I’ve had some great news, The WAG or Warrnambool Art Gallery decided to purchase one of my works for their permanent collection. I did a little video about it which is up on their site and below. The full painting is below the video. Stay warm out there!
- Selfies are most popular in AUSTRALIA.
- There are over 1 million selfies taken per day.
- 36% of people admitted to altering their selfies
- Selfies makeup 30% of the photos being taken by 18 – 24 yr olds
- 50% of men and 52% of women have taken a selfie
– (Mini) Monuments to now –
Mirrors reverse realities, depending on the size of the frame through which you view an image of the mirror – it can seem real, or it can seem like a reflection. As the reflection is itself not a place we can enter. As such it is a good paradox that is reflective of how we use, view and sometimes compare our lives through social media.
““Me Me Me Generation, here are a few basic facts: the National Institutes of Health reports that the incidence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is three times as high for people in their 20s as for folks 65 or older; 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982; 40 percent of millennials believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance; and the obsession with fame among the young is apparently so superheated that three times as many girls 11 to 13 want to grow up to be a celebrity’s personal assistant instead of a US senator.”
In this series, I am not so much interested in my identity, but more the notion we have chosen to use bathrooms – private – to project a vastly public image into the world through social media. The way we construct ourselves in these selfies that we push out into the world is fascinating! The self-consumed nature of it is referenced by the titles which highlights the world news – and arguably much more important – events that are happening while we focus inwards.
As my new series of paintings explore, sometimes it is hard to tell are we looking at a real space, or a space in a mirror – reality / reflection.
In the above image, the viewer is uncertain as to whether they are looking into a room with someone photographing them – or are we looking at someone’s self portrait taken in a mirror within the room behind the subject? This question becomes even more confusing when standing in-front of the painting and taking a photo of it through a tablet, or smart phone similar to the one in the photo. The experience is unusual and reality bending.
The works tackle identity, communication and alienation in a self-promotional era. The majority of the paintings being painted in Public bathrooms in front of the mirrors with the urinals, or as the laconic title “Pissers” is a tip of the hat to my tendency to take the piss – both out of others yet mainly myself – something which identifies distinctly as Australian and nods to my upbringing on a rural farm in Victoria. These works are serious, and seriously taking the piss. Again there is a duality.
This series all started on returning from Africa, I broke my ankle and when I returned I aimed to start plein air painting the urban-scape of Melbourne, however I found after the injury heading out around Melbourne with crutches and a car that had been written off was impossible.
So it began – For me, the bathroom is a private and cocoon like place. In fact, when I was young it was the only room in the house that had a lock, creating a quiet sanctuary for me to be without question or interruption. In this series, I am not so much interested in my identity, but more the notion we have chosen to use bathrooms – private – to project a vastly public image into the world through social media.
Like #mrboxie, we are connected yet disconnected. My face is deliberately not defined in the paintings. Yet as paintings, which are archivable, they juxtapose against digital selfies that are only valid till the next one is constructed, my paintings are a monument to now.
If you enjoy these there is an exhibition in the Central Goldfields Gallery in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia from the 10th of September. Previews are available in Melbourne starting today. The online preview is here www.harleym.net
Since getting to Sydney I’ve been getting asked a lot about the little box people, when I’m back in Melbourne I’ll write out the adventure that brought them about. But till then here is the Artist’s Statement from my last show which shows the evolution of my projected meanings onto them. As for what you see, it’s completely up to you.
If you have an Artshub membership you can view a journalists write up on them here. http://www.artshub.com.au/news-article/news-article/news/visual-arts/thieves-244806
Ever since we were kids cardboard boxes have been a thing to play with, a ‘toy’ that is enabled by endless imagination. The people in cardboard boxes within my paintings
have been used to explore isolation, self-imposed and dichotomised by technology. They have explored the urban pattern, the geometries of the cityscape and the ability to blend in and camouflage oneself into a man-made architectural environment. They have pinioned travellers and their experiences of the landscape second-hand filtered through their cameras and other technological devices. But these boxes are different. These boxes are exploring that kid’s toy used as a place of refuge, isolating and allowing the psychology to take over. The box becomes a mask to hide body language and emotions. Imagination gets taken over by personal narrative. Inside the box is a warm, your own body heat reflects off the inside and back at you. The outside distractions, of sight and noise are muffled by the absorption of the cardboard.
It is a meditative outfit, a quieter place in a quiet home. A safer place in a safe home – yet there is this little glow that sometimes escapes from the box, bringing the outside world in, waiting for that ping.
The box is anti-heroic, anti-masculine. It speaks to an interior life well explored. One thing that becomes apparent over time viewing the paintings is that they are self-portraits.
Much like a kid at the beach trying to save their sandcastle from the ceaseless rush of ocean – It is an almost endless process this painting thing.
