‘Each morning in every family, men, women and children, if they have nothing better to do, tell each other their dreams. We are all at the mercy of the dream and we owe it to ourselves to submit its powers to the waking state.’
1 - ‘We Go Everywhere’, 2014 pencil, charcoal, acrylic, oil , enamel and collage on canvas 111 x 122 cm
2 - ‘The Race is Not to the Swift‘, 2014 65 x 70 cm Acrylic , charcoal, collage and oil on wood panel
3 - ‘Night Thief‘, 2014 65 x 70 cm Acrylic , charcoal, collage and oil on wood panel
Chrissa Stilianos speaks to Tanya Linney for Pan & The Dream…
Tales of Tempt
Tales of Tempt is a collection of stunning multilayered abstract works by Sydney artist, Tanya Linney. The eighteen pieces, brimming with colour and energy, will be shown at China Heights Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney, this Friday, July 4 to July 10. The exhibition explores the complex nature of identity in contemporary society, which has fallen victim to an over-identification with commercial branding and consumerism.
Tales of Tempt is an engaging body of work, drawing its viewers into the layered swirls, splashes and strokes of colour that make up each piece. Linney’s artworks undermine conventional marketing techniques; they lure audiences into an attempt to decode the subtle symbols contained within the compositions, which are too ambiguous to define. This struggle to find meaning amongst the surplus of forms reflects the difficulty of grasping a true notion of self in a world obsessed by appearances.
Linney works in a variety of media, creating fusions of paint, spray paint, charcoal, oil, collage, and enamel on both canvas and wood. The diverse media combine to make cohesive compositions, yet tensions exist within them. The media, in their myriad colours and forms, all vie for equal amounts of attention, with no element standing out over another. The viewer is visually overloaded; their gaze cannot rest on any particular feature in the work, and they are left with the challenge of comprehending the stimulating artwork before them. Tales of Tempt challenges the practice of looking, to incite a change in its viewer’s perspective. The works can be hung four ways, further warping conventional modes of looking and understanding.
Having spent fifteen years as a model, Linney has experienced the immense value placed on outward appearance first-hand. Following her career in fashion, she studied design at The School Of Colour and Design in Sydney to pursue her interest in photography, drawing and collage. Her bold works in Tales of Tempt pose a challenge to superficial judgment, encouraging viewers to distance themselves from materialistic definitions of self, in favor of getting in touch with their true identities.
What are the major themes that run through your exhibition?
This body of work has been a very personal and cathartic series of works. It is a journey to discover one’s true self and to ask the question “who are we without ‘modern additives?’” I wanted to explore the medium of paint as I have predominantly worked with photography and collage in the past… so that has also been a fun new path that I am absolutely loving…
What inspires you as an artist?
I am inspired by life… observation, perception, etc. Wherever I am I try to be in the moment (be it painting, being with my daughter, in nature, watching films, listening to music, etc.). There is ALWAYS something that jolts me to the point that I want to explore that concept… not judging, purely exploring with total creative freedom…
Could you describe your creative process?
I never plan the works… they are generally a series of happy accidents combined with some self-taught techniques. I am always working on at least 3 works at a time and need to have that flow in the work for it to feel authentic and to tell a story, question a theme, etc. There is always a common fragmented thread through my work and the hard part is finishing a work… signing off, knowing when its done.
What will audiences take away from a visit to Tales of Tempt?
I hope that my work moves people… makes them feel something, love or hate it. Either way the works are engaging and alive… they are definitely not boring! Your artworks can be hung four ways…
What is the significance of the flexible hanging of your work?
This is symbolic as it allows for a “change in perspective,” which is one of the themes in my work. I like to think that through life we should examine, not just accept… but turn things around… alter ways of looking at life… this is how we grow and learn…
How has your experience in the fashion world impacted your work as an artist?
My work has always been influenced by fashion as it’s been a big part of my life and therefore I draw on that as a place of genuine reference to explore as woman and a mother. Sexual identity and the idea of adornment are prevalent themes in the modern world and I find the concept of fantasy fascinating…
Tales of Tempt, by Tanya Linney opens Friday, July 4th at China Heights Gallery, level 3, 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills.
