Sunday, 22 April 2012

...searching for Fred


G’day all,

Mrs Wombat and I have been to another exhibition ……”Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons”. NGV Ian Potter Centre
Hence, in part, this posts’ title: …..Searching for Fred.

Fred Williams is best known for his iconic treatment of the Australian landscape; a vision and notation as potent as Sidney Nolan’s “mask “ metaphor in his “Kelly” series in developing an icon of landscape that is immediately recognisable and understood.
Whereas the painters of Australian landscape of the 20’s through to the 50’s tended, in the main, to see the bush in a scenic or picturesque manner Williams saw it as a topic to paint, just paint. It was a formal device that he could observe and record (he painted plein-air as well as in the studio) and develop an array of techniques to compliment and realise his conceptualizations
Williams painted in the You-Yangs National Park in the 60’s. A scrubby granite outcrop popping out of the plains south west of Melbourne it’s less than an hour from the Wombat burrow so we decided to investigate the landscape afresh before seeing the exhibition and to photograph it as an exercise in re-realising what Williams had confronted and analysed.
                                                                                                                                   Hillock, 1965-66

                                                                                       View from Big Rock, You-Yangs National Park

The Australian Impressionist painters, Streeton, Roberts and McCubbin hammered their round filberts down flat to emulate the "flats"  seen in French painting of the period and McCubbin's work became increasing planar, "The Lost Child" is worth a look, particularly in the bush foliage and he seems to be approaching what Cezanne was doing with his planes. Williams was influenced by Cezanne and structure and form was enhanced by colour.
He also replicates a feeling for limitless space by flatenning the image and staying true to the picture plane.

                                                                                                                    You-Yangs, East face
 
                                                                                                                                Hanging Rock, 1976

                                                                                                                               Sherbrooke, 1961
                                                                                                                                                                            You-Yangs, Eucalypt Forest

Williams was certainly influenced by some of the aesthetic of Abstract-Expressionism that was swamping Australian art at the time and you can see his understanding of it in that edges tend to be kept clear lest the composition "spill' out of the frame and judicious use (sometimes a half dozen small dabs of vermillion both to enliven the colour balance and concentrate to composition) of colour.
One of the wonderful elements of the exhibition is that you do see Williams' superb handling of colour and tone and how a mood is changed from one canvas to the next within a similar subject. 
                                                                                                                            Forest Pond, 1974

                                                                                                                                                         Serendip WildlifeSanctuary, You-Yangs

His later works become much more exuberant and colourful and although expressive of the topic are not "expressionistic" or that bane of present day contemporary art, "whimsical"... he felt that what he had to say was worth saying and not a throw-away-line. 
Great exhibition at NGV;  illustrations presented here of Williams are from "Fred Williams 1927-1982, Patrick McCaughey, Murdoch books, 2008"
Psst, Possums... it was a good exercise, too. I think I'd like an 800mm to flatten things a bit more and it was a good way to re-think colour and tone in the post process...and happily it also convinced Mrs Wombat that I couldn't replicate a Williams in paint. 
I'd also like to add that I didn't look at any of Williams' work before traipsing off to the YouYangs.. as said previously we wanted it to be freshly seen.

Politics:  Joe Hockey (alternative treasurer, Liarbrils) thinks we have " ....an unrealistic sense of entitlement" and should adopt a more Asian way of social welfare.... this is a man mute in the face of multi million dollar payouts of executive bonuses. Perhaps he's angling for an senior position with Toyota post-politics... they seem to share the same values! And he already comes with the slick car salesman smile. Or does he really want to hasten bloody revolution?
Speaker, Peter Slipper ( Labor... ex Liabril turncoat) is facing allegations of sexual harrassment...liarbrils shying away from saying they covered up similar, during Howard's reign. Gillard's at home probably giving her dog a good kicking over that piece of too-smart politicking.
Martin Ferguson (Labor) reckons ".....Victoria's Latrobe Valley could look like the Pilbara with open cut coal mining." Hang on, did I say Labor? No wonder the party is in a mess!
Peter Costello ( Liarbril,ex treasurer) laudes mining magnate Clive Palmer's opposition to a super mining tax only it is revealed same day, that Palmer has not personally paid tax for three years... Peter always had great timing.

