Opening Night Gallery! Brooke Holm Exhibition 'Mineral Matter'.

A huge thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the opening night of Brooke Holms solo show 'Mineral Matter'. An extra special thank you to our wonderful sponsors Scotchmans Hill and Karma Cola.  'Mineral Matter' will be open until October 5 at Modern Times, don’t miss your opportunity to view these beautiful artworks before then.

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


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In Conversation with Brooke Holm

A huge thank you to artist Brooke Holm and all those who made it to the Modern Times Artist Talk on Saturday morning. Together with our generous sponsors Everyday Coffee we had a fantastic catch-up following on from the opening of Brooke’s breathtaking exhibition ‘Mineral Matter’. Enjoy reading our in-depth interview below to gain an interesting insight into Brooke’s inspirations, artistic practice and to find out what’s next for this internationally acclaimed artist. 

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Can you tell us what brought you to photography? How did that journey start?

I was pretty fortunate because I just fell into it by accident. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up so, like a lot of people, I just choose something to study after high school that sounded vaguely interesting and in a very round about way it led me to photography. Long story short, what started as an assistant job in an Advertising agency in Brisbane, quickly turned into a photography role, which led me to study photography. This led me to Melbourne where I felt there was more creative opportunity. After spending a number of years working freelance in Melbourne, I felt the pull from New York and now I live and work from there.

Your work is an extension of another passion of yours, that being nature and the environment. Can you tell us a bit about how this passion or curiosity developed in you?

I have loved nature since I was a child. I used to run free building forts and tree houses and pretending to be Tarzan swinging on ropes through the forest. I loved camping and hiking with my family, climbing trees and doing anything active and outdoorsy. So as I’ve grown up, this passion has only intensified, and it’s no surprise that nature and the environment take centre stage for my personal work. It’s where I feel at home, and where I want to focus my creative energy.

What kind of things have you uncovered about landscape or nature in the process of making your work? Have you had certain ideas or beliefs confirmed by the experience of your travels or have you uncovered the unexpected?

The best part about travelling is learning. You’re learning about an unfamiliar place, with new customs, culture, processes, landscapes etc. To broaden your own understanding of the world and how to make a difference, you have to experience different places. I have been fortunate to travel to many places and every single time I take home valuable information I have learned that I will keep with me forever.

Many times I have traveled somewhere that I had a particular idea about, but you can’t possibly know until you go what the intricacies are.

Take Svalbard for example, I knew the Arctic was affected by climate change at twice the rate of the rest of the world. But going there, and learning first-hand from scientists and specialists, and seeing this place with my own eyes blew my assumptions out of the water.

I was on the right track, but the extent of what I didn’t know, and still don’t know, was vast. Visually, you are always going to find the unexpected. Because how can you know, when you’ve never been. The Internet can only take you so far.

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With this series, Mineral Matter you said you knew this journey to Iceland was important; can you tell us a bit about what first drew you to that landscape?

I knew that the landscape was particularly special because of the intense volcanoes, rivers, geothermal areas, mountains and glaciers and that it was visually very diverse. It is, so far, the most varied looking landscape in one country I have seen. Around every corner there was scenery unlike anything I had ever witnessed before. It was captivating, and heart wrenching and for a nature lover, it’s surreal. While I was drawn visually, I was also wondering how such an extreme place is even habitable and how that worked.

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I’d love to know if you uncovered anything unexpected or confirmed anything that you suspected about Iceland during your time making this series?

I think visually it was more amazing than I could even imagine. I suspected it would be intense and dangerous. There were definitely times where I felt kind of unwelcome like I was walking on eggshells. Except the eggshells were dried up lava fields and I was walking up a volcano that was due to erupt at any moment. I definitely felt at the mercy of the landscape. Iceland is a prime example of a landscape that is much more evidently powerful than humans, and I wanted to experience and document that.

I think there is such a wonderful sense of awe with your work; partially I think that comes from the aerial perspective you take. Can you tell us a bit about why you’ve chosen this perspective, it’s something that you also used in the last series 'Salt and Sky'. What is it about that vantage point that you find works for your photography?

