Photograph courtesy of the artist.
Just when I thought Montsalvat couldn't possibly do anything more to delight me, I met Mariella McKinley. She's been working away there over the last few months, preparing her new studio space. It's been a big task. Moving in her lathe (which weighs in at 250 kilograms) was a huge challenge. Thankfully the film crew of IFrankenstein (filming at Montsalvat at the time) came to her aid with some serious weight lifting equipment. She's now ready and enthusiastic about getting stuck in to some work.
Photograph courtesy of the artist.
The exquisite vessels above were first blown and then carved. Intricate painstaking work, but I think you'll agree, well worth the effort.
Mariella has excellent credentials. Born in Melbourne, she studied at Monash University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass (with honours). She recently returned from taking up a scholarship to Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, north of Seattle, where she was both student and assistant teacher. Well known glass making icon, Dale Chihuly is credited with starting the school. Prior to that, she travelled to Italy, again on a scholarship, to further enrich her arts practice. Closer to home, Mariella worked for several years at the Jam Factory Gallery in Adelaide where she is currently exhibiting work with other artists in an exhibition called "Transparency" (it's all about technique).
Mariella is so happy in her Montsalvat Studio. She looked at many studios before she settled on Montsalvat. Most of the others she looked at had an industrial edge. Montsalvat has a softer, warmer atmosphere which creates a lovely counterpoint to her work. Typical of Montsalvat, the studio has little recesses and mezzanines to add to the fascination.
The texture of the rendered walls in Mariella's studio adds another dimension to this magnificent vase (above).
In addition to the Jam Factory Gallery in Adelaide, Mariella is represented by Veronica George Gallery High Street Armadale, Kirra Gallery Federation Square and Glass Plus Gallery South Melbourne. It's a real treat to trawl around these gallery websites...glass extraordinaire. Enjoy them.
My sincere thanks to Mariella for generously welcoming me in to her studio, thereby reminding me that Montsalvat provides art lovers with endless pleasure.
All work in this post is ©Mariella McKinley.
2012 Not The Archies winner- Peter Allen
You could be forgiven for wondering if I'm still not over the Archibald and am having yet another 'farewell' moment with this portrait. The truth is, this is the winning portrait of the 2012 Not the Archies, painted by Peter Allen. It's a ripper isn't it. The subject, Tony Fenelon OAM, is well known in the Yarra Valley for his work with the Royal Melbourne Hospital Biomedical Team and as a fine musician.
Given the quality of his portrait, it's hard to believe that Peter Allen is entirely self taught. The strong compositional elements however, give away his life long work as a graphic designer. Up until the last few years, painting was always in the background for Peter. Now he's enjoying the luxury of spending more time on it.
Peter Allen's paintings above and below, are quite a departure in style from his portrait of Tony Fenelon. They capture something of his great admiration for Indigenous Art, African Art, Mexican and Aztec Art. While growing up in Northern Victoria, Peter's mother worked closely with the indigenous people of the area and Peter says that his love of native art began back then. He also credits New York street artist Keith Haring with having a major influence on his work. Peter reverently brought me his copy of Michel Perrin's Magnificent Molas. The art of the Kuna Indians. The influence of the Molas is apparent in this work.
I so hope I see more of Peter's work in the future- maybe in the Archibald itself next time.
If you would like information about last years Not The Archies follow this link.
Farewell the Archibald
Juan Ford Ultrapilgrim, oil on linen, 168cm x 214cm © Juan Ford Archibald Finalist 2012
Juan Ford is represented by Dianne Tanzer Gallery.
The only good thing about saying goodbye to the Archibald at TarraWarra is that it makes way for something new. In a few weeks time, the TarraWarra Biennial 2012: Sonic Spheres, curated by TWMA director Victoria Lynn will open. It will marry sound and visual arts in a way not seen in the Yarra Valley before...perhaps I'll be able to forgive the Archibald for leaving after all. Stay tuned to Isiiad for some of the sights and sounds of Sonic Spheres.