A Contemporary Art Gallery located in Melbourne, Australia www.tuskgallery.com.au : e-mail art@tuskgallery.com.au

Archive for ‘January, 2016’

Tusk Review: Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei Exhibition

This week Tusk Gallery staff headed to NGV International to check out the exciting new works from Ai Weiwei featured in the current exhibition Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei. With many works to see from both artists, the exhibition took over the entire ground level. This included both main spaces and the foyer, making it the largest international exhibition in the NGV’s history.weiwei4

When heading into the NGV on a Sunday afternoon around 3.30pm, I expected a quiet crowd with only a few people filling in the last few hours of the weekend. Maybe it was the usual yet unfamiliar hustle and bustle that the weekend brings, or the anticipation from the relatively new exhibition, but to my surprise the combination of the two had drawn in the crowds!

The exhibition generated an energetic anticipation from all who were there – which is what usually happens when you feature interactive balloons and lego building blocks throughout the show.

The viewer is first introduced to Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei as three repeated self portraits of each artist have their eyes locked, staring directly across from each other, helping to set the scene for the exhibition.

One may ask what the connection is between Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. Coming from someone who didn’t know too much about Ai Weiwei, I was surprised to hear that they had never met. With their prime artistic highs throughout their careers being some time apart, there are similarities between the two throughout their careers. These similarities include their use of repetition within their works as well as their interest in documenting the countries they visited.

Even though Ai Weiwei is quite famous internationally, there are many Australians who had never heard of him before the show. The NGV certainly catered to this by displaying the wonderful array of works in a seamless flow, introducing him to visitors as a politically compelled installation artist. His many years of experimentation with various mediums are explained and examined, which help the viewer to understand how he arrived at the newly developed works, which are the main feature of the exhibition.

These five new pieces by Ai Weiwei included ‘Caomina Balloons’, an interactive installation of red and gold helium balloons which the viewer can gently push into the air, and ‘Forever Bicycles’ in which hundreds of metal bicycles tower over visitors upon entering the gallery foyer. ‘The Letgo Room’ was a highlight, which was constructed of more than two million plastic building blocks and has now been donated by Weiwei to the NGV collection.


Next Sunday, when you’re sitting at home wondering how to end your weekend on the best note possible, find an accomplice – art fan or not – and persuade them to share the experience with you. The exhibition is perfectly executed and receives a big thumbs up from Tusk Gallery. Thoroughly entertaining and compelling, this exhibition feels accessible to all and is certainly for everyone to enjoy.

Inside Their Studio – Amanda Steadman

Serendipity struck a few years ago when Amanda Steadman was given a chair. Unusual as it may sound, this rare colourful chair became an opportunity for experimentation and led her to the unique technique that stands her apart from the stable of artists at Tusk Gallery.
This discovered process is best described as a warm, colourful and textured blend of mixed media materials including the use of paper, fabric and paint on canvas. This is combined by the exotic shape and pattern influences from Morocco, India and Turkey. It is these aspects of sharing colour, texture and beauty which she describes as an important element of an artist’s role in society.
Marrakech iii, Mixed media on canvas, 150 x 150cm 
After receiving the multi-coloured four legged piece of furniture, so began the objective to create a matching piece of art as unique as her new chair. From taking a mixed media art class at Cheryl Petersen Gallery, Amanda discovered rust paint and collaging and “after a bit of experimentation, I created my first Marrakech which now hangs next to the chair” Amanda explains.
Although we can’t give the chair all the credit as Steadman’s active and creative imagination has always been a significant part of her life. Having spent her childhood growing up on the family farm, she can recall times sitting in the paddocks in her own world capturing her surroundings through drawing and painting. Creating has always been a large part of Amanda’s life. Even after completing her studies in Art and Design to then jumping into a career in the corporate world – she has never stopped exploring her creative side.
It wasn’t until 2013 that Amanda left her business career to take on her own creative pursuits. Now painting full time, she has established a business, Peninsula Art Space, with artist Christine Sharp, where she has her studio and also teaches art classes and workshops.
When asked how her work has changed over the years, it wasn’t so much about Steadman’s technique that has developed, but rather discovering the best method to execute her childhood imagination into a style of painting that, as she expressed, “I’m proud to see hanging on someone’s wall”.
Amanda Steadman’s enthusiasm for the new year is obvious as she reveals her new Japanese inspired mixed media range of paintings which are currently in the planning process. We look forward to seeing the final outcome of her newly inspired experimentation, discovery of new patterns and the use of Japanese leaf.
Kate Ellis, January 2016

The Exhibition Process -Felicia Aroney

Exhibitions are often appreciated in their final outcome – and as they should! The exhibition is a platform for artists to showcase their most recent works in a formal environment. But underneath all the celebration and champagne glasses clinking together on opening night, an exhibition is constructed upon a number of stages made up by the efforts of the Directors, Art Consultants and Artists to bring all components and ideas to life!
If you were fortunate enough to take part in the opening celebrations of the exhibition ‘I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings’, you may of noticed the vibrant artworks by Felicia Aroney. The creation of her exhibition was such an enjoyable experience that we felt the need to share with you as Tusk Gallery unveils the steps behind the creation of her show with us last October.


