Jacqui Dean

Stumbling across the artwork of JACQUI DEAN was a very special occasion as not only did I have the up-close experience of viewing her tender and textured organic portraits but I also had the joy of meeting the photographer herself...and an entourage of her friends who look to her as a mentor as well as companion.
It was a Thursday and I had the evening off, which hadn't happened in too long a time.
So I had a date night with a gallery in Waterloo in Sydney - Danks Street - it is quite the artistic hub with a plethora of galleries ranging in styles as diverse as they come. One which caught my eye online was closing by the time I arrived so I wandered across the corridor. An inviting large glass window draws you in to a quiet and welcoming space.
With my face as close as possible to the beautifully captured monochromatic framed flowers and plants I heard light footsteps. While trying to unpuzzle the process of how these characters were brought to life and put on display a woman greets me as she sets out some wine glasses. She inquires if I am here for the opening. No - but I am so impressed to see such work that gives an insight into these plants and reminds me of etchings and charcoal trials of which I have endeavoured to capture. I ask if she knows how they are done. She does, as they are hers.
What an honour to meet the captor and creator of these seemingly simple but richly uncovered pieces.
I help put out some refreshments with her and learn about this fascinating woman, mainly her warmth and down to earth attitude, but her beauty and ability to capture beauty strongly pervade.
Her friends and students inform me of her talent, not that it was apparent in her work, but it just emphasised the high regard held for the artist as a person who has inspired and encouraged many.

I was looking forward to having more time with the pieces myself to examine these even closer, conjuring up my own ideas of how she expelled such quiet and strong pieces. Photography! She is a highly renowned photographer, winning multi-award Grand Master of Photography amongst her accolades. But these were black and white images not like I had seen before. There was such tonality and fine lineage of petals and leaves, it was a joy to witness. But she has her unique format of capturing these characters-not a camera- but an x-ray machine. That explains the extra bit of life that seems to ooze out of these flowers-they are not only examined externally but the detail comes from presenting them as a whole -with internal growing features. Looking around the room, however, is not like viewing plants alone but they appear as portraits, with each one having a personality, a history, an oddity about them.
I was truly inspired and loved the discussion with people on their preferred pieces-as interesting personal anecdotes were revealed.
Thank you JACQUI! It was more than an exhibition for me - while opening your doors and arms to me you also opened my eyes. I hope to capture that specialness, someday.

Don McCullis

Finding the most bizarre collection of tv shows aired here in Sydney a gem of a surprise was portrayed in an interview with Michael Parkinson who spoke with awe and honesty to Mr Don McCullin.
For a quietly spoken man, his ability to capture an audience is impressive, through words but more strikingly through his photographs. A humble man whose story is mainly conveyed through images from many wars over many decades in many parts of the world. He has a natural touch with the camera and often went out of his way to connect with people even if his life was at risk. He describes it almost as a duty rather than a job or a choice. Being present during such horrific incidences he finds a type of truth to show to the world, one where sorrow is everpresent.

In his later years he says it is the landscape that he is drawn to. The following image he admired for quite sometime but needed a figure to pass to make it come alive for him. There was a comparison made between these chimneys and the ones at the concentration camps. Even after war, the daily toil and hardship of people is evident. He gives us a sense that war continues in a more internal manner.
This last image is one that I have been familiar with for years but never knew the background to the character or the capturer. MCullin chose to take pictures of homeless people and document them through the Sunday Times. He spoke with these people and built up some rapport out of a deepset curiosity. Many of these people suffered from mental illness and seemed as if they were discarded and forgotten about. Sadly he compares today's younger homeless community with what used to be people of an older age. He slowed down while he described this man, he almost spoke quietly. It was like he was honoured to find him. He said that he looked at him with the bluest eyes and he gazed back. He found beauty and awe in him and I am so grateful he shared it.

Melbourne Abbotsford Convent...and other visual delights

So these are some pics of recent trip to Melbourne. I would recommend a visit to the Abbotsford convent
http://www.abbotsfordconvent.com.au/calendar /
Intriguing environs for artists studios plus nice foody place n hang out areas in the surrounding gardens. Loved the buildings and some of the artists work almost had a haunting feeling about it. Some random shop windows, graffiti and had some yummy cheap pizza and beer in Bimbos...loved their uncanny dolls hanging from the ceilings...http://www.bimbodeluxe.com.au/

I had the joy of having a visual date with Mr. Anish Kapoor...

I had the joy of having a visual date with Mr. Anish Kapoor... down by the harbour in Sydney I originally planned this occasion as a 'me' date on my birthday... having a drink in the Opera Bar with loads of buds and family ringing me kind of altered that plan So the day before this exhibition was about to end I ventured back down to this delightful spot and these are the notes I took...and the phone camera pics (pity about the quality) but for me the experience made up for them Ooh Mr. Anish, entering the first room in MCA there is a hollow sound!?! but people are in good form so its filled with a delightment "It's actually moving" someone says Yes this waxy monstrosity, sooo luxurious, almost visceral fills and empty room to magnificent levels A mini volcano? He shows how Time moves, slowly, slower than the eye can capture... Signs on the ground saying "Please do not touch" seem out if place As it feels like a welcoming place, open to all to all interpretations-oral, tactile...or so I would like to think Yum! It is like walking into a bakers studio "60 minutes to go around" says a kid "What's the point?" A man explains to his young child its just like candle wax Moving so slowly, but smoothly there is comfort in being so close to the big metal structure as it slips by elegantly A greenish tinge is evident on the metal - is this intentional to the complementary green to almost visually wimper in the presence of such an overwhelming red entity I almost want to eat it '20m, 25 tonnes of parrafin wax Void Sculptures explore negative space openings and cavities exploring what's known and what is seen...'