Artist Profile - - CONTENTS - Kon Gou­ri­o­tis www.artist­pro­file.com.au @ kon_­gou­ri­o­tis

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 as good artists be­fore them for hun­dreds of years, they make their work to be seen by peo­ple who haven’t yet been born. Paul McGil­lick re­minds all of us in­volved in Australian vis­ual arts how James Doolin’s thun­der­bolt pres­ence in the mid-1960s shifted the lo­cal nar­ra­tive in paint­ing. And how all Doolin’s paint­ings con­tinue to give the present as­pects of the in­fi­nite. Ju­dith Pugh’s cover story on John FirthSmith has a fresh and ob­jec­tive nar­ra­tive. Af­ter 50 years of paint­ing by Firth-Smith, she con­tem­plates why his new paint­ings have a crisper tac­tile qual­ity, an im­me­di­acy, and how these paint­ings ex­plore his life and that of Hill End. Through Ful­via Man­telli’s ar­ti­cle we no­tice the mean­ings be­hind Anna Plat­ten’s in­stinc­tive and bril­liantly or­nate, painterly work. Man­telli con­nects us to Plat­ten’s per­sonal sto­ries to strike an un­ex­pected link with a grow­ing global para­dox: the faster we are able to con­nect with dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion the greater our dis­con­nect­ed­ness from each other. To com­pre­hend Zoe Young’s Salt Life se­ries, Brid­get Macleod takes us to un­likely places to dis­cuss the vary­ing in­spi­ra­tions in Young’s con­trast­ing paint­ings. Whether in Thai­land, the South­ern High­lands of NSW or other places, Young hints at where the de­vo­tion to paint­ing’s fleet­ing mo­ments lie. Any­one in­tend­ing to go to Viet­nam will un­doubt­edly be en­thused by Mai NguyenLong’s be­guil­ing ac­count of her re­cent res­i­den­cies there. In­spired by the cul­tural di­ver­sity of Viet­nam and the ac­cess to pro­fes­sional ceramic fa­cil­i­ties, her work is full of sur­prises. Then there is the sim­ple state­ment about mak­ing a new work that be­comes a new chal­lenge for Fiona McMona­gle. From her con­ver­sa­tion with Lucy Stranger we come to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the phys­i­cal chal­lenges McMona­gle un­der­takes to make new works. The force of pan­the­ism in sculp­ture is made clear by Michael Buza­cott’s con­ver­sa­tion with So­nia Legge; this will pro­voke any­one un­sure of the du­al­ity of the body and the spirit. Buza­cott’s nar­ra­tion of the in­evitable moves you to bathe in the phys­i­cal pres­ence of his works and to be over­whelmed by the sculp­tor’s ability to in­fuse the work with ideas and re­flec­tions on the his­tory of art. A fi­nal im­pres­sion of the sto­ries in this is­sue are the con­tra­dic­tions and pos­si­bil­i­ties for those who seek an open life.

Robert Besanko, Un­ti­tled (South Melbourne Beach), 1978, Orthochro­matic Ko­dalith Pa­per, 29 x 20cm (im­age), 30 x 24cm (pa­per). Story page 80.

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