Red bricked blocks of flats: ancient Chinese pattern, concrete-formed. Voluptuous, pre-historic succulents, thorns and long stalked flowers, dominating the metres squared. Pissing cherubs. A wooden beamed verandah roof – Brancusi’s peasant birthplace…
Baroque, layered wrought iron, in pink and white. Small, pre-christian markings, up high, insignificant? A doll’s house, colossal,
two teetering storeys leaning toward the footpath, baptismal font there, just in case.
Someone’s Tudor dream, (stables and country idyll) out the back. A fibro, jutting out into a dry, forgotten plot, blinds firmly, permanently shut to the open air. Next door, the oasis: palm fronds swing, drooping bougainvilleas, deep verandah, brick and not going anywhere.
Suburban Kingdoms, I love you.
Chrissie Ianssen spent 2009 working in the Parramatta Artist Studios.
And why should she pretend that’s all she’s done: she also has worked at several paying jobs: teaching drawing to architecture students at UNSW, doing sleepovers in group homes supporting people with intellectual disabilities, filling websites with content, designing book covers for her mother. She has a young child and her partner is in the middle of a PHD.
In 2009 she was commissioned to develop a multimedia collaborative piece, (Sub)Urban Phrases, with choreographer Kevin Privett, which was based on the ‘urban body’ and performed at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. For this she built a raft, and filmed a dancer floating down the Parramatta River. Also for projection was a ‘pan’ of slides across a 6 metre wide screen, a low-fi immersion into firstly a corporate space, and then a domestic space.
Her solo work, however, currently consists of painting on cut marine ply, and focuses on ubiquitous patterns and plant life found throughout front yards in Sydney’s western suburbs
Image: Adrian McDonald, Gestell Series (Vermillion), 2009,
Flashe on Claybord, 76cm x 76cm
My painting functions as a meditation on the condition of perplexity that characterises searching in the context of abstract art, a context that is, at least ostensibly, unconditional. A relationship between the ideal and the real is central to this meditation.
Adrian McDonald is currently a PhD candidate at Sydney College of the Arts under the supervision of Professor Richard Dunn.
For more information visit: www.adrianmcdonald.com
Image: Melody Willis, ‘El Toro’ 2008
digital photograph, 20.5 x 30cm
Everything Must Go
Two days at a garage sale & backyard festival in Narrabeen. Just a small test over summer of painting's capacity to resurrect a mood.
Featuring The Blind Minotaur, Bodi Palava, Captain Kickarse and the Awesomes, The Vollard Suite, Honky Tonk, Hoi Polloi, and the Bhagwan Rajneesh Colour Spectrum. Accompanied by the smell of seagrass and incinerators.
Thank you Sol & Jacqui.
Melody Willis was a recipient of an Asialink Residency to Beijing in 2008*. Some years earlier, the Freedman Foundation Scholarship took her to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona where she poured slabs of concrete and shared frugal soup with architectural visionary Paolo Soleri. Her last exhibition was at the National Art School Gallery, Sydney in 2009 where she was artist in residence.
* recommended reading: The China Reader. Ed. O. Schell & D. Shambaugh. Vintage 1999.