Art for Earth, a Hervey Bay based group working together, applied for a grant for workshops leading to an exhibition. The Hervey bay regional gallery approached me to conduct a 2-day workshop for senor school children. I proposed working with organic materials (which we could access at a local beach with sea/sand/trees/grassy areas), string and rope.
The gallery also wanted to involve adults and work with materials from the local recycling centre. I suggested bringing on board my colleague Glen Skein with his considerable construction skills.
ART FOR EARTH workshop, 18 & 19 may, 2002
This is a 2-day workshop suitable for Year 11 & 12 students, art teachers and artists at various levels of experience, who are interested in techniques of environmental installation/sculpture and constructed assemblage/sculpture incorporating recycled materials.
Workshop tutors BONNEY BOMBACH and GLEN SKEIN are professional artists who excel at workshop activities in the visual arts. They are both highly skilled practitioners and have exhibited extensively in Queensland.
- Commences with introduction/discussion and viewing slides illustrating relevant art work/practices.
- Break into groups – participants may choose from either of the following activities to be conducted over the weekend and will need to bring relevant materials as listed in the Materials List.
- Environmental Installation Practices (conducted by Bonney)
Go to chosen environment to collect materials (additional to those already brought by participants) for use in making transient installations in situ &/or to ‘document’ the environment for future reference/use back in studio
Bonney’s approach is reflected in the following Site Specific Environmental Installation workshop description:
Participants will engage with the environment to create transient, site-specific installations, based on an intuitive response to and understanding of the environment/site largely utilizing materials at hand. A meditative process unfolds with the conception of each piece in response to a specific site through the collection the placement/construction of the materials the documentation of the work and finally its decay &/or deconstruction. A relationship between space, place and time is established, poetic associations are evoked. Installations may be documented with photos &/or drawings for later reference or may be considered works in their own right. Participants may choose to work individually or collaboratively. Promoting new ways of ‘ seeing’ and ‘feeling’ the environment this workshop expands conceptual awareness.
Found Object Assemblage in 2D/3D (conducted by Glen)
Commence discussion and review of materials brought by participants and supplied on site, while considering visual qualities and construction methods appropriate to the media and conceptual development of the work.
Glen’s approach is reflected in the following Found Objects/Assemblages workshop description:
A strong component of the workshop involves collecting objects within the environment. This initial stage relies on the participant’s initial response to objects, which may relate to their shape, texture, colour etc. Materials relating to the more structural elements of assemblage are often found on building sites, recycling locations, beaches etc. With all collected materials participants will discover that specific pieces will suggest particular formats for construction eg sculptured piece, wall piece, floor work. Once a format has been chosen shapes, textures and found objects are assembled within the structure with the participant’s own sensitivity and intuitive response to the materials coming into play.
NB If participants have a strong interest in both practices, they may have the opportunity to access parts of both activities – discuss this with the tutors at the workshop.
- Collaborative discussion with Art for Earth exhibition in mind re. materials/philosophy/ideas/strategies/formats eg 2D or 3D work, for wall, ceiling, floor, suspended etc.
- Participants may be drawn to work in directions most reflected by one or the other tutor who, as will be obvious, share an intuitive mode of working and underlying philosophy. OR may wish to try both approaches. We can divide into two groups as appropriate at the time. Tutors are flexible and open to alternatives, even the idea of larger group collaborative work.
VISUAL ARTS TUTOR, AUSTRALIAN FLYING ARTS SCHOOL, 1999-2000/2000-2001
Flying Arts embraces a spirit of adventure to inspire the appreciation, practice and professional development of the visual arts as a lifetime interest or career aspiration, and a creative life for all Queenslanders.
I was employed by the then titled Australian Flying Arts School (now Flying Arts Alliance Inc) as a visual arts tutor from 1990-91 and again 2000-2001. The structure involved three teaching tours of 2-3 weeks per annum and the workshops were of either one or two-day duration. I was allocated a variety of areas within regional Queensland from southeast to far north-west, many quite remote. My students were for the most part adults but also involved a number of schools and the workshops were themed and included:
En Plein Air: new ways of seeing; Ways of Seeing: the portrait; Beyond the Gum Tree; A Sense of Self; A Sense of Place; Collaboration is the Name of the Game
Some tours were self-drive but as the distances are so great, the organization employed a pilot who flew us from destination to destination in a 6-seat Cessna. Up at 5am, on the plane by 6am for a 9 am workshop start. There were always two tutors on board. At one point, a German sculptor was on tour with us also.
West and north-west Queensland took me to places such as Roma, Charleville, Quilpie, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Mt Isa. In the small towns, workshops were conducted in local community halls, often just a large tin shed. We stayed in local motels. In some cases, the groups were so remote that there was no town and thus group members, occasionally on vast cattle stations, hosted us.
I had never experienced inland/outback Australia, had never been on a million-acre property, nor experienced severe drought with cracked earth and deep dust, where the only green was a small, lovingly tended lawn area immediately surrounding the homestead. I never imagined that I would be drinking fine reds and listening to classical music, or being in a desolate town where folk mined for opals underground. Who could have imagined the kindness, generosity and appreciation of my students and hosts, some of whom drove 3 hours or more to attend a workshop?
New to me was the devastation of the floods witnessed in Charleville or the stark beauty when we flew low over the slanting range of ore-red hills near Mt Isa. To witness for the first time ancient aboriginal handprints in a cave on the property of one of my students moved me deeply. The impact of such dramatic geologies and the cave paintings made its way into my work (see Select Exhibitions/New Works: AGOG)
Other highlights included:
(i) A Masterclass in the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery. This 3-day workshop was in conjunction with the Queensland Art Gallery’s touring exhibition, Terra Cognita. New approaches to landscape meant we were on site at a beautiful bay researching and documenting for the first day and back in the empty gallery (a huge, purpose-built space, covered carefully in black plastic so participants could be as messy as they wanted to be) for the next two days. The culmination was an exhibition of the works in the gallery. Large works on paper had been the original intent but the results additionally included two installations and an assemblage. What a marvellous array of media, supports, styles and visions of the landscape. And a great opportunity for people to stretch themselves beyond their normal boundaries and have the opportunity to exhibit in a professional and public gallery.
(ii) Two groups combined for a four-day workshop at Carnarvon Gorge in the Brigalow Belt of Central Queensland with its iconic cycads and fan palms and rock art to explore various ways of documenting and responding to the unique environment.
Overall, the experience of teaching with Flying Arts was sometimes exhilarating, often exhausting but always fascinating.
MC GREGOR WINTER SCHOOL, University of Southern QueenslanD, (USQ)
I was employed as a Tutor 2006-2007. One highlight was the workshop below.
IMAGE-MAKING: STRATEGIES OF PLAY
The class will investigate experimental & expressive approaches & strategies for ideas-based & intuitive image- making aimed extend their art practise at their own pace through a series of mini-projects (including exchange of ideas and joint exhibition with Michael Baartz’s Drawing & Printmaking group).
The imagination exists in a permanent state of readiness.
We will tap into this notion, working intuitively, meditating upon selected, evocative texts as a point of departure, to investigate various formats and explore impasto, staining and other textural effects.
We will then investigate experimental & expressive approaches & strategies for the development of ideas, your own &/or from a choice of provocative and stimulating subjects.
Bonney Bombach and Michael Baartz, long-term collaborative partners, will offer an exciting opportunity for their respective Acrylic Painting & Drawing/Printmaking groups to explore selected theme(s) and exchange ideas, culminating in a mini exhibition.