Came across an interesting rant in a local "rag" t'other day and it sounded very similar to the nonsense spouted by the pro mining, anti wind /solar/alternative/common sense about environment fellow I encountered at the Ballan Festival. This time it was a fairly viscious and again factually inaccurate diatribe about Christine Milne ( new Greens Leader)  " ...she grabs the reins..." No she didn't, her party room voted her in. "...... arrested and subsequently jailed". (Fighting against a Pulp mill and the Damming of the Franklin)... so what? Nelson Mandela was in jail a lot longer and was a "terrorist" to boot!. 
"...Adam Brandt (sic) [psst.. it's, Bandt]..with Doctorate in Marxism......"  He has a PHD in Law and Politics and worked as an Industrial Relations Lawyer (trying to assist exploited out-workers I understand).. a nasty piece of work, he is. 
"They ( the Greens) use the convenience of being a minor party to avoid scrutiny"  Whatever that might mean.  ".....the exposure that will force the Greens into creating stories to match their headlines. It's at this point the internal factions of a dysfunctional Party will rise to the surface and their lack of credible depth will be exposed".      This gem was toward the end of the article and I had the sense of a mind spiralling away into its own fantasy world as the saliva dripped from the overworked tongue as the writer maniacally scribbled away....! 

I sense real fear in this writing.. a fear that the world is changing and an incapacity of doing anything except to hang on to the old certitudes. They know we are over-populating, over-exploiting our resources and that time is running out to address the issues. And they know, too well, that the old paradigms will not work this time around and it's their lack of imagination that forces them to rely politically on those who also know the problems but pretend that "she'll-be-right.." and will not spell out their real agenda. (Except for Joe...he lets the cat out of the bag all the time.)

                                                                                                  You-Yangs, Smoke Haze and Gum Trees

Cheers Possums,

Shane

Sunday, 15 April 2012

.....into the distance


G’day Possums,



I’m in hiding.                                    Come closer so I can whisper why.

Ok…..Petals;  last post was very successful .. lots of "looks" which I found surprising…but then I read that ASIO is delving into all  those who criticise the coal industry…..  mining, exports etc… so we’ll have to be a liiiitle quiet till things settle down. Also Peter Ryan’s name came up a couple of times as a search tag and as he’s not very pretty we shall lie low in the burrow.


It’s been a bit of a week Bob Brown, Greens leader resigning and all… everyone was taken by surprise. Prime Minister Julia Gillard was reasonably gracious; Tony Abbott his consistent self: negative, mealy-mouthed, petty and ungracious.

Brown should be proud of what he’s achieved so far and I hope that his successor as leader Christine Milne will continue the Greens habit of talking issues and not vested interests.
                                           Lal-Lal Station.  A typical country station which really is used no longer

There has been a push to have a Royal Commission into the number of suicides (some 40, so far) of people who were abuse victims of Catholic clergy.
Premier Baillieu is doing what he does best… prevaricating and dithering although it was reported “ …..that he was on the brink…” 
Stop Press: Baillieu today (17/4) issued a statement that a Parliamentary enquiry into these matters would be held.... not a Royal Commission, not a Judicial inquiry but a farce with six parliamentarians: four of whom are in their first term in Parliament!  State Attorney General, Robert Clarke said that the more relaxed format would be more victim friendly. Hey Bobby... the victims you're enquiring into are dead.   
Good grief...this lot are worse than a joke.
Melbourne’s Archbishop Hart when interviewed on the matter obsfucated with consummate practised skill.
                                          The Lonliness of the Long Distance Transmitter

Richard Dawkins and Cardinal George Pell went head to head on TV last week. Like the one he mentors (Tony Abbott), Pell “played the man” and in front of Dawkins’ fairly cool and analytic approach looked sillier and sillier. Pells’ supporters in the audience were just plain school-children-ish too in their laughter at some of Dawkins’ statements that they couldn’t see the point of or understand, blinded I suppose by their “faith”. Pell got rather personal at times and you sensed a viciousness in the man that is contrary to what he espouses.

STOP PRESS

The Baillieu Govt...(that's increasingly an oxymoron, Govt. that is...) has just announced (16/4) that the "star" rating for energy efficiency on homes is to be abandoned. It seems that a market driven approach to energy efficiency will be more effective than a mandated one. So forget solar hot water or power, double glazing, more insulation,water tanks etc., just buy more air conditioners and build more coal fired power stations. The head of the MBA says that the "6" star rating   " .... has gone too far". So sustainability is to be abandoned on the basis that house prices will fall. What Bullshit! 
And didn't Baillieu qualify as an Architect? He must be a severe disappointment to his lecturers or did he get his degree in a "show-bag"?
This is a perfect example of the Liarbril concept of "leadership"... go backwards, do nothing and re-build the Titanic. 

See-ya,
Shane.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

...on a big rant

 Lawrence Winder
G'day... here we are at Oscars (in Ballarat) having a drink and a bit of a feed with some compatriots from the Ballarat Foto Biennale...
 Lawrence Winder
....Mrs Wombat left, Lucy, a new committee member, Elizabeth, Kieran, Aldona and Dave....apart from the meetings to discuss businees for the 2013 Biennale we or rather Elizabeth, has instigated these social gatherings to discuss business for the 2013 Biennale. Which is good fun. There is going to be an interim show in September/October this year and some other activities, details of which have to be finalised so more of that at a later date.  
On a personal note, I'm having a show as well in September October. And I shouldn't forget Kathleen (Mr & Mrs Wombat's youngest), her exhibition at Queensland Centre for Photography kicks off June 9th - July 5th... so if you happen to be in Brissie... pop in.

