Art & Architecture
Artist Profile

Artist Profile Issue 38

Artist Profile is a leading quarterly journal taking its readers into the studios and minds of contemporary artists across Australasia and beyond. Industry professionals engage leading practitioners and emerging talent in conversations about their art, in their own words, while our exclusive photo shoots provide intimate access into artists’ personal and working lives. Readers gain knowledge of artists’ methods, preview works in progress and discover the life experiences that ignite artistic imaginations.

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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s note

IT IS ASTONISHING TODAY HOW the narrative of an artist’s work can alter with new conditions. In this issue of Artist Profile it appears differences in narrative are inevitable. Exposure to new places, cultures and histories can often release the unexpected in the artist’s chosen medium. The commonality of the artists we meet here seems to be openness: an ability to free the body to understand and connect to specific moments. Their brilliance is to remove the nonsense and to show us what we recognise but frequently fail to see. In this issue there are no impulsive narratives. Whatever these artists have made, came slowly and with their emotions. They reflect on important human values such as respect, trust, love and freedom. Their narratives have no direct links to each other. Yet…

6 min.
cult of the curator

THE CURATORIAL TACTICS ON DISPLAY AT THE Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s 2016 survey exhibition Painting, More Painting managed to draw a general focus, ironically, more on curating than painting. There were a number of reasons for this and none of them boded well for those who specialise in contemporary curatorial practice. The very structure of the show suggested that painting per se was decidedly secondary to the imposed curatorial design and structure. This simple fact, as obvious as it was, was made more overt by the denial implicit in the statement made by co-curator Annika Kristensen when she told ArtsHub that “we didn’t want to have any more curatorial control than the selection process”. Kristensen’s comment was in the context of the decision to hang the selected paintings in alphabetical order, an…

6 min.
fiona mcmonagle

WHAT LED YOU TO BE AN ARTIST? From a young age I was obsessed with drawing. My older brother, Tim McMonagle, is an artist, and he went to art school before me and opened up that idea of, yes, that is something I can do. Growing up as the youngest of six kids, you would have constantly been playing catch-up. What is your relationship with your brother like today? We are quite close, we shared a studio for many years and we are still in the same building with our studios at the moment. We give each other feedback with our work and it is quite handy to have someone as close, as you can trust they are going to be quite honest. What attracted you to watercolour? In art school I discovered watercolour, and…

6 min.
zoe young

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? In my upstairs studio I’m just putting the last marks on a series of paintings about a mythical, popsical beach paradise titled Salt Life, which is being shipped to Chicago next week. It was created in Thailand where I was just doing a residency. It’s a pretty bonkers body of work – it couldn’t have been made anywhere else but Phuket! Downstairs, it’s all about still-life. The compositions are a collage of things I’ve collected over the years or stolen from my husband Reg’s garden – so theoretically these paintings start before I enter the studio. Often I scavenge things from friends’ houses – “this is a lovely tea cup” – and once I’m happy with the arrangement, I start painting. Do you do…

11 min.
john firth-smith

“ A welcoming host, he is immensely energetic, discussing people, the art world, his travels, the cottage, the area’s history, the village and local people. IT’S A LONG DRIVE WEST FROM SYDNEY. THE architecture along the Blue Mountains ridge seems designed to obscure their majesty, there’s no visual pleasure on the route to the outskirts of Bathurst. Of course the distance from the distractions of urban life has enticed many artists to Hill End, most notably Donald Friend and Tas Drysdale, in the 1940s and ’50s. But John Firth-Smith? Firth-Smith is an abstract painter of expansive meditations in space, shapes reminiscent of boats and shorelines and objects on and around the littoral zone, remembering the edges of waves, their height, wide expanses of canvas: images and abstraction from the sea and sailing;…

9 min.
anna platten

“Setting the whole thing up is like a performance and you just feel so silly, but you’ve got to have the belief that it’ll make sense, it’s that leap of faith. ANNA PLATTEN’S IMPETUS TO TELL ENGAGING stories led her to early Western high narrative painting traditions, partly for their craftsmanship where she says “you can see the glistening on nails”, and mostly for their symbolism. Stirred to tears by a Flemish painting that she saw in Antwerp, although its religious meanings eluded her, she was captivated by the notion that “everybody in that era was so engaged with that story, and now we live in a time when we don’t have that connection with each other, that shared history of what symbols mean.” Reflecting on her creative process, her works are replete…