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Opening night gallery! Hannah Nowlan's 'Myths, Moons and Mountains'.

A huge thank you to everyone that came to Modern Times to help celebrate Hannah Nowlan's first solo exhibition 'Myths, Moons and Mountains'. We had a such a wonderful night with all of our lovely guests. 

A big thanks to Scotchmans HillColonial Brewing Co, and CAPI for providing delicious beverages on the night, and to Everyday Coffee who provided much needed coffee for our Saturday morning Artist Talk. 

The artwork has nearly sold out! So don't miss your last opportunity to view the exhibition open until May 25th at Modern Times.

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For more picutures from the night check out our Facebook page here.

24/05/2017
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In Conversation with Hannah Nowlan

Thank you to everyone who has popped in to see Hannah Nowlan’s sell out exhibition ‘Myths Moons and Mountains’, we are so proud of what a great success Hannah’s first solo show has been! The Exhibition is coming down this Thursday but if you missed out you can still view the work on our website here or shop exclusive Modern Times editions here.

This week we caught up with Hannah and enjoyed what was a fascinating discussion gaining a deeper understanding of the process of Hannah’s practice as an artist. You can listen to the conversation on our Facebook or enjoy the read below. Thank you to Hannah for answering our questions with such thought and insight, enjoy!

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I think when discussing this body of work the first thing I’m curious about is the development of the motifs through out. Can you tell us a bit about the subject matter or the content of your work? 

The motifs throughout this new series are partly imaginative scenes and partly true depictions of place. The subject-matter that forms the motifs vary from seascapes and landscapes, to fortes, buildings and canyons, to legends and fables. All the influences tend to penetrate my imagination and become my own.

In part each shape acts as an anchor, trapping memories of places I've been or spaces I've encountered - these can be both physical and emotional spaces. The recurring shapes and colours throughout this series form a dialogue within each painting and across all the paintings as a whole, similar to the way language forms a myth or a story.

 

I think what’s become synonymous with your work has been the emphasis on texture, you go to great lengths to ensure the visibility of that texture for the audience, the works have no glass for a purer exposure. Can you tell us about the mediums you use and what’s important for you when choosing the medium?

I feel a work of art is more personal with no glass, it feels more real. I find the reflections to be distracting and they separate the viewer from the work, without glass an artwork, to me, is more approachable. I think the subtlety of texture has always been prevalent within my work for as long as I have been making. Medium is something I have a physical, spatial, sensual and visual relationship with.

I have had a long-standing love for paper since a very young age, making, collecting and crafting with it for as long as I can remember. Linen is also something I have had a long relation with. My mum being a dressmaker, I’ve always admired and appreciated fabric especially natural fibers and textures. I have a strong relationship with timber too, as my father is a carpenter and it has been another medium, elemental in my life. 

Working on paper came very naturally to me, after specialising in drawing and printmaking at university. For a long time, I’ve wanted to paint on linen but with such appreciation for the natural medium of linen, there was a lot of hesitation and I felt I needed to reach a certain place before I I could positively add to what is already such a beautiful substance. 

 

I think for those of us who don’t make art, like myself I’m always curious about the process, is it instinct when compiling your layers or colour or do you find yourself laboring over these details or particular pieces? 

A lot of my work is instinct yet at the same time, a lot is pre-planned. A lot is stumbled across or discovered along the way and my initial plan will never stay true, I make a change or a mistake and it usually evolves for the better. You have to be able to let go of initial ideas, allow yourself to play in the moment and to not resist going with the flow or wherever the work needs you to go. 

Prior to this series I never worked in sketchbooks on a regular basis, like I do now. I would usually just conjure ideas in my mind and instantly go off and make them. There was no time to plan, it all needed to happen right away. This series is definitely my most considered collection in this respect. Sketchbooks full of shapes and ideas lead up to each painting. Colours often come later, and the layers seem to build as I discover each shape on its own terms on the paper/canvas. 

Some pieces just happen, they work and feel instantly resolved. Others, I spend days, sometimes weeks labouring over until they are right, or still not right.

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You have said that you use the coastline as your inspiration that the shapes you uncover in the coast are what stick with you and translate to your work. Do you consider your work to be autobiographical at all; does personal history work its way into your art?

Definitely —my work at university was ENTIRELY different to what I make now and this is purely because my personal circumstances, spaces, mind set and ways to express a certain experience have changed over the years. It’s usually in hindsight where I can see clearly why I was making a certain type of work or practicing in a particular way and it almost always comes down to a connection with ‘self’ at the time. The works derive from somewhere innately personal and I feel rather exposed and vulnerable - another element to why I like the paper and canvas to be exposed to its external environment.

 

This body of work has taken a leap and is so different to your earlier pieces, when we visited your studio you talked about the influence of your recent residency on this work. Can you tell us a bit about the experiences in Portugal and perhaps how this has influenced your work or your philosophy for Myths Moons and Mountains  work? 

My Portugal residency was my first trip, overseas alone. I knew I was capable of travelling alone for 2 months or even longer but I wasn't aware of how independently invigorated it would make me feel. I think this played a large role in boosting my confidence as an artist, in a way it validated my practice and made me realise that I do have something unique to share.

It allowed me to feel more confident to experiment with new materials and to push my practice into new spheres. The philosophy behind this new collection is inspired by natural elements, out of our control forces and both internal and external shifts. For me this collection doesn't seem to be a big leap, it feels like I have been working towards these pieces for a long time. It just took being out of my comfort zone to realise their potential.

 

It seems that artists are sometimes like sponges of the world, absorbing everything for inspiration and then creating work out of those experiences. What are you presently influenced by— are there particular things you are reading, listening to or looking at to inspire you?  

I definitely feel like a sponge. I absorb shapes, colours and strange memories, often without even realising. Then one day they re-appear in my work. I have a regular yoga practice, which I find influences my work profoundly. I create many parallels between my breath, my spirit and myself with the ocean through this practice - partly through the time I have at yoga to let go and be present. I’ve also been reading a lot about local mythologies —my dad often tells me stories about where we live and there are definitely certain elements that I’m drawn to. 

 

What’s important to you when starting a new work, is it having time, the right space, a cup of tea? What is it that pushes you to a start? 

I often have drawings and ideas in my sketchbook, that literally force me to make a new work, it’s like a seed bursting to grow. Earlier this year I upgraded my studio space, to a much larger area, I think this has been fundamental to allowing changes to occur within my work. I believe that my works often mimic the spaces I work in and on that note, they often directly mimic me and who I am at any given time. So I find it’s pretty important that I feel comfortable and relaxed in the space I’m working in, before I begin a new work in order to translate relaxed energies.

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So on the heels of finishing your arts degree, do you see your work as relating to any current movement or direction in visual art or culture? Which other artists might your work be in conversation with? 

I think there is an evolving movement happening in art and design, actually in living in general as well. A movement, which is about the everyday, it’s about slowing down, being present and also about being ‘home’— wherever that may be. 

There are so many artists that I feel are creating environments out of their art practice, creating spaces and conversations about the pleasure of doing what we do, and the craftsmanship that is involved. Stephen Clark (Den Holm), Jordana Henry, Lily Johannah, Jordan Kerwick and Emily Besser to name a few. The stickler for this movement, for me, is appreciating medium, and tending to one’s own work as a form of therapy and/or to work with one’s own energy. 

I’ve had a few conversations lately about my work harking back to 70’s vibes or the Bauhaus era. Bauhaus was a period where craft, design and visual arts emerged as one and where the notion of the everyday but also of appreciation became apparent in the objects we owned as well as the products we made. I think this association with my work is very true —as my work fundamentally brings together a work of craft and fine art. It always has. It’s always been a merging of craft and fine art. This series fuses these elements, in a more traditional way, merging my paintings with the craftsmanship of bespoke frames for example. But with this series, we (my father and I) have fine-tuned our materials and our processes, to refine and master our craft even more. It’s by far more considered than it ever has been.

24/05/2017
Interviews

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Upcoming Exhibition by Hannah Nowlan 'Myths, Moons and Mountains'.

Modern Times is thrilled to present Myths, Moons and Mountains the first solo exhibition by emerging Melbourne artist Hannah Nowlan. Opening Thursday 11 May, this show is a definitive body of work, bringing together Hannah’s distinctive abstract style and newly developed themes from her residency in Lisbon, Portugal.

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This series explores the young artist’s strong connection with the coastal landscape depicted through bold shapes, overlapping planes of glaze and colour, a muted earthy palate and subtle strokes of texture. Harking back to the modernist influences of Bauhaus these works are distinctly contemporary using confident strokes and designs.

“My art has always paid homage to the rugged yet relaxed atmosphere of the Victorian coastline, my travel through Portugal and Spain has evolved these elements further, resulting in new motifs and narratives,” explains Hannah.

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The exhibition will feature works on paper and for the first time, Hannah will work on canvas, pushing the boundaries of her materials and establishing her practice with more confidence and experience. The show promises to set a pivotal new path for the emerging artist.

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photography by Suzi Appel

Join Hannah and the Modern Times team at the opening of ‘Myths, Moons and Mountains’ for a celebratory drink kindly supplied by Scotchmans Hill, Colonial Brewing Co. and Capi.

Exhibition Details:

Opening 6-8pm,Thursday 11 May 2017.

RSVP to events@moderntimes.com.au

To register for pre-sales contact pip@moderntimes.com.au. 

23/05/2017
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Easter Hours

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We are taking an extended Easter break to give the shop a lick of paint amongst other improvements.

We will be back on Wednesday looking super freshhhh!

Thursday 13th April – CLOSED

Good Friday – CLOSED

Easter Saturday – CLOSED

Easter Sunday – CLOSED

Easter Monday – CLOSED

Easter Tuesday – CLOSED

Wednesday 20th April - BACK IN BUSINESS!

12/04/2017
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Nocturnal Reflection: Midnight Modern III & Book Launch

We are very excited to be presenting our first exhibition for 2017 – exhibition and book launch Nocturnal Reflection: Midnight Modern III from one of our favourite artists Tom Blachford.  

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Opening Thursday 9 March the show brings together previously unseen works from Tom’s third series of Midnight Modern and the Melbourne launch of the publication “Midnight Modern: Palm Springs Under the Full Moon”, a hardcover release, published by powerHouse, NYC. Go Tom!

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As you may know the series documents the famed modernist period homes of Palm Springs, including prominent properties such as the Kaufmann Residence, Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate and Frey II house. Tom has charmed his way into the Palm Springs scene managing to get unprecedented access to these iconic homes, photographing them from inside their boundaries, rather than just from the street as with his first series.

These highly moody scenes, entirely absent of people, pay homage to the pinnacle of modernist architecture. In his most recent photo shoot Tom has included several modernist cars further emphasising the style of the time.  “Palm Springs, to me, is an inhabited shrine to the sun, to cocktails and hedonism. It has functioned for so much of its life as a Mecca for design and lifestyle, I wanted to capture its dark side”.

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Tom Blachford holds a strong international presence and has been actively exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions both locally and overseas. In 2016, Tom’s work was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Bowness Photographic Prize. This will be Tom’s second exhibition with Modern Times Gallery and his first publication launch.

REGISTER FOR PRE-SALES

BUY THE BOOK

Opening 6-8pm, Thursday 9 March 2017. RSVP to events@moderntimes.com.au

Exhibition Dates: 9 March – 23 March 2017

Modern Times Gallery – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy

For enquiries contact Irina Asriian on irina@moderntimes.com.au 

14/02/2017
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A Guide To Small Space Living

Small space living does not have to be about making compromises. With a carefully selected furniture and lighting, apartment living in the inner city can provide a fantastic quality of life. Check out our tips for making your inner city pad feel more spacious and a joy to come home to.

A Restrained Colour Palette

Choose a colour palette that creates a sense of uniformity across the entire apartment. With open plan kitchen, living and dining, restraint in your colour choices encourages the eye to absorb the room as one larger space. The additional of accent colours, textural finishes such as metal and stone, and a fresh injection of greenery will add personality and a sense of homeliness.

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Nine Smith St Apartment by Neometro. Furnished by Modern Times. Image Credit: Shannon McGrath

Open Lines of Sight

Furniture that is raised off the ground on legs creates an open line of sight, making the space appear largerand lighter. Similarly, furniture with open backs, such as dining chairs, work in the same way, to enhance the feeling of space and movement.

Mid-Century Modern

Scandinavian mid-century furniture is often lightweight and therefore easy to move, ideal for modern daysmall space living. The aesthetic is minimal and refined, not clunky or heavy, perfect for the flexibility that is often needed when living in a small space, such as using an occasional chair at the dining table.

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Nine Smith St Apartment by Neometro. Furnished by Modern Times. Image Credit: Shannon McGrath

Maximise Every Inch

A study nook maximizes limited space while also providing a dedicated home for work, reducing clutterand providing another platform for personal mementoes, art and objects. Choose a desk chair that compliments the rest of the apartment so it can serve double-duty as an easily accessible extra seat when guests arrive.

Dining That Flows

Opt for a round dining table to facilitate flow and movement throughout the living space. Rectangular tables can be restrictive in a small space as straight lines leave little room for movement. Additionally, around table enhances interaction between dinner guests, ensuring everyone faces the centre and is therefore never left out of the conversation – the recipe for a great dinner party.