In the wooden-floored halls of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you’ll find some of the world’s most iconic art - Picasso prints, Cezanne paintings and work by Johannes Vermeers. And, if you’re there at the right time, a white organza dress with a very infamous painting of a bright red lobster on its skirt.
The “lobster dress”, as it’s now lovingly known, was created by Elsa Schiaparelli in 1937 in collaboration with surrealist artist Salvatore Dalí, and was one of the first and most famous partnerships between an artist and a fashion designer. It’s now immortalized as a symbol of an era when the boundaries of experimentation and creativity were being pushed by both industries, and fashion houses were more interested in creating dreams than the latest ‘it’ bag.
But while at the time the blurring of the lines between art and fashion was considered avant garde, fast forward 70 years and it’s hard to speak about one without the other – since the turn of the century there have been countless collaborations involving everyone from Chanel and Prada to H&M and Adidas.
In fact, in a world of short attention spans and fast fashion, the relationship between artist and fashion designer seems to be the one thing that’s endured, as Alison Kubler, freelance curator and writer explains in her new book Art/Fashion in the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson 2013), written with freelance journalist Mitchell Oakley Smith.
The book examines the melding of fashion and artists over the past 14 years, covering iconic houses such as Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, artists like Jeff Koons and Stephen Sprouse, and work that’s transcended both fields. As fashion icon Daphne Guiness writes in the foreword: “To my mind, the best of our designers are indisputably artists; it just so happens that they have chosen fabric as their medium instead of paint or clay.” Pan& The Dream couldn’t agree more.
Alison Kubler sat down with Fiona MacDonald to talk about how the love affair between art and fashion has changed over the years and why the two need each other now more than ever.
So tell me, how exactly do art and fashion benefit each other? Well fashion by its very nature is fast-changing and cyclical - now we have something like six seasons in a year, it’s ridiculous. Fashion has to evolve, but art is all about enduring. It’s not about the moment, it’s about creating something that lasts. So fashion looks to art for longevity and a critical timelessness it doesn’t contain. Art looks to fashion to make itself relevant and put itself on the map.
We absolutely love the book. What inspired you to write it? In 1999 I was traveling in Milan and saw some work at the Nicola Trussardi Foundation [the not for profit institution established for the promotion of contemporary art and culture], where they’d enlisted an artist to work with their leather makers to create special leather footballs. They’d made a video where everyone was wearing Trussardi suits and playing with these footballs and I was struck by what seemed like such a great marriage of creative energies. Obviously I’d always been aware of these fashion collaborations with people like Schiaparelli in the past, but since 1999 I saw it emerge more and more.
I met Mitchell when he was associate editor of GQ and I told him I wanted to write about art and fashion. I thought, I’m an art historian, you’re a fashion journalist, why don’t we do it together? We spent the next two years writing.
What are some of your favorite fashion/art collaborations? When you look at what Marc Jacobs did at Louis Vuitton, that was a real game changer. Other collaborations have been more successful, but that ability to take the longevity and history of a brand and inject it with the work of Takashi Murakami was ingenious. Murakami was already respected, but Marc catapulted him to international fame. The things he did for Louis Vuitton were extraordinary, I can’t imagine it being the same again. Before he left Louis Vuitton, Marc actually said he couldn’t do any more collaborations – that genesis, that moment of why one does it had past.
I also loved when [Austrian artist] Erwin Wurm worked with Hermes. It wasn’t commercial but he created imagery that appeared in store and in the magazine. It was really beautiful and sophisticated and very indicative of that company. The collaboration between Balenciaga and artist Cindy Sherman was another one of the best - it was very strong in the spirit of what collaboration could be. Actually, what was the most interesting thing about it was it was so anti-fashion and very ugly actually. That’s a brave move for a brand.
Do you think there’s been a turning point where it’s changed from art inspiring fashion, to fashion inspiring art? Again, it probably was Marc Jacobs - I think he was the one who made it relevant but also commercially viable. He demonstrated that with the right intelligent approach one could do something that could work for both worlds. At the same time Louis Vuitton was building art foundations and collecting works – them doing the two things at once just made it so fascinating. Now more and more fashion houses and designers are financially contributing to the arts as well as working with artists.
