Wednesday, May 23, 2018

BRI Launches book at Avid Reader


Published by ALLEN & UNWIN
Cover design by Lisa White
Last night at Avid reader Bri talked with Cathy Van Extel for ABC radio to a packed store.
Throughout the discussion, through times of tears and other moments loud with laughter and applause, the love and support in the room was palpable.
It is a mammoth task to bring a book to publication. It is a tremendous achievement to write about a subject which is so harrowing and challenging and do it with such knowledge, eloquence, integrity and strength...... and manage to come through the entire protracted, arduous process with a smile.
How could we not be PROUD. We are in awe.
Bri, our love and support always.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Successful exhibition - CROSSDALE4

Never a one woman show - more like a collaboration.

Supportive family
Sentinel News

A BIG Thank your to everyone involved.

To the co-exhibitors who were a joy to work alongside. To Bethany at the Regional Art Gallery, The Condensary who was always helpful, stress-less and a pleasure to deal with. To my Daughter, Brianna who gave a rip roaring concise opening speech and to her Boyfriend, Xavier for his support. To my Son, Arron who helped us with all the heavy work and organized and collated sales  . . . and of course to my ever dependable and patient main men: my Husband, Cameron and my Father, Brian who helped with framing, hanging and all the hundred and one odd jobs involved in preparing for a exhibition to make it look professional and seamless.

Also a thank you to the Somerset Mayor, Graemme Lehmann for attending and opening the exhibition.
setting up exhibition

  Opening speech by Ms Brianna Lee

Hi everyone, my name is Bri and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the exhibition this afternoon. I’m a Brisbane-based author, the Founding Editor of a quarterly periodical about women + work, and I often write about art, books, and culture, for The Guardian, VAULT Art Magazine, and elsewhere. But this afternoon I am probably most qualified to speak about The Crossdale Four because of my position as a very proud daughter of Sharon Lee, one of the artists exhibiting.

Before I begin welcoming you to this exhibition, which is so much about place, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathering on what always was and always will be Aboriginal land. There is no place in Australia you can walk, that footsteps were not tread for thousands of years before you. I have read that the name Toogoolawah is derived from the Aboriginal words "dhoo" (a generic term for tree) and "goo/lawa", meaning "crescent shaped" or "bent like a crescent moon". Prior to European settlement the Esk area had been occupied by people from the Waka Waka Aboriginal language group, and we are also near the lands of the Jagera and Turrbul peoples. I pay respect to elders past, present, and emerging.

The condensery is so named for its previous purpose as a condensed milk factory packing facility. Fifty years after this area was settled in 1840, this condensed milk factory was established by the McConnel family, and in the years following 1889 there was such growth in the neighbouring township of Toogoolawah, that the Brisbane Valley railway line was extended in 1904. Nestle purchased this factory in 1906, along with seven neighbouring farms, and by 1926 it was producing its own electricity.
Then, just three years later, in 1929, Nestle moved its condensed milk production to Victoria and there was a 50% reduction in local employment. In 1951 a fire destroyed most of this building, leaving nothing but a packing shed and chimney. The site was purchased by a plumber who then returned the adjoining lands to pasture. It was only re-imagined and reopened as an art gallery in 2015.
I mention all of this because you’re standing on the stained concrete, and under the rusted roof, of a building that is so of its surroundings. The growth, and the boom-and-bust, the flourishing times and then the fire, the process of things laying dormant, and then being reborn.
Most good art is concerned with asking questions of meaning and mortality. Of nature and time. 

The exhibition you will see today, a gathering of ‘The Crossdale Four’, is no exception. As with this building being ‘of’ a time and place, the four artists here – Jan Williams, Jane Harthoorn-Williams, Sharon Lee, and Ian Clark – have found themselves thrown together by life. None have exhibited together previously, but all find themselves currently living on Crossdale Road, and interestingly, fire brought them together, as they all volunteered for the local brigade. They have individual styles, not least because their chosen mediums differ, but they are at different stages of practice too, and for their work each one has responded to a different issue or question they have simmering. I’d be here for at least an hour if were to list each artist’s qualifications and achievements, so instead I’m going to introduce a little about each one, and highlight my impressions of the works individually, and what connects them to each other, and to this time and place.

