Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Series from Top Drawer Jewellery in Sydney

Opening this Thursday the 15th of December 2011 is Kaleidoscope Gallery's Gifted Art and Design Market. It will represent a diverse group of local artisans who will be selling their wares at an affordable size and price, just in time for christmas.

Making its much awaited appearance will be Top Drawer Jewellery, featuring a new series, titled: 'After dinner cards'. A selection of the label's classic recycled gems, including those priceless pennies will also be available for purchase. A peak into the process behind the crafting of such jewellery will be visible in the collection of still life paintings, accompanying the display of Top Drawer Jewellery. Glimpses into the studio, reveal tools of the trade and sustaining snacks, like the humble banana.

Please join the party on Thursday night for some christmas shopping with a wine in hand, or pop into the gallery before Christmas Day.

(kaleidoscope gallery has recently moved)


3-7 Danks St Waterloo

Telephone 02 9319 0934

Open Tue-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 11am-4pm

Stay posted for tomorrows sneak peaks of 'After Dinner Cards'.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bowral Farmer's Market 10 December 8am - 1pm

She Whispers Secrets To me

Acrylic on Board

What started as a packaging of presents, a convenient absent minded task, has evolved to be a study of place, a bringing together of objects and their independent stories. Returning from overseas, my market painting has become a meditation of home. Furthermore, I have become intrigued by the instinct that draws me to certain objects and the narrative that seems to be yearning for a voice. Too meditate on the sphere of a watermelon, to place it in a black moonlit surround only to slice it open so that the wet red juice pours from its rind - I am seduced by the provocative nature of inanimate objects. I painted certain things to appeal to a sense of familiarity in my audience, not predicting any inspiration. What has happened has been quite unexpected. I want to de construct power tools, antagonise their masculinity and hard edges with flourishes of pink paint. I want to exploit the mechanics and invert the practicality. What can't I do ? What can't an object say ? - Listen, I am telling the story.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Egg Rivalry... Chicks inspire recent painting

'Look, I really don't see any alternatives, the holiday is over, we either get down to business or the those new girls will have taken our roosts and we will be roast chicken by the end of the week'

Kerry Ann had called a private meeting in the corner of the coop, a gathering of the old girls. A crisis was at hand. Ever since the new chicks had arrived from the co op the old sisterhood's reputation had been deteriorating. Not only were their feathers thinning but they couldn't keep up their lay in light of the fierce new competition.

'Just who do they think they are' clucked Esmay in disbelief.
'Haven't they ever heard of following suit ? Respecting their elders ? Honestly i don't know what they are teaching them these days in the nest, but in my day when you got to a new pen you consulted with your Mother hen about the goings on of the place and you certainly didn't start laying on day one !

'They will soon tire out' Assured Tracie
'And then we can all get back to enjoying life as we so wish, with none of this competitive nonsense. They will soon realise that the scraps will keep on coming even if we don't lay'.

But Kerry Ann wasn't as convinced. She had been around longer than Esmay and Tracie and had seen Joeline and Tattiana plucked from the coop on consecutive days, by a gloved hand, never to return. They too had indulged in the chicken feed and the scrap bucket without too much concern for honouring their eggly duties. Blinded by the luxuries of a doting housewife named Danielle they eventually gave up on the lay and took barn yard banter as their full profession.

But...They had never dreamed that such an indulgent housewife would have such a murderous husband looming indoors. And this ignorance eventually lead to their demise. For Danielle's husband was what you would call a cold a blooded chicken killer, his reputation preceded him in the neighbourhood and he was often recruited by cowardly neighbours to dispose of 'un productive' hens or noisy useless roosters.

Kerry Ann knew this because she made a point of befriending the sparrows that frequented their pen for seed. Unlike Esmay and Tracie, who saw the sparrows as mere scavengers, Kerry Anne understood them to be informants, with whom she would happily spare some barn yard seed in exchange for neighbourhood gossip. It were such stories of murder that kept her on her toes and reluctant to retire into brooding old age.

