The Sydney Launch of ‘The End of The Line’, by Rae Desmond Jones

Rochford Press is pleased to invite you to the launch of The End of the Line poems by Rae Desmond Jones. It is the last book written and compiled by this poet, activist and former Mayor of Ashfield.

WHEN: Sunday 24 February 2019 at 1.30pm

WHERE: At the Exodus Foundation – the Burns Philp Hall, 180 LIVERPOOL ROAD, ASHFIELD

‘The End of the Line’ is an animated collection, bristling with the varied perspectives, moods, and colours of Jones’ consciousness and ‘voice’. Jones was an impressive raconteur and his distinctive physical voice echoes through the pages. The poems shift easily from the social/political agora to the deeply personal, to contemplative, spiritual/cosmic dimensions. He investigates individual and terrestrial mortalities, and concepts of being. He can be playful, cheeky, bawdy, satiric, savage and biting – as well as reflective, passionate, lyrical and grave. Shadowy images inhabit the book’s atmosphere at times, but in the final poems there is a sense of achievement – of abundance and joy: ‘Harvest the glow’. This is a  vivid book. In ‘To prepare a course of poetry’ Rae advises – ‘ Porridge should be avoided’. – Joanne Burns

Rae Jones was one of the great characters of the Inner West. His commitment to safeguarding the built environment led him from being an activist to becoming Mayor of Ashfield Council. Rae’s poetry reflects the eclectic and progressive nature of the community where he lived, as well as his passion for politics. It canvasses a range of topics including family, friendships, history and the state of the world. – Anthony Albanese

Link to the Facebook invite https://www.facebook.com/events/242278270027993/

Launches have also been confirmed in Perth and Melbourne – details to follow.

If you can’t make it to the launch copies of The End of Line are now available to purchase through the Rochford Press Bookshop – https://rochfordpress.com/rochford-press-bookshop/the-end-of-the-line-by-rae-desmond-jones/

The Psychological Landscape of the Artist – Linda Adair reviews ‘Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul’

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul Curated by Barry Pearce. National Art School, 10 January – 9 March 2019.

Rochford Street Review caught Barry Pearce’s curatorial introduction to the premier showing at the National Art School of the travelling exhibition Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul which he has curated for the Bundanon Trust. An intimate survey of Boyd’s journey as an artist, the show will travel from 8 June 2019 through to September 2021 to regional galleries before returning to Bundanon. It is hoped it will return to a new purpose-built gallery which is to be constructed at the 1,100 hectare property that Yvonne and Arthur Boyd gifted to the Australian people in 1993. Twenty six years on from this generous bequest, Bundanon continues to operate as a centre for creative arts, education, scientific and environmental research and artist residencies.

Emeritus Curator of Australian Art at AGNSW, Pearce, began his talk playfully remarking “Don McLean nails it for Arthur Boyd” – a tongue in cheek  reference to The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh foregrounding that whilst still an adolescent Boyd was channelling the same spirit of the master, striving to create luminosity and light in paint  as evidenced in the Pastoral landscape,1936.

Pastoral landscape, 1936.

Lightness was interspersed with both painterly and spiritual darkness throughout  Boyd’s creative life, and he readily mastered the painterly techniques required to move from major to minor keys, as his imagination was triggered by the mythology he had heart discussed in his parents salon, and the classical albums he loved to play whilst painting.  As a young man, tone and light continued be abiding preoccupations, along with mythical figures and biblical scenes which figure in masterworks such as Nebuchadnezzar series and The Expulsion.

Red Nebuchadnezzar fallen in a forest with lion, 1968-69, oil on canvas.

Pearce curated the 1993 Art Gallery of NSW’s retrospective of Arthur Boyd’s astonishingly extensive oeuvre. By that time,  thousands upon thousands of works had been created, and Boyd kept suggesting more works to be included. In 1992, Pearce eventually explained to the artist that an exhibition was rather like a suitcase – only so much could be packed into if it were to work! If the 1993 show was, to use a musical analogy, an orchestrated complexity,  the current exhibition was more like a chamber concert.  And central to that sense of intimacy, the works chosen are exemplars of the major concerns of one of Australia’s most revered landscape artists.
In the catalogue Pearce writes:

‘And so we follow the progression of his landscape imagery from Mornington Peninsula, through bleached blonde reaches of Wimmera and Central Australia, to the tangled darkness of Gaffney’s Creek and verdant woods of Suffolk, to the final decades of his life at Shoalhaven, witnessing oscillations between night and day woven with disturbing glimpses of the human condition, this exhibition takes on the shape f an odyssey in which the protagonist finishes where he began, in the truth-giving glare of daylight.’

