Rachel Whiteread

English artist who works with casting, often displaying the first cast itself. Effectively the negative space inside.

Famously giant cast of a inside of a house.


Rachel Whiteread.JPG

https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2018/rachel-whiteread.html   Viewed 28 July 2020

This artist uses lots of objects from the everyday and represent yet another way of looking at objects and the spaces in objects and to this end suits a lot of the work I do.

I’d like to make another cast or mould out of clay or polyclay of an everyday object that nonetheless has an evocative component.

rachel whiteread2

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/whiteread-untitled-stairs-t07939     Viewed 28 July 2020

Stairs are actually turned on their side but you can see how this sort of work gives an alternate view of the commonplace.

Black dog test layout

Black dog layout test.jpg

I have manipulated a photo of my painting in photoshop and then made masks and stencils out of each element with a view to creating a new work with solarfast exposed under stencils. I’m hoping this will give me some sharper edges, some serendipitous marks and so complex mixing of colours.

In the process I decided to try and expand the size of the work and used the biggest incarnation of each element that would fit on a A4 sheet for ease of printing and laminating. As a consequence the dog is strikingly larger than in the first painting but I thought that this actually works. As a metaphor for depression it is appropriate to have the dog overwhelming the man.

re-member at Contemporary Art Tasmania

https://allevents.in/hobart/opening-re-member-2020-cat-curatorial-mentorship-exhibition/200019898807144    Viewed 26 July 2020       I would have used CAT website to access this but it was down.

re-member is about imagining across the cracks, filling in the gaps and stringing these fragments together.

Artists know how to make, and with that tactile knowledge comes the understanding that things can also be un-made. Artists are able to collect and reckon with residue from the past through assembling, visualising, performing and vocalising. In doing so they are un-making history, they are refocusing attention on alternative stories and reinvigorating what has been lost.
– Caitlin Fargher, re-member catalogue essay


Went to this exhibition on Friday night. Quite a lot of people there and not very relaxing in this COVID time.

re-member at CAT 24 July 2020.jpg

This work appeared to be like a lump of old clay dirt with some rusted metal and old wallpaper embedded in it and moss growing out of it.

Loved the potential of this – assembling, melding and growing your own artwork.

Gregory T Wilkins


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Gregory Wilkins: Varanasi, India: Portrait Number 1, 2017, Colour photography, acrylic paint, ink, graphite, embroidery thread, sewing thread, yarn, collage on canvas

https://www.textileartist.org/gregory-wilkins-finding-purpose-through-embroidered-collage    Viewed 25 July 2020

Gregory Wilkins is an American artist who uses photographs, paint and stitch to create his works. I am lucky enough to be part of Textile artist.org stitch club which brings me mini workshops led by new textile artists three times per month. Last week was Gregory Wilkins.

It’s inspiring for me to see an artist working with photography to guide the work but with added texture and formal elements from both paint and stitch.

Starting with a photograph printed on fabric and building up from there is something I’ve done in the past and it gives me structure to work from and avoids jarring misproportions if that was not my intention. Starting with a blank page is very difficult for me and I enjoy the tweaking rather than the blocking in of the foundation.

I will definitely look at trying something with a fabric photo as base in the future.

I would like to try it with my current image but I need a male body to photograph on the bed and my partner just can’t be convinced. There are dogs next door I could ask to borrow for a photo. I don’t like to use stock photos. I was considering trying to manipulate the image I’ve been given to create a prone figure but not sure how well that would work. Still another thing to try.


Painting 2B week two

Lecture was on self portrait work. Next project relates to self.  

Artist at work – paintings showing the artist working on a painting, Eg. Lucien Freud – Painter Working.

Artist as other – Artist playing another role. Self fashioning Eg. Cindy Sherman – History portraits

The self as subject matter – Eg. Phillip Akkerman self portraits from 1981 onwards.

William Utermohlen


https://www.williamutermohlen.org/index.php/11-artwork/self-portraits/22-self-portraits#self-portraits      Viewed 23 July 2020

This portrait was painted after he had been diagnosed with dementia that had been slowly coming on in the years prior to this.

