Saturday 16 July 2011

Sweet girl, are you sure you want to be an artist?

We visited our Regional Art Gallery during the school holidays. Our eldest daughter (15) is on the brink of choosing her subjects for her Higher School Certificate, and is contemplating choosing Visual Arts. To help her to understand the commitment involved in creating a HSC Major Work, we took her to a travelling Art Express exhibition, a diverse showcase of the very best artworks from last year's HSC. Oh my, what astounding talent was on display, and what sophisticated ideas portrayed. Here are just a few of them:
'Personal Sanctuary: If you are alone, you belong entirely to yourself'
Printmaking: oil-based printing ink on Fabriano paper
"Popular culture has warped the term 'intimacy' to mean purely physical pleasure. I diverged from this ... capturing moments of inner tranquility of individuals in their personal environment"
'Once Upon a Time'
Graphic design: acrylic paints, textas and varnish on wooden skateboards
"A representation of the contrast between the naivety of a young, innocent child and the confronting search for identity found in an adolescent"
'Set in her Ways'
Sculpture: an entire dinner setting made from hot glue
"Art nouveau designs symbolise the extremely precious and intricate nature of families, despite their increasing tendency to be replaced, lost or forgotten in today's society"
Painting: acrylic paint on canvas
"Brushstrokes ... gently move, silently with the morning light seeping through the window ... creating a concentric pattern of radiating light that mimics the continuity of life and spirit"
'Conflict of Interest (inner)'
Collection of works: mixed media on wood
"This piece ... questions the preconceived notions we hold regarding the nature and definition of hypocrisy by exposing the complex nature of the subconscious"
'Heading Towards Annihilation While Engaged in Trivial Conversation'
"Bright unnatural colours comment on the lack of knowledge of the dodo's true appearance ... (and) act as a warning about other endangered species that are in imminent danger of extinction"
'Facial Facades'
Drawing: charcoal on paper
"We don't quite remember when we were children why we were so good at getting what we wanted ... children are brilliant actors, it comes so easily to them"
'Eliphant, Bich, Barbq 
(Elephant, Beach, Barbeque)''
Drawing: pen on paper
"I want to take you inside a dyslexic head. Eliphant, bich, barbq, three words that I could not spell as a child. Red crosses dominated my exercise books. I felt a failure. I finally learned to spell elephant, beach, and barbeque ... Looking through dyslexic eyes, things move, are complex and always changing. There are feeling of confusion and frustration. For me, there was eventually calmness. "

Our visit to the Gallery was perhaps secretly intended to intimidate my daughter into choosing a less challenging HSC subject. As it happens, she came home excited, inspired and even more encouraged to follow her artistic heart! 

I would love to hear of your favourite artwork from this post. Or perhaps your experiences in getting a child through Year 12 Visual Arts :) I have saved two of my very favourite works for my next post. Stay tuned!
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