Friday, June 29, 2007

always look up

A cloud for my friend.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I made it cut its wool off, and now it is crying.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

miss fifi's feelings for snow

"North-West view from the Top of Mount Kosciusko"

Eugene Von Guerard painted this, in 1866.
Having spent time at the academy of Dusseldorf in his youth, you can see here his sense of the sublime, in the German romanticist tradition, in this remote Antipodean place. His excitement and awe of its wilderness and majesty.

Only four more days, and this fish heads off to Snowy Mountains.
By world skiiing standards, The Australian alps are a different proposition. The kind of snow, and weather conditions are quite different to say, Austria, Whistler, or Niseko. Nonetheless, I love it here.

I love the snow gums, and I love the brightest blue of skies above. I love the views of the eucalypt forest stretching down below the snowline, far away and untouched, untamed. I love its wildness, and its lack of order, the un-europeaness of it all.
I have never skied anywhere in the world in such lovely conditions: the sun out, the wind low, the trunks of snow gums gleaming with a thousand colours
One has to choose carefully one's company though, in order to avoid the hideous social jousting that goes on down there. I am lucky enough to be in a ski club which is pretty downmarket, started by European migrants way back, and still has an kind of working class ethos, which is unusual.
The members may not be Latvian coalminers any longer, but it's a funny place with a strange kind of competitiveness as to who can actually still be wearing the oldest ski item. I was winning at one stage, as I am currently wearing the SECOND only pair of ski pants I have ever owned. Yep, I bought my current pair five years ago when I decided that the second-hand pair of 1960's ski-skins that I bought for $15 at the charity shop were possibly an offence to be seen in.

In the last few years, I have been attempting to learn to cross country ski. I can't say as I'm very good at it, but I can get around. Here we are being coached by the resident expert, Friedl.

I will be flying and wandering.
Each day, I will spend a while just on the boundary facing towards Mount Kosciusko. Then I will launch down th mountain, top speed, down the face, through the trees, speeding down past the lifts into the gully, and up the other side. Hopefully, I will make it up to this road , and skate home. It's such a blessing to be able to fly.
In an extremely civilised gesture, the Italian caffe bar now has internet access. I will be checking, every day, so do leave me lots of comments and tell me what your'e up to. I won't be cooking or driving or anything usual for a while. I will have all the time in the world.
When I return it will be a completely different story.

"North West View from Mount Kosiusko"
Eugene von Guerard, 1866
University Melbourne Art Museum

Sunday, June 24, 2007

dogs, cats and strange fruit

In Melbourne, I had a splendid time. Melbourne seems like so many places at once.

Here I saw an owl and two pussycats.

This piece of "graffiti" was very impressive. In fact, all the graffiti I saw was pretty interesting.

I saw contemporary installation work at Westspace, "Entanglement" which I love, created by that kittycat in the red hat.
It speaks of the nature of communicating, the potential for misinterpretation, and how two persons seek to become complete. The film shots were lovely, the boat-pod sculpture looked really evocative and secretive, glinting in the low light. it was woven fron vieotapes of the stars.Coal-grey and sparkling.

I saw the new show at Gertrude Contemporary Artspace, some very entertaining, but the piece by Tao Wells was very resonant and critically addressed notions concerning the US, the UN, and the significance of the official signage of the two. Didnt get a picture, will try and track one down.

I trotted down to the NGV International and briefly wondered if I was in fact in Bucharest or even China.
What horrible opppressive architecture. In fact. that whole block is oppressive and overwhelming.

But here was a noble little hound waiting for me.

Some of the more commercial spaces included Tim maguire at Tolarno. Boy, his work is costly.
I like it,and I always have, but the others didn't. Of course I have a liking for strange fruit, so there you are.

Much of the time I spent eating with, or running after, "the boys", as they chaperoned me around. Here I am, hot on their heels, looking like trailer trash with my winter hair.

Home again, home again, back to the fray. We just passed the Winter solstice. I was amazed how short the days were in melbourne compared to here. It reminded me of the time I went to London one december.

it's noice to be home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Today is the 13th day of rain, I think, and I am loving it completely. It's real rain, at night you can listen to it sounding like applause on the roof, crescendo, piano, mezzoforte.

On the weekend down at the beach, I was trying to slither into the boiling waves unnoticed. Feeling a little apprehensive but knowing I would be only happy once I'd gotten in, I was counting the waves and waiting for a lull. Just as I pelted myself face first into the foam, I heard voices calling me, and to my horror, the girlspawn had followed me down and was happily coming after me. With a friend.
This proved to be quite a circus attraction, and we gathered a rather big audience. Luckily they are both extraordinarily good swimmers...(the friend represented Australia and mine NSW)...but still. They brought the camera, and made me take their photo.

This was deemed noteworthy enough to attract the attention of the Sunday Telegraph photographer, who obviously had not as yet found anything else to sell papers with. I quickly tugged off my purple swimming hat, horrified at the thought I might appear on the cover of the Sunday papers, looking like some circus exhibit, all ham arms and tiny purple head.

Nonetheless, I was too frightened to walk past a newstand in case I was greeted with this unsightly vision, but there had been an abandoned baby left on a church doorstep so I was off the hook.
That evening, it dawned on me that he was more interested in the cubs anyway, being as they ae quite pleasant to look at. I checked the papers and found an article on the weather, but he had used a picture of a dog running away from the waves. The genius cub, however, looked on the website, and lo and behold, there we were: me being photographed while photographing the cubs. Tiny purple head and all.

