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“Preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia.”

Florence Rodway – Jules François Archibald, 1921 – Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The Archibald Prize is Australia’s most highly regarded art prize for portraiture – Value $100,000. Named after John Feltham Archibald (1856 – 1919) from Warrnambool, Victoria. He later changed his name to Jules Francois which reflected his move to a more bohemian lifestyle; working as a journalist and living a life at street cafes, boarding houses and theatres in Melbourne. In 1880 he founded The Bulletin magazine which addressed issues in the public consciousness. In 1900 he commissioned Melbourne portrait artist, John Longstaff to paint a portrait of Australia’s iconic author Henry Lawson. Following the success of this portrait he left money in his will for an annual portrait prize – first awarded in 1921.

Shaver III – Self-portrait pushing 60.
Otomys Artist Hugh Ramage’s Archibald Entrant for 2018.

“This painting is one of several ‘Shaver’ paintings that I worked on in March. These paintings emerged from the desire to get back to an essential possibly universal subject matter. Something as basic as contemplating one’s own reflection. Something very ordinary and everyday. Like shaving. They were also informed by my approaching 60th birthday (feelings of disbelief and something akin to dread) and the deaths of a number of acquaintances recently. So, they are inevitably a kind of memento mori. Shaver III in a way is a reverse portrait .The razor is held in the left hand (I am right handed) so it could be seen as existing in the world beyond the mirror, the private world of feeling and emotion, below the surface, not revealed. The right hand is holding something ill defined, a box, a phone, life sustaining illusion perhaps. The surface pools and slides and slips and is covered with footprints, essentially unstable like the self. It is a wild painting and a sincere painting. It is also ridiculously large and bleakly hilarious. As such it lacks pretty much every ingredient that makes for a successful Archibald contender.”

View Hugh Ramage’s new Portrait Series in the Otomys Gallery.

OTOMYS is pleased to open the exhibition: Poetic Space. A succinct and aesthetically honed grouping of work by three Melbourne-based artists. The three practitioners share a common background and profound understanding of architecture and photography. Poetic Space is all about photography and architecture, yet – it is nothing about these things.

As the title would suggest, there is more going on in this exhibition than can be seen by the eye. Knight, Barbieri and Mein’s respective practices are driven by similar conceptual and technical concerns, locating their work along an ever increasing scale shift from the next to the next. From the micro to the macro, each suite of works establishes a platform from which the mind’s eye is free to wander.

Susan Knight invites us into a domestic setting with her collection of everyday, household objects. As with previous works, Susan is interested in the personal connections objects around us become imbued with over time. Suspended within a grid, these familiar items begin to fall from view as one looks closer and realises Susan is tuning us into the spaces between. Rendered through a cyanotype process, material and form, the objects once embodied start to be read as a series of blueprints. Suddenly, spaces between a string of beads undergo a scale shift and their relationship becomes a composition of positive and negative space. No longer objects on the kitchen table, rather plans for future spatial environments.

At architectural scale, we meet the works of Liliana Barbieri as though on an afternoon stroll through a piazza in an un/familiar town. Drawing from the language of Renaissance and Italianate architecture; geometry, perspective, colour and space are among her chosen media. Liliana’s carefully pared back fragments of architectural elements appear and hint at locations and moments in time neither past, nor present. The spaces created between form and sky articulate the passage into an emotional realm, the key to Liliana’s paintings.

Zooming out beyond the architectural plane, Trevor Mein draws us into the ether, high above Earth. On entering his floating world Trevor presents us with a repeating line in the sky. The line acts as an orientational device which we hold onto until we are prepared to take a leap beyond. Should one look deeper, we realise his compositions are about subtle shifts in atmospheric vapors resulting in significant changes as we move from one image to the next. Each frame brings with it a completely different psychological landscape. Mein’s evanescent medium conjures vast expanses of possible spatial configurations we find ourselves imagining into.

WORDS | Ri Williamson 2017. BFA (sculpture) M.Arch (Prof.)


Trevor Mein | atmosphereelevenfortyseven2017

Trevor Mein Susan Knight  |  Liliana Barbieri


You are invited to the opening!

Wednesday 6th September – 6:30pm

567 – 569 Victoria St Abbotsford 3065


 On View | 6th – 29th September 2017


 Removed from our own very Gallery in Abbotsford, we are forever frequenting The Heide Museum of Modern Art. With every visit, we become even more so enchanted by Heide MOMA. 

Beginning life in 1934 as the home of John and Sunday Reed, Heidi nurtured circles of artists, writers and intellectuals such as Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, John Perceval and Danila Vassilieff.

