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Goodbye Baby and Amen

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Exhibition – The ERA We Live In

Unley #1 - mixed media on canvas 90cm x 90cm 2013

Unley #1 – mixed media on canvas 90cm x 90cm 2013

I’ve had great fun these past months preparing work for a group show put on by the Eastern Regional Alliance (ERA – get it?) of Local Councils in Adelaide.

It’s a travelling group exhibition that will visit seven council galleries over the next year. It opens on Sunday 4th August at the Prospect Gallery.

My work or this show has its genesis in my earlier exhibition la città perfetta, and this exhibition provides an opportunity to extend those themes and bring my work closer to home.

In Venice I’d experimented with cutting images up and recomposing to fracture space and time in an attempt to convey my thoughts on the uniqueness if that city. I’d also been struck by people doing ordinary things in an extraordinary location, and this allowed me to me see my own city differently and appreciate more of its uniqueness when I returned.

I’d also been studying Canaletto and his use of the camera obscura, seeing how he recombined fragments of images into a whole.

Prospect #2 - mixed media on canvas 90cm x 90cm 2013

Prospect #2 – mixed media on canvas 90cm x 90cm 2013

In this work I’ve played with the idea of time in a few different ways. He most obvious is the fact that this image is made up of multiple parts that occur at different moments, but I wanted to take that further and bring it in to the way the work was created and presented.

Part of the image is digital – my take on Canaletto’s then state-of-the-art use of his camera obscura – but I wanted to achieve a more painterly and ambiguous affect for the surface. I’m showing my prejudices here, but to me it’s easy for anything digital to slip in to the realm of home decorator art, and while I love all art that was not what I’m after here.

I began by preparing my own heavyweight canvasses, using moulding paste and ground to work up a base that I was happy with. I persuaded the best printers in town to print them for me; (thanks David and Paul from Atkins) and was thrilled with the result. When the digital inks were applied I then quickly worked them over with acrylic medium before they’d set, so the inks moved and sunk into the weave. This is not for the feint-hearted, as you can only move the brush across the surface once before it dissolves completely and I’ve been down a few blind alleys and destroyed a lot of prints in the past before getting my desired result.

I was then helped out by more patient people – this time the team at Duthy St Art, who stretched my worked canvasses with wonderful precision.

In another reference to the camera obscura and the cartoon (as in the smaller work from which the full sized one is created) I’ve made pencil grids (totally unnecessary to the actual production of these images of course) and added layers of overpainting and underpainting to again add to the ambiguity.

Prospect #2 (Detail)

Prospect #2 (Detail)

In a nod to fashion I had to finish with some aluminium around the outside. A number of framers shook their heads sadly when I mentioned my desire for a 40mm deep aluminium shadow line – but to me it seems like yesterday (perhaps it was the 1970s) when aluminium was as modern as tomorrow. Fortunately a local engineering shop could help me out. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen the odd Boyd with aluminium round it– and perhaps Clifton Pugh’s portrait of Whitlam was framed like I’ve framed mine? Now that was an ERA to live in.

Walkerville #1 - mixed media on canvas 90cm x 90cm 2013

Walkerville #1 – mixed media on canvas 90cm x 90cm 2013

Double-cooked Duck in Chinese Pancakes

Double-cooked Duck

Today’s post comes from celebrity guest contributor Briony Hume. She’s taken time out from her Media commitments to share the following – thanks Briony!

She writes:

“When I’m not being a superstar philanthropist, I love to get into the kitchen.

It’s the best place to find a bucket o’ wine or a hidden stash of Belvedere, then get the hell out of again.

But when Dave generously asked if I’d like to have a go at his wild ducks, well…   who could ignore that call to quaction?

Double-cooked Duck

There’s not quite as much meat on them as a farmed duck, and much less fat, so I decided to try something small but full of flavour. Sorry, there’s no charcoal involved, but you could always throw a chop on the grill during the boring bits.

Double-cooked Duck in Chinese Pancakes.

Feeds 4 as a main, 8 as an entrée.

The ducks are poached in a stock, then glazed and briefly roasted, before being shredded. It’s not complicated, but it does take time; best to start a day ahead.

2 wild ducks, dressed


6 cups of water
1 cup of light soy sauce*
1 cup of shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)*
½ cup yellow rock sugar*
5 cm lump of ginger, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 whole star anise
2 sticks of cinnamon
rind of a mandarin, or take a few strips off an orange with a peeler.

15 g palm sugar, grated or finely chopped *
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fish sauce*
1 tsp sambal, or chopped birdseye chili
1 tbsp grated ginger

To Assemble
1 continental cucumber, julienned
20 Chinese pancakes, in vac pacs*
Hoisin sauce*

* all available at Asian supermarkets

 First, make a Chinese master stock : I’ve adapted Neil Perry’s recipe, which can be used for all sorts of things  later, from poaching chicken to using as a base for noodle soups or adding as cooking liquid to stir fries. Just strain, re-boil and freeze after use.


Throw stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil.
At the same time, bring a second pot of water to a vigorous boil. Put both birds in the  second pot and simmer for a couple  of minutes – this will get rid of the blood, and any  scum, that would otherwise taint your stock.

Drain off the water, rinse the ducks under the tap, then put them in the boiling stock – simmer  gently for 2 hours, then leave  to cool on the stove (overnight if you can), still in the stock.

Take the ducks from the stock, and pat dry.  Heat oven to 180 C
In a small saucepan, heat all the glaze ingredients, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Baste the skin of the ducks and place them in the oven on a baking tray, lined with foil as the sugar gets sticky.

Double-cooked Duck

You only want to bake the birds till the skin turns a nice deep tan colour –  too long, and the sugar will burn and go black, so keep an eye on it – it should only take about half an hour at most.

Then rest the ducks til they’re cool enough to dismember with a knife and your fingers, and shred the flesh fairly finely.

Double-cooked Duck

Heat pancakes according to instructions.

Plate the shredded duck, moistened with a couple of extra tablespoons of stock, the pancakes, Hoisin and cucumber at the table, and let your guests assemble their own.”

Double-cooked Duck