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LEATHER & BRONZE TANIJA AND GRAHAM CARR

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FORM Building a state of creativity 357 Murray Street Perth, Western Australia E mail@form.net.au T +61 8 9226 2799

endgame ?

F +61 8 9226 2250 Published by FORM Edited by Elisha Buttler

A COLLECTION OF WORKS IN LEATHER & BRONZE

Designed by Glasfurd and Walker Printed by Scott Print

BY TANIJA AND GRAHAM CARR

All photographs by Victor France. © 2011. All rights reserved. Copyright for photographs is held by the photographer. Copyright for written content resides with the author and FORM. Copyright for this publication as a whole resides with FORM. Copyright for artworks resides with the artists. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior permission from the publisher: FORM. Our websites: www.form.net.au www.midlandatelier.com www.courthousegallery.com.au www.thepilbaraproject.com www.canningstockrouteproject.com ISBN: 978-0-9808691-6-3 Cover artwork: High Stakes Game, 2011 52cm H x 30cm Dia ( 20.5’’ H x 11.75’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze B

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FOREWORD FROM FORM

Art has been charged with the responsibility of many

time is like watching a child explore new terrain, wide-

things: capturing the zeitgeist or a moment in time;

eyed and curious.

tapping into the voices of left-of-centre causes and societies; offering another language or mode of

As a cultural body based in Perth, Western Australia,

communication; advocating for change or beauty or

FORM has a long-held respect for the work of Tanija and

shock or new perspectives. Also common, yet arguably

Graham Carr. As artists they honour their responsibility to

less emphasised, is the responsibility of art for

contribute something meaningful to the world through their

teasing out our sense of mystery, our playfulness. The

creativity. As professionals they set an enviable standard for

responsibility of deliberately confusing the mind then

dedication to quality, originality and excellence.

gently awakening it- rendering it more alert, more open. They also exemplify the spirit of collaboration and of For Western Australian collaborative artists Tanija and

interdisciplinary exploration. These two principles are essential

Graham Carr, it is this act of mystery or trickery – veiled

to producing exciting creative outcomes. Working together for

in an object of studied beauty – that comes to the fore.

many years, the singular contributions of Tanija and Graham

On first consideration their vessel and object works appear

are hard to separate or define in the finished work. Similarly

calmly, intricately formal. They are also at once timeless

the results of their experiments with leather and bronze defy

yet utterly contemporary, as though the era or even the

easy distinctions: where one begins and the other ends is not

environment to which they belong is a hazy, ambiguous

always clear, and it is the same with the hand of each artist.

suggestion. The bronze work, with its chalky patinas, finely traced patterns and figurative detail could be a reference

We are proud to have such distinguished artists living

to Southern American or perhaps Roman artisan aesthetics.

in and working in Western Australia. Their local to

The leather plays varying roles, in one work appearing

global perspective on making and the artistic process is

organic and at times animated or even alive, yet in another

consistently inspiring.

masquerading as hard, burnished bronze. Elisha Buttler Curator Already, this work is playing with the mind. Essayist

FORM Perth,

Meredith Hinchliffe describes it as a game or challenge

Western Australia

which ‘might just mislead you.’ Indeed, witnessing anyone visit the artists’ studio or viewing their work for the first

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FOREWORD FROM HABATAT GALLERIES

Habatat Galleries have been proud to represent the work of Tanija and Graham Carr for over 14 years and to present three solo exhibitions of their work at Florida and Virginia gallery locations. We have also exhibited their work at numerous international fine art fairs, including PALM BEACH 3 and SOFA (Sculpture, objects and fine art) Chicago. At these venues, the art works by the Carrs consistently receive a very positive response from collectors and critics alike.   Habatat Galleries have had the opportunity of representing the finest artists working in many mediums. The work by Tanija and Graham Carr was a standout from the moment I saw it. Their work is the perfect example of art transcending the material. It has never been about the material ‘leather’, and this new direction combining it with bronze, has expanded their aesthetics to create this unique and powerful new body of work. Their background in architecture, solid aesthetic instincts and fresh enthusiastic approach, is the foundation for the creation of some truly remarkable art works.

