, we reckon…n(Ed)]

Then we dashed across to Fox Studio to meet our little bro (Phil) who’s out here working on the latest Wolverine movie. Serious excitement, of course – but as cameras are strictly verboten on the set, and confidentiality an enforced by-law, we can’t tell you anything about the scenes they were filming, or the storyline (otherwise we’d have to kill you…straight after Phil had killed us…) Suffice to say it was all super cool. So anyhoo we watched some filming, had the yummiest lunch with the crew (crikey, those buggers eat well), watched a little more filming, and then left Ginger there – in total Hugh Jackman heaven! – for the rest of the day/night’s shoot while we high-tailed it over to the hotel to get tarted up for our big night out with…Ozzy Osbourne! Yep, Ozzy was on tour and the Gang was suitably pumped!!

Phil had booked us a room at the Shangri La with a view to die for, so we tossed down a pre-concert primer or four, and literally ogled the iconic panorama – Harbour Bridge, Opera House and, directly below, an incredible (colonial)archaeological dig. Can’t imagine it comes any better than that…

Ozzy, meanwhile, was playing out at Olympic Stadium so we heeded prevailing advice and caught a train – and headed towards what essentially morphed into a crowd scene from Mad Max. It was an absolute scream actually, although Ozzy himself was disappointingly inoffensive…no anti-social behavior to speak of whatsoever (no biting off bat heads and spitting them into the audience, nothin’…) But the music was great and the overall experience hugely entertaining (from an anthropological point of view, particularly!) We loved it.

And then we trained it back to the Shangri La for an after-concert-bevie-and-goss-session with Ginger and Phil, in his temporary (3 months or so!) home away from home, two floors up/same eat-ya-heart-out view…tough titties.

We had started the trip with all sorts of good intentions, ie. catching the Archibald and/or doing the MCA the following morning before heading back down the Hume (because we had to be back mid-afternoon for Graham to prep dinner at the Green Herring, of course…) But in the end we thought – stuff it, how often do we get an opportunity to eyeball Max Cullen and Hugh/Logan/Wolfie in action…huh? And how rarely do we get to see our little bro these days? So we sensibly opted for another serve of Wolverine and Phil instead! As you do.

Happy snaps at…


…and just one Moore…

20 03 2008


Tom Moore, Exodus 2008  (photo, Grant Hancock)

Off to Sydders…

17 03 2008


We’ll be off the radar for the next couple of days – Ginger and the Gang are off on a big Sydder’s adventure (have dropped in a couple of clues above, sourced courtesy of La Gropp!!)

Meanwhile we’ll leave you with a snap of the gorgeous view from our front fence – Jingera Rock (taken yesterday evening.) 

Back soon…


17 03 2008


We’ve dropped in Megsie’s speech for the opening of Brigitte’s exhibition at Gallery Bodalla on Saturday (see previous post), for your general edification…


At the risk of being shockingly ungallant and mentioning a lady’s 40 years of practice, I’m nonetheless going to give you a potted history – no pun intended – because if this is your first encounter with the work of Brigitte Enders, it will put into context the depth of commitment and the aggregate expertise that underpins her artistic practice. 

She began her odyssey at the Academy of Art in Kassel, in Germany, in the late 1960’s, studying music and craft – but was soon drawn to ceramics, which at that time held the high, innovative ground in the European Craft Movement. By the completion of her studies she had already attracted a growing reputation, which led to an invitation in 1970 to design on a freelance basis for the State Porcelain Factory in Berlin. She continued her studies at the at the School of Ceramic Design in Hoehrgrenhausen, before moving to Hamburg where she set up her own studio while concurrently teaching ceramic therapy to children with behavioral difficulties. From 1975-1980 she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg, graduating with a degree in industrial design. 

By 1982 she had fallen in love and was transported for the term of her natural life to Australia, with partner Klaus Moje. And on arrival in Canberra, she immediately established a studio workshop at the Yarralumla Brickworks, followed by another in Rivett and, finally, by her current studio at Wapengo on the far south coast of NSW. Throughout this time she engaged in further study (both at the University of Canberra and at the ANU School of Art, in industrial design and visual arts respectively) interspersed with sessional teaching at the ANU’s School of Art’s Ceramic Workshop. In other words, it would be safe to say that she is a serial ceramicist. 

From her earliest selection into the prestigious ‘International Triennial of Decorative Arts’ in Stuttgart, in 1969, she has continued to show in significant exhibitions internationally – as far a-field as Washington DC and New York and, of course, in Europe most particularly. Her work is held in eminent museum and private collections in Germany, the US, and Australia.