I am off to Melbourne to the opening of "Entanglement", at Westspace.
Should be great, it's been a long time in the making and I can't wait to see the video installation with the boat-pods installed in the space.
You can read about it on Shoufay's website on the right.
I am looking forward to Melbourne, if anyone cares to call by Westspace on thursday night, I very disappointingly will not be wearing my lovely purple hat.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

the fish thinks of flying

I can tell when it is snowing in the Snowy Mountains, although I am a good 6 hours drive away.

It is the colour of the sea: dark steel blue,fading to pale malachite near the shore, the raft of cloud sitting on the southern horizon large and flat; that arctic breeze whispering through, and the sun: pale yellow like dead grass.

Even with the air temp 10deg, the sea is 20deg. I dont like the getting out: I peer at the world, nose deep in the water.
I was reminded of this:

"At night every river has a secret twin a ghost of air washing above the living water down toward the sea" *

There is a ghost, above the sea, betraying the secret of its warmth.

I checked my hunch on the snow-cam: hah! yes indeedy.
This is what I like to see.
Or not see.

A snowy blanket being woven for the fish to fly in.

Perisher Valley Snow cam

* peter carey "The True History of the Kelly Gang"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I am currently overwhelmed by processes and needing all my energy to keep from stepping on landmines.
Negotiating my way through life can be a complicated thing.

I'm rather glad that nothing creeeped up behind me and bit my a*** off, like this poor little guy who landed at my feet this morning.
Always some reason to be thankful...

oh, and "The Art Life" blog has bloomed into a TV show.
Its good: watch it.
10pm tuesday abc.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

So just as I was thinking there was a little equilibrium, that the sun shone all over the world and was, if not equally shared in terms of time, benign and happy in its sharing of warmth and light,
I woke on Friday to a noisome deluge, the incessant rain alien not only in its volume, but its persistence. I have a tin roof, I sat up, listening to the noise and puzzling at the lack of wake up call the sun usually provides. Helicopters buzzed above: a sure sign something is lost.

A bit of rain is good, but there was something about this particular deluge I wasn’t liking.
Having hunted for my wet fishspawn in a torrent, photographing all the while, I now find my camera is not working.
The sea put on a 17 meter swell, and dark-green gales roared in, throwing the beach out of its boundaries and into the streets , as if to erase the traces of human habitation.
Further north from here, the highway collapsed and took with it an entire family. Tankers kicked over, all power lost. More rain in 3 days than in about 3 years, I would reckon.

Having no power made me realise the fragility of this dainty web of interconnectedness. How dependent we are on electricity, and how very real the lack of it can be.
It also made me realise how much I like hot showers and refrigerated food. And lights to read by.

Half damp, I sat today and watched the wild sea, having battled with it earlier. I have seaweed in my hair and a crust of salty rime all over me,
Now here I sit with my feet frozen, reading “The True History of the Kelly Gang”, by Peter Carey.
The book is soft and pages rough cut, it flops in my hand as I read, mesmerised, the freakish surf just visible over the cover.

The surf has put on an entertaining show. Round here, everybody rushed down to "Dead Man's", just off Fairy Bower, to watch the lunatics catch the huge waves, including this guy.
I had myself an exhilarating encounter. I can't help myself: days like these tell me just how hopelessly I am addicted to salt water.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

we need to talk about Reg...

This is Reg Mombassa's "Self Portrait With High Pants",
which he submitted for that particularly Sydney slagfest, the Archibald Prize.
He thought that this would be close to "what Bon Scott would have done as a self portrait".
I rather like it. Actually, I like it lots.

He is mostly known for his irreverent "larrikin" style graphics used by mambo designs. (His contribution to the Sydney Olympics was a fly-infested backyard bbq scene in the Closing ceremony: hilarious and bewildering).
Originally from New Zealand, he is a lovely painter who explores nostalgia and half remembered places, investigating the landscape from the perspective of the perpetual traveller.

and here he is with Dog Trumpet, playing "Lili Marlene." Monday night at NGArt in Chippendale.
Absolutely Brilliant.

This was the unexpected bonus for undertaking that military style operation called "going to an exhibition opening across town when you have small children and a densely tangled life."
Well, the boychild and I were amply rewarded.

Listen to the South Pacific guitar riffin' jangles. I defy ANY of you, if you are australian, to deny the presence of a few of those vibrato chords,deeply embedded in your psyche, those twangly guitar riffs, traces of any old "Mental as Anything" song played in a pub or an RSL club, or on the radio on a long car trip.

This was the best exhibition opening I ever went to.
Gosh it was fun...
( TWO doses of miss jane on the ONE day. AND her work was sold..go miss j.)

And the fishspawn had the best of all times too.

Go there: NGArt: "There's No Place Like Home" features artworks by Reg AND brother Chris O'Doherty, (not to mention the lovely Miss Jane.)
Little Queen St Chippendale.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

aha, resist me you can't, you can't, you can't!
she says to me at midnight

I love you, I love you, I shriek back,
in the midnight hou,r I love you more
so cold and dark and black.