Diana Ellinger

Artist and illustrator

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Monday, Monday

Princess of the Riverina

Knowing Emma Beer is knowing her paintings. Each painting is a bi-product of her. Each an extraordinary pearl forged by a working process so focused, so honed, so expert and basically just completely natural. Form, colour, space, paint, matter, line – all these things are like oxygen to Emma, like making paintings is what she’s here for.

Hard-edged abstraction, the void, minimal space and line may be some of the fundamentals of her work, but these concepts are back-grounded by the surface, energy and nuance of her paintings, and they are anything but minimal. They are maximal, full of life, vibrancy and substance. Just like Emma.

You can check out her work really soon. Her show, Princess of  the Riverina opens 6pm April 2 and runs until April 9 at SEVENTH gallery, Melbourne.

Image list: from top to bottom.

Lanterns full of dreams, 2014. acrylic and oil on canvas. 30 x 40cm.
One for the ages, 2014. acrylic and oil on canvas. 30 x 40cm.
Extracts of lustre, 2014. acrylic  and oil on canvas. 42 x 49cm.
Deceptions and light, 2014. acrylic on canvas. 50 x 60cm.
Deadly skies and lustre, 2014. acrylic and oil on canvas. 50 x 60cm.
Inventions of space and light as far as the eye can see, 2014. acrylic and oil on canvas. 60 x 70cm.
Bum fuck no where. is good, 2014. acrylic on canvas. 50 x 60cm.
Heat waves and stature, 2014. acrylic on canvas. 50 x 60cm.
Brilliance and mirage, 2014. acrylic and oil on canvas. 60 x 70cm.
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Art Writing Workshop

This week Jacqueline Bradley and Bettina Hill – both fantastic Canberra artists – organised a writing workshop which was held at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Braddon. Speakers at the event included David Broker, Director CCAS; Helen Ennis, Associate Professor ANU School of Art; Kate Murphy, Lecturer ANU School of Art; Yolande Norris, Festival Producer, Freelance Curator and Arts Writer; and Kiki Skountzos, Arts Development Officer ArtsACT.

It was a great night and each of the speakers shared their writing secrets – from writing an effective artist’s statement or proposal to applying for grants or writing for websites, even just writing as part of general arts practice. One of the key messages from the night was to keep writing clear, accessible and without using overblown artist (pronounce that artiste, preferably while wearing thick horn-rimmed glasses) or overly academic words. David Broker showed us a clip which I want to share with you here, I think it’s pretty funny!

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The outsider

These are some beautiful water colour drawings by Henry Darger. Their ‘other-worldly’ qualities make them strange and a little unnerving, but at the same time quite beautiful. Discovered after Darger’s death the artworks illustrate his life-long project – The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion – a fantasy manuscript of 15,145 pages which tells the story of the Vivian Girls and their various adventures. kooky I know.

Back in 1972 french painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet coined the term art brut which roughly translates as ‘raw’ or ‘rough’ art, and as it so often happens, this art label has many variations and ‘outsider art’ is the one bandied around the traps these days. As far as art labels go, it’s a pretty cool one, it generally refers to an artist who works completely independently of the art world, often self-taught and typically social recluses, outsider artists create art that is low brow, naive, outside the norm even fantastical. Darger seems to be everyone’s favourite outsider artist, he’s certainly mine.


Doin’ The Pigeon

After a recent shopping trip to Belconnen (suburban canberra) chris and I reflected on our purchases: 7 second-hand books, 1.2kg of corned beef, 1 packet of sausages, 1 pretty vintage food container and a book about pigeons. It reads like a witch’s shopping list (all it needs is 3 spider’s legs, a rat’s tail and some seasoning), but I think this little collection of images are strangely beautiful. I particularly like the mangy pigeon feathers against the background colours – the series is both humorous and inspiring – it appeals to me in a way I can’t describe!