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

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The bad twin of Pyrmont Street

I've spent a couple of days last week painting some small canvases of Pyrmont workers' cottages from the Bond store over the road at 12 Pyrmont Street. 
This pair of semi-detached 1860s workers cottages might have started life as identical twins, but have suffered radically different fates over the years.



plein air oil painting of Pyrmont workers cottages by artist Jane Bennett
Starting my painting 'A tale of two cottages' 
2012 oil on canvas 25 x 25 cm
$650

Sold



Enquiries about similar paintings :


They remind me of an old classic movie on daytime TV I watched many years ago. I can't remember its name, or much about the plot or who was in it. All I can recall is that it was about a pair of beautiful twin sisters - one was the epitome of niceness but the other one was evil and came to a sticky and well deserved end.

plein air oil painting of Pyrmont workers cottages by artist Jane Bennett
Plein air painting 'A tale of two cottages' 
2012 oil on canvas 25 x 25 cm
$650

Sold



Enquiries about similar paintings :



While the “good twin”, number 27 Pyrmont Street, has been lovingly renovated several times over the last 30 years, the “bad twin”, number 29 Pyrmont Street, is yet another property owned by the same couple who own Darling Island Bond and Free Store and the Terminus Hotel, and is in a similar state of neglect as the rest of their portfolio.

The “good twin” has an exquisitely applied paint job in the latest fashionable neutral shades. The “bad twin” once boasted a front wall and stoop of glorious Pyrmont yellowblock sandstone, but this had unfortunately been covered with a cheap and nasty coat of plaster and bright blue paint which has faded erratically.

plein air oil painting of Pyrmont workers cottages by artist Jane Bennett
 'A tale of two cottages' 2012 oil on canvas 25 x 25 cm
$650

Sold

Enquiries about similar paintings :



In the early 1980s, Number 27 was occupied by a couple of eccentric graphic designers. They started the ambitious but ill-fated "Pyrmont Passport" as a protest about the over-development of the Pyrmont Peninsula and the construction of the Casino. After they lost this fight, one of them moved to live in the Birdsville pub to get away from the madness of inner city politics.

I haven't yet met the current occupants of Number 27, but the elegant brass plate next to the door is inscribed "Rhubarb" in a funky yet tasteful font. At the moment it seems that it is compulsory for anyone who lives or works in Pyrmont has to be an architect, a web designer or run a restaurant, preferably all three simultaneously. As "Rhubarb" is a type of vegetable, it would be far too literal a name for a restaurant, my money is on it being full of architects or web designers.


"Status quo ante bellum" (the state existing before the war)


Last century, the residents of Pyrmont tended to fit into a few well defined categories. The CSR employees clustered around the western end of John Street, wharfies and ex-wharfies around Point, eastern Bowman and northern Harris Streets, the Darling Island shunters and other railway employees around Murray, Bunn and southern Harris Street and people working around the Fishmarkets on the western side of Bowman street and around Wattle Street. There were few restaurants, but many pubs, all rough as guts. And the "media, cultural and entertainment hub" was provided by the topless barmaids at the Terminus, and the parties thrown by the squatters of Scott and Point Streets.


"Tempora mutantor, nos et mutamur in illis"

(the times are changing, and we are changing with them )

 


plein air oil painting of Pyrmont workers cottages by artist Jane Bennett
I sold my small canvas so I'm starting another plein air painting of the same cottages from a slightly different angle 
'A tale of two cottages'  2 
2012 oil on canvas 41 x 51 cm
$2,200

Enquiries about this painting :

While Number 27 has a neatly rendered step and a pretty little white picket fence,in contrast the facade of number 29 has shown a distressing tendency to fall face down in the gutter like Lindsay Lohan.
Recently an emergency repair of an unflattering bright red brick retaining wall had to be applied to stop the rest of the cottage sliding down the hill. 
However, the "bad twin" still has good bones and is possibly not beyond redemption.
plein air oil painting of Pyrmont workers cottages by artist Jane Bennett
'A tale of two cottages'  2 
2012 oil on canvas 41 x 51 cm
$2,200
Enquiries about this painting :
Every time I paint in Pyrmont Street I fantasize about what could be done by a sympathetic owner, some TLC and vast quantities of time and money......

I finished the smaller canvas only just in time for it to dry for the opening of the Xmas exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery last night!

It had barely been hung before it was sold and taken away by the happy owner. They hadn't even run out of wine and cheese at the opening.

So I'll be back soon on the corner of John and Pyrmont streets to finish a slightly larger canvas.


The Xmas exhibition continues until 31st December 2012


FRANCES KEEVIL GALLERY,
 

Bay Village, 28-34 Cross Street Double Bay, NSW 2028   
Hours M-F 10am-5pm Sat 10 - 4pm Sun 11-4pm
ph/fax: 02 93272475      mob: 0411 821550   


frances@franceskeevilgallery.com.au 

Page of Jane Bennett paintings