Painting and feelings – my journey with art

Art is in doing. Take the first step and be yourself. Brutally honest will do fine.

Luisa, one of our resident Friday morning Drawing and Painting students, has generously shared her reflection on her time at MAC, and how art has impacted her life.

I have been attending at Melbourne Art Class for a year. And in that year, I have not only discovered more about art, but also about myself. Art, and specifically painting, unlocks stuff. Opens doors you did not know existed. It can best be described by quoting Joan Mitchell, who in 1986 said:

Feeling, existing, living, I think it’s all the same except for quality. Existing is survival; it does not mean necessarily feeling. Feeling is something more: it’s feeling your existence. It’s not just survival. Painting is a means of feeling “living” … Painting is the only art form except still photography which is without time. Music takes time to listen to and ends; movies, ideas, and even sculpture take time. Painting does not. It never ends, it is the only thing that is both continuous and still.

Yves, 1991. Oil on canvas, 110 1/4 x 78 3/4 inches (280 x 200 cm). Private collection. © Estate of Joan Mitchell.

Mitchell was one of the few female abstract expressionist painters who gained critical and public acclaim in the 20th century. I read her quote often and only slightly disagree with her views on music. (Yes, music depends on time, but where does a note start and where does it end?) Abstraction in art, is by its very nature, abandons objectivity and moves into ethereal exploration.

One of the leading avant-garde jazz pianists, Craig Taborn, produced a recent album Daylight Ghosts. Taborn modified the sustain pedal of his piano in order to imagine a note when it is no longer audible. He then plays different notes and chords to talk to that note wherever it exists. He often visits art museums in New York to collect ideas for his music.

Once upon a time, I was a lawyer. And every day felt like groundhog day. Only voices, places and faces changed. The constant was a treadmill, self-doubt and a vulnerable ego. A mistake, a lost case and everything imploded. Happiness was as elusive as a good night’s sleep. The lawyer was moderately successful, but that only meant groundhog day was longer and more intense. People said the lawyer was eccentric, thought outside the square, had a creative streak. All I wanted was to feel the wind on my cheek and have the fragrances of plants and flowers linger forever. I wanted to step into every soft pastel orange sunset.

One day I did a Google search for art classes in Melbourne. The first one I stumbled upon was www.melbourneartclass.com. I enrolled in the only class available at the time, Portraiture with Marco Corsini. It was a fortuitous decision. In the beginning, I believed I was hopelessly out of my depth, wasting everybody’s time. At the time I did not realise the reach of Marco’s empathy and patience. Four weeks later I could produce a fairly accurate self-portrait and a week later I began painting with oils. It speaks volumes about the quality of the classes; the extent of their reach. I now paint things as I imagine and feel about them. I am no Joan Mitchell or Craig Taborn, but I think I know what they were aspiring to. There is more to life than survival or winning or being better; best; most.

I believe everybody is blessed with creativity. Granted some are more aware or talented than others. This “more talented” thing is an aberration, not an excuse. We meet more talented people every day in every aspect of life and we try to manage it without thinking or resentment. I also believe that we should not to confuse skill with creativity. Anybody who is reading this has a wealth of experience that feeds intuition which, in turn, is the basis of creativity. Do not compare or be judgemental. Artists, like Cezanne, Jackson Pollock and Rauschenberg were not great technical painters. They were magnificent artists and their influence will continue to resonate and open doors in our minds.

Art is in doing. Take the first step and be yourself. Brutally honest will do fine. Feel the wind on your cheek, smell the flowers and paint it. Integrity cannot be faked and it is often what makes art great. Everything else, like a prize or a sale, are simply bonuses. The reward is in expressing yourself on a canvas without rules, comparisons or judgement.

I am not a good technical painter. I am rather rough. Everything I do, is intuitive. Despite that, I have against all expectations, sold three paintings. It was not supposed to happen. The bigger reward is that I am content with my lot in life and happy that I no longer live groundhog day. The black shutter in my mind has lifted.