'Listen girls' Kerry Ann piped up...
'Christmas is approaching and I don't want to be the centre piece. Our feathers may not be as red as they used to be but there is nothing a little puffing of the chest can't improve. I am not about to offer my meaty neck to the chopping block, not while I can still lay a dam fine egg - and I sure as hell am not going to be out shone by some clucky chick flick ! Come on girls, lets show them how its done !'

Inspired by Kery Ann's motivational speech, Esmay and Tracie plucked up their courage and proceeded into the hen house to start some serious laying. With such rivalry in the air and the threat of the guillotine the Cruise family coop has never produced so many eggs per day.

With a full carton to be filled every two days.

Egg Rivalry
Acrylic on Board

Monday, December 5, 2011

The computer says no and other humiliating moments for which I am to blame

It's lunch time and I have just finished three too many coffees for the day, which I know is not helping my agitation and impatience, but I can't stomach any food, I am trying hard to be productive and feel useful and with that there is no appetite.

Complaint one: it is 10 freakin degrees, Summer ? I returned from the Caribbean why ? My hands are wrapped in fingerless gloves and still freezing, for some one who relies on their hands I feel incapacitated today. I recently pondered in conversation with a musician what would be worse, as a painter - losing sight or hands or in his case, hearing or hands. I figured living with the lustre of the visual world all around with the inability to translate it would be hell, and I would prefer to die. Without eyes there would still be incalculable memories and sensations upon which to paint about and I could still embrace the physicality of painting, even if I couldn't respond to it in the same way.
With further thought, maybe painting blind would rid me of that endless dissatisfaction, I would never see the end product and could potentially be happy.

I have had another fight with the world of IT, Leaving me feeling useless, inept, agitated, stupid, future less, an embarrassment to my generation, the list goes on. And no, I don't want to go to TAFE to learn about admin or computer programs. This is not because I am lazy, but rather I detest the idea that I would have to spend valuable time conforming to a system - a system which continually likes to 'improve', 'upgrade', update, refresh' and essentially outsmart you every few months so as to deliberately make you feel like a fool so that in fact never conform to the system but remain it's victim. The computer continually laughing at you.

I have just spent the last two days, actually the greater part of 5 years, painting and drawing, something I am proud to say I can do and others can't. Something that is indeed a skill, and for the most part of history has been greatly appreciated. I am part of a league of documenters, fiercely passionate creators, drafstman, activists, inventors and agitators. We have painted everything from God to your kid sister, from your wildest dreams to the absence of all measure. I speak of 'us' 'we' with a new found pride and ownership of my identity. Struggling continually with a sense of purpose and reasoning behind this career that I have chosen - or rather has chosen me, I take comradeship and inspiration from my predecessors. For in the face of today, my own reality, I find little to keep me painting. There is no contemporary canon and the ideals and systems that order the world leave little optimism in me.

In this new found world contemporary world of progress and multi tasking I can barely feed myself nor feel like a valued member of society. I know I know, artists have always struggled, the paupers life and all that, and actually I am quite resigned to dealing with this, IF it means I can carry out my practice and hold a position in society of dignity. And yet I don't feel this way. And it is not without trying.

Todays catalyst of artistic self loathing is indeed the computer. The manner in which I need to tailor my life and work into a metal box, that continually flashes 'error'. I have been working on some new projects, paintings from life. I have spent hours in my make shift studio studying the light as it falls on a carton of eggs. In the ridiculous 'summer' temperatures last night I worked until late. Listening to the radio - which in itself is a marvellous education (if you can bear the aussie accent, which in my new pretentious judgement, can not stand since returning to Australia - for example, did you know that half a carrot is the equivalent of one serve of vegetables in a daily requirement of five ?)
Over time I know these paintings will improve, and I am devoted to learning and honing this skill. I am building a world down in that shed, I am giving life and cause to the most mundane of things, when I present them to the world it is with the intention that one can more fully inhabit their environment. I am not just attempting to give my subject credit but working toward the audience too. We all have a role to play in this world and maybe mine is reminding you of the crema on your coffee every morning and how dam sweet it is. Anyway, there a multitude of justifications as to why the artist works, of which i am not particularly focused on right now, but more so that we work, we work hard and we do things of importance.

