Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bruce Barber

Before Fiona Woods returned to Ireland, she had a chance to meet up with Bruce Barber and others in Sydney.

Fiona Woods, Anne Graham, Pauline Barber, Bruce Barber, Neil Berecry-Brown, Stephen Mulqueen (NZ artist doing residency in Newcastle) and Patricia Flanagan (foreground)

For any readers who might have been at the Ourimbah campus in 2004, you might remember Bruce who was in doing a residency at Newcastle at the time. And those with longer memories, might remember his great contribution to the Chimera Conference, held in Sydney in 1995, organised by Synapse Art Initiatives.

His exhibition at Artspace, (blurb below via Artspace website), is well worth a visit.

14 November - 14 December 2008
Reading and Writing Rooms

Image above: Bruce Barber, Kiss, 1973, Slide/sound installation. Photograph: Colin McLaren, Courtesy the artist

"Since the early 1970s Bruce Barber has worked across performance, installation, film, video and photography developing propositional and situational works that engage and question social and political regimes of power. Originally from Auckland where he studied at Elam School of Art in the early 1970s within the highly influential and experimental sculpture and intermedia program, Barber has been based in Canada for three decades, retaining professional ties with New Zealand and Australia.

This major survey project, the largest to date undertaken on Barber’s practice, encompasses the full range of his work from performance actions, found situations and video work of the early 1970s through his multidisciplinary Reading Rooms begun in the 1980s and Squat Projects of the 1990s and beyond, culminating in a new reading room project regarding immigration, identity politics and alterity developed in-situ whilst undertaking a visiting artist residency at Artspace.

Bruce Barber is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he is Professor and Director of the MFA Program at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. He has exhibited and published extensively internationally since the early 1970s. He is editor of Essays on Performance and Cultural Politicization (1983), Conceptual Art: the NSCAD Connection 1967–1973 (2001), Condé and Beveridge: Class Works (2008) and co-editor, with Serge Guilbaut and John O’Brian of Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State (1996). A new two-volume set of his writings has just been published as Performance, [Performance] and Performers: Essays and Conversations 1976-2006.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Irish Artists at Mangrove Mountain

We were pleased with the success of our international contemporary art presence, “library from the ground up”, at the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair. Fiona Woods, who has now returned to Ireland after completing her residency with Brown’s Cows, presented the work of the artists’ collective very well, making accessible an emerging form of art practice to people with widely different levels of cultural experience.

Participating artists included:
Astrid Adler, Monica de Bath, Marie Connole, Alan Counihan, Amanda Dunsmore (UK), Maria Finucane, John Hanrahan, Eileen Healy, Emma Houlihan, Patricia Hurl , Tamás Kaszás (HUN), Máirín Kelly, Maria Kerin, Aileen Lambert, John Langan, Clive Moloney, Fiona O' Dwyer, Deirdre O' Mahony, Áine Phillips, Jim Ricks (USA), Therry Rudin (CH), Seán Taylor, Fergus Tighe, Vincent Wall, Fiona Woods.

Perhaps one of the most valuable experiences of the residency was the discussion (ongoing) about art making in a local, rural or regional environment in the context of current art theory and urban practice.

In Belfast on the 17th of December, Fiona will be participating in a debate WHERE ART GROWS GREENER? - art in a rural context.

Thanks to Kiera O’Toole for her assistance with the installation.

Neil Berecry-Brown
Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair

Friday, November 07, 2008

The winner of the Road Works (My favourite Pothole) category at the Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair this year was Sharyn Walker.

It was good to see the development and increasing complexity of Sharyn’s work. She is acquiring a unique language of form and materials, and an idiosyncratic take on socially engaged practices that has modesty, wit and conceptual clarity.

Special awards were made to John O’Toole whose animation was produced at the Mangrove Mountain computer centre, and Laura Kostalas (Junior section).

The Back Page team will be road testing the Pot Hole Covers soon and posting a report.

Thanks to Tim Braham for judging this category in the Art section. (note: at the time of judging John O’Toole’s animation was not available)