But who benefits from these collaborations the most? I think it depends on the nature of the collaboration. Certainly at face value big luxury brands like Louis Vuitton face a bit of a risk, but they can also benefit a lot. If you think about it, what Marc Jacobs did was irreverent, but it was also saying let’s make ourselves relevant to a contemporary audience. Before that it’s fair to say Louis Vuitton didn’t set the world alight, it had been doing the same thing for a long time. Now those collaborations will be kept and archived and put in galleries.
Are there any dream collaborations you’d like to see? Miuccia Prada has previously worked with street artists, but it was just putting some prints on fabric. I’d like to see her more fully collaborate, I think she could do something phenomenal. I’d also love to see Viktor & Rolf do something because I’m a big fan. I think what they make is art already; it’s probably more who they would choose to collaborate with that would be interesting.
Your background is in art history. What do you think of the idea that art is somewhat ‘loftier’ than fashion? There’s this misconception that fashion would preclude intellect and is silly or superficial, but I’ve never seen it like that. I’ve seen it as this thing that anyone can do, that anyone can be creative with. I’ve always thought that fashion magazines offer some of the most incredible imagery that’s ever been created, they have this incredible ability to transport people to a different world. But it’s hard because fashion changes so quickly - that’s why art mistrusts fashion sometimes. It seems like the ideas are bouncing around all the time and none of them percolate or settle before they‘ve moved on.
So can art save fashion? I’m not sure, the things that are problematic for those fashion brands who are failing aren’t easily solved. But I think that the brands that have the intellect to work with artists probably will endure because they’re thinking of something bigger than their finances.
I think the interesting thing about art is that there was this idea in the 20th century that art could change the world. Think about someone like Picasso and Guernica and its impact on the Spanish Civil War - I cannot think of one single piece of artwork in the 21st century that resonated on any level like that. I just don’t think people believe that art can save the world anymore.
Why not? The world of art has changed too, everything is just so fast paced. Look at the big art exhibitions at the Biennale or GOMA – artists are now creating this great gesture, they’re creating the Instagram moment, the hashtag moment. That’s what in the in 21st century art has become reduced to. It needs to grab our attention it needs to shout really loudly, that’s why certain artist are doing incredibly well. Those who are quieter, whose work is more silent, are less visible. That’s where fashion and art are kind of similar – they are definitely having this moment together.
Do you think that we’ll continue to see more collaboration between the two industries? Did the revival of Schiaparelli in 2013 signal the return or a more art-focussed fashion world? Some people say they think the art and fashion thing is done but I don’t agree, because fashion still has an imperative to reinvent itself endlessly and what’s appealing about art is that it doesn’t have to. I think we’re going to see more and more blurring of the lines.
Alison Kubler is a curator and writer, Director of KUBLER CONSULTING, Director of mc/k art consultants and Board Director, Museum of Brisbane. Fiona McDonald is a freelance writer and Pan & The Dream contributor.
Photo credit below book cover:
Designer: Birthday Suit, Smoke and Mirrors collection, Autumn/Winter 2010. Photographer Jordan Graham
Chrissa Stilianos speaks to Sara Rainoldi for Pan & The Dream…
A serene model is captured, reclined amid dynamic pools of colour, in EyesWide Shut – the exciting product of artist Sara Rainoldi’s recent collaboration with Pan & the Dream. This partnership sees photographs from an earlier Pan & the Dream editorial, also entitled Eyes Wide Shut, enveloped by Rainoldi’s dazzling aesthetic. The artist has adorned the original images with vibrant strokes and dapples of paint, creating abstract atmospheres that surge around the posed model. The result is a wonderful exaggeration of movement. The figure appears fixed within the artworks; it is as though she is immobilized in a state of dreamlike ecstasy, enthralled by the waves of colour that surround her. Her stillness contrasts the sense of motion created by Rainoldi’s irregular impasto brushstrokes and the colours that optically come forth and recede, never settling within the composition.
The original editorial shoot, photographed by Paul Westlake and styled by Pan & the Dream’s own Nathalie Agussol, presents Prada and Miu Miu’s Spring/Summer 2014 collections. These images are striking; Agussol observed the Pop Art and Surrealist influences that flowed through the collections, and incorporated these stylistic concepts into the shoot. What initially began as a measure to protect the garments from damp grounds became a stroke of creative genius – Agussol used a sheet of clear plastic for the model to lay on, which created a tension between the artificial material and the grassy nature that existed beneath. The rippling, pulling and folding of the plastic in these photographs creates a sense of movement and, using this as a starting point, Rainoldi intensifies this energy in her collaborative work.
