Showing posts with label Flinders Lane Gallery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flinders Lane Gallery. Show all posts

Following a Path

Grey Lines, 2016, oil on canvas, 123 x 120 cm
Works from 2014-9
September 18 to October 13
Tacit Art Galleries in association with Flinders Lane Gallery
123a Gipps Street, Collingwood, Victoria
Opening Wednesday September 18 6.30-8 pm

10% of any sales going to the Australia Cancer Research Foundation

Selected works:

Variations on White, 2014, oil and enamel on canvas, 153 x 153 cm.

Black Side, 2015, oil, enamel and pencil on canvas, 153 x 153 cm.

Black Weave, 2018, oil on canvas, 122 x 91 cm.

Loose Grid, 2019, oil on canvas, 76 x 61 cm.

Paper Painting, Blackbird Series, Waterline, 2019,
oil and enamel on paper, 31 x 22 x 14 cm.

Following a Path catalogue essay by Kathryn Marshall and Terri Brooks

A Line Made by Walking, 1967, Richard Long

The sojourns of neighbour’s collide, but how often do they travel the same road? Grass bends beneath our feet, as together we cross between old and new paths, while talking about life and art and all the poetry in between.

I am one twinkle in the constellation of humanity, trying to understand and see other stars. Light emissions fluctuate as their light is blinded by orbiting companions or perhaps my view is blinded by mine. I sometimes fail to see the wonder of other stars. 

I feel this is where my view of Terri and her art started, overcast with distractions. However, I’m not sure if becoming better friends with Terri has led me to admire her art more or discovering the world of minimal art has resulted in seeing Terri as a truly bright and beautiful star.
My neighbour walks the path I trod,
But does she see the things I saw?

Sometimes I ask Terri to describe herself or what her art is. The answer always seems to blend both as we walk a path that has inspired her art and directed her life. Terri’s painting philosophy is closer to Chinese landscape painting than the Western realist landscape tradition ... an artist stands on one mountain and paints what it feels like to gaze upon another mountain.

Terri is a sixth generation Australian, or perhaps even more. She lives near two waterways, the Yarra and the Merri, although she cannot see them from home. Her kindred birds and trees tell her the river and creek are near. Throughout her life, Terri has walked almost all the paths that meander and weave across the meeting place of these waters. It is her space, her peace, full of music she loves and her home.

My hand was held along the river banks,
as nature and I became friends.
The outside world called to me,
‘discover what I’ve hidden - seen and unseen.’
Sometimes the wind and rain hastened my steps
to a secret retreat,
or the sun invited me to linger and breathe,
 with eucalypt oil drifting on the wind.
My arms reached up to grab stringy bark
peeling from upstretched gums.
I climbed into the hollow trunk filled with the life
of birds and bugs and me, as the tree decayed.
Fields of wildflowers and grassy woodlands
grown tall and wild in the sun
sway in the wind,
as I sway in the wind,
hearing it…
The sounds and songs that spoke
and still speak to my soul.
Serenity guides my life
and the strokes of my brush.
My art’s not always calm, as nature can be wild,
simplified to bare forms,
which cycles,
comforting and peaceful and serene.

It has been said that a ‘king’s’ burial ground lies where the Yarra and Merri meet and Billibellary is buried here, but a freeway and revegetation now claim this land. A great meeting of Indigenous people was held at the Merri Creek on Heidelberg Road when Terri was a child. They stayed many days in their tents and then were gone. Their departure faded into a memory for Terri, like the songs from a flock of birds gathering and then returning home. Recently, a blackbird inspired Terri’s creativity and the opening lyrics of ‘Blackbird’ (Paul McCartney, 1968) pervaded her thoughts.

The sun shines after rain has fallen, glistening on receding puddles
that beckon the little blackbirds to come and bathe before they fade away.
Birds chirp and call to each other as their plumage puffs in splashed water.
Black wings unfold and tails twitch, but one bird is different.
A white feather interrupts the black symmetry.
No other birds notice or seem to mind, chirping and puffing and splashing.
Lines ripple in the water as the puddle plays too.
The puddle’s time is short as the sun shines on and on.
Then the blackbirds flee, their songs fade, the water recedes and all that remains
are the water lines hinting of their past fun.

