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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

COOPER+SPOWART books win ‘works on paper’ Awards

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Martin Hansom Award Flyer

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THE MARTIN HANSON ART AWARDS

For 45 years the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum has annually presented the Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards. The Awards encompass the following art-making areas – easel works, works on paper, three-dimensional & fibre works and digital works. There are three awards for each category and seven special awards including the Pamela Whitlock Memorial Acquisitive Award and the overall Rio Tinto Martin Hanson Memorial Art Award of $15,000.  The $40,000 Award prize monies are supported by individuals and community organisations including the Gladstone Regional Council and with significant support from Rio Tinto, Queensland Alumina and other Gladstone mining and industrial businesses.

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Sue Smith the Award Judge IMAGE: The Award’s Brochure

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ABOUT THE JUDGE: SUE SMITH

Sue Smith is an artist, writer and curator. She has held the position of Art Collection Manager at CQ University Australia since August 2012, after serving for nine years as Director of the Rockhampton Art Gallery and Manager Art Services for the Rockhampton Regional Council.

Ms Smith is an exhibiting artist and her works are held in public and private collections in Australia. She trained in the visual arts at the Queensland College of Art and the CQ TAFE; and studied at the University of Queensland, where she graduated in Art History and Modern and Ancient History.

Her postgraduate studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, were in the History of European art.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT OUR AWARDED ENTRIES

Over many years we have occasionally entered the Martin Hanson Memorial Awards with previous awards in the ‘works on paper’ category.

Both of the books we entered had been hand-printed and bound earlier in the year and had been finalists in the Artspace Mackay Libris Awards.

Last Saturday evening a friend who had been watching the Awards announcement via ‘Live-stream’ texted us to say “log-on and your names have been mentioned”. So we did and were excited to hear the result first-hand and also the comments from the judges Sue Smith.

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HERE ARE THE RESULTS

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THE CREATIVE GLADSTONE REGION Inc AWARD

for the ‘works on paper’ section

went to VICTORIA COOPER for her artists’ book  BEING PRESENT

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Victoria Cooper’s BEING PRESENT

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

Being Present has its physical origins from the Bundanon Trust and the Shoalhaven River.

The electron microscopic images come from unexplored work made during an earlier residence in 2007 of collected detritus from the river. The montages were constructed with these microscopic images as interventions into a riparian environment near the property.

The book is informed by the work of notable writers, thinkers and philosophers, Martin Heidegger and Rachel Carson.

Judge Sue Smith’s comment about the work…

The Creative Gladstone Region Inc. Award

Victoria’s little book is beautifully designed and its semi-abstracted examination of trees and poetic texts asks us to consider wider cosmic questions.

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THE AUSTRALIA PACIFIC LNG AWARD

for the ‘works on paper’ section

went to DOUG SPOWART for his photobook HOME

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Doug Spowart’s book  HOME

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

This book was conceptualised and created during an artist’s residency at Bundanon near Nowra in New South Wales in June 2018. The final design of the book took place in 2019.

For 5 years I have been homeless resulting from the need to travel, seeking work, looking for a place to settle, and maintaining connections with supporting friends and colleagues. The residency enabled inner thoughts to emerge that have been suppressed throughout this time.

Self-imaging is not something new to me. What is new however in this work is the frank reality of the expression, pose and perhaps vulnerability I present in these moments contemplating ‘home’ and what it means to me.

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Judge Sue Smith’s comment about the work…

Australia Pacific LNG Award

This small book contains a masterly series of photographs contemplating self and the concepts of home and human vunerability, the human figure merging into environmental images that hover between representation and abstraction.

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OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE AWARD

Exhibition Opened – Saturday, 17 October 2020 and Closes – 5pm, Saturday, 30 January 2021

This year’s Art Awards is reaching further into the virtual world, providing an alternate enjoyment experience via Council’s Conversations platform. Artist have been asked to post their profiles online as an accompaniment to their submitted artwork – They can be viewed here:
https://conversations.gladstone.qld.gov.au/projects/45th-martin-hanson-art-awards-2020/artist-profiles

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After November, in addition to viewing the exhibition at the Gallery & Museum, all artwork entries can be found in the online gallery here: https://conversations.gladstone.qld.gov.au/projects/45th-martin-hanson-art-awards-2020/entries-martin-hanson-memorial-art-show

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Martin Hanson Memorial Award Sponsors

Martin Hanson Memorial Award Sponsors

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CYANOTYPE IN AUSTRALIA Celebrates World Cyanotype Day 2020

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CYANOTYPE 2020 MOSAIC

 

The world is in a pandemic turmoil but beneath the stress, pain and fear of what some call the ‘new normal’ artists have continued making their art. During this time online connectivity has provided the space to coalesce communities of practice across the world where ideas and creative products can be shared, discussed, recognised and critiqued.

