I Found it at the Dock

Barbara Rowe artist and Melburnian Docklands resident, uses material found throughout the Docklands area for her art. Rowe has also taken inspiration from the immediate surrounds to produce these woven forms.

  • Harbour Ball (2012-13) palm inflorescence. Found: Harbour Esplanade. Technique: random weave
  • Central Line (2014) nylon fishing line and driftwood. Found: Central Pier. Technique: knitted. (not pictured).
  • Jellyfish (2010) flax. Found: Etihad Stadium. Technique: twined. Inspired by jellyfish seen throughout the Docklands waterways.

Art display by Barbara Rowe at the Docklands Library aka ‘The Dock’, Melbourne.

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Fictitious Realities are No Hi-Jinks

  • Above: Untitled “Babies” (2012), silicone, pigment, resin and human hair. (36 cm x 36 cm x1 8 cm) Courtesy of artist and Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney.
  • Also: “The Hanging Man” (2005), silicone, fibreglass, aluminium, human hair, pigments (140 cm x 52 cm x 28 cm) Collection of McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Victoria.

Sam Jinks (Born 1973 in Bendigo, Victoria) is a self-taught artist. After working as a commercial illustrator, he later worked on props and then stop-motion animation for TV and film.

  • By the 199os he was specialising in special effects and prosthetic makeup for the film industry.
  • Through this association he became familiar with high-tech professional materials and techniques that he developed and later used in his art.

Jinks uses realism to create Fictitious Realities involving the human body where his ability to render precise detail entices the viewer into closer inspection and identification with the humanity of his creations.

These works were exhibited at the Bayside City Council Fictitious Realities art exhibition.

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Old Spoke – For Oksep Pokes

OKSEP street art may still be found around Melbourne’s streets and lane-ways. His work is extremely dark and somewhat disturbing.

  • He has borrowed upon Wild Man and has re-imagined it with one of his dark and ghostly characters, grasping him on the thigh, shouting Oksep!
  • See also my previous post “Compare the Pair: This is Wild Man” where Oksep embraces Ron Mueck’s naked piece.

What Oksep really means is unclear. It could be the name of the street artist, or according to LookDef Oksep (Verb) is the part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence. Or it could be an acronym for Pesko, Spokes or Pokes. Who knows? However, further examples of his street art can be viewed on Street Freak site on Flickr.

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All the Camp Dogs Sing This Song

  • Ku (2012) [Natural ochres with acrylic binder on milkwood] by Garry Namponan; and
  • Ku (2012) [Natural ochres and charcoal with acrylic binder on milkwood] by Roderick Yunkaporta.

Garry Namponan (born 1960+) is a Ku (camp dog) sculpture artist, home is at Aurukun, on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula. Namponan learned his art from his father Angus who also did bark painting. Currently Garry and his brothers are learning carving from Uncle Roderick Yunkaporta (born 1948+). The Aurukun artists work across a range of media including sculpture, printmaking, book illustration and painting.

Namponan studied art at the Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Northern Territory in the early 1980s and is one of the leading carvers of the Wik and Kugu Art and Craft Centre at Aurukun. His work has been in demand at exhibitions around Australia and he is proud that his younger brothers Leigh, Bevan and Lex, are following his artistic pursuits.

  • Jamu “Camp dog” (2001) – [Pandanus fibre, paperbark, feathers, earth pigments and glass, National Gallery of Victoria], by Lena Yarinkura (Rembarrnga artist, born c. 1961 near Maningrida).

Jamu (dogs) hold special practical significance for Rembarrnga women of Central Arnhem Land, as the artist explains: ‘The men used to go hunting with a spear and the women with a dog. If the men didn’t catch a kangaroo, the women would catch a goanna. If there were neither kangaroo nor goanna then they would eat traditional bush food such as sugarbag, lily root and yam’.

“Great kudos to Ku dogs – and Jamu dogs too!”