For me the key to painting is fluidity. The movement away from temporal to “a temporal”. Observing to feeling. For me it is spiritual; in a material world, everything has time limits. The idea I am exploring is to transcend this, to emphasise the nature of metaphysics as something that is forever. A place where time does not exist.

I recently looked at some eucalypt leaves in various states of decay that a friend of mine painted. I told her that she painted delicate evanescence and that it was beautiful. I could see a forever. Evanescence suggests the leaves will fade away. It does not mean they are gone. To make my point graphically, I enlarged her paintings with the edges of the leaves cropped off. Separated content from form or borders, her work entered a new dimension. Something that I saw and felt. It is beautiful and stirs curiosity.

Another way to phrase it is to “stop and smell the roses”. They linger in memory or on a canvas.

I love walking in the bush after the rain. Thousands of fragrances hanging in the air and my nose weaves through them. I pause when I enjoy something more.

‘Struggling artist’ sounds good. Should have tried it decades ago.

Written by Luisa Blignaut

 

Director’s end of year message

We’ve come to the end of a very exciting and sometimes challenging 2016 for Melbourne Art Class (MAC). What began as a unique art program almost nine years ago, continues to flourish. We have been coming to terms with the ever-increasing scale of MAC and there is little doubt in my mind that everything we have been through this year is laying the foundations for a new MAC era.

I’d like to thank everyone that has participated in MAC this year.

Thank you to our dedicated students who make our role as teachers extremely rewarding. For us as teachers, this environment of small intimate classes is a wonderful way to pass on skills and exchange experiences. I receive so much from my students; sometimes my classes are like a balm for the hard, long hours I work alone elsewhere. I very much appreciate meeting wonderful people who regularly attend our courses and embrace our little community with generosity.

Thanks to the Uniting Church who ignore the possibility of greater economic gain to make Enderby Hall available to artists, in so doing have supported me as an artist.

Thank you Lauren for being a being a constant support for me as I scurry between teaching and art practice. I attribute the friendly tone and sense of community we have managed to retain to your focus and warmth.

Thank you Hilmi as you continue to take art teaching to new levels. The little following of students that has sprouted up around you is justly deserved. I personally continue to gain much from our conversations and it is always encouraging to know that you are there.

Thank you Caz for bringing your generous warmth and experience to MAC’s students. We are fortunate to have your unique set of skills along with the care you have shown individuals.

Thank you to Jesse, you have been a strong foundation for myself and for MAC and it has been exciting to see the new developments in your own art practice this year. We will be watching for your upcoming show.

Thanks also to Irene who worked with us for part of the year. I very much have respect for your breadth of skill and experience.

Thank you to Althea who brings her gift for business strategy to our little school, enabling us to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

I continue to watch MAC develop and grow with a quiet sense of awe. I cannot tell you how fortunate we are to have this unique group of teachers and administrators and it has been amazing to see the way in which each individual ‘appeared’ when we most needed them.

2017 will be a formative year for MAC as we adapt, implement new courses, teachers and spaces. I look forward to continuing the journey with you.

Have a wonderful Christmas and holiday break and a happy new year!

Marco

Marco Corsini

New day art classes at MAC!

We have been asked for a long time now, when will we be holding art classes during the day?!

Well, we are excited to announce we will be running two new Drawing and Painting (Studio Art) classes during Tuesday and Friday mornings from 2017! Finally, we hear you say!

Artist Marco Corsini will be presenting these daytime art classes and they will run the same way as our popular evening Studio Art Class (don’t worry, he will still be taking our Tuesday night class)!

Vicki Mullina, oil on canvas, 2016, Studio Art Class

Marco’s Studio Art Classes are our longest-running and are the foundation of Melbourne Art Class. We welcome people from all creative backgrounds, skill levels – anyone who needs a space to be creative, become inspired, acquire specific skills, continue an artistic project – the list goes on. The unique element about this class is that we limit enrolments to only ten students, so Marco is able to provide critical feedback, drawing and painting tuition or just help you get your idea out of your head and onto the canvas.

