Three Fox Galleries artists exhibited at Art in the Vines 2021, as profiled by the ABC’s Art Works programme
Esther Erlich, semi-finalist in the 2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize
Esther Erlich has been announced as a semi-finalist in the 2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize with her painting ‘Alma’. Erlich is best known for her provocative portraits that enhance intimacy through fashion aesthetics and iconography of various subcultures, and previously won the Prize with her painting of Steve Moneghetti, ‘Gaunt and Glorious’. We extend our congratulations to Esther!
For more information about Erlich’s available works, please email email@example.com
Esther Erlich, Alma, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 183 x 76 cm
In light of Robert Kirchner’s forthcoming exhibition, Difference and Repetition, we take a moment to discuss some of the key themes and explorations within his art practice.
Robert, your work predominantly features paintings and woodblock prints of skeletal-like tree branches, foliage and still life. There appears to be a significant degree of quiet observation in your work. Would you agree with this statement, and could you explain some of the main themes within your art practice?
Yes, I would agree with the statement that my work arises out of the quiet observation of nature. I seek to explore the dichotomy between stillness and movement, through the process of observation and markmaking. I express my observation of the natural world in the form of line and colour field. The subject of trees are a main theme within in my work, I see them as moving bodies. I seek to express that movement, in the form of line, a line being the movement from one point to another, and colour, as a slow moving field that differentiates and repeats itself in a flowing form. Trees grow, expand, and fall and if you imagine that flow in the layer of time, you will have the essence of nature, flow, stillness, and movement expressing itself continuously.
You have had the good fortune to live, work and study around the world – your hometown is in Johannesburg, South Africa, however you completed your Bachelor of Fine Arts in Switzerland. You have since had several exhibitions across Europe and are now based in Melbourne, Australia. Can you talk about some of the key influences that this international experience has had on your art practice?
I am reminded again of the theme of movement. The constant shifting of territories has been a confrontation with displacement and isolation. Finding myself between the familiar and unknown, seeking out my identity as an artist in the context of art history, and the social political territory – it is within nature that I have found a constant theme.
Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming exhibition Difference and Repetition at Fox Galleries next month? I understand that the title is in reference to the text by French Philosopher Giles Deluze published in 1968?
Giles Deluze talks about metaphysical concepts that describe the natural world in terms of bodies composed of sets of flows, living things as flows of biological material through developmental systems. How nature constantly differentiates and repeats itself. I find these ideas fascinating and relate them to my own understanding of nature and observation within my work.
I have created a body of work including prints, using the contemporary technique of Sōsaku-hanga, an art movement of woodblock printing conceived in early 20th-century Japan.
I seek to capture movement, in the form of line work and understand these primarily as static compositions.
The paintings I understand as territories. Through the process by which the ensemble of relationships, lose their current organisation and context – they shift between the figurative and abstract.
Painting itself is mercurial. It is created in a state of flow, juxtaposed against the static composition of the woodblock print. The body of work revisits a recurring theme that differentiates and repeats itself in constantly shifting territories.
What’s next for you?
I am going to stay in Australia for the foreseen future. I am working from the studio in Melbourne on drawings and photographs for my next body of work, exploring native Australian species.
Robert Kirchner’s forthcoming exhibition, Difference and Repetition, will run from September 18 to October 30 at Fox Galleries.
Nigel Sense’s upcoming exhibition ‘Departure Lounge’ has been delayed to 18 September to 30 October, in light of Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions. So put down your luggage and pick up our equivalent of some in-flight entertainment as we spent some time getting to know Nigel Sense and hear his thoughts on art, travel and starring in a Bollywood film.
What is your artistic outlook on life?
My artistic outlook on life is a Anthony Bourdain quote “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park, enjoy the ride”. That doesn’t mean I want to get loaded all the time, it just means I just want to live a life that’s fun and happy.
What music have you been listening to lately?
