Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's a girl.

Ron Mueck

Pictured at National Gallery of Victoria - International Galleries is Ron Mueck's massive scultpure of a new born girl.
This was the first sculpture in the second room. The space was light and bright in contrast with the room that held "Dead Dad". The room with "Dead Dad" was dimly lit and solemn.
The mood in this room was uplifted and the audience were amazed at the size and attention to detail Mueck gave to his baby girl.
Photograph by mrsmatthews-artteacher.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Brushstroke

Roy Lichtenstein
Enlarged and fabricated 2002-03
Painted Aluminium
Hirshorn Museum
Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
Created after Lichtensteins death "Brushstroke" stands in the forecourt of the Smithsonian Hirshshorn Museum in Washington DC. The massive painted aluminium sculpture captures the pop art style we have become accustomed to seeing from Lichtenstein, the unexpected element is that it is a sculpture.
You can see the scale of the artwork from the images taken by mrsmatthews-artteacher in August 2009.
The Hirshorn museum is a do-nut shaped gallery space that holds a remarkable collection of modern American visual arts, and is well worth visiting. The sculpture garden although small holds a collection of significant works.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Frank O Gehry - designer
Vitra, Weil am Heim - manufacturer
Wiggle side chair
Manufactured 2003, cardboard
Low cost furniture that is strong and made from cardboard was the focus for Frank Gehry when he designed this chair.
This chair is part of a series of furniture designed by Gehry called "Easy Edges".
Cardboard has inherent strength and Gehry highlights this in his furniture design. The wiggle design emphasises the corrugated laminations of the cardboard material.
Gehry is best known for his design of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, where again he showcases his skills at utilising unusual materials.
Pictured in the background is an example of an Arne Jacobsen "Swan Chair". These chairs are on display at the National gallery of Victoria-International galleries.
Photograph by mrs matthews-artteacher.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Drapery at its finest.

Archaistic Kore
1st century BC- 1st century AD

This wonderful sculpture is part of an exhibition held at the National Gallery of Victoria titled "Drape: classical mode to contemporary dress". It represents a hellenistic female form in a tubular draped form of dress.

The exhibition, curated by Paola Di Trocchio, considers drapery in two ways- the clinging drape, as seen in the Kore and elevated drape popularised by crinolines and bustles.

"Clinging drape relies on direct interaction between body and cloth, as in classical sculpture; while elevated drape shows drape theatrically animated away from the body, such as the festooning of fabric over crinolines and bustles". NGV What's On p18 MAR-APR 10
To think the sublime form has been rendered in carving from marble is to realise the skills of the ancient artisans.
Photograph taken by mrsmatthews-artteacher.

The ghost who walks too?

Another example of the Wahgi people from the Western provinces of Papua New Guinea appropriating the Phantom comic book character onto a traditional tribal shield c.1970
This shield is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria-International Galleries.
Note the inclusion of the found metal car badge on the Phantoms' belt buckle.
Photograph taken by mrsmatthews-artteacher.

The ghost who walks.

Phantom Shield c. 1970
Wahgi People
Wahgi Valley
Western Highlands
Papua New Guinea
Synthethic polymer paint and enamel on wood
This is one of a collection of Phantom shields held by the National Gallery of Victoria-International Galleries.
This shield represents the crossing over of two cultures - 1970's comic book culture with traditional life in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.
At the same time that Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were appropriating popular culture into large scale artworks, the Wahgi tribal people were appropriating comic book culture onto traditional tribal shields.
Did the Wahgi people know that this type of artisitic practice was occurring half-way across the world? I think not.
My thought is that the Wahgi people were celebrating a comic book icon in the best way they knew how - by painting on a tribal shield. And what a celebration it is.
Photo taken by mrsmatthews-artteacher.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Claes Oldenburg and Coose van Brugen
Typewriter Eraser Scale X 1999
Washington National Gallery of Art- Sculpture Garden
Painted Fibreglass and steel.
This oversize sculpture depicts a redundant object - a typewriter eraser. It is a curiousity of a bygone age.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

While thinking about Ron Mueck I was struck by the memory of sacred Spanish sculpture from the 16th century I saw at the Getty Museum in 2009.

The same meticulous attention to detail, scrupulous colour matching and blurring between reality and art.

Muecks' representation of the profane have the same power as these sacred images must have had in dimly lit churches and cathedrals.

All the photographs posted on the Blog Mrs Matthews-Art teacher have been taken by Mrs Matthews on her travels around Australia and the world.
Mrs Matthews uses a Sony Alpha 200 DSLR or her trusty Panasonic Lumix compact.
Remember when taking images of artworks to always check the gallery or museum policy first. Most will allow images being taken without flash.

Ron Mueck
"Youth" 2009
A moment in time. The youth stands at 65cm in his perfect attention to detail that we have come to expect fromMueck.
The audience marvels at the intricate details and Muecks' uncanny recording of contemporary life, then we begin to see what has happened. The youth has been stabbed. He can't believe it and the art audience, like motorists driving past an accident , slow down and look more closely. The blood stained T-shirt, the slow realisation on the boy's face that this is not good, the blood oozing from the open wound, the art audience is compelled to witness the aftermath of an act of brutal violence.