But yet like most things, there is an end, or somewhere closer to the finishing line. I had a solo show open earlier this year and I had been playing catch up since returning from that seaside residency in February.
Out of interest I am showing you some of the paintings before (as they were in the show) and after, which I hope you will find as fascinating as I do.
These are an interesting pair, it’s a little like spot the difference. I’m already seeing things I’d like to change… Again…
Fascinatingly the older version (top painting) looks somewhat better on screen – I am however certain that it is much better in person, at over 6ft across it is difficult to get a real feel for it on screen… Isn’t it pretty to think so? Thank you Hemmingway.
Hope you are having a great week so far! Feel free to come and visit the studio if you are interested in the paintings. There is always something interesting going on in here!
Or go visit my latest show of miniature paintings at ‘CONTAINED’ 2nd – 19th September at Rubicon ARI, Level 1 – 309 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne.
‘Contained‘ at RUBICON Gallery, Level 1, 309 Queensberry St. Melbourne
September 2nd – Opening 6 – 9pm – September 19th – Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12-5pm
At the end of the last exhibition I was cornered(pun intended) by a few people who said they didn’t think the work was as intimate as it could be considering the situation, and that I was skirting around something and not facing it head on – although the works were dark, they weren’t intimate, they weren’t as engaged with the core of the exhibition as they could be. Considering that I had considered the title going from Close (as in closer) to Close (Closed) this was a bit of a painful revelation. The above paintings are the result of contained, don’t be surprised if the next exhibition is something completely different. After some recent close brushes I have a very new focus and it’s a subject I have not looked to before.
With my painting I am always trying to find the balance between happy mistakes through bold brushwork against perfection, I think there is a lot to be said for the ‘imperfections’ in paint, the little marks, scuffs and drag marks, areas where the medium has dripped – they are what I adore about it. It’s magic, you create an illusion for people to disappear. On this minuscule size, brush marks and dust can be the death of a whole painting.
The mistakes are like it’s life marks, that show that it’s been made by a human, who is not a computer, not a reproduction – and I like the idea that you can stand in front of the painting, and if you are close enough see where I have moved my hand. I love standing in front of paintings in the NGV and ‘feeling’ where the artist has moved – Next time you stand in front of a Rembrandt, take a second to remember that he stood in the same space you are…
To give the portrayal of an object without putting in every single detail of the object is my aim. If you go and look at some of Picasso’s later works, the abstracts, when you stand in front of them in person you can see the gouges as he has struck at the canvas with his brush and tore it across the surface to create not just a line but something more, an emotional outlet, a feeling, a strike. It is only in person that you can really, deeply appreciate a painterly art work. I hope you enjoy these works and get to see them in person. They are at RUBICON Gallery, Level 1, 309 Queensberry St. Melbourne VIC 3051 September 2nd – Opening 6 – 9pm – September 19th – Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12-5pm
P.S. Don’t forget to look out for the little #mrboxie sculptures left around North Melbourne, you can find clues to there whereabouts through my Instagram https://instagram.com/harley_manifold_artist/
Looking for something to do next weekend? Well, I’ve just started wrapping up my latest exhibition and the few remaining pieces are going on a little drive to The Golden Plains, just west of Geelong in Victoria. If you want to see some of the works pop into 984 Winjeel Rd (from the Hamilton Highway turn South onto Wingeel Rd. Studio is First on the left) on Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 5pm.
There you will also see some phenomenal sculptural works by Lucy McEachern and Deb Chirnside.
As you can see if you click on the link above there are some very strong works by Lucy, well worth a look in their own right. For the full arts trail download this PDF or take a look at the Golden Plains Arts Trail Website
(apologies to anyone who missed the exhibition from my email ans subscribers list, apparently the transfers were made, then unmade – it was only resolved this weekend by wordpress, things unfortunately do happen. But don’t worry their will be more in the future)
I am so happy to announce that my solo show is now open. With the publicity generated through articles in The Age, news coverage by Channel TEN and Nine news as well as 3AW things are looking good. Not to mention all the pre sales that have clocked into the 5 figures.
Come and enjoy the show.
No Vacancy Gallery – 34 jane bell Lane (off Russel st. side) Melbourne. Tonight 6 – 9
I am so excited to show you the first glimpses of some little sculptures I have been working on over the last few weeks. I have LOVED starting this and am excited to do more, bigger, smaller and with different materials! I have never sculpted before so this has been…trials and errors. Lots of them, I actually managed to make a mold of the carpet on my studio floor after my first ‘mold’ didn’t hold together ( I followed the instructions on the internet, as if the internet is ever wrong haha). The carpets value went up by $180 of mold material, I was even impressed.
And if I have done this right, now you are reading from the new blog on my website…
Each is roughly 30 centimeters in height and is covered in an amazing Patina with either real Bronze, Metal or… Glitter. There will be a few more for the show opening on February the 20th in No Vacancy Gallery in Melbourne…