Spaces like houses have several parallel lives that run simultaneously. In Inside/Outside I imagine one life of the house, like a film with a single theme, but with different projectors project at the same time.
So many people and things have passed through Villa Alba. I try to catch on to the historical coattails and use this book to reveal one narrative. The emptiness and absence in the house appeal to me, they give a chance to impose a narrative into the space.
Colour washes through these rooms. Distressed by being hidden for so long, and now re-emerging into a new era, they are tentative and bold at the same time. I sample the colours on the walls and separate them to establish a new palette.
I’m drawn to the museum as a resource for contemporary designers and artists who see it entirely differently to the way it was seen originally and at each point on its trajectory.
Texture of Type//Framing Fonts
More craft than art.
Readability, the quality of being read with pleasure and interest, is the responsibility of any author.
However, legibility (which is the quality of being read clearly and quickly) is the result of typography.
Creating legible text takes a good deal of attention, analysis and time but ultimately helps readers save time.
Design does have a function and this focus on practical solutions can create natural beauty.
Niko Spelbrink studied at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
He got an introduction to slow typography as a letterpress compositor.
Co-founding BRS Design in Amsterdam coincided with the lasting technology driven transformation which has occurred in creative industries like publishing, designing objects, buildings and environments.
BRS grew into a leading exponent of the remarkable design scene in the Netherlands.
Throughout his professional practice Niko served as a lecturer in typographic design, the last decades at Monash and RMIT Universities.
In Melbourne he co-founded the Ography Design consultancy.
During the eighties he acted as a boardmember of icograda, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations, and served as its president in 1989-1991 term.
Musician Stephen Philip (of The Thought Criminals and Do Re Mi fame) will exhibit his composition Dusting For Prints at the Narrative Space exhibition.
I know Villa Alba has been many things in it’s life and being a family home is one of them.
I’m simply imaging that at some stage in the history of Villa Alba that a child occupied a room and it had enormous importance to her.
This room was her “safe place”, “happy place”, “fun place” which goes towards defining her.
It’s her special private space/room even if she only spent a short period of time occupying it when compared to the total age of the building.
It’s also goes to “ownership” and our sense of what is, if only for a fleeting moment, thought of as solely ours and no one else’s.
We are all quite transient when it come to fixed dwellings yet I’d like to think (at least for the sake of this piece) that we all leave an impression or a memory in the bricks and mortar which lingers.
I have no idea if I’ll actually achieve this in the final product but Hell it’s fun having a go.
Preserved, deep frozen Memory is at the heart of "Dusting for Prints".
Time and place memory - all cryo-packed for future delights.
Four sound sources: each projecting sounds and noises
Four sound sources: in and out of sync
Four sound sources: broadcasting - never repeating
Four sound sources: unpredictable
Dusting for Prints
IN LITTLE CRACKS AND LITTLE GAPS
THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND HER
Dusting for Prints
IN FADED TIMBERS CHALKY IN DUST
THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND HER
THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND HER
The potential of houses to be spaces for the perception and conception of visual arts is very tangible and useful.
I do not know the space, Villa Alba, it is site-unseen … while perhaps it would be more common to know spaces before working in them processes can none-the-less evolve from afar in inverted manners. The artist is a problem solver, the artist resolves spaces and the artist embraces challenges as creative pathways.
My practice primarily involves the broad interpretation of built environments and physical spaces. Spaces on which to lay biographical and fictional content set against the physical and formal qualities of buildings and their history. These spaces, as Sarah states in the Villa Alba project’s title, are narrative spaces.
For Narrative Space I have selected different past works to travel to Melbourne. Sheets as ghost, tin paintings of ideal buildings, universal power points and black like drawings, all these speak to my distant knowledge of Villa Alba.
Tobias RICHARDSON born 1968, Sydney, New South Wales; currently lives in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Tobias Richardson built a career as a young artist in Sydney during the 1990s before moving to the Northern Territory in 1997 to take up a teaching post in Utopia in the Central Desert. He went on to teach in Maningrida, Arnhem Land, before moving to Darwin in 2006 where he lectured in studio practice at Charles Darwin University and worked at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory whilst maintaining an active professional practice. He recently returned to New South Wales, where is currently making art full time.
