More culture at Swell 2013 (part 2)

Walking along such a popular and pretty part of the coast at sunset is a pleasant experience any time of year, during Swell it is made more interesting by the addition of sculptures scattered across the sand and along the esplanade. There are children, dogs and happy snappers everywhere, and even though the signs all say ‘Please don’t climb on the sculptures’, many of them are begging for interaction and it is possible to walk around and through some of the installations. Looking back, I have to wonder whether a theme for the festival could be one of interaction, encouraging children and adults to participate in the piece, firing up their imagination and expressing their creativity.

This gallery is the second of three galleries that I’ll be posting and featuring work from the Swell Sculpture Festival, I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed the exhibition.


Today I went to Brisbane…

Today I caught the train to Brisbane to catch up with a friend, the weather has been beautiful for being outdoors so the plan was to see a photography exhibition, grab a bite to eat and wander around the popular South Bank precinct. Today is also the day of our Federal election, we had to vote for our next Prime Minister and I can’t help but feel uninspired by the choice we have. Getting away from the polling booths and election talk was a blessing.

The 25th Annual Heritage Bank Photographic Awards, is a free photographic exhibition at the QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) Tunnel. On display for all to admire are the winning and top 50 entrants of the 25th Annual Heritage Bank Photographic Awards. As patrons of QPAC pass us on their way to enjoy a matinee at the theatre my friend and I stood back and marvelled at the creativity and talent demonstrated in the best shots from this year’s entries and also the past 25 years of winners. There were a couple of favourites, the Rainbow Lorikeet immediately captured my attention, such glorious, vibrant colour and an image of four little ballerinas reaching up to try and see outside a window.

At the other end of the building was another free exhibition – don’t you just love it when that happens? Tools of the Trade: Exploring the traditions of ballet costume, a small exhibition with many shapes and styles of tutu and ballerina costumes on display at QPAC until mid-October. As a little girl I loved ballet and can still remember the purple tutu I wore for an end of year concert, I loved the way the skirt flounced around as I danced and today I had the pleasure of seeing beautiful tutus such as those worn for a performance of Swan Lake.

A little background: the rise of Romanticism in the 19th century was reflected in the costumes that ballerinas wore and in 1832 Marie Taglioni’s costume for La Sylphide consisted of a fitted bodice with a layered gauze skirt revealing stiffened pointe shoes. The tutu was born and there has been many different variations during the century. Ballerinas wear a variety of costumes, but the tutu, in either the stiff short frill of net or the softer romantic style is a vital part of the ballet tradition.

It isn’t often that I eat Spanish food, the number of times could actually be counted on one hand and it isn’t because I don’t like the cuisine but the lack of access and availability. South Bank has numerous restaurants and cafes that cater to all kinds of tastes and preferences: the Florist with an organic cafe contained within, Ahmet’s Turkish, Italian, Vietnamese and too many others to mention. In addition to finding something tasty and affordable to eat, we also had to find somewhere that catered for the gluten free person (not me), Ole Restaurant caught our eye almost immediately and their menus offers up a great selection of gluten free foods.

Sharing tapas and raciones for lunch, and of course I had to photograph all of the food, we could not have enjoyed it without a glass of Sangria. The food was delicious: spiced potatoes; prawns with garlic and chorizo and a potato tortilla with vegetables. Next time I will be keen to try the paella or some jamon and maybe dessert, perhaps some sugary churros with a warm chocolate sauce…yummmmmmm

You can’t eat all that food and not take advantage of the good weather, South Bank is a wonderful place for walking and doing a spot of people watching. The man made beach was jam-packed with swimmers and sun bathers, the markets providing plenty of opportunities for visitors to part with their cash and we dodged cyclists, dog walkers and dawdling gawkers as we walked through the precinct, catching up on each others news and travels.

The Brisbane Festival kicks off soon, if it hasn’t already and as part of the event a bright pink, four-metre high bunny appeared at South bank and apparently it will be randomly popping up at other locations from today. The bunny is the work of Stormie Mills, an internationally renowned Australian artist, Stormie Mills was commissioned to create this super cute, random street art and soon the big pink bunny will be joined by other friends in various locations. I wonder if it will be as popular and as photographed as the giant rubber ducky that appeared in Sydney’s Circular Quay earlier this year.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!



Swell: the final series

Thank you to everyone who liked my shots of the Swell Sculpture Festival in previous posts: series one and series two, I now present the final series of photographs from the festival and I hope that you’ll like them as much as the earlier images.

A familiar sight on surf beaches all around the world, this piece of work attracted alot of attention and it had me wondering how they managed to keep the towels in position overnight.

Bundy loves attending the Swell Sculpture Festival, not only does he get to ride in the car and go for a paddle in the surf, he also gets to pose with the sculptures and assist with providing a sense of scale to the artwork.

This really didn’t look out of place on the beach, the large rock close to the horizon is known as ‘Elephant Rock’ and you can see the high rise landscape of Surfers Paradise in the background.

There is always a nautilus shell featured in the exhibition.

Water tanks are normally pretty plain and boring, you will find one in most Aussie backyards but they certainly don’t look like this and I can’t imagine that it would hold much water anyway.

I’m guessing the motion of waves inspired this sculpture (no I didn’t read the exhibition program), those made by water and by humans.

Like many native species, the tiger and koala are struggling to stay alive in our constantly changing environment. In Australia, Tiger conservation is a highly promoted and supported, however our native Koala which is in danger of disappearing from our region as a result of growth in development and traffic, has only recently been acknowledge as being in danger by our government. It is shameful that the majority of the Australian population take this beautiful creature for granted, its plight has become ‘invisible’.