The Great Heidelberg Road was the first road to be macadamised in Victoria in the late 1840s and it was private. The toll gate was near Terri’s house, as was the Yarra Bend Asylum. She remembers when Heidelberg Road was closed for days when the Merri flooded after heavy rain. That has never happened again and terraced gardens at Yarra Bend and some stone steps are all that remain of the toll gate and asylum.

It is here she stood as a child with her grandfather on a sunny day talking about nature and the park. Together they would sing ‘Side by Side’ (Harry M Woods, 1927) as they walked.

Terri’s history is intertwined with the land around her, culminating into her present as the rivers combine into something greater together. Painting and walking go hand in hand. Terri walks before she paints. Thoughts float in and out while Terri walks and problems that house her dissipate. She obtains a state of free association while being in the now, looking, thinking and relating.

As an abstract artist, Terri works with the elements of art that include line, shape, colour and tone. She thinks about paint and the marks she makes back in the studio. There’s a relationship between what she has seen walking and marks she creates on her canvases.

Contoured Paths
A purely straight line is boring, untouched by the vibrations of life,
and my world is filled with distorted lines:
twisted, bending, curved and contorted by the variety of the world I live in.
No straight line was ever true,
an illusion of someone blind to imperfect beauty.
I like the curves, bumps and meandering flow of motion in the world,
so fast my eyes can’t follow or infinitesimally slow the world seems to stand still.
We don’t always see eye to eye, out of view on the bent lines we follow.
We are intertwined in the woven lines,
and tangle for moments
or years or decades,
until quiet vibrations or earthquakes move us on our way.
My lines stretch forth and are what they are.
Fear not if separation finds us because the weave that connects
will see our lines intersect again,
in this life
or the next.

Her city could be any city intertwined with nature and part of her essence. Terri feels the texture of a perfectly formed geometric seed pod while she studies graffiti, road signs telling her to stop and green lights directing her to go.  Scuffs, rain patterns, and dribbling rust stains, new and old architecture, and forgotten traces of the presence of man decay and are reclaimed by nature.

These marks and patterns tell her where she is and guide her hand on the canvas.  Thoughts of nature and how we are as people are reflected in her art. We really are part of the world. We are the lightning, the wind, the rain and the thunder. During her painting process, she is back in the rhythm of walking, searching for harmony, but now it’s with lines on the canvas using elements of nature such as motion, gravity and time, and therefore history.

Walking at dusk when the lights are low,
Black and white vision are last to go.
That’s why ash is my favourite colour.

Not a burnt-out end or death for some,
A chance for something new to become.
Art born where urban nature is mother

Night and then a deep breath in the dawn,
Black, white and grey shapes and lines are drawn
In the stillness of art, my soul recovers

Installation image Tacit Galleries

Installation image Tacit Galleries

Installation image Tacit Galleries

Line and Weight

May 15 - June 1
Flinders Lane Gallery
Level 1, Nicholas Building
Cnr Swanston and Flinders Lane Melbourne

Opening Saturday, May 25 from 1-3 pm.

Good Thinking, 2019, oil on canvas, 122 x 153 cm.

Follow the Line, 2018, oil on canvas, 107 x 91 cm.

Brown Weft, 2018, oil on canvas, 91 x 71 cm.

Black White Construction, 2018, oil on canvas, 38 x 31 cm.

Flattened Package, 2018, oil on card, 42 x 34 cm.

Oval Lines, 2018, oil on paper on card, 56 x 39 cm.

An Infinite Fabric

Terri Brooks: Line and Weight

Anna Dunnill

To paint on canvas is to engage with an inherently gridded form. Like all woven fabric, canvas is constructed from a network of perpendicular threads: warp (vertical) interlocked with weft (horizontal) in a repeating over-under pattern. Fastened around a standard rectangle, it sets the parameters of the surface: verticals and horizontals set at 90 degree angles. Binary systems.

