Saturday, 14 April 2018

Rembrandt & the Dutch Golden Age

Recently The Art Gallery NSW hosted Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum. It was a VERY popular exhibition as you can see by the crowds milling in front of every picture below. I managed to finally see it during it's last weekend in Sydney.
I enjoyed it, learnt a lot about that particular era of painting, but it's not really my cup of tea.

I also felt it was a tad deceptive as well, cause by my count there was only the one Rembrandt on display.

One of the pleasures of this visit, despite the crush, was the audio.
Each room had it's own song from a Baroque album that it was suggested you listen to whilst browsing. It helped me feel like I was 'there' in the pictures and it also helped to keep the sounds of the crowd at bay.

My favourite picture of the day - I like the light and shade, the classic form and structure that reveals a more casual past-time. It gives me a strong sense of time and place.

The Rembrandt that everyone came to see.

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Twilight at Taronga Zoo

Over the summer months, Taronga Zoo hosts Twilight Concerts.
Friends have been raving about these nights for years.
Mr Seasons & I (with a group of friends) finally made it happen this year.

Part of the fun of a trip to Taronga Zoo is the getting there!
The best access for most Sydney-siders is by ferry.
It's a glorious way to go anywhere.

To reach the main entrance from the ferry wharf, the Sky Safari is the thing.
The view as you ascend the hill is amazing.

Part of the concert ticket price includes a day pass to the zoo.
We only had time to fit in a two-hour tour of the park beforehand, but we saw some of our favourite animals and a few surprises.

I even spotted where one of the 2014 Wild Rhino sculptures ended up.

We had pre-bought a picnic pack for the evening, so all we had to do was collect it from the bar, find our friends and settle into a comfy spot on the grass.

Mother Nature and the bands did the rest!

Now that we have finally been to a Twilight Concert at the Zoo, it certainly won't be our last.
This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Ritual Spirit: White Rabbit Gallery

I'm a little late posting this, Ritual Spirit is now finished at the White Rabbit Gallery as they prepare for their next exhibit. But I find their exhibitions so stimulating and interesting that I want to keep a record of what I see (and how I see it).

A trip to the White Rabbit Gallery is not complete without 
1. a walk through the new Central Park development and
2. a leisurely dumpling and green tea afterwards in the attached cafe

Nonexistence (2009) by Jun T Lai

This work was inspired by a verse of the Buddhist Heart Sutra: “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” 

Swinging a hammer with all her might, the artist transformed a 150-kg sheet of steel into a pockmarked moonscape; a video of the process accompanies the work. Her battered “mirror” dissolves everything reflected in its surface into a shimmer of colour and light that shifts as the viewer moves. “I wanted to express the flow between real and unreal,” she says. 

The dents made by the hammer evoke the wounds life inflicts on our bodies and souls; the distorted reflections are a reminder of the unreliability of appearances. Reality vanishes as we pursue it; the only thing certain is change.

(all author bio blurbs are from the White Rabbit website)

Geng Xue, Mr Sea (2014)

Geng Xue is not content with making realistic sculptures; she wants them to live. 

In Mr Sea, exquisite porcelain puppets and scenery revitalise a 17th-century Chinese ghost story in which a scholar seeking peace on a remote island meets a beautiful woman who turns out to be a sea monster.

Xu Zhen, Play 201301 (2013)

A Cathedral constructed from the spikes, belts, whips and shackles of sadomasochistic "play". 

It's a two-faced metaphor in black: Christianity, the artists suggests, is a form of bondage, and religious exaltation has overtones of erotic pleasure. By linking them, he raises some dark questions. Does relentless self-indulgence harden us to joy? Can the cult of sexual pleasure satisfy our souls?


Tianzhou Chen, OM (2016)

One of the things I loved about OM was how it was reflected in the nearby ceramics, so that the man with the fancy moustache, had the word MO lit up in red, depending on where I stood.

Tianzhuo Chen, Marble Painting 4 (2016)

Luxury Logico, Scripting (2011)

Luxury Logico consists of the Chang twins and two friends, who pool their diverse skills—in mechanics, computing, music, theatre design, lighting and photography—and often enlist further help for specific works. They liken their group to a Transformer, a playful entity whose shape can be changed with a few folds and twists. 

Scripting uses intricately choreographed lights to paint in darkness—a hypnotically moving echo of traditional Chinese calligraphy generated by a computer script.

I loved this piece.

It was like watching piano keys come to life.

The light rods danced and moved in time to the music.
It was mesmerising.

I can't wait to see what the White Rabbit Gallery
pulls out of it's hat next!

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

White Bay Cruise Terminal

One of the pleasures of summer are the longer daylight hours, perfect for evening walks as the day cools down (hopefully!)
This week I finally did the walk into the White Bay Cruise Terminal.

I'm fascinated by the changing urban landscape.
Our needs change and we make our lived environment change along with us.

White Bay began life as mud flats, but because of it's deep waters, it soon became ideal for the early settlers to turn the area into one primarily used by container ships.

The before and now photos (below) of Stephen St show how White Bay has changed since the land was reclaimed.
As an aside, why do we say the land was reclaimed? What right has the land got over the water? It was never there before, it was extra land created by man to make more space for man. It's curious that sense of ownership and entitlement that creeps in simply by the choice of words.

Anyway, back to Stephen St.
You can see how steeply the road slopes down to the waters edge and the ferry stop.
140 yrs later, the road stops at the last house. A park runs along the right hand side of the photo.
And the water's edge is about another 100m further away.
Stephen Street Ferry Wharf c. 1880 (Mitchell Library)
Stephen Street today - the road now ends suddenly at a fence which overlooks the reclaimed land of White Bay.

John Booth's saw mill existed in this area from the 1850's to 1902.
It's hard to imagine the noise, smell and dust that the residents lived with at this time.
I now live just behind where this mill used to stand.

J. Booth & co. Steam saw mill and joinery works 1880 (image source)

Today White Bay is home to the Cruise Terminal.
In building the new facility (which opened in 2013), due homage was payed to previous incarnations.
Old train tracks were kept in place and some of the old sleepers were retained to use in the parking areas and a huge ship propeller is now a sculptural centrepiece at the entrance.

Many of the local residents are unhappy with the noise of the cruise ships, but given what was there, I'd rather the generator hum of a large ship and party noise as it pulls out, to the incessant noise, smell and dust of previous industries.

Looking back up to Stephen St & standing where the ferry wharf once was.

Before the land was reclaimed, White Bay looked a little like this (below).
You can see the various wharves jutting out into what is now land.
Soap factories, coal (for the power station at the bottom of the picture) and mills dominated the landscape.

And now it looks like this....

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.