The passion, speed and sheer volume of Boyd’s paintings – many shrouded in darkness and focusing on mythic figures – may have been a kind of self-therapy to erase or “unsee” images which had troubled him since childhood. Boyd grew up in a family of prodigious artistic talent — his grandparents were accomplished painters, his uncle a celebrated author but his father, Merric, although a well-respected potter, suffered debilitating epileptic seizures in a time when the condition was little understood, barely managed and probably demonised.

Despite his unparalleled knowledge of Boyd’s work, Landscape of the Soul proved to be something of a revelation for Pearce who worked with the Bundanon Trust curators and conservators. As conservation drawers containing works were opened, he discovered treasures from Boyd’s youth that the artist had kept, but never shown him. These overlooked works yielded the impetus for Pearce’s exploration of the artistic lineage and the turning points in Boyd’s career.  Pearce also foregrounds the little known work of Doris Boyd, Arthur’s beloved mother, whose artistic drive was perhaps sublimated into her five children as she juggled her household, whilst supporting a husband with major health issues and managing the family’s pottery business at Open Country.

Pearce’s empathetic selection of 60 key works that Boyd painted over more than half a century, strives to tease out the psychological landscape of the artist as much as the painted topography. The works on display range from recognised masterpieces on loan from major state art museums to the above-mentioned early works, as well as some 20 works on paper, letters and documents that reveal a very personal profile of the man behind some of the most iconic Australian landscape paintings.  The works are grouped around four distinct phases of Boyd’s life:

  • Inheritance (in the exhibition this is Prelude: works by Boyd’s parents and grandparents);
  • Genesis and inflexion – outlining the influences and experiences from when he began to paint as an adolescent until he left Australia in 1959 to live and work in England
  • Between Worlds – Boyd’s work in England during the 1960s
  • The Shoalhaven Years – from 1971, whenBoyd was again working with the Australian light,– until his death

It was beautiful to see these important works in the NAS Gallery space and intriguing to consider them in the context of the tale of Boyd’s journey to live with, and through, his art,which has been articulated by a personal and venerating friend, who understood well the residual traumas that plagued the artist. The result is part memoir by a personal friend and part incisive assessment of the work by an expert art curator who understands the influences and techniques that Boyd conjured with. This humanistic, common sense tone is fair enough given Arthur Boyd was born in 1920, when the meta-narratives of Modernism were in their ascendancy. The story Pearce tells embraces a lineal progression of the artist as an individual subject expressing and integrating the inner conflicts and joys of his life via the medium of painting. For this reviewer, the four sections used to convey the theme and sub-themes of the exhibition recall the classic essay structure of introduction/ thesis/antithesis/synthesis. Certainly, there is little problematising of the relationship between the writer and his subject.

And so, whilst Boyd passed away in 1999, his spirit is foregrounded in this concise exhibition. It is almost as if  the artist and curator (author) are two actors conversing in this exhibition’s (tale) until a third protagonist appears saviour-like in the last act and that saviour is the genius loci of  Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River; a landscape made iconic and hauntingly familiar to many Australians by way of the Shoalhaven series. According to Pearce, Boyd attained peace at the healing place of Bundanon, returning to plein air landscape and the luminous light which he excelled at rendering, and consolidating the tonal virtuosity he had precociously demonstrated as an innocent boy.

Peter’s fish and crucifixion, 1993, oil on canvas

At Bundanon, Boyd recalibrated after living in Britain where he had taken in the wealth of art and music available but had also wrestled for more than a decade with dark imagery and tragic archetypes following the death of Merric in 1959. To Pearce, the final act was a time of integrating these innermost struggles and shadowy elements with the artistry of capturing light that had inspired him since his boyhood. Interestingly, we were told, the artist wrote the cryptic words “I am held” on the back of each work he painted. The answer however as to who  — or what — held Boyd is something that not even Barry Pearce has dared answer despite its insights into his psyche.

 

 

 – Linda Adair

 ——————————————————————————————————————

Linda Adair is a Blue Mountains-based writer and critic and one half of Rochford Press.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul will be to touring to the following galleries: Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich QLD  8 June – 1 August, 2019. Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton VIC, 12 August – 24 November, 2019. Cairns Regional Art Gallery, Cairns QLD 3 April – 21 June, 2020. Glasshouse Regional Gallery Port Macquarie, NSW 3 July – 13 September, 2020. Tweed Regional Gallery Mullwillimbah, NSW, 11 December, 2020 – 28 February, 2021. Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba, NSW 12 March 2021 – 2 May 2021. Lake Macquarie Art Gallery, Lake Macquarie, NSW, 24 July – 26 September, 2021

