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Tag : residency

Spring has Sprung in September

What a wow of a month in September for our studio.

Denise submitted two artworks for the Eltham Art Show and both works were selected to be show at Montsalvat Resident’s Gallery from 30 August until 10 September.

Denise won the Sculpture Prize sponsored by Meridian Sculpture for her bronze work ‘Hard Baked’. The judge JD Mittman commented:

Denise Keele-Bedford’s bronze sculpture ‘Hard Baked’ is one of 40 sculptures short-listed for the Sculpture Award of the 2023 Eltham Rotary Art show.

The work stands out for its contemporary and conceptual design. It resembles a real life arrangement of bones.

The work is simple, yet intriguing and beautiful: Twelve bronze objects are carefully arranged in a pile each in the shape of a bone from a rib cage, possible of a cow or cattle.

Each object displays a different state of corrosion showing a shade of green coating.

The title Hard Baked reaffirms the association with drought, heat and death, and in extension, climate change. The work therefore can be seen as a reflection on humanity’s current situation and as a timely comment in view of the on-coming Australian summer.

Website for online sales: https://elthamartshow.org.au/gallery/

Walter restarted Tuesday Art Classes in the studio 10am – 3pm.

Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA) called for entries for a collaborative exhibition with regional members at MiRA Gallery in Marysville. Two of Denise’s artworks are featured in the exhibition that continues until 30 September. We had a most joyful opening on one of the rare warm early Spring days. It was good to meet up with several artists living in regional Victoria.

Website: https://www.mavacollective.com/


This year Denise joined the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria (CAS) and featured two artworks in the Annual Exhibition held at Gallery 314 in Church Street Richmond. I attended the opening on 10 September to find a very extensive exhibition of 115 2D and 3D artworks in a broad range of styles and mediums. It was great to see two colleagues Robyn Pridham and Carmel O’Connor receive awards. I sat my duty on 14 September and am learning more about the artists in the society through their artworks. I was pleased with the organisation of the show and the opportunity to display five mounted works on paper and fifteen hand-made cards as an extension to the exhibition.


Warrandyte Artisans continue with monthly Pop-up exhibitions at Artspace, next door to the warrandyte Library. On September 23 and 24, September Surprise will feature Wayne Rankin, Walter Magilton and Denise Keele-bedford. Walter will present a series of his linocut prints and Denise will showcase ‘Turkish Delight’, the artwork created during her Barbara Residency in Ayvalik, Türkiye. Thanks Warrandyte Diary for the great write ups on pages 13 and 19.

Link: https://warrandytediary.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/577-WARRANDYTE-DIARY-SEPTEMBER-2023-DL.pdf

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and Instagram:  instagram.com/warrandyteartisans

The VAS Spring Members exhibition opened on 12 September showcasing on of Walter’s traditional gumtree landscape oil paintings. The place was abuzz with members’ peer voting, a piano player and a fantastic announcement of sponsorship by the Mackley Family.

CAS Pop-up at Carringbush Showing 27 September to 7 October is at Carringbush Hotel, 228 Langridge Street, Abbottsford. Two of Denise’s artworks are participating in the show.

Website: https://www.contemporaryartsociety.org.au/exhibitions/pop-up-exhibitions

The Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors (MSWPS) are holding their Annual Exhibition ‘Changing Perspectives’ at VAS Galleries, East Melbourne from 29 September to 9 October. Denise will show two ‘Wall stories’ artworks. Each work features twelve panels of mixed media drawings representing wall surface fragments.

Official opening to be held on Sunday 1 October 2 – 4pm.

Website: https://mswps.com.au/

While Walter plans his 2024 solo exhibition, he awaits confirmation of the venue and time of year that it will take place. We shall keep all informed as it draws closer.

And as Walter celebrates his 90th birthday on 2 October we will venture to Darwin for several days before boarding The Ghan to travel South to Adelaide. We expect to return home with a wealth of images and sketches in preparation for more studio production.

Arts Manningham FAIR (Fellowship & Artist In residence)

In 2020 I applied for a Creative Industries Small Fellowship with Manningham Council.

I was successful in Phase 1 and currently awaiting the outcome for Phase 2. A future blog will be written when I know the outcome. In the meantime, this link introduces the project: https://www.manningham.vic.gov.au/row-row-row-your-boat

Pleasantly surprising was a call to ask if I was interested in being part of an artist-in-residence program. Manningham Arts, as most organisations, had to rethink programs, utilizing spaces and public engagement due to the pandemic, public restrictions and various lockdowns.

The three Fellowship recipients were invited to prepare public workshops and take up residence at the Manningham Arts Studios.