I am exhausted from focus, so I pick up my violin, shit, my hands are so cold can't keep up with the semi quavers and I am forgetting to slide down to the b flat - argh, this makes me mad. Yet tonight, after I have painted, I will practice again and the music will flow and I will entertain someone.

I have been ranting so much I can't remember how I started.... Ah yes. My point. Getting to it. I can paint, draw, play and cook and yet I can't use a scanner. I can't communicate with the world because the computer says no. I am with little patience, and perhaps this is my problem. BUT, No art pursuit is adequate without its techno equivalent. I have to tailor some document so as to textually justify it, put into a more palatable language - essentially so no one looks at the painting but reads about it. Then I have to document, scan, email and god knows what -which takes hours. And when it all fails I am left feeling so incredibly inept I hate myself.

The life of multi tasking. I am a woman, and quite good at it. There are few strings to my bow. But I never realised I would face such fierce pressure to balance multiple careers the painter, the secretary, the pa, the promoter and then the bread and butter. None of them work without the other. And when you can't get the trifector it is humiliating.

Christmas Presents

Are you Feeling heavy with the weight of possessions, yet really desire that enormous duck statue with nowhere in your house to present it? Is Christmas looming yet your bank balance dwindling and you don't know where you will find the cash to buy that expensive pearl necklace for your girlfriend ? Or do you really want that angle grinder that no one will buy you ?

Well now your problems are solved in my new Domestic Christmas series of paintings. For a limited time only you can purchase what ever exotic or mundane item on your wish list, in an affordable and compact way. own that power tool you have always wanted, without the obligation of having to actually use it - display it on your wall and in all its expressive painterly beauty you can admire it every day.

Or maybe you have a friend who enjoys the finer things in life, art and a piece of decadent blue cheese ? Well these two things are combined in paintings of food and finery that also feature in the domestic Christmas range. Pick up a painting of cheese, eggs, a glossy lettuce or a bounty of bananas. Dreaming of a white Christmas, with no cash to fund it ? How about a reindeer snow globe painting ?

This month I have set up studio in my dad's shed. Sharing the space with drop saws, motor bikes and long lost boxes of family memorabilia. It is a tight squeeze as I paint amongst the possessions and bring in my own material. Mum angrily has to trudge down to the shed in the morning to retrieve the fruit she wants for breakfast, only having to repeat the process later when she can't find the mix master to bake her cake. So, between the mayhem of the shed and the domestic influences of living with the family again, I have some interesting subjects for my paintings.

From angle grinders to cartons of eggs, I have selected familiar objects of everyday life. There is a suitable amount of tasteful kitsch involved too as I can't take still life painting too seriously. All works are acrylic on board and are ready to hang. Sizes range from postcard to 40cm squared.

This new series of paintings will be for sale at the Bowral Farmers Market on the 10th of December and at the Mittagong Markets on the 17th of December. As well as by private or online viewing. Tailored toward the discerning Christmas shopper The Domestic Christmas range has a subject and price to suit all tastes.

Please contact me for more information and forward the idea to your friends.

More images to follow.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Familien: Archives of Homework

Life's synchronicity never fails to intrigue me but then as many friends have told me this year, there is no such thing as coincidence.

I was sitting in my friend's kitchen this morning, inspecting the jar of marinated artichokes that I had just bought from the store. When it reminded me of the first time I ate a fresh artichoke and the ceremony that I remember whilst sharing it with my friend Claire. I retold the story to my friend Jon.

Following this I opened my email to find a letter from my friend Claire asking when I would return to Australia and a link to the interview about her latest exhibition. I listened to her voice and felt my heart drop - the quintessential aussie accent warming my heart. I listened to her talk about language and relative recognition - all things that I have not put words to but have encountered on my own journey this year. Jumping between places, in and out of homes, crossing paths and sharing stories. What I have missed is the conversation of art, putting words and marks, paint and ink to these experiences. I have missed my artist friends. Claire has never failed to welcome me into her world and with a sense of gratitude and relatedness I listened to her speak today and heard about Joeys and songs, working in the Australian bush and I was proud to have a connection with it too.