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Suggett | I’m Going Down the Corridor via an Ex-Goods Repository

Colin Suggett (Born 1945 in Warrnambool) is a mixed media artist who manipulates perceptions of reality with his miniaturized mixed-media models and tableaux that epitomize and parody contemporary technology and its intrusion into modern culture. Working since the 197os, Suggett addresses big ideas on a small scale using kinetic and trompe l’oeil effects, which engage and invite the viewer into his fictitious Lilliputian worlds.

His animated machines and figures are constructed with superb technical competency, employing robotic elements, lights and sound to create grand illusions that are Fictitious Realities on a small scale. These three items were part of Fictitious Realities exhibition (1 July – 3 September 2017) at the Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre.


  • In Corridor  (2003) – [Plastic, glass, fibreglass, aluminium, steel, paint, electrical components, (80 cm x 250 cm x 56 cm) Collection of McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Victoria], a naked Dantesque everyman bereft of social identity and protection sits below a ticking clock in a cold utilitarian corridor between two lifts. He is in limbo at one minute to midnight, waiting for the arrival of a lift; will it be for the journey down to purgatory or his ascension to salvation?
  • Ex Goods Repository (Kinetic, 2017) – [Plastic, glass, metal, wood, paint, silicone, electronic/mechanical components (160 cm x 100.50 cm) Collection of artist]. Suggett presents a commentary on human needs over the ages, to create different gods; and by implication, how the procession of gods reflects on our present spiritual beliefs. The viewer encounters a ‘repository’’ a pseudo-scientific containment vault for hazardous materials. Within which sits a small elaborately ornate box (god box). Seemingly at random, an external red light on the vault flashes a red warning and the god box fractures, emitting an intense white light before returning to an inert state.
  • Going Down (Kinetic, 2008) – [Wood, metal, clay, paint, fabric, plastic, electrical/mechanical components (155 cm x 114 cm x 25 cm) Collection of artist]. Going Down was produced at the time of the global financial crisis and presents a critique of contemporary materialism.

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A Swine Young Family

“The Young Family” (silicone, acrylic, human hair, leather and timber) by Patricia Piccinini. (Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria.)

“The Young Family” features an aged, sow-like mother laying on her side with a litter of suckling pups; as an archetypal maternal scene. Her expression is world-weary and sympathetic. The eyes and skin of the mother seem very human, but she has a hairy back and hands of a primate; while her snout, long floppy ears and tail stub seem almost porcine. she has  a human demenour and maternal generosity – Piccinini calls her ‘beautiful’ saying she is not threatening, but a face you could love and a face in love with her family.

About the Artist: Patricia Piccinini (born in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1965) arrived in Australia in 1972. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1991. In 2014, she received the Artist Award from the Melbourne Art Foundation’s Awards for  Visual Arts.

  • Piccinini is one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists whose digital photographs, 3D forms and video installations creatively explore what is real or imaginary in this age of digital enhancement and scientific genetic engineering.
  • Her works question nature and possible outcomes in experimental biotechnology and its potential impact on society.  The art forms present hybrid, almost mythological creatures; which are often grotesque and uncanny in appearance.
  • Despite their strangeness and artificiality they are convincingly real and imbued with a touching ‘human’ vulnerability that elicits direct empathy from the observer.

Her most recent exhibition ‘Curious Affection‘ was held at the Gallery of Modern Art Queensland (24 March 1918 – 5 August 2018).

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Maersk | Warning: May Contain Traces of Smart Art

The cargo painting by artist Jeff Smart is called Study for Containers and Silos at Zivorno (1990), oil on board (41 cm x 53 cm).

Jeff Smart (Full name: Frank Jeffrey Edson Smart), was born in Adelaide on 26 July 1921. An expatriate Australian painter, he is known for his precision and depictions of urban landscapes that are ‘full of private jokes and playful allusions’. Smart lived in Tuscany for 40 years until his death from renal failure in Arezzo, on 20 June 2013, aged 91. For further information see my earlier post on Smart’s use of crates in art.