Jane Harthoorn-Williams
Jane was born in Uganda, then lived in Kenya, before her parents emigrated to the UK, and then finally settled in Australia. Jane describes using her vessels as canvases, using white porcelain for throwing her pieces, as it provides a fine, white ground that is responsive to her incising and carving.
One of her works in particular, 'Whales and Men', relates to plundering and depletion, and our effect on the biodiversity of the ocean. Jane says it illustrates the story of dependence of 19th Century Industrialisation on whale oil, before the advent of Petroleum, which led to the near extinction of whales. The piece concludes with a reference to the Rainbow Warrior, and a golden age when Dolphins were celebrated, and Whales revered.
When I look at these vessels I see an amalgamation of so many cultures and references. A repetitive geometric motif so clearly drawn from East African beginnings, but then the curls of ocean waves on a traditional vase shape takes me up through Egypt, across the Mediterranean, and into Greek mythology with a siren riding a dolphin.
The special extra facet of vessels and claywork, of course, is that the artist has moulded her creation from earth. It is literally made of place. The same is true for Jan Williams’ work.

Jan Williams
Jan was born in New Zealand and came to Australia after living in Norway for many years. His pieces in this exhibition are a range of clay ‘fat ladies’ with smooth, refined rolls, and round toes and cheeks.
Jan says he uses the ‘fat lady’ format as a type of language to depict a variety of concepts, and I can’t help but think if this idea as something that could only result from someone who understands the plurality of language from having experienced so many different places around the world. When we look past the fact of the art being a human figure the meanings emerge. The piece ‘Black weather’ shows one his fat ladies in dark finish, arms and fingers outstretched, hair on-end, an angered face. Jan worked on this sculpture while considering hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The other fat ladies—one pale and serene in a bathtub, one rusting browns, hugging itself, gazing down, are all representations of occurrences and phenomena in the natural world. I encourage you to look through the ‘fat lady’ representations and find the language in his works.

Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee lived in Papua New Guinea for almost two decades before returning to Australia. In 2000 she relocated her practice to the acreage on Crossdale Road, and with that move she describes a surge in feelings of connection and responsibility to the land. Her paintings are layered – layer upon layer upon layer – so that both viewing them and considering their meaning can take time. This body of work titled ‘The Beauty of Patterns Lost’ documents the unnecessary, devastating loss of native fauna Lee has witnessed driving from Brisbane to Crossdale in the last 17 years. Her paintings have the remarkable ability to be many things at once. They can be viewed without context as celebrations of nature and examples of a talented artist bending a medium to her will. On a closer inspection I find some of them harbour an unease, or a kind of dissonance, so common in nature. The viewer can admire the creatures so artfully depicted, but not without questioning their role in the life of the creature. Can we take the beauty of this place and these creatures, without responsibility? Do we need to destroy and use so many resources without due-consideration. These are the questions Lee asks.

Ian Clark
The current display of Ian Clark’s work arose from a wood working course at the Brisbane Institute of Art, but of course Clarke has taken the medium several steps further. By combining the sculptural aspect of woodwork with painting, these pieces actively engage the viewer. They seem to change as we step around them and see them from different angles, they seem to change in different lights, and when they are in different colours. But of course the change is with us, with our eyes and our perceptions. Some of the depictions are drawn from Clarke’s knowledge of earth and planetary history, and no doubt for many viewers the look of them is reminiscient of geography classes and topographic maps, but he has subverted our expectations in this regard by playing with the widths of the levels. I look at them and pause, engaged. Clarke’s work is to be admired for its technical prowess and painstaking process, but also, simply to be enjoyed.

These four artists have come together as all humans do – by a combination of intent and chance. They find each other on the same single stretch of road at a time of production and growth, rather than fire or latency. As you travel through this space I encourage you to find the connections between these works, as it cannot be mere coincidence. They have created, together, to gift us with an exhibition tonight which asks questions, and is firmly anchored in place.

