Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Archive for December 2011

12 December: Meetings – John Reid + Maurice O’Riordan

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Vicky meets with external supervisor John Reid in our accommodations in the artists’ flat at the Australian National University’s Art School. Their meeting strategised the final refinement and structure of her PhD exegesis.

Doug meets with the editor of Art Monthly Australia Maurice O’Riordan. The office for AMA is situated in the garrett-like clocktower of the School of Art @ the Australian National University.  Access is gained by climbing a narrow set of stairs that seem as if they are piled upon the boxes of past issues. My interest in meeting with Mauice is that AMA has just published my review of the 2011 Olive Cotton Photographic Award. SEE Current Issue

The stairs to the AMA office

Maurice with the latest issue of AMA

 Maurice and I spoke about different aspects of the critical review of art and artists in Australia, the problems of the regional artist, the important role that journals such as AMA play in the discussion about art and practice, changes in photography as art over the last 20 years and the demise of Photofile.

Photos and words: Doug

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

11 December: Visiting the National Gallery of Australia

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 Visiting the National Gallery for the first time in 14 months gave an opportunity to see the new Entrance and Foyer as well as, in another post – the James Turrell ‘Within without’ work.

The new extensions add a new box to the front of the building certainly provides an entrance way to the building that adds impact to the visitor’s first encounter with the space. Gone is the revolving door and the feeling of coming in a side entrance. Gallery staff welcome you and direct you to get your tickets for the Renaissance show, or to drop your excess gear at the cloakroom or see arty stuff in the bookshop.

As if to be uplifted to the space where the art is an escalator beckons, when we were there it squeaked disconcertedly, and gradually your anticipation for being drawn into art Nirvana is met by …

THE LIFT LOBBY!!  A side-step to the right placed us on track to the exhibition galleries – It is as if the floor plan needed to be shifted 4 metres for the two buildings to line up.

Anyway there were some great shows and art to see and some favourite artworks to re-connect with.

In the PHOTOSPACE Gallery area the exhibition Upstairs downstairs: Photographs of Britain 1874-1990 presented a selection of classic documentary works from familiar names including Julia Margaret Cameron, John Thomson, Cecil Beaton, Felix H. Man, Humphrey Spender, Edith Tudor Hart, Bill Brandt, Grace Robertson, Bert Hardy, David Moore, David Potts, Roger Mayne, Lewis Morley, Chris Killip, Martin Parr and Nick Waplington.

Photography has long served the rich, the famous and the infamous. It has also had many practitioners who have championed the lives of those whose names history has never known. The social documentary tradition, focusing on the lives of ordinary people – usually those powerless to tell their story – has been a driving force in British photography. This is hardly a surprise in a society traditionally marked by class divisions and prejudices. (From the exhibition blurb)

This little gallery space in what was once the bookshop houses the NGA’s photography exhibition presence and while other media ancient and new get large prominent acreage this what we, as the photography interested public, have for the moment as an exhibition space.

Later we visited the big ‘blockbuster’ Renaissance show and, as part of any NGA visit, the Members Lounge to sit and ponder the art seen and experienced over a coffee and friand.

One other new building activity underway at the National Gallery is a bird busily making a nest home in Neil Dawson’s suspended orb sculpture ‘Diamonds’.    Interesting …

Neil Dawson’s ‘Diamonds’

10 December: Canberra – Small World

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A rainy day in Canberra visiting Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House now contains the Museum of Australian Democracy – but apart from an exhibition of Australia’s best cartoons for 2011 what interested me was the history of the building located within an architectural model of the building. Here I found the ‘small world’ of Canberra.

Model of the Old Parliament House 1988


A group photo

The photographer @ work

I wonder what this poor lonely soul is thinking?


.Concept an photos by Doug

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 18, 2011 at 8:21 am

9 December: Summer Travels

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On the road to Canberra

This series of Blog posts presents a selection of WOTWEDID over a 5 day period at the beginning of our 2011 Summer Travels.


10 December: Arriving in Canberra


Our artist friend Liz Coates took us to an exhibition opening @ the M16 Gallery. Entitled  TIMESCAPE the exhibition consisted of works by Julie Brooke, Ella Whateley & Vanessa Barbay (All visual arts PhD students from the Australian National University)

M16 Panorama : Exhibition "TIMESCAPE"

The exhibition was opened by Ruth Waller, Head of Painting @ ANU School of Art. Waller spoke of the challenge of the visual arts PhD and the special nature of the knowledge that artists have that is tuned and refined in the process of research and study.

Ruth Waller, Vicky and Liz Coates

The work on show is a testimony to the work of the artist as academic researcher. The artists’ state that the work is “An exploration of how experiences of the complex and multi-dimensional qualities of time and space may be embodied in the material process of painting.”

SEE website for details http://m16artspace.com.au/?p=635

Pictures @ an exhibition

SEE A folio pictures made @ the exhibition opening http://www.behance.net/gallery/Pictures-an-exhibition/2669661



Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 12, 2011 at 11:07 am

30 November – Year 1 Photo Assessment @ SQIT

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 Fourteen Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE (SQIT) PhotoImaging students had their skills assessed this week by a panel of industry professionals as part of their Certificate IV assessment.  SQIT PhotoImaging lecturer Doug Spowart, was thrilled about having such a high calibre of industry professionals directly involved with students.  “The industry professionals review and assess the students photographic folio, and give them guidance and direction for their future in professional photography” Mr Spowart said.

Some of the team with student Leicolhn McKellar - PHOTO: John Elliott

The seven industry professionals are significant players in professional PhotoImaging statewide, and include the State president of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and long-standing supporter of SQIT students, Jan Ramsay from Eyeon Photography in Brisbane. Other Brisbane-based photographers included Mark Shoeman, Robert Cob-croft and Andy Cross. Local photographers participating in assessment included  Beverley Lacey from The Chronicle, John Elliott, and Syd Owen of Owen’s Camera House.

Robert Cobcroft, student Tracey St Johnwood, Doug Spowart and Andy Cross - PHOTO: John Elliott

The SQIT PhotoImaging team established an award 16 years ago to commemorate the Owen family’s impressive contribution to professional photography in Australia.  The Syd H. Owen trophy is awarded each year to the Certificate IV in PhotoImaging student with the highest score, and also incorporates an internship with Owen’s Camera House for a period of 12 months. This year the award went to Jess Martin. The Diploma Graduating Student of the Year was awarded to Lindsey Collier with Shanea Rossiter as the Runner up. The Photobook of the Year went to Leicolhn McKellar.

“The feedback provided by industry representatives is highly regarded by students as it reflects the industry standards required for practitioners within the PhotoImaging industry.” Mr Spowart said. “Assessment is based around specific criteria including the ability of the student to create images to industry standard, as well as their readiness to enter the industry either as employees or a freelance photographer.”

The Graduation event - PHOTO Doug Spowart

The PhotoImaging student graduation took place on 30 November, with prize-winning graduates receiving membership to the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. Brisbane AIPP member Robert Cobcroft was guest speaker at the graduation event.

Robert Cobcroft presenting - PHOTO: Doug Spowart

WORDS: TAFE Press Release

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