Drift 2009
Ron Mueck
The exhibition Ron Mueck has just finished at the National Gallery of Victoria, International Galleries, Melbourne.
The first room featured the sculpture "Dead Dad" that essentially kick started Muecks career as an artist when it was included in the controversial exhibition "Sensation".
"Dead Dad" is a 1/3 scale representation of Mueck's own father, deceased. There is no doubt about the absence of life in this sculpture, the pose, the upturned hands, the pallor- are all accurately, impassively recorded for the audience.
The audience in this room were quitely reverent and respectful around "Dead Dad"
The audience tone however quickly changed as we moved from the dimly lit room featuring the sole sculpture "Dead Dad" to the brighlty lit spaces featuring the other works in the exhibition.
Cameras were quickly out for the massive "A Girl" and crowds, which on the day I visited included many Victorian school children, moved joyously, noisily around the gallery spaces.
The final work in the exhibition is "Drift". Pinned to the wall against a sea of blue, the figure in "Drift" has a worried brow. Perhaps he is contemplating life, death, middle age?
What struck me was the cruciform reference createdby attaching the li-lo to the wall.
"Drift" could be the Messiah if he were a middle aged man in the 21st century.
Mueck is a master sculpture of middle age. He captures the paucity of skin, the wrinkled brow, the sagging belly, the faded colourful boardshorts of one trying to look hip and young.
This is a sculpture that for me places Mueck firmly as one of the great chroniclers of our age.
Photograph taken by Mrs Matthews-Art Teacher

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ron Mueck is an Australian born sculptor who now lives in England.
His work first came to the attention of the artworld in 1996 as part of the "Sensation" exhibition-which featured the collection of Charles Saatchi and included works by the Young Bristish Artists (YBAs) including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Muecks work in Sensation was "Dead Dad"
Big Man 2000
This sculpture was part of an exhibition at the Smithsoinan Institution - Hirshorn Museum and sculpture garden - Washington DC in 2009.
Made from polyester resin and fibreglass, "Big man" continues Mueck's investigation of realism and distortion of scale. Big Man is 205.7 x 117.4 x 209.0 cm.
The audience is intriqued by the technique, the attention to detail and the realism and at the same time concerned and perhaps even disgusted at the naked big man sitting in the corner.

Friday, April 9, 2010

America the beautiful.

Electronic Superhighway: Continental US, Alaska & Hawaii


Nam June Paik

This enormous artwork by Paik is located in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC.

This museum is not located on the National Mall with the other Smithsonians but is in downtown DC. The museum features the most fantastic contemporary Atrium linking older buildings together and house a remarkable collection of both historical and contemporary visual and applied arts.

A feature not seen in Australian galleries or museums is the open storage collection, and the conservation center. Both gave an insight into the behind the scenes aspects of curating, conservation and managing the collection.

Paiks' work "Electronic superhighway" is approx. 14 metres long by 5metres high and includes 49 channel close-circuit video elements and neon tubing.

you can find more about this artwork at

Photograph taken by Mrs Matthews-Art teacher

Measuring the Universe.

This performance based artwork was undertaken at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2009. Attendants at the museum measured visitors height just as parents measure their children's height. Mrs Matthews-Art teacher has her name recorded twice as she visited the space twice. The attendant wrote her name and the date at the point where the top of her head was against the wall. As you can see traces of thousands of visitors are recorded in this performance based artwork. The room had four walls with the names of visitors recorded.

Photographs taken by Mrs Matthews-Art teacher

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The original is the best!

The National Gallery Washington DC has the original wax copy of "The Little Dancer" by Degas. This sculpture came from the collection of Paul Mellon.

The sculpture is much crisper in detail than the bronze copies. The colour is much richer as it is not relying on chemical oxidation to create the dark patina. It was a revelation to see this artwork, particulary as curated by the National Gallery Washington DC, in a room with many other Degas maquettes and bronzes.
To learn more about this incredible artwork I can recommend the BBC DVD "Private life of a masterpiece", which details the detective work undertaken by conservation staff at the National Gallery Washington DC.

Photographs taken by Mrs Matthews-Art Teacher.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chinese coalminers found alive!

X-Blind Spot 2008

Artist Yang Shaobin knows that most Chinese coalmine accidents do not have happy endings.
In his series of works X-Blind Spot, Shaobin explores as subject matter the thousands of Chinese coalminers who are injured at work every year. They are not superheroes, they are not indestructible, they are just working to feed China's enormous appetite for coal fired power.

The X-Blind Spot body of work includes large paintings and a social realist style sculpture of a caolminer where the figure is damaged in addition to this sculpture.
The pictured work was a hit with the kids at APT6 GOMA Brisbane- and it surpised a few adults too!

Photograph taken by Mrs Matthews-Art Teacher

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Pix-Cell Elk at GOMA

Kohei Nawa's taxidermied elk was a highlight of the Asia Pacific Triennial held at GOMA in Brisbane, Queensland.

The elk is covered with crystal balls that simultaneously obscure and reveal the elk's surface.

The work stimulates thought about the pixelated nature of digital imagery and how we now mediate our reality through digitsed versions of the real.

The effect is enhanced by the placement of the sculpture in an all white room with even lighting.

This work was popular with the audience at GOMA on the day I visited APT6. Pix-Cell Elk appealed to the young, and the young at heart.

Photograph taken by Mrs. Matthews-Art Teacher

Welcome Post

Today I set up my blog - for those who are interested in contemporary art and who want to learn more.
I have spent the last 25 years learning & teaching about art and now I am reaching into the digital world to share my experience with you.
Watch this blog for gallery and exhibtion reviews from Australia and around the world.