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ALEX STALLING’s PORTRAITS [part two]

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Alex Stalling in her Portrait exhibition

Alex Stalling in her Portrait exhibition

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Portraits: Layers of Meaning

Portraits [part two] An exhibition by Alex Stalling at Culliford Gallery, Toowoomba. July 28 – August 24, 2014

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Alex Stalling’s latest exhibition Portraits [Part Two] will certainly challenge the idea we might have of what a portrait can be. The bare white walls of the Toowoomba Art Society’s Culliford House Gallery, are punctuated by 20cm square pieces of white art paper onto which the artist has meticulously drawn and painted a ‘portrait’. Now these portraits are not of people we might know, someone famous, auntie Ethel, a sleeping child or a happy couple – they are … of animals – meta animals!

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Alex Stalling's Portrait exhibition

Alex Stalling’s Portrait exhibition

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Stalling has essentially created works made up of the shape or outlines of different animals. The animals sometimes morph and overlap – other times they are juxtaposed to suggest associations. A deer’s head and antlers adjoin a similar shape at 180o to form what looks like tree roots. A prancing deer dances with the outline of a upright bear. A moose stands on top of another, and a doe stands yet again on top! These works are like Mr Squiggle drawings gone wrong, or prints where the paper has jammed in the printer.

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Portrait #5

Portrait #5

Portrait #36

Portrait #36

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Many animals are bedecked with garlands of pink and orange flowers. This decorative element links individual artworks in the exhibition. A limited palette of flat colours of brown, orange, bright blue, pink and dark green also provides a cohesive aspect to the show.

The confusion of meaning continues. As if to create a cryptic challenge to the viewer – the animal outlines are partially filled-in often with bright and fluoro colours, but not in ways that help identification. The colouring implies another shapes or patternings which are partially obscured by the outlined edge of the animal. It is as though the animal outline has been cut out to reveal the abstract flat colour shape below on a background sheet.

 

#9

Portrait #9

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From a distance the outlines and colour shapes may appear to the gallery visitors as maps of continents, countries or localities. The colours perhaps define boundaries within those spaces. Moving up-close the another interpretation emerges – but it too, as discussed, is puzzling. Every image becomes a game, a riddle of confused meaning, a mind recognition trick, something that can amuse, entertain or stimulate the viewer to action.

Just who are these animal motifs a portrait of? The artist? A thought? And idea? A dream or muse, or influence? Or all of these…

The strength of Alex Stalling’s Portrait works is that they are not unchallenging easy-lookers, but rather works that demand the viewer to seek within themselves a resolution to a visual challenge – there, maybe they will find their ‘portrait’, and the meaning within the artworks.

Perhaps too, when an artist does a portrait, it also becomes a self-portrait of the artist themselves …

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Doug Spowart

August 12, 2014

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MORE INFORMATION 

 

http://www.alexstalling.com/

 

THIS SUNDAY in the exhibition space:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 10.48.30 pm

https://www.facebook.com/bespokemarkets

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Text and installation photos ©2014 Doug Spowart     All artworks ©2014 Alex Stalling

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ANIMATING SPACES: Toowoomba Projects Announced

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Animating Spaces is a state-wide multi-arts initiative, which is intended to revitalise and celebrate significant or unusual spaces within regional communities through locally-driven arts activities and events. Animating Spaces is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland, Regional Arts Australia and participating local councils. The initiation and coordination of the Animating Spaces in Queensland will be supported by Artslink over the next three years and will assist 15 regional Queensland communities and their local projects.

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Toowoomba Celebrates Animating Spaces Celebration

After the invited guests and artists had time to mingle and participate in refreshments provided Community Coordinators Alex Stalling and Elysha Gould addressed the meeting. The following is from Elysha and Alex’s speech.