For further information on the exhibition visit https://bundanon.com.au/whats-on/arthur-boyd-landscape-of-the-soul/

AUSTRALIA – a poem by Rae Desmond Jones

AUSTRALIA is from Rae’s final collection of poetry The End of the Line, Rochford Press 2019. Sydney Launch details and pre-sales information will be available in a few days. To be placed on a mailing list to be advised about the launch and were to buy a copy please complete the following:

 

‘Menindee Fish Kill’ – Bonita Ely and Melissa Williams-Brown

Having heard the sickening news of the fish kill in Menindee I drove there as soon as I could. Because of the current drought, high temperatures and long term bad, if not corrupt management, the lower Darling River was infected by blue/green algae (a pernicious growth that poisons warm, tepid water). Then a drop in temperature killed the toxic algae bloom. When it dies it decomposes and siphons oxygen from the water, suffocating the fish. It’s estimated a million fish died.

Thinking about it during the long drive from Sydney, having recently re-read Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, I contemplated ways of embedding myself/us, white Australians, into the catastrophe. Maybe push my pale feet amongst the fish carcasses, into the mud and algae-infected water? My hands? Millais’ painting of drowning Ophelia popped into my head but how to photograph myself with no assistant or tripod? Fortunately I met photographer, Melissa Williams-Brown in Menindee who loved the idea immediately, and we worked together to stage and shoot the performance for camera, Menindee Fish Kill.

Synchronicity was the order of the day.

Ophelia’s pose and facial expression were a perfect quotation – chest heaving, she sinks into the water, her hands raised in helpless supplication. Her eyes gaze into the middle distance, her face in shock.  I’m immersed in gross toxic water, dead fish, maggots, a fly on my face. My garment’s paisley pattern – fish shapes/tear drops, but also signals colonial appropriation – the   pattern originated in the Middle East and India. The  Scottish town, Paisley, copied the pattern, claimed and named it.

This appallingly abject image powerfully evokes a complexity of feelings, a sharp reality, haptic, empathic.

 – Bonita Ely, Jan 2019, Menindee

 ———————————————————————————————————-

Australian artist, Bonita Ely’s cross-disciplinary artworks explore environmental and socio-political issues. From the 1970s she has forensically photographed the ecology of the Murray River and its environs, witnessing its decline.  Representing Australia in Documenta14, 2017, her installation in Athens, Plastikus Progressus, addresses the plastics pollution of water’s trans-ecology. In Kassel, Germany’s iteration, Interior Decoration, evokes the inter-generational effects of PTSD as an outcome of war.  Dr Ely is Honorary Associate Professor, Art & Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane. https://bonitaely.com/

Melissa Williams-Brown (b 1970) is an Australian photographic artist and professional photographer specialising in portraiture, documentary and fine art photography. She has been a finalist in several prestigious Australian photographic art prizes.
2012:  (Semi-Finalist) Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize

  • 2015:  (Finalist) Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year (ANZANG)
  • 2015:  (Finalist) William and Winifred Bowness Prize
  • 2016:  (Finalist) William and Winifred Bowness Prize

https://melissawilliamsbrown.com/

Welcome to the Rochford Plateau

Welcome to Rochford Plateau. Here, in this slightly rarefied atmosphere, you will find those articles and reviews for Issue 26 which are time critical – that is they can’t wait until the rest of the issue is loaded in March 2019. Normally you will find exhibition, drama and film reviews here. When Issue 26 is loaded the content of the Plateau will be integrated into the overall issue. As always, if you have want to contribute a review or article to the Plateau, or have an event that could be highlighted, please contact us at submission@rochfordstreetreview.com.

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 – Artist Statement

Vivienne Dadour: Biographical Note

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #1
“During the depression of the 1930’s cheap labour was readily obtained…the number of men employed, or who the individuals were, is uncertain owing to a lack of information in the surviving time sheets…nor is it known where they came from” National Trust report c1963

 

The central component of A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 is to uncover and work with public and private archives concerning the complexities of the conditions and forces surrounding life during the Great Depression 1930-36 in the Blue Mountains. These art works  consider some of the social and political concerns that were pertinent then and remain so today- Identity, survival, resilience.

  • Who were the Craftsmen at the everglades c1932-35? Migrants, relief workers, unemployed, skilled or unskilled, age, address, family ties, religion?
  • How did they survive? What were their working conditions like?
  • What was required to keep working in the face of despair?