Cyanotypers worldwide celebrated 2020 WORLD CYANOTYPE DAY on the 26th of September by making cyanotypes, presenting work in exhibitions and online through their social media platforms. In the USA there are dedicated groups that have continued to support the medium: Db Dennis Waltrip, Judy & Amy and the World Cyanotype Day web and Facebook group; Malin Fabbri‘s  Alternativephotography.com; and Amanda Smith’s Gallery in Texas. These people have created the glue that brings together cyanotypers from around the world.

Two years ago The Cyanotype in Australia Facebook group was formed to bring together contemporary cyanotype work for presentation in major survey shows to celebrate Australian practioners from across the country on World Cyanotype Day. The first show in 2018, ‘In Anna’s Garden’ was presented at the prestigious Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne. Last year ‘Under the Southern Sun’ was shown at The Maud Street Photo Gallery – The Queensland Centre for Photography. This exhibition then toured to two venues in the USA: the A. Smith Gallery, Texas, and PhotoNOLA, New Orleans for the international World Cyanotype Day exhibition.

The Cyanotype in Australia Facebook group has actively supported a vibrant community of practice of not only local, but also international cyanotypers. This year, we decided to curate the World Cyanotype Day event online through the Facebook group page as this space enabled many artists from across Australia and internationally to contribute during these challenging times. We asked our Facebook Group members to select a cyanotype that may have been their first print, an image of a current process investigation or a work that tells a story. Forty-three Australian and a few international Friends responded and posted their work on the page.

This catalogue has now been collated to show the breadth and creative work of these artists. We are again excited to present the amazing work of Australians including our international friends on The Cyanotype in Australia for World Cyanotype Day 2020.

The Cyanotype in Australia Facebook page is a closed group though we welcome ‘Requests to join’ from cyanotype practitioners.

 

Doug Spowart,

with Gail Neumann, David Symons and Victoria Cooper are The Cyanotype in Australia Team

 

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A GALLERY OF WORKS CAN BE SEEN HERE

More information about these works can be found in the catalogue

Download the catalogue via this link  ____WCD 2020 CATALOGUE-FINALv3

 

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Over the last two years the CYANOTYPE IN AUSTRALIA Facebook group has coordinated major events to coincide with this celebration.

the ‘In Anna’s Garden’ catalogue

In 2018 an exhibition entitled “IN ANNA’s GARDEN” was curated Stephanie Richter, Gillian Jones, Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart for showing at the Monash Gallery of Art.

A blog post for this exhibition can be viewed HERE

A download of the “In Anna’s Garden” catalogue can be accessed HERE

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INVITE: Under the Southern Sun

2019 saw the assembly of a group of Australian cyanotyper’s works to be sent to the A. Smaith Gallery and Photo  in New Orleans for the WCD International exhibition. The cyanotypes were firstly shown in the exhibition “UNDER THE SOUTHERN SUN” at The Maud Street Photo Gallery – The Queensland Centre for Photography.

A blog post for this exhibition can be viewed HERE

A download of “Under the Southern Sun” catalogue can be accessed HERE

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Father’s Day: A remembrance in an art project

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Father’s Day 2020 – Thinking of our Dads

 

In 2010 artist, and then gallerist, Julie Barratt put out a call for artworks that asked artists to respond about their Fathers and their passing.

The request from Julie Barratt is as follows:

This project was borne out of the recent sudden death of my father, a handkerchief, some emotive words written by a sibling on his death and the traumatic aftermath of a death processed according to particular societal and cultural mores. Interested artists and Individuals are invited to create an artwork on a handkerchief (any handkerchief not necessarily a man’s) based around death/grief/bereavement.

We reflected on our connection with our Fathers and created artworks using the cyanotype process.

 

Doug’s Hankie

The WHITE KNIGHT – for Merv by Doug Spowart

 

MERV: The White Knight

 My father was an electrician for around sixty years. He always wore King Gee white overalls—even when we went on holidays.

Ever ready to help someone in need he would dash off at a moment’s notice—even when the family organised an outing on the weekend we would always fit in another job along the way.

Over the years he helped many an electrically troubled soul so we, his family, dubbed him the nickname – “The white knight”.

