Monday, December 05, 2005

Recovering from bathrust

Well, Mother Nature had a word or two to say in Canberra on Friday, didn't she? HUGE storm! Riding to work today I had to detour around three fallen trees across the bike track, and then when I got to the Art School I caught up on all the gossip re. the Graduate Student Exhibition opening. Trees falling on school vehicles in the carpark, horizontal lightning flashes, intense rain, and the huge crane in the building site next door rocking like that ominous cradle in the nursery rhyme. Here's the aftermath:


I went to Bathurst on Friday for another opening, an exhibition that I've been preparing for the last 12 months.

Bathurst was also hit by the wave of storms that seem to run straight through south-east Australia. We were staying at a lovely ex-orphanage Bed & Breakfast that had a marvellous view over the valley.


I sat on the verandah and watched a wall of grey move over the view:

Then another wall of grey moved through the first, and as it moved across, everything in its path bent over. I was mesmerised. Lightning flashed everywhere, and the wind was akin to a typhoon. I felt very safe in my doorway, looking out across the 2-metre wide verandah, and I just stood there, fascinated, until the rain started hitting me in the face.

This sequence of photos is within about 15 minutes!

The electricity ran out, which meant candles for all, a very romantic thing in a 150-yo building stuffed with antiques. I couldn't read, so I spent lots of time playing with makeup in front of a candle-lit mirror… was relieved to see, later in the evening under fluoro light, that I hadn't overdone it!

I expected no-one to go to the opening. We barely made it ourselves, but never underestimate art-lovers! (This was apparently the same for the grad show in Canberra.) The opening had enough people to make it interesting. It was fantastic to see all the work up, even better than when we took it to Mackay in February, because this time we had the funding to frame it properly, build custom-made plinths, and really make it look schmick.
This is just one view of the exhibition. There are 91 works in the show, 9 years worth of collaborative work by my boss and various artists! I've been involved for the last 3 or so years.

Afterwards, we were invited to the home of the local Great Artist for dinner, along with the Director of the Regional Gallery. After a few recent blog conversations about mentioning names in posts, I am reluctant to type his name here, but maybe an acrostic would be fun (bearing in mind I'm not even going to try to make it good poetry):

That he is amusing is undeniable; I am
In awe of the beauty of his high-ceilinged
Mansion, built in gold-rush times,

Stuffed with fabulous art and books,
The six dogs and a cat, seven children and an
Obviously doting privately-schooled third wife.
Red walls around the twelve-seater table, candles in old silver; he
Relaxes at the head of the table, surrounded by his paintings,
Inciting mischievous arguments, dropping names, calling them cunts,
Expounding his right-wing theories with champagne while the world
Revolves widdershins around him.

Hmm. One of those situations where you look at someone's art and think: how did it get from there to there (ie, personality to canvas)? Because it's beautiful, sensitive art. Anyway, to put it plainly, he's an talented, frustrating but endearing bugger. I quite warmed to him through the evening. I'm certain, despite sitting next to him all night and being reasonably engaging, that he'd walk straight past me if we ever ran into each other again. I liked his wife. She was very sweet, and sharp as a tack, despite looking completely fluffy. I'm sure it's a survival tactic.

Anyway, got home in one piece, albeit completely hungover from the vast amounts of champagne that flowed in the Victorian mansion. I even managed to have a heart-to-heart with my boss and tender my resignation for next year (effective sometime around March).

I had my first proper day off yesterday for weeks. Took Bumblebee to see Harry Potter (will post separately about that later!), and tried to catch up with sleep. But today I'm almost dead on my feet, and to be honest, I think it's because I feel so much relief. It's just hit me that the exhibition is on its way around regional Australia, and I'm on my own way to a few changes…

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