The seeds of the Art Partners submission to the 2013 Rob McNamara Exhibition were sown in 2012. In December of that year, Art Partners held an end-of-year tea to celebrate the successes of the previous twelve months.
Protégé Janine Egan came to the tea with a thank you note and asked for it to be read to the guests. At the end of her note, her concluding words were “I know that art is what I really want to do most of all and I want to continue to learn and grow more sure of myself. My world is now full of happy thoughts and colour.” Janine’s words became part of the Art Partners vocabulary and were even published as part of a National Association for the Visual Arts blog documenting the special happenings at that end-of-year tea.
When ‘righting/writing the direction’ was announced as the theme of the 2013 Rob McNamara Exhibition, Janine’s words moved once again to the forefront. It was clear to the Art Partners team that Janine was ‘righting her direction’ through her newly-discovered arts practice. And, she was also ‘writing’ it.
Thus, with that in mind, a series of workshops was proposed that planted Janine and her newfound direction firmly in the centre. Art Partners surrounded Janine with her mentor Judi McGuigan, the Art Partners Program Officer Wanda Ariano, and newly-recruited mentor Ann Simpson. Helen Seiver, the chief Art Partners artistic collaborator, accepted the challenge of steering the foursome through a series of conversations and to the completion of a four-panel work.
The four canvasses were hand built in the weeks leading up to the workshops. The group met at Helen Seiver’s studio in Capel over four consecutive Friday mornings. The first session was conversation-centric where each participant discussed their journey and life direction. The workshop concluded with a series of experiments to find suitable mediums and textures for the project. At the start of the second session, it was decided that a common horizon could unify the four canvasses. Each participant drew a pencil line onto their canvas and gave that extra definition with a medium. The result was a continuous horizon over the four canvasses. The following two workshops saw texture and details, reflective of each individual journey and direction, added to the canvasses. The application of paint followed, and in an inspiring move, Janine was the first participant to apply colour. It was clear that Janine was brimming with confidence as she led the way with this important step in the process.
Revealing Artists’ Statement At the end of the sessions and the completion of the work, the group agreed upon the following words which formed part of the exhibition application:
4 Fridays 4 Conversations is a visual conversation depicting the journeys of four friends over four Fridays.
Each artist has painted a canvas describing their remarkable journey and chosen direction. The first is freeing herself from what has held her back; the second is curious about where her next journey will take her; the third is recovering from the traumas of a bicycle accident; and, the fourth is wanting a life with even more ‘happy thoughts and colour.’ Each person is striving for a life which is moving in a positive direction. Visually the work is unified by a common and continuous horizon.
The Journey Continues
In a thrilling development, the collaborative work was chosen for the 2013 Rob McNamara Exhibition, August 9 – 21, Collingwood Gallery, Smith Street, Collingwood, Victoria.
For more information about the exhibition and field, the curating organisation: http://www.field.org.au/
Now it’s Your Turn
Art Partners would love to hear about how you are righting/writing your direction.