- Steve Cox /writing about art /Gloria Stern: Human beings, being human
- Gloria Stern /recent paintings
- Ali Whitelock /poetry
- Steven Warburton /one painting
- Judy Johnson /poetry
- Sebastian Steensen /collages /studies: heads, hands, and gags
- Image: ‹https://bit.ly/2XBPDYa› (Tweet, 3 June 2020) Rhanna Collins
- Adam Goodes, UK interview
- Dave Chappelle, 8:46
- Uluru Statement From The Heart (video)
- Image: Leetona Dungay (2019) David Moir
- “Optimism is the true moral courage,” Zander‘s masterclass on Haydn‘s Cello Concerto No.1
- ‘Dance’ for two hands
- UNFURL playlists
- Make a mask, then play …
- Internet roulette
- Uluru Statement from The Heart (poster)
- Don‘t delete. Add.
- Unfurled already
- Request for information
Masthead image: Power of a Red Square (oil on canvas, 94x92cm, 2019) Gloria Stern.
Introductory images: Rio Tinto's photograph of the Pilbara region of Western Australia; a view of Juukan gorge looking towards Purlykunti Creek, roughly in this location — ‹https://goo.gl/maps/kAJZcRyRa9SLTLKe7›.
Use the messages page on the UNFURL website to contact artists and writers. They often have works for sale or are available for readings or commissions. UNFURL will forward your message.
Gloria STERN /painting
Gloria Stern is a visual artist currently living and working in Melbourne, Australia. She grew up in Melbourne and originally trained in Graphic Design. After working in the design industry for several years both in England and Australia, she then switched across to full time painting. Since 1996, she has had 12 solo exhibitions and has been included in numerous group shows.
Gloria‘s paintings have been acquired for private collections in Australia, UK, USA, and New Zealand. Her works are also featured in the collections of Cowan Design, Melbourne, and the City of Boroondara Collection, Melbourne.
«I have always been interested in exploring both figuration and abstraction in my painting, however, over the last couple of years, I made a conscious effort to remove the figurative element from my work in order to explore spatial relationships, colour and atmosphere within abstraction more deeply. This body of work led up to my last solo exhibition “Altered Space” in 2019. Since then, my interest in the figure is returning, but I think, in a less literal way than before. I am currently exploring ways of using figurative elements as more integrated abstract shapes, that allow for a freer interpretation of meaning.»
Special thanks are extended to Steve Cox for his very much appreciated essay (reproduced above).
Ali WHITELOCK /poetry
Ali Whitelock is a Scottish poet and writer living on the South coast of Sydney with her French, chain-smoking husband. Her latest poetry collection, the lactic acid in the calves of your despair, is published by Wakefield Press and her debut collection, and my heart crumples like a coke can (Wakefield Press, 2018) has a forthcoming UK edition by Polygon, Edinburgh. Her memoir, Poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell, was launched at Sydney Writers Festival to critical acclaim in Australia (2008) and the UK (2009).
«Poetry was not something I ever thought was for me. I hated it in school and never read it as an adult. Then I turned fifty and, by some bizarre twist of fate, started writing my own.
The more poets I got to know, the more I was astonished to learn that many of them had been writing poems since they could hold a pen and had parents who’d recite verse to them morning, noon and night. How I longed for one of those poetic pipe-smoking fathers in corduroys sporting a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, who’d read poetry to me in the evening by a roaring log fire. In my childhood, the only poem remotely hinted at in our house was 'A Red, Red Rose' once a year on St Valentine’s day. In short, our house was empty of poetry, literature, logs and books in general.
In an interview, brilliant Scottish writer Andrew O’Hagan told the interviewer there were no books in his home when he was growing up. After the interview Andrew’s father called him, more than a little annoyed, “What do you mean, you grew up in a house with no books? Sure there was a green book sitting on top of the fridge for years!” To which Andrew replied, “Dad, that was the Kilmarnock phone directory.” So the great Andrew O’Hagan and I shared similar book-less upbringings, but clearly that’s where the similarities between us end.
Two-thirds of the way through high school I was removed from the English class in order to make way for a student with more promise. I was put into geography. It wasn’t entirely useless—I can now read an ordnance survey map with great confidence, name the deepest ocean at the drop of a hat, dazzle at dinner parties trundling out the capital cities of the world like a trained chimpanzee.
Eventually I ran away from my geographical and non-bookish past in Scotland to Australia. Did my past catch up with me? Absolutely. But Australia offered me something Scotland at that time did not: endless skies, super-sized servings of ‘she’ll be right’; affordable therapy and a chance happening upon a secondhand book, when I was forty nine, called Eight American Poets. When I opened its pages I discovered John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton. My mouth fell open like a drawbridge and I allowed these poems to march on in.»
You can read more about Ali at her website, ‹www.aliwhitelock.com›.