So expressive with enough detail but bold lines, jarring colour and a sense of obliteration with the grey overlay to the face.

Did a couple of extra layers on my sketch painting and will probably stop there or might try and use bleach to put a bit of a rim of light along the top of the body. More to see if bleach will work rather than anything else. The fabric is tussah silk though so I better be cautious. Wondering how I can present my paintings though. I’d like to maybe add a bit of stitch. Or maybe that’s not necessary for this unit. This work is a bit representational. Don’t like that as much. Want to try making an evocative work but not as representational. Going to try using layers of stencils and painting.

Painting 2 B: Story/poem about my photo and phrase

Project one painting photos

It was so warm and sunny


I have started by looking for the stock image on the dreamstime website to see what it’s caption was. The result was The man with an imperious look and the description was man isolated over white background.

Looked at a large number of arrogant looking young men in leather jackets before I noticed the ID number on the side of the photo. 🙂

Lets start by describing the image to get some words started:

Young man posing against a white background, wearing a black leather jacket and looking directly into camera down his nose. Lips closed fairly tightly and almost slightly pursed. Two piercings in his left ear. Previously trendy haircut but not looking like it has lots of product. Cleanshaven, grey eyes, brown hair. Looks like he may not have a shirt under his jacket. Look is slightly dated.

Let’s call him Nathan – Its a slightly dated name.

Nathan was a model. He was 28 when when this photo was taken in 2005. He was at the peak of his career modelling for catalogues. The arrogant look came naturally to him. He thought it was sexy but the truth was that it a little too cold for a Kmart catalogue.  Modelling work slowly dried up for Nathan and he moved on to pulling drinks in a bar. He wasn’t happy with this but he needed money. The look changed to one more resembling resentment. Life wasn’t quite turning out how he expected. He was alone except for his dog Scruff. But Scruff made Nathan smile and forget his fading dreams for a while.

Scruff loved to walk and Nathan accommodated him most days before he went to work at the bar in North Melbourne. They walked the streets together and appreciated the trees partially obscuring the public housing towers. Nathan was glad he didn’t live in those. He lived in a terrace house where the sun streamed in a front window on to his bed in the morning. Scruff slept on the bed and other times gazed out the window longingly.

Then the world changed. At 43 Nathan was the first to lose his job when the bar closed because of restrictions. The truth is he was already a bit old for that job and the managers used the restrictions to cut him loose. He’d been a bit short with customers and some of the younger female staff found him a bit creepy.

Nathan had already been struggling. When he looked in the mirror he still envisioned the young, sultry model rather than the middle aged barman. And now to be an unemployed middle aged barman living alone with his dog…. At first he tried to keep up with activities within the range of the pandemic restriction. He walked Scruff each day for exercise and went shopping at the supermarket. He zoomed with friends, mostly now married admittedly, and he commiserated with his family over the phone. He’d never been one much for family but his Mum was old and afraid now and to his credit he did chat with her and take some groceries to her once or twice.

Thankfully with no partner or kids he had managed to pay off his house so JobSeeker only had to stretch to food and utilities. Life was cheaper anyway because there was nowhere to go out and he no longer cared about fancy clothes. Days were spent in tracksuit pants and ugg boots watching Netflix and drinking beer.

After the initial flurry of drama and anxiety surrounding the pandemic, Nathan found that he was feeling simple flat and uninterested. He reduced the number of walks with Scruff and slept in until lunchtime. Sometimes he didn’t bother showering because, let’s face it, you can’t smell over zoom, and anyway those calls had dropped off. Sometimes he didn’t speak to anyone the whole day. He ate in bed and let the rubbish pile up.

Scruff was loyal, he stayed with Nathan and licked his hand. Sometimes he barked to try and get Nathan out of bed. But Nathan just wanted to sleep. In sleep he found escape. Outside it was so warm and sunny, but inside Nathan was cold to the core.


Man lying on a bed beneath a window showing a sunny day outside. Black dog sitting on his chest and looking out the window. Man has eyes closed and is pale, slightly unnaturally so and a bit blue. Posture is a bit awkward or splayed out. Want to suggest that he might be dead or sleeping. Day outside is red and yellow. Bed is messy and there is rubbish around.