To get to know Marco’s classes a little better, you can read about his Tuesday evening class here.

Our classes are held at Enderby Studio, 314 Church Street, Richmond.

Daytime Art Course Dates

Term 1 Tuesday mornings: Feb 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, Mar 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th (8 sessions)

Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

Term 1 Friday mornings: Feb 10th, 17th, 24th,  Mar 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st (8 sessions)

 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

If you have any questions about our new daytime art classes, please don’t hesitate to email Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com! We look forward to helping you add some creativity to your week!

 

Another Drawing Intensive sees brilliant work produced!

Over the ANZAC Day weekend we ran a small Drawing Intensive Workshop. Small because we had a smaller number of enrolments – however the result was an intimate workshop where Hilmi was able to focus on each student’s process, skill level and individual learning desires.

Incredible work was produced by each student, and we are proud to show it off! As you can see below, we had a range of skill levels, which is why we keep our classes small, so every teacher can provided one-on-one training. You can see the progress of each student over the three-day weekend:

Ivana has been attending our classes since late last year and has been challenging herself with drawing classes. As you can see, it pays to put in the effort!

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This was Jonathan’s first class at MAC and his progress over the three days was impressive.

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This was also Erin’s first class at MAC, and she has since enrolled in our six-week Drawing Course with Hilmi. She produced some incredible work. We also received some heart-warming feedback from here too, “I enjoyed the workshop immensely. Hilmi created an environment where we were all able to work at our own pace and develop as individual artists. We moved quickly through the curriculum but Hilmi’s precise articulation made it doable.

In the past I have done intensive workshops and they have left me exhausted and somewhat despiteful. This weekend, time flew and I looked forward to the next exercise. 

It didn’t take me long to book my next class package, for all the reasons listed above. I must also mention that the cost of the classes makes it very accessible. I did a lot of research before booking the intensive workshop and found Melbourne Art Class to be the cheapest – by far. But it wasn’t cheap value.

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These workshops are a good way to supplement ongoing study, and we had Katelyn, who is a VCE Studio Art student. She wanted to enhance her drawing skills and gain a greater understanding of tone and structure and produced some brilliant work!

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If you would like to attend an upcoming Drawing Class here at MAC, check out our classes, or join a waiting list! We’ll be opening enrolments for our next round of classes soon. We also want to thank everyone for their hard work and for letting us share their works!

I learned to mix black – this may have changed my world

Ivana’s inspiring experience during our Summer School

Ivana was one of a few students who undertook the challenge of completing both our Painting and Drawing Masterclasses in-between Christmas and New Year (not to mention the challenge of the heat)!

She has had previous experience in painting, however it was the first time she had ever experienced life drawing. We gratefully received her feedback and detailed experience below, and hope you also find it helpful and an insight into the classes we hold here at MAC. Thank you Ivana for allowing us to share your wonderfully candid account! This is why we love what we do.

“My objective in these classes was twofold. To refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation as these are areas where I am poor. Also to dive into the Flemish technique as I’m obsessed by light and form but am yet to represent them in a way I find satisfying. The class was a remarkable opportunity to do that.

I see an immense difference and again, must say I’m thrilled with the result. I think I’ve come a long way in a short time. At home, I paint something I am more often than not unhappy, sometimes to the point of wanting to go all ninja on it, beat it with nun chucks and chuck ninja stars… You’ll be pleased to know that these works remain safe from Japanese implements of combat. J

…I’m also practicing Flemish technique on some small canvasses at home (I’m intent on capturing that light, dammit!) and am happy to share those once done and if I’m happy with them.

Ivana Dash, Still Life Imprimatura
Ivana Dash, Still Life Glaze (work in progress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My focus was on learning; the technical in these two specific areas (refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation) and that goal was achieved. I am thrilled with the results.

I think it’s also important to point out that these are my first still life and portrait paintings. Ever.