Steven WARBURTON /one painting
Steven Warburton is currently working (in Emerald) and exhibiting in Melbourne, Australia. Since completing a Fine Arts degree at Monash University, Steve has exhibited widely, in group and solo exhibitions. His paintings and drawings are held in collections Australia-wide and internationally.
«As an artist's work is a reflection of his or her emotions, ideals, thoughts and influences, it is necessary to understand the importance the work plays in the artist's life.
My work is the direct result of things that I have borne witness to, overheard in conversations, observed in the media or dreamt. It reflects my right to express my thoughts, in a way I hope will be accessible to the viewer, both aesthetically and literally.
As the world around us changes, the environment, the politics, our society, thus my imagery changes too.»
Photo: Steven Warburton (2010) by Grace Leung.
One painting …
This underpainted image is a road on the way from Emerald to The Patch that I used to travel four times every weekday when I drove my son to and from primary school. It’s a large piece, measuring 167cm x 167cm, that I started in 2012. It was the larger sibling to a number of small works I painted of the same road. This painting came first, then the smaller works sprang from the idea. I preferred the intimacy of the smaller works and I chose to reuse the large canvas.
From 2005, I had painted a series consisting of enlarged automotive parts in landscapes. I didn’t feel I’d finished with the concept from over a decade earlier, and I wanted to add a human element. I had been toying with the idea of replacing the machines with large, sculptural stone heads.
At first, the stone head appears to poke its tongue out at the world. People mill around in groups. People are questioning, waiting. Protesters running from an attack. There is a large obelisk, possibly from 2001: a space odyssey. The lines on the road are from a photo of the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne. The lines indicate some movement and direction.
When I came to rework the painting a second time, there had been a lot of social unrest about immigration and refugees being sent offshore. I chose a head from Rodin’s ‘Burghers of Calais’ to stand in for my feelings about this.
In the next version I thought it needed more contrast as the image was too dark overall. I lightened the sky but maintained the impression of a nighttime scene. Deleting the main obelisk and figures near it allowed the foreground to be an ‘open playing field.’ Continuing with the asylum theme, I added the boat skeleton to the foreground, representing rejection and death. Also, I cropped the main head to shorten and emphasise the face. I changed the base to become a pedestal with barcode-like supports.
At this stage I also added text near the figures across the middle of the painting. This comes from work I had been doing on a personal graphic novel at the time. Flow over effect. “I can’t do this now” “Sometimes I wish I could help” “I find it kind of funny” “I find it kind of sad” “My eyes are shut but the images still get in” “Don’t breathe”
The randomness of the sky still bothered me. I liked the simplicity of style in the graphic novel work I’d been doing and decided to bring it into this piece too. So, I started to paint the sky all white.
Then the image didn’t look top-heavy anymore, and removing the element of the boat wasn’t a difficult decision. This emphasised the white lines in the painting.
The sculptural head didn’t have the confrontational look I was after. It was just sad, tormented and broken. I had recently completed another painting with George Washington’s head. It had the look I was after for this painting and felt it would go well with the new white background. I believe that using a figure from the past, reminds us that the problems of today aren’t just a contemporary issue … They originate from other times just as complex and violent as ours.
This whole process was on and off over a period of seven years and I feel the final piece is one of the best paintings I’ve done. I’ve learned so much from it. I feel now I can simplify my images rather than overload them to create a ‘narrative.’
Steven Warburton (July 2020)
Judy JOHNSON /poetry
Judy Johnson is an multi-award winning writer who has been publishing her work for over 20 years. She has written five full-length poetry collections, several chapbooks and a novel. Her verse novel Jack was the result of a mentorship with the late Dorothy Porter. Jack won the Victorian Premier’s Award for poetry and was a text taught in University of Sydney and University of Melbourne. She has had writing residencies in Ireland at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan, The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in Western Australia, and in many other places. Her interests have always centred around Australian history and her latest poetry book Dark Convicts deals with the life and times of her two First Fleet African American convict ancestors.
Sebastian STEENSEN /collages /painting studies
Sebastian Steensen is a Melbourne-based artist who has worked for over 20 years in the areas of painting, drawing and, occasionally, printmaking and photography.
«After tertiary studies in Fine Arts, and a stint as an art teacher in China, I’ve staged a few one-person exhibitions, and been included in group exhibitions.
My work is strongly figurative, and it follows the tradition of western narrative painting. I believe it is informed by my drawing ability. But, technically, I always wish to combine this with painterly aspects, by which I hope to move the imagery beyond illustrational ‘recording,’ into more robust psychological territory.»
Studies: heads, hands, and gags
‹https://bit.ly/2XBPDYa› (Tweet, 3 June 2020) Rhanna Collins
Adam Goodes, UK interview
Dave Chappelle, 8:46
Uluru Statement From The Heart
Leetona Dungay (2019) by David Moir
“Optimism is the true moral courage” /Zander’s masterclass on the Haydn Cello Concerto No. 1
‘Dance’ for two hands
The UNFURL playlists page now has a movies section.