Alex Stalling and Elysha Gould

Alex Stalling and Elysha Gould

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I firstly like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in which we are gathered, and acknowledge any elders past and present. Formal welcome to Cr. Billl Cahill and Cr. Geoff McDonald, Artslink Queensland Regional Arts Development Officer Kerryanne Farrer, Curator of Art Galleries Toowoomba Regional Council Di Baker, and Animating Spaces Project Coordinators Andrew MacDonald, Tarn McLean and Ian McCallum and the artists involved in each project.

Tonight we celebrate the beginning of Animating Spaces in Toowoomba. We will start with an introduction from Kerryanne from Artslink Qld, then Cr Geoff McDonald will speak on behalf of Toowoomba RC, and then I will briefly introduce the Project Coordinators who will talk more about their projects.

So to introduce you to Animating Spaces please welcome Artslink Queensland Regional Arts Development Officer Kerryanne Farrer. [Kerryanne spoke of the Artslink connection with the Animating Spaces Project – SEE video for details]

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Kerryanne Farrer addresses the assembled group

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Now welcome Cr. Geoff McDonald from TRC. [Geoff spoke of the Toowoomba Regional Council’s support for Animating Spaces and the important role of art and artists in the community]

Cr Geoff McDonald speaks

Cr Geoff McDonald speaks

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I am so pleased to be participating alongside my Co-Director of made.Creative Space – Alex Stalling as the Community Coordinators for Animating Spaces Toowoomba.
Animating Spaces represents an opportunity to identify, embrace and celebrate the some of the city’s unexpected places through the collaboration and creativity of some of this region’s best artists.
It provides a chance for everyone in the community to contribute to the cultural fabric of Toowoomba and inspire a sustainable creative culture.

Toowoomba is home to a passionate and close knit arts community. Through Animating Spaces, Artslink Queensland, have given this community the chance to establish and strengthen the needed skills to develop and coordinate projects like this, and nurture the potential for future projects. These are projects that can further promote the value and participation of the arts, which in turn contribute to the resilience and identity of our community.
We encourage everyone here to it to get involved. Whether you are an artist, or an arts lover, this project’s success relies on the generosity of financial and in-kind sponsors and volunteers.  A sign up sheet is available to record your details on the front desk.

There are three amazing public art projects which are Animating Spaces in late August. It is my pleasure to introduce the three project coordinators who are also artists in their own right.

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Andrew MacDonald speaks

Andrew MacDonald
Andrew is a technician and sculptor with 20 years experience in the industry.  With a passion for recycling, Andrews practice has seen him through an amazing list of career success.  Working at USQ, Andrew was the visual arts studio manager and then later production manager working on productions such as the renowned Shakespeare in the Park.  He featured as an artist in residence at the 2010 Crush Festival in Bundaberg, and has been involved as an artist in the Woodford Folk Festival, Hampton Food and Wine and numerous other festivals.
He has public artwork in Brisbane’s West End, and I’m sure you’ve all seen his striking work cloud trees just down the road on Margaret Street. He is now working as the factory Manager at Cobb and Co Museum.

Andrew’s project is entitled Up the Creek and will feature the use of pest timbers (such as Chinese Elm, Camphor Laurel and Privet) which will be removed from Toowoomba’s waterways and made available as materials in timber whittling workshops in a public space. Participants work together to create large ephemeral sculptures from the timbers sourced. The artist-designed sculptures will then be displayed back along highly visible waterways.

Local artists Christian Low and Jesse Wright will be involved with the project.

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Tarn McLean speaks

Tarn McLean
Tarn has 5 years experience as a painter who also bridges into design and video installation.  She launched her successful accessories and textiles label ochre designs in 2009, which services international clientele and is also located just down the road upstairs at 249 Margaret Street. As well as being a star mum and devoted wife, Tarn is Co-Director of the artist run gallery Raygun Labs which continues to connect Toowoomba with international arts communities.
She is currently working in collaboration with an architectural design company in Melbourne and has just started her PhD in painting with a cross over into design and architecture.

Tarn’s project is entitled Real Time Your Time and will animate the Toowoomba CBD.