I don’t always take the aerial approach but these two series particularly lent themselves to that perspective. The river deltas, in particular, were important to show from above because you can’t see the intricacies of the colours and shapes in front of you like you can from above. It gives you a better overall picture of nature in full force. I also just love the process of shooting that way. I don’t throw a drone up there, I actually want to be up there. In a helicopter, or a plane, or a balloon… Whichever way I possibly can. It feels more personal in that respect.

When compiling this series you had some really difficult choices to make in collating the 10 photographs in the show. How did you work through that process? What did you look for or hope to achieve with this series?

It’s always a huge task trying to collate the final imagery you will show. Usually I am choosing ten or fewer images from over 10,000 pictures. I wasn’t sure if I would incorporate other images into the series or show other parts besides the river deltas. I went through so many rounds of changes and cutting and culling. But when I finally arrived at these ten and put them next to each other, it just felt right. It’s a very personal process.

Without asking you to reveal too much of your process, can you please tell some aspects of your technical skill and consideration that go into creating such a series, and what you may have learned with landscape photography.

I feel like with photography, all the basic technical knowledge is learned in the beginning, and then you just subconsciously use what you know to adapt to whatever situation you are in at the time. Cameras, equipment and software are always updating for the better so you quickly learn the limits of your gear and where and how you can push it before you really do need to upgrade to something better. My obsession has been with sharpness and quality for creating large prints. This work is best viewed in large format – it’s where it has its greatest impact. Light is always the most important thing because you need a lot of it. And unlike still life or interiors, you can’t control the light. So sometimes you are at the mercy of elements and you just have to be ready to adapt.

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Do you think your work is particularly benefited by digital technology?

Definitely. I used to shoot film for certain personal projects, and I still love it and the nostalgia that comes with it. But for what I’m doing now, there is no good reason for me to use film. Digital has everything I need, is way more versatile and gives me a greater margin for error. A lot of what I’m shooting (particularly from a helicopter) is happening in a moment and if I don’t capture it perfectly and instantly, it’s gone forever. Digital gives me the freedom to focus on getting that shot without worrying about the quirks of film. I still have absolute respect for people still using it, I just choose not to.

What dream do you still want to fulfill – this could be anything not just art!?

I answered this in my Yellowtrace article the other day, but I want to shoot something for NASA. Ideally planets. But maybe I could start here on earth and literally work my way up. I can only hope to keep growing and evolving and sharing more with people and inspiring them. I’m starting to research my next body of work and will start fleshing that out more now that Mineral Matter is on the wall. 

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Upcoming Exhibition by Brooke Holm: Mineral Matter

We’re delighted to welcome back to international photographic artist Brooke Holm with her stunning exhibition ‘Mineral Matter’.  Opening Thursday 21st September, Brooke's solo show will premiere a highly anticipated body of work depicting Iceland’s dynamic landscape.

Join us in this beautiful exploration of Iceland’s river deltas, the flow of minerals through streams and rivers. Photographed entirely from above, this series is a departure from the earlier work examining the impact of human interference on the landscape. ‘Mineral Matter’ is focused rather on the energy and force within nature in creating pathways and areas where humans can then reside, explore and embark on adventure.

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“Volcanic ash, sediment and colourful minerals are collected and moved by the travels of glacier water while recent human relics such as vehicle tracks and footsteps weave in and out of frame,” Brooke tells us with excitement.

Brooke is able to represent the forceful command of nature with a divine sensitivity, showing textured tracks; flights of birds; and ripple of waves to create a sense of uninhabited wilderness. Her lens captures the awe-inspiring influence of nature and puts humanity’s domination over the environment into question.

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Currently based in New York, Brooke’s practice takes her across the world, documenting landscapes in a considered and distinctive approach for which she has become renowned. 

Brooke’s work has featured in a number of solo and group exhibition across the world, this will be her second solo exhibition with Modern Times.

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Join Brooke Holm and the Modern Times team at the exhibition opening for a celebratory drink kindly supplied by Scotchman’s Hill.

Exhibition Details:

Opening 6-8pm, Thursday 21 September

Pre-Sales open Wednesday 13 September

RSVP to or via our Facebook page.