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Nine Smith St Apartment by Neometro. Furnished by Modern Times. Image Credit: Shannon McGrath

Open Plan Zoning

Large-scale artwork is ideal for creating zones in an open plan setting. The artwork can act as a focal point to draw your eye to its size and scale, creating the illusion of a much larger space. Rugs can work in a similar manner, defining zones while adding style, texture and warmth.

Bring The Outside In

When living within a limited space, your balcony should be viewed as an extension of your living room.Create the illusion of one large space rather than two divided areas by carrying the theme of your furniture outside and bringing plants in. Many vintage pieces are versatile enough to work indoors oroutdoors. This adds to the continuity of the home and allows you to rotate furniture to keep things fresh.

Breathing Space

Opting for a low sofa creates the impression of a higher ceiling, which is important in a small space. Pulling furniture away from the walls makes the room look more open and airy, and allows the furniture to act as a room divider. When considering the size of your furniture, don’t forget to allow for breathing space so you’re not tripping over the coffee table on the way to the kitchen.

The Importance of Lighting

Think vertically. When floor space is limited, play up the height of the ceiling. Installing a simple pendant light draws the eye upwards, taking in the full scale of the space. With endless choices, your pendant lightcan be a striking talking point or a subtle silhouette. Floor and table lamps are also great for adding visualinterest in shape, colour and material.

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Nine Smith St Apartment by Neometro. Furnished by Modern Times. Image Credit: Shannon McGrath

SHOP THE APARTMENT

 

07/02/2017
Furniture

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Extended Trading Hours

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Weds 21st Dec - open until 7pm

Thurs 22nd Dec - open until 7pm

Fri 23rd Dec - open until 7pm

Christmas Eve - open until 3pm

With our Extended Trading Hours this week, there is more time to shop and it's the perfect time to Click and Collect. Shop online and select Click and Collect at checkout and we can have your gifts wrapped and ready to pick-up after work.

19/12/2016
Modern Times News

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Art Gives - Interview Series - Caroline Walls

Artist Caroline Walls kindly caught up with us in our round of artist chats to talk about a special work in her collection that inspires her everyday. 

What is your most treasured piece of art or design object?

My most loved piece of art in our home is a photograph by Cass Bird, it's a black and white print and is one of the images featured in her book, Rewilding.

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When and how did it come into your possession?

I've had it now since 2012, I purchased it when her book was released and it sits framed in Tasmanian oak on my bedside table so I wake up to it every morning.

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How does it make you feel when you admire at it, and why does it stir this emotion?

The image is of four naked women in a wild landscape in Sassafras - it's free, unrestrained and unselfconscious - and those are the feelings it evokes when I look at it.

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What has this piece given you in terms of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfillment?

The image, as with the entire photographic series from the book, is an exploration of femininity, sexuality and identity, themes that I like to explore in my own work, albeit in a different way. It's a gentle reminder everyday to keep creating and delving deeper. 

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What piece of art or design object from Modern Times are you wishing for this Christmas?

The Flag Halyard arm chair by Hans J Wegner would be very loved in our home!
Photo credits: Bobby Clark
  

 

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14/12/2016
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Art Gives - Interview Series - Kasper Raglus

Artist Kasper Raglus kindly caught up with us in our round of artist chats to talk about a special work in his collection and how every time he looks at it it has a different meaning and feeling.

What is your most treasured piece of art or design object?

A painting I own by Matt Dettmer. 

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Kasper in his home studio.

When and how did it come into your possession?

I first saw the piece when he posted a picture online and I really liked it, I didn't think it was even for sale or anything but eventually that chance came to own it so now its mine!

What has this piece given you in terms of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfilment?

Not only do i love the painting, its also a good feeling knowing its a good friends hard work up on my wall. Because the painting is quiet minimal, every time I look at it it has a different meaning and feeling. It's like I can relate it to my life no matter whats going on.

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How does it make you feel when you admire at it, and why does it stir this emotion?

I usually look at it in the morning, I would have to say it makes me feel calm, and i love that it has pink in it, my favourite colour!

What has this piece given you in terms of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfillment?

Not only do i love the painting, its also a good feeling knowing its a good friends hard work up on my wall. 

Because the painting is quiet minimal, every time i look at it it has a different meaning and feeling. It's like I can relate it to my life no matter whats going on. 

 

What piece of art or design object from Modern Times are you wishing for this Christmas?

Grant Mobelfabrik arm chair to drink whiskey in.

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12/12/2016
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Art Gives - Interview Series - Sarah Kelk

Thank you so much to local Melbourne artist Sarah Kelk who took the time to be interviewed about the importance of art in her life and how she became an collector early in life. 

What is your most treasured piece of art or design object?

I have a large original painting by New Zealand artist Simon Morrison-Deaker

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Sarah in her home studio. Photography by Martina Gemmola for Hunting For George. 

When and how did it come into your possession?

My Mum and Dad gave me this piece for my 21st birthday

What has this piece given you in terms of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfilment?

I love that this piece was something I chose when I was 21 - it reminds me of my 21 year old self as well as growing up in New Zealand.

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Studio Details. Photography by Martina Gemmola for Hunting For George. 

How does it make you feel when you admire at it, and why does it stir this emotion?

My Mum and Dad always encouraged me to not only create my own work when I was younger, but also to collect artwork from other artists (whether they were established or not).

This piece reminds me to keep collecting pieces that pull at my heart strings! 

What piece of art or design object from Modern Times are you wishing for this Christmas?

I’ve had my eye on the new sculptures by Mark Alsweiler - so good!

Tell us a bit about your background. I.e. where did you grow up, what did you originally study?

I have both a Design and also Art History degree, which I studied in beautiful New Zealand, where I grew up. I loved learning about being creative from different angles, especially with the methodical approach to which design often takes. I was lucky enough to have had some influential lecturers and tutors whilst studying, who still make an impact on my work today.  

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EVENT: Live Window Painting This Saturday

Visit us this Saturday as our store window becomes Sarah's canvas. Meet Sarah and see her fluid and expressive process in action. A unique opportunity to stand side-by-side with the artist and connect with her expressive and colourful approach as it unfolds. 

Saturday December 10th | 10am - 2pm

 

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Studio Details. Photography by Martina Gemmola for Hunting For George. 

04/12/2016
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Art Gives - Interview Series - Elizabeth Barnett

Continuing our chats with our favourites artists at Modern Times. We uncover the connection Elizabeth Barnett has to a special painting in her collection and what she's hoping to add to it!

What is your most treasured piece of art or design object?

I can't decide on my one favourite piece of artwork or art object. We have a growing collection of paintings, prints and photography and I have a thing for ceramics by local makers.

So I'll talk about one of the paintings that I love, a beautiful abstract painting by Nick Huggins of the factory warehouse next to Triple R radio station on Nicholson street which is actually where I had a studio many years ago.

Nick sketched up the painting from Milkwood cafe which is opposite. I can imagine it was a cloud grey melbourne day because the the painting captures so beautifully and in an abstract way the colour and feeling of that street and the bizarre stilted building. Nick is a friend of mine and my husband's so his work is particularly special to us. 

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Lizzie with some of her paintings and a teapot by Katia Carletti

When and how did it come into your possession?

We bought this painting from an exhibition that Nick had at Schoolhouse Studio's Long Division gallery, which was also special because I set up Schoolhouse with Alice Glenn back when it was located in the old school in Abbotsford. 

What has this piece given you in terms of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfilment?

I am inspired whenever I look at this piece because it reminds me of times gone by, Nick's use of colour and abstraction is amazing and his work really looks like his music (he is a brilliant musician and music producer). 

How does it make you feel when you admire it, and why does it stir this emotion?

I can hear Nick's music in this painting. 

What piece of art or design object from Modern Times are you wishing for this Christmas?

Oh goodness... so many beautiful things... I am always looking for the perfect couch at MT, one day I will walk in and there it will be. I would LOVE to buy one of Brooke Holm's photographs one day or Laura Skerlj's paintings. And then there is all the gorgeous ceramics (my favourites being Katia Carletti and Iggy and Lou Lou) and textiles by local makers like Hello Polly Home and Bonnie and Neil... the list could go on!! 

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Details from Lizzie's studio

20/11/2016
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Art Gives - Interview Series - Hannah Nowlan

What is your most treasured piece of art or design object?

My most treasured piece of art would have to be an oil painting on linen by my dear friend and artist, Madeline Simm. It’s a small abstract piece but it has really great energy and a calming vibe.

When and how did it come into your possession?

This artwork was actually made specially for me. It was given to me by the artist herself for my 21st birthday present, what a great gift!

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Hannah Nowlan in her studio. Photo: Lucy Amon

What has this piece given you in terms of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfilment?

I was so grateful to receive this painting as a gift, as I really admire Maddi’s work and it's hard to come across an artist who is as genuine as her. Over the time I’ve owned this painting it has moved seamlessly with me from space to space. From my art studio, to my bedroom and now to my new house - it now sits pride of place in my kitchen. This piece continues to bring an immense amount of positive energy into the space and mirrors the calm, slow living ethos, that I’m all about. 

How does it make you feel when you admire it, and why does it stir this emotion?

This artwork makes me feel happy and peaceful! I believe you can feel the joy and positivity from the artist escaping the painting. The simple colour palette and subtle texture play a big role in creating these emotions. 

What piece of art or design object from Modern Times are you wishing for this Christmas?

Oh! It’s so hard to choose just one item! Can I be greedy and wish for three design objects this year!? Hmmmm… this Christmas I’m wishing for one of Amanda Dziedzic’s Glass Bonsai’s OR a Louise Kyriakou Ceramic Sun Face OR one of the stunning Cobalt Blue vessels by Alexandra Standen. Let’s hope Santa spoils everyone with art gifts this year!

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15/11/2016
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Home Talent! An in-depth look into Yvette Coppersmith's Art Practise

What impact did winning the Metro 5 art prize ($40,000!) in 2003 at such a young age have on your career?

It could’ve impacted my career in a very different way than it did, but I knew at that early point (I’d not yet had a solo show), I needed to get some runs on the board and expand my practice with freedom to experiment. I didn’t want to make what was expected based on that winning work, so I didn’t ride that wave as I could have in a commercial sense. Instead I applied for my first solo exhibition in a non-commercial gallery and did what most fine arts graduate would do, with the exception of applying for any grants.

The avalanche of publicity the prize generated meant I was plucked from the obscurity of being a fresh VCA graduate. It was incredibly exciting to feel like your dreams have come into reality so soon.  However amongst the heaped praise, I heard a opinions that I was too young for a huge success and it would burden my whole career – if indeed I were to have one beyond that point.  But I felt a defiant my sense of myself as an artist.  At the age of 22 I quit my part time job (painting assistant in the studio of John Young) and painted full time for myself.  It was the financial backing that every young artist needs.

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Your practice has spanned realistic portraiture, performance art to more recently expressionism and cubism? Can you please explain a little bit about this journey? 


Ha!  Well it’s hard to sum up as each body of work has it’s own detailed story of how I arrived at it.

Style is a vernacular for the contemporary artist, to choose the language that best works to express their idea or subject matter.  I started as a photo-realist painter, and for the first few years exhibited very slick paintings with a psychological, emotional and theatrical dynamic.  The way I approached the ideas and subject matter varied but technically I was speaking in the same style.  In 2008 a shift took place where I looked at certain influences which were looser in the brushwork, although still realist and figurative.  Practicalities like a short timeframe for an upcoming show also helped precipitate a more gestural approach to painting.  In 2013 there was a period of transition where I realised that much of the artists whose work I loved was very different to what I was making.  I need to find how to align my influences with my own practice.   It took about a year for all the experiments and ideas to crystalise and form the basis of my first still life series Love and Light which was exhibited at Utopian Slumps.  That series was highly personal - it was a self-portrait in a sense, but through the genre of still life.  Rather than paint a model I made myself my own muse.  I approached former lovers and asked if they’d make a small sculpture from memory – of me as a reclining nude – giving them a packet of modeling clay to work with.  In effect they became artists and I was the model.  The results were humorous, clumsy little sculptures, which had little resemblance of me.  And that suited me perfectly – it allowed me to paint from life, and yet the distortions of the figure were inherently in the work.  I had been obsessed by Picasso’s figures, which were based on classical sculptures.  But rather than borrowing from the style of Picasso, I had all the distortions of the figure, just by painting from observation.  All the objects in that series were white, and I painted them in muted greys and pastels, so it actually looked more Morandi than Picasso.  Despite the emotional content, they were aesthetically quite restrained.

The next series I worked with couples.  Each couple participated by making a still life from their personal items in my studio.  That loss of control over the subject matter pushed my approach further to experiment with style.  I wasn’t just looking at the objects, but at Modernist artworks, which were relevant to the type of painting I wanted to make. Having restricted parameters pushed my style to develop further.  I became more reliant on looking at art, fashion, interior design, to give me the pictorial devices I needed to make a picture.   It also provided a more intuitive and imaginative way of making a picture.   From constantly broadening my visual language I have expanded the tools at my disposal as a painter.  The way I will approach the portrait or figure now might incorporate stylised and abstract elements. 

Just to expand on what you mean by my perfomance art – at one of my exhibition openings I did a performance as one of the characters in my self portraits.  It was tableaux vivant meets psychodrama.  The performative element to my practice has leant me an affinity working with professional performers such as Paul Capsis (my first Archibald finalist in 2008), Moira Finucane, Justin Heazelwood, and John Safran (second Archibald finalist in 2009).

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What themes are important to you, what do you want your work to communicate? Is it a common thread or is each work completely different?

