Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wilderness show at Auguste Clown Gallery

I recently had the great pleasure of attending the opening night of the Wilderness show at Auguste Clown Gallery. A fabulous exhibition, it featured 50 different pieces from local and international artists, and focused on the exploration of an untamed world.

Here are some snaps of my favourite pieces:

Kristen Egan's 'Swarm'
Heather Gargon's 'Home Is Inside Me' and 'Wish Bat'
Lana Crooks' 'Heart Of The Forest #2' and 'Study in Monochrome'
Jordan Elise's 'Crowned Foxolotl'
Cody Williams' 'Alp'
However, the main drawcard for the show, the one featured on all of the promotional material, and the one I made a beeline for as soon as I arrived, was the utterly gorgeous new Mab Graves painting, 'The Entomologist's Daughter'. It was even more beautiful in person, and I loved having the opportunity to get up close to admire its intricate details. 

Mab Graves' 'The Entomologist's Daughter'
This beauty was not the only Mab piece in the show - she also contributed two of her incredible Cabinets of Curiosities. Mab "has always loved the insect specimen shadow boxes in curio collections, but the little girl in [her] felt terrible that they were murdered bugs! [She] decided [she] wanted to make totally death-free (guilt free!) specimens that still upheld that creepy feeling, and spent hours and hours researching insect species and painting them. Each one also has a teeny tiny Victorian 'lover's eye' mourning cameo set into its back." 

Mab's butterflies were beautiful, but I was completely smitten with the 'Cabinet of Curiosities Specimen No. 132' as soon as I laid eyes upon it. 

Mab Graves' 'Cabinet of Curiosities Specimen No. 131' and 'Cabinet of Curiosities Specimen No. 132'

I had no plans to purchase anything that night. I was attending for the pure pleasure of seeing all these wonderful works in person. Besides, I assumed everything would already have been sold. Sure enough, little red stickers had been placed next to almost all of my favourites by the time I arrived. 

Except for Specimen No. 132. 

 Mab Graves' 'Cabinet of Curiosities Specimen No. 132'

I really enjoyed checking out the other excellent works in the show, but kept glancing over at this box - particularly whenever the gallery's lovely owner, Leigh Cornish, moved anywhere near it. 

Hubby noticed these furtive glances, and said something that made my heart smile: "I had planned to get you something else for your birthday, but I can see how much you're loving this piece. Should we ask if it's still available?" Aww, what an incredibly sweet thought! I didn't think it very likely, but I crossed my feathers tightly just in case.

We headed over to the counter to speak to Leigh. "Hi, loving the show. Is there any chance that Mab cabinet is still available?" 

Please say yes, please say yes… 

"As a matter of fact - it is! Shall we go over and place the red sticker underneath it together?" 


Leigh peeled off that little red circle of joy and stuck it on the wall next to Specimen No. 132, then went back to the counter with my hubby. I stayed with the bugs, beaming, honoured to be the new owner of an original piece created with love by an artist whose work I absolutely adore.

My beautiful beetle box now hangs proudly in my hall, on a wall panel that seems to have been made for it. It makes me smile whenever I look at it.

Mab Grave's 'Cabinet of Curiosities Specimen No. 132' hanging in my hallway

Thank you Mab, thank you dear husband, thank you Leigh at Auguste Clown - you have all made me a very happy little 'mingo indeed!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Life Through A Lens - Jesse Marlow

Greetings darklings.

This evening, I am turning the Gothic Flamingo spotlight on to one of Melbourne's most talented and most acclaimed street photographers, Mr Jesse Marlow.

International Street Photography
Award 2012 Judge, Mr Jesse Marlow
I was fortunate enough to first meet Jesse a couple of years ago through work on a photo shoot. Over the course of the day, I learned that not only is he a lovely person, but he had also worked as a rock photographer for eight years, shooting gigs for Beat and Juice, then for The Age - my dream career right there! Naturally, I asked him which bands he had shot, and to my delight, Jesse started reeling off some of my all-time favourites. He remembered my excitement about this, and the next time we met for work - some six months later - he brought along two signed prints of his work for me, pictured below. To say I was thrilled is an understatement - I may have screamed a little ;) - and these beauties now hang in pride of place on my living room wall.

Tool, 2004
Soulfly, 1999

I have since learned more about just who this lovely photographer really is in terms of his career and achievements, and as a result, I have become even more appreciative of these prints! Jesse is a member of the international street photographers collective, where "all the photographers featured have been invited to show their work because they have the ability to see the unusual in the everyday and to capture the moment." His works have received numerous prestigious awards, and are held in public and private collections across Australia. In 2002, he was the inaugural winner of the Australian Hasselblad X-Pan Masters competition. His book 'Wounded' won the McNaughton Review 2005 Book Design category, and in 2006, Jesse was selected to participate in the World Press Photo – Joop Swart Masterclass. In 2011, he was the inaugural winner of the International Street Photography Prize, and won the MGA Bowness Prize in 2012. 

Jesse’s study at home
In the last 11 years, Jesse has also published three books - his first in 2003, entitled 'Centre Bounce: Football from Australia’s Heart' (Hardie Grant Books); his second in 2005, 'Wounded' (Sling Shot Press); and his third earlier this year, entitled 'Don't Just Tell Them, Show Them' (M.33). In 2010, Jesse was profiled in the book 'Street Photography Now' (Thames & Hudson), and in September of this year, a new publication entitled 'The World Atlas of Street Photography' will be released (Yale University Press US and Thames & Hudson UK). The US cover will be different to that of the UK, but both covers will feature Jesse Marlow images. The list of well-deserved accolades just keeps growing.

The recently published 'Don't Just Tell Them, Show Them'

I recently (finally) got around to purchasing my own copy of 'Wounded', and found this book to be as inspirational as it is beautiful. It documents the resilience of the human spirit - Jesse's subjects have all been broken in some way, but have found the strength to pick themselves up and keep going. There is humour here too - the wit of this artist really shines through - as well as a sense of sadness, thanks to Jesse's keen eye and empathy for his injured subjects.

Slipcase, 'Wounded'
Title page, 'Wounded'
Jesse spent two years documenting the walking wounded, but how did it all begin? He explains: “The Wounded project first came about after I found myself with an injury after a game of social football. With my arm in a sling and unable to take photos, I began noticing other people walking the streets in similar situations and wondered about it being a possible project. It wasn't until a few years later, after it slowly began building up as a series, that I showed some of my friends at Their encouragement and excitement about the project really propelled me to take it to the next level and start shooting it seriously." 

From 'Wounded'
From 'Wounded'
And what was Jesse hoping to convey through his images in Wounded? "My aim with the project was to show that despite people suffering obvious superficial injuries, human beings generally get on with life.” 

From 'Wounded'
From 'Wounded'
This limited edition publication, as well as Jesse's other books, can be purchased through