Design & Architecture

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

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.)




last day EVER!!!

Slide1I’m excitedly planning my next exhibition – focussing on Loobylou AND another little side project with my daughter, Lanya. WATCH THIS SPACE!!!

…To white, or not to white…that is the annual question!


Compare the two rooms. One on left is sparkly, fresh – where Unicorns live. One on right looks nice, but Unicorns wouldn’t live here…Written of course, without prejudice. 

Ok folks out there in blog land, followers, friends I NEED YOU!!! (I hope you had the appropriate visual of the finger pointy poster whose name escapes me). NO, I’m not trying to engage you in public warfare. Not even close. Relax…

It’s as simple as … choosing a colour!

You know that saying about how Sparkies have dodgy wiring at home, builders have countless un-finished projects etc? Well let me tell you it’s THE SAME for Designers, Stylists and ESPECIALLY when said Styling Designer specialises in colour. Purely for home you see. My record is it took me 18 months to choose a living room colour once. Oh dear lord I went through every shade of Olive known to man…18 months later, we fell for Wattyl ‘Pepper.’ Six months later we moved…but that is another story.

Here’s the real deal. We repaint the floors at the ARTspace every year (and sometimes in between). It’s important to me to maintain the space to the same level of professionalism the Artists give us along with the privilege of hanging their incredible works. It’s picky and pedantic – and I’m ok with that, they’re my middle name. I LOVE the ARTspace. I’m walking away from retail to focus on said ARTspace. I’m re-launching, and I’m doing it large! I have all sorts of ideas and plans for upcoming shows, but one thing at a time. The floors.

As you know, we’re selling of the retail wares and making way for the lovely Christine O’Hagan to join our crew. Perfect timing for a little bit of a spruce up, we have to move stuff anyway you see…Now, the dilemma is not in that I can’t choose a shade of a particular colour, it’s the actual colour.


We have a yummy neutral grey on there now. It sits at around 5 maybe on the Greyscales. It’s lovely, I picked a great shade. It doesn’t conflict or compete with any Artworks, it doesn’t take away or impinge in negative ways on the space.

It works.

OR: It ‘worked.’

In the spirit of fresh new change, I’m re-visiting my annual internal (and to anyone who listens) debate on the repainting of the floors…

Anyone who knows commercial enamel knows that it’s not going to be easy to do this. The walls are an low sheen pain in the butt regularly patching but utterly fabulous colour and solution for the Gallery. The don’t reflect OR absorb too much light. The don’t engage the eye away from the Artwork. HOWEVER white enamel cut in to said walls is a painstaking detailed job. It will require several coats from my beloved. It will looks INCREDIBLE.

White floors make everything around them look shiny sparkly and wonderful – and yet they draw your attention to the objects and works they embrace. Beauty seems to float within them…I have always always loved white floors, but at home I accept that we’re not a white floor family as a unit. Here’s why. Today my daughter arrived. There was the clunk thud of her arrival, the dropping of scooter – and then in chorus a guitar case propped against the other side of the table bang crashed to the ground. I was sending a prayer of gratitude that she wasn’t carrying paint….

But it’s the ARTspace, that’s a place of solace and beauty…

Here’s my pro-cons. Comment, vote, HELP MEEEEE because as I said to Aj today – I would imagine that the pain of dealing with this each and every year is surely now outweighing the pain and annoyance of painting the floor. Surely right? Who want’s to ‘just wonder?’ That’s not how I roll myself… Obv. I’m Team White…PRO is for white CON is not for white.

PRO: It’ll look pretty spectacular, let’s be honest.  CON: It looks really nice now.

PRO: When white scuffs it looks all charming and shabby. It works. CON: Mud.

PRO: When grey scuffs and wears it looks unkempt and poorly maintained. CON: It’s already there and easy to keep.

PRO: It’ll look pretty CON: So would I if I wasn’t painting floors…lol.

PRO: At least I’ll know. CON: White = 3 coats, Grey = 1

PRO: At least I’ll see when the floors are dirty. Dirt is gross – if I see it I’ll clean it. CON: It hides a multitude of sins now, and I don’t enjoy mopping. Nope, not a fan.

PRO: We love putting love and energy into the ARTspace CON: We could be reading, talking, hanging in Lola.

PRO: My husband loves me enough to support my kind of crazy. CON: I love him too, and I’m sure he’d rather surf.

So there you have it…Do YOU have white floors? Are they as bad as I am anticipating? Should I just stop blogging and start painting…???


P.S. STOKED to have a drama of this (lack of) calibre to bring you after the last few years – let me tip you reader!



Howdy Peeps,
I hope you’ve had a marvellous Easter break filled with all the important stuff. We hightailed it to Jambaroo, so there was laughter a’plenty between freak storms of course!

