Issue 25:1 | March 2005 | Handmade: The New Labour
Handmade: The New Labour
Issue 25:1 | March 2005


The Sounds of Silence
Through traditional method, an explicit residue of manual labour, and a constructed subject, Ricky Swallows wooden work suggests a past tense, which leads the viewer backwards through the material history of the work. The Defining aspects of Swallows approach are distinctly framed in the western tradition of the artisan and the language of figuration.
The Art of Outsourcing
While our romantic inheritance imagines artists working in isolation, this is changing. Increasingly, successful artists are working with teams of technicians who contribute precious amounts of skill, time and experience to the final work. Harvey looks at the relationships between artists, apprentices and their creations within the realm of tactile, three-dimensional art and some of the apparent concerns associated.
It's Not You, It's Me - I Just Don't, You Know, Think We're Compatible
"It should go without saying that our responses to the handmade, the mass-produced and techno gadgetry are principally structured within and by fantasy worlds. Cook explores peoples relationships to objects in a world that is perpetually developing and enhancing itself materially, or so it seems.
I Came to Japan Because of the Chopstick
Timms' account of a personal journey through Japan and South Korea and the traditional history of fine pottery crafts that accounts for a large degree of Eastern culture. He here explores the distinctions and connections between Eastern and Western material culture as exemplified through the life and role of the chopstick.
Getting Off Your Face With a Destructive Character
Christian Capurros Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette documents the act of erasure over a period of five years, with the artist asking family, friends, artists and others to each erase a page from the male fashion rag Vogue Hommes. Each rubber was asked to record how long it took them to rub out their page, the results were then tallied.
The Darkroom in the Age of Post-Film Photography
In both amateur and professional photography the few multinational corporations that control the industry have collectively marshalled their marketing strategies to capitalise on recent advances in digital technology. Jolly looks at the shifting photographic trends, their viability and the increasing loss of intimate image-making.
Pixel Perfect: The Craft of Photography in the Age of Digital Reproduction.
Walkling proclaims that something is being mourned that has to do with the physical object and its associated labour, in the meantime the distinction between amateur and professional photographer is lessening as this particular creative niche is becoming more automated.
Australian Drawing Now: Labouring Lightly
The on again/off again love affair between drawing and contemporary art practice seems to have been going on ad nauseam. From the sixties through to the present day, ongoing tensions between the apparent values of traditional and conceptual art have resulted in much of today's appreciation for the reworking of both aesthetics in what has become a new labour of love.
Nurturing the Handmade
In interacting with an object, its physical properties are paramount; as a result, the power of objects to affect us becomes identified with their physical attributes, leading to an emphasis on making, and so linking making with authorship. Sorzano explores the process of object-making as the work in our minds, the work in our hands, and the work as a result....
The Hand in Making
The Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial began in 1975 and every two years a collection of contemporary fibre textile work tours nationally to metropolitan and regional audiences. For Attiwill, guest curator of the 16th Biennial, the spark for the exhibition A Matter of Time came from Sue Rowleys wisdom: it is useful to think of craft in terms of multiple temporalities, A Matter of Time is an exploration of this usefulness.
Bush TV's: Piliyi - Good One
Nyinkka Nyunyu is an art and culture centre located on Warumungu land in Tennant Creek, right in the middle of the Northern Territory. From the time the idea came up to build something alongside the sacred site of Nyinkka Nyunya, art was always going to be an integral part of the project. The result of many brainstorming sessions amongst traditional owners of the land on which Tennant Creek stands was the idea of dioramas, or Bush TVs to provide the means to present history and contemporary life through art to a diverse audience.
Hand to Mouse: Design and the Handmade
There have always been cycles in the making of what we describe as art, crafts and design, where surges of new ideas have been followed by revivals of earlier values or reform movements that challenge both. The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, is working on an exhibition for late 2006, on the interface between art, design, industry and the values of the handmade. Cochranes hope is that it will challenge audiences to look closely at some of the exciting working relationships that are possible.
In the Wake of Gesture: Architecture and the Handmade
Architecture has long since surrendered the tactile in favour of grander visions. Through an examination of Sandra Seligs recent work Synthetic Infinite at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the unique responses to architecture and the handmade that this work displays, Murray attempts to question how we might then consider architecture and our relationship with built matter to restore a direct connection with human experience.
Domestic Arts in the White Cube
There exists an increasing number of artists - mostly women - creating art using what have been known, somewhat disparagingly, as domestic arts: knitting, crochet, sewing, tatting, embroidery. For many of these artists the choice of method is integral to what the work is saying, the making - the journey - as important as the result, even if that journey is not immediately obvious to the viewer.
Parallel Universe: The Gray St. Workshops @ 20
Gray Street Workshop, which is this year celebrating its twentieth anniversary, has pursued a creative work ethic closely aligned to values of the handmade, not as an end per se but as a means to evolve a creative language grounded in the interplay between ideas and practice.
Patrick Hall's Cabinets of Everyday Curiosities
For Hughes, Patrick Halls cabinets recall the great elaborately decorated cabinets of the 17th century. Rather than mere decoration, Halls cabinets express a poetry of the everyday that is neither a condescending celebration nor a critical analysis but a deeply personal response to his materiel.
Unpacking 'Il Cretino Veloci' or 'The Fast Idiot'
Thomson pays tribute to an increasing minority of Australians devalued for getting their hands in the mucky stuff. As he proclaims ...people who make things with their hands for a living are seen as a hopeless anachronism rooted to the ground. In an age where the majority of the Australian population now work in what are termed the service industries, the ability to apply ones motor skills are making for a society who rarely needs to use those funny slabs of flesh at the end of our arms.
Life is Very Long
Yarra Sculpture Space, Melbourne 28 August - 12 September 2004
Batik and Kris: Duality of the Javanese Cosmos
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery 10 September - 7 November 2004
Living Together is Easy
National Gallery of Victoria: Ian Potter Centre, Melbourne 27 August - 7 November 2004 Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, Japan 24 January - 28 March 2004 Curated by Jason Smith and Eriko Osaka
For Nothing
The Bank, Midland, WA 26 November - 14 January 2005
Mary Scott - Skirted
Criterion Gallery, Hobart 28 October - 23 November 2004
Disorientate: Colour, Geometry and the Body
John Aslanidis, Paul Boam, John Dunkley-Smith, NeilHaddon, John Plapp, Wilma Tabacco Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Hobart 15 October - 7 November 2004
Artifically Reconstructed Habitats: Finola Jones
Canberra Contemporary Art Space 13 August - 25 September 2004 Gertrude Contemporary Spaces, Melbourne 29 October - 20 November 2004
Vivienne Westwood
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 12 November 2004 - 30 January 2005
Fine Art Graduate and Honours Exhibitions Beyond
Griffith University, Queensland College of Art 24 - 27 November 2004 GraduArt 2004 Toowoomba Regional Gallery 27 November 2004 - 30 January 2005 modus vivendi Queensland University of Technology 3 - 5 November 2004
Christian de Vietri: The Nature of Things
Goddard de Fiddes Gallery, Perth 27 November - 18 December 2004
Petrified Nature: Julia Robinson and Morgan Allender, Birds and Bees, Louise Flaherty
Downtown Art Space, Adelaide 28 October - 6 November 2004 The Project Space, CACSA, Adelaide 29 October - 5 December 2004
Everyone Lives Downstream: James Darling and Lesley Forwood
Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
24 November – 19 December 2004