Saturday, August 18, 2018


Perils of War. Pencil on A3 w/c paper. Julie Clarke (c) 2018


Peter Ellis, RMIT Gallery, 17 August 2018. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2018
Yesterday I heard a wonderful talk by Australian Surrealist artist Peter Ellis. He was one of my tutors when I undertook a BA in Fine Arts/Painting Printmaking at RMIT from  1989-1991. I've always appreciated his artworks and so it was great to hear him talk about his art process. I proposed a question as to whether he considered his hybrids to be monstrous. His apt reply was that they were, by virtue of the fact that they have been traditionally shunned by a society that does not readily accept difference. Peter will be exhibiting works at SITE EIGHT at RMIT until September this year.

Addendum to my post on 14 July My Monster

Although Dr Frankenstein did say that 'the dissecting room and slaughter-house furnished many of my materials' (53) nothing in Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus prior to his statement suggested that he intended to make anything other than a human being. In fact there is no direct evidence to suggest that animal body parts were used in the construction of the creature. 
Possessing the 'capacity of bestowing  animation' (50) Victor did not 'doubt his ability to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man' (51). Indeed, he declared 'I began the creation of a human being'. (51) Even if parts from a slaughter-house  formed part of the materials in the solitary chamber at the top of his house, it does not mean that they were used in the construction of the monster; they may simply have been part of his experiments with reanimation. Given Dr Frankenstein had access to 'dissecting rooms' and  'the unhallowed damps of the grave (page 52) and any number of human body parts why would he need the bodily parts of animals?
The word 'corpse' refers specifically to human remains not that of an animal and Shelly herself in the introduction to the novel declares 'Perhaps a corpse would be reanimated' (9) and as such I maintain that the 'monster' was constructed as human and as much as we might like to imagine that he is an amalgam of human and animal biomaterials he is not visually a hybrid.
I argue that since Victor Frankenstein selected 'with infinite care' to create the new creature, describing it's limbs in proportion, his features beautiful...his hair a lustrous black and flowing, his teeth pearly white (55), not for a moment did I imagine that this scientist would select animal bodily parts to represent a beautiful human. So, I maintain the creature animated by Dr Frankenstein was not a hybrid, he was not the mutant offspring of two separate and distinct species nor does he look part animal of any other species other than human. He may (at a stretch) be an amalgam of human and animal biomaterials, but visually he was, in the text and in filmic representations a human being.
Within art historical accounts hybrids are visually distinct as sporting the characteristics and features of humans and animals and he does not exhibit animal features in any way. When Victor first sees the creature years after it escaped, he sees 'the figure of a man' (97). Indeed, the monster aligns itself with a human subject, one formed out of clay when he says to Victor 'I ought to be thy Adam'. (99) Also, if there was any hint at all that the Frankenstein monster was part human/part animal why was he represented in the first Frankenstein film as human? We do not refer to contemporary individuals who have had a pig's aorta inside their body as hybrids, because they are not!

Monday, August 13, 2018


Pencil on 36 x 56 cm, Mouin du Roy, w/c paper. Julie Clarke (c) 2018
Last week I began reading Giulio Tononi's book 'PHI A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul'. So far it's an interesting read on the nature of consciousness. I'm half way through but have yet to read anything I didn't already know, except for discovering that PHI, a Greek letter, represents the notion of integrated information, which feels like language borrowed from computer technologies. Hopefully I will be more fully enlightened by the end. The drawing above was begun on Thursday and I finished it this morning.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The influenze of Fauvism.

Prismacolor pencil on 36 x 6 cm Moulin du Roy paper. Julie Clarke (c) 2018
I was looking at the Fauves and in particular Henri Matisse's portrait of his wife Amelie in his painting The Green Stripe. I must say I enjoyed moving from the rather muted colors I've been using of late to the bright colors of Fauvism.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Two more pencil drawings by JULIE CLARKE

'Camouflage' Pencil on 36 x 56 cm Moulin du Roy, w/c paper. Julie Clarke (c) 2018
'Syndactyly' Pencil on 6 x 76 cm Moulin du Roy, w/c paper. Julie Clarke (c) 2018

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Trees are so bodily

Pencil on 56 x 76 cm Moulin du Roy on acid free watercolor paper.

 Julie Clarke (c) 2018
Trees are aesthetically pleasing. Their limbs,which are so human at times. Their outstretched arms. Their strength and fragility. Recent high winds inspired me to consider the beautiful Plane Tree that towers above my place and is a source of fear (will any of its boughs break and fall on my roof?) as well as a source of pleasure since in spring and summer it sports thousands of leaves, which unfortunately fall and must be swept up nigh on five months per year. Last Saturday I walked through the highly constructed, but beautifully dense Botanical Gardens and later saw Storm (at Domain House), an exhibition that considered the affects of atmospheric nature on our existence. Early last week high winds damaged a crane in Richmond and was so dangerous that Bridge Road, Richmond was closed off to traffic from Church Street to Punt Road. It was the first time that I'd experienced the silence and emptiness of Bridge Road bereft of trams, car and at times pedestrians. I really enjoyed it.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Photo of people outside Melbourne Town Hall for Save Our ABC rally 15/07/2018

Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2018
I walked from Church Street, Richmond into the city yesterday. It was bitterly cold. After walking through air conditioned shops I proceeded down Swanston Street and noticed hundreds of people lining up to get into the Save our ABC rally. I took this photograph with long shadows outside the Melbourne Town Hall early afternoon.