I always thought that if a time came where I sent an email of this nature, I would do so with a heavy heart. Though it is in fact possibly long overdue and maybe even expected, it’s with lightness and vigour I write to you about the winding up of all things retail. As you know the last 2 years have been … confronting for me to say the least, and something had to give. With a keen eye, I’ve been paying attention to all the hats I’m wearing, and balls I’m juggling (no, don’t be rude!) and something had to be shifted. Lately going to the ARTspace has felt a little like being pulled from 4 different directions. It’s 2 years with Easter weekend to when I first “checked in” at RNS Hospital, and stayed there for 5.5 months of that year. I’ve had a lot of time to think about what’s important to me, and the kind of future I want to create. In deciding, I threw it all up in the air, and it landed like this…

1) ARTspace itself, the studios, Gallery, my return to Art+Craft classes (for young + old). The ARTspace makes my heart sing, it always has. I want it to return to a place that inspires, not overwhelms me. I want to facilitate creativity again, play, learn, be reminded of the joy of being creative. I went to the Talhouse-Lautrec Exhibition recently in Canberra, and Lanya asked me why I always cry in Galleries (this time it was a Monet that started the tears). I explained that these people made it possible for me, my peers, my buyers – they gave us permission to set free that part of us that can’t help but create.
2) My own Art + Design stuff, which is constantly on the back burner to everything else. I miss painting, the smell, the texture, the sense of oneness it’s always been for me. I really am un-settled by this very long period of paint free clothing. I don’t think its a long term ‘look’ for me. And I miss you guys! I miss Exhibiting, and I miss Decorating. I’d like to be back on the road soon. I love taking your forgotten treasures and making them stars again. I love changing your spaces from being something you reside in, to something you ‘live’ in, with your favourite memories around you, somewhere you show love, entertain – or work for my old Commercial clients…whatever that case is. To me Design/Decorating was always all about making a space synonymous with its intended use…I see more value in that than ever having been stuck in mine for 2 years, let me assure you! I have a Solo Exhibitioned planned in my head, and I can’t WAIT.
3) Loobylou – the candle biz. I’m loving it! Emma and I have created something really special and it deserves more of us. We’ve begun retailing, selling online – and are really enjoying the ride. It’s nice being at this end of the production line, the creating side of it, rather than the selling of someone else’s creativity. It just makes sense to me, and to be creating something unique in a market that seems to be filled with sameness, and something we’re truly proud is a nice feeling. I have the first candle we ever poured on Jan 15th 2012 in a special nook in loobylou HQ. It’s a wonderful reminder, that big old Moccona Jar of how far we’ve come (and also how AWESOME our wax and oils are, you’d seriously think it was poured this week it’s so fresh!)
4) That leaves Red Olive – the retail side of things. I set up the shopfront initially more as a platform to meet your fine selves, and a billboard for Interior Design stuff when I first moved to the area. I’d gone from being a busy retailer and decorator in the Inner West to being a stranger on your shores. And what made perfect sense then, doesn’t really anymore. The shop became an entity unto itself, and almost got in the way of design and Art, and it wasn’t supposed to be that way, so… I’m taking the reins back.
The Retail side of Red Olive has got to go. It makes the most sense. It brings me the most peace. For 4 weeks following Easter, we will be there from 10-3pm, Fridays and Saturdays. EVERYTHING MUST GO. We have some interest in the space already by a pretty spectacular Artist we’d be thrilled to offer a space to. Everything will be 50%+ which for a lot of products it’s MUCH LESS than wholesale as for many things we’ve sold at below retail, and they’re already reduced. Some jewellery now if about 80% less than RRP. Essentially, I’m paying you to help me take it away… so go on, stock up. Go Christmas shopping. You know how I feel about being super organised – there’s no such thing as being ‘too organised.’ My old work colleagues will have a little chuckle here – I was WORSE in the corporate office Insurance days…
Sales will extend online, but do keep in mind we will be updating the online shopping platform as fast as we can, but be aware of the odd occasion where something may sell minutes before you try to buy it online and still show as being available. In the situation you REALLY want something, I would possibly call or email in this situation as I have a feeling these weekends are going to be bonkers. But weekday online sales are a good way to stock up on your favourite ranges while you still can, at prices unheard of! I’ve still got a little Jaye Niemi, Aunty Cookie, Have you met miss Jones, some Outliving, and lots and lots of vintage and even more jewellery! Because it’s a US dollar site, I’ve reduced everything 40%. The extra 10% will come from exchange rates, and often better off for you. Plus this way there’s paypal and Credit card as an option, whereas instore it’s cash only, or direct deposit for larger/bulk purchases (or paypal in store).
So, like the very talented Artist Videographer, Marijose Cruz likened this to last week, was a personal renovation. We all need to renovate our lives and souls, and this is me working on mine. Rather than juggling many things badly – I’ll do less of them and be great at them. Red Olive will still exist, but it reverts to being the Design + Art + Curating Business it used to be, with the odd personally custom made and created item or two…
So tell your friends. These prices will be unheard of, insane, and for a limited time only. We have to move out of the space at the end of April, so let’s get cracking!
Creating I shall go… Watch this (evolving not ending) space xxx

Our Christmas Gift to YOU. x



What a year folks, friends, fans and followers.

