Tuesday, 1 October 2019



  October 2019
  Various ceramics

Spanish-born potter Ana Maria Hernandez Jensen's ceramics are simple, deceptively so. Simplicity and functionality in perfect tandem make for great design, and beauty. Achieving this duality is not as easy as it looks - Ana Jensen has been hard at work perfecting such balance for many years. 

Her hand-thrown domestic ware, made locally, is indicative of her cultural background which values clean contemporary lines. Jensen performs all aspects of the ceramics process, from forming to firing, to distribution, overseeing all stages to ensure high standards are met consistently.

‘My education in ceramics began in Denmark where I undertook a traineeship as a potter. The emphasis of this training was on production throwing, demanding the development of a high degree of skill on the potter's wheel.The traineeship also took me to England and France, including a time at La Borne pottery village. This gave me exposure to a wide variety of studio practices and methods of firing.’ 

Jensen’s work, to this writer’s eye, has a kinship to that of ceramicist Phil Elson, a North Central Victorian potter who began his career with clay at the CAE around Eltham in 1981. What seems common to each, beyond the simplicity and functionality of their work, is an attachment to place, which makes sense, given the weighty commitment to kiln, supplies and tools in a particular area. Ceramics is generally a grounded practice. Jensen’s Instagram images hint at her appreciation of this factor – the context of her workplace features sheep and sheepdog: the soft and the ceramic come together to create contentment.

In the context of WINDOWSPACE, Jensen’s clear functionality offsets the roving curiosity of Georgia Harvey’s ceramics (see entry for WINDOWSPACE April 2016 - http://windowspace-beeac.blogspot.com/2016/04/2016-3-georgia-harvey-2-30-april-2016.html )
Together, Jensen and Harvey, along with Rex Ashworth (WINDOWSPACE June 2018 - http://windowspace-beeac.blogspot.com/2018/06/bernadette-daly-and-rex-ashworth-june.html  ) - give a comprehensive feel for what constitutes ceramics.


anajensenceramics instagram

CONGRATS Bronwyn Razem CARDINET at Yarra Valley

Bronwyn Razem

on your show at 

Federation Square, City of Melbourne

Camping on Country (2019)

Opening 5 October 2019 @ 2pm

Current to 24 November 2019



Yarra Valley Arts | Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition & Awards 2019
Opening and Awards Wine Brunch
Sunday13 October @ 11.30 in Yering Station’s Historic Barn


Image: Todd Stuart, Levitation, Silicon bronze on granite, 58 x 30 x 50 cm Photo: Robert Anderson

For more information please contact 

Dr Ewen Jarvis
Curator and Exhibition Coordinator
Yering Station Art Gallery
38 Melba Highway
Yarra Glen Vic 3775

Sunday, 1 September 2019


Allison McClaren


WINDOWSPACE – September 2019

Sexual imagery is rampant in the natural world, particularly among flora in spring. Colour, shape and texture excite the spirits and fire the artist – think Van Gogh and sunflowers, Monet and waterlilies,  O’Keefe and calla lilies, Warhol’s flat gaudy ‘flowers’, more locally Celia Rosser’s ferociously fine banksias and Tim McGuire’s luscious tulips, peonies and fruits – the list could go on, for a long time, and the names of each artist-flower partner conjure an image almost instantly.

Locally there is an artist similarly ‘fired’, behind her quaint shopfront (once a billard hall and …) Allison McClaren cultivates a garden that meanders and weaves, perfumes, shapes and colours jostle, trees and vines tangle and wander around the fragrant path between house and hideaway studios.

McClaren had had no acquaintance with the work of Georgia O’Keefe when a random viewer observed that there was an affinity between their work.  Allison McClaren missed out on art training but she has been a practicing artist since a child – fearless – untroubled by a doubt of ability that constrains so many and hinders creative joy – McClaren remembers always being at one with her companionable imagination and its visual effusions. This writer is reminded of Patrick White’s Hurtle Duffield in The Vivisector (1970), who likewise as a child used to draw wherever he found a sympathetic surface. McClaren recalls drawing with chalk on the family fences: ‘I used to do that all the time. Constantly.’ At school she would draw in the margins of her exercise books – images appeared rather than words.  Surprisingly this ‘manuscript style’ infuriated the nuns.

‘My mother had pictures of thatched English cottages amidst beautiful gardens’, and this idyllic world attracted McClaren:  ‘the colours of nature make me feel happy, make you feel good.’ Among artist exemplars McClaren was naturally attracted to Monet. At home she created little tableau that would lead over time to her ‘felfs’ – little people she made without pattern or example to populate her world.

If anyone actively encouraged her creative tendencies it was her father, who bought her oil paints and gave her scraps of masonite he had primed for her use.  She took one of her works to school and asked that it be submitted to the Colac Art  Show – the nuns deemed the painting so capable they refused to submit it on the grounds it had been done by someone else. McClaren refused to be daunted by their distrust.

There was a time when rubber moulds and plaster were one of the craft  ‘trends’ – McClaren made armies of madonnas and decorated them, each uniquely – they were popular! Doilies from her mother’s linen cupboard also held her attention – some had been left unfinished and McClaren bundled a few off to school and sat amid dangling threads, making up stitches to give a semblance of capability. Fellow students hovered and she made up stories to go with the invented stitches. She was likewise fascinated by Asian artefacts and developed her own ‘Chinese writing’ which she was called upon to demonstrate in class – fellow students were fascinated and asked her to translate their name into Chinese which she obligingly did in ways no Chinese speaker would recognize. Fired by the derring-do of Enid Blyton’s the Famous Five she was a child constantly on the look out for ‘clues’. In her father’s paint shed she determined to become a gypsy and painted herself brown – painful paint removal cured that tendency.