 

 

Victoria’s Hankie

Dad’ll do it – for Reg by Victoria Cooper

 

Dad’ll do it

I remember that he always tied knots in his hankie to keep it in place on his head and to soak up the sweat when he was working on things around the home. He had lived in this home (in the photo) for most of his life except for the time he was in Papua New Guinea for WW2 and shorter periods of time in other places. Over the years he adapted and renovated this home to suit the changing needs of the family.

 

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Barratt Gallery Invite

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The exhibition was shown at Barratt Gallery at Alstonville and Napier Gallery Melbourne

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A post about the exhibition can be found HERE

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A Poem for Dad on Father’s Day – Victoria Cooper

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Reg Cooper’s WW2 PNG Butterfly collection*

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A Poem on Fathers Day – Victoria Cooper 2020

Remembering small shared moments of joy for the natural world.

Many of which no longer exist but for a museum of memories.

With gratitude to my father

 

 

 

Pneumas

 

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Flashes of colour

Flutter across the wall

The souls of the warriors

Fly over

The sublime terrain

While pinned

To a never ending present

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Years pass

This man

Tends a distant garden

Preparing a fertile space

In anticipation for the end of dormancy

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And so the decades

They fly

This man and a small child

Tend the garden

With humility in everyday work

Merging into a gentle rhythm

No expectations

Just joy in the flowers

That simply grow

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But the Butterflies

Remain

Souls Hovering

Over that memory

What do they know

About Time…..

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Eventually

The child alone

Tends the garden

Now a field

Rich with Dreams

Of Flowers

And Forests

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All this …

For The Butterflies

To breathe

 

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Vicky and her Dad Reg circa 1960s

 

 

*Pneuma (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for “breath“, and in a religious context for “spirit” or “soul“.[1]

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Reg’s Butterfly collection

 

Reg Cooper served in the Royal Australian Air Force in Papua New Guinea in World War II. During this time he made this work by collecting butterflies and placing them over a map of PNG and framing. It is entitled “Nadzab 1944” – where he was stationed.

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This Blogpost is copyright:  Text – Victoria Cooper ©2020, Nadzab 1944 © Reg Cooper, Portrait of Victoria & Reginald Cooper – Helen Cooper ©circa1960

Any RSS reposting from this Blog without permission represents a breach of Copyright.

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Written by Cooper+Spowart

September 6, 2020 at 10:15 am

A TASMANIAN CYANOTYPE: Untitled Found Objects by Victoria Cooper

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Untitled found objects a cyanotype by Victoria Cooper

 

Untitled Found Objects is created from a collection made of invasive starfish species colonising parts of Tasmanian waters and a map-shaped beer coaster found discarded in the streets of Hobart. In this work I play with these found objects and speculate on their relationship with Place.

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Found objects: Starfish and Tasmanian coaster map

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When I take the time to study a place through photography and Material Thinking* history is unearthed, reconsidered and reordered. As I walk in each place, I identify and collect objects for further study. Some objects are commonplace or endemic while others may be discarded or dislocated dissonant interventions. I then utilise the cyanotype process as a site-specific medium to record these collections using sunlight and other environmental conditions as experienced in-situ. In this work the cyanotype forms a blue matrix in which these objects are imaged as their shadows. The shadowy imprints inhabit the blue as white ghostly forms referential of their solid origins.

The final work of blue and white is a paradox between its fiction and truth, the featureless blueness only revealing form by its absence. To think about the cyanotype in this way ushers in many questions: Is the cyanotype blue a political or aesthetic statement? Do the white shadows speak of absence or are they the essence of a presence? Does the reader need an exegesis to understand a poem?i

 

Victoria Cooper

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Untitled found objects exposing the cyanotype

 

*The concept of an aesthetic methodology proposed by Paul Carter in his book, Material Thinking, defines my art, and underpins the making of my work. Through a psychological dialogue with materials, subjects and objects, my work evolves reflexively and in concert with the response to physical experience of time and place. In this process I am taken in new directions and presented with unexpected outcomes for the work.

 

Just as human collaborators needed to suspend an irritable desire for control of the project, substituting instead a lover’s readiness to be plastically moulded by the other’s (intellectual) desire, so with materials: they self selected, those of especial value to enquiry displaying gifts of amalgamation and self transformation analogous to the emotional environment characteristic of the human exchange. (Carter 2004:xiii)

 

Paul Carter, 2004, Material Thinking, Melbourne University Publishing Ltd, Melbourne.

