Nude :: Art from the Tate collection :: Art Gallery NSW

Colour/Styling/Decoration, Design & Architecture, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!

So, I often go along to these things, and am moved to tears – then forget the pieces that captivated me. This is mainly to serve as a visual recall for my own reference. Added is the bonus that there are a few of you reading who may not have gotten to see this at all, and this is but a glimpse.

These are the pieces I had a deep visceral reaction to. The story, the emotion, the light. The inspiration.

It was the last day today – and I’ve never ever seen the Gallery so crowded.

It was worth all the queues.




Anna Lea Merrit (1890)

Cupid, the god of love, is shown here trying to force open the door of amausoleum. Merrit made the picture in memory of her husband, who died  within three months of their marriage. Both Merrit and Cupid face the task of conquering death, which they are bound to fail. 
The depiction of the male nude by a female artist was a contentious issue in the late-nineteenth-century art world. Merrit escaped censure by choosing to paint a child, rather than an adult. Children, she believed, were less conscious of nudity and had ‘no sense of shame before artists’. 

Gallery label, July 2004







Walter Stickert (c. 1906)

Stickert wanted to show the naked female form without idealisation. This is one of several paintings showing a naked woman in poor surroundings: on an iron bed in a dimly-lit room. The painting does not reveal the woman’s identity, but the title (‘The Dutch Girl’) may refer to the nickname of a prostitute in a novel by the 19th-century French author, Honoré de Balzac. The seedy feeling of the painting is reinforced by Sickert’s handling. The brush marks form a surface so rough that, if you look at it closely, the image seems to fragment.

But then, ranking higher on google is the link (or suggested) theory that this artist was one of the most notorious serial killers..


Nude Girl 1909-10 by Gwen John 1876-1939


Gwen John (1909/10)

The human body, a traditional theme in western art, was a tricky subject for women artists at the turn of the century because of questions of morality and decorum. By using a narrow colour range and minimal setting, and suppressing biographical details, John draws attention to the naked body. At the same time, the character of the model, Fenella Lovell, comes across powerfully. So the viewer experiences this painting, disconcertingly, as a portrait of a contemporary woman with no clothes on, who seems to be uncomfortable that we are looking at her.





Amedeo Modigliani (1917)

Famous for his elongated portraits and lush nudes, Italian born, Parisian-based artist Amedeo Modigliani’s interest in African masks and sculpture is evident in the treatment of his models’ faces – flat and mask-like, with almond eyes and twisted features. His graceful figurative distortions and large flat areas of color were strongly influenced by Cezanne. Modigliani also developed decorative arabesques. He died at age 35 of tuberculosis accelerated by excessive drinking, drugs, and poverty.

*This was where I actually cried sobbed.

Scylla 1938 by Ithell Colquhoun 1906-1988



Ithell Colquhoun (1938)

Colquhoun wrote that the title of this work refers to the female monster who, according to the ancient legend in Homer’s Odyssey, inhabited narrow straits and devoured passing sailors. Yet there is also strong sexual and feminine symbolism at play in this work. As Colquhoun explained, ‘It was suggested by what I could see of myself in a bath…it is thus a pictorial pun, or double-image’. Produced during Colquhoun’s transition from magical realism to surrealism, this painting is one of her most introspective.

The Visit
Willem De Kooning (1966/7)
De Kooning’s boldly expressive style, with its thick gestural brushstrokes, meant that he was often categorised as an Abstract Expressionist. However his paintings often include recognisable figures, even if they are barely discernable. The central figure in The Visit is a woman with her legs spread out. In the right-hand corner is a shape that could be either the woman’s outstretched hand, or a face in profile looking over her. The title was suggested by one of De Kooning’s assistants, who thought that the composition resembled a medieval painting of the Annunciation.

SPLIT NUDESplit Nude (Fiona Banner) .jpg
Fiona Banner (2007)
*Speaks for itself.

CHICKEN KNICKERSchicken-knickers-sarah-lucas
Sarah Lucas (1997)
Following the Surrealist tradition, Lucas places familiar objects in shocking or unexpected arrangements. Many of these exploit the sexual innuendo that is a key feature of popular British comedy, from Carry On films to Viz magazine. In this photograph, the humour has a troubling edge. Displaying a plucked chicken in place of a young woman”s genitals, Lucas hints at the violation and gender stereotyping that underlies such jokes.
*All the places my mind went. This was breathtaking!!!