The initial idea
Discussions for possible exhibitions can begin between 6 – 12 months before a show. It is most often in conjunction with a new body of work from one or more of our artists. Seeing as our shows exclusively feature artists we represent, it is extremely important for the Tusk Team to continuously keep in contact with all of these artists in order to receive regular updates on their practices.
Once Tusk Gallery is aware that there are possible new bodies of work, most often there are artists overlapping with the creation of new pieces and group shows can be formed. Seeing as our space is significantly large, this allows us showcase 4 artists at the one time! It is a perfect opportunity for the gallery to exhibit more artists throughout the year.
The Details
It may not seem too important but gathering details is vital to the success of any show. This includes a great deal of communication between Artist and Art Consultant, including finalisation of artist statements and CVs along with all artwork specifics and images . All these details are used for many purposes including online publishing, marketing and the production of catalogues.
Pink-Peonies-and-Yellow-bellied-robin-100x100cm-OIl-and-acrylic-on-canvas-240022                                                                Pink Peonies and Yellow Bellied Robin, 100 x 100cm, oil and acrylic on canvas
The Hang
There are many techniques and methods to installing an exhibition. With all these in mind, at Tusk Gallery, our fundamental goal when hanging works for a show is to utilize the space to achieve a visually appealing flow throughout the gallery and of course – to respect the artwork which the artists have worked so hard to produce.
The hang is a visual process. Every work is considered for its colour, size and subject matter and at times can seem like a jigsaw as the Tusk team will layout all the pieces and place them in their correct positions. This can be at times a very long process but every time, without fail, there is always an appropriate position for them all.
Of course, each hang is always going to de different as it is dependent on what theme is to be conveyed. As you can see from these images, Felicia Aroney’s last body of work was a collection of smaller and larger pieces. This allowed the Tusk Team to create an interesting flow by using the smaller works to break up the larger pieces which worked well with Aroney’s subject matter.
There you have it! – a small insight into a massive component of Tusk Gallery. In recent years, Tusk Gallery have held many of their exhibitions in the South Yarra location although in conjunction with the recent Camberwell renovations, we look forward to a possible 2016 exhibition in our new renovated location at 76 Harold Street, Camberwell. Make sure to come visit to see the new space and to see some of Felicia’s latest work from her October exhibition!


Day Dreamer                                                                         Day Dreamer, 80 x 80cm, oil and acrylic on canvas


Inside Their Studio – Miertje Skidmore


In 2016, Tusk Gallery will be taking a step behind the scenes and entering the studios of some of the 90 artists that we currently represent. This insight is a great way to learn more of what goes on behind the processes as well as the thought and inspiration that drives some of Australia’s current practicing artists. To start the year off, Miertje Skidmore has been kind enough to answer a few of our questions. We hope you enjoy!


IMG_0532[4]         By gazing at Miertje Skidmore’s large scale glossed canvases, components that are clear to us are her relationship to the Australian landscape which she translates to her audience in an abstract and colour-charged language. Yet, what remains concealed are certain aspects of her process which I was fortunate enough to ask Miertje about as she reflects on her inspiration, processes and practice – without giving all her secrets away of course.                                                                                                          Adelaide artist Miertje Skidmore has been professionally painting for the last decade, but her involvement within Australia’s arts community ventures back 35 years. She has spent this time developing her technique and working in every painting and drawing medium possible having exhibited in over 40 solo and group shows across Australia since the early 1990’s and in recent years has been international collected in a number of countries including London, New York, Singapore and Stockholm.
Creativity has forever been an imperative part of Miertje’s life and she has never considered herself anything but a creative contributor to the community around her. Having worn many hats over the years including owning 15 retail clothing stores, designing her own clothing label and owning boutiques in North Adelaide and Melbourne, it was also in 1990 that Miertje purchased a large scale old town hall in South Australia and opened an Art Gallery/Restaurant.
Now having closed her retail business, Miertje Skidmore is now painting full time and takes her audiences to altitudes above earth. Her abstract patterns are a reflection of a broader view of the planet as Miertje describes, “the undeniable power, majesty and diversity of the oceans, lands and the never ending organic life never ceases to amaze me”.
Endless BoundariesEndless Boundaries, 180 x 120cm, mixed media on canvas
The medium and technique she uses is a result of over three decades of trial and error for Miertje. It has always been an endless pursuit of something new and fresh and it is this developmental progression that she believes to be a fundamental importance for any artist.
When stopping to admire Miertje’s work, one commonly asked question audiences have is how her pieces are produced. How does she create the detailed pattern? What paint does she use? What is her process? The reason for keeping certain aspects of her process hidden is the belief that in order for artists to learn and progress, experimentation should lead the way rather than others reusing similar methods to those before them.
Harmless SolutionsHarmless Solutions,  180 x 120cm, mixed media on canvas 
This veiled element of her practice only complements the intrigue and fascination which her works portray. What remains paramount is the “attempt to remind people to occasionally simply stop, look, and appreciate the incredible planet we have the privilege of inhabiting and share” Miertje explains.
Presently working on international shows in New York, London, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpa and Singapore, it looking to be an enormous year for the Skidmore studio and we look forward to being taken to even greater heights in 2016.  You can  see Miertje’s works in both our South Yarra and Camberwell galleries.
Kate Ellis, January 2016