  • Smart once made the remark that he enjoyed spending time amidst the ambience of commercial ports and docks. He had a passion for sketching and photographing shipping containers, structures and sea-bound freight but occasionally would get into a scrape when a dockworker inquired: ‘What are you doing?

I think of this artwork every time I pass the docks and see the variety of international shipping containers appear, disappear and reappear during the year.

  • My favourite shipping container is the Danish company – Maersk. To sound its name out loud makes me feel like I am swearing, not like shouting out MSC, Cosco or Hamburg Sud.

Just saying it | Maersk!

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Compare the Pair #19 | This is Wild Man

Australian sculptor Ronald “Ron” Mueck (born 1958, in Melbourne) grew up in the family business of puppetry and doll-making. After spending time working in the family industry, Mueck turned to sculpture. He first came to public attention with his sculpture “Dead Dad” a portrayal of his recently deceased father – at roughly half-scale which was included in the 1997 exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy of Arts, in London.

Mueck’s works appeared as part of SKIN, at the Ferens Art Gallery, which included Wild Man, (featured above) and a few other Mueck sculptures. His sculptures are renown for their minute details of the human body, playing with scale to produce engrossing visual images (a style known as hyperrealism). Mueck wants his audience to believe that his figures are experiencing certain emotions and for us to empathise with these feelings.

  • Wild Man (2005) shows signs of extreme anxiety, even terror; as he grips the stool and his toes press down onto the floor. Despite the sculptures height (approx. 3 meters high), Mueck has made him look doubly vulnerable. (He is made from polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, aluminium, wood and synthetic hair).
  • OKSEP street art can be found around Melbourne’s streets and laneways. His work is extremely dark and somewhat disturbing. He has borrowed upon Wild Man and has re-imagined it with one of his dark and ghostly characters, grasping him on the thigh, shouting Oksep!

What Oksep really means is unclear. It could be the name of the street artist, or according to LookDef Oksep (Verb) is the part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence. Or it could be an acronym for Pesko, Spokes or Pokes. Who knows? However, further examples of his street art can be viewed on Street Freak site on Flickr.

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Can We Do It? | Yes We Can

The Infamous “We Can Do It!” poster which has become a symbol of women’s empowerment has remained popular since its inception in 1942. The original depicts a 17 year old WW2 factory worker who modeled for the poster which was dubbed ‘Rosie the Riveter’ during the War years.

In real life ‘Rosie the Riveter’ was Geraldine Hoff Doyle (born in Inkster, Michigan on July 31, 1924 and died on December 26, 2010 in Laning, Michigan, aged 86).

In 1942, Geraldine Hoff found work as a metal presser at the American Broach & Machine Co. in Ann Arbor; taking on roles, including factory work, that were formerly considered “male-only.” It was here that a United Press international photographer took a picture of her which was re-imaged by artist J. Howard Miller for Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee.

  • This became the We Can Do It! war effort poster which was also used for anti-absenteeism and anti-strike campaigns.
  • Later, during the 1980s, the poster began to be used by advocates for women’s equality in the workplace.
  • Re-envisaged in the early 2010s it was used by Australian street artist Phoenix during the ‘Gillard Years’.

Phoenix the Street Artist borrowed from this infamous poster during the Julia Gillard campaign as first female Prime Minister for Australia (2010-2013). For further information on Phoenix the Street Artist see MY POST or Phoenix’s site.

Can We Do It? | Yes We Can

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The Art of UNICEF Never Gives Up

[Above: Nicolas Fimbari – The Procession – Italy]

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) provides emergency food and healthcare to children and women in countries that have been devastated by war or other significant emergencies.

UNICEF was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December, 1946 and its first Chairman was Polish physician Ludwick Rajchman.