Linda J. Boone President Habatat Galleries Florida / Massachusetts

Nº 1. Lion Takes King, 2009 19.5cm H x 27cm Dia ( 7.5’’ H x 11.5’’Dia ) Leather and bronze

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Nº 2. Exit The King, 2009 21cm H x 28cm Dia (8.25’’ H x 11’’ Dia) Leather and bronze

Nº 3. Kings Gambit Accepted, 2009 25cm H x 29cm Dia ( 10’’ H x 11.5’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze

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Nº 4. Ring In the King, 2009 23cm H x 29cm Dia ( 9’’ H x 11.5’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze

Nº 5. Offer the King, 2009 21cm H x 28cm Dia ( 8.25’’ H x 11’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze

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Nº 6. Lay Down the King, 2009 25cm H x 32cm Dia ( 10’’ H x 12.5’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze

Nº 7. Endgame 2010 24cm H x 43cm Dia ( 9.5’’ H x 17’’ Dia ) Leather

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Nº 8. Plumes Errant, 2010 38cm H x 38cm Dia ( 15’’ H x 15’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze

Nº 9. Reading the Signs, 2010 24cm H x 35cm Dia ( 9.5’’ H x 14’’ Dia ) Leather

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Nº 10. Lions Rule, 2011 73.5cm H x 23.5cm W x 23.5cm L ( 29’’ H x 9.25’’ W x 9.25’’ L ) Leather and bronze

Nº 11. Lions Rampant, 2011 25.5cm H x 25.5cm W x 29cm L ( 10’’ H x 9.25’’ W x 11.5’’ L ) Leather and bronze

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TANIJA AND GRAHAM CARR MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE

Often we read that something is ‘unique’ –

Workshop. Originally, both Graham and Tanija

which generally indicates that it is unusual. I think

trained as architects. In 1976 they decided to take

we can rightly claim that the work made by Tanija

a year off and nurture their creativity – and they

and Graham Carr is unique. They are unaware of

never returned to the architecture of buildings.

anyone working in leather in the way they do. Graham completed a diploma in Advanced During the surge of interest in studio crafts in

Ceramics at Perth Technical College, Western

Australia in the 1970s, leather was included as

Australia, in 1978, the same year that Tanija

one of the popular media – along with glass,

finished a diploma in Art Education at Edith

clay, wood, metal and textiles. When the Jam

Cowan University, also in Perth. Leather was

Factory was established in Adelaide, South

one of the materials she experimented with. In

Australia in 1973, leather was one of the four

1980 they held their first joint exhibition, titled

workshops opened.

Leather and Clay at Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth. The hard crisp edge of clay contrasted

The Canberra School of Art (CSA) opened a

with the soft, malleable leather. They made

new Leather Workshop in 1981, the first of its

pieces which combined both clay and leather,

kind in an Australian higher education institution.

while continuing to work in their separate

The program recognised the potential for leather

mediums. Their collaborative work became

as an expressive medium. It encouraged students

more important, and with the tricky technical

to explore the technical and artistic dimensions

issues of firing and finishing the pieces,

of leather craft and the versatility of the material.

together with the increasing size of the work

While the CSA encouraged the use of leather as

being created, Graham abandoned clay and

a sculptural medium, few students pursued this

they began to work entirely in leather.

option. Reflecting low enrolments, and a declining interest in the medium, the Workshop was

The versatility of leather is paramount for the

closed in 1990.

Carrs. Soft, supple suede evokes fabric in the way it drapes and folds, and can be coloured.

Tanija Carr was not one of the students who

Pliable skins can be beaded and embroidered.

came from all over the country to enroll in the

It has the unique ability to be laminated and

Nº 12. High Stakes Game, 2011 52cm H x 30cm Dia ( 20.5’’ H x 11.75’’ Dia ) Leather and bronze

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cut like wood; wet and moulded like clay; plated

Working on two or three pieces concurrently, one

bronze might offer a solution. The processes

and the work is less formal as a result. In this

creates a pleasing and satisfying rhythm, adding

Sometimes, Western Australia is referred to as

and riveted like metal; cut in strips and woven

will pick up where the other left off, seamlessly

of making models have also led them to

exhibition several works are entirely in leather

colour to the narrative. However, the viewer

the Cinderella state. Perth is one of the most

like fibre. It does almost everything they want.

blending their knowledge and talent.

experimentation with other materials, such as

and others use both leather and bronze.

should not forget that there is work to be done –

isolated capitals in the world, in a huge, sparsely

resin. Such support is so important for mid-

While this is obvious in some pieces, in others

there is more than a fleeting moment of eye candy.

populated state. Such an environment affords

They have now worked for over thirty years in

the space for artists to work in completely new

leather and have accumulated an extraordinarily

The Carrs’ works in leather are probably better

career and senior artists because it enables

the Carrs play with viewers’ prejudices. For

diverse range of techniques, enabling them to

known in the United States than it is in Australia.

development opportunities like this.

example, catalogue number 10 is spare in its

Most unusually the Carrs have given titles

and exploratory ways. They are not bound by

develop a singular aesthetic approach.