The work might look different from one series to the next, however the underlying thread is that I’m influenced by my relationships with others and draw upon personal narratives.  My pieces have an intimate diaristic quality where my everyday surroundings and companions become muse, including myself in various guises. 

My work has an emotional, romantic side and I think, how do I translate this to a visual language that I feel comfortable with? I want to make paintings where the strength in them supports the vulnerability.  The paint itself is part of that, there’s also a cerebral aspect, a process driven approach, playfulness, but fundamentally I want to make paintings that I find desirable. 

What else are you currently working on? 

 There are a couple of commissioned portraits underway – one for the Australian War Memorial, Canberra and one for the University of Technology Sydney.  I’ve just written an opinion piece for the National Portrait Gallery magazine’s summer edition, and a studio interview for next issue of Art Guide.

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Do you have a dream project or opportunity?

I would like to exhibit more internationally – what’s not to love about a gallery hopping vacay to gather inspiration - while reaching a new audience for your artwork.  However I love working at home so much, I’d be just as happy staying in.

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08/11/2016
Art

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Exhibition: 'Home' featuring 20 contemporary Australian artists

Modern Times is proud to announce their first ever group show, ‘Home’ opening on October 27th. Home showcases the work of 20 contemporary Australian artists exploring the notion of home and what it means to them, featuring Modern Times regulars such as printmaker Ellie Malin and painter Elizabeth Barnett, as well as guests including current Archibald finalist Yvette Coppersmith and Geelong Contemporary Art Prize finalist Jonathan Crowther.

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“The concept of home means different things to different people - it can be positive or negative, literal or spiritual and the works in Home highlight this breadth of interpretation,” explains Modern Times director, Amy Malin. “From the self-conscious display of convenience foods depicted in ‘Packaged Good’ by Sandra Eterovic, to the overwhelming pile of toys rendered in laborious detail by Eleanor Voterakis in ‘Work. Life. Balance’ how the artists have translated the theme is really fascinating.”

In Esther Olssen’s work ‘Never Home Girl’, Esther explores a version of home that extends beyond her four walls. Esther explains, “Being just 23, I spend a lot of time not at home so my work reflects the locations I spend my time, the streets I walk along and how important a sense of community is for me to feel at home.”

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Amy and Joel Malin, owners of Modern Times have always said, “We want people to feel at home at Modern Times.”  This show is a reflection of that philosophy and a culmination of years of nurturing artists and their passion to show
contemporary art with substance and integrity in an inviting space.

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Join Amy, Joel and the Modern Times team at the opening of Home for a celebratory drink kindly supplied by Carlei wines, Daylesford Brewery and Capi.

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Opening 6-8pm, Thursday 27 October 2016. 

RSVP to events@moderntimes.com.au

Exhibition Dates: 27 October – 10 November 2016

Modern Times – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy

View event on Facebook 

Request a catalogue: pip@moderntimes.com.au

For media enquiries contact: gemma@moderntimes.com.au or +61 9913 8598

06/10/2016
Art

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A guest showing by artist Yvette Coppersmith

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The stars have perfectly aligned and the wind has blown in just the right direction to bring you a very special collection. We are thrilled to present a guest showing of works by the highly accomplished and current Archibald finalist, Yvette Coppersmith.

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Yvette Coppersmith completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at VCA in 2001 and has since been a finalist in many prestigious awards including the Archibald three times including 2016 with her self portrait. Kicking off her career she won the Metro Art Award in 2003 taking out the award against runner up, Ben Quilty !

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Yvette is well known for her portraiture but over the years her practice has spanned realistic portraiture, performance art and more recently experimenting with styles from expressionism to cubism interpreted through Yvette’s own contemporary lens.  BEERS London – the UK gallery where she is currently part of a show - described her work ‘being firmly rooted in the domestic, Coppersmith’s works often portray their subjects as sharp and angular, with bold shapes and lines being indicative of a refined yet still deeply experimental practise.’

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This guest showing presents works from Yvette’s personal collection that span the last 2.5 years where her Modernist influences have come to the fore through explorations of contemporary still life inspired by the great Italian painter Morandi, Matisse/Picasso inspired nudes and rich abstract studies of colour and texture.

 

“My paintings are made to be lived with, they are born in the sanctuary of the domestic environment. It’s wonderful to exhibit in a place where the art of the domestic is at the core.”

 

These works will be available for a limited time at Modern Times. Works go on show in store and online Monday. Consider adding one to your collection or just drop by and appreciate them.

REQUEST A LIST OF WORKS

22/09/2016
Modern Times News

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Feature Artist Q&A Esther Olsson

Today we introduce our second feature artist here at Modern Times. Every month or so we will bring together a series of artwork focusing on some of our fave local artists and designers.

Esther Olsson is a 23-year-old emerging artist from Melbourne, Australia. After starting out with a qualification in graphic design, she went on to work as an assistant to Melbourne artists Kirra Jamison and Beci Orpin.

With the encouragement and mentorship of these two successful and talented creatives Esther has launched her own painting career and developed a highly personal and idiosyncratic style. Her works are vibrant narratives within graphic grid systems bolstered by her attention to detail and sense of colour.

This series is part of Esther Olsson’s latest body of work ‘Hoops’ (2016). Hoops, takes its inspiration from gold earrings, girl gangs and basketball courts. With throwbacks to hip-hop, female sexuality, and her own experiences of moving from the country to the city ~ Esther has transformed her observations into vibrant modern allegories.

One of the most exciting emerging artists in Melbourne right now! Read more about Esther in our Q&A below.

Tell us a bit about your background. I.e. where did you grow up, what did you originally study?

 I grew up in a small town in country Gippsland, Neerim South then moved to Ballarat to complete my year 11&12 studies.  I studied graphic design and advertising in Melbourne.

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Can you give us a little insight about the body of works in this series?

This body of work all revolves around my friends and I (age 23) being super young and trying to shoot goals in life, sometimes missing and sometimes winning.

 

Where about are you based? And, how dose your creative process usually unfold?

 I’m currently based in Hawthorn.

I begin my creative process with a story from my life, and then try to portray that visually. I usually draw up super rough plan, which almost always changes when adding colors. This is mostly because the colors will change spacing and layout quite a lot.   

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What mediums do you love to work with?

 I work mostly with gouache with my hand painted work and occasionally I will create a vector artwork on my computer when working on a print.

What dose the typical day in the life of Esther Olsson involve?

 A typical day for me would start with a large list of jobs I need to complete on that day. I often like to go for a swim in the morning to clear my mind, and on the way back to the studio I will pick up my extra strong coffee to fuel the rest of the day. I usually paint all day until super late at night, and that’s when I will reply to all my emails.     

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Which other creative are you inspired by?

 Ren Hang (photographer) hiphop music always, Alex Gardner (painter) PAM (clothing) James Jarvis (illustrator) 

What would be your dream creative project?

 I would love to work and collaborating with interesting brands or artists.

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Is there any new inspirations/ new art pieces on the horizon?

 I really enjoyed running an interactive art installation at NGV Art Party, an underage rave.

My newest inspiration is boxing; I’m super into the analogy behind the move THE ROPER DOPE!!!   

I’m currently working on small group shows and some personal projects, and constantly trying to improve myself and construct new imagery.

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Favorite basketball player?

 New school- LeBron James

Old school- Allen Iverson

SHOP ESTHER OLSSON NOW

13/09/2016
Art

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Opening night gallery! Elizabeth Barnett's 'Interiors'

A huge thank you to everyone that come down to Modern Times to help celebrate Elizabeth Barnett's exhibtion 'Interiors'. We had a such a wonderful night, and met some extordinary people! 

A big thanks also to Mr Fancy Plants, who provided our store with beautiful botanicals! And Carlei Wines, The Daylesford Brewing Co, and CAPI for providing delicious beverages! 

The exhibition will be open until the 8th of September. 

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Photography: Brigette from Modern Times

29/08/2016
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Upcoming exhibition by Elizabeth Barnett | Interiors

Modern Times is delighted to present an exhibition of new works by Australian artist Elizabeth Barnett. Opening on Thursday 25 August 2016, ‘Interiors’ showcases a series of 24 vibrant paintings that depict both real and imagined still life arrangements that hint at their most recent inhabitants. 

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Elizabeth’s works are portraits of domestic intimacy, the colourful scenes feature abundant potted plant life and flower arrangements with familiar cookbooks and art titles sitting askew Modernist furniture pieces and richly patterned rugs. The acrylic paint is built up in shimmering translucent layers and the influence of painters such as David Hockney is evident in her highly developed yet naïve style. 

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The word interiors tends to conjure up the manufactured perfection of designer homes featured in glossy magazines and coffee table books, however, Elizabeth’s work reclaims the word ‘interiors’ and depicts a more truthful and sentimental interior which is full of life, warmth and creativity. “Everything is relaxed about Elizabeth’s work – her compositions, fluid drawing style and choice of subject matter. It’s homely, warm and inviting”, says exhibition curator and Modern Times director Amy Malin. 

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Elizabeth has studied art extensively, most recently completing a Master of Arts at the Camberwell College of Art,London.Elizabeth was awarded the Collie Print Trust scholarship at theAustralian PrintWorkshop in 2006 and in 2010 co-founded the seminal Schoolhouse Studios in Abbotsford. Since largely making the transition from printmaking to painting her profile has been rapidly on the rise demonstrated last year by her sell-out painting show ‘In a Temperature Climate’, for The Design Files ‘ TDF Collect’. 

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Exhibition Details:

Join Elizabeth and the Modern Times team at the opening of ‘Interiors’ for a celebratory drink kindly supplied by Carlei Wines, Daysford Brewing Co. and Capi.

Opening 6-8pm,Thursday 25 August 2016.
RSVP to events@moderntimes.com.au.
View Facebook event page 

Exhibition Dates: 25 August – 8 September 2016

Modern Times – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy 3065

To register for pre-sales contact pip@moderntimes.com.au.



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Saturday Artist Talk Event: 

Join artist Elizabeth Barnett and Modern Times director Amy Malin in a casual discussion exploring the inspiration, motivation and processes behind Elizabeth's exceptional new body of work 'Interiors'.

Proudly sponsored by Everyday Coffee.  
Date: Saturday, 27 August, 9am - 10am
Get your free tickets here. 

For enquiries contact Gemma Leslie gemma@moderntimes.com.au / +61 3 9913 8598 
 

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Photography by Jessica Tremp | Styling by Alichia Van Rhijn | Invitation design by Self Titled

03/08/2016
Art

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Feature Artist Q&A Madeleine Cruise

Today we introduce the first of our new Feature Artist series. Every month or so we will bring together a series of artwork focusing on some of our fave local artists and designers.

We debut the series with Madeleine Cruise, a name that has been circulating around Modern Times for a few months now!

Since completing her Masters in Painting at The National Art School in Sydney, Madeleine has since been practicing from her studio in Newcastle.  She is also the founder of an artist run initiative ‘NANA’, a not for profit gallery, shop and performance space located in the CBD of Newcastle.

Best known for her energising palettes and lively compositions her paintings are filled with personality. Working with acrylic paint, Madeleine paints effortlessly with bold brush strokes, layering her canvases with plentiful colour and detail.

In this series of paintings for Modern Times, Madeleine is richly influenced by emotional experiences in contemporary life, whilst maintaining a playful and engaging aesthetic. 

Madeleine’s work combines abstract shapes with those borrowed from nature so that the eye can journey through the work and piece together its own unique interpretation.

Playful yet considered they have that simple balance. Using mixed mediums she layers and reworks the surface until the warmth and textural qualities are harmonious.

Madeleine’s works are truly amazing up-close. The scale of the artwork is generous, and you can easily imagine how her palette of bright colours, alongside bold dark and neutral pastels could lift any contemporary space.

Madeleine took the time to have a chat with us about her process, inspiration and gave us a few insights of her day-to-day life. Truly a rising star!


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Tell us a bit about your background. Ie where did you grow up, what did you originally study?

I grew up in the country towns Camden and Bowral in New South Wales. I left home when I was 18 to study at The National Art School in Sydney, for a small town girl the city lights blew my mind and it was an important time of self-discovery. After majoring in Painting I won a Scholarship to complete Honours and graduated in 2010.

Can you give us a little insight about the body of works in this series?

This series is the result of a significant period of creative development and comes as the answer to the question I asked myself: What can paint do?  

 

A couple of years ago I decided to work with less intention, in a more playful and experimental way, in the hope of locating my own language and a greater understanding of what I wanted to paint. Working without pre conceived ideas or the pressure to complete, I was able to work ‘with’ the medium and discovered some wonderful techniques. Most significantly though, the process revealed pathways to my subconscious and with it, a world that I am compelled to paint. These discoveries have informed my current mode of practice and can been seen in this series.

I like to think of these works as psychological landscapes, in the sense that they represent internal experiences and give form to sensation and emotions. They are deliberately ambiguous so as to operate as spaces for contemplation. I have combined abstract shapes with those borrowed from nature so that the eye can journey through the work and piece together its own unique interpretation.

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Where abouts are you based? And, how does your creative process usually unfold?

I am based in Newcastle NSW. My creative practice is most often based around a series that I will work on for a number of weeks or months. However I have noticed that there is a limit to which I can focus on one idea or way of working, so I will often develop another very different series alongside it. Sometimes it feels like I have split painting personality but I think that perhaps it is a way of extending ideas and reduces the possibility of overworking individual paintings or becoming bored with them – which never leads to a good end result!