Rainoldi was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she currently lives and studies Fine Arts at the National Institute of Arts. Her work with fashion images makes up only one facet of her practice; some of Rainoldi’s Abstract Expressionist works will be exhibited at Agora Gallery in New York later this year. The young artist is inspired by some of the genre’s greats, naming Jackson Pollock and Francis Bacon as two major influences on her artistic development. Rainoldi’s work with Pan & the Dream brings together Abstract Expressionism and fashion, two realms that celebrate and explore the potential of colour, form, and movement. The euphoria of the model pictured in Eyes Wide Shut is not difficult to comprehend; Rainoldi’s artworks are entrancing.
How did you choose the images you wanted to work with? Actually, when Nathalie and I decided to collaborate she let me pick which series I wanted to work on – and let me say, it was really difficult to choose because all her works are incredible and she is so talented that I wanted to paint everything! But the one that really attracted me was Eyes Wide Shut, first of all because the composition of the scene and the combination of materials, like the plastic with high fashion clothes on the grass, really fascinated me. Moreover, the model is just gorgeous; I love her hair color and how her delicate skin matches the clothes, which are beyond belief (I love Prada).
What are your artworks about? My work for Pan & the Dream is about playing with the movement and poses the model, clothes and the environment create.
The moment when those pictures were captured, they captured a moment, a movement, a feeling and an expression that was unique and once in a lifetime. So that special moment captured by the photographer is what called my attention, and I love to make those expressions stand out and make it even more unique by adding more colors and my personal touch.
Which artists inspire your work? There are millions of artists that inspire my work. Everyday I’m introduced to new artists and that inspires me a lot. A couple of weeks ago my teacher introduced me to the Oehlen brothers, who both inspire me a lot because of the colors they use and the expressions they transmit through their works. But not only artists inspire me, people on the streets, facial expressions and movements, clothes and the way of talking, all of that fills my mind with ideas that contribute to my imagination.
In Eyes Wide Shut you started with a complete artwork – a fashion photograph. How do you decide when your work with the photograph is complete? I believe that for all artists to decide ‘when’ a painting or work is finished is the most difficult part of all, because ‘you never know if you don’t try on adding more’ so sometimes I just leave the painting breathe and take its time. It’s like a relationship with your piece, you let it there at the studio hanging and every time you go, you watch it, until one day the idea comes and you know what to do, or maybe the idea never comes…
In Eyes Wide Shut, the model pictured is in a tranquil, dreamy state… What is the significance of dreams to your artworks? I didn’t realize or think about the sleeping thing in the photos actually (laughter) I believe the poses attracted me and, if I go deeper on the feeling, I have issues and suffer from insomnia, so seeing someone so relaxed and calm maybe called my attention. As I love colors, that might have called my attention, too.
When Toni Maticevski and Louise Olsen dreamed up to collaborate on a limited edition collection of accessories for "Orchid Metamorphis", it truly was the melding of Art and Fashion.
The collection was revealed at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia last April. As always, Maticevski’s show was one of the highlights of the week and a delight to see the result of a collaboration between two of my favorite Australian designers, the other being jewellery (and homeware) brand Dinosaur Designs.
The jewellery pieces, consisting of a bold, sculptural, tubular neck piece and wrist cuff, which come in a tonal neutral palette, of grey, pink, polar white, black and clear have all been hand-made in Stephen Ormandy & Louise Olsen’s Dinosaur Designs Sydney studio. Adding to this collaboration were severe black and polite pink Swarovski crystals, which adorn the cut edges of selected pieces.
Maticevski says, “Working with Louise has been a highlight for me. Together we worked on forming art pieces with a feminine bold aesthetic”. Olsen adds, “It was such a pleasure working with Toni developing these sculptural forms. For us they are like art works that stand-alone whether they are worn or placed as sculptural objects. It was great to collaborate and to be part Toni’s beautiful collection”.
This collaboration highlights the inventive nature of both the Maticevski and Dinosaur Designs brands, which continue to explore the relationship between art, design and fashion.