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, June 2, 2013

Not the Writers Festival- Exhibition of Pyrmont Paintings by Jane Bennett at 2013 Pyrmont Festival

I have regretfully decided that I will not exhibit my paintings at the 2014 Pyrmont Festival. It has always been chaotic and gets more so every year. Much as I love Pyrmont, there is too much risk of damage to valuable and historic paintings and the display conditions are utterly inadequate to do justice to the artwork.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival



The weather couldn't have been better for the 2013 Pyrmont Festival. A couple of the calmest, sunniest autumn days I've ever experienced in Sydney.
This festival is held on the former Water-Police site, where I used to have several studios during the late 1980s - mid 1990s.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


This time the festival in Pirrama Park was for the whole weekend, which gave many more people a chance to see my exhibition.
 I had brought 55 paintings on canvas and board for the exhibition. The largest was the 61 x 183cm canvas of a panorama of "Union Square" and the smallest was a tiny canvas of a strange little sign on top of the former F.L. Barker/Waite and Bull woolstore on the corner of Pyrmont Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


This year I had written 2 small booklets about my paintings and drawings of Pyrmont. The text was partly based on some of the posts in this blog.


Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival
Enquiries 

I printed some prototype copies as an experiment, intending to display them at the festival. I partly wanted people to be able to read the text as, even with the help given to me by  my gallerist Frances Keevil I can't always manage to talk to everyone who wants to know something about a particular painting. My other goal was to get some feedback. 
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


 One of these booklets, "Pyrmont - Shadows of the Past" was about my charcoal, ink and gouache drawings of Pyrmont  in a simple, classic black and white format. 
The other booklet "Pyrmont Paintings" displayed the paintings to great advantage on a dark blue background. but unfortunately this choice made the black text almost invisible. The printer service had offered a very limited choice of templates, fonts and colours. I had used them because I had been flat out painting and exhibiting since the beginning of this year and had very little time or energy left to prepare for the Pyrmont Festival. The booklets were an afterthought. I wrote and designed them both in a single day to meet the deadline for a discount printing deal.
In a way, this was good. I have a tendency to perfectionism, and faced with limitless choice and no deadline I can become paralysed with fear. I thought that I needed to write something, anything at all, however lame, and then improve it.
I wasn't actually intending to sell them at all. I gave copies to the people who bought paintings, or were seriously interested in purchasing. I also gave a couple to the gallery so that we could . I was stunned at the number of people who flatly insisted on paying $10, $12, $15 or even $20 for a booklet! I tried to insist that they were free, as they were just experiments. Apart from a misplaced comma and a couple of oddly proportioned margins the black and white booklet looked very elegant, but the beautiful blue background of the painting book had unfortunately made the writing completely illegible and there were a couple of font discrepancies. Trying to finish the 2nd booklet by the midnight deadline had nearly sent me cross-eyed.
I pointed out the errors, but it didn't seem to faze anyone; they still insisted on paying for them! 
We sold over 50 booklets, and we weren't actually even trying to sell them at all!

Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


I only have one of each left now, and I'd better hang on to them as I'd like to have them in front of me when I finally sit down with the gallery's designer and plan a better publication.

So, it's not yet the Writer's Festival, and I'm not an author.
However the reaction has given me a great deal of confidence. People have been nagging me for years to write about my paintings, but now I know that they are serious.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
"Decisions, decisions... which one should I buy?"
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


As well as my unexpected excursion into literature, it was a very interesting and successful event on a number of different levels.
I reconnected with lots of people who once lived or worked in Pyrmont as well as many of the new residents of Jacksons Landing and the apartments on top of Pyrmont Point.
There were several sales and I am now preparing to paint an extremely large and prestigious commission resulting from a contact made on these 2 days.
However there are problems with this venue and the organization that make it unlikely that I will return to show my work.

Paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett in Pirrama Park

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