Now, with my drawing skills they are significantly less progressed and in respect to the drawing class, I think I was probably on a par with the others. I spoke with Hilmi about this before signing up as it was a Masterclass, and he encouraged me to do so as refining skills in this area would only be of benefit to my painting… even if I was slow and didn’t totally rock the class.

He was right.

First time working with charcoal, first time life drawing – I Loved It!

I don’t think my drawings will be hanging anytime soon, however even I could see the progress as the days progressed. See what you think:

Day 1: Still Life Gestural  
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Dark Base w/ shellac and Day 4 painted highlights
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Light Base.
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Life Drawing #1. Pencil + Black Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Life Drawing #2. Pencil + Black & White Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, I was thrilled by the results and have become slightly obsessed with life drawing. I need to do more. Soon!

I also learned to mix black. I think this may have changed my world.

I really enjoyed Himi’s teaching style. He’s quiet and confident, firm and precise but also gentle. I think one of the most important things in a learning environment is to have the freedom, comfort and latitude to feel free to make mistakes; countered with a confidence in your lecturer that they can pull you up on these without making you feel like an arse and have the skill to pull your work back from the brink so you can move forward. That’s a tricky balance.

Hilmi did this with me many times and I am hugely grateful and inspired to continue.”

We are very appreciative of any feedback we receive and also encourage students to share their work with us so we can share it with everyone at MAC!

We have two painting courses beginning this Saturday, running for seven weeks – Painting from Still Life with Hilmi Baskurt and Painting from the Life Model with Marco Corsini. These classes are open to all skill levels and our teachers will focus on drawing fundamentals in the beginning for those of you who are new to painting. We also have students in the class who have been returning for many terms. If you are interested in joining these classes, you can find out more information and enrol here: http://melbourneartclass.com/painting-courses/

Celebrating spring with our Floristry Teacher, Carolyn Howells

After what seemed like (literally) an ice age, spring is finally here, bringing with it a new creative enthusiasm that infects many people. This can be a time of growth, re-birth and creation. Nothing beats sighting the first buds, then within the blink of an eye pink blossom trees are lining our suburb streets and daffodils are brightening up our parks.

This month Carolyn Howells, our Floristy and Art Therapy teacher, shares why spring is significant to her. Thank you Carolyn!

Carolyn Howells, 2015
Carolyn Howells, 2015

Is spring an inspirational time of year for you?

I love spring, where the days are getting longer and the weather is warmer (mostly) and all the bulbs begin to flower.  I find creative ideas grow and expand and I am inspired to get into the garden and the studio to paint, create flower designs, write workshops and put those ideas that have hibernated in the winter into action.

IFD 18

What are your favourite flowers during this season?

My favourite flowers during spring are, daffodils, I especially love the double daffodils, they are stunning with their pale yellow outside petals and bright yellow inner petals, jonquils, iris especially the flag iris, the vibrant coloured tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, ranunculus, stock, and freesias – especially the ones growing wild.  In spring the fragrance of the flowers is exceptional.  I also love to watch the trees get buds in late winter in preparation for blooming and then watch the beautiful fragile flower blossom in spring.  The rhododendron is amazing too; the colours range from deep burgundy, to hot pink and pale pink.

Which flowers typically make up a spring flower arrangement?

Carolyn Howells
Carolyn Howells

Spring is one of the best seasons for mixed posies of hyacinths, tulips, iris, erlicheer, roses, stock, freesias and rhododendron for both the foliage and the flower.

The visual impact with all the textures is amazing and they smell delicious.

Art therapy – what does spring mean for you?

IFD 13
Carolyn’s Floral Design class

Art Therapy in spring can vary from year to year depending on what is happening in my life.  This year I find I have more energy to put things into action, especially around wellbeing.  I love to walk on the beach, practice my mindfulness, get out in my garden and pick straight from the veggie patch to make healthy salads for my family.  I have kept an art journal over winter with design plans for my garden and now I can finally get out there and start redesigning.  I am so inspired by the flowers in spring and love coming up with new ideas and designs to do both in flower design and my art.  I am in the process of updating an art therapy based goal and action board, with all my ideas coming to life as change and growth happen this spring.