THE LAST THING I SAID TO YOU WAS DON’T LEAVE ME HERE IIthe-last-thing-i-said-to-you-was-dont-leave-me-here-tracey-emin

Tracey Emin (2000)

This photograph, which was published in an edition of six, is a self-portrait of the artist sitting naked on the floor in the corner of a beach hut. Her back is to the camera and she leans slightly forward. A small tattoo of a scorpion is visible on her left shoulder blade. Thick gold necklaces glint at the nape of her neck. Her pose recalls the vulnerable, dejected figure of a punished child. Paint is peeling from the walls of the empty hut, giving it a ramshackle appearance which heightens the mood of pathos.
Emin bought the beach hut in Whitstable, Kent with her friend, the artist Sarah Lucas (born 1962), in 1992. Emin used the hut as a weekend retreat, going there with her boyfriend. She has talked about the importance of owning property for the first time, saying, ‘I was completely broke and it was really brilliant, having your own property by the sea’ (quoted in Lobel). In 1999, she transported the hut from the beachfront to the gallery, titling it The Last Thing I Said to You is Don’t Leave Me Here (The Hut), 1999 (Saatchi Gallery, London).




Louise Bourgeois (1994)

Much of Bourgeois’ work is autobiographical, and relates to her traumatic childhood. She idolised her mother, and loathed her overbearing, adulterous father. Bourgeois made her first prints in the 1940s and, after a gap of about forty years, returned to printmaking in 1990. Frequently child-like in style, these works portray the events and fantasies of her childhood and adolescence. The scenes include the trauma of birth, the pubescent discovery of the body, the moulding of a daughter by her mother, and the stifling of a daughter by her father.




Wild Man 2005 by Ron Mueck born 1958
Ron Mueck (2005)

Wild Man is a sculpture by Australian artist Ron Mueck of a large naked man sitting on a stool. The man has a light skin tone and is represented with a high degree of realism apart from his scale, which is larger than life-size. Measuring nearly three metres in height in his seated position, the man sits on the edge of a wooden stool with his back and arms straight and his hands gripping the sides of the stool. His shoulders are raised up to his ears while his toes press into the floor with his heels elevated. The man has long brown unkempt shoulder-length hair and a dark bushy beard. His body is brushed with hair, including his chest, arms, legs and genitals. The man looks slightly downward to the right with his face contorted in a tense expression.

Wild Man is made from polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, aluminium, wood and synthetic hair. It was made in 2005 according to the same method Mueck consistently employs to create his sculptures. The artist begins with drawings before creating small clay or plaster maquettes to refine his ideas. The maquettes are gradually scaled up to create a full-sized, detailed clay model of the work. From this clay model Mueck creates a series of mould sections in order to cast the sculpture in fibreglass. The fibreglass sculpture is then painted and hair is applied. Although the artist tends to use real hair for his smaller figures, for Wild Manacrylic fibre hair was used. The last detail added to the sculptures are the eyes. Like all Mueck’s sculptures, Wild Man is rendered with hyper-realistic detail, noticeable from the texture of the skin to the careful placement of individual hairs. Before working as an artist Mueck was a puppet and prop maker for television and film, where he developed his precise techniques.

Mueck initially planned to make a figure who appeared confined, as if backed into a corner, but decided to make Wild Man after seeing an illustration of the colossal stone sculpture Appennino 1579–80 (Villa di Pratolino, Vaglia, Italy) by the late Renaissance artist Giambologna. Appenninodepicts a crouching hirsute river god, which inspired the oversized hairy ‘wild man’ of Mueck’s sculpture. The critic Anne Cranny-Francis notes that a wild man tends to be a reclusive individual afraid of human society and that this ‘might explain why [Mueck’s] large male figure – in one sense, the very image of the powerful white male – grips his chair, body rigid with tension, and stares over the heads of viewers in a paroxysm of fear’ (Cranny-Francis 2013, p.6). The man’s nakedness adds to this sense of vulnerability, making him both physically and emotionally exposed.

Mueck’s sculptures frequently experiment with scale. Some works are smaller than actual size, such as Spooning Couple 2005 (Tate AR00033), while others, including Wild Man, are much larger than life-size. The artist has noted that he never makes life-size figures because ‘it never seemed to be interesting. We meet life-size people every day … It [the size of the sculptures] makes you take notice in a way that you wouldn’t do with something that’s just normal.’ (Quoted in Tanguy 2003, accessed 10 December 2014.)



Our NEW(ish) HQ!!!!

The General Blah, I mean Blog!

LoobyLou Bits+Bobs


We are finally launching not one, but both spaces we’ve recently been involved with. Our new Loobylou HQ, plus a pop up Exhibition / Gallery / Photography studio – creative space that’s rented by the day.

We will also be publically showing our new collaboration with watercolour Artist – Gabby Malpas – who if we are super lucky will have the ORIGINAL works featured on our labels available for sale on the night! Oh, and did I mention I’m doing personalised Christmas candles this year? Anything ordered on the night has a guaranteed pre Christmas delivery!

Join us for a drink, enjoy our usual annual VIP night specials, and see where I’ve been hidden away for most of the last year.

PS. Just because you are a qualified designer / stylist – that DOES NOT make you even remotely profocient as a trademan. This is my lesson of the year…

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NEW this Christmas!