The fifteen acre property has since evolved into one of Australia’s most important cultural institutions. Heide MOMA presents a space for contemporary art, literature, conversation, connection, sharing and friendship.

Recently we viewed: Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art. So we ask, What is Constructivism? And how has this movement impacted Australian Art?

George Johnson, Construction With Brown Triangle 1986

Constructivism is nonrepresentational style of art developed by a group of Russian artists, in response to the social and political nuances of The Russian Revolution [1917]. Lead by Vladimir Tatlin, this group presented art as an approachable everyday idea, rather than a unique commodity. Employing modern industrial materials and abstract forms to explore mass, volume and space, these artists sought to ‘construct’ art, and engage with it!

Constructivism called upon geometry, colour and line to unite art and life.

Ralph Balson, Constructive Painting, 1963

This artistic experiment quickly travelled throughout Europe, eventually reaching Australia. International Constructivism pervaded architecture, graphic design, industrial design, theatre, film, dance and fashion. And of course, art. Modern art movements of the 20th century grew from International Constructivism, particularly Bauhaus and De Stijl trends.

Zoe Croggon, Harp no.2, 2015

Co-curators, Sure Cramer and Lesley Harding trace the influence of Constructivism on Australian painters and sculptors throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, as well as in later, contemporary times.

Considering that Constructivism sought to explore ideas across all art forms, the exhibition presents painting, sculpture, videography, photography, graphic arts, theatre and costume.

“We’ve tried to convey that it’s a very mobile movement,” says Lesley Harding. “It never stays still. It’s international and intergenerational.”

On view are works by Russian Constructivists: Rodchenko, Malevich, El Lissitzky and Alexandra Exter. British Artists: Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. Australian Artists: Ralph Balson, Frank Hinder, Inge King, Gunter Christmann, George Johnson, Robert Owen, Rose Nolan, Justene Williams and Zoë Croggon.

Sure Cramer encourages visitors to consider “how art might function in the world and interact with the everyday.” 


Heide Museum of Modern Art | 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen VIC 3105.
Hours | Tuesday – Sunday – 10 am – 5 pm.
On View |  5 July – 8 October 2017.


Further Reading –

Heidi Gallery | Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art

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If Mark Roper wasn’t already on your radar, he most definitely is now. Originally hailing from the UK, Melbourne based Mark Roper isn’t just an artist, but a brilliantly versatile creative. With an extensive portfolio including food, travel, lifestyle and interior photography for both editorial and commercial projects, he is undoubtedly well regarded in his industry. However, Mark’s latest venture was one of a more personal journey.

Chronicles got talking to Mark fresh from the opening night of his new photography series ‘Arcane’.  In his limited edition debut collection of 8 Archival Lustre prints exhibited at Otomys gallery and online, Mark uses Polaroid film to explore the relationship between old and new, light and dark, chemical and digital.

Otomys: Tell us a little about your background, what did you study and what led you to where you are today?

  • Mark: I studied film and photography in the south west of the UK. I was originally going to take the path of film making but found I enjoyed the photography part of the course more, so ended up specializing in that.

Otomys: What 3 words best describe your work?

  • Mark: Moody, Layered, Mysterious

Otomys: What inspired your shift from traditional photographic work to polaroids, which forms your new ‘Arcane’ series?

  • Mark: My editorial and commercial work is all shot digitally. I love the control and precision of digital photography but missed the unpredictability of film, especially Polaroid.

Otomys: What did you love about experimenting with polaroids?

  • Mark: With Polaroid, when you peel back the film you’re never 100 percent sure what the outcome will be. The more I experimented with the structure and the chemicals in the Polaroid, the more unpredictable it became. I manipulated the chemicals found in the film with a number of different elements which produced new and interesting results.

Otomys: Can you give us a little insight into the creative process behind the ‘Arcane’ collection? Was there an intended message behind this work?

  • Mark: There’s no set message behind the work, I think they are the kind of pieces that people will connect with in different ways. I started my career shooting on film and Polaroid so I was excited to get back to my photographic roots. I’d been sitting on the idea for a while so am very excited it’s all come to fruition!

Otomys: What’s next for Mark Roper?

  • Mark: Now that Arcane is complete it’s inspired a lot more ideas. I’d like to complete a series using a mix of mediums, not just photography. Hopefully I can finish the idea by early next year.

Otomys: What would be your dream creative project?

  • Mark: My dream creative project would be to work with an interior designer and creative artworks for a hotel fitout

Otomys: Where do you currently call home?

  • Mark: I live in Caulfield, Melbourne. It’s a quiet suburb that is still close to everything with great parks and cafes.

