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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

A DAY @ BALDESSIN PRESS STUDIO WITH SLV CREATIVE FELLOWS

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A day at Baldessin Press Studio: The State Library of Victoria’s Creative Fellowships

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William Kelly, SLV Creative Fellow and Baldessin Press Studio Residency recipient

William Kelly, SLV Creative Fellow and Baldessin Press Studio Residency recipient

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On September 27 a special event took place at the Baldessin Press Studio , St Andrews just northeast of Melbourne. The studio was built by George Baldessin who was a charismatic figure in the history of Australian art, especially in Melbourne in the 1970s. He had a brilliant career as a sculptor and printmaker, and was already considered an important figure in the history of Australian art at the time of his tragic accidental death in 1978 at the age of 39. The studio is situated in a bushland setting and is accompanied by a house and several buildings built by Baldessin and his wife Tess assisted by others including the Hails brothers.*

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Baldessin’s passing put activity in the studio on hold for some years until Tess returned in 2001. Since then she has worked to re-ignite the creative potential of the place in George’s memory so that artists may continue to create in this special place and perpetuate his generous spirit.

Part of the program of the Press includes the State Library of Victoria’s The Baldessin Press Studio Residency that gives one of the SLV’s Creative Fellowship recipients working in any field the opportunity to create a body of work. The Residency may include accommodation, printmaking tuition, living expenses and some materials. The recipient will also have the opportunity to participate in a ‘Bon a Tirer’ event during the year to present their project to the Library, public, partners and other supporters. Artist Rick Amor generously supports the Baldessin Press Studio Residency.

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William Kelly, SLV Creative Fellow and Baldessin Press Studio Residency recipient

William Kelly, 2015 SLV Creative Fellow and Baldessin Press Studio Residency recipient

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The 2015 Residency recipient was leading Victorian artist William Kelly a former Fulbright Fellow and Dean of the Victorian College of the Arts from 1975–82. His SLV research project dealt with Australian visual artists practicing between World War I and today, whose works have been informed by their beliefs about war and peace. His intention was to create an ‘accordion’ artist’s book – literally an unfolding story – that celebrated and connected the work of these artists*. In a comment about the body of creative work made as a result of the Baldessin Press Studio Residency Kelly was to say:

I have a profound belief that we can make this world be a better place but I don’t delude myself that it will, in any way, be easy. Art can play a part in this and artists can contribute to the larger debates about our future.  I’ve been quoted as saying, “a painting will never stop a bullet but a painting (print, photograph, novel…) can stop a bullet from being fired”.  These works, the “Baldessin Press Folio: Not in My Name” and the artist book “Fellow Travellers: An Unfolding Story” are testament to my belief in the power of the image.  The first “Not in My Name” has images that refer to the ideas of courage, loss, innocence and unequivocally taking a stand.

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Kelly-teddyKelly-The Cross (for Hugo Throssell, Pacifist) (583x800)Kelly feather-1000

 

The second “Fellow Travellers…” is something of a tribute to those Australian artists, writers, filmmakers who, over the past 100 years (from WW1 to today) have publicly stood by their beliefs.  It references many significant artist/activists from Noel Counihan to Arthur Boyd to those who took a stance against the Transfield Sculpture exhibition (as a result of Transfield’s role in detention centres).  Those who are on this journey are, for me, ‘fellow travellers’ and as this list is nowhere near complete and increasing numbers of artists are becoming known for their position on peace, human rights, reconciliation and social justice it is an “unfolding story”.

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William Kelly's Fellow Travellers

William Kelly’s Fellow Travellers

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VIDEO: William Kelly discusses his Baldessin Press Studio Residency works

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At the event the 2016 Baldessin Press Studio Residency recipient was announced. The recipient is Nicola Stairmand who works as an independent heritage consultant, curator and designer, combining her skills to research and interpret places of significance. She is currently employed at TarraWarra Museum of Art, where she assists with research and exhibition design.*

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SLV lady, Nicola Stairmand, Ric Amour and Tess Edwards

Indra Kurzeme SLV, Nicola Stairmand, Ric Amor and Tess Edwards

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Stairmand’s project will seek to describe everyday life at Coranderrk Aboriginal Station, established in 1863 and closed in 1924, contributing to a greater understanding of its history. Using the State Library’s photographic and documentary collections, Nicola will research and produce a series of illustrative maps supported by images and descriptions.*

The formal proceedings took place on a bright and sunny spring afternoon with a kind of conviviality and informality that occurs when friends and community gather to share and celebrate important events. George Baldessin would certainly approve of this SLV Creative Fellowship and the part the press plays in bringing about new work.

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The Baldessin Press Studio Team

Click on their names to go to the Baldessin Press Studio Biogs…

 

Tess Edwards (Baldessin)

Tess Edwards - Baldessin Press Studio SLV Creative Fellowship Residency announc

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Lloyd Godman

Lloyd Godman - Baldessin Press Studio SLV Creative Fellowship Residency announc

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Rob Hails

Rob Hails-Baldessin Press Studio SLV Creative Fellowship Residency announcement event Spetember 27, 2015

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Silvi Glattauer

Silvi Glattauer-Baldessin Press Studio SLV Creative Fellowship Residency announc

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Deanna Hitti (Baldessin’s master printer)

Deanna Hitti - Baldessin Press Studio SLV Creative Fellowship Residency announc

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All photographs and video ©2015 Doug Spowart.
*Some texts paraphrased from SLV & Baldessin Press Studio websites. William Kelly artworks and text ©2015 William Kelly.

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One Response

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  1. Thanks for a great report Doug and Victoria on a very important project.

    Jan Davis

    November 11, 2015 at 11:06 am


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