Tour de Force: last stop…

27 12 2012



The week before Xmas Megsie went to Darwin to give floortalks at the opening of Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass at the Museum and Gallery of the Northern Territory. What a sad/happy trip it was, this being the finale of a project that started gestation in early 2008 (and initial chat even earlier.)

The peeps at MAGNT used the occasion to bring out their own collection of glass, which though not extensive is still pretty representational. This complementary exhibition, Handle With Care, laid a nicely weighted contextual intro to Tour de Force itself (even the juxtapositioning of titles fitted the philosophic bill.)


gallery 2


Loads of thanks to Exhibition Manager Nat for all her hard work and commitment and to all the staff at MAGNT who made the visit so easy and enjoyable. What a gorgeous outlook the gallery has for sunset openings – perfeck.

Loved Darwin (no hotter than Burma) – think we might have to go back.


laksa brekky at the Parap Market

laksa brekky at the Parap Market

g&t at the yacht club at sunset

g&t at the yacht club at sunset (oops, forgot to take The Poo)


Megsie’s tourist snappies here.

A flash of summer…

27 10 2012

The Gang’s back from a working weekend in sunny Queensland  – Megsie was giving a floortalk last week at the Toowoomba Regional Gallery for Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass while coincidently swinging a side serve of conferencing and an Up Late session of Prado at QAG (both courtesy of Museums and Gallery Services Qld.) Noice.

How fantastic it is to see Brisvegas/Queensland recovered and pumping again. Incredible really (and severe shame on the Newman Liberal government if they think they can take any credit for it.)



Those Up Late evening sessions at QAG are something else, eh – fabulous…



…way groovy (and what an inspired marketing/audience development exercise.)

And of course Toowoomba was a treat, with all sorts of added bonuses – not the least of which being Toowoomba Regional Gallery’s Norman Lindsay Collection…



Meanwhile, conference and exhibition aside it was a fairly laid back little interlude; you know, big nights out with Ned…



[How pleased we are to see that Megsie remains ever faithful. n(Ed)]

Curious sights here.

For all our Canberra readers, we’re not sure what this was about…perhaps it’s the bricks…?



Tour de Force heads south…

15 09 2012

Yep, it’s the latest chapter of…



…this time at…



…the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, where they show…



Anyhoo, it was great to be amongst our old mates again (it’s almost like groundhog day.) And this time, as a serious surprise, dear madly indomitable Richie turned up – fresh from cocktail hour at the Alfred – with a clutch of his devoted coterie for Megsie’s floor talk…



(The Gang’s been following the progress of his soap operatic treatment regime avidly, so seeing him in the flesh was just wild.)

Rodney and the crew at MPRG have done a great job with the install, and yet again it was fabulous to see the work accorded plenty of respectful space. [Yeah, you know what we’re talkin’ about, mutter, mutter, hrumph. n(Ed)]



Granny came along for the ride and had a lovely time mixing a bit of kultcha with a tour of her old haunts.



…and on the way back we swung by the McClelland. All too, too good…



…bar the very typical Melbourne weather.

We had a lovely quiet weekend to round it off. Highlights here.

Tour de Bunbury…

11 07 2012

Honey darlings, the Gang’s not long back from a red-eye to WA (last Friday) for the Tour goes West segment of our favourite travelling glass-o-rama show. Fast and furious it most certainly was, yet fabulous nonetheless.  Megsie was giving a floortalk at the Bunbury Regional Gallery, and what a gorgeous old place….and so pink!!



Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s an old convent. An amazing place (Grace) and of course the main gallery is the old Chapel…



Not many snaps because, as you know, once Megsie gets talking there’s absolutely no stopping her. But we did manage a few of the balconies, etc…



…and we wondered if the Bunbury Theatre Ensemble had ever thought to stage Romeo & Juliet there (we’d travel just to see it – Shakespeare in the Convent, too marvellous for words.)

The only thing we weren’t too keen on was Sister Mary…



…you wouldn’t find us working back late, no way. Last one out would have to be absolutely scared shitless.

Many thanks to Julie and Donna and the lovely peeps at Bunbury who made the trip so comfortable. Even the weather was good. And the digs were sooo cute…



…we felt like we were drifting around the set of a BBC tele-drama.



What a perfectly sweet little interlude.


Tour de Tweed…

27 03 2012

Last Friday the Gang did the airport foxtrot to the Tweed River Regional Gallery for the latest episode of Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass; Megsie being guest speaker at the opening (and giving a floortalk as well.)

What a fabulous facility – though we’d be more than content with something a touch under half the size. And the outlook! Sooo Bega Valley



…we can just picture it up at the Lookout.

Anyhoo, it was a big turnout for both the talk and the opening – which also featured the ‘unveiling’ of Margot Anthony’s portrait by Rob Hannaford. All very spooky given that we’re moving into peak portrait season in a big way back at home (the Shirley Hannan’s getting very close.) It was certainly a real priviledge to meet Margot and Doug…



…what lovely folks they are up there. And what a great job they did with Tour. Brilliant.



Plenty of serious room. Totally cool. More snaps here.

And yet another surprise on the night…



…Deb Cox en famille at dinner.

The only disappointment was Suzi’s absence; she was away on her global inspection of museum-held-artist-studios, in preparation for the Tweed’s accessioning of the delectable Margaret Olley pile.

[The ultimate mission we reckon. How splendid. n(Ed).]

And then it was back on the plane the next morning for Melbourne…



…for a serious fall-about with the l’il bro (no snaps, too busy partying.)  But we can report that we certainly made up for the years of absence (we only see him when he’s over filming something.)



We had a very laid back Sunday, as you do, before Phil took off up-country again and Granny and Megsie slipped into one last drinkie before the old chook’s hip-op the next morning…



At 6am Monday morning we headed off – the Gang to Tulla/Merimbula and Granny to her date with her orthopedic surgeon at the Mercy.