Real Time Your Time will create a public, interactive video projection in the main street of the CBD illuminated at night. Described as a very different experience for people, encouraging them to play and interact with the installation. Free movement and painting workshops will encourage maximum involvement of people.

Participating in the Tarn’s project will be Beata Batorowicz, Ric Carlsson and Aidan Ryan.

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Ian McCallum speaks

Ian McCallum
Ian is a sign writer by trade and a local street art advocate and artist. He is currently completing his Bachelor of Creative Arts at USQ, and also runs his business Kontraband right here at the GRID. Ian has worked alongside internationally renowned street artists at the 2012 crush festival in Bundaberg.  You can also see his work right here in Toowoomba’s CBD through his commission with Cracker Print and Press at Club Lane on Ruthven street, Ground Up alley’s Seales walkway just across the street, and the former Sojo’s collections on Margaret Street.

Ian’s project will centre on Serls Laneway including the wall of TheGrid in Chandler Laneway. Entitled Story Wall it will feature a large-scale, comic-book-like urban artwork drawn up by three graffiti artists from around Australia that depicts local children’s stories and drawings of our town. This project includes workshops for children and opportunities for all ages of the community to learn new skills.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANIMATING SPACES

VIMEO_Animating Spaces

ARTSLINK QUEENSLAND FAQs  http://artslinkqld.com.au/animatingspaces/faq

TOOWOOMBA REGIONAL COUNCIL http://www.toowoombarc.qld.gov.au/about-council/newspublications/8529-funding-for-toowoomba-arts-project-announced

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In the Beginning…

Where the planning for the Animating Spaces project began at a community meeting at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery on May 24, 2012.

Animating Spaces workshop @ TRAG May 24, 2012

Animating Spaces workshop @ TRAG May 24, 2012

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All  photographs  © Doug Spowart 2013.

Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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REGIONAL ARTISTS DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES

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CRISS-CROSSING THE DIVIDE

Living west of the Great Dividing Range places regional artists far from the arts hubs of the capital cities where the opportunities for exhibition, audience and critical review abound. And whilst most regional artists crave the benefits of urban proximity they may be overlooking plenty of career and professional development opportunities within their own regions.

For that reason Sally Johnson, Director of Blockwork Gallery in Toowoomba,  encourages regional artists to seek opportunities within their home boundaries. To show and share her ideas of what may exist for regional artists, she has curated an exhibition called Crossing the Divide at made.Creative Space, that featured paintings by Patricia Hinz, Carol McCormack and Catherine Rose.

The exhibition opening was well attended and the made gallery directors Alex Stalling and Elysha Gould provided a commentary about the exhibitions that were to open that evening—they also announced the imminent closure of the gallery and the new ‘pop-up’ exhibition strategy that they will be introducing, as well as Elysha’s new position in Miles as a ‘manager’ (?) of the Dogwood Crossing Gallery.

Attached to the exhibition was a workshop in which the featured artists participated in a discussion led by Sally that looked at the range of exhibition venues throughout the South West region. Emerging and mid‐career Toowoomba Artists were encouraged to expand their careers by considering exhibitions at the venues mentioned.

The artists represented in the Crossing the Divide show, Pat, Carol and Catherine then discussed the nature and history of their arts practice. Each had really interesting backgrounds in art-making and exhibition with experiences that included working with Mervyn Moriarty in the early days of Flying Arts, having exhibitions in New York and being driven on outback roads with a canvas spread out across the dashboard—painting.

A lively question and answer discussion ensued that connected the ideas and experiences of the three visiting artists with those from the local scene.

Carol McCormack, Patricia Hinz and Catherine Rose

Sally announced that this project will also include a managed interactive online forum that will allow for a continued engagement process beyond the workshop. It is intended that this forum will have the potential to act as a platform by which Toowoomba and South West artists can connect more broadly.

The workshop and forum received support from the Regional Arts Development Fund—a Queensland Government and Toowoomba Regional Council partnership to support local arts and culture.

For more information on the exhibition and the online forum contact, sally@blockwork.com.au or 0418 227 784.

Words: Doug

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