Trouble is I will struggle to render this image. Maybe I can take some photos and transfer them on to fabric first and then paint over that? ? some sort of collage.

Painting progress photo.jpg

Just mapping out a possible layout for the painting. Very difficult to work out what you’re doing wet all I can see with this light sensitive dye is that the fabric gets wet with a bit of yellow colour. Have to rely on what I know of colour mixing without getting the feedback of seeing it.

This first attempt is all painting but I think I could get better imagery if I used masks to manipulate the subjects better – working outside and masking figure for example and then working into figure. Will give me sharper edges and a different look.




Photography – Week Two

Watched a video of Errol Morris talking – always an elephant just outside the frame.

Elimination from photo is never visible.

Documentary to possibly watch – Gates of Heaven – on you tube.

Werner Herzog – film maker – watched Werner Herzog eats his shoe

We don’t have adequate images.

Ambiguity – multiple potential meanings.

Image assemblies:

Series, sequence, survey and story


Set of related artworks with a common title.


Images in a particular order which may be chronological, temporal, spatial.

Ordered, logical, progressive/regressive

Suits process oriented approaches – ? showing the development of an image in sequence.


Exploration of a subject – breadth or depth.

Taxonomy – a system for naming and organizing things, especially plants and animals, into groups that share similar qualities    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/taxonomy    Viewed 21 July 2020


Narrative exploration of a subject

Pat Brassington

Had a look at The Pressings – A set of 10 diptyches arranged to look like they are in a book or a locket that could be closed with the faces of the images together.

Pat Brassington.JPG

http://www.stillsgallery.com.au/artists/brassington/index.php?obj_id=series&nav=18     Viewed 21 July 2020

It is a series of diptyches that are related under a common title, format and colour scheme. Presumably there are a few levels on which the title is appropriate for all images – the images have a generally flat rather than three D look. In the image above you can see the the flowers could be pressed flat and that the fabric is placed on a flat plane and not appearing to follow the body contours.

The images appear to be suggesting they could be folded together or pressed together

Martin also mentioned the pressings of wine – the left overs.

The diptych format encourages you to look firstly at the relationships between the two images of the diptych and secondarily look at the relationships between the diptychs in the series.

If the 20 images were arranged differently, out of diptych format, they could potentially be arranged to tell a story or sequence through time.

I find these images vaguely disturbing. The body ones are a bit like the informe – obviously flesh but not so obvious the context or even part of the body at first glance. They are cold images with a flash of red the cuts across them rather than warming them up.

Derwent Project: 

David Stephenson and Martin Walch

Multi year project collecting data and imagery around the Derwent River system and presenting this in video and still format showing the passage of time, river height, seasons, movement of objects from various locations along the length of the river.

One interesting presentation involved a still with slivers of time across a 24 hour period. So the whole day was represented travelling across the image from left to right. Camera position was static taking photos every 5 mins and then the photo was assembled from midnight to midnight only showing a sliver of the appropriate photo in its position as it read from left to right. Hard to explain but hopefully I understand my own explanation.

At a tangent to this I have a quilt in progress made up of slivers of photos on fabric of different colours and I was trying to rearrange these month by month by colour where each colour represents my emotional state of play in regard to my son for that month. So cool grief was blue and anxiety and fear yellow and red. Sort of similar sliver construction. Must get it finished.


Have to think how my images are going to be arranged. Currently I’m working on the simple diptych and triptych for the hurdle task but wanting to print on fabric, and a quilting background, means that I could assemble in a variety of ways, including cutting up to collage and to rearrange in sequence or story. Sort of an analogue version of the computer arrangements in the Derwent project . 🙂






Covid toes

Yesterday I took photos for a first idea for a triptych.

Had to re edit the feet photo so it may not be completely accurate to my actual transparency. Learnt my lesson there – didn’t save my photos after printing.

I used the idea of three associated words and chose feet, socks, ugg boots.