In 2021 I was the first artist -in-residence, 22 February to 21 March. Day one was orientation discussion with Staci Mariolis, acquiring a pass to the studio, basics of studio access, parking and facilities. I spent time photographing the building architecture, interior designs, shapes and colours. My access time was 2-7pm Monday to Friday, although it soon changed to 6:30 due to regular classes starting up for Term 1. The last week overlapped with Michel Tuomy, when we both used the studio. I was finishing off, packing up and he was just contemplating what the residency would offer him.

I have undertaken many residencies over many years and not one has been similar. Every residency is unique in its own way, we weigh up the pros and cons, find a happy medium and work with what we have. At least it is the principle I work by each time. I have said before that as much as possible I do not have a predetermined plan for a residency. I may have some basic ideas of what the residency might offer and allow the situation to guide the work production.

The images and descriptions show the fantastic architecture of the Manningham Arts building, the studio and several of my artworks in progress.

Manningham arts are currently calling for applications that close on 30 May 2021. Below is an introduction and links for information on applying.

About the Arts Manningham FAIR

In 2020 we launched a new program of small fellowships to support local artists research and develop ideas for new arts programs, installations and performances.

The program provides recipients up to $6,000, over two phases, to develop and implement projects that provide engaging arts experiences for the Manningham community and encourage visitors to the region. Recipients also receive a short residency at Manningham Art Studios during their fellowship. This allows them to facilitate artistic collaboration and run supporting public programs, such as workshops and artist studio talks.

To apply please read the Arts Manningham FAIR (74.5 KB) information sheet in full before submitting the Arts Manningham FAIR application form

For enquiries, please contact Manningham Art Gallery on 9840 9367 or email gallery@manningham.vic.gov.au.

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Receiving and Giving Blessings through Art Making

I am a member of the Warrandyte Uniting Church and was asked to respond, in a presentation to the congregation, on the theme:

Stepping out into the unknown and the Blessings this can lead to.

Sharing and passing on of peoples’ gifts and how this benefits others.

Below are the notes I wrote to support the presentation.

I spent more than 17 years engaging with China. It became familiar to me almost like a second home, however, there was a time when China was unfamiliar; only known through books and information passed on by a dear friend.

Stepping into the Contemporary Art World of China was exciting to meet and discover other artists; however, it was scary as to how I would ‘fit in’. What did I have to offer as I was fresh out of my Art Studies and came from down under, middle aged with very little communication skills? So many other international artists came from UK, Scandinavia, Europe and USA. I had no grand resume’, publications or catalogues.

So, I got to work making art in response to my experiences.

My first artworks consisted of rice. Rice is a staple food for Chinese, they eat it, they do not make art from it. Very soon I was invited to participate in exhibitions that continue even now. I found that people were interested in what I did, where I came from, how I expressed myself and the way that I wanted to learn from others. I was not only accepted into the world of artists in China but regarded as an equal. I learnt an immense amount about Chinese culture and those around me were willing to teach me. China is challenging, even in everyday activities yet for me during the 17 years of amazing experiences every experience has been a blessing.

Because I have been very fortunate in my engagement with China, I achieve a great deal of satisfaction in sharing my knowledge and skills at all levels.

Working with children is always joyful, watching them discover new ways of creating through different materials and ideas, talking with their parents to assist them to understand how and why children are exposed to a range of educational methods.

I was listening to a programme based on teaching men to cook and the thrill that the men had in knowing that they had the ability to create and coordinate a tasty meal was so exciting for them.

I am excited to know that by passing on my creative knowledge encourages others to have a go. I am excited to know that my knowledge and skills can be of benefit in collaboration and team projects for the broader community.

And then I am excited to know that my skills in creating has assisted others in need. The current Fundraising exhibition at Montsalvat for Fire Relief means that the selling of my artwork will give benefit in a practical form. As of 4 March, $17,640 had been raised from the generosity of artists’ giving.

During the past 17 years I often stepped out into the unknown to discover wonder, to be blessed with opportunities, meeting and making friends, discovering new ways and developing deeper understanding.  I look forward to the future with hope that I continue to have the courage and confidence to step out into the unknown.

I have been blessed with seeing little lights flick on when a child or adult realizes that they can do something or understand something that I have taught or explained. I am pleased that I can offer my knowledge and skills to benefit others, to collaborate and be part of a team, especially in our church where our outreach stretches far beyond the boarders of this plot of land.