What does a typical day in the life of Madeleine Cruise involve?

I work from home where I have a studio out the back of my share house. I will most often sleep in and wait for my housemates to go to work before I get up so that I can have the house to myself.  I then drink coffee, do some internet research, check emails and work on any art applications that I might have underway. When I get to the studio I will select some music and then lead a fairly regimented day – stopping for lunch but working through till late afternoon. My Australian Terrier Louis and I will then walk to the dog park where I’ll buy a takeaway from the conveniently located bottle shop next door and we’ll both catch up with our ‘friends’ and unwind till sunset.

Which other creatives are you inspired by / loving at the moment?

I am really inspired by fashion at the moment and have come to appreciate the amazing historic lineage of fashion houses and their reflection of contemporary culture. I love the continuous re invention of tradition, the wear ability of such amazing creations and the spectacle of the catwalk and promotional campaigns. The whole oeuvre of a season collection, in clothing, make up, set and sound is so immersive and powerful. Some of my favourite designers at the moment are Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana.

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What would be your dream creative project?

I would love to collaborate with a Synth Pop musician someone like Grimes or Tame Impala, so as to create the backdrops to their live performances. I imagine making giant animated paintings  that change colour and formation with the  music. I could imagine that this type of collaboration would really satisfy my pursuit of creating immersive spaces as well as my alter ego of being a pop star.


What is your proudest career achievement to date?

It would probably be founding and directing the artist run initiative NANA contemporary art space. NANA was a not for profit gallery, shop and performance space located in the CBD of Newcastle, which operated from 2013 for two and a half years. As an emerging artist new to the city NANA was a project designed to facilitate community and exposure for like-minded contemporary artists in Newcastle. My role as director encompassed many unexpected responsibilities and I found myself juggling the role of curator, photographer, caterer, install team, secretary, graphic designer, mediator and cleaner at any one time – whilst trying to maintain a personal art practice and hold down a paid job! It was a big project and I am proud of all that NANA achieved.


Is there any new inspirations / new art pieces on the horizon?

I am working on a new series of paintings that work closely with music and are an extension of my current collection at Modern Times.


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View Madeleine's work via the Modern Times website. 


Have you heard of Art Money?

Interest free loans are available for artworks priced from $750 to $20,000.  After paying a 10% deposit, you can take your artwork home and pay the remaining balance over 9 months, interest free! Apply online for instant approval, take your art home and pay for it later. It's super easy and simple to apply.

 

17/07/2016
Interviews

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The wonderful world of terrazzo, and it's dear friend marble!

Let us take you back 500 years ago when terrazzo was discovered in Italy. Terrazzo literally means ‘Terraces’ in Italian, and was born out of frugality in the 15th century, when local Italian marble workers were unable to afford marble for their own terraces. Settling odd-size discarded marble pieces from paying jobs in clay, they created attractive patios or terraces for themselves.

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1. Venetian marble workers first started using broken and discarded marble pieces off custom marble slabs to build terraces around their homes in the 15th century.
 

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2. As the marble pieces were set in clay, they created rough, uneven surfaces. To even the surfaces, a stone was rubbed all over it to smoothen it out. The process started out by hand and later evolved to a long-handled grinding stone called Galera.

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3. Goats milk was used as floor sealant. Yes … you read correctly! Goats milk was applied over the surface which gave it a fantastic bright sheen to the marble pieces. 

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4. Skipping to this modern day, terrazzo has never looked so good in any interior situation. We’re completely obsessed.

Here are some modern day highlights that are worth mentioning … 

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(above) British designer 
Max Lamb developed a multi-coloured engineered marble for Dzek, which was used to build furniture that appears to merge with walls of the same material for an installation in Milan.

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Flat-pack marble tables by Australian designer Jonathan Zawada. Each table is a combination of three pieces of marble or granite.

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We're so lucky to have some beautiful terrazzo and marble pieces in-store at the moment. Check out the beautiful Dutch Terrazzo coffee table, the stunning Modern Times marble coffee table (available in pink marble too!), the Dutch rectangular coffee table and the charming Dutch square coffee table. We're always getting new designs in at Modern Times, so it's always great to drop by the store or browse our collection online if you're looking for anything special!

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Check out the Modern Times Pinterest page for some inspiration on terrazzo and marble.


 

04/07/2016
Design

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Daybed Dreaming!

Luxurious and light-hearted is how we would first describe this room! With an unmistakable glamorous pink palette, this room was ultimately inspired by the Cleopatra Daybed! Originally designed in 1953 by Andre Cordemeijer for Auping (Netherlands) this piece has a wealth of character and history.

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Modern Times owners, Amy and Joel sourced a handful of Cleopatra Daybed frames on a recent trip to Denmark, and wanted to bring the design back to Australia to share it with everyone!


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Above: Andre Cordemeijer, designer of the Cleopatra Daybed

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The fantastic thing about this piece is that you have the opportunity to create your own story through our selection of upholstery options. There is a variety of fabrics offered! Pink, check, wool, linen, green, navy, grey – there are several amazing options and variations you can choose from. Check out our Pinterest page for some daybed inspo!

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Above: Cleopatra Daybed Advertisement 1950s

For further informatin on the The Cleopatra Daybed, you can either drop by the store, email sales@moderntimes.com.au or call (03) 9913 8598.

29/06/2016
Furniture

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Have you heard of Art Money?

Art Money is awesome! Art Money offers interest free loans to buy art

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At Modern Times we believe art should be for everyone. Good art is good for the soul, no question. Hanging a piece of art that you truly love can mark the point when your house becomes your home. But sometimes your bank account vs. your passion can get in the way! Therefore, we're very pleased to be joining with Art Money to make buying art easier. It's a little bit like an old fashioned lay-by, but you get to take your purchase home sooner.

Interest free loans are available for artworks priced from $750 to $20,000.  After paying a 10% deposit, you can take your artwork home and pay the remaining balance over 9 months, interest free! Apply online for instant approval, take your art home and pay for it later. It's super easy and simple to apply.

If you find some art you love on the Modern Times website, you can see how much repayments will be for your purchase here ...  for more information about applying for an Art Money loan visit www.artmoney.com.au. Or, send Pip an email at pip@moderntimes.com.au

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20/06/2016
Modern Times News

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Four Dutch designers you should know

Today we're immersed in an exploration of mid-century Dutch design inspired by this super fresh scene from our current Winter Light campaign.

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One of the first things you notice when you see these pieces together is a more industrial take on modernism that's very different from the hand-crafted Scandinavian style of the same era.  The rigorous use of straight, horizontal and vertical lines, geometry and primary colours served as a foundation for many mid-century Dutch designers. 

When thinking of Dutch mid-century furniture, one might be inclined to imagine a variation on Danish mid-century furniture where the focus was on beautiful natural materials and hand finishing. In fact, Dutch design of this same period is quite the opposite! Whilst it is wholly informed by the same modernist principals that guided the Danes (read an earlier blog post about this!), the Dutch interpretation was led by the burgeoning manufacturing technologies emerging in Holland at this time.

Here's a rundown on four influential Dutch designers that have helped shape the landscape of mid-century design today.

Friso Kramer 

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Friso Kramer created some of Holland's most iconic modernist designs. In 1953 he produced a chair, called "Revolt" which was shown at the 1954 Milan Triennial and in the same year he designed the "Reply" drafting table designed with Wim Rietveld for Ahrend de Cirkel. The work surface pivots at two points and can be configured into a office desk, standing desk or anything in between. Inspired by Jean Prouvé, the design won a "Signe d'Or" award for the design in Brussels. 

 "You may design a beautiful chair, but put six around a table and something starts to happen. You say, 'It's too much this or that'. So you have to remove the irritation you will develop over time." – Friso Kramer

 

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Friso Kramer's "Reply" Drafting Table and his "Revolt" Chair

Cees Braakman 

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Another Dutch designer of the period that is highly valued for their contribution to Dutch Modernism is Cees Braakman. At the age of 17 (what a young-gun!), he began working at Pastoe, a Utrecht-based furniture manufacturer, where he learned the trade. Check out this three-legged desk he designed whilst at Pastoe!

During the 1950s and ’60s, Braakman placed particular emphasis on modular storage solutions. In 1955, Pastoe launched Braakman’s Made-to-Measure cabinets, which allowed customers to choose from a variety of woods and configurations and self-assemble them. This was all in keeping with the Dutch idea of creating accessible design that was functional and affordable.


Wim Rietveld 

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The youngest son of architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld (who designed the seminal Red/Blue Chair in 1917), Wim Rietveld (1924-1985) is considered to be another pioneer of Dutch Industrial design.

“The product needs an overall improvement. That means considering form, function, colour and price.” -Wim Rietveld.


Wim Rietveld took over as designer for company Gispen in 1949 and mainly designed office furniture and lighting. He introduced ‘furniture for simple interiors’ in line with the thoughts of  “Goed Wonen” (Good Living), a foundation set up to promote well-designed domestic goods.

Rob Parry

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You might have spotted Rob Parry’s ‘Easy Chairs’ in our most recent campaign - see the pic at the top of this post or the full campaign here!  These chair designs are just one project in an extensive body of work comprising furniture, typography, interiors, exhibitions and architecture, all in a contemporary style, appropriate to a prosperous welfare society in the making. Parry really proved he was a high achiever in all aspects of design.

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Easy Chairs by Rob Parry for Gelderland


19/06/2016
Design

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Modern Times Annual Warehouse Sale!!

It’s that time of year again! Modern Times is opening its warehouse doors to the public, for it’s exclusive annual sale. Come down and browse through the furniture jungle (Modern Times warehouse) for Danish leather sofas, teak chests, extendable tables, coffee tables, dining chairs, lounge chairs, desks, bureaus, artwork, homewares and more.

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Also just a quick note to also let you know, we’ve moved warehouses, so please visit us at our NEW location at 1A / 433 Smith Street.

Doors opening 11am-5pm Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th of June
Modern Times Warehouse – 1A / 433 Smith Street, Fitzroy

15/06/2016
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20th Century Design Legends

As you know, the vintage furniture we specialise in at Modern Times is usually of the Danish, Dutch or Italian variety but that doesn’t mean we limit ourselves! We currently have some pieces by icons of French and German origin so I thought what a great time to shine the light on two legends of twentieth century design – Maison Jansen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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Shot by Brooke Holm. Styled by us! Falcon Chair by Sigurd Ressell, Drinks Trolley by Artemide, Palm Lamp by Maison Jansen, 'Nevada', Photograph by Brooke Holm, 'Animals' Painting by Esther Olsson, The Barcelona Couch by Mies van der Rohe, French Lucite and Brass Side Table, Rugs by Pampa

Maison Jansen

Maison Jansen was one of the world’s first truly international interior design firms and arguably the top design firm of the twentieth century. They were founded in Paris in 1880 and by the turn of the century their services were in demand by aristocracy and royalty across Europe. From here the firm continued to expand, opening up offices and ateliers in South America, North America, Europe, and Africa. The Maison Jansen style was luxurious and dramatic with a touch of the exotic but mainly drew on traditional European design.

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Coco Chanel's 1930's Paris apartment by Maison Jansen

The furniture they manufactured, often one-off commissions, was mainly 18th century reproductions but Maison Jansen were not afraid to incorporate contemporary trends including Modernism and Art Deco into their interiors and custom designs.

Maison Jansen pieces are highly collectable and their interior projects that remain are preserved for posterity. The firm’s most notable project was The White House during the Kennedy years.

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The Maison Jansen Palm Lamp, designed in the 1970’s, was produced in many iterations and it’s blingy brass with dramatic and opulent form oozes 1970’s hollywood glamour. Shop Maison Jansen Palm Lamp here.

 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe was an esteemed German architect, in fact he is credited as a pioneer of modern architecture! He designed numerous buildings including the famous Farnsworth House (1945) and the German Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Barcelona (1929) which both embodied his rigorous modernist principles. Mies summed up his design philosophy with his favourite sayings - ‘less is more’ and ‘god is in the details’.

 

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The Farnsworth House designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1945. Image via Beth Bullock

Mies, like many architects of the time, designed furniture that also followed these new principles of modernist design, doing away with the ornate decoration of the previous eras which were seen as excessive and a waste of effort and material.

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The Barcelona Couch originally in Harry Seidler's MLC Building, Sydney

The Barcelona Chair is Mies’ best known furniture design, originally designed for the Barcelona Pavillion in 1929, and a true icon of modernist design. The beautiful Barcelona Couch was added to the collection the following year both of which have been produced to his exacting specifications ever since.

The Barcelona Couch that we currently have in our collection came out of the Sydney MLC Building, an important building designed by our own proponent of Modernist design, Harry Seidler, in the late 1970s.  The condition is excellent, testament to the enduring quality of the original design. Shop The Barcelona Couch here

08/06/2016
Furniture

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Upcoming exhibition by Brooke Holm | Salt & Sky

We’re delighted to present an exhibition of new works by Melbourne photographer Brooke Holm. Opening on Thursday 23 June, Salt And Sky brings together Brooke’s amazing landscape photography with her keen eye for linear compositions in a series that depicts the salt fields of Western Australia.

 

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Brooke is interested in both the tension and bond that exists simultaneously between humans and the natural world. The salt field landscapes that she captures are based within the UNESCO Heritage site of Shark Bay and in her eyes provide “a visually stunning example of nature and human intervention entwined.” Shot from above, the salt ponds and harvested fields create graphic compositions with painterly textures in ice-cream hues.