Thank you very much Carolyn for sharing this with us! Find out more about Carolyn, her Floristy Courses and Art Therapy.

Jennifer Whitten – American hyperrealist painter

Jennifer Whitten

We had the opportunity of having Jennifer Whiten, an American hyperrealist painter living and working in Melbourne, present for us at our Enderby Studio Art Program class.

Jennifer completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts: Washington University in St. Louis and is currently undertaking a Master of Contemporary Art: Victorian College of the Arts.

Much of her recent work has used images of young girls in otherwise ubiquitous everyday situations such as cooking in the kitchen or dressed up in fancy dresses, common day stuff apart from that their faces are dominated by these massive mouths that obliterate all facial features. Jennifer described how each of these mouths form the shape of the first letter of a word and therefore carry hidden meaning which perhaps someone will unlock. The girls are all communication, and chatter, perhaps as they discover their everyday world and the language that represents and negotiates it.

Large areas of the works are left in flat ‘pop’ colour, negating the overall illusion of space and representation. These areas sometimes go as far as to suggest absence or a hole. These areas not only break up the cohesion of representation but suggest a sense of something beyond, another dimension perhaps. This other plane contrasts with the everyday banter of materiality which otherwise pervades the images. As she expressed an interest in the theory of the 4th dimension during her talk, perhaps Jennifer is looking beyond the limitations of a commonplace material existence and the limitations of how that existence is described.

Jennifer Whitten 1

Jennifer discussed her work, her technique and her position as a hyperrealist painter undertaking her Masters degree at Victoria College of the Arts. She spoke about finding her way through the current dominant visual arts culture which in Australian institutions heavily emphasises new media, installation and conceptual art. Jennifer spoke of the legacy of Modernism which reacted against the history of representation in art and that this reaction persists against the style of work she practices. Despite these difficulties, following a successful recent exhibition Jennifer has noticed a more open attitude to her work.

Jennifer has spent much of this year painting on glass and perspex rather than the previous wood panels and when I visited her a few weeks ago, she had a large panel of thick perspex suspended from her studio roof, upon which she was painting a life-size self portrait as Ophelia. It is an impressive piece of work requiring a wet on wet technique whereby the highlights are pushed through the existing wet paint. Jennifer prefers to work on areas of the painting wet and will sometimes work for days without stopping, to achieve this. I will post about this work as soon as it is finished.

Marco Corsini

A New Image for Melbourne Art Class

In case you hadn’t noticed, Melbourne Art Class has an exciting new look on the way!

The first step on our re-design journey has been our fantastic new logo, which is designed by one of our students: Zoe Coombe!

Melbourne Art Class is really proud of the strong sense of community we have with our students and we wanted to incorporate this into our overall image. Zoe has cleverly crafted a logo that is a representation of not only three simple shapes; the triangle square and circle; but also the perspective between shapes and the connection with the outer shape. This is representative of our community and an interaction between students and teachers.

Over the next few months you’ll be seeing quite a few changes on our website and social media. To introduce you all to the creative mind behind the design, we asked Zoe a few questions about what inspires her and why doing classes with Melbourne Art Class helps her creativity.

Zoe Coombe, Graphic Designer
Zoe Coombe, Graphic Designer

Thanks for all your efforts on our new logo Zoe. We’re really happy with how it incorporates  our community and so many shapes in just one heptagon!

Can you tell us what motivated you to become a graphic designer?

I just followed what made me happy. Art was my ‘fun’ class at school. During my final year, I went to the Uni open days and was always drawn to the art departments. After that, it was a natural progression that led me to design. 

What do you derive inspiration from when designing?

Fine art, other designers, books. Anything I come into contact with.

Is there a particular aesthetic that you lean towards and why?

Not really, my solutions are driven by the project and what communication best resolves the brief and reaches the correct audience.

What do enjoy most about designing?