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©2019 Victoria Cooper

ARTISTS SURVEY #23: Artists in Pandemic Isolation

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Artists Survey #23 Composite

 

ARTISTS HAVE ALWAYS ADAPTED TO AND EMBRACED CHANGE IN CHALLENGING TIMES OFTEN WORKING IN ISOLATION. Nearing the end of their artists in residence in Finland, Australian artist Julie Barratt and Argentinian photographer Solange Baques found themselves stranded on the other side of a pandemic stricken world. Concerned for their friend and colleague, Cooper and Spowart  connected with Barratt and proposed the concept of a collaborative Artists Survey book project to present the artists’ experiences during the COVID-19 enforced isolation.

This small book compilation is published by the Centre for Regional Arts Practice is the result of the collaboration. It is a small gesture to bridge the vast physical and psychological distance that this pandemic has engendered.

Here is the story of Artists Survey #23: Artists in Pandemic Isolation project.

 

THE BACKSTORY TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF THE ARTISTS SURVEY

The Centre for Regional Arts Practice (acronym C.R.A.P.) was founded in 2007 during an artist in residence at Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon property near Nowra on the NSW south coast. As artists’ bookmakers, we saw the opportunity to produce a democratic multiple publication to present our perspective on regional artist experience and to develop C.R.A.P. manifestoes.

All of our C.R.A.P. Artists Survey books draw upon humour and irony of the prosaic routines and events encountered in life of a regional artist. These publications are usually produced in editions of 25 with 5 artist’s proofs. They are humble handmade books which are sold to collectors and institutions – most are given away to friends and peers.

Some early C.R.A.P. Artists Survey books

The C.R.A.P. and its Artists Surveys have become a vehicle for highlighting, critiquing and questioning many issues both local and global affecting regional artists. The 23 editions to date have included topics such as Swine Flu, The Global Financial Crisis and Global warming. On seven occasions collaborative Artists Survey books have been created with a regional artists.

In late March we witnessed Julie Barratt’s situation as a participation in an artist’s residency in regional Finland. At that time the viral pandemic was closing the world down and cutting off homeward travel with airlines grounded. Though Julie seemed unphased we thought our shared isolation experiences could be an important commentary on these times. So we suggested to Julie our idea of a C.R.A.P. Artists Survey book about Covid-19 isolation and she agreed enthusiastically. Within a a short time Julie’s compatriot in isolation – Argentinian photographer Solange joined the project.

Screen snaps of Facebook group meetings

We formed a Facebook group and held online meetings to talk over the concepts, we shared work, discussed design ideas and quickly our isolation had a creative purpose. We are excited to share our stories with you …

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS SURVEY #23

The Artists Survey project culminated in a book of 6 elements:

  • An introduction booklet
  • 2 works from Solange Baques (1) An image from her ‘Through the window project, and (2) a small piece of Finnish soap enclosed in a stitched holder accompanied by messages about anti COVID-19 hand washing techniques.
  • An original Polaroid image made by Julie Barratt in a stitched folder made at the residency with red thread used by Julie in some of her performance work.
  • A collaborative concertina book by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart.
  • All the elements are enclosed in a special folder cover designed and handmade by Doug Spowart with the support of Victoria Cooper

 

Size of the book: 15 x 10.5 x 2cm
Media: Various art papers, inkjet on photo paper, a Polaroid photograph, a soap shard, a plastic enclosure, various threads and cords
Design and printing: Doug Spowart of cover, intro booklet and other elements
Fabrication: The artists
Edition: 40
Published by: The Centre for Regional Arts Practice
PRICE: $100 + $25 Delivery in Australia (p&p)
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COVER Open with INTRO Booklet

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A PDF COPY OF THE INTRO BOOKLET CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: ARTIST Survey 23 INTRO Book Aug 21

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The video link is:
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SOLANGE BAQUES: is an Argentinean photographer born in Buenos Aires city. In her work she explores identities through memories and family albums. Her images are intimate and subtle.

Solange Baques and her two works

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Solange arrived in Finland on March 2nd to participate in the program “Silence Awareness Existence” as an artist in residency with 13 fellow artists at the Arteles Creative Center, which is located in a rural area near Tampere. Her project was to include visiting Valmet Oy plant and doing some research on the pulp and paper industry but due to the lockdown, this was not possible.

Within a short time of the growing worldwide shutdown of entry to countries 10 of the 13 artists in residency left Finland to return to their home countries. However by March 16 three remained.

Through the Window images included in this collaborative artists’ book was born as a part of the self-isolation program at Arteles Creative Center.

Solange was not able to return home due to the Argentine borders being closed and the only planes allowed to bring back Argentineans being those of Aerolíneas Argentinas. Around the world there were more than 20,000 citizens trying to get home with only 400 people allowed to arrive every day. On May 9th she was finally able to leave Finland and made it back to Argentina on May 11 and out of quarantine to her family on May 25!