(She’s fine, btw.)

And then there was Townsville…

30 12 2011


A week before Christmas the Gang made a flying visit to the tropical delights of Townsville for the latest episode in the Tour of Tour(de Force.) Megsie was guest speaker at the opening and gave a floor talk the following day to a gratifyingly enthusiastic audience – those Townsvillians totally loved the show and so ‘got’ it.

Who would have thunk it, but Queenslanders are seriously high on the culturazi evolutionary tree these days – in our father’s day that would have been as unimaginable as putting a man on the moon. (And yes, he was a Queenslander, so we are allowed to say such things, being half Queenslanders ourselves.)

The hang was fabulous – the exhibition was given the room and respect it deserved and both Trish and Tom’s DVD’s were projected on the wall (such a polar opposite of CraftACT relegating the latter to a laptop!!) What a joy.


Tour de Force: in case of emergency break glass was in the upstairs gallery  and they had a fabulous touring show from South Australia, Desert Country, on the ground floor. Marvellous.

We had a great time; lightening short but soulfully sweet. Luckily Megsie didn’t go on too much about Alfie and Wally and Darren – we were deep in Jonathon Thurston territory (but he’s one of the Gang’s fave players anyway, so no real drama.) It’s a State of Origin thing. Makes ya proud.



For highlights go here….

Tour de Force: Noosa…

12 11 2011

Last week the Gang airport hopped to Noosa for the latest installment of Tour de Force, and we’re pleased to report that the Noosa Regional Gallery did the artists proud. Great job all round and Trish’s sensitive work was even afforded a small gallery of its own– oh, how marvellous it is when curators ‘get it’.


The show was well received by the punters and it was particularly cool to see Neil’s work hanging back in the very gallery that had given it gestation (during an artist-in-residency in 1998)

Megsie was guest speaker for the opening night and gave an additional powerpoint/floor talk the following day. And while the trip was essentially work-and-no-play, she did manage a glass of sauvignon blanc at the marina adjacent to the Gallery during the hour interlude between plane hopping home. Noice.

More snaps here.

Tour de Force in Gladstone…

26 09 2011

The Gang flew into LNG Central last week for the Tour de Force opening and floor talk at the Gladstone Regional Gallery. As luck might have it the show coincided with the Object/Australian Museum’s touring exhibition Menagerie so, between that and the gallery’s own collection, there were bonus treats in store all round.



Director Pamela Whitlock and her staff were very accommodating and we had an enjoyable, if lightening, visit (not unlike the fly-in-fly-out experience of the town’s general workforce!)

Snaps of lovely peeps and artwork here.

More is mess…

3 08 2011


The Gang hacked a track to Canberra last weekend – Megsie was giving the art forum fringe talk at Craft ACT for Tour de Force. We’d been forewarned (by an alarming number of people) to brace ourselves for the shock of the hang – we’d not made it up for the launch because it had clashed with the install and opening of Atonement in Bega. This was to be our first sighting.




When the exhibition was initially booked back in 2009 at Craft, Jas and Megsie had discussed the fact that Tour de Force needed room – that it wasn’t the run of the mill inanimate object on a plinth kind of show. The work required space and insightful placement; a sensitive hand, a canny eye…And, above all, the object of the exercise was to break out of the relentless bourse mentality of ye olde crafte shoppe.

The understanding was that the exhibition would stand alone. And yes we do know that Craft ordinarily runs to two shows concurrently, but one’s expectation was that on this occasion they would be mindful, surely, of the pre-eminence of the booked exhibition and, if unwilling to hold the line, at least make an effort to exhibit something vaguely complementary, if only in scale.

Sadly not.




What they’ve done is gone and pulled off the curatorial equivalent of seeing how many people can be shoved into a volksie. And rather than feature something innovative and progressive, in keeping with the spirit of Tour de Force, the appended show is the same old chest-thumping conventional offering (as in Canberra-Canberra-Canberra-oi-oi-oi) that they wheel out over and over again ad infinitum – only this time it’s dressed up as ’40 years of Craft ACT practice’. Same peeps, different anniversary. Barmy.








The touring show has been shoved to the back of the room, without even the courtesy of demarcation, with the consequence that the entire hang comes across like the bastard child of Ranamok and Kirra.

What on earth were they thinking?

That marvellous exhibition (Tour) has just been plonked around the back walls with such scant regard to aesthetics and balance that it’s enough to make you weep. Tim’s skull is at crotch level, Deb’s casts are at knee level, Tom’s video is presented on a frigging laptop, and Trish’s animation didn’t make the cut at all. The power of Ian’s work is diminished to a huddle and Jacqu, Nic and Neil are just whacked around whatever wall’s left over by the looks. Not a whisper of visual dialogue survived the install. How can you kill something like that? No narrative, no nuthin’. Totally snuffed.

Both shows have been done a serious disservice here – though we don’t for a moment suggest that this was deliberate. Craft just isn’t up to nuance, obviously – they’ve made an injudicious call and got it wrong. Which is so ironic. Because given that the initial discussion re Tour de Force was kicked off by Barb McConchie back in 2007/8 (when she was Director at Craft ACT) the endgame at this venue is disappointing in the extreme.

Thankfully it’s been the only bummer install on the tour to date. We can’t imagine it happening again – all the following venues are art galleries.

Moore Tom…

9 06 2011

Tom’s been doing some quality gaol time with the Gang this week, in between sharing his vision of life, birds, glass and the universe with the good peeps of the Bega Valley…

It’s been one long round of floortalks…

and drawing workshops…

…with plenty of quality fun had by all…

Such a hoot.

More snaps here.