Festival in Melbourne celebrates old school photography

artists, spaces

16 May 2017
photograph by Ross Coulter

Ross Coulter: Audience

Having photography as my professional background, the photographic image is a passion for me.

In the world of digital photography, phone images and Instagram, I see photography as a different medium.

The Festival of Photography, currently on at NGV International and NGV Australia, Federation Square, is a celebration of the "old school" photography, with five artists having solo exhibitions:

The festival celebrates artists who are at different levels in their careers and presents photography in different ways – from the portrait to collage, to performance, to the collection of the photograph.

photograph by Ross Coulter

Ross Coulter: Audience

I was fortunate to participate in Ross Coulter's exhibition Audience (2013–2016).

Audience is a photographic series that documented members of the local art community in empty galleries and museums. The invited members were instructed to imagine viewing a performance art event. To shoot in an empty space takes organisation and time, as it is not often a gallery is empty even once an exhibition has come to a close. The next exhibition is rolling in and work is being wrapped to go to a new home.

It was a pleasure to be part of Ross's exhibition and three-year project.

Festival of Photography (free entry)

NGV Australia
Federation Square
Daily, 10am to 5pm

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road
Daily, 10am to 5pm


Youth and art in Melbourne: insights, honesty and talent

spaces, Melbourne tours

31 March 2017
Artwork by Meg Tully, Sacred Heart Girls' College, Oakleigh

Meg Tully
Observation (2016)
digital type C photograph
Sacred Heart Girls' College, Oakleigh

This week in Melbourne was all about school groups, with year 9 students flooding the CBD as part of the City Week program. walk-to-art was in the action taking lovely girls from Sienna College on tour.

It is so much fun having a banter and sharing knowledge with students who are excited to discover, share and learn. It is always refreshing to have the insights and honesty of the youth, and it is also a challenge to have them stop, look and participate before their smart phone appears!

I am passionate about educating the wider audience and making art accessible to all, regardless of age and knowledge.

Speaking of students, Top Arts 2017 is now open at the National Gallery of Victoria Australia (Federation Square). This exhibition presents exceptional work from students who have completed Art or Studio Arts as part of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).

Artwork by Mary Vlachos, Overnewton Anglican Community College, Keilor

Mary Vlachos
Collins St 1960 (2016)
brush and ink and watercolour
44.7 x 52.1 cm (framed)
Overnewton Anglican Community College, Keilor

This is a great opportunity for these young emerging artists (including two highlights featured in this post) to exhibit at the NGV and have a large and varied audience view their works.

What a way to start of your artistic career!

Top Arts 2017
NGV Australia
Federation Square
Ground level, NGV Design Studio
Until 16 July
Daily, 10am to 5pm
Free entry




walk-to-art on Instagram: What my eye picks up along the way

artists, Melbourne tours, New York tours, Venice tours

28 February 2017

walk-to-art is finally on Instagram!

Screen shot of an Instagram post by artist Shepard Fairey featuring Ai Weiwei

Shepard Fairey's post on Instagram (click image to view it in full)

After many conversations with friends and tour participants asking "why are you not on Instagram", I finally put the app on my phone.

I always prefer to see art work in the flesh and am always hesitant to view an exhibition online. However, it seems that the "hash tagging" has become rather important to today's way of experiencing everything.

Instagram has also become a way to archive works, reach an international audience, international curators and, of course, buyers and collectors who don't have the time to visit a show. Some artists use the platform to maintain a public profile and push the boundaries of censorship.

Ai Weiwei is an excellent example. Weiwei (@aiww) knows how to use the platform better than most, going beyond self-promotion to reveal the true power of social media.

Screen shot of an Instagram post by artist Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey's post on Instagram (click image to view it in full)

Having travelled back and forth from New York for the last 10 years, I am a fan of Shepard Fairey's murals and past-ups. Fairey (@obeygiant) is also political and uses the platform to reach a wider audience, but shares links to works by other artists as well – it's a global community.

So walk-to-art's Instagram (@walktoart) will be about what my eye picks up along the way. Whether I am in Melbourne walking the streets, visiting a studio, an art opening or on tour. Or maybe from the streets of New York to the magical lanes in Venice to the hidden bars for a cheeky glass of prosecco or two!


Bronwyn Oliver: technique, concept, beauty and elegant detail

artists, spaces

27 January 2017
Bronwyn Oliver's sculpture at Tarrawarra Museum of Art

I often have lovely, creative people from overseas staying with me and it's always a great excuse to head out of town for the weekend.

Last Sunday was a perfect day to drive to Tarrawarra Museum of Art in Healesville to view the exhibition "The Sculpture of Bronwyn Oliver", curated by Julie Ewington.

Bronwyn Oliver (1959–2006) was one of the most significant Australian sculptors. This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of 50 key works, from the mid-1980s to the final solo exhibition in 2006.

It is often said that artists need to be in their own bubble to create such intense, delicate and beautiful works. Those who have worked with me often laugh at my continual use of the term "layers" – I search for technique, concept, beauty and elegant detail. Bronwyn Oliver's sculptures hold all of those layers; her work is visual poetry.

Oliver's distinctive organic metal sculptures, often inspired by nature, are intricate designs of transparent copper webbing. They are fluid, yet not innocent rendering the unforeseen forces of nature.

Her most famous works include "Magnolia" and "Palm", both of which sit in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney and Vine, which was commissioned by The Hilton Hotel in Sydney. It is among the longest sculptures in the country and the largest work that Oliver created at 16.5m long.

Bronwyn Oliver's sculpture at Tarrawarra Museum of Art

"When the ideas, the formal elements and the medium all work together, a sculpture will 'sing' with a kind of rightness. It takes on a life, a presence, which is removed from this world. It belongs to a mythical other life... This rightness isn't perfection. The sculpture might be a little sinister, or perhaps playful, or tense. Myths contain all kinds of variations in their pantheon." Bronwyn Oliver

Bronwyn sadly took her own life at the age of 47 just before her 11th solo exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery in Sydney. Oliver was an intensely private person with a strict work ethic broken only for exercise and meals. Oliver never wore gloves, protective clothing or glasses. Even though she had suffered depression for most of her life, after her death naturopaths felt Bronwyn was very ill from copper toxicity. Oliver's hair contained eight times the normal/healthy levels of copper, and toxic levels of tin, nickel, iron, cobalt and chromium.

"The Sculpture of Bronwyn Oliver", curated by Julie Ewington, is on until the 5 February 2017.