 

 

JULIE BARRATT: is an Australian visual artist and arts producer whose mixed media practice encompasses printmaking, photography, artist books, installation and performance.

Julie Barratt and her Polaroid print + folder

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Julie arrived at the Arteles Creative Center in the beginning of March for a 1-month residency. As the worldwide lockdowns were initiated she experienced difficulty in getting flights back to Australia and her residency became an extended period of creative production.

Having this extra period of time in rural Finland has kept Julie just about as far from the grips of Covid-19 as you can imagine. And being distant from family and friends having little access to the Internet or the outside world for that matter was quite surreal!

Although she arrived without a clear project in mind Julie’s work became a visual diary of this period of isolation rendered through the mediums of photography, stitching, mixed media and hand stamping. This work in this collaborative artists’ book made with unique state Polaroid photographs relates to her experience of spending the Covid-19 period of isolation far from home in rural Finland!

By the 4th May she was still there! Cancelled flights, border closures and local transport collapses meant that options for getting home are all but non-existent. Finally Julie was able to get a direct flight from Helsinki to Sydney on May 10. On her arrival in Sydney she was escorted by Federal Police and Army personnel to 2 weeks forced isolation in a Melbourne hotel. She arrived home in Rockhampton on May 24!

 

COOPER+SPOWART

Cooper+Spowart collaborative book

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VICTORIA COOPER:

Victoria’s early career in science and microbiology is influential in much of her arts practice. Engaged in experimental photographic processes from pinhole to digital photomontage, she creates visual narratives, in the physical form of the book, exploring the human-non-human relationships of Place.

I began with energy for our collaboration across the ISO CO-void… This seemed a good time to explore new work informed by my past experience with pathogenic microorganisms. But I was unsettled in this COVID space — challenged by the consequences of being in familiar places that now were significantly altered by unseen entities. Continuity of creative thought was becoming increasingly more difficult under the existential struggle as sharp highs and lows destabilized every aspect of daily life.

During this time I utilised the social space of Instagram to break away from the silence of isolation. I captured and collected moments as they presented themselves and then instantly shared their potential to evoke memories and dreams with others. Over the next few weeks, my Instagram archive of isolated and unconnected fragments grew into a poetic narrative.

In this collaborative book with Doug there is no intended theme, our Instagram images present the fractured moments of our shifting altered reality.

 

DOUG SPOWART: is an Australian visual artist with a multi-media practice.

About 5 years ago Victoria Cooper and I sold our home in Toowoomba and headed out onto the road in search of a new place to live, work opportunities and to connect with friends and our extensive professional networks.

In early March we were on the beach in northern NSW and were planning our next foray into the real estate scene in Victoria. We were just about to head south when we recognised that the expanding threat of Covid-19 was something that could not be taken lightly.

Considering our options we decided to head back to the familiar location of Toowoomba. Our doctor is there, we have family there and importantly we have storage sheds with our art, library and personal effects. We saw isolation as presenting an opportunity to review and downsize our stored possessions.

Within a week we were back in Toowoomba and had viewed possible rental units, made a selection and had paid the first rental instalment.

My contribution to this project is a collaborative concertina book made with Victoria which features photographs made our first isolation period – it is entitled Fractured moments and small glimpses.

 

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OTHER STORIES ABOUT C.R.A.P. ARTISTS SURVEYS can be found at the links below:

Artists Survey Flash Mob Grafton

https://wotwedid.com/2013/09/23/artists-book-flash-mob-create-collaborative-artists-survey-book/

 

Artists Survey #19

https://wotwedid.com/2018/08/09/a-book-a-collaboration-time-19-artist-survey-book/

 

 

 

WOTWEDID BLOG CELEBRATES 100,000 VIEWS

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100K Header

 

Our www.wotwedid.com blog reached the milestone of 1000,000 views last week. It has had 56,000 visitors who have had the opportunity to view 380 posts and read around 250K words and see the hundreds of photographs that we have made to compliment the stories.

 

Our wotwedid Blog was started nine years ago as an opportunity to connect with our friends and creative communities via social media. The topic cloud for the wotwedid Blog includes ARTISTS’ BOOKS, PHOTBOOKS, CAMERA OBSCURA, EXHIBITIONS, MEETING PEOPLE, THE ART AND PRACTICE OF PHOTOGRAPHY, REGIONAL ARTS, CYANOTYPES, PLACE PROJECTS and POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH.

 

Topic cloud wotwedid

 

Usually the content that we post is generated by us and includes the written commentaries, the photographs and illustrations – it can be quite a lengthy time consuming task to get a blog up.

