Study Day at Carrick Hill

Adrian Feint - the man inside the cover

Carrick Hill currently has an exhibition on the Australian artist, Adrian Feint. The exhibition has a few examples of the artist's work, including book plates and oil paintings. It also explores the links with a number of other artists in Sydney during the years between the wars and features a couple of portraits of the gentleman artist, including this one by Thea Proctor:

The original does not feature the reflections from the glass!

The original does not feature the reflections from the glass!

We were fortunate enough to also attend a study day at Carrick Hill where a number of speakers discussed different aspects of the artist's work, life and associations.  We had a ball, of course! The folk from Carrick Hill put on a splendid show.

The highlights for me were the talk given by the Head Archivist at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Dr Steven Miller, on 'Adrian Feint among his peers', and later in the day, Dr Georgina Downey (University of Adelaide) speaking about 'Stylish Homes'. All of the speakers were very interesting, of course!

Dr Miller has previously published a book called "Degenerates and Perverts", and as fun as that sounds, it is actually about Australian culture between the wars with a focus on the 1939 Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art. I have put in an order for this book of course and I hope it's as full of interesting detail as Dr Miller's talk!

Dr Downey's talk was largely based on fresh research, specifically for this event, and focused on Adrian Feint's involvement with that wonderful Australian magazine 'Home' and also rare insight into the artist's own residences. I hope Dr Downey takes this further and publishes the research!

There was no chance of eyes glazing over at this event and we ensured we had an extra swell time with a drop of sparkling white! I highly recommend a trip up the hill to Carrick Hill to see the exhibition, it's a charming and inspiring place, just look at this:

'Hibiscus' - Adrian Feint 1945

'Hibiscus' - Adrian Feint 1945

Another lovely thing that happened this day was we bumped into a lovely customer who told us of her own plans to start up selling her own creations! Great to hear!

And finally, here's me at the first time we visited the exhibition a few weeks ago. Maybe I am enjoying a glass of sparkling white or maybe not, it's not important...

Ha!

Ha!

Groupies

Adrian Feint - 1894 - 1971

We were in Sydney for Christmas and we decided to pop into the wonderful Art Gallery of New South Wales. We like, among other things, to seek out the AGNSW's collection of one of our favourite Australian artists, Adrian Feint.

I won't regurgitate his biography here, but the Australian Dictionary of Biography has a nice summary and there's a short (and not particularly helpful) mention on Wikipedia. He was known for his woodblock prints (he studied under Thea Proctor and Margaret Preston) and his commercial work (some wonderful covers and content in Home and Art in Australia magazines). But it is his post war paintings (oil and watercolour) from the 1940s and 1950s which we find especially appealing.

We were happy to see that the AGNSW has acquired a new work:

Adrian Feint - The Striped Petunia (1939)

Adrian Feint - The Striped Petunia (1939)

We didn't find many of his other works on display, as it happened, but we know that the collection includes this painting:

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Flowers in Sunlight (1940)

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Flowers in Sunlight (1940)

While in Sydney, we were staying in Elizabeth Bay, a picturesque part of Sydney near Potts Point and heavily populated with beautiful art deco apartments. We found that Adrian Feint lived in Elizabeth Bay for some time and so we put on our deer stalker hats and tweed capes and went to find out where.

The AGNSW also has in its collection the following painting, which provided us with a clue because we could see this building from our apartment:

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Del Rio, Elizabeth Bay (1944)

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Del Rio, Elizabeth Bay (1944)

The Del Rio apartments are glamorous, in an old Hollywood way, and sit nestled on the hill looking down to the bay. It turns out that Adrian Feint lived near the building and we think we pinpointed the address, but we weren't able to confirm this. There is a beautiful park opposite Del Rio, which we understand was vacant at the time the painting was completed. Here are the apartments now:

Glamour lives here.

Glamour lives here.