  • These days UNICEF operates in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights; and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

UNICEF has been selling greeting cards for over 70 years. These cards are beautifully designed and made with a commitment to sustainable forest management and responsible use of the planet’s natural resources.

  • The image “The Procession – Italy” is from a timeless vintage 1960s Christmas card design for UNICEF by Italian artist Nicolas Fimbari.

For those of you who will be celebrating on 25th December:

Merry Christmas | Joyeux Noël | Buon Natale | Frohe Weihnachten | Feliz Navidad | Nollaig Shona Dhuit |Boas Festas | Zalig Kerstfeest | Prettige Kerstdagen/ Zalig Kerstfeest | Wesolych Swiat | Gëzuar Krishlindjet |Eftihismena Christougenna| Sretan Bozi and many more festive greetings to you all

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The Hallstatt Karner

Hallstatt is a small village situated in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria on the south-western shore of the Hallstätter See (lake). It is home to an extraordinary karner (charnel house) also known as a beinhaus (bone house) which hosts some former 1200  town residents, mostly from the 18th-19th Century.

Karners were places of second burial and were once much more common in the eastern alpine areas, due to a lack of burial space; but have now largely disappeared.

  • The Hallstatt karner is located in a chapel in the basement the 12th Century Church of Saint Michael; abutting the steep cliffs of the Hallberg.
  • Because of the town’s mountainous geography, the townsfolk started to run out of space to bury their dead in the early 18th century, so they built the karner near the church graveyard, to store the bones of their loved ones and create space for future burials in the graveyard.

A graveyard burial averaged 10-15 years. After this, the remains were then exhumed and the bones were left out and sun-bleached, then stacked in the karner next to the bones of other family members.

  • The tradition of painting the skulls began in the 1720’s, as a way for the deceased to maintain their identity.
  • Approximately half of the karner skulls are painted; each with the deceased’s name, birth and death dates; and symbolic designs.
  • The skulls belonging to women were painted with colorful floral designs; and those belonging to men were decorated with an ivy motif.

The Bone House in Hallstatt is one of the last karners, and it has always contained one of the the most remarkable collections of painted skulls, anywhere.

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The Art of Keiichi Tanaami

Keiichi Tanaami (b. Tokyo, 1936) has been an active artist, illustrator and graphic designer since the 1960’s. He refers himself to an Edokko (a person born and raised in Tokyo).

Tanaami’s early career took him to San Francisco in 1968, where he was influenced by Pop Art and the psychedelic drug culture including the acid rock music genre. It was here that he was able to see both Pink Floyd and Janis Joplin in concert.

  • By 1975, Tanaami was appointed the first Art Director of Playboy magazine (Japanese Edition).

By 1991, Tanaami became a professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design, where he is now the Chair of the Faculty on Information Design.

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Un-Ironed T-Shirt | I’ve Got One of These Too

[Greg Warburton  Self-portrait in Da Vinci T-shirt (2003) acrylic and charcoal and conte on paper on timber 180 x 120 cm.]

Greg Warburton (born 1952), trained at Hornsby Technical College and Alexander Mackie College in the 1970s. From 1974 to 1980, he received an Australia Council Grant to study in New York and Toronto. Warburton’s work is represented in regional, municipal and private collections in Australia and overseas.

  • During the 1980s and 1990s Warburton had four one-man shows at the Holdsworth Galleries (Woollahra); and the Mark Julian Gallery (Glebe).
  • Since 1992, he has worked for organizations assisting people with disabilities.
  • In 1996 Warburton won the Bega Valley Art Award and the Walkom-Manning Art Prize.
  • Since 2001, he has been an Archibald finalist four times.
  • Warburton has won the Blake Viewer’s Choice, and the Hunters Hill Portrait Prize twice.

OK so I do not own a Da Vinci t-shirt, but I can  still relate to this; as I have a similar crumpled white t-shirt on the floor, that didn’t quite make it to the laundry basket, washing machine or ironing board; but when worn, looks exactly like this.