While many posts relate to what we do, have done or will be doing, the Blog represents a chronology of activity in our art practice, our lives and issues that we are concerned about. Due to the contemporary space that the arts and artists occupy today much activity and many events go unnoticed and unrecorded. So a significant driver is to provide a space for commentary on what is happening outside of the popularist ‘art bubble’.

Early this year we were excited to learn that the State Library of Queensland had nominated wotwedid.com for inclusion in the Pandora Archive managed by the National Library of Australia, ‘to ensure the collection and long-term preservation of online publications relating to Australia and Australians. This objective contributes to the Library’s statutory function to comprehensively collect Australia’s documentary heritage.’

Over the years we have found that many views, screen dumps and downloads of resources we make available take place anonymously without comment or feedback. Then again, we understand that this is the same for most online resources. Despite this we find that as we travel and meet friends, fellow artists, academics and curators many say how much they appreciate and enjoy the content that we generate and post.

So, a BIG Thank You to all have visited … And we look forward to your return to help take www.wotwedid.com to the next milestone – 200,000K views.

 

D+V with masks

Vicky+Doug

PORTRAIT PHOTO: Susan Belperio

Here are some images of people met, events documented and our own art activities over recent years …

©2020 Doug Spowart+Victoria Cooper
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Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu
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Our photographs and words are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/..

 

 

 

FOUND: A camera obscura in a storage shed box

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An image is found in a packing box

An image is found in a packing box

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So today we were planning a day of shedding in our storage shed. We donned our dust masks and glasses, and cut through the five years of dust on many boxes and began to move our precious things into protective packing boxes.

Just as we were getting into the rhythm of this challenging chore we found something amazing in one of the empty boxes…

From that moment we stopped all work…

What follows is an impromptu document of performance we made in this remarkable image discovery. Found within an ordinary box ­– in a dusty storage shed – somewhere in the rows of storage sheds where we and others store our forgotten treasures…

 

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A video featuring the performance …

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Here are some images and a video on the refinement of the image by using other boxes and a pair of gloves to mask-out the light admitting aperture to around 3cm square.

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A video revealing the storage shed packing box set-up …

 

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OTHER COOPER+SPOWART CAMERA OBSCURA POSTS:

 

A collection of camera obscura works

https://wotwedid.com/2013/10/26/camera-obscura-2000-2020-in-hotels-and-other-places/

 

A porthole camera obscura on the Spirit of Tasmania

https://wotwedid.com/2019/01/11/2018-field-studies-camera-obscura-spirit-of-tasmania-porthole/

 

A gallery camera obscura

https://wotwedid.com/2016/11/14/maud-gallery-camera-obscura-for-one-day-only/

 

Our Tarago CarCamera Obscura

https://wotwedid.com/2016/05/13/ode-to-tarago-carcamera-obscura/

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Until the next obscura reveals itself …

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ARTISTS BOOKS+AUSTRALIA: Comment for CODEX Journal

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CODEX X Papers – Journal Cover+Text Page

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Early in 2019 Vicky and I received an email from Monica Oppen and Caren Florance inviting our contribution to a report commenting on news and updates on book arts activity in the Antipodes that they were preparing for the Codex Foundation‘s new journal The Codex Papers. They mentioned that they were asking for those involved with projects, conferences, workshops, collections and awards to send through their comments and plans so the local scene could be collated into the report.

Monica and Caren added that, Your commitment to the photo books and also to documenting events for the past years (or is it decades now?!) has lead us to decide that we must ask you what you see as the trends and key events of the past couple of years. Any feedback (your personal view) on the state of the book arts in Australia at the moment would also be of interest.

We were particularly excited to have been invited to contribute and over the days following the request we collaborated on a document that outlined our view of the scene. Photo documents that we had made were reviewed and prepared and forwarded, along with our text to Monica and Caren. The task of collating and blending the individual responses into a single report was completed and forwarded to the Codex Foundation.

Early this year the report was published and we received a contributor’s copy. We were impressed with the journal and the many interesting commentaries on the book arts from around the world. It was interesting to see the complete report and to read the individual contributor’s comments.

Published below is our text and some of the photographs we contributed in response to Monica and Caren’s invitation.

 

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Notes on the Antipodean book arts in the Antipodes for Caren + Monica

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Noreen Grahame in the exhibition Lessons in History Vol. II – Democracy 2012

 

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the world of the artists’ book in Australia was an exciting place. In Brisbane Noreen Grahame, through her Grahame Gallery, Numero Uno Publications, Editions and the Centre of the Artists’ Book championed the Australian artists’ book discipline. Grahame efforts were directed towards artists’ book exhibitions which started in 1991, art book fairs the first of which was held in 1994 and special invitation themed artists’ book exhibitions featuring clique of prominent national book makers.