The nature of Language extends into my work too. Abstraction maintains its hold over me because of its potential to link many people - with their many interpretations. The other night I showed Jon the slide show from my recent exhibition and loved how he impulsively responded to each painting with each click. My favorite was his reaction to 'seduced' to which he responded murder scene. I guess seeing red does that to some people as does passion. Lost and Found was an exhibition made in response to personal encounters and responses to place. Locations as disparate as the Mexican desert and the Canadian Rockies and yet they were able to inhabit the time and space of the exhibition in Montreal. They were made active and took on different identities according to who saw them. I am intrigued by this translation process and the some what mystical ability of the humble paint on canvas to transcend time and place. Lost and Found took pieces and connected them and I envisage a web growing from their centre upon return to Australia.

The exhibiton Familien: Archives of Homework is showing at the Watch This Space Art Gallery in Alice Springs until the 27th of October.

The Gallery is open from Tuesday to Thursday between 11am-4pm, and on Saturdays from 12-4pm.

You can listen and read more about Claire by connecting to this blog:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lost and Found - A return to the gallery and to the blog

It has been a while dear blog, I have taken time away from the keys to explore, away from the paint brushes too, the devil that is a job and the toils of a studio practice. I have cheated on you with my diary and camera - seduced by ink, I have kept my stories, my tales, my woes and discoveries, for its pages alone.

Sometimes a needle and thread have come out, a piece of paper and a water colour brush to record my adventures. Sometimes, things have found me, like an abandoned box of treasures, yarn, a lolly wrapper, a ticket. Many a story has been shared with me too, hearts telling me tales of love and loss, fears and frivolity. I have assumed the traveler and keeper of secrets. My eyes locking on colours, my tongue savouring tastes and my body growing weary of searching for places to rest my head.
As a quilter gathers material for her blanket I have woven some sort of tale, one that strays off on tangents but never the less unites many people and places.

It is my desire and inescapable duty of to translate all that is around me.
In March when I found myself in Puebla Mexico, struggling to breathe, overwhelmed and intoxicated with the ambush of colour and culture, I settled myself down by painting. My friends when out partying on tequila and I sat on my balcony with a brush, pad and orange and purple and poured it out. (dont worry I had my own stash of tequila too) These colours are now emerging in my latest large scale work - This never fails to surprise me - the manner in which my body will contain something and then release it later. At these moments I wonder if I have any control, if instead I am just a harvester of something already in existence. Yes I make work, but its soul is already floating around and I just give it some form, I translate it in some way. I am not sure if this is necessary or not but it seems to be what I need to do. An instinct, something that makes sense to me.

The mystical nature of my process sometimes becomes all too much. As does the language I use. I don't paint what we all see, I paint what i see, stripped back and elemental. It begins with an idea of a place or a glimpse of something and then I hold little control over the direction, it is then the surface and material that starts its own journey. It evolves through time and eventually I realise what I am painting or sewing or sculpting. Often I am in the dark. This is frightening. This is what un nerves me. But this is why I do it.

I am sharing some of the journey in my latest exhibition. It is a presentation of work gathered over a six month period. It is raw, it is a little fragile but it is honest. I like to think of it as an exhibition for more exhibitions. It is not shiny and perfected, it is more like a blanket with frayed edges - tangents of yarn to follow into more work. In this way the exhibition challenges the traditional notion of a perfected show, it makes me a little uncomfortable, but hey - who wants to be like all the rest ?

As I have been crafting assemblages for the show, sanding wood and stuffing materials, the medative process of this has revealed an objective position from which I can view the work. Which is a relief from the highly subjective position that I normally hold. In the repetitive nature of sewing or painting pattern the mind has the time to tell me of the people I am painting about and the places. I realise I am in many ways telling other people's stories. I am giving the voiceless wall of a city a voice too as I paint its beautiful coloured facade which hints at the layers beneath.

My most recent address has been in Montreal, where I have had the fortune to ease into a studio practice during a residency. Pulling together the stories, enriching the memories through paint and slowly formulating a collection to share. Lost and Found is the title of the show and it holds many voices.

I hope you enjoy it.
(I hope I can pull it off.)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Madeleine's latest exhibition appearance

The best way to support Project Australia is to appreciate the work of emerging artists in this fabulous fundraising group show. Come along to the opening and take home a piece for your wall !

