Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Monday, September 19, 2011

A view from a Bridge

A reproduction of my painting of the 'Closing of the Gap' painted from the top of the Anzac Bridge is now the focus of the newly Reading Room of the State Reference Library.
Here are some behind the scenes photos of the preparation :



painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW


Here a workman adds some finishing touches before the Reading Room is open to the public.
painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
I couldn't resist a sneak peek at the massive reproduction of my painting, so I crept down the stairs for a preview before the official opening!


painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

I'm used to seeing a little bit of construction debris around my paintings!


painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

The image has been enlarged to take up the entire wall behind the copying desk. It must be at least 3 times as large as the original canvas.
I wish I could have taken a canvas this large up to the top of the bridge, but I would have ended up hang- gliding all the way to New Zealand if I had!

Alex Byrne, Director of the State Library

State Librarian Alex Byrne opened the doors to officially declare  new-look State Reference Library (SRL) OPEN at 9am this morning.

The Library staff wait expectantly for the doors to be opened.



painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW



I was so thrilled that a reproduction of my painting 'Closing the Gap' is now displayed in the new look Reading Room!

painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW


painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
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The 'cats whiskers' of the cables radiate out from the pylons like open arms welcoming the visitors.
painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

I was amazed at the clarity of the image - how vibrant the ultramarine blue of the harbour appears. It has been described as "Yves Klein blue", but to me it is the quintessential Sydney blue, the blue of Brett Whiteley's Lavender Bay. Ultramarine - literally "outre mer" - beyond the sea. Originally ground from a semi precious stone, lapis lazuli, ultramarine was the most regal and expensive colour, used only to paint heaven or the cloaks of saints. Now this pigment has been replaced by cheap synthetic alternatives but the colour retains its almost mystical aura.



One nice touch is that even though my signature should have been cropped and obscured by the skirting board holding the panel in place, the design team very thoughtfully added my signature to the image at the lower right corner. Visitors will also be able to use the QR sign on the wall to link with this blog.

painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett from the top of the Anzac Bridge, collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

A quote from the website of the State Library :
 "Our love of Sydney is clear throughout the Library with some spectacular images from our world-renowned collection on show, including Jane Bennett’s stunning Closing the Gap (1995) and Thomas Woore’s Panorama of Sydney (1829)."


Friday, September 9, 2011

Power

  1. Possession of controlling influence ; A person, group, or nation having great influence or control over others
  2. (physics) the rate of doing work; measured in watts (= joules/second)
  3. Possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done  
  4. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.
  5. The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority.
  6. Physical strength
  7. a prerogative, privilege, or liberty
  8. Forcefulness; effectiveness
  9. A specific capacity, faculty, or aptitude. 
  10. (intr)  to travel with great speed or force (Slang)
  11. Of or relating to the generation or transmission of electricity
  •  Power (physics), the rate at which work is performed or energy is converted
  • Electric power, the rate at which electrical energy is transferred by a circuit
  • Human power, the rate of work performed by a human
  • Motive power, an agent used to create motion


Of or relating to the generation or transmission of electricity...



White Bay Power Station was originally built by the Department of Railways to supply more power for Sydney’s growing Electric Tramway System in 1912 (and was later expanded for the City and Suburban Railway Electrification in the mid 1920s)The power station was constructed in two stages. The first stage, built between 1912 and 1917, consisted of a boiler house, standing roughly where the present boiler house stands, and part of the turbine hall and switch house. The second stage, which commenced in 1925, saw the completion of the turbine hall and switch house.
After the Second World War, the first boiler house was demolished and, between 1950 and 1958, replaced in two stages with the present boiler house.
Demand for power from White Bay waned when the trams were abolished*. By the 1970s, the demand had diminished to such an extent that the second boiler house was pulled down and the turbines sold.
The power station was decommissioned on 25 December 1983.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the power station was gradually stripped, except for items identified for heritage conservation.
In August 2000, Pacific Power sold White Bay Power Station to Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
*Ironically, Light rail is being re-established in the inner western suburbs so the demand for power is now increasing!