Artspace Mackay under the directorship of Robert Heather hosted the first of 5 Focus on Artists’ Book (FOAB) Conferences in 2004. Over the years FOAB brought to Australia some of the world’s noteworthy practitioners and commentators on the discipline including Marshall Weber, Keith A Smith and Scott McCarney and juxtaposed them with local key practitioners. For the next 6 years those interested in artists’ books gathered to participate in lectures, workshops, fairs and a solid community of practice developed. In 2006 Artspace Mackay added the Libris Awards: The Australian Artists’ Book Prize that, with a few breaks, continues to be the premier curated artists’ book exhibition and award in Australia.

 

Noosa 08 Artists’ Book exhibition – Noosa Regional Gallery

Queensland also had 10 years of artists’ book exhibitions and 5 years of conferences from 1999-2008 at Noosa Regional Art Gallery. In many ways Queensland was the place to be if you were into artists’ books.

 

Southern Cross Artists’ Book Award 2007

In this period a few other artists’ book awards took place including the Southern Cross University’s Acquisitive Artists’ Book Award from 2005-2011.

 

Throughout the 1990s and until fairly recent times State Libraries and the National Library of Australia actively collected and built significant artists’ book collections. These included many forms of the artists’ book including: private press publications, significant book works by recognised international and Australian practitioners, books as object/sculpture, zines and the emergent photobook.

 

Now around the country major libraries are feeling the push by managers to move access to the library’s resources online thus the importance of the physical object and the tactile connection with items such as artists’ books is now not considered part of the service that the institution needs to provide. For example, the State Library of Queensland’s Australian Library of Art, which houses one of the largest artists’ book collections in the country, is now without a dedicated librarian. Research fellowships and seminars that were once administered by the Library and supported the Siganto Foundation are no longer available. Information and advice about the collection and other exhibitions or group viewings of artists’ books from their extensive collection have been significantly affected.

 

In recent years two Artists Book Brisbane Events coordinated by Dr Tim Mosely at Griffith University has facilitated a significant connection between the American and European scenes with guest speakers like Brad Freeman (Columbia University – Journal of Artists Books), Sarah Bodman (Centre for Fine Print Research – The University of the West of England), Ulrike Stoltz and Uta Schneider (USUS). The conferences also have included a place for discussion and review of the discipline by academics and emergent artist practitioners from Masters and Doctoral programs. These two ABBE conferences have provided a platform for academic discourse.

The artists’ book medium has been principally the realm of the printmaker as their artform easily enabled the production of printed multiples. Digital technologies, new double-sided inkjet papers as well as print-on-demand technologies have enabled the emergence of a range of new self-publishers – particularly photographers.

In 2011 I completed my PhD the title of which was Self-publishing in the digital age: the hybrid photobook. From my experiences in the artists’ book field as a practitioner and commentator and my lifelong activities in photography I saw a future for the photobook which could be informed by the freedoms and the possibilities for the presentation of narratives. While some aspects of this prophecy have been the case with some photographers, particularly those involved in academic study, the main thrust for the contemporary photobook has been towards the collaboration with graphic designers. These books take on various design and structure enhancements including special bindings, foldouts, mixed papers, page sizes, inclusions and loose components that can, at times, dilute the potential power of the simple photographic narrative sequence. The contemporary photobook has developed into its own discipline and through the universal communication possibilities of social media, conferences and awards a new tribe has emerged quite separate from and unaffected by the artists’ book community.

 

NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair 2017

Over the last 5 years the National Gallery of Victoria has presented the Melbourne Art Book Fair. In keeping with the art book fair worldwide movement participants man tables selling their publications. These can range from Institutional/gallery catalogues, trade art publications and monographs, artists’ books, photobooks and zines. The umbrella-like term and the spectacle of the ‘Art Book Fair’ as an event to witness and participate in has captured the individual disciplines and united the various tribes into one, not so homogeneous – community.

 

A quick review of the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair’s 86 table-holders there were only a handful of artists’ book-makers, perhaps a similar number of photobook publishers and a large contingent of zinesters and self-published magazines. The bulk of the tables were held by book distributors, bookshops, arts organisations, educational institutions and art galleries. The discipline of artists’ books was not significantly represented in this space. Was that due to the National Gallery of Victoria’s selection of table-holders or was it to do with artists’ book practitioners not considering the event as a relevant opportunity to show and sell their works?

