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Percussive Rhythms

Oil on canvas, 67x82cm

 

“Music is extremely important for me and my family - both my children & partner play or have played in various bands and we all enjoy a wide range of musical styles. I am fascinated by the colour and movement created during performances and wish to learn about these things particularly movement as most of my other artwork has had a relatively static or still quality. “

- Janine Good 2011.

Music & Art Statement

Sex, Drugs and Therapy

 

Sex, Drugs and Therapy or SDT is the title of a song by ShyRobyn a local-Gippsland thrash/indie band my son plays drums for and they are the subject of the works in this exhibition. The band started in 2007 and being in need of a place to practice, my painting studio became the obvious venue as the drum kit was already there. So I became witness to the development of the music and lyrics of many of their songs. In this song sex and drugs are the therapy but music and art can offer a more long-term therapy.

 

In the beginning the four members – Cam, Dan, Andy and Nos - were underage for entry into music venues in Melbourne so as a parent I accompanied them to gigs and began to document their performances with still images. The dark, artificially lit venues created a challenge for photographing highly active performances but some interesting results in capturing the blur of movement and merging of objects caught my attention. At this stage the photos were intended for band promotion. Many venues had interesting imagery as backdrops and this added another interesting element, for example The Pony in Melbourne CBD has a galloping horse skeleton that merged with the figures of the band and Blue Tile Lounge in Smith Street Fitzroy had a cartoon depiction of Bacchus with mythical creatures (that has since been painted over). These aspects feature in paintings such as Bacchus Played Guitar, Painted Pony and Pony Ride.

 

However these images remained stored on my computer until recently. About a year ago I’d been feeling my semi-abstract landscape-based paintings had become stagnant, lacking energy. After seeing the Werner Herzog film ‘ Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ showing prehistoric cave-paintings of animals depicted in motion and also the moving charcoal images of William Kentridge earlier this year at ACMI in Melbourne, I was inspired and convinced that this was a direction I would like to explore in my artwork.  Around the same time I began to recognise that paintings produced during band practice had extra vibrancy and energy, influenced by the emotion of the music. So it became obvious that the photographic reference material I’d accumulated of band performances would make ideal painting subjects, capturing Melbourne’s thriving music scene as an aspect of contemporary sub-culture.

 

Although these artworks were initially meant to stimulate my art practice I have grown more enthused with the completion of each one and it is an ongoing interest. They are not portraits of the band members but explorations of the colour, motion and energy of the band. The first paintings were about the ambiguity and distortion of figures merging with their surrounding space due to lighting and motion. Others have been about the contrast between motion and static imagery. This led to an interest in the way the figures merged with background imagery due to motion. Then the eMotion meets eArt Project explored the spontaneous motion and emotion captured in live performance.

 

eMotion meets eArt Project was instigated by Sue Keirnan of Baw Baw Arts Alliance encouraging ShyRobyn and I to unite in an experimental music and art collaboration for Be Inspired – Creative Gippsland Festival. On May 18 this year at Yarragon Arts Hub we set up a mock replica of a Melbourne music venue with professional lighting and sound but with the difference being the inclusion of an easel, canvas and paint to capture the energy and emotion of the performance. An audience of about 60 people watched the image emerge. For me this was taking a huge risk with my art that has always been very private. The resulting artwork is a collage of seven practice works executed in the studio during band rehearsal (the first of which is on canvas) and the final performance painting on canvas, combined because they are all part of the project “journey”. There is a different sense of the energy I feel while painting the band’s performance than the works painted solitary in the studio. For me they are as important in their rawness and immediacy as the finished studio works that can sometimes be laboured over. They are both valid aspects to my artwork but using different parts of my creativity. These works have never been exhibited before as the project was about the performance rather than the outcome, although combined they become a valid exploration of the spontaneous energy of the band.

 

 

SDT, written by ShyRobyn, Live at Blue Tile, 2012

Herzog, Werner, Director, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Documentary film Distributed by IFC Films 2010.

Kentridge, William, Five Themes - Retrospective, March 8 to May 27 2012, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne

 

Janine Good 2012

Gank, Oil on canvas, 25x25cm

Gank CD cover

As thanks for allowing me to use imagery of ShyRobyn  for my artistic pursuits I did this painting for the band to use for their CD cover. They had decided the title would be ‘Gank’ and I saw this deep ocean fish image that I thought fitted the title but instead of painting it with needle teeth I superimposed a cancerous human mouth. To date the CD hasn’t yet been completed, but I’m still hopeful.

 

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