To register for pre-sales contact

Artist Talk: 

10 - 11am Saturday 23 September 

RSVP for this free event via Eventbrite


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Nik Hanton for Radiant Pavillion


Nik Hanton, Displacement, 2017, 130 x 360 x 15 mm, Wood, textile, paint, Photo: Nik Hanton

We are hosting Nik Hanton's Climate of Thought as part of Melbourne's Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial Radiant Pavillion

In the series, Climate of Thought, Nik Hanton has created works which operate within the tenets of mid-century Modernism. 

The underlying principles of her approach is an emphasis on clarity and order, limited visual distractions, and abstraction of the concept. 

You can check Nik's work out in our window 26 August - 3 September 2017

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Opening Night Gallery! 'Life Within' Group Exhibition.

Thank you to all our wonderful guests who joined us for a fabulous night celebrating the opening of 'Life Within', our first group show for 2017 with Mark Alsweiler, Sandra Eterovic and Kasper Raglus!

 A huge thanks to our generous sponsors Scotchmans Hill and Colonial Brewing Co for their delicious beverages served on the night. 'Life Within' will be open until July 27 at Modern Times, don’t miss your opportunity to view these original artworks before then. 

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



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Upcoming Exhibition by Mark Alsweiler, Sandra Eterovic & Kasper Raglus: Life Within

We are so happy to invite you to our first group show for this year, Life Within, a group exhibition uniting the works of Mark Alsweiler (NZ), Sandra Eterovic and Kasper Raglus in rumination on life’s little details. 

Inspired by objects, daily rituals and observations Life Within creates an opportunity to explore what drives individual philosophies, identities and the meaning of it all through the diverse and lasting medium of paint. 


Seen through the lens of each artist’s practice viewers are encouraged to consider art’s interpretation of life and in turn the role it plays creating those meanings. Mark’s work is quintessentially happy and intentionally so! The paintings are comprised of life-inspired scenes and create a romanticized version of every day living. His wooden sculptures extend from the characters in his paintings, building on their narratives within a three-dimensional context. 

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By contrast Kasper’s paintings solicit momentary suspension from the real, at times resembling doorways or entry points to dimensions beyond the third. His highly textured plains of abstract forms resemble prism-filtered rays of light. This reference to light is able to subtly convey the passage of time as well as its interruption. Kasper’s painting, “Sorry That I Missed You” embodies these concepts most prominently. 

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Sandra’s highly biographical works explore her relationship with identity and the experience of life’s idiosyncrasies, including narratives from her youth up to today. Her work “Split 1979” traces a relationship with the location Split, Yugoslavia where she first went as a child and has revisited many times since. Teetering between private and public, her work touches on human relationships, lifestyles and the journey to happiness. 

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Join us together with our Artists at the opening to enjoy wonderful art and a celebratory drink kindly supplied by Scotchmans Hill and Colonial Brewing Co.

Exhibition Details:

Opening 6-8pm, Thursday 13 July

Pre-Sales open Wednesday 5 July

RSVP to or via our Facebook page

To register for pre-sales contact


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Opening night gallery! Caroline Walls 'Another Thought'.

Thank you to all our lovely guests who joined us for a fabulous night celebrating the opening of Caroline Walls’ sold out exhibition ‘Another Thought’.  

A huge thanks to our generous sponsors Scotchmans Hill, Colonial Brewing Co, and CAPI for their delightful beverages on the night, and to Everyday Coffee for their delicious brew for our Saturday morning Artist Talk.  

We have had an amazing response to Caroline’s work and are proud to announce all paintings have sold out. In addition to these Caroline has released a small series of hand pulled screen prints exclusive to Modern Times which are available here

‘Another Thought’ will be open until June 29th at Modern Times, don’t miss your opportunity to view these stunning original artworks before they head to new homes.  

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Upcoming Exhibition by Caroline Walls: Another Thought

Modern Times is thrilled to announce Another Thought a solo exhibition by Caroline Walls. Opening Thursday 15 June, this highly anticipated show features original paintings and limited edition screen-prints, depicting the female silhouette in its most simplified and expressive form.

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Caroline maintains a multifaceted practice working in design, sculpture, screen-print and painting. Another Thought furthers her exploration of the female body, the construction of self and identity.

The influence of her design practice is clearly evident in the emphasis on shape, strong graphics and a play of neutral, nude and navy tones.