Over the years McClaren has explored numerous creative avenues, pioneering the ‘let’s see what I can do with this’ approach. This spring WINDOWSPACE gathers together a collection of her flower studies to celebrate the season and plant her firmly in Beeac’s centre. 

Sunday, 28 July 2019


Victoria Howlett in Marengo Studio 6.2019

Boom Gallery 
11 Rutland St, Newtown (Geelong) VIC 3220

Falling Towards Heaven II, (2019) oil on board, 1.2 x 1.2m

Saturday, 27 July 2019

EMIL TOONEN - August 2019


Clock, [2018] 

August 2019

Emil Toonen, Clock, [2018]

What is this? Do you need to know. Is it enough to want to simply look, listen and wonder (surely the hope of every artist for their viewer). 

This writer definitely does not need to know - there is great sufficiency, even joy, in simply gazing at and listening to Emil Toonen's 'construction', 'assemblage', 'machine' - whatever you will. 

As a whole the object is a vision of circuitry and various motions that together throb and patter. When first met there was an almost instant entrancement - at once something primeval and nostalgic in the entirety, a loving in its making, a grace in what at first might have appeared hazardous. Toonen's work is something of a conundrum, playful and serious in one, and for that haunting. 

It is a fact that the artist was soon to have his first child, to be a new father, when this work was gestating - 'it just came to me' he said, and when I understood that, the patterings were instantly tiny feet, a heartbeat, a coming to life of something mysterious, that 'everyday miracle' we call birth. Toonen was trying on the future in the way an artist does.

This is Toonen's second visit to Beeac's WINDOWSPACE, (see Controlled Fall, June 2016). A reprise of 'notes' from then remain pertinent:
Emil Toonen’s work could be a slow process. First objects have to be sighted, (they are not on the shelf), then pondered, possibly allied with others, and then ultimately coaxed into being – this requires serendipity, an eye, contemplation, awareness of the nature and capability of materials, a feel for weird combinations and finally there is the making, or shaping, of a ‘work’. Many of Toonen’s objects do ‘work’ – they blink, whirl, spin, nod and make you laugh.

Emil Toonen, Consumer Pillar [2015]

Toonen’s thinking is wry and his media exceptionally various. Since he grew up in the Strzelecki Ranges in south east Victoria – mirror location to the volcanic grassy plains and salt lake area of south west Victoria – could it be, that accustomed to the natural environment, his eye responds with greater alacrity, analysis and wit to the ‘unnatural’. That rather than ‘bin it’ he pokes and prods ‘waste’ to see what it’s worth, what it gives up, where it sits in his firmament of senses, sentiment and response. Politics are not free of his estimation either.

Joseph Cornell, Untitled, [Soap Bubble Set]

Comparison of this work of Toonen's with that of American Joseph Cornell, is inevitable. When reviewing Cornell's work and legacy on the centennial of his birth, Adam Gopnik ('Sparkings', 2003*) wrote in the New Yorker:   
What’s nostalgic in Cornell’s art is not that it’s made of old things…What’s nostalgic is that, behind glass, fixed in place, the new things become old even as we look at them: it is the fate of everything, each box proposes, to become part of a vivid and longed-for past…a bottomless melancholy in the simple desolation of life by time. The false kind of nostalgia promotes the superiority of life past; the true kind captures the sadness of life passing.

This writer feels all of that in front of Emil Toonen's Clock, [2018]. 
It is a privilege that WINDOWSPACE BEEAC is allowed to share the subtle hum of this work with the wider world.


Thursday, 4 July 2019



A Gathering 

July 2019

(Detail) cold cold day, (2010)

Raffaella Torresan has paint in her blood. Images are what she breathes.
‘I can’t put a stop to work I love’ is her refrain.
‘Raffaella Torresan is always working. This is the most important fact about Raff and her art practice’ writes Maurice McNamarah.*

Torresan is something of a Renaissance woman, a painter who also writes, poetry and prose, has had an affair with photography, and loves to thrash out ideas in tangential ways among friends, which has led to her organization of many occasions for sharing, visual and verbal. All she lacks is the classic salon, but being a gregarious Italian-Australian, and tenacious, she finds ways and places to spread the enthusiasm and conversation. Taking over the VAS (Victorian Artists’ Society) is pretty much an annual event. Pubs suit poetry readings.

Torresan’s life has not been all ‘smooth sailing’ however and the bumpier parts and their origin are the subject of her latest book – La Ragazza (2018).

To try and put a perspective on her abundance of enthusiasms and talents it was helpful to ask the question: Who are your visual favourites. In this writer’s head, first came Raoul Dufy – a guess not far from the mark, although Torresan’s first- named was a surprise: Francis Bacon. Then came Redon, Francesco Clemente, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cezanne and then, with triumph, Lucien Freud. Torresan’s world is wide and her visual lexicon fed by travel. Unafraid to paint on the streets, it’s hard to imagine how she finds her way home with so many canvases!

Torresan’s affection for ‘the work she loves’ is there in her outpouring of images. She has an insatiable hunger to conjure what she sees and experiences.
In honour of her abundance WINDOWSPACE will access a second window to fill with paintings and brighten mid-winter.

See more of Torresan’s achievements at: http://www.raffaellatorresan.com/index.html


* Introduction, La Ragazza, Black Pepper, 2018