William Zimmer, of William Zimmer Gallery in

tall base, with the cast elements resting on the

to their work in a word play on chess moves,

convention, tradition or fashions. The Carrs

California (who has previously shown their work

The models were made in their studio in Boya,

top. ‘Can you really do this with leather?’ is a

although a name may not mean a great deal: the

have embraced this challenge, making unique

Their work demands active involvement from

at SOFA Chicago and New York) thought their

Western Australia – Graham’s experience and

commonly asked question. And this is where

narrative still belongs to the viewer. To each of us

sculptures in leather and bronze. They are

its audience – it is deliberately ambiguous.

work would translate very well into bronze, and

familiarity with clay was valuable at this time –

the work for the viewer begins. Catalogue

the pieces will reveal something different, melding

totally committed to their art, almost to the

Viewers are required to apply their intelligence

he had an existing piece reproduced in bronze

and then sent to the foundry. The specialists

number 7 is made entirely from leather. The

time, and place and surface – and possibly

exclusion of anything else. Their exceptional

and emotions to find their own private narrative

by Artworks Foundry in Berkeley, California.

undertook the complete process of lost-wax

texture and colours of the teeth filling the bowl

something new at each viewing. They offer a

knowledge of their material – and there is little

in the work – to push through the intended

The Carrs were delighted with the result and

casting, mould making, casting and finishing,

could be from a range of materials. American

world full of ideas and images – imagined and

doubt they will devote time to learning more

confusion. There is no malice in this – just playful

set a goal to design work specifically to be

and finally, the patina. Emails, drawings and

audiences are especially intrigued with what

perceived. There is a resilience in the complete

about the qualities of bronze – provides the

teasing and intrigue. Once the Carrs have made

cast in bronze. In 2007 they visited Artworks,

images were exchanged at every step – a

they do with the thick, heavy material.

body of work, which has a strong presence.

freedom to follow and develop their own unique

the pieces, their job is done; and they rarely give

looking over the foundry and discussing their

method which proved to be very successful.

you any clues by giving titles to their work.

requirements.

works of art. The bronze collars on catalogue numbers 1

While still reflecting their architectural training

The twelve objects in this exhibition relate to

through to 6, 10 and 11, exhibit the results of

in both concept and construction, this body of

The challenge the viewer might find in the work and its hidden messages is one worth accepting.

The Carrs work in a truly collaborative

In 2009, they were awarded a Mid Career

the general theme of Chess/Life’s game/Man

the Carr’s casting experience. The elements

work is less ritualistic than earlier exhibitions,

partnership and their work is informed by the

Fellowship by the Western Australian Department

vs nature. The Carrs have long been concerned

are used repeatedly in many pieces, and their

giving the pieces a more relaxed and less formal

process. Each piece is discussed from the first

of Culture and the Arts. Fulfilling the purposes

about the way humankind ravishes the

patinas and figurative nature clearly indicate

feel, and adding a greater freedom to the whole.

idea of form and concept, to the final patina.

of the Fellowship to extend the artist’s practice

environment, seemingly ignoring the damage

the differences in materials. When you are

The surfaces are much sparer, without the

They begin with some basic sketches and unless

through research and development, they used

that has been, and continues to be done: the

lulled into a sense of security and confidence in

complex and richly carved textured designs.

they need patterns, they work in freehand.

the funds to work in bronze. The one thing they

game of life is like a serious game of chess, with

your judgement, catalogue numbers 8 and 12,

However, the attention to detail, precision and

Their inherent knowledge of the material and

had not been able to do with leather was to

only one winner. They like the compatibility of

however, might just mislead you.

sense of things fitting together attest to their

their understanding of each other allows no

produce figurative or representational pieces to

bronze and leather – both being ancient and

compromise on the work. They admit that it

their own high standards of satisfaction. They

contemporary in material and process – and

The role of each element, whether bronze or

can be exhausting and combative at times. The

also faced the difficulty the material presented

decided to combine the materials in this show.

leather, tells a part of the story. Together they

Habatat Gallery FL/VA will hold the Carr’s 5th

work must satisfy both artists, and frequently,

for, perhaps, timid curators, who might want

cohere to tell the whole – like the words of a

solo exhibition at SOFA in 2011, a significant

unexpected results will emerge from the debates.

to place the work in a public place, such as the

Absorbing the new (to them) processes of

sentence or the notes in a piece of music. The

achievement for two artists from Western

foyer of a large building. Casting their work in

using bronze pushed them in new directions

repetitive patterning or layering of elements

Australia.

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architectural background.