And that’s not all – into this mix must also be thrown the female artist’s lot of ‘practice interruptus’ – aka the family. Because while motherhood hasn’t stopped her from practicing, she nonetheless inevitably prioritises in favour of family and associated responsibilities. It’s a hormonal imperative (as other women artists here today will no doubt attest.) 

All of that sounds terribly busy, of course – and might give an impression of a gushingly prolific practice – a practice that pumps out lots of crafty product, which of course patently isn’t the case. Her practice is extraordinarily considered. She makes, instead, fewer pieces – all of which are meticulously conceived. And while the statistical nuts and bolts of her CV give notice of the success, they only go part of the way towards illuminating why it is that her work is so strikingly singular. 

Her early training in Bauhaus-influenced German industrial design certainly has something to do with it – the architectonic modernism, the strong purity of line, the beautifully balanced, sophisticated restraint of her work; all of this contributes to her signature constructivist/design aesthetic.  

But while she remains faithful to the premise of the crafted tradition, and her pieces invariably reference the vessel, her work transcends materiality and function in a way that pretty much answers the age-old craft versus art debate. (In this new millennium the debate probably ought to be declared defunct. Many ceramicists focus on glaze or ornamentation or function in a way that cleaves to tradition, making craft something more akin to a cult of tradition. Glass is much the same. But an artist is someone who masters the craft and then, in full cognizance of its history and traditions, breaks through the pedantry and takes wing.) Brigitte definitely falls firmly into the artists’ camp. Her practice is sculptural – and if you had to give her work a label, it’d be  ‘functional abstraction’. It’s a representation and expression of the very complexity of function itself.  

The Hammerheads are a prime example of this – they’re a visual composition that relates to that period of time spent on the building site during the endless construction of her house and studio at the coast. The daily regimen of tradesmen, tools and relentless activity couldn’t help but infiltrate her consciousness, and the consequent distilling of the experience has produced an object that emanates a presence that is both powerful and almost aggressively progressive. These Hammerheads have a sense of strength and purpose, a certain posture of bluntly altered dimension, and a scratch patterned surface that bears the indelible signs of industrial wear and tear. 

Her vessels contain and even fortify her personal observations. We may be intrigued and curious about the Wapengos, so buoyant with a Zephyrus lyricism, but we are left to our own imaginings. Brigitte abstains, in the main, from discussing subject matter, and frankly I admire her for that (let’s face it, sometimes there’s nothing worse than an artist droning fatuously on about the meaning of their work.) The viewer doesn’t need to know the specifics, we are connected by the existential universality of the work regardless. Suffice to say that it is a construct of emotional response to private circumstance. The Guardians, standing sentinel at the entrance, protect those undisclosed essentials.  

I have to confess that I know very little about Bob’s practice – but I certainly appreciate how well the two bodies of work sit together. Sensitive and intelligent curatorship is critical in the arts and it’s fantastic to see it alive and well here at Gallery Bodalla. Congratulations to Valerie for a beautifully visually balanced show. Without further ado I officially open this exhibition – and declare it most definitely worth the drive!   

‘Sentinels’ at Gallery Bodalla…

16 03 2008


(above) Brigitte Enders at the opening of her exhibition Sentinels at the Gallery Bodalla.

Yesterday the Gang and Ginger took a lovely drive up the Princes Highway to Brigitte’s exhibition launch at Bodalla. (We can’t get over how lush and green it is again after that blighty drought – even greener than last time, Jacque and James!!) Megsie was giving the opening speech, so we figured we’d better turn up for moral support(!)

We’d not been to the gallery before, had no inkling of what to expect – and frankly you could’ve knocked us over with a feather. It’s a fabulous space – an old converted post office; white on white walls, gunmetal grey flooring, the loftiest ceilings imaginable and a really specko lighting system…in other words, a perfect exhibition space. Better than that in some ways – no harsh edges. The walls are tongue-and-groove, the floors softly carpeted and the space a series of rooms (because, of course, it had originally been a residence) – so it’s intimate and comfortable. And completely unpretentious. For Valerie and her gallery team (Brian, Pat, Bob, et al) this is obviously a labour of love – and they’re spreading that love with warmth and hospitality. It’s wonderful.

And we loved the work, as well!! Brigitte’s signature functional abstraction/formalist design aesthetic took possession of the space, aided and abetted by the astonishingly complementary paintings of Bob Baker. Hats off to Valerie for this intelligently sensitive curatorial selection (so critical to the visual success of any exhibition.)

It was all so unexpectedly sophisticated. Which sounds dreadfully patronising, and that’s definitely not our intention – it’s just such a joyful thing when you stumble across pockets of civilization out in them thar bucolic hills.

For the delights of the show go to…


(Meanwhile we’ll post Megsie’s opening ‘Ode to Brigitte’ as soon as we edit in her ad-libs!!)