We understand that Mr Feint moved at some stage to another apartment in Elizabeth Bay, on Elizabeth Bay Road, so we tracked this down too:

Ashdown

Ashdown

We suspect Mr Feint lived in one of the rear apartments as these would have had the view of the bay, which is often featured in his paintings.

So, there you have it, some pleasant and diverting detective work from our holiday.  We hope your break was relaxing too, and we both wish you all the best of the new year!

Prints and Prints

Escaping from work

I noticed that the Flinders University Art Museum and City Gallery is now located in the State Library of South Australia, so I went to visit it during the week to see what was on offer.

Currently on show is an exhibition of South Australian political prints from the 1970s and 1980s called "Mother Nature is a Lesbian".   The period covered now seems like a golden age for South Australia, what with Don Dunstan and a healthy and visible culture of protesting for change.  Maybe I'm looking back through rose-coloured glasses, but there's something very appealing about those years from where I stand.

I loved the energy in the posters on display, all pre-digital era of course, and I snapped a couple of my favourites below.   I highly recommend a visit to this very conveniently located gallery.  The exhibition closes on 13 July 2014.

Pamela Harris, 'Memory Trace' 1983, serigraph.

Pamela Harris, 'Women' 1984, serigraph.

Ann Newmarch, 'Nationalize the Car Industry' C1975, serigraph.

Mandy Martin 'But for the 750,000 people in the world who depend on 

General Motors for their daily bread' 1975, serigraph.

Mandy Martin, 'Gallery 2' 1977, serigraph.

Also at the State Library of South Australia is a small exhibition of photographs and photographic equipment called "Moriendo Renascor: 19th Century Photography".  I would love to see more from the library's collection and I understand that the public may browse its collection.   This exhibition closes 31 July 2014. 

A modern print of a C1850 daguerreotype 'Actors', photographer unknown.

The photo above is an extract of a modern print of (I think) a glass plate negative C1879 showing the studios of an Adelaide based photographer, Captain Sweet, on Flinders Street.   

Of course, the name Captain Sweet alone is enough to pique anyone's interest, but what little I have seen of this photographer's work makes me want to learn a lot more!  I understand he photographed a lot of landscapes, but it is his portraits that caught my eye.  I have one in my own collection which is one of my favourites, a gentleman in dark glasses.   The subject is interesting, of course, because it is unusual to have a sitter wearing dark glasses, perhaps he is vision impaired, or perhaps it's a trick of the light turning his standard reading glasses dark.  I don't know.  But it is also the space, the jaunty position of the sitter and the quiet simplicity that I love.  

A Brief Holiday

Through the grainy, hyper-coloured lens of Harinezumi

My partner and I have just returned from a short holiday to Melbourne.   We drove along the Great Ocean Road, which has to be one of the world's great coastal drives, and I took along my bag of cameras, including the Harinezumi.  This little toy digital camera has a number of effects but they all come out looking roughly like a super 8 film, faded or saturated with time. 

We arrived in Melbourne via Geelong.  I hadn't been to Geelong before, and I loved it.  It had a lot of great domestic architecture and was very atmospheric.  I felt the past, being in Geelong.  Of particular note was the Eastern Beach precinct.   It was a dream for nostalgics, with sweeping lawns, a brilliant blue paddling pool, handsome red brick kiosks, brightly coloured picnic seating and, best of all, a whimsical fountain of joy!   The fountain itself was wonderful to look at, with lots of shells and stylised dolphins, but surrounding these were four large water birds standing on turtles!

We also visited the Heide Museum of Modern Art.  There was a wonderful exhibition of work by Emily Floyd called "Far Rainbow".  The exhibition was made up of a number of different media; prints, wood sculptures, a slide show, even grass matting!  I thought it captured an idyllic early 1970s feel with its primary colours and wooden toy-like shapes.  Of course, there is a more substantial reading of the work, but you can find this out for yourself here!  The two snaps below were taken at the exhibition (no flash, of course).