The music changes depending on the time of day. No one wants to wake up straight away and start listening to Lou Reed. But I have had a lot of Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders, Mark Lanegan on – mmm my music choice is fucking depressing, maybe I need The Smiths on to make it even more dark! The last few days I’ve been listening to Prince so that’s a change for the better.
What was your process in creating ‘Departure Lounge’ and how do you approach painting generally?
I like the saying – “Painting is the easy part, it’s what to do when you’re not painting that’s difficult.” The painting process comes second nature to me, it’s like breathing or eating, I just do it. I love being in the Studio. I feel connected to life and feel free. With ‘Departure Lounge’ I had more time to just look and slow it all down a bit. If I wanted to spend the whole day in the studio just looking at the painting I would.
Why is travel important to you?
Travel means everything to me – seeing how other cultures live is amazing. It makes me a better human and apart from art it’s one thing I’m really good at. The person I am today is because of travel. It is a way of life, you either get it or you don’t.
What’s your best travel story?
Wow, that’s a tough one, so many great stories – but I will tell this one: My girlfriend, now my wife, and I were walking around Colaba, Mumbai and we got stopped by a talent scout and asked if we wanted to be in a Bollywood movie. That morning we had promised each other we would say yes to more things as we travel so we said ‘OK, sure!’.
We were in the Bollywood movie called Blue with Kylie Minogue as back up dancers. It was wild. I even got to chat to Kylie Minogue for a minute or two and yes, we can been seen in the movie dancing. I love seeing how the movie was made, all the sets were made out of plywood or cardboard so you couldn’t lean on anything. My wife was also in rap video in Sri Lankan too.
How have the periods of lockdown and travel restrictions affected your practice?
It’s been shit really. We have been living a nomadic life for the last few years, and we had sold everything we owned, so coming back to Australia last year because of Covid was hard. At times depressing and brutal, but it was my art practice and my wife that saved me. My paintings have gotten brighter and happier as I’ve tried to lose myself in my practice.
I thought my paintings during Covid would be very dark, but I’m glad they’re not. There is enough bad shit out there at the moment so isn’t it nice to be surrounded by happiness and positivity for a change.
Where’s the first place you’d visit once restrictions are lifted?
Anywhere that will have me. I don’t give a shit! But I would love to move to Oaxaca, Mexico in the next few years. It’s an amazing place to be an artist and I love Mexico.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I have been given a few good pieces of advice and some really shit ones too. There’s one piece of advice that changed everything for me: First trip to Thailand in my 20’s and I had just finished a day tour and the local guide invited us over to his family home for tea. It was really a modest place to say the least, a kind of a tin shed, and I was thinking ‘wow this is tough going’. As we left I gave him a tip. He said he didn’t need the money. He could see I was confused and asked me how many days a week do I work. He told me he only works two days a week and hangs out with his family and friends the rest of the time, which made him have a happy life. I was working a lot, 70 hours a week kind of thing. It was the first time I realised that money doesn’t equal happiness. I come home, sold a lot of shit. It truly changed how I still live my life now.
And what piece of advice would you give?
Don’t take advice from people like me! I don’t know, just live a good life, don’t sweat the little stuff and remember life is about chasing joy.
Nigel Sense’s ‘Departure Lounge’ will run from September 18 to October 30 at Fox Galleries.
Harold David is featured in digital edition of Artist Profile Magazine for his exhibition This and the Edge of the World. American-born abstract painter Harold David who was winner of the National Portrait Prize for Bob Hawke sipping on his shake in 2018– now has a cultish following as an abstract painter. This new series of large-scale paintings seamlessly amalgamates the sophisticated techniques instrumental to being behind a camera – composition, framing, colour and mood – to present a fluid and energetic escape somewhere between the internal landscape and the edge of the physical world.
Bio | Harold David is a multidisciplinary artist who draws his inspiration from life, his personal feelings and the universal field. American-born, he has established himself as one of Australia’s premier portrait photographers, turning his focus to painting in 2017.
Read more HERE.