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Ladies in the Nuddy

After two weeks of being bedridden with the flu, the sketchbooks have finally come out again. I have started art school and have been pushing through a ridiculous wave of conceptual planning and project proposals. The school is bursting with talent, so it is daunting to say the least. I have started a children’s picture storybook set in a futuristic and thoroughly waterlogged Australia; more to come on that in my next post.

In the meantime, I have attached some 10-20 minute sketches from my weekly life drawing class. These were executed in charcoal and pastel pencils. We have been doing some interesting exercises with long willow sticks which force you to draw from your elbow rather than your wrist – my attempts were too terrible to feature here but it was pretty hilarious nonetheless. We have also been folding and tearing our paper into ever smaller pieces so by the end of the session you are trying to fit the model on a postcard-sized square. Still, I miss the tassels, sequins and feathers of Anti-Art School. I will still be putting on my bohemian hat at Dr Sketchy’s, which has now moved to the Toff in Town (a boutique performance space above Cookie cinema). The sessions are held the last Sunday of the month from 4.30pm. Episode Five of the television show Fringe Lane includes an interview with Melanie Knight, the founder of the local Sketchy’s branch. The episode was filmed at the old venue The Order of Melbourne and features burlesque dancer Betty Blood. A good friend of mine produced the show – it covers all sorts of creative activities around Melbourne, from bookbinding to circus arts.

Working in “the negative” turns your brain in knots. 

Last week, I also managed to get down to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Art After DarkThe Great Hall was done up to look like a turn-of-the-century Viennese music lounge, inspired by the likes of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. The Winter Masterpieces exhibition Vienna: Art and Design is open until late on Wednesday nights (and has a special price for students!). The crowd was a mix of libertines who had gone to great efforts fitting into the theme. At one point I was surrounded by a group of nanas touting white wines and dressed up in period costume; they might well have been extras from Underbelly: Razor. The Art After Dark sessions continue through winter with a rotating program of underground orchestra and vaudeville performances. The exhibition itself is mind-blowing. My favorite piece was Klimt’s 1902 portrait of his lifelong companion Emilie Floge. She is depicted wearing her “rational dress,” a free-flowing garment she designed to subvert the trend of uncomfortable corsets. In the exhibition there are some tiny black and white photos of the pair rowing on Lake Attersee; you can really sense their disregard for social convention. Emilie may have posed for Klimt’s most famous painting, The Kiss, though it has never been verified that she was actually the artist’s lover.

Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Emilie Floge 1902

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