REFLECTIONS ON 2019

The big news this year was securing an exhibition in Melbourne after seven years of searching. It was a solo exhibition as well, after failing to be included in any group shows or prizes over the period, and at 67, making the achievement all the more notable. I am now represented by William Mora Galleries. However, the exhibition failed to make any impact on the local scene and was a harsh reminder of my lack of prestige or reputation, despite my best efforts as an online reviewer and social media presence.

The year began with writing fiction again, in a lighter vein than previously and was part of a plan to slow my picture production, allow more time for reflection. I continued a return to painting in the first months as well (SAMPLER-02) confirming some ideas about my overall project. This year I published just three series, MUSING, OBLIQUE HOUSING and CREATURE COMFORTS, 193 works in all. I have no favourites amongst them as yet.

The other big event was a three month break (June-August) devoted to fulltime video editing. Long days and tortured nights were spent re-teaching myself Premiere Pro (after a ten year gap) in order to prepare my old film shorts (1976-83) for uploading to You Tube. This is something I had repeatedly deferred; a) fearing the cost would be prohibitive transferring the films to digital video and b) the quality of my prints after forty odd years would not do the films justice (a storage conditions issue really). An old film school colleague who had sought me out on Facebook the previous year, had teased me about one in particular, so I was anxious to preserve as much quality as I could. Predictably, the transfers were faded and fuzzy, no matter which company I tried, format I chose. There was a lot of agonising and adjusting. Premiere Pro allowed me to sharpen focus (at the cost of frame edge) lift audio volume, supplement audio, replace titles and graphics (which somehow seemed to fare worse than main photography). I now have my own little You Tube channel consisting of five shorts. I anticipated only about a dozen views for any of them, mainly targeting my film school contemporaries and collaborators from University College London in the early eighties. I did not quite find all of that audience but the numbers exceeded my expectations in any case.

I continued supplying reviews to MELBOURNE ART SEEN although I encountered problems with the WordPress administration who insisted on inserting advertisements between paragraphs in posts. I had indicated clearly that I did not wish to monetise the site and eventually transferred the whole thing to BlogSpot to avoid all the distracting and irrelevant ads (up to eight for a post). It was a big job and BlogSpot’s templates aren’t quite as good, but it was worth it to maintain control over the look of the thing. WordPress then set about sabotaging the new site’s visibility to search engines, which I complained about to BlogSpot (owned by Google). That problem has been corrected. I only managed six reviews again this year, but this time I don’t think I missed anything. The first half of the year was particularly lean, perhaps true of the art world generally. My pick of the reviews would be ALISON KENNEDY – ‘The Blob’. As always it was interesting to actually meet the artists and dealers and get a bit more of a feel for the local scene.

Finally, the year ended as it began with me devoting December and January to another short story. They are a lot of work but fun. I have to use my brain in completely different ways (or perhaps completely different parts of my brain). At any rate I find the break refreshing before re-engaging with pictures.

Posted 03/01/2020 by gerrybellart

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