They would like for me to pass on their thanks to family and friends who have helped support the show coming together tonight, and to Bethany and the staff here at The Condensery.

On behalf of the four artists, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the Crossdale Four’s first exhibition – hopefully of many – here at the condensery. Thank you.  

It was a joy to share the day with friends from as far afield as Fraser Island, Noosa, Caloundra, Bli Bli, Mr Mee, Towoomba and Brisbane.
We were thrilled with the number of people who did make the effort to join us for the opening and look forward to hearing of the response from those who will attend before it comes down on the 8th April.

10 February - 8 April Thank you - it was a joy. Open daily Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am - 4pm.
29 Factory road

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Crossdale4 Exhibition Somerset regional Art Gallery

Invitations are sent . . . works to be hung this Wednesday for opening Saturday.

Opening speech to be delivered by Ms Brianna LEE


Crossdale4 are four individuals who live on acreage spread out along a stretch of road in the Somerset region, Queensland, Australia.
Each artist expresses their response to the physical environment, social activities and emotional awareness based on their own unique experiences, while sharing a common home environment in the Crossdale Shire.

Venue: Somerset Regional Art Gallery
The Condensery Where: 29 Factory Road, Toogoolawah
Time: 1pm - 3.30pm
Date: Saturday, 10 February 2018
RSVP: Wednesday, 7 February 2018
phone (07) 5423 1036or (07) 5424 4000 
dates: Saturday, 10 February 2018to Sunday, 8 April 2018

Thursday, December 28, 2017

EXHIBITION CROSSDALE4 Toogoolowah February 2018

Thrilled to be exhibiting with these talented artists.

Sharon Lee
A pouch is no protection from a bull-bar
Acrylic on canvas

Jane Harthoorn Williams
Reconciliation 11

Jan Williams
Dragonfly Lady
Cold cast iron and Polyester fiberglass

Ian Clark

Monday, May 02, 2016

Mystery island and Isle of Pines

From Sunrise through to Sunset the views are spectacular . . .waking to the ocean passing by is truly romantic . .

and/or relaxing.
We are enjoying the tours, beaches, cocktails, culture, swimming, and the food .  .
Not too much not to like . .
 Touring the bays on this barge was amusing and very relaxing.
Wanted to bring my hat home, but it would not have got through quarantine . . .Pity!!
Another welcome . . .
We are appreciating all the cultural diversity . .
 Another Island . . .another swim, another meal . . . La Meridian Isle of Pines

Isle O Pines . . the water is so incredibly clear

Having a swim . . . and then back on board at 4pm for the Ship to take off by 5pm 
for us all to enjoy cocktails while viewing another spectacular Sunset.

Now we are spending the evening on the Ship . . .
Will enjoy a meal in The Salt restaurant and then there is a concert this evening presented by the crew.
Then a show by a Hypnotist and then starting at 11pm we will sit on the deck, munching chocolate, while sipping our cocktails, to watch the movie The Reverence with deCaprio . . .
Life is tough for the wicked. . . . XX

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Noumea, Mare, Port Vila Vanuatu

First day on shore tomorrow . . . .

29/04/16 Noumea

Thank God for the Chou Chou train and the wine and cheese tasting, at the Hyatt - as I am unsure what else you would do, if you did not go on the Segway tour through the Botanical gardens. . . . which is what Cameron did. And he thoroughly enjoyed the Segway process. He saw emu, flamingo, monkies, birds etc, 120 minutes. 

For brunch, I enjoyed the French cheeses and three glasses of French wines which were very enjoyable. (needed the slow scenic train ride back to sober up!)

 There are some really cool, sassy little French restaurants  in the Latin Quartier, which are vibrant and right on the water-front. . . though to me, most looked as if they have seen far better days.
You need to do a tour to see anything worth while.

In the brousse (bush), the local cuisine, consists of deer, shrimp, coconut, crab or wild hog and fruit salad. It reminded me of the local food in PNG.