Richardson holds a Diploma of Art, East Sydney Technical College (1987), Bachelor of Fine Arts, San Francisco Art Institute (1991), Diploma of Education, University of Sydney (1993), Certificate IV Conservation Lands Management, Charles Darwin University (2003) and Masters by Research, Charles Darwin University (2011). He has been the recipient of several residencies including the Asia Link residency at Galeri Petronas in Kuala Lumpur (2007) and the Cite Internationale des Arts residency in Paris (2008, 2010). Richardson has exhibited regularly in Australia since graduating from art school in the late 80s and his work has been included in group shows internationally in Indonesia, Malaysia, Germany and the USA. In 2007 his work was selected for Cross Currents: Focus on Australian Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art and most recently in early 2012, a substantial survey of his sculpture, painting and drawing were shown at RAFT Artspace, Alice Springs. Richardson’s work is represented in public collections nationally, including the National Gallery of Victoria and Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
In my practice I transform found imagery into paintings and drawings of familiar yet complicated scenes and portraits. The artworks often play on nostalgia, memory and personal and cultural histories, exploring emotions such as desire and loss. The narratives within the work are often unresolved, requiring the viewer’s personal recognition. Associations and contradictions are at play creating the sense of a memory difficult to recall or the fragmented still of a film.
Heidi Yardley was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1975. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art majoring in painting in 1995 at Monash University and Honours in Drawing at RMIT in 1999. Since 1998 Yardley has held ten solo exhibitions and has exhibited extensively in group exhibitions throughout Australia. She has been a finalist in a number of high profile competitions including The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship (2000, 2002, 2004), The Hutchins School Art Prize (2000), The Mosman Art Prize (2001), The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2009, 2011) and The City of Albany Art Prize (2010). Yardley has been invited to exhibit in significant group exhibitions including Neo-Goth: Back in Black at The University of Queensland Art Museum (2008), Post Chrysalis at Sullivan and Strumpf (2008), The University of Queensland National Artists Self-Portrait Prize and the inaugural NOTFAIR- a satellite Art Fair held in Melbourne (2010). In 2011 Yardley was awarded an Ian Potter Cultural Trust grant as well as the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund to undertake a two-month residency in New York. Yardley’s work has been acquired extensively by private Collectors in Australia and overseas and has also been acquired by major institutions including The University of Queensland Art Museum, The BHP Billiton Collection, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery and The Methodist Ladies’ College Collection. Yardley is represented by Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane and Scott Livesey Galleries in Melbourne.
Phantoms of Sydney
As intricate frescoes emerge from beneath thick coats of beige paint Villa Alba is slowly being restored to its former grandeur. I am intrigued by this process and see a parallel in the way that cities form layers over time. Buildings are constructed, broken down and then built on top of again. Every now and then we get a glimpse of what once lay beneath.
In my body of work entitled Phantoms of Sydney I am figuratively peeling back the paint to reveal an almost unrecognizable Sydney. My investigation is divided into People and Place. I have photocopied a selection of archival photographs from Mitchell Library of Sydney suburbs and people dating from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Each photocopy has been affected by hand in a way that breathes life back into it. I used various techniques that ranged from freezing, scratching and cutting to illuminating and puncturing. Each photocopy was affected according my guttural response to it. This process has resulted in a series of images that emanate a spectral quality to suggest the resurrection of Sydney’s forgotten past.
Phantoms of Sydney imparts that the unfamiliar is perpetually bound with the familiar.
The decision to restore a structure is a precise intervention in which its possessor has discovered or rediscovered (a) distinguished characteristic(s) that over time have faded. To restore is an effort to return to a previous setting that operates against time by repairing what appears to be decayed and removes particular narratives that mark a space. However, despite the efforts and techniques utilized, a restored space can never exist in its original condition. It must look toward new narratives and embrace new potential.
‘Untitled’ is a series of digital illustrations that attempts to investigate the transition between ruined and restored spaces and the movement of time.
Del Lumanta was born in Sydney Australia, 1989. She is interested in the collapse and regeneration of virtual and physical spaces and the worlds that exist within them. She completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Print Media at Sydney College of the Arts in 2009. Since 2008 Del has exhibited at various artist-run spaces, pop up galleries and has collaborated with Australian fashion retailer General Pants Co..
We’ve interviewed a few of the Narrative Space artists about their contributions to the show - the first installment comes from sodacake’s Damian Castaldi and Solange Kershaw
Patrick Snelling was born in London and completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Nottingham Trent and Manchester Metropolitan Universities, UK. He has also completed postgraduate Museum Studies at Deakin University, Melbourne and is currently enrolled in PhD research at RMIT University investigating new technologies associated with digital craftsmanship and the patterning, ornamentation and augmentation of printed textiles.
In his practice, he develops a construct around the possibilities of textile making as a tradition, as an aesthetic proposition and as an artisan profession. Patrick continues to reference the physical materiality of textile printing in parallel with a contemporary digital narrative that blurs characterisation. With his current work ‘portal’, he is seeking to camouflage the role of technology as a hidden aesthetic. Patrick’s premise and rationale is that technology should not be obvious, but it can be identified. He asserts that the contemporary makers of textiles continue to use specialist tools that define their discipline, are often traditional in construction and continue to evolve without overt, digital intervention.