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Brooke masterfully utilises minimal composition, while also creating images that are rich in detail and sensory experience. “At a distance they can be enjoyed as pure studies in colour and composition but on closer inspection the smooth, creamy and powdery textures of the works are palpable as is the sensation of a breeze as it whips up the surface of the ponds," says exhibition curator and Modern Times director Amy Malin.

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Brooke is an acclaimed commercial and fine art photographer published in numerous Australian and International publications including Trendland, AD Spain, Vogue Living and Belle.  Salt And Sky will be Brooke’s last show in Australia for quite some time as she is set to head off for New York mid-show where her star will no doubt continue to rise.

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Join Brooke and the Modern Times team at the exhibition opening for a celebratory drink kindly supplied by McPherson Wine Co, The Melbourne Gin Company and Capi!

Exhibtion opening:
Opening 6-8pm, Thursday 23 June 2016. RSVP is a must, to events@moderntimes.com.au
Exhibition Dates: 23 June – 7 July 2016
Modern Times – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy
For catalogue and to register for pre-sales email us here.

In-store Q&A:
Brooke Holm and Modern Times director Amy Malin in a casual discussion exploring the inspiration, motivation and processes behind Brooke's exceptional new body of work 'Salt and Sky'.
There are limited seats, so please secure your seats here.

Saturday, 25 June 2016 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM 
Modern Times - 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

 

05/06/2016
Art

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Winter Light - Access All Eras

1 - Rosewood_34_Blog_2Photography by Brooke Hom. Styled by us!

We love to collect and bring together pieces from different countries and design era's. This scene from our current Winter Light campaign epitomises this aesthetic with pieces ranging from the atomic style of a 1950s Louis Kalff lamp to the sharp lines of the 80s in the FM60 Cube lounge chair by Dutch designer Raboud van Beekum all softened with the warm hues and organic material of a Danish Gunni Omann sideboard.

All the pieces we collect have fascinating stories and histories...read on to get the back story on a few featured here!

Matteo Grassi Arm Chair

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Matteo Grassi is an Italian company with rich heritage. Their craft centred approach has it's origins in their beginnings as a saddlery company.

This sophisticated lounge chair from the late 1970's utilises innovative construction with its leather covered frame and balances the strong square design with subtle stitching and seaming details.  See their video to fully appreciate Matteo Grassi's amazing attention to detail and craftsmanship.

Cubic FM60 Armchair by Raboud van Beekum for Pastoe

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Striking and sculptural! What an amazing statement chair that is a perfect expression of modern Dutch design aesthetics. Inspired by the Dutch artistic movement De Stijl (think Mondrian and Gerrit Rietvelds Red and Blue Chair) Raboud van Beekum has distilled his FM60 Cubic chair into its essential linear forms –  a cube intersected with the two planes of a chair. The saddle leather used for the seat and back is the perfect material as it follows the linear forms of the chair while providing a comfortable place to recline.

Model 'Z' Table Lamp by Louis Kalff for Phillips

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We are all familiar with the name Phillips, synonymous with all things electrical, but did you know that Phillips brought on an incredibly talented industrial designer in the 1920's? Louis Kalff guided the company to adopt a more modern and colourful approach to their entire business and worked on numerous design projects including a range of innovative and beautiful lamps Louis Kalff lamps are rare and valuable, sought after for their space age silouhettes and simple design details such as perforation, colour and mix of materials that are all used with restraint and purpose.

Shop The Look!

Shop by Era

Shop by Origin

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24/05/2016
Interiors

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Ellie Malin | Old City, New World

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This month, Modern Times is excited to present an exhibition of new works by Melbourne-based printmaker Ellie Malin. Opening on Thursday 28 April, Old city, new world showcases the latest work from this unique printmaker –  a master of colour, texture and distilled form.

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Old City II, unique state woodblock print. Part of Ellie Malin's upcoming exhibition.

“Spring greens, and oceanic blues draw in a world of nature while circles, arches and squares evoke memories of old worlds,” states Ellie. Large scale, brightly coloured shapes are individually inked and laid down layer by layer in a process that may take months from beginning to end. Compositions go from loose and chaotic to orderly, meticulous and condensed.

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Old City V, unique state woodblock print. Part of Ellie Malin's upcoming exhibition.

The work has a distinct architectural feel so it is no surprise Ellie cites the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando as an inspiration.  But, just like her technique, what informs the work is also multi-layered. “I might lay down a colour in order to challenge myself and push the boundaries of my work. For example, I have introduced intense clarets and yellow ambers, colours that challenge me, in my endeavour to understand them and find harmonious resolutions.”

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New World I, unique state woodblock print. Part of Ellie Malin's upcoming exhibition.

It is evident that Ellie looks back to artists such as Malevich and Kandinsky for inspiration, however Old city, new world is nothing less than original, fresh and contemporary. 

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Shadows, unique state woodblock print. Part of Ellie Malin's upcoming exhibition.

Exhibition co-curator, Pip Stevenson, describes her take on the work: “Ellie’s new work literally took my breath away when I first saw it. Her use of colour has continued to evolve and her subtly evocative compositions are mesmerising. Overall it displays a new maturity and a consolidated personal style.” 

Ellie has exhibited widely and her work has been acquired by collectors both here and overseas, she collaborated with Gorman in 2013 and most recently entered the archive of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Join Ellie and the Modern Times team at the exhibition opening for a celebratory drink kindly supplied by McPherson Wine Co! All welcome but please RSVP to events@moderntimes.com.au by 25 April.

For catalogue and to register for pre-sales contact pip@moderntimes.com.au

07/04/2016
Modern Times News

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Modern Times In Conversation

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We are hosting an exciting series of free talks on your favourite topics throughout February and March and we'd love you to join us!

Visit mid-century architectural gems in LA and Palm Springs without leaving your seat with interior architect David Flack, get my insights into buying art and the commission process when I share the stage with artist Sarah Kelk and learn from the best in the biz with interior styling expertise from Simone Haag.

Big thanks to Denton wines who will kindly be supplying the libations.

Wed 17 February, 6.30pm
Architecture – In Conversation with David Flack

Interior architect and rising star David Flack recently immersed himself in an architectural tour of Modernist paradise, Palm Springs and LA. Instead of us having to be quietly jealous, he is so kindly going to share what he learnt, what he saw and what will be inspiring his next projects. It’s the next best thing to being there! SOLD OUT

Free event | Spaces are limited | RSVP Now 

SOLD OUT

Wed 02 March, 6.30pm
Art – In Conversation with Amy Malin and Sarah Kelk

Buying art can be scary! Thought about commissioning a piece but don’t know where to start? Allow us to remedy all that anxiety and demystify the basics. Modern Times director Amy Malin shares her expert knowledge on selecting the right art for your space and budget and artist Sarah Kelk talks about her artistic practice and the commission process.

Free event | Spaces are limited | RSVP Now MORE TICKETS TO BE RELEASED

SOLD OUT

Sat 19th March, 10.30am
Interiors – In Conversation with Simone Haag

Interiors Stylist Simone Haag will generously share her wealth of knowledge on the ins and outs of furnishing a space that reflects your character and lifestyle. The core principals are covered including budget, colour and materiality, along with her many personal insights into the process itself; including scale, placement and the importance of greenery. Love it!

Free event | Spaces are limited | RSVP Now

SOLD OUT

All events are now sold out. We had such an overwhelming response and even with a doubling of original ticket numbers, some of you still missed out so I'm very sorry to those people.

We'll have more events coming soon!  Make sure you are on our mailing list to be the first to know!

02/02/2016
Modern Times News

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An exciting time of year for Ellie Malin.

Ellie Malin is one of the most successful artists we show at Modern Times. Ellie’s prints showcase her superb eye for colour, form and composition. We asked Ellie to curate her top gifts from Modern Times and her selection reflects this. “When looking for gifts at Modern Times these pieces jumped out at me. Colour is usually the first thing that draws me in, followed by beautiful textures and functionality,” she explains.

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The gifts curated by Ellie Malin reflect her love of colour and texture. Image styled by Nat Turnbull. Shot by Elise Grace

We love the dark and moody palette of Ellie’s curation of gifts with highlights of deep green and beige. If Ellie had to choose just one of these gifts for herself she says, “It’s hard to choose just one favourite, BUT at the top of my wish list is the dark green glass bonsai by Amanda Dzeidzic, a timeless piece reflecting colour and light.  Simply beautiful!”

Ellie sums up her philosophy behind choosing the right gift, – “I’ve chosen these gifts because I believe functionality and beauty should always be purchased in pairs. One for you, and one for me!” Discussing further, I love her idea that “in giving something we love and adore it’s like we give a token of our self. 

I think the same can be said for entertaining. This year Ellie has had her favourite Ottolenghi recipes out and tells me she is planning a tomato and roasted lemon salad as her contribution to the family Christmas. Yum! It sounds as though it’s just one part of a delicious spread too as Ellie explains, “our food style is a cross between Argentinian, Italian with a touch of classic Australian. Christmas lunch generally folds into dinner then into supper. All in all, it’s a fairly relaxed day with family and friends.” 

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A relaxed day will be just what Ellie needs as she has had a bumper year. Ellie tells me the highlights have been a printmaking residency at Megalo studio in Canberra, renovating her future home and most of all preparing for her first baby! With the baby due on 28th December, it might just be a completely different Christmas for Ellie this year…and certainly an exciting 2016!

Shop Gifts Curated by Ellie Malin

14/12/2015
Interviews

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Good time giving with Billie Justice Thomson

Melbourne artist, Billie Justice Thomson is known for her playful and humorous paintings but when we asked Billie to curate her top gifts from Modern Times she came up with a surprisingly sensible yet sophisticated edit. Billie was kind enough to enlighten us a bit more on her selection but added that her family always gives to charity at Christmas so doesn’t get too caught up in the Christmas present-buying madness – there’s a lot of sense in that too, hey.

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The gifts curated by Billie Justice Thomson are all about everyday luxury. Image styled by Nat Turnbull. Shot by Elise Grace

If Billie does need to pick up a gift or two she simply chooses things that she would want for herself! “I’m drawn towards things that are practical yet luxurious. That’s what everyone wants in a present isn’t it?” The Grafa garden tools are a perfect example of this and Billie says they’d be at the top of her list “because I feel like they’re a lifetime investment in your gardening. Something that will never break and will age beautifully.”

If you have friends and family who are not so easy to buy for (because let’s face it, most people are pretty hard to buy for), Billie makes a great suggestion for those very folks. “The picnic rug, it works for anyone of any age, there’s no one who doesn’t like picnics!“ she says.

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The lovely Billie with a work, Convenient Dom, from her sell-out show this year. BTW..it's now available as a print.

Despite Billie’s charitable approach to her own Christmas gift-giving she does seems to have it sorted. I almost expect Billie to tell me she does a soup kitchen on Christmas Day but she tells me - “I have a large extended family here in Melbourne and if there was anything less than the FULL traditional spread there would be a riot.” One of the draw cards being her mum’s famous trifle – “a sort of a pavlova/trifle hybrid. It’s ridiculous,” Billie explains.

Billie’s approach to Christmas is refreshingly sensible without missing out on her fair share of festive season indulgences. Billie’s steadfast family tradition of giving to charity at Christmas is one we could all make part of our own traditions too...if it's not already!

Donate to The Smith Family Toy and Book Appeal

Shop Gifts Curated by Billie Justice Thomson

01/12/2015
Interviews

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Sarah Kelk has Christmas covered!

At Modern Times, we strive to bring together the best in Australian art and design so it’s the perfect place to start your Chrissy shopping. For some extra fresh inspiration, we asked four of our favourite local artists to curate their own selection of gifts that will top their Modern Times wishlist this year!

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Gifts Curated by artist Sarah Kelk.  Image styled by Nat Turnbull and photography by Elise Grace.

Lets start with painter Sarah Kelk, whose sell-out show this year left us all on a high. Where she finds the time with her business Hello Polly, her successful painting career and family life I have no idea but I’m so thankful I could get the lowdown on her top gifts and her general approach to the festive season.

Sarah’s curated selection has a graphic yet organic aesthetic, she says “I wasn’t looking for anything specific, but was drawn to inspiring products that Id love to be constantly surrounded by.”

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Sarah Kelk on her home studio.

As a self-confessed ceramics addict combined with her love of texture and pattern, it’s no surprise Sarah is attracted to the stunning work of Katia Carletti and Louise Kyriakou. Sarah says, “I love anything with pattern or texture, and these pieces are no exception. I absolutely love giving gifts to people, and often take way too long choosing the perfect thing for people I love. I think I always end up giving pieces that I’d quite like to have myself (thats common right???).”

Sarah’s best efforts to avoid the whole ‘One for you, one for me’ routine are not always successful – “ I’m a sucker for homewares , shoes and sunglasses!!”

In fact, Sarah tells me her go-to gift for that friend or family member who has everything would be anything ceramic. “Ceramics! You can never have too many ceramics”

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Sarahs Gifts Curated includes original print by Ellie Malin, ceramics by Lene Kuhl Jacobsen, Katia Carletti, Concrete tray by Studiokyss and Suds Collar by Two Hills. Image styled by Nat Turnbull and photography by Elise Grace.