Lot’s of ups and downs huh! I can’t help but feel blessed (for obvious reasons) and this time of year is a wonderful special time, with all the magic that Christmas, and the promise that a New years always brings. I always love to get my craft on at the time too – and have got some brilliant new ideas planned for our classes starting soon too. One of them, I am sharing with you and hoping to encourage you to have a crack at your inner creator. I printed mine on to A4  recycled paper and used them to wrap small gifts (see image) and chopped them to make labels etc. We then made sticker labels by pasting some images we’d found online onto and Officeworks label, and others by spray painting over simple decorations like bells and snowflakes for something a bit more abstract. Super simple, zappy and best of all, home made! Enjoy 🙂 If you’re reasding this blog – just email me, and I’ll forward you the PDF. 
IMG_0003   IMG_0005  IMG_0006  IMG_0007
I had a brilliant special – 20% of everything, limited time all that jazz, and then realised there was something wrong with the host of our shopping system! Doh. We’re still testing to see if it’s resolved, but I’m honouring the discounts for the rest of the year. Just email me your wish list and I’ll keep the goods aside. Also, for orders over $50, we will gift wrap and make sure they get to you by Christmas by subsiding the difference between the average post to the overnight delivery!

I’ve finished building the underground ARTspace website too. Will be launching in the new year. We’re consciously separating the ARTspace from Red Olive. ARTspace will be all things Art, Art + craft related – a home for Artists Bios, Updates + Info for Classes (also launching soon), ART markets (Rachel is looking at making these a regular occurrence with a few twists!) and online ART sales. Have a sneaky peek if you’re interest, there’s lots of Artists still to upload work – it’s early stages, but I’m happy with how we’re going.

Red Olive Studios:

Red Olive will be purely all things retail and interior design related – all things related to me (Kere) personally, like it was before the ARTspace. Less confusing we think! Also, I’ve started doing graphic stuff, and various other avenues, so Red Olive will eventually return to being my sole trader personal little retail space (which rents a space WITHIN the underground ARTspace). Make sense?
So, as always thanks for sticking with us. Our very very best wishes for health, happiness and hope. During this period and always.
Kere, Adrian, Lanya (and Modi who Lanya tells me is the Red Olive mascot!?!) 

but wait folks, there’s more…


+ + + 

Available online NOW.  Enjoy! x

A NEW RANGE from Red Olive. A selections of various bottles, some new, some vintage- 
but ALL uber cool.
Use as a bud/succulent vase, tie it to a tree for a hanging decoration, 
group together for a talking piece at the table, whatever your hearts desire...
A sweeeet little gift, designed to delight + inspire. 

From my heart, to yours, to theirs..



Carpet Court Competition… ‘Love the Look….’

In the sense of trying to be in it to win it, I entered the competition Carpet Court is running via Facebook.  There’s heaps of cool prizes along the way, and it’s a brilliant source of inspiration for those with a love of all things design and decoration!

What’s stopping you? It’s fun – and it’s made me take some time to look around my home, my little displays – and take some time to appreciate the memories. That’s what homes should be, somewhere to keep you safe, inspire you and surround in memories and joy.

As they say, “take some time to enjoy the view…”


1) The cross/cup holder on the left came at a particularly odd time. Suffering from cancer, and questioning my sense of faith I came across this at a Vinnies nearby. I intended the use for something else, but have always kept it like this. It’s dynamic, odd and makes an odd little impact – like me!

2) The medicine bottle/demijohn was purchased in a weekend getaway in the South Coast. It was almost identical in shape and shade to an original vintage one my husbands Grandfather had handed down (since broken) which we treasured very much.  At least this still reminds us of the original.

3) This bottle was one of the first presents my Grandfather bought my Nan. When my Nan went into a group home, this was one of the few things I travelled back to get – and inspired this collection.

* All other vases are either ebay, seconds or Op shop finds. And then theres my new favourite Glasshouse candle – ‘Coney Island’ tying it all together…

This is a little shelf in my bathroom. The shells, stones, and bits of driftwood have been collected and cleaned lovingly by my daughter. The large candlesticks were a Birthday present from an old friend, and the smaller one from my Mum. ‘The Black Lady’ came from my Nan. She meant to restore it for years, and I have since, yet she still remains broken – and beautiful. I think there’s poetry in that somehow…

This vignette started small, grows – and changes often. I thing your home should surround you with memories, layers and a sense of fun and history. There’s family hand downs (resin acrylic lump from Nan) Spools bought back from Japan, A Lamp made by my Aj’s Grandfather, An old sanding plane  (my first business card holder when I went into design) some of my beloved Dinosaur Designs collection – and various other layers of old…

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