Footscray Community Arts Centre
2 Oct – 2 Nov 2014
Excerpts from the program:
FCAC life members and dedicated artist-tutors, Darien Pullen and Robert Mangion, have been challenging, inspiring and working with local artists in a community context for more than 20 years.
This exhibition showcases these two very different artists and explores their continuing influence on the artists they have taught.
“Of all the art joints, in all the towns, in all the world, I walk into this one – where a gentle, perspicacious prince of drawing taught me to see. This place is my Casablanca and FCAC runs the bar. I can’t leave. Here’s looking at you Darien!
Darien Pullen, sculptor, cast five small crochet flowers in bronze because we’d had a discussion about gender balance in art. This one, in a box with a bullet, a stick of driftwood, a tea tray and some tea-dyed silk, carries memories of what has been and portents of what is to come.”
“Darien’s gentle and encouraging approach always meant that the class was an environment where you would get genuine constructive feedback while being challenged to move forward in your practice. He has been a great role model in my own teaching for how to be an encouraging and generous teacher while still challenging you as an artist.”
“These works are representative of work influenced by my years working with Darien, our shared passion for mark making, and my ongoing interest in the tradition of animal portraiture.
Darien’s effect on me as an artist and as a person was delightfully unexpected – a decade after leaving art school I chanced upon his classes at FCAC, in 2004-5. I learn as much from the way Darien conducts himself as a teacher and as a human being as I do from his actual lessons: characterised by humility, humour, rigour and patience.”
“To make art is one of the most subjective things to do. The challenge is to gain some objectivity; to see clearly what has just been done and to see how it measures up – whether it deserves a life of its own or needs modification or abandoning. To gain this objectivity we all need the input of others. Advice, direction and criticism are profoundly valuable. They stop us marking time. They help eliminate what Rothko called “the obstacles between the painter and the idea.” This input can come from a fellow artist, a friend, a stranger or a teacher. The role of the tutor in a place like FCAC can take any of these forms and the influence can be significant and it can be subtle. It can go unrecognised, or only recognised long after the fact. That is the nature of teaching.
I don’t pretend that I was a major influence on the work of these artists, but their presence here acknowledges in some way the contribution my classes have had to their body of work.”