The General Blah, I mean Blog!

LoobyLou Bits+Bobs

Let’s face it folks. It’s HARD trying to find the perfect Christmas gift. In what is such a disposable society, coupled with ease of access to pretty much anything – what can you get that is unique, thoughtful and just right? What about a customised Christmas candle? You get to be involved in the process – first you choose your fragrance, and vessel and then what you want to say. Be it a simple message (some examples below) or a favourite quote, song lyric – your call.

You can choose any fragrance from the Christmas OR  Classic/Signature range. We are limited to vessels in stock, so if you have a larger order – please let us know ASAP so we have a running shot at getting more in just for you. Remember, it’s the silly / busy season – so tick this off your to do list as soon as…

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My year in summary!

The General Blah, I mean Blog!

Red Olive

We are finally launching not one, but both spaces we’ve recently been involved with. Our new Loobylou HQ, plus a pop up Exhibition / Gallery / Photography studio – creative space that’s rented by the day.

We will also be publically showing our new collaboration with watercolour Artist – Gabby Malpas – who if we are super lucky will have the ORIGINAL works featured on our labels available for sale on the night! Oh, and did I mention I’m doing personalised Christmas candles this year? Anything ordered on the night has a guaranteed pre Christmas delivery!

Join us for a drink, enjoy our usual annual VIP night specials, and see where I’ve been hidden away for most of the last year.

PS. Just because you are a qualified designer / stylist – that DOES NOT make you even remotely profocient as a trademan. This is my lesson of the year (read: don’t look too close!)


New – Landscape Painting class – En Plein Air with Rachel Carroll

The General Blah, I mean Blog!

underground ARTspace

Four week Term starts – Monday 2 March 6.30-8.30pm
Explore painting & Drawing in a friendly relaxed atmosphere.
Working En Plein Air – while the nights are still long.
Each class will cover the basics: tone, colour, composition & perspective.
For the more adventurous you can also try mixed media and abstraction

All levels welcome!!!
Contact Rachel for a materials list: 0423982349
Book fast Class nearly FULL

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Made with Love

I mean Blog!, The General Blah

Here’s something you might not know about me… I LOVE Christmas. Like big time, crazy, start planning gifts around about now. It’s not what you spend, but the thoughtfulness, and the personal touch of a gift that warms the cockles of my heartstrings. I literally have a notes section on my phone, and record stuff that people like, suggest or ideas I have for gifts. You are never safe from my Christmas planning… And because I’m the thrifty snake, I still make use of lay-by, which means I can drip feed the more extravagant of my gifting. I’m not sure why I’m like this, but I’d hazard a guess it’s from too much TV in my dysfunctional childhood. I craved order, tradition and just generally joy – and Christmas is the time of most joy, most giving, thoughtful gestures to others. Time to think about what, and who is important.

I wanted to share with you one of the things I did this Christmas for 2 very special lads. These guys are funny, smart and   2 of the absolute lights of my life. For a 12 and 14 year old they have compassion, empathy and wisdom well beyond their years – and are also the funniest little clowns in the land, like really funny – one of them even honks when he laughs. Frankly, I’m endeavouring to have either of them as a son in law, but thats a whole different blog….

Anyway, being tween/teen boys they’re kind of hard to get gifts for – not because they’re fussy. Frankly, you could give them a bag of chips or gum and they’d be grateful you thought of them, but because of my belief that the gift should befit the receiver. Anyway, here’s what I did… Playing on their personality types and nicknames, I made these. A really thoughtful, not overly expensive – but very personal Christmas gift made with a whole lotta love…photo

Memes my way

I mean Blog!, The General Blah

I’m often inspired by the words and images floating around the inter webs, and one of the most special parts about is the quotes we put on each candle.

I’ve decided to create a few of my own. Often you read the same message in different words, and it resonates at a different frequency. It may be the image that connects the words, or vice versa. Either way, this is a little project I’m trying, ‘Memes my way’ to encourage and inspire me in my own creative journey, and remind me why and what is important. Sometimes, it’s just to accept that it just is…

Hope you enjoy…


Beginning with a bang! Classes and courses 2015

The General Blah, I mean Blog!

underground ARTspace


(with Dawn Whitten)


Our aim for these classes is to foster creative thinking and build self-confidence, and allow children a safe space to learn, experiment and create. Your child will learn all aspects of fine art including theory, history and techniques while having lots of fun finding their own unique style.

The first Term of 2015 will focus on landscapes. We will look at the impressionists, the romantics and contemporary artists, realistic and abstract landscapes.T he art space has a beautiful back garden and we will make full use of it. We will learn to see the beauty that is in the natural world around us. They will learn the techniques and the theory and then they will come up with their own unique  creation at the end of the term, my using the tools and concepts they have learned, but interpreting that in a way that is unique and personal to them.


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