Something Personal
Charles Hewitt Gallery
335 South Dowling St Darlinghurst
Opens 6pm Thursday 3 February 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Sympathy

'That is the best thing of life, to be in sympathy with others. To be creating something of time and sharing the moments in between'

'Where is a a piece of paper ? You need to write that down'. Said Sia, as her hands scrambled across the table for a piece of paper. 'What was it again ?' Sia asked Claire. 'I'll just keep talking' said Claire. 'It is just my wandering words, they're bound to come up again'. She took a slurp of her red wine and went back to strumming her guitar. 'No', Sia insisted ' This is your artist statement Claire, I'll write it down and you can pull it out some time, when you need it'.
Claire accepted the writing and humbly slid it beneath a pile of papers before her.

Earlier that evening, reclined like sleeping cats under the shadow of a garden canopy, we had shared our 2010's and our plans for the next year. With a friend visiting from out of town, there was much to catch up on. What I did not like was that I sat their in loathing of myself. I recited a chronology of events and I could not be bothered to share some affirmation for the future. I was exhausted by myself and equally humiliated by my inhibitions and pessimism. I knew that I was in the company of great women, a safe space, a friendly space but unfortunately their strength and humility, beauty and fervour for the future just accentuated my sense of inadequecy.

Tonight even, as the heaviness of the humid air heightens the stillness, i feel incredibly alone, desperately wanting to just share this glass of wine. A lone sailor on a ship, without a compas or sail or even a destination. I do not want to sink, but water is rising in the hull.

There is reason why there are many sailors onboard a ship and why sea shanties exist, which I discovered as the dinner pary progressed.

We sat around a table and ceremoniously pulled out our lipsticks like shop girls of the 1960's - giggling like them too, in amusement of new found cosmetic comraderie. Blush pink, crimson, ruby and terracotta. Claire taught us a song, and as we learnt to pronunciate in Spanish, our voices grew stronger, until we were seductively rolling our vowls. Over candlelight we sung and laughed hyserically.

When a platter of desert was set on the table, I was struck by how the artist presented the food, so differently to how my mother may have. When asked if i wanted some christmas pudding I was expecting my individual slice of cake in a bowl, perhaps with some cream or custard. Instead a long timber board was set down on the table with a a giant piece of lucious cake in the centre, surrounded by slices of mango and peach. The colours glistened and the sugar was so tantelising. We delicately picked at the platter with our fingers and wondered at the inclusion of sago in the cake, which gave it an unusul pumpernickal flavour and texture.

To create something of time - this need not compete with legend but embrace the essence of life.

To be in Sympathy with others - is paramount to known happiness, but what is also necessay is to be in sympathy with oneself - and this can be a lot harder.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2.30 AM Treasures

It was one of those Saturday nights that had humble beginnings but which escalated with plans and occurrences all over town. Only to conclude in the simplest of chance encounters, which proved far more rewarding than the attempted glamour of the evening.

Like a scene out of the quintessential Australian film, The Castle, the evening began with drinks in a suburban backyard of Stanmore. Concrete sealed every last inch of outdoor space in the 1960's red brick apartment complex. With the hills hoist proudly positioned in the centre of the yard, it proved a useful frame from which to drape a blue plastic tarp in case of rain. Though no amount of concrete or plastic tarp could ever block out the monstrous sound of 747's, as they swooped overhead every 15 minutes. At these moments the gentle chatter of the house party guests would rise to an abrupt volume, then diminish once more as the plane disappeared. Despite all efforts to maintain the chilled temperature of the beer in the retired outhouse, the best way to combat the enveloping humidity was to drink ones way through the cases of beer that were arriving. As we munched through snacks, we smacked mozzies on our legs and talked about all number of important subjects, such as Trish's new hair do and her lovely lady lover.

As 11.30 arrived as did the drop in gang, politely saying hello only to parade out once more in their 'alien' costumes, ready for another party. I am seduced every time when it comes to fancy dress, and this evening was no different. Despite being quite adamant that I wasn't going to drink nor venture onto oxford street, the tin foil and antennas were just too much to handle. Grabbing a friend by the hand I whisked her back to my house and we embarked upon a 20 minute costume creation, we were going to this party. Out with the body glitter, hairspray, tin foil, bobbins and spandex we fashioned some 'alienesque' outfits and ran for the last train out of Erskineville.