Time to Cotton-on.

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Adelaide’s Landmark Car Park | For Member’s Only

[Car Park: Members Only by Matej Andraž Vogrinčič  22m wide and 22m high was created and commissioned for the Telstra Adelaide Festival of Arts in 2000.]

  • This public installation comprises 15,000 Matchbox toy cars stuck to a brick wall close to Rosina Street off Hindley Street, where it still remains as a crowd favourite. Many of the toy cars were given to the artist by the general public.

Slovenian artist Matej Andraž Vogrinčič (born October 12, 1970) comes from Ljubljana. Since the early 1990s, he has built an international reputation by creating site-specific installations in urban and natural environments filling ordinary or neglected places with even more ordinary objects.

  • Vogrinčič first “dressed” a dilapidated house with donated clothing in Ljubljana and then presented a similar project at the Venice Biennale in 1999.
  • The following year, he created the project “Car Park: Members Only” on a wall of a building in the South Australian capital of Adelaide (pictured above). Vogrinčič then went into the Australian outback where he put up a watering can installation, consisting of some 2,000 plaster watering cans arranged over the area of a football field in a region which is one of the driest on our planet.
  • For the Awesome Festival in Perth, Western Australia (2003), Vogrinčič covered an area of 7,000 square metres with 10,000 coloured balloons and two years later in the Victorian capital he filled the atrium of the former Melbourne General Post Office (GPO) with 1,000 umbrellas.
  • He commissioned Untitled for the 4th Liverpool Biennial (UK) which consisted of 56 upturned boats placed inside the bombed ruins of the Gothic Era St. Luke’s Church.
  • In 2013, Vogrinčič participated in ‘Kashima’ in Beppu, Japan; working in collaboration with Japanese bamboo craft masters; creating a site-specific artwork, ‘Rope‘, in an abandoned hot-spring. Two years later, in 2015, he was invited to participate at the Contemporary Art Festival ‘Mixed Bathing World’ again in Beppu.

Back in 2000, on arriving in Adelaide, Vogrinčič  noticed the number of multi-level car parks in the city and its increasing urban density. “Adelaide is a capital of garages and car parks,” he explained. “I found a stenciled graffiti saying ‘Small Car: Members Only’ and decided to make a car park for really small cars.”

Hence the large or small “Car Park: Members Only”

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Diamonds Are Forever

[Above: The Schomberg Diamond Ring (ca 1855) contains a Brazilian cut diamond (sometimes called cushion cut or old mine cut) of just under 1 carat, set in high carat yellow gold (not hallmarked). It is set in four claws within an open scroll setting, with a divided scroll shank.]

Discovered in 1975, The Schomberg Diamond Ring is a prize winning relic from the  remains of the Schomberg ship which was wrecked outside Peterborough, on the coast of Victoria, Australia in 1855.

When the Schomberg was launched from Liverpool in 1855, she was considered the “Noblest ship that ever floated on water,” according to her owners from the Black Ball Line. On her maiden voyage; its 34 year old master, Captain James Nicol ‘Bully’ Forbes, had promised to travel from Liverpool to Melbourne in 60 days, “with or without the help of God.”

Close to her destination, on 26 December 1855, 78 days after leaving Liverpool, Captain Forbes was engrossed in a card game and ignored the crew’s warnings; ultimately running the ship aground on a sand spit near Cape Otway, close to Peterborough.

  • Luckily, another ship, the SS Queen was nearby and rescued all of the passengers and crew from the Schomberg.
  • Parts of the wreckage of the Schomberg were washed ashore on the south island of New Zealand in 1870; nearly 15 years after its wreckage.
  • Although all survived the wreck, no-one came forward to claim the valuable diamond.

The ring is on permanent display at the Great Circle Gallery, Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool, Victoria, not far from Peterborough.

We Know That Diamonds Are Forever | Because Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

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