    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    Painting the White Bay Power Station
    "White Bay Power Station" 
    2011 oil on canvas 102 x 152cm
    $13,000
    Sold
    Enquiries:
    janecooperbennett@gmail.com

    To travel with great speed or force...

     I'm putting the final flourishes on my gigantic painting of the White Bay Power Station. It's been a race against time.

    Even though my next solo exhibition "May close without warning" doesn't start until the 11th October, I had to get some strong images together for the advertising in the "Look" Magazine, and think about suitable images for the invitation. Most of my paintings of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops are just too dark to photograph well. So the pressure was on me to finish this work in time!

    Human power-the rate of work performed by a human...

    Many invitations show the artist posing self-consciously in front of works in progress in their pristine white studio. But I have no studio as such. Although, on the other hand as I work "en plein air" you could say that the whole world is my studio. 

    So just for a change, I thought I'd include a couple of images of my works in progress on location.

     The security guard took a few photos of me in action completing this canvas, and my gallery dealer liked this one so much that we might even include it on the invitation to the opening! 

    I wear an Akubra, not a beret while I paint. The Akubra hat is a necessity and not an artistic affectation. It shades my face from the sun, keeps my hair out of my eyes and is waterproof enough to keep the rain off in bad weather.

    Physical strength...
    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    Putting the final details on the "White Bay Power Station"
    "White Bay Power Station" 
    2011 oil on canvas 102 x 152cm
    $13,000
    Sold
    Enquiries:
    janecooperbennett@gmail.com
    This canvas is 102 x 152cm - extremely large for a work painted outdoors on location. The early stages could be painted fairly quickly, but nuances such as light falling on the windows are made more difficult by the slightest puff of wind making the canvas beat like a drum.
    I fossicked for bricks to weight down my easel so I wouldn't have to chase it all over the yard.


    Possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done...

    The worst moment was painting the thin diagonal lines reaching from the top of the chimney stacks to the roof. I had been dreading putting these in, as they had to be painted in a single confident unbroken stroke, cutting across the sky. The sky was still wet, so I couldn't use a ruler.
    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    Using my car as a windbreak so I can add some details with a fine brush.
    "White Bay Power Station" 
    2011 oil on canvas 102 x 152cm
    $13,000
    Sold
    Enquiries:

    The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively...

     I tried to use my car as a windbreak, with only partial success. As you can see from the photo above, I adjusted the French box easel until the canvas was almost horizontal, but it was still too risky to paint these fragile lines. If I made the slightest mistake, I would have had to scrape down the entire sky and start again.

    Forcefulness; effectiveness
    I waited a long time for a still, calm day before I had the confidence to tackle this task. Then a final decisive sweep of the brush and the canvas was finished.

    The rate of doing work...

    Meanwhile I completed a few small studies of details of the Power Station, partly to help me to understand the complexities of light and form, and partly to fill in time while waiting for the wind to drop so that I could finish the large canvas.
    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    Works in progress

    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    Painting the "White Bay Power Station stacks" 
     2011 oil on board 51.5 x 25cm

    $1400

    Enquiries:
    janecooperbennett@gmail.com

    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    "White Bay Power Station stacks" 2011
     oil on board 51.5 x 25.5cm
    $1400

    Enquiries:
    janecooperbennett@gmail.com
    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    "White Bay Power Station coal loader" 
    2011 oil on board
     35 x 28cm
    $1100

    Enquiries:
    janecooperbennett@gmail.com
    Industrial Heritage and urban decay - Plein air oil painting of the White Bay Power Station by artist Jane Bennett
    The completed canvas "White Bay Power Station" 
    2011 oil on canvas 102 x 152cm
    $13,000
    Sold
    Enquiries:
    janecooperbennett@gmail.com