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #2
“The dry- packed ironstone walls were built from specially selected and hand shaped stones, most of which were the locally collected iron rich sandstone. The walls exhibit an extremely high quality of workmanship: in their massive stability, the skillful introduction of tubular stone foundations and in their aesthetic result. The physical labour required to create the walls and planting was daunting. Fortunately for the Everglades, the depression was at its height and manpower was readily available.” National Trust report c1963

Reports from the National Trust archives Everglades booklet, 1963 states that ‘The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades’ hired by Van de Velde during the Depression to work on his house and garden came from cheap labour that was readily obtainable, from the large number of unemployed… the number of men employed, or who the individuals were, is uncertain owing to a lack of information in the surviving time sheets and to the possibility of Van de Velde having paid some of them cash in hand…nor is it known where they came from…

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 aligns with the political sub-texts often found in my artwork where I incorporate documents, photographic archives and contextual materials to reveal important social and political issues that may be obliterated, ignored, hidden or obscured by the passage of time.

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #3
“A team of 14 Scottish master stonemasons constructed the exterior stonework under Paul Sorensen’s supervision, a French tradesman manufactured the wrought iron onsite, piano makers were engaged for the house joinery, and as many as 15 or 20 labourers were employed at any one time in the gardens.” National Trust Report c1963

 – Vivienne Dadour

 

Vivienne Dadour: Biographical Note

A Biography of Place: – Artist Statement

Vivienne Dadour’s art practice since 1992 has investigated issues that confront political and social issues concerning the complexities of identity and cultural difference. This has led her to seek interpretive strategies that consider ethical alternatives that challenge aspects of mainstream political discourse while encouraging dialogue and fostering tolerance of religious and cultural diversity. In her practice she focuses on specific communities and often works collaboratively with other artists.

Dadour conducted ethnographic and archival research for contemporary art exhibition projects that combined images and text in- Projectdocument : Resilience in Times of Adversity c1939-50 Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre August 2019; A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3, Everglades, Leura, NSW, 2018; Correspondence: The War Illustrated c1939-1950 Woodford Academy, Woodford, NSW, 2018; Illustrated: Women, Work and War WW2, Explorers exhibition, Woodford Academy, Woodford, NSW, 2017; Blown Away Articulate Project Space, Leichardt, NSW, 2016; Connections-a Community Project Articulate Project Space, Leichardt, NSW, 2015; Displaced-Greta Migrant Camp, NSW 1949-60, commissioned by Maitland Regional Art Gallery 2014; Instincts, Traditions, Usages: The Syrian Quarter in Redfern, NSW circa 1920, commissioned by the Australian Lebanese Historical Society, Parliament House Sydney, 2010; Invisible Realm: The Syrian Quarter in Redfern, NSW, The Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross, NSW, 2004.

Dadour has exhibited her work nationally and internationally being included in many public and private collections including Australian War Memorial Museum, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New England Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and NSW University Art Collection.

http://www.viviennedadour.com/

Rochford Street Review in 2019 – Come on the Journey!

Photograph: Mark Roberts

2018 has been a period of transition: Rochford Street Review was put on hold for a period of time while we examined options at making it more sustainable and engaging. The outcome is a new format and renewed sense of excitement as the Review heads into 2019.

    • Rochford Street Review will look a little different in 2019. Since the beginning of 2012 we have published 25 on-line issues, with close to 800 reviews, articles and discussion pieces and we have had over 180,000 visitors from around the world. We think this is a pretty impressive achievement and one which we can build on, but it also needs to be sustainable, especially if we continue to be ignored by the various funding bodies. So from Issue 26 we will look a little different.
      .
    • At the start of each quarter we will call for submissions and the journal will be published at the end of the quarter over a week to ten-day period. The call out will be for reviews and articles, together with creative work (poetry, prose artwork etc). We will continue to be a Journal of Australian & International cultural reviews, writing, art news and criticism. If you are interested in contributing reviews, articles, launch speeches, artist talks or creative work please contact the editors at submission@rochfordstreetreview.com
      .
    • We recognise, however, that there are some things that have an immediacy, that can’t really wait until the issue comes out (reviews of exhibitions or films for example). Items that are time sensitive will be published as appropriate in a new on-line feature called The Rochford Plateau and incorporated in the Review at the end of the quarter.
      .
    • We will be reviewing our current system of subscriptions. While these have provided valuable support to us over the last two years they have barely covered our costs (we have just, for example had to pay out around $250 dollars for Web hosting and domain registration for 2019) and have made it difficult to pay contributors. While access to the review will remain free we be will looking at how to “suggest” to readers how they could subscribe to the journal. We will also be actively perusing other models of funding including crowd funding models to support payment to contributors etc. Meanwhile please feel free to donate to us at  https://rochfordstreetreview.com/supporting-subscriber.

Now sit back and browse through over 800 reviews, articles, poems and artworks and please support us as we enter a new year.