Otomys: Can you share with us any best-kept-secret locations in a favourite neighbourhood around here?

  • Mark: There’s a great little cafe called Next Of Kin in Elsternwick which does fantastic breakfasts and coffee.

Otomys: What does a typical Saturday look like for you?

  • Mark: A typical Saturday for me, if I’m on top of all my work, involves a lie in, a couple of coffees and then spending the day with my wife Deb and kids Jack and Ella. We like to head out for lunch at our local or down to the park or the beach.

Arcane – by Mark Roper (free entry)
Otomys Gallery 567-569 
Victoria Street (corner of Duke Street) 
Abbotsford, VIC 
Gallery OPEN Thursdays and Fridays 10 – 5pm or by appointment any other day .

(Images courtesy of Mark Roper)

“The collection has given us such pleasure over the years and we want to share that joy with other art lovers,” – Charles Justin, founding director of architecture practice SJB.

And sharing is exactly what serious art collectors Charles Justin and his wife Leah have done.  In April of 2016, they opened the doors of their private Prahan residence to the public, in a bid to share the couple’s burgeoning collection of over 300 works of contemporary art acquired over the past 40 years…and counting!

Some 17 years on and the pioneering ‘Lyon House Museum’ in Melbourne’s suburb of Kew is still receiving international acclaim. Recognition that both Charles and Leah took as the final push they needed to swing open their own doors last year. Making Melbourne now home to two dedicated house museums.

‘House museum’ is a concept used across the globe. It’s used to describe a unique architectural combination of a private residence and private museum; where ‘museum’ and ‘family life’ are housed together under a single roof.

Enjoying retirement together, they now welcome visitors in to enjoy an authentic experience that is both intimate, personal and reflective of their own passions in the art world. Alongside more established artists, Charles and Leah turn their attention to emerging artists with a special interest in new digital and video works.

It’s been a family affair. Taking after her father, Charles and Leah’s daughter Elisa who is also an Architect, designed the customised the house museum. Located on a corner site in the inner Melbourne suburb of Prahran, the converted apartment block includes a gallery on the second level and residences on the third.

The museum hosts two exhibitions every year which are personally guided by Charles and Leah. With a vision, much broader than their own collection, the Justin’s dedicate one of these exhibitions to showcase art that is not from their collection. Currently on show is ‘Digital: The World of Alternative Realities.

Viewings are only available through pre-booked tours. JAHM’s exhibition ‘Digital: The World of Alternative Realities’ will run from 16th February until 4th June 2017. Bookings are essential and can be made via the museum’s website here.

Photography credits:Courtesy of Justin Art House Museum, Andrew Wuttke and Megan Dicks.

Humble, hard-working and taking on Hollywood, established artist Diana Watson talks to Chronicles about her hometown Sydney and her latest collection of work; Ambrosia.

Acclaimed for her hyper-realistic large-scale floral murals, particularly “those” roses, Sydney-based artist Diana Watson’s work fuses art with the utmost consideration for interior décor. From restaurants to residential homes to the Hollywood set of recent film ‘Collateral Beauty’ (starring Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren and Will Smith) Diana Watson is fast becoming a household name.

Diana’s latest exhibition ‘Ambrosia’ opens 4th May 2017 at Otomys Gallery in Melbourne.

Otomys: You’ve had an impressive career in art spanning over 20 years. Can you tell us a little bit about the path that led you to here, have you always painted large-scale murals? 

  • Diana: It all came about after my Mother once let me paint a very large blue horse on the kitchen wall when I was about ten years old, which ignited my passion to paint. After studying art I actually went on to work in advertising and it was not until after having my daughters that I started exhibiting my work. I have always enjoyed painting large canvases, and the large flower murals came about with digital technology which allowed me to enlarge my paintings to wallpaper size.

Otomys: We’d love to know what inspired your latest body of work ‘Ambrosia’? 

  • Diana: I was delighted when Otomys approached me about my ‘Nova’ series. After years of concentrating on nature I wanted to start exploring my other interest; fabric.  I’ve always enjoyed sewing and the challenge of painting folds of intricate fabric.  It was incredible to finally combine these two elements through colour to form an interesting body of work. With beauty being the focus ‘Ambrosia’ seemed a fitting title.

Otomys: How did it feel when Warner Bros approached you to feature your artwork in the recent film ‘Collateral Beauty’? 

  • Diana: Naturally that was an unforgettable moment to think that Warner Bros in Hollywood had noticed my work . However,  the actual frame including my work was a rather fleeting moment in the film.