The photos are not the original photos but edited with a view to making transparencies to print on fabric. I plan to print in black and white with solar fast as I can only make a black and white transparency. Then I’ll hand colour a few points in red to resonate with the toe nail polish.

This work is referencing the changes that have come about in this time. Fancy shoes are gone, most days are spent in hand made socks and ugg boots. My feet have become flatter and dry.  Ugg boots are worn and stained. Socks are stretched and thread has come loose.  Only remnants of precovid times is my chipped and grown out nail polish from a beauty salon gift redeemed months ago, when such things were still possible.

Covid toes actually also refers to a actual condition – red lesions on the feet, possibly in response to endothelial vascular damage.

Article below from Science Daily :

Wiley. “Study supports link between COVID-19 and ‘COVID Toes’.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200702113716.htm>.
Viewed 20 July 2020

Study supports link between COVID-19 and ‘COVID Toes’

July 2, 2020
A new study provides evidence supporting a link between ‘COVID toes’ — red sores or lesions on the feet and hands in children and young adults — and COVID-19.

There’s considerable controversy over whether “COVID toes” — red sores or lesions on the feet and hands in children and young adults — are truly caused by COVID-19. A new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology provides evidence in support of the link.

In most cases, affected individuals test negative with traditional COVID-19 tests involving throat swabs and measurements of circulating antibodies, but this study’s investigators found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was present in skin biopsies in children with symptoms of COVID toes, despite negative results from traditional tests.

Analyses detected the virus in skin’s blood vessel endothelial cells, as well as in the sweat glands. Electron microscopy in one biopsy also found evidence of viral particles within endothelial cells.

“Our findings support a causal relation of SARS-CoV-2 with COVID toes. Endothelial damage induced by the virus could be the key mechanism causing these lesions,” said lead author Isabel Colmenero, MD, of Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús, in Spain. “Furthermore, vascular damage could also explain some clinical features seen in patients with severe COVID-19.”


My first attempt. This is 13 inches x 19 inches which is the size of my biggest transparency. It is reversed because I inadvertently put emulsion down. There is also a lot of random artefact. I painted the dye on the back and then put the lot into a frame. This was actually black but is low contrast as usual and colour separation. I think I will try dye on the front next time and transparency on top and expose no frame. This exposure was 3 hours but I think I’ve taken it a bit far. It’s also quite dilute for black. I painted water on first but it’s meant to be able to stand 1:1 water to dye. Perhaps water on the back first meant it acted as a bit of a resist to the dye getting through to the front.

One good thing is the toenails. Just painted them with straight dye on to dry fabric and exposed. Very happy with that intensity of colour.


Michelle Piergoelam

This artist has produced art photography books with text and photos. The one that I looked at online tells a personal story of her near drowning in poetry and photos.

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I heard water holds a secret

https://www.michellepiergoelam.com/projects/i-heard-water-holds-a-secret        Viewed 19 July 2020

I found this artist in a grouping of 2020 Lenscratch student prize entrants

I was interested to see that a lot of photos are clearly contrived. They are not snaps but are partially constructed scenes that are then photographed. I am interested in this for my work as I would like my imagery to be emotive or have a background narrative. I also like using words associated with my imagery. Previously I have added text to my actual imagery but I’m now thinking of having text separate but guiding the imagery. So start with text like a haiku or a story and then construct imagery around that. I’m even wondering about making objects in other media to suit my ultimate image.

My work was already about the everyday and this covid situation really only contributes to that, leaving so many of us trapped in our houses surrounded by the things we have brought into our homes over a lifetime. Forced to look again at all our old stuff and evaluate our lives to date.

Yue Minjun

Yue Minjun.JPG

http://www.artnet.com/artists/yue-minjun/armed-forces-a-R843Xlb6TPc8Dv1-5Cx1nw2    Viewed 17 July 2020

Interesting artist mentioned in class yesterday that I had never heard of.

Seemingly inappropriately grinning faces highlight conflict between the setting and affect. Creepy and defiant at the same time. Presumably born out of living under a more oppressive regime. His own website was blocked by China too when I tried to go to it.