An exhibition of objects and paintings by Helen McIntosh and Linda Murray.
Art and Artefact is an upcoming exhibition of objects and paintings by Helen McIntosh and Linda Murray. It will be held at the Richard Randall Art Studio – Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha. Everyone is invited. The exhibition runs from the 20th– 24th of May. Opening festivities include: a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, live music, short talks, food and wine and will be on Friday 20th May from 4pm to 8pm. Gallery hours are 10am – 3pm daily. Both artists will be in attendance throughout.
Old friends, Helen McIntosh and Linda Murray regularly meet to draw, paint and kick around ideas. Despite having very different art backgrounds, Helen started out as a textile artist and is now also an accomplished painter, whereas Linda is a multimedia artist, writer, poet and musician, they also share many interests. Collecting objects, particularly women’s crafts, is something they both enjoy and this has been the catalyst for the show.
The concept of Art and Artefact
The initial concept of Art and Artefact was Helen’s idea, ‘Let’s have a show about objects and paintings, where the paintings are of the objects themselves.’ Originally the intent was to question whether something is art or craft. What makes a thing Art and how does the viewer’s perception of an everyday object change once it is painted in a picture?
With this in mind Linda and Helen chose to work on their collections separately. They did not discuss the objects or paintings they made. As a result the process has taken them unconsciously on a similar path with widely different results.
Art and Artefact promises to be new, diverse and thought provoking.
Art and Artefact art works on show
Helen has produced an eclectic mix of works including: blue bird mosaics, dolls, toys, some of her signature iconlady mosaics and watercolour paintings while Linda has created a series of hats made from recycled materials and objects, and a series of acrylic paintings.
It’s been a long journey, with many steps and stages to bring this collection to the Gallery. I wanted to explore this question in my own style, through my own ideas.
I love objects, things – ordinary, tacky and garish, fashionable, cheap, treasures – large and small. Objects give out a lot of information, often tactile, they tell stories, even the trashiest objects can display the best in colour and design. Objects give me pleasure and enrich my life, not only my own objects but other people’s objects too, they also add depth and atmosphere wherever they might be.
In the process of making my objects I was able to use my craft skills and appreciate the construction of each piece. This meant when I came to draw the objects I knew the shape and line intimately. So I was very comfortable painting their “portraits”.
My fascination with things has been the focus of my paintings. The pictures are a permanent reminder of what I found in these objects: something moving, sentimental or pretty or designs of great skill and craftsmanship. As a result I felt an inspiration to capture their stories on paper.
The pictures are still lifes; staged, lit, and painted with the same reverence another artist might paint an arrangement of: flowers, cloth and china pieces. Making these pictures is a meditative process. It is also a thank you to the original artists who designed the decorations, cloth and patterns.
Balance, colour, line, beauty and integrity are all considerations when I work. I use hard edges which means everything is contained within an outline, these hard edges are a product of my textile training – using clear stitching lines.
For more of Helen’s work visit the Iconlady.com
What intrigues me most about the concept of Art and Artefact is the underlying stories contained within an object. Coupled with my long held fascination with hats and the desire to make them has given me an opportunity to fulfill this fantasy. Hats are personal they define people. As a consequence I chose to animate my hats and paintings with stories both real and imagined.
Largely the hats are made from recycled materials: old hats, beads, fabrics, flowers, feathers, lace, trim, jewellery, wool, lampshades, and candle holders. They came from: op shops, friends or were things I have collected or made.
Designing hats was challenging. Initially I drew designs, but because my sketches were too complex, I found it difficult to translate them into three dimensional forms. In the end I collected my stash of materials and objects and grouped them together considering; colour, line, shape, pattern and texture. Next I began to play with them making possible constructions. When I was happy, I assembled them using; either, or combinations of: sewing, knitting, crochet, tatting, beading, embroidery, papier mache, chains and wire.
Some hats are made from patterns I made using lampshades and wire baskets; others came from ideas or from parts of commercial patterns; whereas others have been constructed in a free form manner. Balancing the design of a hat from all angles can make it hard to complete a hat. In the end I found it easier to work on many hats at the same time. Sometimes I think a hat is finished but then add more. As a result the hats continually evolve.
Birds of a feather
As a dedication to the frequent use of feathers in hat decoration, l named each hat after a bird and called the paintings portraits of the name of the hat.
Acrylic hat paintings
For my portraits, I painted the hats foremost. I wanted them to be real and rendered them accurately. When I started to paint them, I gradually developed a fictional character and setting to match the colour and personality of the hat.
To read more details on how I created the hats see my post A Hat Making History
To view more of Linda’s work including: more paintings; her hats and videos; visit her gallery page