He acknowledges that the digital experience of imaging textiles cannot provide him with sufficient tactile and haptic information; he creates works that evoke memory and nostalgia for cloth and thread. His construction and making of textiles informs his sense of the hand made by utilising the authentic, physical qualities of printing, dyeing, stitching and washing. The portal in this context is a digital representation of a doorway allowing the viewer a thoroughfare from the past to the now and back again.
My work explores the playful world of quirky characters, for the most part
the characters display a carefree quality as they navigate their way around
a sometimes surreal setting, at times experiencing moments of
vulnerability, with this I explore what happens when our emotions are
stirred through an event or experience and how we respond to that. A
multitude of layered paint stripped back on the background of an artwork
reflects what transpires when we allow ourselves to sit in that moment, a
beauty and rawness comes through. The illustration acts as a metaphor for
the experience and takes the viewer on a journey between experience and
The four artbooks I have created for Narrative Space represent what I have
interpreted as four significant times of the Villa Alba and how people
across this time have been associated with this space. All of the artbooks
have been deliberately constructed to include points of reference specific
to that period, moving through the ebb and flow of time and experience.
With the solid commitment of achieving her BA(Visual Arts) from the
University of Newcastle, living in the idyllic town of Bellingen and
grabbing windows of opportunity to be creative while raising her two young
children Bronwyn Brenton honed in on her unique style of sanded back
canvases and quirky illustrations which soon became her signature style
recognised on the NSW Mid North Coast. Bronwyn has sold many artworks
through exhibitions and continuous showings in various shops and galleries
around Bellingen, been invited to teach in schools, and has run private art
lessons and community workshops. Most recently Bronwyn has exhibited in the
Linden Postcard Show, and the Brunswick Street Gallery 30x30x30 show.
Bronwyn has been invited to take part in the Brunswick Street Gallery
Drawing Group Show in May 2012 and is planning a major exhibition of
mobiles and canvases in Melbourne in early 2013.
Why Triffids are Fun
I like to rifle through history and its associated imagery and, through my drawings, speculate about the secret or invented histories and stories. When I am in the process of making inevitably I seem to end up talking about what concerns me most, something like a Rorschach blot test but with figures.
My love of traditional techniques and art history (Watteau in particular) is part of this recycling or re-interpretation of the pre-loved, not for what they were but as material that can used in response to my concerns, worries and obsessions. So it is probably unsurprising that my imagery is inspired by anything that contains an emotion pull or indefinable attraction. In the past this includes old postcards, images from books, Google, old movies (Jimmy Stewart in “Harvey”), Schleich toys or an idea that I have to collage together from images that I can source from the any or all of the aforesaid.
Villa Alba: from another perspective
Upon first impressions, Villa Alba appears to be a house of contradictions. Here is a house whose impressive grey façade and frosted glass windows, oozes a sense of strength, stability, even a sense of longevity. However when you step over its threshold it appears to be a different story. Walking through its rooms there appears to be a delicate balance between conservation and exploration as the house through the removal of paint and paper is made to give up its secrets. With all this excavation to the building’s nineteenth-century interior, there is a sense of fragility as its walls are slowly being exposed to the twenty-first century atmosphere.
Each of the seventeen miniature-like linocuts of Villa Alba: from another perspective attempts to captivate all the elements that make up Villa Alba as a structure and as an institution. Paint was used to initially embellish (and eventually disguise) the interiors, so hand colouring each of the prints seemed appropriate. The fragile nature of the interior played a large part in the construction of the book. Individual pages were glued together to form a concertina style of book. Besides giving the impression that the book, like the house is joined together by a number of elements. It also gives the impression that there is more to house than its stately exterior. The use of ties on the book and a slipcover mirrors the idea of the house’s façade. It also takes in the notion that like the visitors to the house and walking from room to room, the viewer/reader must untie the binding, open up the book and turn the pages to experience the work and therefore the elements of Villa Alba.
Traces and Vanishings
Through a series of three different publications, I explore issues of time, wear, presence and absence within the narrative of the existing place that is Villa Alba. Habitation over time takes many forms, has different intentions, and evolves according to practices, technologies and aesthetics. As I viewed the house I was struck by the ongoing exchange between presence and absence as one moves through the house. The trilogy that is my response ‘Traces and Vanishings’ considers these transitions from the perspectives of the automated to the handmade, as realized through the touch or the click, and the handcrafted or the delivered.
As a practicing artist, design academic and researcher Laurene Vaughan who is fascinated by the ways in which make and experience place. Through her interdisciplinary practice she explores placemaking through the mediums of text, objects, images and performance. She is currently employed at RMIT University in the School of Media and Communication, and is also a Research Leader in the RMIT Design Research Institute. She exhibits internationally, publishes in a variety of academic contexts and explores the possibilities of walking to make place, wherever she can.
Please note that the time for the official opening has changed and will now begin at 1pm Saturday 26th May. Looking forward to seeing you there