A daylight shot of the giant mosquito featured in series one, this thing is huge!

Sums up the festival perfectly 🙂

Swell: series two

As promised, part two of my series of photographs from the 2012 Swell Sculpture Festival and there are still a few more to come.

No, the ice cream truck wasn’t a sculpture but I love the ‘retro’ appearance and who doesn’t like enjoying an ice cream by the water.

Hot off the press! Swell: series one

Just after 4am I arose from a deep slumber courtesy of my husband, the plan, to see the sun rise over the Swell Sculpture Festival on Currumbin Beach. I am not a morning person but once on the sand the enjoyment of being on the beach and watching the sun rise removed all trace of sleep. Photographers with their tripods were everywhere, we unintentionally followed each other along the esplanade, vying for the best position in an attempt to capture a creative photograph of the sculptures on display. There is much for me to learn and I’m pretty sure that some of other people’s images were taken from an angle that never entered my mind, yet I’m pretty happy with the results and I hope you will be too.

The biggest mosquito on the coast was the most popular insect on the coast this morning with several people toting cameras and tripods preparing to capture its silhouette as the sun rose.

The love cats…

This sculpture represents rain, sunshine and wind, which is which? My guess, from left to right is wind, sunshine and rain.

It won’t come as a surprise to any of you that the reflective dogs were one of the pieces that I really loved, seeing them from front, back, left and right gave me something different and interesting to experience.

Sculptures featuring mosaics appear every year, regretfully I did not pick up a program so I don’t know who the artist responsible for this colourful and pretty piece is but the style is familar and I’ve no doubt that their work has been exhibited in Swell for the last few years.

Between May and August humpback whales migrate north along the east and west coasts of Australia to breeding areas off Queensland and in September they begin the return journey to feeding areas in the Antarctic. This sculpture is a beautiful and timely reminder of this annual event, later in the morning we did actually spot a couple of whales off shore, even though they were too far away for me to photograph them it was still an exciting experience.

Can you see the faces? I didn’t notice them at first, distracted by the colour and the reflections it wasn’t until I looked through the lens during my efforts to focus that I noticed them.

With more photos still to come please stay tuned for Swell:series two!

Cheers and have a great weekend 🙂

Women and art

Brisbane CityCat on the Brisbane River
Brisbane CityCat on the Brisbane River
Rebecca Baumann's Untitled Cascade
Rebecca Baumann’s Untitled Cascade

Recently I had the pleasure of viewing two wonderful exhibitions in Brisbane, one at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and the other at the Queensland Art Gallery. Getting to Brisbane is easy enough, just hit the motorway and find free parking in an area not far from the centre of the city. One of the nicest ways of getting to the chosen destination is via the Brisbane CityCat, I like to park near one of the stops and then relax and take in the view as the ferries take us up the Brisbane River to the Southbank precinct.

At GOMA the second contemporary Australia exhibition series celebrating contemporary Australian female artists was on display, the exhibition featured paintings, sculptures, photography, installations, video and performance by more than 50 female artists. It was fabulous, we walked through installations that consisted of coloured paper on the floor and watched as an industrial fan created movement in a doorway filled with gold foil ribbons. The QR codes made it easy to find out more about the artist and the inspiration behind the artworks, wi-fi is free so I didn’t hesitate to gather as much information as I could, but of course I remember very little now.

Hiromi Tang | Japan/Australia b.1976 | X chromosome
Hiromi Tang, X chromosome
Jenny Watson | Australia b.1951 | A telescopic vision’ series
Jenny Watson, A telescopic vision’ series
Noël Skrzypczak | Canada/Australia b.1974 | Jungle
Noël Skrzypczak, Jungle
Judith Wright | Australia b.1945 | A wake
Judith Wright, A wake

As enjoyable as the Contemporary Australia Women exhibition was, the one I was really keen on seeing was the Modern Woman, Daughters and Lovers 1850-1918 Drawings from the Musee D’Orsay, Paris. The Musee D’Orsay is one of my favourite galleries to visit and many of the artists, whose works now hang on the walls of the Musee D’Orsay, inspired me when I was first learning to paint and they inspire me still. Modern Woman explored more than 90 illustrations of women at the time of the Belle Epoque which was a significant time of change in France. Beautiful pastels by Degas, Cassatt, Breslau and Besnard had me staring closely at the their strokes, my face only inches from the artwork itself although I did try to avoid obstructing the view of other admirers. Some of the illustrations had pastels layered so thick it could have been paint, it made me wonder how they got the pastel to stick and what sort of paper they used. The women in the artworks were real women, unlike earlier artists who depicted women as goddesses and saints, this exhibition featured the beautiful and not-so beautiful, the old and the young, the rich and the poor. My art teacher found many faults with the illustrations, poor perspective and heads or limbs that were too small, large or short, however it did not diminish my enjoyment of the work I viewed. Who wouldn’t like to have the talent and skill that these artists had, even on a bad day?

Rene Piot, Bust of Marie Piot, her hair scattered with flowers c1906
Rene Piot, Bust of Marie Piot, her hair scattered with flowers c1906
Giovanni Boldini, Nude woman in black stockings lying on a sofa c1880
Giovanni Boldini, Nude woman in black stockings lying on a sofa c1880
Albert Besnard, Portrait of a woman c1900
Albert Besnard, Portrait of a woman c1900
Mari Bashkirtseff, Portrait of Mme X c1884
Mari Bashkirtseff, Portrait of Mme X c1884
Leon Kamir, Reading c1921
Leon Kamir, Reading c1921