The Bougna is the traditional kanak dish (Melanesian) being mainly of assorted tubers, fish, prawn (shellfish) and I chose the impressive lobsters which have been marinaded in coconut milk, simmered for hours in banana leaves, on the hot stones of the Kanak oven. 
For the more daring there are candlenut worms, a fat white worm tasting like hazelnuts, eaten raw or roasted! I
 did say for the more daring . . . and I chose not to be daring.

Central Noumea revolves around Place des Cocotiers, a large, shady square with landscaped gardens, a couple of blocks in from the waterfront.

The main leisure area where locals and tourists hang out lies south of the city centre at Baie des Citrons, and Anse Vata, with beaches, restaurants, and bars.
I do like the colonial ambiance, with the old wooden houses, ironwork decorations and flowering gardens of hibiscus and bougainvillea.. . .but it does look worn and tired. 
Returned to ship in late afternoon . . .Played trivia, watched a modern comedy, modern musical performed by crew about being connected on face-book. 
Had meal on deck while watching people doing acrobatics. 
Late evening walk around the deck. 

So far what I like and dislike about the cruise . . . .

Being able to travel when mobility is limited due to surgery.
Big room, with our own veranda, with rails . . . not closed in.
Not having to cook.
Not having to clean, make beds. Level of cleanliness throughout is high.
Plenty of quiet places to sit. Book swap.
Varied and good quality activities/shows throughout day and night.
Various places to eat, with great water views
Lounges out under the stars. Movies on deck.
Great cocktails.
Amicable crew.

When we first walked onto the ship it felt overused and some of the carpets felt old, but once the air-conditioning was turned on it felt better.
The occasional child making noise. (I think I have counted a total of 16 children )
In places the windows are dirty/corroded from the sea salt, partly obscuring the view . .
Long distances to walk between activities . . .( though I guess not everyone is limited as I am ). . .  also, there is no rush and the walk will help work off all the food.
Some people . . know it all's, who have been on a dozen cruises and have advice for you, whether you want it or not.
Expensive internet . . .
Attitude of some passengers who seems to believe the cruise is a mobile bar and drinking continuously is mandatory. 

30/04/16 Mare
Gorgeous, mainly untouched. No shops. Yah!!! Took the shuttle around to the other side from the port to a pristine beach with the clearest water I have seen, since leaving PNG. Drank a freshly shucked coconut and then ate the soft green flesh. Beautiful clean breeze. Cam and I both noticed a distinct lack of bird life . . . or should I say that throughout the entire day, not one bird was sighted. Weird!!! Couldn't find anyone who could understand our English . . . they all spoke French of their own language . . .we guessed the reefs are fished out and the birds no longer have enough to eat???
Had afternoon siesta, swapped our books in the Dome, listened to a 5 piece jazz band in the Atrium, had meal of grilled Atlantic Salmon in water view restaurant, and then watched The November man on deck, under the stars, sipping cocktails, until after midnight . . . and Cameron did not fall asleep.

1/05/16 7am, Cruised into Port Villa, Vanuatu this morning. I instantly fell in love. Slight mist between layers of land, which is a gorgeous emerald green, and so thick it looks like the Island is made up of lush moss. The sailing boats in the harbour look expensive, the architecture of the houses perched on waters edge are varied and interesting, creating a first impression of plenitude . . .we go ashore at 10am for the Island tour, and the glass bottom boat reef viewing, and then the sea food lunch. . . .30 minutes to relax.

Cameron and I both turned off our phones when we left home. Have not emailed or read a news paper, watched T.V, listened to the news - since leaving Brisbane . . .
We have avoided socializing with the other passengers, and have only joined in the activities which are entertaining, or fun but require little effort or interaction. . 
(Boo'd and clapped for Liar Liar between crew members and passengers. Made cocktails, watched stage shows, musicals, musicians using various instruments. . 
Avoided the Art show, Art auctions, Bingo and the team sports . . . . all in all, we have enjoyed a very relaxing time.)
Had a cruise around this lagoon.
Next is Isle of Pines and Mystery Island and then two days sailing . . . before we reach home. Feels like we have been away for months. Even Cameron is on his third book . . .
Download more pics later . . . . xxx