Otomys: What would your dream creative project look like? 

  • Diana: I have always liked the idea of designing film sets. It would be a amazing to design and paint large-scale murals for a production situ.

Otomys: What’s next for Diana Watson?

  • Diana: Painting is one of those things that can last your whole life and I certainly have no intention of ever stopping. Living in Italy or France is also up high on my bucket list…


Otomys: How long have you been calling Sydney home?

  • Diana: We came to live in Sydney from Perth back in 2000. I can’t believe we’ve been here 17 years!

Otomys: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday in Sydney?

  • Diana: If I haven’t got a deadline to meet? Then, spending time with my family is what I cherish.

Otomys: You must have some secret Sydney spots….any that you’re willing to tell share with us?

  • Diana: Kirribilli has two unique coffee shops. One is at the Wharf (conveniently) downstairs from our apartment and the other is the Flying Bear which is aptly named after the Sydney Flying Squadron. Both wonderful settings to sit and enjoy a good coffee while watching over the water.

Otomys: What was the last momentous meal you had in Sydney?

  • Diana: Christmas dinner at Blueys Beach.  My family love cooking meals together and we have created a long standing tradition with our daughters where we spend almost all year talking about and planning Christmas together. When it finally comes around, we spend the entire week celebrating and eating our way through all the amazing meals.

Otomys: Do you have a favourite Sydney neighbourhood and why?

  • Diana: We landed in Kirribilli more by accident than anything, but it has turned out to be a great place to live!  We have made some wonderful friends and there is a close-knit community spirit in our building. Notably, the harvest of our olive tree and the street party at Christmas time are both highlights in our neighbourhood.

Photo credits: Julie Adams 

JOIN US! Thursday 4th May at 5.30pm for our special Champagne & Ambrosia event in the gallery.

Ambrosia – by Diana Wastson 4th May –26th May 2017 (free entry)
Otomys Gallery 567-569
Victoria Street (corner of Duke Street)
Abbotsford, VIC
Gallery open Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment any other day.

“What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing”. Spoken by one of the most influential living artists of our lifetime; David Hockney does exactly that through his latest solo exhibition at Melbourne’s NGV.

Otomys decided, there’s no better way to kick off a New Year that with some art inspiration. And so, we had the technicoloured pleasure of viewing some 1200 works presented through ‘David Hockney: Current’. Incredible artwork that scans across a decade including some never-before-seen in Australia pieces. Installations that encompass mediums from paintings, digital drawings, photography and video works. Each piece showcasing a celebration of Hockney’s life in England, eclectic art and his very modern way of painting.

Born in Bradford, England, in 1937, David Hockney attended art school in London before moving to Los Angeles in the 60s. There, he painted his famous swimming pool collection. In the 70s, Hockney began working in photograph and in the late 80s, he painted vivid seascapes, flowers and portraits. He then famously, introduced technology into his art and has arguably, earned himself the title of one of Britain’s greatest living painters.

Drawing from life with a clear, unabashed love of the landscape and seasons around him, Hockney, at the ripe age of 79 still chooses to work prolifically. He’s just adapted to the way he’s chosen to do it “I go and see anything that’s visually new, any technology that’s about picture-making. The technology won’t make the pictures different, but someone using it will.” Hockney’s experimentation with mastering new technologies, creating works on his iPhone, iPad and in video set an example to us all. “We all got iPhones in 2009 and I installed the Brushes App on it, and I started drawing. I quickly realised this was a new medium and it was really good.”

We know we’re not meant to choose favourites, but the ‘Bigger Trees Near Water’ installation was both spectacularly immersive and enlightening. Hockney’s largest painting comprised of fifty oil on canvas panels, and the centrepiece of Hockney’s hugely popular exhibition Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy, London which he then gifted to the Tate.

Hockney’s richness in colours make you feel joyful and optimistic and it’s without a doubt the best way we started 2017.

Photography above by Megan Rawson

David Hockney: Current
The exhibition is currently on display at the NGV International until 13 March 2017.

Artist Rebecca Jones’ love for the ocean goes deep. Exploring the intoxicating notions of movement, colour and space by the seaside, Rebecca takes us on a saltwater journey to the beach with her latest installation; Coast.

