Posts Tagged Creative history
Things are getting exciting for the ‘Collective Insites’ project at Maryborough with the opening of the group exhibition at Gatakers Artspace to take place on May 6th. This will be followed by a series of solo exhibitions by each of the artists from June 13th onwards. I caught up with Niels Ellmoos, one of the artists, who has been looking at Maryborough’s industrial past. This is what he had to say:
What is the exhibition about?
This exhibition is called ‘Collective Insights’ and it is about re-interpreting several of Maryborough’s museum collections. There are 5 artists involved and each of us have selected a particular museum collection. For instance I am using a Bond store collection which relates to Maryborough’s industrial history. These wooden patterns were removed when the bond Store basement flooded. I am looking at aspects of the industrial history related to them, the kind of industry they represent and as artefacts, how they have a voice from the past.
How are you going to use them?
I see them as a part of a larger picture so to speak. As objects they now , especially in a gallery setting, relate to us as beautiful forms. We enjoy the timber quality, the design and appreciate the skill of the artisan/tradesman who made them. However they were only part of an extensive process . They were used to produce metal components of machinery systems for a variety of industries. Now I want to incorporate the idea that they have a link to the past so in my drawing I use them in the overall composition , to give a recognition and acknowledgement to the design. I also want to show the human element as they were not just stand alone objects. The human form is important and adds to the drama of the drawing. This drawing though is only a part of my overall installation. I usually interface other mediums such as sculptural forms, digital media with the large-scale drawings to create what I call multi dimensional collages or what has been termed Grand narratives.
What do you want to achieve with this multi dimensional Collage Niels?
What I want to achieve is to hopefully involve or immerse the viewer with the different mediums so that they get an overall reading of the installation. I generally have a number of themes that are just below the surface. These relate to art history, community, history and cultural landscape. Walkers Engineering company and Croydon foundries which I am investigating have a grand local history which in these patterns whilst they are part of it , you can’t really know about it so it is up to the artist to bring other aspects to light. Museums today have the same problem as often and in this case there is scant evidence so often a museum has to make up a narrative about a particular exhibit and generally provide a story or diorama which somehow relates to the artefact they are presenting.
I like the idea of a tension between education and entertainment. When you see the other parts of my concept hopefully you will see what I am getting at. So overall I want the viewer to be entertained, question and be educated in some way. There should be a few optical tricks and an extension from the basic artefacts which are the patterns.
I am exploring hidden histories a theme which I began back in 2001. I feel that I can engage with a particular community that I am living in if I shed light on various local histories.
I am influenced by a number of artists that have dealt in some way with these kinds of themes. The significance of material evidence is crucial where documentary evidence is inadequate and in technological history this is often the case.
Here the real original pattern is on view. How do I bring a more eclectic and vigorous history to light? In the large drawing I try to inject a sense of drama and action of those early working conditions of which there are documentary proof in BW photos. Then I incorporate the outlines of the patterns to create a flow. This is an expressionist way of working quite vigorous in its
application. I also let my sub conscious mind work so that the drawing becomes infused with abstract shapes that become lines of energy which link focal points in the composition almost like a blueprint.
For the sculptural or 3 dimensional parts of the installation I will use some of the patterns themselves to provide a museum context. Other materials such as transport palettes, wooden box , plywood cut outs, dioramas etc will be incorporated. The digital media will consist of a tv monitor showing a loop of documentary footage.
New media artist David Hodges has used the Collective Insites project to develop a new interpretive resource for the National Trust property, Brennan and Geraghty’s Store, donating many hours, his artistic talents and his technical expertise at a minute fraction of the real cost. The final result, an interactive DVD of short video clips telling the story of significant items from the collection will be unveiled at the opening of the exhibition and donated by David to the National Trust.
David talks about his work with Brennan and Geraghty’s Store below.
“The project has been a collaborative process between Ken Brooks and myself. Ken’s involvement has been providing input into every stage of the project, passing ideas on the items being displayed, the interface design, acting in the production video and providing feedback at the stage meetings.
My involvement has been vast across a number of areas in the screen and media field. The interface concepts were drawn before the digital version was created to save time. A test video was shot and modified for proof of concept. These processes allow you to get a feel for the production inspiring ideas, identifying pitfalls and highlighting areas of improvement.
Working with digital media has it draw backs as well as its benefits. Systems are software driven and to complete this project, improvements had to be made to the workstation I currently use. Software crashes and files can become corrupt; this is a standard in the digital media field so professionals save versions of work over and over along with automated system backups on a daily and weekly basis. All of these processes add to the space taken on the hard drives in the system.
The work represents around 300 hours of work that has been completed over two and a half months. That, combined with my main job meant a seven day week for the entirety of the project (I am looking forward to a day off). The process mentioned has created over 200 gigabytes of information contained in 19,282 files.
Visitors to Gatakers Artspace in Maryborough have been surprised and delighted to find the upstairs space in the gallery converted to an artist’s workplace. Amongst the current exhibition of industrial moulds and images from Maryborough’s past, artist Niels Ellmoos is working on his contribution to ‘Collective Insites’, a project that brings together local artists and historical collections.
On the West Coast of Tasmania he interviewed some of the old miners, and made video tapes, drawings and sculptures that were inspired by Tasmania’s strong mining history
Niels current focus is on the industrial history of Maryborough. It’s a rich and very interesting part of the town’s past that has given him a lot of material to work with, including the city’s large collection of industrial moulds and other industrial objects that are rarely on show to the public. Although they may originally have had mundane uses, some of these objects are beautiful sculptural pieces themselves.
