Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The photography students focussed their attentions on Kooragang or Ash Island and collected a range of natural specimens, images and other objects that they processed in the photo studio. Some processes were as simple as scanning objects or creating photograms from the specimens that then became negatives for further processing. They even took on the whole historical connection to natural history and the archeological remains on the island. Acted it out even.

Raft of the Medusa Sails Again.

Mandy Davies' workshop had students reconstructing the composition of Gericault's Raft of the Medusa using two models to adapt the poses in the original. This was a great opportunity for students with a figurative bent to work intensively on a composition of some complexity. But the whole thing went deeper than that. For instance it meant that students have to think through the process that goes into a complex figurative image using only two models.

The show of works in the lower gallery is interesting because you can see the effect of each student drawing the models from different parts of the room, so the final poses and composition is slightly different from one work to the other. It is almost a kind reworking in 3D. A very interesting project and one we hope to repeat, perhaps for a summer workshop.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Guest Speakers at Workshop Week included Janet Laurence, an artist of some range who has a significant profile internationally and whose work engages with enrivonmental, natural and cultural issues. Her installations often involve complex layers of images, transparency, glass timber and other materials and engage and interact with architectural structures. She presented a fascinating commentary on her work and how she investigates the relationship between cultural constructs and the natural world. Janet is pictured here with Maizie Turner who magically also appears in our next photo of
Phil Quirk. Phil is a photographer who presented his extraordinary photographs of the landscape. The works are quite formal and extremely beautiful and he gave us quite an insight into his thinking and his processes.

Workshop Week

Workshop week is exactly what it sounds like, an annual event at the Newcastle Art School, where normal classes are suspended and we get into a range of intensive and extensive specialist workshops. We mix students from various levels and disciplines and include other special activities. This year we have had an underlying theme of the Green Corridor, prompted by a grant to explore this theme in our workshop week and to set up an exhibition in 2007 ( more on this later or in another Blog). Monday had us at the Dickson Park Surf Club for a range of guest speakers who spoke on their art practices or on environmental issues. Tuesday and Wednesday saw us going out on buses to visit various sites in the green corridor around Newcastle, some intrepid types even camped overnight at Mnt Vincent. And over Wednesday, Thurdsay and Friday various workshops have been happening at our Hunter Campus and generally around the place. We have a heap of photos from these workshops and will they will form art of entries right here. Picuted here is Michael Bell at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery where his group played with large scale drawings under the theme "Life+Sex+death". The drawings are now in our upper gallery space at the Art School.

Frankly workshop week can be hard to organise and require a lot of energy and flexibility from our staff. However I feel the effort is worth it, there is some great work produced and hopefully a few more creative seeds planted that will grow and bear fruit down the track.