March 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
The title of this post refers to a self portrait (oil on canvas) painted in 1976 whilst living in Roma Italia attending the Academia di Belli Arti. I look at it now (It hangs on the wall above my computer), and a flood of memories come to me, the tsunami of culture that is Italy.
One year into doing a degree at Caulfield Institute (now Monash University) I decided to leave and go to ROME. I was 20 years old when I arrived in Roma at the Stazione Termini, and literally walked out from the train station into a massive student demonstration, confronted an all sides by lines of helmeted riot police who beat a menacing drum sound with truncheons on plastic shields. The Australia that I had left, was to me a sleepy place, even though Gough Whitlam was giving it an almighty kick up the bum, but in reality the culture was still just emerging from the torpor of the Menzies years. So the pitched battle that was going on around me the tear gas, the violence, the civic unrest, the political battles that were being fought on the streets both scared and excited me. It all seemed to culminate when Pasolini was killed.
“La cultura piccolo borghese in Italia, ma forse anche in Francia e in Spagna è qualcosa che porta sempre della corruzione e delle impurezze. Mentre un analfabeta…ha sempre una certa grazia (che) poi si ritrova a un altissimo livello di cultura, ma la cultura media è sempre corruttrice”
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Fellini’s ( then Pasolini & Lina Wertmuller) movies provided the original impetus for me to go to Italy, “Satyricon”, “Roma”, “Amacord”….I was 15 years old when I saw these movies with my parents, at the time I belonged to a Film Group that put on European movies at a cinema in Croydon. For me it was the beginning of my life long love affair with Italia.
March 18, 2017 § Leave a comment
At a meeting on the 1st of March 2017 the Wurundjeri Elders formally approved the head study that I made of William Barak. Really important to Cinzia & I that we proceed with the Wurundjeri Elders blessings.
February 20, 2017 § 2 Comments
One of the first large scale sculptures I carved in Carrara Marble (1986-87) The original block weighed around 12 tons, whittled it down to around 4 tons. The title translates in english as “Fear of Intimacy”.
September 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Have been in Italia since Sunday the ninth of September. we flew in to Venezia and drove down to Ravenna staying with Armendina Ranuzzi family of Cinzia, Armendina is a remarkable lady now close to eighty years old indefatigable as ever one of the most generous humble people you could meet in your life, she often breaks into the dialect “romangnol” a language full of character and humour. We have stayed with Armendina many times over the years that we have been coming to Italia.
The last two days we have been with Denver in the Republic of San Marino Italia a company that produces high tech CNC machines for working stone. A fantastic company, the factory looks like an art gallery! We were given a wonderful experience. We came away moved and inspired by a organisation who have great pride in their company and what they produce. Being Italia “mezzogiorno” is of course the time to drink vino, eat and be happy. We were taken for lunch at a trattoria a good way up the mountains upon which the ancient city of San Marino is built. From where we sat we could see the crenelated walls snake along the ridges of the mountains above. We drove past a fountain that featured carvings in low relief of anguile (eels) our host Franco Barachini from Denver parked the car and we got out and wondered why there should be sculptured in “relievo” eels half way up the mountain. The trattoria had an outside eating area with great views we chose to have our tagliatelle con sugo and strozza preti with salsicce and peas washed down with glass of Sangiovese wine, bread parmigianno insalata flavours swirling on our tongues.
We asked the lady serving us what was the meaning behind the l’anguille on the fountain she said she didn’t know, she then thanked us and added “I have been working here for years and never even noticed them!” On the table next to us a lady and her daughter overheard our conversation, she turned to us and said she heard of a story that they were the symbol of the god Mercurio, ( as well as the fact that Italians eat everything) we looked at the water gushing forth from the mountain and as is common in Italy, water has since ancient times been associated with the Gods. After lunch Franco took us to a stone masons workshop to show us one of Denver’s CNC machines in action. Franco introduced us to four artigianni “uomini della pietra” people who for me are like brothers, Cinzia got talking to one of the men who was operating the CNC machine and learnt that he studied under the same master that she did when she studied mosaics in Ravenna, their teacher was a person famous for restoring mosaics of Ravenna. She asked him about the fountain with the eels and it turned out it was his father that carved the eels on the fountain that we were fascinated by!
