These three works were part of my very first exhibition at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery in 2004 and are the only pieces to have never found a home. I was never happy with the way they sat on the wall so they've been wrapped in tissue paper and sitting in the studio ever since. I pulled them out this morning and rewired them. It's amazing what a decade of installation knowledge brings.
So here they are, sitting snug and thrilled to be part of Studio Keeping.
Spring delights: Watercolour on curtain: 15cm x 15cm: depth: 9.5cm $120 + postage: Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another one just like it!
You can read more about this series here.
Three.3 Silkscreen print on bedsheets: 9cm x 9cm: $50 + postage: Enquiries: email@example.com
This is one of the first silkscreen prints I ever made, way back in 1998... Printed on the very finest vinyl it's a great example of slightly off-kilter registration... a favourite printmaking technique of mine.
I exhibited another version of this work at my first Warpstanza exhibition titled She is not made entirely of sugar and spice and all things nice. Since then she's been kicking about half finished with a whole load of other renegade prints. She's all tucked in and wall ready now so she can keep an eye on new spaces.
Yep, she's a great Studio Keeper.
If wishes were kisses Silkscreen on vinyl: 18cm x 9cm: $50 + postage: 14cm x 17cm: Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
And another one just like it. You can read all about this series in the post below.
These tiny ones come with a tiny hook on the back so that you can hang them where you like. They are also light enough to be held on the wall with blue tac, which means you can try it out in all the places. And why you're having fun, why not try it upside down, or sideways. The works are painted on discarded bedsheets and were always meant to be patchwork back together, so they come alive when you match them up with other colours in your world.
One.2 Acrylic on bedsheets: 18cm x 9cm: $80 + postage
The series of small works titled One just like it were created as part of my 2011 exhibition Two Inches off the Ground. The works cheekily query nostalgia and how this sensation can be triggered by familiar patterns. Made out of bedsheets and painted with acrylic these small works borrow their title from the words people often use when viewing patterns taken from domestic spaces they have known.
Ahhhh, they say, I’m sure we had One just like it.
Each piece is pocket sized, intimate peeks at a material that would have once rubbed up against a dreaming body, or two. The small format allowed the works to be easily transported, and painted in different locations, with little mess or planning. This was important at the time as many of the pieces were painted beside hospital beds, while my lover was undergoing treatment for cancer.
I began one hundred of these tiny pieces with the intention of installing them in a double bed sheet sized space on the wall. I finished only ten. The exhibition wasn’t long after his death and I was stuck in a perfection loop, painting those ten over and over again. The rest got packed away in a box and hidden with the other unfinished things, in the studio.
I no longer plan to finish them all. Some are close; some just need a way to hang on the wall. I'm happy for some of them to follow me in their unfinished-ness forever, reminding me of my human-ness. For they are wonderful remnants of human-ness, tiny rose covered fragments of intimacy. Preserved for all time on the very fabric that catches the slipperiness of two, whilst also gently shielding our sleeping bodies.
This one, I think, is ready for more.
One.1 Acrylic on bedsheets: 18cm x 9cm: $80 + postage
Enquiries to email@example.com
Linoleum and beads on board: 14cm x 17cm: $80 + postage = SOLD
I made this piece last week whilst sorting through the many things stored in studio, and dreaming ways to keep the space. I never discard any linoleum that comes my way. It's hard to find these days so every sliver feels precious. Linoleum Leap is a very new work made from some of the old things stored in the studio at the top of the Mill. I have piles of linoleum up there and the idea of dragging it down the stairs again and finding some other place for it seems impossible. I feel the only way to get through these piles of things is by transforming them into other things, and moving them out... one tiny Linoleum Leap at a time.
When I first moved to Bathurst I was desperate for studio space. I lived in a tiny lavender flavored cottage on Devonshire Lane with my new tortishell cat and a strange collection of art making things. I’d nurtured a talent for collecting art making things. First there is one stitch, handkerchief, linoleum sample, knitting needle… then there are one hundred. As art making and I breathed together, the tiny cottage shrank. I was making at a furious pace and thought, if I can make all this in a tiny space, imagine what I could make in an enormous space.
So I walked town looking for space, talking about space, asking about space. I worked at the local library and one day a paint speckled guy told me he had space and invited me to look. The space was just down the road, a lunch break walk away. The day dripped with summer and I was wearing my light blue work shirt. The shirt was sweat activated and turned dark blue on contact with mild exertion. I stood brazenly in my splotched blueness in the Tremain Mill car park and yelled his name up to the third floor window so he would let me in.
It was an amazing space, heavy with the smell of oil paint and making. I remember thinking how strange. How strange that I made things in a tiny cottage just over there and never realised that one block away and three flights up, there was another human also making things. I looked down at my leaking blue work shirt and wondered if I would leave a trace in this space. That was almost a decade ago and we were strangers then. In the years that followed we moved into a larger cottage together. I made art at home; he made art at the mill. Our lives were art filled.
I still call that space Steve’s, even though the lease has been in my name for four years. It’s a big, fantastic space filled with wonderful things. It’s the space I dreamed of when I first moved to Bathurst, a space for making enormous things. I learnt many simple truths when Steve died. I learnt that space doesn’t make art. And so each year I decide to move out of the studio. It is greedy with my money and taunts me during the hours I spend working for a local youth organization. I don’t go there for months, then I do and I’m back in that space that still has a trace of me. Brazen shaped and splotched with blue.
I didn’t make art after Steve died. Time swept around me and I stood very still, hardly breathing. I’d lost my shape and when I looked down my trace was only just visible. I’m making again now, the pace fuelled by those years of stillness. The two projects I’m working on would benefit from an enormous space, and whilst the part of my thinking that attempts numerical rationale knows that keeping that space is not possible I can’t leave that space just yet. I can't leave because I haven't finished what we started.
When Steve died he left the contents of his studio to me. Much of the finished work has now been gifted to his family but there are vast quantities of work in progress. These pieces were created for something enormous and wonderful. It is this work that I now plan to resolve, and I can’t imagine doing it without that space. The proposed work will be exhibited at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery for six weeks in 2016.
I too have hundreds of finished and unfinished works in the studio. I have nowhere for them to go if I move out. It makes sense to see if they can be the way I keep this space. They were not made to live in boxes, wrapped in bubbles. They were made to live on other’s walls, in their homes, next to where they eat and sleep, bicker and love. Each week I will choose one of these works and post it here, for sale. And in this way I hope to keep the studio. My current lease runs out in February 2015, so I have a tiny bit of time up my sleeve... and a whole lot of love. Hope to share it with you.
Welcome to Studio Keeping.
Studio Keeping: A small project to keep a big space. Funds raised through this initiative will go directly to keeping the third floor of Tremain Mill as a studio space while Karen works through the estate of deceased artist Steve Kirby. This project will culminate in a very special art making experience at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery in 2016.