Niels will be working as artist in residence in the Gatakers Artspace. He’s happy to have visitors drop in and talk with him about what he’s doing and how his work is progressing. He’s already made contact with some of the colourful characters from Maryborough’s industrial past.
There are five local artists working on the Collective Insites project, which will open at Gatakers Artspace in Maryborough in May.
As his part of the Collective Insites project multimedia artist David Hodges will be focusing his attention on the historic Brennan and Gerhaghty’s store in Maryborough, Queensland. It’s a surprising combination, an artist working with the cutting edge of new technologies and a store that time forgot.
The Trust acquired the shop with all of the contents which are now displayed on the shelves. The interior is very intact and is typical of many all purpose stores that were once located throughout Queensland. Contents range from unsold stock from the 1890’s to 1920’s advertising material.
Visiting Brennan and Gerhaghty’s is like taking a step back in time. The patina and colours, the pace of the experience , and the advertising material all add to the experience of being in a place that time forgot.
David Hodges started in the commercial art industry air brushing motor bike tanks in the early eighties. He changed mediums frequently and discovered computer drawing and air brushing techniques in the late nineties. He went on to study multimedia at QANTM and now teaches at Wide Bay TAFE and has undertaken a number of major projects and commissions.
David has developed techniques and processes that secure specialized work in the industry, so it is exciting to have him as part of the Collective Insites project which matches artists with museums in Maryborough.
Collective Insites will be on show at Gatakers Artspace in Maryborough from May 6th.
The Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum is a surprising gem to find in a regional centre. It was established as a private museum by John and Else Meyers using much of John’s own extensive collection. The museum is now a public trust, and the collection has been added to by generous donation and further collecting.This important collection interprets military campaigns and aspects of Australia’s colonial history. It is housed in a magnificent old warehouse style building near the wharf area in Maryborough, and contains many significant objects.
The museum is staffed by volunteers and is very much a part of the local community.
As part of the Collective Insites project t Peta Duggan will be interpreting the collection in her own inimitable style.
Peta is a local resident of Maryborough who likes to manipulate images of everyday objects and shapes in her work. Her imagination leads her to find hidden meanings and satire of a dark nature reflected in many of her images. She says ” humans can be seen as concepts and intrigue of the imagination, where space, time and thought are one ”
It will be interesting to see what Peta makes of the museum and what the museum makes of her. It is certainly not a conventional mix, and John Meyers from the museum is to be congratulated in his willingness to participate in the project, and to allow an emerging artist working in new technologies full reign in his museum. Peta’s mind is already racing ahead with the possibilities. She says, after her first visit:
“As I walked into the old historical building in Wharf Street Maryborough, in Queensland, my senses were filled with awe…Not only is this building, built in the 1800’s, the military collection is the most highly prized museum in –as to be so bold! in Queensland, and even bolder! Possibly more impressive than the National war museum located in Canberra (1991 visit).”
Peta’s work will be part of the Collective Insites exhibition at Gatakers Artspace in May, and she will be having a solo exhibition at the gallery later in the year.
Sometimes one comes across a collection that sits outside the norm. Mavis Bank in Maryborough is one of those.
It is an eclectic and personal, private collection of bric-a-brac, furniture, vehicles, household appliances, toys and much more from no particular era (except it’s mostly late 19th early 20th Century), housed in a generic, not overly interesting Queenslander style house hidden behind a magnificent overgrown garden. There are no labels and no particular arrangement of the objects other than what suits the fancy and the needs of the owners. Everywhere you turn you see something new and interesting and perhaps disconnected from the last thing you just saw. The house is filled to overflowing with collected ‘stuff’, treasured and displayed in a domestic, ‘cottage’ setting.
Owners Elizabeth McKenzie and partner Patrick live in the building, in the collection amongst the objects which they sit on, play with, tinker with, listen to and use. So for them it is not a museum, it is their home, and a very personal space. Many of the objects have a story directly related to their own personal histories. Elizabeth and Patrick kindly open their home for the public to visit, and once through the doors it’s a journey into domestic nostalgia.
As part of the Collective Insites project artist Christine Turner will be working with the Mavis Bank collection, letting it speak to her, and making her own particular interpretations of the objects and the collection as a whole.
Christine’s practice encompasses assemblage, installation, digital imaging, collage and photography. Her works relate to identity, memory, the body, power and the sacred. An avid collector herself, she uses her own collections in her works, and understands the urge that drives those who fall in love with objects from the past. At Mavis Bank she has found an instant rapport with Elizabeth McKenzie in a shared love of domestic memorabilia and is working to incorporate items from the Mavis Bank collection into her artwork that will form part of the Collective Insites exhibitions at GatakersArtspace later in the year.
Artist Susan Hutton will be working with the Maryborough Historical Society collection as part of the ‘Collective Insites‘ project. Susan’s mediums include painting, drawing, assemblage and artist books. She is also interested in various methods of printing and has recently acquired a kiln to experiment with printing onto ceramic work. Susan describes her work as using images as metaphors to tell stories from the inside.
Maryborough Historical Society is the main repository of Maryborough’s social history. Many objects, photographs and documents in the collection are cared for and put on display by a team of volunteers. The sheer size and diversity of the collection can be overwhelming for the visitor.
The collection occupies a significant heritage building, the Maroborough School of Arts and includes the original School of Arts library which is still in situ on the mezzanine floor.
Susan has made several visits to the collection spending some time there absorbing the feeling of place and space and ambling through the collection to see where it leads her. She intends to explore the books, documents and plans and the objects before deciding on her approach to making artworks about the collection. To get started she is playing with photographs and drawings making digital images that may be used in later works. For her this process is as important as the final work. She lets the collection speak.