 

Ultimately the question is – what is the status of the artists’ book in Australia at this time? My impression is that one of artists’ books key strengths was its closeness to the printmaking discipline and the cohesive bond of makers, critics and commentators, educators, journals, collectors and patrons. As many of these are connected to the tertiary academic environment and collecting libraries, both of which are fighting for their relevance in a changing education and library world, could it be considered that this is a defining moment in the history and the future of the artists’ book in this country?

 

Doug Spowart co-written with Victoria Cooper

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All photographs ©Doug Spowart

 

 

 

LYSSIOTIS+COOPER+SPOWART: WE ARE LIBRIS AWARD Finalists

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The LIBRIS AWARDS for Australian Artists Books is on again this year at Artspace Mackay – We are excited to announce that our works, including a Peter Lyssiotis book we collaborated on, have been selected in the 60 finalists. The exhibition is scheduled at Artspace Mackay between 27 June and 13 September 2020.

 

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A statement from the Artspace Director Tracey Heathwood

Since opening its doors in 2003, the gallery has been dedicated in its exploration and support of the artists’ book medium. The Libris Awards play a significant role in showcasing the very latest and best in contemporary artists’ book practice in Australia.

As extraordinary developments continue to unfold in response to Covid19, Artspace Mackay has faced and overcome many challenges presented throughout the year to now be in the final exciting stages of delivering another inspirational exhibition, 2020 Libris Awards: The Australian Artists’ Book Prize.

Despite restrictions beginning to ease across the country, lingering interstate travel constraints prevent our designated 2020 Libris Awards judges, Des Cowley and Robert Heather – who have already completed the challenging job of selecting finalists from an extensive range of artists’ books entries from across the nation – from travelling to Mackay for the final process of selecting winners in the three categories. In these exceptional circumstances, Artspace Mackay Director Tracey Heathwood will complete the final process of selecting this year’s prize winners.

Announcement of 2020 Winners: 4:30pm (AEST) Monday 13 July – Live streamed online via Artspace’s Facebook page.

 

 

HERE ARE THE BOOKS we were involved with :

 

PETER LYSSIOTIS:  WHAT THE MOON LET ME SEE

A collaboration with Victoria Cooper + Doug Spowart who created and optimised pinhole images of Peter’s montage image to accompany his texts.

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Peter Lyssiotis: What The Moon Let Me See

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

The narrative of What The Moon Let Me See is a journey. It is also about a father and son and how their lives, and their purposes in life interweave. The journey is to a mountain; it could be Thomas Mann’s ‘Magic Mountain’, it could be the Bible’s Mount Ararat or it might be that mountain you see on the horizon when you look out of your car window as you drive through the country. The father and the son may be Abraham and Isaac or Kafka and his father or the father and son who live next door, or you and your father … the journey they’re on involves making decisions; perhaps the son will release the father, maybe the father will free the son … how do these two people read and map their worlds, how do they refer to the world here and the world beyond them?

 

 

VICTORIA COOPER:  BEING PRESENT

 

 

Victoria Cooper’s BEING PRESENT

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

Being Present has its physical origins from the Bundanon Trust and the Shoalhaven River.

The electron microscopic images come from unexplored work made during an earlier residence in 2007 of collected detritus from the river. The montages were constructed with these microscopic images as interventions into a riparian environment near the property.

The book is informed by the work of notable writers, thinkers and philosophers, Martin Heidegger and Rachel Carson.

 

 

 

DOUG SPOWART:  HOME

 

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Doug Spowart’s book  HOME

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

This book was conceptualised and created during an artist’s residency at Bundanon near Nowra in New South Wales in June 2018. The final design of the book took place in 2019.

For 5 years I have been homeless resulting from the need to travel, seeking work, looking for a place to settle, and maintaining connections with supporting friends and colleagues. The residency enabled inner thoughts to emerge that have been suppressed throughout this time.

Self-imaging is not something new to me. What is new however in this work is the frank reality of the expression, pose and perhaps vulnerability I present in these moments contemplating ‘home’ and what it means to me.

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Libris_Catalogue pic

 

Download a copy of the Catalogue:

LIBRIS_AWARDS-2020_Finalists_Catalogue

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SEE Other WOTWEDID.COM posts about the LIBRIS AWARDS:

Our FINALIST work from the 2018 Awards

https://wotwedid.com/2018/05/27/libris-artists-book-award-cooperspowart-finalists/

A COMMENT on the 2016 Awards

https://wotwedid.com/2016/10/22/covering-the-2016-libris-artists-book-award/

The JUDGE’S VIEW from Helen Cole of the 2013 Awards

https://wotwedid.com/2013/05/13/2013-libris-awards-the-judges-view/

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