The variation in projects. Designing gives me a chance to work on a broad range of projects and keep things interesting. 

Why did you begin classes at Melbourne Art Class?

Sometimes it is nice not to work to a brief or a tight deadline. Just to create for pleasure. It gives me a chance to let the creative juices flow and to generally make time for art. 

How do the classes influence or complement your design work?

It gives me a chance to brush up on techniques and learn from other artists. 

 

 

We’re really excited that Zoe has joined us for our re-design journey and look forward to seeing our vision come to fruition.

Austerity – Greece’s New Artistic Paradigm

By Fenja Shaw

Greece has held a special place in my imagination since taking Art History classes at university ten years ago. I have spent a decade dreaming about the day I would finally get to see and touch the ancient artworks and buildings that inspired innumerous artists over the centuries. The ancient Greek’s ability to envision, craft, construct and incorporate such beautiful buildings and artworks into the fabric of their society is awe inspiring. For years I longed to walk through the Ancient Agora hoping to feel even the slightest glimmer of the vibrant energy that once thrummed along its dusty avenues.

Ancient Agora Athens, Greece Fenja Shaw 2015
Ancient Agora
Athens, Greece
Fenja Shaw 2015
The Acropolis Athens, Greece Fenja Shaw 2015
The Acropolis
Athens, Greece
Fenja Shaw 2015

After years of dreaming, I finally got to go to Athens in June. I was pumped with excitement. The crazy taxi-driver who ferried us from the airport to our dinky apartment, at 177kph with one hand on the wheel, the other casually texting, only added to my impatience to get out there and see it all!

Whilst navigating Athens’ one-way streets lined with high-rise apartments, our driver informed us that we were staying in an area renowned for its Anarchist residents. Apparently our little neighbourhood was rife with political anarchistic activism. To me, the presence of anarchism seemed like such an 80’s punk-rock cliché; but as I looked out of the taxi windows, I understood why it had its place in Athens. I was overcome by the amount of derelict buildings that only a few short years ago had been bustling with business and activity.

Once we had settled into our apartment, my partner and I explored the streets. We wanted to do more than just see the effects of economic depression, we wanted to understand it. Despite all of the media coverage about the Greek economic crisis, we had not imagined what austerity would actually look like. We certainly had not anticipated that it would become a significant part of our trip.

Kallidromiou Athens, Greece Fenja Shaw 2015
Kallidromiou
Athens, Greece
Fenja Shaw 2015

As we walked, we counted nine out of every ten shops were closed, seemingly shut-down over night. Gazing into the grimy windows of some stores, it appeared as though the owners had literally thrown whatever stock they had into boxes and hastily pulled the shutters down. Some stores still had empty food containers and coffee cups left on the countertops. It was sad. Incredibly sad.

It occurred to me that I was a tourist of Greece’s ancient and modern ruins. A witness to the despair and loss that coursed through its concrete veins.

Over our three-day stay we walked everywhere, taking in the city vibe and absorbing the spirit of the Athenians. We joined throngs of protesters, not understanding their words but definitely grasping their meaning. We spoke with locals and asked how they felt about their city and the future of their country. Their responses varied but a deeply held pride in their nation was a constant. One man told us “You reap what you sow. And we Greeks, we haven’t been sowing”.

At first we were surprised to see some of the ancient sculptures fenced in by wire and mesh. However, the more we looked, the more cost-cutting we saw. Much of the public art that had once contributed to the feeling and culture of Athens is now hidden behind wire fencing and shade cloth. There simply is no money available to maintain public spaces or art.

Panepistimio Athens, Greece Fenja Shaw 2015
Panepistimio
Athens, Greece
Fenja Shaw 2015

In addition to the closed and shuttered stores, graffiti litters the streets and buildings. Athens has had a vibrant street art scene for years however nowadays, a noticeable amount of the graffiti has a very deliberate anti-austerity message. Since returning home, I have been reading about the influence the austerity measures have had upon Greek artists. One article described how the art scene in Athens is thriving, although not making money. Artists from other European countries are moving to the city because of cheap studio rents, inexpensive living costs and an intensely stimulating political environment. Both sides of the Greek economic debate are represented in artworks on walls, on banknotes, in trains as well as in the galleries.