March 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
My exhibition opens today at 4.00pm at Mossgreen Galleries visit Mossgreen Gallery website for details…Hope to see you there.
I wrote the above couple of weeks ago…opening was a party, great to see so many friends and colleagues. Cinzia and I wore orange, we celebrated with Aperol spritz (orange) Luminous white marble sculptures on charcoal bases, I whacked in wooden wedges painted orange to secure the sculptures all against dark charcoal walls…looked fantastic. Paul Sumner and his team at Mossgreen Galleries were just great. Cinzia has been there for me, her efforts, advice, commitment and love. Baccione tesoro xxx
August 30, 2013 § 3 Comments
I am almost finished carving this work “River God”. I am working on five marble sculptures for my one man show coming up March 2014 at Mossgreen Gallery. I’ll have several sculptures in bronze as well. Today went to see the new Mossgreen Space, its going to be a fantastic venue.
September 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Spring in Melbourne is a wonderful time. Cinzia and I have our coffee in the morning and can look out from where we sit in the bay window out over our garden ablaze with blossom . We have been back home in Melbourne for quite a few weeks, we missed our boys and our families so it was great to be able to hug them tell them of our experiences in Italia, even though you know you can only try to convey the poetry of the place and the beauty that is Italia. In two weeks we leave again for Italia. The journey continues…..
July 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
We picked Paul and Amanda Sumner up from Aeroporto di Pisa late in the evening and then drove to Pietrasanta, by the time we parked and walked into Piazza it was getting towards 11.00 pm, the night was warm and humid. This is the summer holiday period and Pietrasanta is buzzing with people, at the moment there are six monumental bronze sculptures by Fernando Botero in the piazza, “la bondanza” of his forms.. huge ample generous and affirming statements…I wanted to show Paul and Amanda this at night, magical grazie a’ maestro Botero! The Commune of Pietrsanta is honouring Botero with an exhibition of sculptures and drawings on his 80th Birthday and 35 years of years of “ativita”as a sculptor living and working in the city.
We had something to eat at the “Gatto Nero” just outside the city walls, after a little while all tired satiated and happy we autostraded back to Carrara agreeing to meet for an early breakfast and start to the day. Coffee and brioches we consumed perched on the roof top garden, all glass and spectacular views…the Apuane Mountains the quarries of Carrara. We started with a drive up the winding road to Campo Cecina the highest point, at the top Amanda exclaimed WOW! what a place! And it is incredible sight, these rugged mountains and their treasure of marble. It was hot in the valley but at the summit it was fresh, the moisture laden air became clouds licking over the plateau area below the pinnacle of Mt Sagro. On our descent we narrowly avoided jousting with a one of the huge trucks speeding to a quarry to reload another junk of the mountain. Into the Ravaccione and the magnificent epic devastation wrought by man on these noble mountains, giant steps cut and unbelievable quantities of rubble, Michelangelo himself trudged these parts! We went to Studio SGF where I am carving works for my show with Paul, a quick walk to Piazza Alberica the Doumo of Carrara [mentioned in 1035 AD], Piazza D’Armi the Academia and then lunch at Nerina’s. After back to Pietrasanta drinks with friends Michael Cartwright and Shona Nunan reading the sign where Michelangelo signed contract to supply marble for the San Lorenzo facade. We relaxed sipping on orange coloured Spritz Aperol’s before sprinting back to the Aeroporto di Pisa all leaning in the background terracotta roof Piazza die Miracoli out car side window.. appointment at Paris flight and goodbye to Paul and Amanda! Drove back to Carrara light headed, a full full day!
View from Campo Cecina