She breaks down the body to capture its multitude of elements, with works that portray not just the shape but also softness of skin, contour of hips and arms conveying the idea of the female figure.

With a visual art practice established in New York and London where she lived and worked, Caroline has returned to being a Melbourne local now operating from her studio in Carlton North. Caroline’s work has been avidly collected by art lovers across USA, Europe, Asia as well as Australia.

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Caroline has exhibited in a number of group shows both in Australia and overseas, after a long collaboration with Modern Times, Fitzroy this will be her first solo exhibition in the space.

Check out Vogue Living's beautiful 'First View' album here.

Join Caroline and the Modern Times team for the opening of Another Thought and a celebratory drink kindly supplied by Scotchmans Hill, Colonial Brewing Co. and Capi.


Exhibition Details:

Opening 6-8pm,Thursday 15 June.

RSVP to of via our Facebook page

To register for pre-sales contact

Join us on Saturday 17th for coffee by Everyday and an indepth conversation with Caroline 10 - 11am

RSVP for this free event via Eventbrite y85abn6w 


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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.


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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.


To register for pre-sales contact 


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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.  


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.



Opening 6-8pm, Thursday 9 March 2017. RSVP to

Exhibition Dates: 9 March – 23 March 2017

Modern Times Gallery – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy

For enquiries contact Irina Asriian on 


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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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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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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.  


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. 


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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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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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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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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. 


Exhibition Dates: 27 October – 10 November 2016

Modern Times – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy

View event on Facebook 

Request a catalogue:

For media enquiries contact: or +61 9913 8598


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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



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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


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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.
View Facebook event page 

Exhibition Dates: 25 August – 8 September 2016

Modern Times – 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy 3065

To register for pre-sales contact

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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 / +61 3 9913 8598 

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


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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
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



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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

Pre-Sales are now open! To get your hands on a catalogue email! 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!


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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! 


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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


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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 or call (03) 9913 8598


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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:

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.

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. 


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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!


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

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 

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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…


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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

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Botanical Calamity - Peaches+Keen

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We have another exciting exhibition opening soon and we'd love you to come! Melbourne artists Peaches+Keen will be presenting their latest body of work Botanical Calamity opening next Thursday March 20 at 6pm. 

Botanical Calamity is a series of original paintings on paper based on arrangements of plant-life collected on the daily wanderings of the pair Lucy Hearn and Lily Daley who work collectively as Peaches+Keen.

The botanical objects are then used as the foundation for chaotic yet controlled compositions reinterpreted in the bright colours they are known for.

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Peaches+Keen describe the work as a combination of bright graphic colours and hand applied gold foil detailing, resulting in unique and tactile artworks. While they hang as a collective story, no two are identical.

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Work in progress...

Botanical Calamity is the first exhibition for 2014 at Modern Times.  We only have two to three exhibitions per year so it’s always exciting coming up to an opening. Peaches + Keen were selected to exhibit because their bright playful style perfectly reflects our philosophy behind the art we offer.  We love to present original art that is light, bright and perfect for bringing a bit of fun and joy into people’s homes and Peaches+Keen do just that!

Join Peaches+Keen and the Modern Times team for a tasty Brewdog beer on Thursday 20th of March from 6pm to celebrate the opening of Botanical Calamity, which will run until Thursday 3rd April.


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The gorgeous girls themselves photographed by Lauren Bamford

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Ellie Malin – Interview

Thank you to everyone who has popped in to see Ellie Malin’s exhibition ‘Moonflower’ since it opened. If you missed all the pics from the opening check them out here. We have decided to keep the show up for one last weekend so if you haven’t visited already, you still have a few more days to do so.

This week I caught up with Ellie and got a bit deep with her about her work and current exhibition. Thank you to Ellie for answering my questions with such thought and generosity.  Can you believe her works take 1-3 months to complete! It’s fascinating to get a deeper understanding of what goes into Ellie’s work.

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Ellie mixing inks in the studio.

How did you begin your journey as an artist and what attracted you to print making particularly?

Working in a creative field was something I always wanted to do. I loved to create. It always felt like the most natural place to be. Whether it was exploring the city through the lens of a camera or making objects out of clay, even when I wasn’t actively creating stuff I would be observing my immediate surroundings, absorbing and collecting bits of visual information along the way.