With such good Christmas shopping advice, Sarah sounds like she has it covered and when I ask about Christmas more broadly, I’m convinced!

Sarah blends together the best of her family traditions with her personal experience from spending many years in Europe. “I grew up with the traditional Christmas fare (Turkey, Ham, Pav etc) but always with a summer afternoon running race or cricket game with the cousins thrown in for good measure. After spending 8 years having wintery European Christmases, I’ve picked up a few extra Northern hemisphere additions that all seem to blend together to make a fun family Christmas.”

When Sarah starts talking about her secret family recipe for the perfect baked ham, the obligatory Pimms and bubbly, all followed up with a Boxing Day family picnic at Heide I start to wonder how I might wrangle an invite to this picture-perfect sounding Christmas!

Shop Gifts Curated by Sarah Kelk Now.

 

17/11/2015
Interviews

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The Best Christmas Gift Ever | Orders Close Soon!

We really love to mix up a little bit of the old with a little bit of the new. In the new camp we have the supreme talent of local furniture makers; Alex Rains of the 'Lex' range and Adam Markowitz of cross-breed 'Fred' table fame.

We know so many of you have been lusting after one these tactile, hand-crafted tables made from Australian Timber. Don't miss out on getting yours in time for the holidays! Think of it as the Best Christmas Gift Ever! 

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The Lex Table Designed by Alex Rains. Available made to order at Modern Times!

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Corner Detail of the Lex Dining Table By Alex Rains. Available at Modern Times!

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The Fred Table Designed by Adam Markowitz. Made to order from Modern Times!
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Leg Detail of the Fred Table by Adam Markowitz. Available to order from Modern Times! 

To customise your very own Fred or Lex Dining table for your place pop in for a chat or email us anytime! 

Orders for Pre-Christmas Delivery Close 2nd November! 

19/10/2015
Furniture, Modern Times News

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Billie Justice Thomson | The Order of Things | Now Open!

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Billie Justice Thomson in the studio with paintings from her exhibition The Order of Things 

It has been a stellar year for exhibitions at Modern Times, with a sell-out from Stephen Baker followed up by runaway success, Sarah Kelk

We couldn't be prouder to wrap up the exhibition calendar with an oustanding exhibition from the effervescent and utterly talented painter, Billie Justice Thomson.  

'The Order of Things' showcases a series of Billie’s playful and humorous paintings in the illustrative and nostalgic style she is so well known for.

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Your Invitation! Bring your friends! Invite design by Seld-titled.

Billie gleans endless inspiration from the everyday and the unique lens with which she views her world. "My paintings pay homage to the kitschy delights of eating, drinking and the bizarre day to day miracles of existence," she says.

Loved by us and Modern-Times-art-lovers alike, her colourful and graphic style is immediately striking but the particular way she presents familiar subjects means the viewer often finds one or two pieces that especially resonate with them. 

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Whisky on the Rocks by Billie Justice Thomson

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Toast by Billie Justice Thomson 

The exhibition moves through a range of subject matters, from the familiar - in a painting of a red pair of socks, to the creepy – a cleanly severed, perfectly manicured hand. 

“When viewed together, they create a narrative where the images are arranged and rearranged into a sequence that can tell many stories, it all hinges on the state of mind of the viewer,“ states Billie. “There is a departure into slightly more sinister territory with my latest series”. 

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Red Socks by Billie Justice Thomson 

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Severed Hand by Billie Justice Thomson

We're spoilt with stunning wines from Gomersal Wines and cider and beer from Young Henrys so mark September 24 in your calendar and join us to celebrate this clever and funny exhibition from 6-8pm at a NEW VENUE 466 Smith Street, Collingwood. Please RSVP to pip@moderntimes.com.au.

Pre-Sales are now open! To get your hands on a catalogue email pip@moderntimes.com.au! All paintings are available to purchase online here!

The exhibition is open at Modern Times from 25th September and will run until the 8th October. See you there!


09/09/2015
Art

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Now Open! Sarah Kelk - All Things Now

 

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Sarah Kelk in her studio with paintings from All Things Now

All Things Now is a warm interpretation of the world around us, evoking visual memories and allowing the viewer to decode their own meanings. 

Sarah's soft edged abstract paintings have an exquisite balance of strength and lightness to them that makes them so appealing. 

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Layered by Sarah Kelk, from All Things Now.

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Sheltered by Sarah Kelk from All Things Now.

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Under the canopy by Sarah Kelk from All Things Now.

We are so pleased to announce Trophy Wife Nail Art will be having a Pop-Up in-store for tonight only! You can get your very own Sarah Kelk inspired feature nail painted for just $5 (or $10 for 2!) while you drink a glass of wine! Line up ladies!

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Sarah Kelk Inspired feature nails by Trophy Wife Nails!!

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All Things Now! Image courtesy of Peter Kelk

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A happy crowd at Modern Times celebrating All Things Now by Sarah Kelk. Image courtesy of Peter Kelk

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Drinking and mingling at Modern Times! Image courtesy of Peter Kelk.

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The beautiful paintings of All Things Now by Sarah Kelk at Modern Times

All Things Now will be hanging in-store until Thursday 6 August and you can see the paintings all online here! 

02/07/2015
Art

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Warehouse Sale This Weekend!

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It's that time again! Warehouse Sale time!!! 

We'd love to see you at our warehouse sale this weekend. You will find a whole range of fantastic pieces at CRAZYYYY!!!! prices so we can make way for new stock. Browse our 500sq metre warehouse and you will find lots of bargains on both restored and unrestored items from Denmark, Italy, Holland and beyond.

Loads of Danish Leather Sofas $500 - $1800

Teak Chests $300 - $600

Extendable Dining Tables $550 - $950

Coffee Tables from $150 - $650

Dining Chairs from $90 - $300

and more including desks, armchairs, bureaus, side tables and homewares...

 

See you at our warehouse, just up the road from our store...

466 SMITH ST, COLLINGWOOD
10AM-5PM
SATURDAY 13TH - SUNDAY 14TH JUNE

08/06/2015
Modern Times News

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Top 4 with Sharon Muir

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A collection of Sharon Muir's ceramic art on an Italian Desk. Rug by Pampa, artwork Christopher Wool, Danish armchair. All available at Modern Times.

Sharon Muir's stunning ceramics have had a special place at Modern Times for some time now and we keep falling more and more in love!

Known for her distinctive work with red and white clay and her ceramic collage, each piece makes a statement on its own and and looks even better in a collection of your favourite pieces!

A graduate of RMIT, Sharon has a Masters of Fine Arts (high distinction!) and her skill and creativity speaks loudly in her ceramic art, which she has proudly exhibited both Internationally and within Australia.

We are humbled to be her sole stockist in Victoria and love seeing her hand dishes and geometric planters nestled amongst our Danish sofas or atop detailed Italian desks. 

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L-R: Arch Point Atomic Planter, Mini Mona Dish and Cleopatra Eye Dish. All available at Modern Times.

We chatted recently with Sharon about her signature style and she even revealed which treasured pieces she keeps at home!

How would you describe your style? 

My husband, an art history adademic, calls it 'modern archaic'. I would describe it as graphic, streamlined and neatly crafted. I have always admired the gestural organic style of ceramics but I've never been able to produce it. 

What are your major influences that come together to create this style? 

If I had to narrow it down, I would say the palette comes from ancient Greek and South American pottery while the forms are inspired by modernist and vintage shapes. But I really find inspiration everywhere- I have recently been looking at road markings and thinking what nice abstract shapes they are. 

What are your top 4 pieces (personal favourites!)?

I don't really have any favourites but there are pieces that I have at home, so I must like them a little more than the others. I have a black and white pebble pot, two black and white saucer vases, a hand dish and a bullet vase. And a black and white lamp prototype that's based on one of the vases. The lamp is the piece that excited me the most. It's not in production yet even thought I've been working on lamps since last year! 

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L-R: Hand Dish, Pebble UFO Vase. Both by Sharon Muir, available at Modern Times.

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L-R: Pebble Pot, Bullet Vase. Both by Sharon Muir, available at Modern Times.

Tell us a little story about yourself.... 

When I left school I wanted to be a Graphic Designer. I'm glad I'm not a Graphic Designer. I'm much better at making pots! 

We are quite sure you would have made a great Graphic Designer, but we are pretty happy you turned your talented hands to ceramics! Can't wait to see those lamps!

Pick your own favourite to start your Sharon Muir collection from our online store, or come and see our shelves filled with Sharon's work in our lovely shop! 

01/05/2015
Interiors

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Q + A with Stephen Baker

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Stephen in his Studio with works from 'After Hours.' Photograph by Brook James.

The countdown is on, 'After Hours' by Stephen Baker opens tomorrow night! We hope you'll be joining us for the opening.

In the lead-up to the exhibition Stephen was kind enough to chat with us about sketching girls in dive bars, finding colour inspiration in the trash and seeing the romance in solitary moments.

Tell us a little bit about ‘After Hours’, how did the series come to be?

After Hours is a continuation of a theme I've worked with for some time now involving girls and late night dive bars. I'm trying to capture the solitude one can have, the escape from the outside world for a few hours at these venues. They don't always have to be bars, I find the same romantic notion in a hotel lobby or airport lounges. I get a great sense of one's self in the world when I'm seated at a quiet bar- hotel rooms and airports have the same affect on me. Maybe it's the reflective mood these locations create, I always seem to just sit back and watch the world when I'm in either of these places. I think I feel free from the daily grind and a sense of excitement and freedom all rolled into one. I enjoy trying to capture this mood within my works, there a reference of a feeling, something that can be used as medicine or treatment when needed.

What attracts you to sketch your subjects? Do you think they ever aware they are being sketched?

I'd have to say it's about a 50/50 split between actually being there sketching a subject or taking a mental or actual photograph. I actually sketch scenes that seem to capture a real life act I guess, something that's everyday and not hard to relate to. In saying that, the latest works are very much scenes I've put together in my head based on relatively believable situations. I felt these scenes had to be created and orchestrated outside of reality to capture the exact moment and feeling I wanted to portray. 

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Stephen in his studio with sketchbook. Photograph by Brook James

How does your experience as a graphic designer influence the way you work as a painter?

Quite a lot actually! I spend a lot of time on the computer when piecing together shows and also creating colour palettes. I like to work through various palettes before settle on what I feel is the best for the work, I can only do that by using a computer. I don't always work this way either, I'll chop and change depending on how many works are being created. My background in design has definitely allowed me to be more proficient with my painting. Also with the idea that graphic design focuses on conveying a simple and bold message- I too am painting with a very stripped back minimalist approach, much like a graphic designer. But that's being fairly generalised in regards to the design industry.

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Studio details

Your colour selection is beautiful, tell us about how you choose the palette to work with?

I choose most of my palettes from studying Pantone Reference books and also putting together palettes on the computer. I usually have a key pop colour, then mix in my mids and then throw in a couple of sharp darks to give depth where needed. Sometimes I'll stumble across amazing palettes on my walks to the studio, it could be colourful signage or trash in the gutter! I'll always take a snap shot on my phone and keep it for reference later. 

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Works from the 'After Hours' Exhibition. L-R 'Smoking At Bar - Part 1' and 'Smoking At Bar - Part 2'.

How do you see your work evolving? Do you see yourself working on a larger scale again like your work at the Fitzroy pool mural?

Oh I'm always on the hunt for mural work, I love working on larger projects. Being outdoors and up a ladder painting is always fun, except in winter… but even then. I have a few larger projects that will take me away from the canvas this year, one involving a large 2.5 metre fibreglass kangaroo.

We can't wait to have Stephen's beautiful paintings hanging in-store and will be delighted to share them with you over the next two weeks! 

'After Hours' By Stephen Baker opens at Modern Times on Thursday 23rd April from 6-8pm kindly sponsored by Vale Brewing.

The exhibition will run until 7th May at Modern Times on Smith Street, all paintings are available to view online. For any enquries please call Modern Times on (03) 9913 8698 or email us sales@moderntimes.com.au.8 - MT_INVITE_OL-01_blog

21/04/2015
Interviews

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Beauty in Unexpected Pairs

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Tom Blachford and Brooke Thorn hanging out together in store.

Each absolutely nailing it in their own right, Tom Blachford and Brooke Thorn have both brought their A-game to deliver incredible new work to Modern Times. 

Photographer Tom Blachford recently delivered some works from the second series of 'Midnight Modern', including this seriously amazing shot of the Kaufmann House by night. I actually can't describe how incredible this image is....

Anyway, not long after, ceramicist Brooke Thorn dropped by with a selection of her 'Serving Suggestions' ceramics range in the most beautiful deep sea blue glaze.

In a surprise moment - when we paired them together, each one brought out the beauty in the other. The palette of Brooke's ceramics brought out the midnight hues in Tom's photographic masterpiece and it just worked!

This inspired us to create some more unlikely pairings of Tom's photography with Brooke's ceramics. Here are some of our favourites! 

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L-R: 470 W Vista Chino Side by Tom Blachford, Small Shallow Dish by Brooke Thorn 

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L-R: 1070 E Apache Front by Tom Blachford, Large Jug by Brooke Thorn 

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L-R: 977 N Rose by Tom Blachford, Teardrop Bottle Vase by Brooke Thorn

All available to shop now!

16/04/2015
Interiors

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Stephen Baker - After Hours

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Modern Times is pleased to announce our upcoming solo exhibition for Melbourne artist Stephen Baker.  'After Hours' extends Baker's signature trajectory: translating familiar scenes and imagined narratives into abstract geometrical compositions.