Having completed studies with The New York Studio School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture and the University of South Australia, Melbourne-based Rebecca Jones has been a full-time practicing artist since 2005. Known for integrating innovative technology, such as the iPad, to enhance traditional techniques, her work echoes the Australian landscape, light and colour. And Coast is no exception.


rebecca-jones_bikini rebecca-jones_sunshade





Exploring the Australian land and seascape with her upcoming collection, Rebecca explores her long standing connection to the sea and sand, explaining that “The beach is a place where people relax into the surroundings, shedding their clothes, inhibitions and pretensions. The act of floating in the water, where the swimmer and water become one encourages this state of mind, which is continued on land with the bodies melting into, and conforming to the shapes of the sand”. Her response to these beachside activities is a transformation into a series of two interwoven works. The first, exhibiting liberal applications of radiant watercolours in an array of transparent, fluid strokes. The second is a series of bolder contoured lines that meet to form abstract bodies, devoid of any detail. The contrasting result creates a beautiful Summer story.

Rebecca reveals, “Drawing is my response to everyday experiences. To either capture a moment or mood in a few lines, or work a drawing extensively, the outcome must be the same: the drawing needs to relate, and be authentic, to the experience”. Each piece is painted entirely from memory, capturing the salty scene in a ‘spirit of the moment’ rather than an exact person or a recognisable place. Rebecca hopes the Coast installation will “trigger memories of saltwater and sun on the skin, sand underneath your feet and all the freedom that the beach brings.”

With the Australian Summer months nearly upon us, we can’t think of any better way to immerse (and submerse) yourself in Rebecca’s light, fresh and invigorating colours from the coastline.

Coast – by Rebecca Jones 18th November – 9th December 2016 (free entry)

Otomys Gallery 567-569
Victoria Street (corner of Duke Street)
Abbotsford, VIC
Gallery open Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment any other day.


London is home to some 1,500 odd galleries and its current art scene is one of the world’s largest, with an international reach that rivals that of other famed art hubs including New York and Paris. However, one that towers (quite literally) over all others is the Tate Modern.

At only 15 years old, most will agree that the Tate has done well in asserting itself alongside the globes’ ‘gallery greats’. When it first opened back in 2000, it seemed the Tate had already entered as a key player at the highest level, levelling with its’ counterparts at New York’s MoMA and Paris’ Pompidou and becoming a pivotal, leading voice in today’s contemporary art scene. We think it’s fair to say that the Tate Modern has settled very nicely into the museum landscape.

Since its arrival, the Tate’s familiar Turbine Hall has been lauded as one of the most photographed spaces in the world of contemporary art. So, where does this leave the new Switch House extension? How has the new building been received so far, and how does it connect with the existing landmark that we’ve all come to recognise in the London skyline?








The Tate Modern opened its brand new angular extension in June earlier this year. Using 336,000 bricks to wrap around the ziggurat shaped pyramid, Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron were invited back to design the extension, having been responsible for the original conversion of the former Bankside Power Station in 2000. The latticed brickwork facade intentionally helps to match the exterior brickwork of Giles Gilbert Scott’s original power station. Ascan Mergenthaler, a senior partner at Herzog & De Meuron sums up the spatial design, saying “from the cavernous subterranean Tanks dedicated to performance and installation art, to the lofty top-lit galleries with their large luminescent ceilings, each form a broad ribbon for circulation meandering up through the building, to the generous day-lit education spaces.” (Dezeen, 2016).

Named after part of the power station that housed the electrical switches, the new galleries have expanded the museum by 60% to accommodate its’ thriving visitor numbers (The Art Newspaper, 2016). Frances Morris, the Tate’s new director, explains that the objective for the new building was to harbour more “participatory art or the debate around art and audiences”. Morris pinpointed the 1960s as the decade where this can be articulated with the greatest amount of authority. The 1960s, being a time where massive social, political and artistic shifts were witnessed in society, creating crucial moments in history that deserve to be celebrated within the new spaces (Dezeen, 2016). The installations begin in the mid-1960s in the theatrical basement tanks and as you climb the spiral stairs the narrative from artists of the 20th century begin to take over.

With a view to present a greater variety of artworks and more global artists, the Tate is aiming for an increasingly global portfolio of modern and contemporary art. It’s all part of Morris’ plan to grow the Tate. Not just underground into the Switch House and up ten storeys into the new ziggurat, but within its international outlook and it’s vision to right the gender balance, so that the next generation will understand that women also make great art.

The result? An undoubted consensus that Switch House has had a transformative impact on the city already, reinstating the Tate Modern’s landmark appeal and continuing to be an influential force in honouring the contemporary arts. We can’t wait to climb the spiral staircase to the outlook over the Thames ourselves.

Have you visited the new Tate Modern building? We’d love to know what your experience was like in the comments below.

tate-modern-extension-herzog-de-meuron-london-jim-stephenson_dezeen_1568_33Photography by Jim Stephenson for Dezeen.