Throughout her multi-decade practice, artist Terri Brooks has used a process of intuitive layered mark-making to push these parameters apart and pull them back together, softening the grid’s hard angles into looser threads and earthy washes of colour.

In Line and Weight, Brooks has produced a sophisticated suite of paintings with clarity and depth. While sitting firmly in abstraction, her work is alive to its surroundings: it hints toward tree bark, stitching, textured cloth, scuff marks, architecture. Tactile things buried in the strata of memory.

For some works, like Brown Weft, 2019, the painting process is a lengthy one, taking perhaps five months and 40 or 50 layers; Brooks shows me the side of the canvas with its strata of paint to prove it. The resulting piece is far from weighed down, though. It undulates, its grid-lines extending off the picture plane. Chinks of light within the ‘weave’ reveal the layers underneath, the visible process of its making.

Brooks remembers her grandmother, who lived through the 1930s Great Depression, describing feats of ‘making do’. A few packing cases, for instance, might with some vision and ingenuity be turned into a lounge suite. In such times of necessity, the function of an object becomes fluid, its edges blurred; it contains the possibility of many forms.

This approach underscores Brooks’s practice. ‘Improvisation,’ she points out, ‘is the basis of making do.’ Pared down to the simplest form—the line—and a reduced palette that embraces the shades between black, white and brown, Line and Weight demonstrates the richness of Brooks’s repetitive painterly gesture, an ongoing improvisation as each mark responds to the one before.

One work gestures further towards the make-do ethos. Flattened Package, 2018, was once a humble cardboard box; the three-dimensional grid of its original hollow form is squashed flat. Brooks likens it to ‘road detritus’ seen on frequent walks: ‘paper and cardboard run over, discarded and weathered.’ Flattened Package is an irreverent object: flat planes buckled, edges bulging, the grid thoroughly disrupted.

In her seminal 1979 essay ‘Grids’, Rosalind Krauss writes that ‘logically speaking, the grid extends, in all directions, to infinity’. The grid within an artwork is therefore ‘a tiny piece arbitrarily cropped from an infinitely larger fabric’.[i] The paintings in Line and Weight convey both this sense of the infinite spatial grid and, through the building up of layers, the infinite and repetitious nature of time. Washed over, painted across, re-written, line by line.

[i] Rosalind Krauss, “Grids,” October 9, no. Summer, 1979 (1979): 50–64.

Regency, 2018, oil and enamel on canvas, 122 x 183 cm.

Twins, 2019, oil on hardened paper, 40 x 30 cm.

The works are now at Flinders Lane Gallery. Pictured here with assistant gallery director
is Flattened Package  and behind Thin White Lines, 2015.

Installation shots:

FLG 1999

In May 2019 I have a solo exhibition 'Line and Weight' at Flinders Lane Gallery Melbourne. Reflecting here on my second solo exhibition at Flinders Lane Gallery in 1999 with founding director Sonia Heitlinger.

Infrastructure 1999, oil and pencil on canvas, 153 x 91 cm. Private collection.

Infrastructure 1999, was a meditation on movement through the city.

Isolation, 1999, oil and pencil on canvas, 153 x 122 cm. Private collection.

Isolation, 1999, oil and pencil on canvas, 153 x 122 cm was influenced by the 1980 Joy Division song of the same name. “A blindness that touches perfection..But hurts just like anything else.” 

Pan, 1999, oil and pencil on canvas, 153 x 122 cm. Private collection.

Pan, 1999, oil and pencil on canvas, 153 x 122 cm. The palette of Pan and the open space was based on dry lake beds outback Australia. 

Flinders Lane Opening 1999.

I stayed in occasional contact with Sonia Heitlinger as recently as 2015. Sonia, a painter herself, attended some painting classes I taught at Fitzroy Painting in between her global lifestyle.

Flinders Lane Gallery installation shot 1999.

Above and Below, 1999  (left), was purchased by the Macquarie Group Collection, Sydney.