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Paintings from his upcoming show. Left: 'After Hours - Palette 2. Right: 'An Evening In' - Palette 1

"In recent years I've learnt to focus on the process of creation and not just the final result," explains Baker, who carries his sketchbook with him everywhere he goes. Working from Collingwood's Everfresh Studios, Baker explores his urban surroundings on foot—finding inspiration around every corner.  In bars and cafes, Baker sits and sketches—not only his physical surroundings but also the stories they evoke. A feeling of escapism (in the filmic sense) permeates the work. Brooding interiors; the mood evoked by a room; a sense that there's something unfolding just beyond view.

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Stephen's paintings are first imagined as sketches. Photo by Brooke James.

Returning to the studio, Baker brings his sketches to life by re-imagining them as a series of geometric shapes. He adds colour using a palette arranged from Pantone reference books.

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Inside Stephen's worksapace at the Everfresh Studios in Collingwood. Photo by Brook James

Each is mixed and matched by eye before being applied to canvas or board."To me, these scenes only come to life once the bold lines are applied, providing divisions between the colours." It's an exacting process that results in an aesthetic both distinctive and familiar.

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Paintings from his upcoming show. Left: 'Smoking' - Part 1. Right: 'Smoking' - Part 2

That familiarity might arise partly from Baker’s quickly rising star. Coveted on tote bags and double tapped on Instagram, his pared-back shapes, colours and lines have also recently entered the public realm in the form of Fitzroy Pool’s newly beloved mural, ‘Pool Parade’.

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Stephen in front of the Fitzroy Pool mural. Photo by Brook James

Put the opening night in your diary - we would love for you to join us!

'After Hours' opens 6-8pm Thursday 23rd April – kindly sponsored by Vale Brewing.

Exhibition dates 23rd April – 10th May

For catalogue requests and pre-sales click here

31/03/2015
Art

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International collection: Wrapped Coast

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Photograph by Harry Shunk. Signed edition of 300 printed by La Poligrapha S.A. Barcelona, 1982. Copyright Christo 1969.

Modern Times is introducing selected limited edition artworks by some of the world's most renowned and collectable artists. This work is part of this exciting new international collection.

This is a spectacular image of the first international project staged by environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, commissioned by Australian collector, John Kaldor. This project is now legendary in Australia’s cultural memory.

Wrapped Coast included one million square feet of fabric and 56.3 kilometers of rope shrouding a 2.4 kilometer long section of the Australian coastline and was the largest single artwork ever made at the time. The staggering scale of the project is evident in Harry Shunk’s now iconic image of the work. 

Photographer, Harry Shunk, documented many important ephemeral artworks and performances of the twentieth century and these images not only provide important historical references but many are acknowedged as works of art in themselves.

 

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Work in progress; men work  by harness to wrap 2.4km of coastline in 1 million sq feet of fabric, photograph by Harry Shunk.

 

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Photograph by Harry Shunk of the staggering Wrapped Coastline by Christo and Jean-Claude

Photographer, Harry Shunk, documented many important ephemeral artworks and performances of the twentieth century and these images not only provide important historical references but many are acknowedged as works of art in themselves.

 

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Photograph of Wrapped Roman Wall by Christo and Jeanne-Claude by Harry Shunk.

Harry Shunk’s documentation of ‘one-time-only’ events enables historically important artwork to be immortalized. For this reason, Shunk’s images are in collections of the major art institutions of the U.S. and Europe including the MOMA, New York; Pompidou, Paris and Tate Gallery, London. 

A contemporary re-framing of the image in an aluminium box frame reflects the cool palette and enhances its cinematic qualities.

Look out for the more of our International Collections online or pop in and see them in-store! 

To see a little more about the Wrapped Coast, click here for a cool video put together by the Art Gallery of NSW.

 

For more details please contact us at sales@moderntimes.com.au or call (03) 9913 8598

25/03/2015
Art

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A Warm Welcome to Bonnie and Neil!

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The Holiday Collection! Made by Bonnie and Neil and proudly stocked at Modern Times. Image Bonnie and Neil

Exciting news! Bonnie and Neil have joined us and we couldn’t be happier!

We are so proud to present the stunning collection of textiles and homewares by Bonnie Ashley and Neil Downie as part of our curated collection of local artists and makers

Since the launch of their eponymous brand in 2010, Bonnie and Neil have flourished into one of Australia’s most beloved textile and homewares brands (not to mention one of our favourites!).

Easily recognized for their eclectic mix of bright colours, painterly botanical prints and cheeky bird motifs, Bonnie and Neil’s beautiful handmade textiles have a signature look that has quickly earned them cult status. These are the cushions to clash and collect!

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Vibrant cushions and tiles from Bonnie and Neil's Holiday collection. Image Bonnie and Neil

We absolutely love that Bonnie and Neil have stayed close to their roots, designing and manufacturing everything from scratch here in Melbourne. Their bustling studio is a hive of activity employing 5 people (with 2 more joining the team soon!). Their textiles are carefully screen-printed by hand in their Brunswick studio on pure linen, and cushions are lovingly filled with duck feather inners.

Unwavering quality and a sense of uniqueness in every piece keeps loyal fans coming back each season. Along with a selection of Bonnie and Neil ‘classics’ (those cheeky birds!) we are excited to have in-store a selection from the aptly named collection ‘Holiday.’ With a softer palette of pretty peach-ey tones and washed out blues, the cushions are part dreamy and part geometric. A little bit playful and a little bit relaxed. 

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Left to right: Shapes cushion, Cockie 2 cushion, Scarf tile cushion. All Bonnie and Neil

Loved by stylists and industry folk too, Bonnie and Neil have been widely used in magazine editorial, with an endless list of credits. This month in fact, their vivid Jungle Green cushion makes a graceful appearance on the April cover of Real Living magazine and their Cockatoo cushion features inside Home Beautiful.

 

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Bonnie and Neil 'Jungle' cushion, featured on the April 2015 cover of Real Living Magazine. Image: Real Living

A nod from our friends at The Design Files a few years back gives a fantastic sneak peak into the home of the delightful pair. It’s clear to see their combined love for of floristry, art, textile and furniture are reflected as much in their products as in their own personal style.

 

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Images of Bonnie and Neil's home, as featured on The Design Files. Images: Armelle Habib for The Design Files.

A truly inspiring creative couple, with a very cool brand to boot. We are huge fans and we are super proud to share the collection with you!

Check our Bonnie and Neil range online or pop in and see us in-store, we’d love to help you choose your own perfect combo!

05/03/2015
Interiors

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Featured Artist – Q + A with Leo Greenfield

Today we introduce the first of our new Featured Artist series. Every month or so we will bring together a range of product, special blog content and even exhibitions or product collaborations focusing on some of our fave local artists and designers.

We debut the series with Leo Greenfield, a name that has been circulating in the fashion and design realms for a few years.  Best known for his sartorial street fashion illustrations, Leo Greenfield has illustrated the likes of Anna Wintour in Paris, local passers-by down at Fitzroy Woolworths and much in between. Each piece is drawn from memory alone, highlighting his remarkable attention to detail and individual interpretation of those who catch his eye.

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Leo Greenfield at work. Photo by Clare Pathé, Paris. 

Leo has been living and working in London, where he continues his practice of social commentary on contemporary fashion, on and off the catwalk.

He took the time to have a chat with us about his process, inspiration and gives us a few tips on other rising stars we might like to watch.

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your practice and technique? 

My art practice is primarily about people, social actions and how we move in the public sphere. A major investigation into this element of culture has seen me examine fashion and how we dress via drawing. 

I am a studio based artist and love working with physical materials such as paints, pencil and papers. My drawings are always of real people and places I have experienced. All drawings I curate on my blog are draw from memory. 

 

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Autumn Coat, Leo Greenfield.

What inspires you? What is it about your subjects that attracts you attention?

Currently I'm inspired by venturing into new worlds, from my new neighborhood of Hackney in East London, to the endless galleries here in the city. I'm keen to soak up the history of image making and art practice that the great museums offer. 

 

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Rose Street, Leo Greenfield.

How has your practice evolved over time? Have you explored dofferent themes or gone thorugh the process of working on different exhibitions and projects? Please tell us a bit about your history as an artist.

My practices can change with each project, from a book to a film or an exhibition, the work can take on many different forms. But for me drawing is always the starting point, it's the process I think through.  

I've loved drawing since a young age but I started using it to document fashion as a teenager when visiting Japan. This led me to studying Art History and then a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts. 

During this period I became fascinated with media, from magazines to digital publishing. I wanted to share my work, see the drawings inhabit different platforms and reach different audiences. 

I saw the fashion world as an interesting element of visual culture and I began to investigate. Creating works for Vogue magazine gave me further insight into this world, but the runway shows of Paris have always been my favorite source of material. 

Melbourne was an incredible base as an artist and gave me the confidence to relocate to Paris and now London. Here in the East End I have set up a studio and building a collaborative team around my work, and we are experimenting with new mediums and stretching the drawings into animations. 

 

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Leopard Print, Leo Greenfield.

Who or what is inspiring you right now? Have you got any hot tips for instagrammers, bloggers or magazines we should be tuning into?

We it comes to media it's always a wash with me. I really love just exploring book shops.....I jump in and out of Instagram, but like to see what contemporary galleries are posting such as Ditto Press and what artist friends such as Rachel Ang and Sarah McNeil are sharing. The New Yorker is my all time favorite and keeps me company in the studio with pod casts. 

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We currently have a sweet series of original pen and ink drawings by Leo Greenfield featuring the colourful characters of our very own Collingwood and Fitzroy! Check out his artist page for details.

09/02/2015
Interviews

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Win a $500 gift voucher

Fancy winning a $500 gift voucher for Modern Times? It's a fantastic prize and it's super easy to enter.

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Simply visit us in store and Instagram the one thing from our range of Australian made and designed gifts that is at the top of your Christmas wishlist. Just make sure you tag @_moderntimes_  and #givemodern to be in the draw for this awesome prize.

The hardest thing about entering this comp will be choosing your favourite piece!

The competition closes on Christmas Eve but you can Instagram a new entry everyday if you like! Until then, start browsing our homewares and gifts, art or furniture and start imagining what fun you could have with that $500...

08/12/2014
Modern Times News

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Halloween, Hollywood and mid-century Modernism

Thanks to Tom Blachford's exhibition Midnight Modern, we've spent the past month immersed in the world of mid-century Palm Springs architecture – surrounded by eerie, large-scale photographs of moonlit Californian modernism. If you missed the show, don't worry – Tom's prints are now up in our online store

Anyway, with Halloween having just passed us by it seems like the perfect time to keep on wallowing in that midnight feeling. But, beyond Tom's masterful framing and use of light, what is it exactly about Palm Springs modernism that evokes such a weird sense of unease? This week we came across a zine that spookily aligned with our current obsession:

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Benjamin Critton's zine Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films  is currently on display in the library at The Good Copy (our lovely neighbours just around the corner from Modern Times). Drop in and check it out if you get the chance. Flipping through the new edition, we discovered one obvious fact we hadn't considered: Hollywood villains pretty much always live in modernist houses!  

Cue: Halloween modernism-movie marathon! Here are some of our favourite mid-century Palm Springs bad-guy lairs. The homes link to the Google map addresses so you can get a bit creepy yourself and snoop around the neighbourhood.

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Building:

Sheats Goldstein House (1963)

Architect:

John Lautner

Movie:

The Big Lebowski. In the movie it's the home of wealthy pornographer and loan shark Jackie Treehorn.

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Building:

Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms Estate (1947) 

Architect:

E. Stewart Williams. 

Movie:

The Damned Don't Cry. In the film, the exterior used as a gangster's desert hideaway. 

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Building:

Elrod House (1968)

Architect: 

John Lautner

Movie:

Diamonds Are Forever. In the film, it's the home of reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte and the scene of James Bond's acrobatic fight with villains Bambi and Thumper.

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Building:

Lovell Health House (1927–29)

Architect:

Richard Neutra

Film:

LA Confidential. In the film it's the home of wealthy pimp Pierce Morehouse Patchett (operator of Fleur-de-Lis, a call-girl service that runs prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble film stars).

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Building:

Garcia House (1962)

Architect:

John Lautner

Movie:

Lethal Weapon 2. In the film it's the home of the main antagonist, South African diplomat and smuggler Arjen Rudd.

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Building:

Reiner House, aka Silvertop (1963)

Architect:

John Lautner

Movie:

Less Than Zero. In the film it's the unwelcoming family home of college freshman-turned-addict Clay Easton.

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Building:

Chemosphere House (1960)

Architect:

John Lautner 

Movie:

Body Double. In the movie, it's the house from which struggling actor Jake Scully witnesses the murder of his mysterious neighbour Gloria.

So... why do so many of Hollywood's villains live in houses designed by John Lautner? Check out Ben's zine for some interesting theories.

26/10/2014
Design

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Workbook - an extra special collab from Brooke Holm & Marsha Golemac

We've managed to squeeze in another goodie before the mayhem of the silly season is upon us. This time it's Melbourne stylist Marsha Golemac and photographer Brooke Holm who are launching Workbook, a collaborative photography project in the form of a visual diary and exhibition. 

After the book and exhibition launch at their studio, all the beautiful prints wil be packed up and sent down the street to Modern Times to be exhibited for another 2 weeks. Yay for us!