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Changing Direction: From Melbourne to Beijing and Beyond


I was introduced to China through an old friend, who passed away about 10 years ago.
Whilst living with June and Hugh Antonoff, in their very quaint cottage, June opened her heart and photo albums about her love of China. She had traveled to Middle Kingdom many times and often was accompanied by her daughter Lesley.
Lesley who also became a long term friend had arranged to tour a small group of Fengshui Students into China and I was invited to attend. That was in the Chinese Autumn of 2002.
I was smitten. I have since traveled to the country every year, sometimes two or three times per year and now write this Blog whilst sitting in my friend Jia Jingjing’s apartment on the outskirts of Beijing in the developing area of Shunyi.
After two residency stays; in 2003 with Redgate Artist-in-residence (AIR) and in 2004 supported by the Australia China Council AIR Program, I rented a studio in the newly built Beijing International Art Camp (BIAC) of Suo Jia Cun in 2005. the studio became ‘Yellow Flower Studio’ named after my favourite part of the great Wall.
The excitement of being in China and especially in Beijing at that time was mind-blowing, artists from across the globe were pouring into the city for their ‘China Experience’. Chinese artists were pouring into Beijing from the many provinces endeavouring to ‘make a success’ with their artworks.
An immense amount of interactions, engagements, collaborations, creations, invitations and exhibitions were about to unfold for me.
The BIAC studio compound in Suo Jia Cun consisted of about 80 studios, where international and Chinese artists lived and worked, sometimes exhibited and performed in the thoroughfares and studios.
I moved in mid 2005 until suddenly just before Christmas 2009 was informed that the compound was to be destroyed to make way for the new Subway Line 15.
January 2010 found me in a heavy snowfall in Beijing packing up my goods and chattels in a freezing studio while searching for another place to go. I am ever grateful to Photographer Gao Yuan opening her home for me to stay for the two week duration.
My dear friend Zheng Xuewu, now living in New York, was at the time restructuring his AIR Program in the Art Village of Songzhuang. He offered me a studio at the 60 Art Area compound.
I had first been introduced to the Art Village in 2003 through the Chinese Cultural Centre a Tourism Company offering a wide range of experiences for internationals. It was a bus tour to visit artists in a district that seemed to take forever to arrive.
Beijing currently has 6 Ring Roads, 1st is the perimeter of the Imperial Palace and the 6th skirts the outside edge of the Beijing International Airport. BIAC was located North East of the outer edge of the 5th Ring Road. 60 Art Area is located South East of the outer edge of the 6th Ring Road. By public transport a distance 3 hours OR 25 Kms as the crow flies.
Warrandyte is approximately 25 kms from Melbourne CBD and I can take a 50 minute bus ride into the city. Songzhuang is approximately 25kms from Beijing CBD and I could take a 1 hour bus ride into the city. I rationalised my shift in this way as many people found Songzhuang to be ‘too far away’.
The ebb and flow of life in a Beijing studio continued and being located in a smaller compound of about 20 studios allowed for a greater focus on production and being more selective regarding city and gallery visits.
In September 2018 I was advised that the studio roof needed replacing due to a few incidents around Beijing of poorly constructed roofs. Fortunately I could bypass Beijing on my return from Gwangju in Korea to cover and shift artworks and furniture to minimise exposure to the elements.
The roof had not been replaced when I returned for my Winter residence in January 2019 and the other artists were unsure when it would occur. Being due to leave on 17th March I was informed on 10th March that my contract would not be renewed and was asked to leave. Now that was a surprise. My good friends Lu Si and Jia Jingjing negotiated with the owner for me to have at least 3 months to move out. Seems the owner had decided to reconstruct the interior of the building while the new roof was being installed. He had plans to create small apartments for rental and “it is all about the money” he said. As I had been one of his best tenants I was given 3 months grace.
Many friends asked, “where to now”. My reply, “nowhere”. I made the decision to close down the studio, give away as much as possible with regard to furniture, fittings and equipment, find storage for the artwork, then decide on the next step.
For two weekends in May and June 2019 a team of friends assisted me to clear all but the internal shell of the studio. Ten years in a studio amounts to a lot of ‘stuff’. I was AIR in Wuhan in South of China and was given leave to pack up the studio but had to return on Mondays. We all agreed it was absolutely exhausting.
Lu Si stayed on in the aftermath to coordinate the finalization of the clearance.
Yesterday I returned to the scene. Lu Si has set up an AIR Studio across the street from 60 Art Area and it was such a pleasure to see many of my ‘things’ having a new life, even the timber flooring from my mezzanine. My old studio is now four apartments, each apartment will cost the tenant the same amount that it cost me per year. So the owner now gets four times the money, when he gets the tenants, of course.
For this China trip Jingjing offered for me to stay in her new apartment in Shunyi area, I am sitting here on my old lounge suite, looking at my old bookcase, eating at my old table and using my old fridge with contentment.
My artworks are secure, dust free, damp free and waiting patiently for shipment to Melbourne.
I look forward to my Survey exhibition of Chinese works in 2021 and look forward to returning to China with a changed direction.

Written as the warm sunshine melts snow.
21st January 2020

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