Lined up like animals in a cattle yard, we waited to get into the venue. Already I was attentive to the lack of costumes in the queue, but the adrenalin had excited me and my spirits weren't dampened. Once inside though, it was like a scene from a Hollywood movie, where the un popular birthday party guest is the only one invited to a 'costume' themed party, in fact, they are the comedian for the evening ! Dressed to the alien nines I was surprisingly unaffected - that's the power of costume: Inhibition. And so the evening progressed into sweaty dance floor moves until the air conditioned taxi out of there proved too appealing.

Dropped off at the end of my street, I walked past the usual addresses until I reached the un official depository for unwanted items. It were as if my prayers had been answered. I had recently been wanting to mark a certain 'coming of age' and felt it was high time I invested in some staple, nurturing house items. I had acquired a beautiful dinner set two years ago, 2010 had seen the arrival of a coffee machine and now I felt I wanted a rug, a persian rug, one that I would have forever. And there it was. Rolled up on the footpath next to box of crockery, photo frames and various miniature figurines. My Persian rug. I would now transform from alien into Aladin, and fly my magic carpet home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flying with the Fox

This evening as I was swimming laps in the pool, I looked up as I usually do, to check the time on the large clock. I realised I needed to swim for 5 more minutes so as to reach my usual 40 minute target. Then I thought, 'Just as well, it's getting late and I had better get home for dinner'. I tumbled at the end of the lap and continued on the home stretch. I was swimming well today, my body relaxing into a soothing rhythm and I felt I could have kept going for another half an hour. Why then was there this urgency to 'get home before dark'?

The overcast weather combined with the dinner hour meant there were no children about. The pool, though quite full with adults, was focused and meditative. You could almost hear the gentle hum of thoughts being shared beneath the surface. I emerged from the water and wrapped a towel around my shoulders, relishing in the comfort. 'Best get dry and change', my maternal voice instructed as I looked at the clock again. Instead I sat down.

I thought about how a friend had said she needed routines and rituals to function, without them she was lost. From this I tried to distinguish what may be the difference between the two, for whilst I am happily stabilised by routine I can recognise rituals in my life that are far more rewarding, yet are equally as measured. Yoga is something I do regularly, I practice familiar poses, yet my focus and meditation is often unique to each class. Similarly I shop regularly, I must eat after all, but I savour the experience of entering the chinese food market as if it were a glistening jewellery store. I let myself be attracted to seasonal fruit and get excited in the aromatic herb aisle. These I consider rituals, very much structured like a routine, though fulfilled with an intent and awareness of something sacred. This being the superior colour of produce or observing the weightlessness of the body in water, it can be something much more rewarding.

Not so long ago I would have watched sceptically as swimmers followed the black line up and down the pool, judging their behaviour according to an obsessive compulsive trait, rather than a ritual. What a boring routine ! However now, as I gravitate to the water for relaxation and experience my thoughts and health improve, I realise the confines of the lanes allow for something special.

Routines need to be broken too though. The freedom of abandoning the expected and the structure is of equal importance, otherwise these systems dominate and the lustre of the practice diminishes.

With this in mind, I head to the park - again, the lack of children in school holiday time is astounding ! I feel like the rebellious adult taking over the swings and the slide, but most importantly I have the chance to test out the flying fox ! I have enviously been watching children play on it for months, through the bus window as I pass. And now it is my turn. The routine of time, dinner, weather is all out the window - I must play !

Taking in wind I glide fast, faster then terrifyingly fast down the cable- It is wonderful ! Next, i am jumping from heights and performing 'run ups' to increase my speed. Again and again I glide down the fox. I hear myself say 'one more go' and joyously I respond 'No !' The mind can so easily make an oppressive routine of life. One of this, only 10 minutes of that, oh the structure is stifling ! Squealing as I nearly flip the swing - I realise I must appear the psychotic playground weirdo.