‘Then they used tanks. Now they use banks’. Mural and photograph by Cacao Rocks
‘Then they used tanks. Now they use banks’.
Mural and photograph by Cacao Rocks
Stack of euros depicted as a coffin. Photograph: Socrates Baltagiannis/dpa/Corbis
Stack of euros depicted as a coffin.
Photograph: Socrates Baltagiannis/dpa/Corbis

Although I went to Athens with romantic ideas of standing amongst ancient ruins, I found soaking up the spirit of the modern city to be more enchanting and inspiring. The Greek’s passion and resilience in spite of their despair attested to their cultural and national pride that has survived for millennia. If you are thinking of visiting Greece, I encourage you to spend time away from the tourist attractions and hotels. The rich and memorable experiences are to be had on the street.

– Other Worlds – Philip Wolfhagen’s Latest Exhibition

by Elizabeth Fritz

Other Worlds, is a collection of landscape paintings that embody the subtleties of the natural world; the changing light and weather, the evolving colours and the textural intricacies of the environment. But it’s the depth within the landscapes, the movement, and the emotional response that standout.

The landscape that surrounds Tasmanian artist Philip Wolfhagen, has been penetrating his being for a long time. They are triggers for new works, sources of colour and light, and they are a connection to the past and the present. Landscapes, and elements within the landscapes fuel his imagination and solidify a starting point. From here, with the inclusion of classical music, beeswax, and a primary colour palette his evocative and perceptual paintings begin to develop.

Philip Wolfhagen The Serpentine Path 2015 Oil and beeswax on linen 96.0 x 338.0 cm (overall) Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Philip Wolfhagen
The Serpentine Path 2015
Oil and beeswax on linen
96.0 x 338.0 cm (overall)
Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

The Serpentine Path 2015, a group of three paintings on linen with oil and beeswax, depicts impressions of the undulations in the land. Rocks, shrubs and paths and a never-ending horizon complete the picture. The subdued colours of browns, greys and greens are blended to create contrast, depth and texture all at once. For Wolfhagen, a landscape isn’t about precision and accuracy but rather a representation of the natural world, in which he harnesses the atmosphere, the mood and the light. His paintings are emotive and represent a snapshot of a fleeting moment in nature.

Philip Wolfhagen Other World No. 1 2015 oil and beeswax on linen 200.0 x 214.0 cm Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Philip Wolfhagen
Other World No. 1 2015
oil and beeswax on linen
200.0 x 214.0 cm
Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

The large scale Other World No.1 2015 draws the viewer into the landscape. The shear size is like a window you could move through. Strong shades of browns and oranges in the foreground are gradually teamed with greys and blues that fade into the distance. The painting commands stillness as the eye moves into the distance. It is as though Wolfhagen’s landscapes urge the viewer to stop and take notice.

Discussion between author and Philip Wolfhagen

Elizabeth
I have read that music plays a very important part in your painting process. One of the standout features in your paintings is movement, is it your engagement with the music that enlivens your paintings?

Phillip
I would say that listening to music keeps me aloof from the act of painting. It is a means to maintaining a separation; it promotes more rational thought processes, and is a caution against too much self awareness. It is possible that the influence of the music translates into movement, if not in the image itself, then certainly in the accumulation of gestures that comprise the image.

Elizabeth 
Another standout feature is the depth you create in your landscapes. Does the depth represent the deep feelings you have with the natural world and the deep respect for the historical and cultural past?

Phillip 
The illusion of receding space is a vital element in my work because each successive painting is representative of a journey; a never ending reinvention of self. The passage from ones own position to the always shifting vanishing point is inexhaustible in its potential for meaning. 

Philip Wolfhagen
Other Worlds
1 July-1 August 2015

Karen Woodbury Gallery
Level 1/167 Flinders Lane
Melbourne