But this post is more about the dire state of politics in the land of Aus and specifically the return of Victioria to a truly "Victorian" approach to government. 
 Lawrence Winder
At the recent Ballan Autumn Arts Festival these brave souls were protesting that this......Bacchus Marsh Maddingly Brown Coal
 Lawrence Winder
was about to be extended into this.........
 Lawrence Winder
with the subsequent possible loss of this and other of the very best fruit and vegetable soils in Victoria that are reasonably close to Melbourne.
 Lawrence Winder
The Baillieu (Liarbril) Government has recently indicated that exploration and development for the highly polluting brown coal is to get fast tracking. (Hazelwood Power Station in the Latrobe Valley by itself alone, contributes a full 15% to Victoria's pollution and greenhouse gases with its brown coal.) This, allied with their draconian restrictions on the siting of wind farms which are so severe that there is almost no place in Victoria with suitable wind where they can be approved for siting indicates where their policy is at.
At the Ballan festival I quipped to a fellow with a petition against the coal mine "Is this the place where you sign to get a coal mine?" He laughed and as he handed over the form for signing a young man, early - middle 20's standing near-by said, "I'd certainly sign to get a coal mine!" Noting he was wearing a "Tee" with some logo which said Global Warming is a Myth or some such.. he proceeded to tell us that solar was no good, nuclear was better: wind generators had killed more people than nuclear accidents (apparentley people fall off them) and were more polluting than brown coal generated electricity... (it seems they have gas turbine engines which have to be switched on if they can't generate their quota of power) and trotted out some figures (completely wrong) on the German Solar and re-newable targets and job creation from new technologies.
He had all the dead-pan fervour and certainty of a fundamentalist religious zealot.. and it seemed, during the following week that he had set a worrying tone in this re-newable energy area.
Bailleau's Liarbrils announced the cutting of 350 State jobs in the climate change and conservation/ environment areas. The Minister, one Ryan Smith interviewed by Josie Taylor on ABC's Stateline program http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-31/environment-jobs-slashed/3924840  was all at sea. I'm not sure whether he was nervous by being talked to by a attractive woman (possibly a rare thing) but his frightened eyes rolled about like two raisins in a pudding bowl and when asked what IS the govt. doing for the environment he said that they were changing the light globes in traffic lights!
I'll repeat that  ".... we're changing the globes in traffic lights".
It would be funny in a film.
This government has gone on the nose very quickly.... The Deputy Premier Peter Ryan had a "minder" who was up to his neck in the demise (resignation) of the reformist Police Commissioner, Simon Overland.  Ryan's line of "I know Nuffin' Mister..." beggars belief particularly as the police then get huge pay rises easily whilst the nurses get protracted 12 month of fighting, threats, bullying; and from Bailleau's Uncle... plain bad manners.
Ambo's are going through same, as are Teachers.
But Bailleau still commits to $40 - $50 million subsidy to the Grand Prix so petrol heads can watch cars going in fast circles... and let's not talk about the nanny-state insanity of his upping the fines for sayng "G.. F.....d!"
Although it was Brumby who brought that one in
Planning Minster Matthew Guy was looking like being sued by a woman he apparently mislead about land re-zoning... don't know what happened there ...all gone quiet.
Lorraine Wreford, Liarbril member for Mordiallic waited a week to (formally) tell  police that the gunshots that hit her home were due to her eldest son owing a drug dealer $5000.... nice.
Defendents all plead guilty so the Wrefords don't have to appear in court. Really nice.
When Kennett became Premier he said the State was broke ... proceeded to rip up the foundations for the new museum so his mates could have a casino there..$8,000,000... closed down the SEC's research into re-newables before selling it all off .... don't ask what's happened to maintenance and consistency of equipment across the privatised power suppliers  ... sacked all the language teachers in primary schools and put sattelite dishes in their place so that 100 children could learn on-line all together....never did see the figures on that system which lasted all of 3 months before quietly disappearing....
There's a myth that they (Liarbrils) are good economic managers... they're not: they show no imagination or innovation and instead rely on the fear of change in a ill educated and basically selfish population: they're not conservative, they're dead.... and we'll end up paying for their lack of imagination. I rather suspect Kennett is the primary advisor now.... I hope it doesn't take the state 10 more years to wake to this next con.

Sorry Petals...  that all got a bit serious but Aus has some decisions it has to wake up to... and quickly
and below is the person who will not be able to.



  And let's forget about promoting all those stories about suffering maladies from the turbines... I want to hear from those who get paid from them and seem to suffer no malady... please note the sheep in the photo suffering migraines .. cows look suitably distressed under them, too.  (Wind Turbines, Waubra, Victoria)

Cheers,
Shane.