I particularly liked observing the world of architecture and nature and how we move through it. I’m fascinated with the impact and importance they have on our lives and had this idea that if I could translate the beauty and vulnerabilities that captured me and communicate them back to others, that would be the ultimate challenge and somehow, it involved becoming an artist! Printmaking seemed to offer the right kind of environment to explore those themes.

Other than loads of day dreaming and philosophizing life I went to school where I completed a Cert IV in Visual Arts at Holmseglen TAFE and went on to complete a B.A in Fine Art, majoring in printmaking at Monash Uni... there were a few other courses along the way whilst ‘trying’ out different careers. Ultimately and thankfully the art is where I was at!

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Ellie's preparations in the studio. It looks fun doesn't it!

Can you explain a little about your process and methods or technique you use?

All my prints are created with traditional printmaking techniques and equipment and are unique states (one offs’). The work is very much process driven and mostly developed whilst working at the press. I like to experiment with colour and tend to work spontaneously and respond to whatever’s happening on the page. Images are built up in layers over time where I’ll revisit any one print numerous times over time (generally 1-3 months, depending on the scale of the piece). I have a couple of favorite presses that I love to work on, particularly the large Hilton etching press. I’m willing to travel near and far to work on these machines. More recently I was fortunate to work in Canberra at Megalo studio and back home I’m usually printing at the APW on Gertrude St.

The printmaking process (in a nutshell) involves mixing colours, rolling up woodblock plates with inks, setting the press, laying out shapes on the press bed according to whatever configuration feels right at the time, paper comes down and then roll it through the press… There’s a whole lot of clean up that follows not to mention lots of experimenting and developing ideas!

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Ellie at the press working on one of her smaller geometric series.

What are some of the influences hat inspire your work, and the themes which you have drawn upon?

I’m influenced by the everyday, streets I walk in, people I meet, design, architecture, travels, plus a good dose of daydreaming.

My process is spontaneous yet reflective at the same time. I tend to think a lot about colours and almost meditate on it before taking a print to the next state/layer. I present myself with a ‘problem’, which needs to be resolved. It’s so easy to make mistakes, but over time I’ve found that through the mistakes I also make the greatest discoveries.

Some artists and designers that I love in no particular order are: Kiki Smith, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Scholten and Baijings, Marimekko, Mirka Mora, Tadao Ando, Fornasetti, Japanese woodblock artists, … should I keep going?

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Ellie making magic with one of the smallest presses she uses.

What is the inspiration for this current show "Moonflower”?

Moonflower is an exhibition of colourful woodblock prints depicting an inspired landscape of ‘other worlds’. The beauty of nature, the man made, and a fascination for impurities within it sparks the imagination.

In this body of work offcut shapes of paper are the starting point and are transformed into woodblocks for printing. These shapes become centre stage as the relationship between them is explored through layers of colours and textures.

Remnants, which once would have been discarded are now the stars, moon and sky and are telling a story about what might exist beyond the familiar.

Soft tones of blues and grey speak of a cirrus sky while painterly gardens of aqua marine greens and citrus orange speak of growth and light. Stories unfold over time and new discoveries made between the layers of tones and negative spaces.

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Detail of one of Ellie's most recent works currently on exhibition at Modern Times.

What collaborations or projects outside your usual practice have you worked on?

The most significant collaboration to date would have to be with my all time favorite (and I’m not just saying it) fashion label gorman!

Lisa Gorman came across my work online and before I knew it we were sitting together with the gorman crew talking about art and fashion. The collaboration seemed like the most natural thing to do. I feel that we have complementing sensibilities and I wear her clothing all the time! I love that my art can be carried through into new realms of every day life and that my prints wouldn’t be confined to a frame but possibly a floaty dress.

I think there’s a lot to be said about the collaboration process. It’s an inspiring process that combines different skill sets and allows for creativity to evolve and be transferred into new realms and I can’t wait to do more of these working in different fields!

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Ellie at work

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Ellie's current exhibition at Modern Times, 'Moonflower', is on until Sunday.

Ellie’s first solo show ‘Moonflower’ is on at Modern Times until Sunday 8th Dec. It’s a must see!

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