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The visual diary is a concept book that methodically positions Golemac’s signature minimalist styling alongside Holm’s dramatic landscapes, encouraging the viewer to not only acknowledge the juxtaposition but to celebrate it.  

Quiet form contrasts with vivid colour. Polite restraint meets dramatic terrain. And clean lines oppose nature’s unpredictable path. Yet despite these contradictions, or perhaps because of them, Golemac and Holm are at home together. Theirs is a partnership that champions beauty in the organic and inorganic.

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“As frequent collaborators, we are equally passionate about exploring the abstract in the studio, as we are about hiking across a mountain in search of that elusive shot,” says Golemac. “This project allows us to convey both worlds, highlighting that while initially they feel contradictory, that’s not always the case.”

With dramatic landscapes from as far afield as New Zealand and Canada, Holm says the project was a chance to reflect on the differing challenges of studio and outdoor photography.

“The beauty of working in the wilderness is the urgency that comes from attempting to capture the perfect moment in the perfect light,” she says. “Theoretically the studio environment offers more control, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We really wanted Workbook to highlight the beauty in both.”

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For Golemac and Holm, the project is the culmination of years of collaboration across editorial and commercial assignments, seeing the pair forge successful careers independently and together. And like the subject matter of Workbook itself, it’s in working side-by-side that they bring out the best in each other.

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Workbook officially launches at the studio of Brooke and Marsha on Thursday 30 October 2014, 6–8pm. Just down the road from Modern Times at 466 Smith Street, Collingwood. All welcome, however RSVP is essential: studio@neilhugh.com

If you can't make it to the launch, the exhibition continues from 31 Oct to 16 Nov at Modern Times – large-scale prints will be available for purchase instore and online from October 30. 

We wish Brooke and Marsha a successful launch and look forward to making these works available through Modern Times.

22/10/2014
Art, Modern Times News

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Q + A with Tom Blachford

With just two sleeps to go until our next exhibition opens, we caught up with Tom for a chat about the making of Midnight Modern.

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Tom photographed by his girlfriend Kate Ballis out the front of the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs.

Tom Blachford's new series of works captures California's famous mid-century modernist homes under the midnight glow of a super moon. The journey from one late-night discovery to a finished series has involved two trips to Palm Springs, quite a few late-night scouting missions and some amazing street light serendipity.  

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1030 West Cielo Drive. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.

When I think of Palm Springs, I think of harsh, bright sunlight. What made you choose to photograph these houses in the dead of night? Do you think the idea to shoot this way would have occurred to you in your hometown of Melbourne?


These houses have been around for 60 to 70 years and I imagined they had been photographed from every angle thousands of times. We were also pushed for time to see everything so we needed to squeeze in some shooting and exploring after a dinner one night. I guess that's how it originally came about. We lucked out and noticed it was a full moon and I thought it might be interesting to see how they looked under the moonlight. 

After seeing the first few images I was hooked. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when the first image appeared on the screen after the 30-second wait. After experimenting with a few houses I found that the only shots that would work were when all the lights were off, except for perhaps one lamp inside the house. Curiously, all the older palm springs suburbs have no street lights, which also helped. 

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1133 N Vista Vespero. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.

What led you to making this collection of images? At what point did you realise you were working on a series?


I absolutely love the mid-century tract houses, and admiring them during the day on our first trip I was struggling to capture them in a way that felt unique. On the first trip I shot about six images and we were exhausted so we headed home. Returning to Melbourne I looked at them over and over and kicked myself for not staying up to shoot more. I knew I had to return so we (my girlfriend and I) checked out the dates of the moon and found there would be the first of three super moons for this year in July. We planned our trip around being there for the moon with a couple of days to scout beforehand and a few days to relax by the pool afterwards!


The sparseness of these images can lead the viewer to imagine their own narrative. Is there a feeling that you’re catching these houses when they are recharging, or in between scenes?

I love to imagine what is going on behind closed doors. These images of the houses raise so many questions and possibilities for stories. Even better is the thought of the scenes that have already played out behind these doors in their 60-plus years of existence. Every time I look at them I like to imagine something different going on behind the breeze-bricks. 

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879 N Monte Vista. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.

How important is the physical scale of these works? 


I wanted to recreate these homes as large as I could possibly print whilst maintaining quality – but also hoped that I could give them a diorama effect by shrinking them into little boxes on the wall. There are a couple of images that I swear could be doll houses with little painted mountains behind. Even when I’m standing in front of them sometimes I swear those mountains are a painted backdrop – the slight haze over them makes them look so unreal. 


What initially attracted you to photography? What attracts you to it now?


I’m obsessed with the way the camera is able to warp both time and perspective to capture the world in ways I was never able to see with my eyes. 

This series is very much a renaissance for me. I initially fell in love with photography when I was playing around with long exposures and light painting. The first time the shutter closed and I saw a streak of light painted across the image I was hooked. I played around with it for a couple of years very early on but left it behind to explore other techniques and complete commercial jobs that weren’t interested in such magic. It was amazing to be back out in the darkness and using long exposure to create work again. 


What kinds of images are you interested in making next? 


I’m not sure what my next series is. I would definitely like to work with the moonlight again, potentially explore a new style of architecture - and I guess, in turn, a different unspoken narrative. I love the stilt houses of northern Australia and I have a fascination with the littered lawns of the suburbs in our urban sprawl. I might try to work up the courage to shoot four hours a month under the full moon somewhere a little closer to home. 

I also became obsessed with shooting from a helicopter earlier this year and I'm hoping to get up a few more times over summer to put together some more shots in my Aerial Summer series. 

MEET TOM AND CHECK OUT HIS INCREDIBLE LARGE-SCALE WORKS AT THE EXHIBITION OPENING THIS THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, 6-8pm.

29/09/2014
Art, Interviews

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Midnight Modern – Tom Blachford

Today we announce our last exhibition for the calendar this year. On October 2nd we will unveil a collection of incredible images of iconic Palm Springs architecture taken by Melbourne photographer Tom Blachford, under the light of a super moon!

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Tom's dark and dramatic photography series Midnight Modern is a big departure from our usual bright and illustrative offering.  When I first saw Tom’s evocative depictions of mid-century Palm Springs architecture, I imagined sitting back in a Falcon Chair, admiring his spectacular Edris house image looming large over a Hans Wegner sideboard! I can't wait to see these haunting, modernist streetscapes exhibited in store alongside vintage pieces from the same period.

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925 Crescent Drive. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.

In this new series, Tom set out to explore "the relationship between the moonlight, the forms of the houses and mountains as a backdrop." Shot over two separate trips to Palm Springs (the second timed to coincide with the super moon) the photographs suspend California's famous mid-century homes in an eerie half-light. Deepened by shadows and dashed with stars, each image represents a 30-second exposure. The results appear both deserted and uneasy. (These buildings might be iconic, but in 'Midnight Modern' they seem to sit outside of time.)

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877 Via Las Palmas. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern

Tom's images go far beyond everyday architectural photography. The images resonate with the balmy night heat of Palm Springs and I find myself wondering who lives in these houses and what goes on behind those closed doors?  The works make a fantastic statement, framed impeccably by United Measures and presented at large scale (around A0).

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872 N Coronet Circle. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern

As you can probably imagine, a midnight/moonlit shoot halfway across the world isn't easy. From historical research and home-scouting missions to last-minute cloud-cover dramas, there are some fantastic stories behind these works. Feel free to barrage Tom with questions at the opening from 6pm on Thursday 2nd October. We hope you can join us!

To receive a catalogue of works and pricelist prior to the opening please email me amy@moderntimes.com.au

The Midnight Modern series will be available for sale on our website from 2nd October.

Midnight Modern
Opens 6-8pm, Thursday 2nd October. Sponsored by Coopers.
Exhibition dates 2nd – 19th October 

15/09/2014
Art, Modern Times News

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Lisa Lapointe – Interview

With the opening this week of Sydney-based artist Lisa Lapointe's first solo Melbourne show, Behind The Sun, we're getting a little bit excited about seeing her large-scale, original pencil works up close.

In her own words, Lisa's drawings are "chaotic yet serene". They combine the primitive with the futuristic through bold colours, strong graphic elements and mythological references. Ahead of this Thursday, we asked her a few questions about her meticulous, labour-intensive process – and the Shamanistic stories that have inspired this particular series.

 

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Sydney artist Lisa Lapointe's first exhibition in Melbourne opens this Thursday August 14.

How did you begin your journey as an artist – and what attracted you to drawing particularly?

My father tells me I was always an artist – that out of his six children I was the only one who always knew what I wanted to be "when i grew up". I was always furiously making and creating when I was a child, and would sit for hours on end on my projects – no time to go to the bathroom – no time to eat. After school I formally studied and did a bachelor of fine arts degree majoring in painting at CoFA, UNSW. I predominantly experimented with textiles, jewellery (and obviously paint) but it wasn't until much later that I discovered the pencil. 

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Soothsayer by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1140mm x 770mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun

Can you explain a little about your process? (Do you experiment with materials other than pencil? Do you set which colours you will use before you begin, or do you change them as you draw if your mood or reaction to the work changes?) 

I am currently very dedicated to the pencil. I imagine myself exploring other mediums in the future, but not for a while. I do small scale mock-ups of my drawings in colour – these sometimes go exactly to plan or change – I intuitively feel them and know straight away if a colour isn't going to work out.

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Lisa at work in her Sydney studio.

The largest work in this show is almost two metres wide - how long does it take to hand-colour a piece this size? 

Anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks – it all depends on the drawing – some are harder than others.

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Lisa's labour intensive technique with colour pencil creates dramatic results.

What are some of the inspirations for the body of work you'll be exhibiting in Behind The Sun? Can you introduce us to some of the themes in the show?

I am most inspired by spiritual, religious and indigenous mythologies. I reference and explore the meanings behind these themes. I'm currently particularly interested in Shamanism, which is evident in many of my works, particularly the 'Panther', 'Hara', 'Owl', 'Valley of the Serpent' and 'Cajoling the Moon'. I focus on creating images of power and encourage the viewer to dream forward – into the future – not backward into the past.

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Cajoling The Moon by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1140mm x 1050mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun

Can you tell us a little more about the elements of Shamanistic folklore featured in the works?

The key themes I currently draw from Shamanism are healing, power and dreaming – ultimately our connection to spirit. I am particularly drawn to the connection Shamanism has with nature and the earth. How plants can be great healers and animals powerful guides. I like the idea of a Shaman being able to mend the soul with this great knowledge. The ability to read one's environment and understand one's ailments or discord through these signs and symbols.

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Owl by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1050 x 770mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun

What's next? Since focusing on your art practice full-time, have you worked on any textile or fashion collaborations or are you focussing primarily on your 2D work? 

I will be doing an artist in residency in St Leonards, Sydney with Brand X as soon as I return from Melbourne. I will use this time to do another show – this time in Sydney. But I have no collaborations on the cards as yet…

MEET LISA AND CHECK OUT HER INCREDIBLE WORKS AT THE EXHIBITION OPENING THIS THURSDAY 14 AUGUST, 6-8pm.

10/08/2014
Modern Times News, Art

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Behind The Sun – Lisa Lapointe

We are very excited to announce our upcoming exhibition Behind The Sun, a collection of new drawings by Sydney-based artist Lisa Lapointe

Opening on Thursday 14th August, this will be Lisa's first solo show in Melbourne—although you may be familiar with her amazing work thanks to her Instagram feed. You might also have seen her range of digital art prints we've had in the shop over recent months.

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Maji, original pencil on paper by Lisa Lapointe (1700mm x 1140). The largest work to be exhibited at our forthcoming exhibition Behind The Sun. This spectacular work measures almost two metres across. Phenomenal!

While Lisa's work translates beautifully in her digital prints, I've been keen to get my hands on some of her originals which can measure up to almost two metres wide! Her original drawings reveal a fascinating, labour-intensive technique in which rich pigment is built up with fine measured pencil strokes, saturating the paper from edge to edge. 

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Lisa's labour-intensive technique uses coloured pencil to spectacular effect in her large scale drawings.

This meticulous process combined with Lisa's bold sense of design allows her to produce works that make strong graphic statements while also being full of texture and nuance. As she says, the results are "chaotic yet serene". 

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Panther by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1100mm x 900mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun.

Drawing upon spiritual, religious and tribal iconography for her subject matter, her drawings have an obvious connection with the primitive, but this is contrasted with a futuristic colour palette. Describing the works she's made for Behind The Sun, Lisa told us, "I am currently particularly interested in shamanism, which is evident in many of my works, particularly the "panther",  "hara", "owl", "valley of the serpent" and "cajoling the moon". I focus on creating images of power and encourage the viewer to dream forward - into the future - not backward into the past."

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Valley Of The Serpent by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1400mm x 1050). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun.

Since graduating from a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at CoFA, UNSW in 2002, Lisa has worked in the worlds of fashion and interiors—with labels and designers including Orson and Blake, Ksubi, Mark Tuckey, Pamela Makin and Romance Was Born. As of last December, she decided to focus on her art practice full time. 

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We’d love all of you to join us in celebrating the opening of Behind The Sun from 6pm on Thursday 14th August—with some delicious drops kindly supplied by McPherson Wines. Thanks guys!

Behind The Sun
Opening 6–8pm, Thursday 14th August
Exhibition dates 14th – 31st August

29/07/2014
Modern Times News, Art

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