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TANIJA AND GRAHAM CARR BIOGRAPHY

2005 “Approximations of Then”, FORM Contemporary Craft and Design,

1994 14th National Craft Acquisition Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of

Perth Western Australia

Northern Territory, Darwin, NT, Australia

2006 Habatat Galleries, Florida, USA

The Teapot Show, Framed Gallery, Katherine, NT, Australia (Graham Carr)

2007 “Ambiguous Associations”, Habatat Galleries, Virginia, USA

2010 “Leather and Bronze”, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT, Australia

Australia (Tanija Carr)

Tanija Carr

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

Australia 1979 Invitation Ceramics Award, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

(now Curtin University of Technology) 1978 Dip. Art Education, Mt Lawley CAE (now Edith Cowen University)

1996 ACAF5 - 5th Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Melbourne, VIC,

(Graham Carr)

Australia - Beaver Galleries

1980 Bunbury Arts Festival Invitation, Bunbury Council, Western Australia

1998 SOFA ‘ 98, New York, USA - Beaver Galleries

1981 “Craftworks by Twelve Western Australians”, Art Gallery of Western

Habatat Galleries, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

“Nature as Object”, 3rd Australian International Crafts Triennial, Art

Graham Carr

Australia

1945 Born Blackpool, England

1982 “The Bag Show”, Jam Factory, Adelaide, South Australia (Tanija Carr)

1969 Assoc. in Architecture, Western Australian Institute of Technology

(now Curtin University of Technology) 1978 Dip. Advanced Ceramics, Perth Technical College (TAFE)

Gallery of Western Australia

Invitation Ceramics Award, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

1999 “Everyday Changes - Ceramics in Western Australia 1970 - 1999”,

(Graham Carr)

Lawrence Wilson Gallery, University of Western Australia

1983 “Sculptors as Craftsmen”, Meat Market Craft Centre, Melbourne,

(Graham Carr)

Victoria, Australia SOLO EXHIBITIONS 1980 “Leather and Clay”, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

1985 “The Sea”, Quentin Gallery, Perth, Western Australia

2003 SOFA 2003, Chicago, USA - William Zimmer Gallery, USA

Annual Teapot Exhibition, Old Bakery Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2004 SOFA 2004, Chicago, USA - William Zimmer Gallery, USA

(Graham Carr)

“Paprika Coloured Country” - Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT, Australia

Invitation Ceramics Award, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

“Clay Glass Wood Metal Fibre”, Selected works from the

Carr)

(Graham Carr)

1995 SOFA ‘ 95, Chicago, USA - Beaver Galleries

1986 “Challenges”, Crafts Council of Western Australia

1997 SOFA ‘ 97, Chicago, USA - Beaver Galleries

1993 Bougainvillea Festival Art Exhibition, Framed Gallery, Darwin,

1999 Beaver Galleries, Canberra, Australia

SOFA ‘ 99, Chicago, USA - Beaver Galleries

2001 SOFA 2001, Chicago, USA - Beaver Galleries

2002 SOFA 2002 NYC, New York, USA - William Zimmer Gallery, USA

1984 “Impulse and Form”, Art Gallery of Western Australia

1983 “Skinscapes”, Quentin Gallery, Perth, Western Australia 1992 “Four-square with Legs”, Beaver Galleries, Canberra, Australia (Tanija

SOFA 2002, Chicago, USA - William Zimmer Gallery, USA

Contemporary Museum’s Collection, Hawaii, USA 2005 “Transformation : The Language of Craft”, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

Northern Territory, Australia (Tanija Carr)

2006 SOFA 2006, Chicago, USA - William Zimmer Gallery, USA

Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition, Chicago, USA -

2007 Opening exhibition of Habatat Gallery Virginia - Habatat Galleries

Beaver Galleries (Tanija Carr)

Virginia, USA

2002 Habatat Galleries, Florida, USA

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SOFA ‘ 94, Chicago, USA - Beaver Galleries (Tanija Carr)

1995 Bougainvillea Festival Art Exhibition, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT,

1949 Born Perth, Western Australia 1972 Assoc. in Architecture, Western Australian Institute of Technology

Bougainvillea Festival Art Exhibition, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT,

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Palm Beach 3, Florida, USA - Habatat Galleries, Florida, USA

Korean International Arts Fair, Seoul - Gaffer Studio, Hong Kong


2008 “Hot Tea”, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

4 / 1998

Exchange Square, Hong Kong - Gaffer Studio, Hong Kong

“Craft in a novel light”, West Australian, 29 June

Art Singapore - Gaffer Studio, Hong Kong

Exhibiton review, David Dolan, Art Monthly Australia, September

SOFA 2008, Chicago, USA - Habatat Galleries, Florida / Virginia, USA

1999 “Nature as Object - do nothing and everything is done”, Art &

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

COLLECTIONS National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia Parliament House, Canberra, Australia

The bronze works represented in this catalogue were undertaken by

Australia Vol 37 No. 1

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Artworks

“Leather Bound for US”, The Canberra Times, 28 july

Curtin university of Technology, Perth, Australia

Foundry, Berkeley, California, USA.

Edith Cowen University, Perth Australia

Claremont School of Art, Perth, Australia

The first six pieces created as part of this collection were undertaken as

2002 “Make Art Will Travel”, Helen Hewitt, Artlink, Vol 22 No. 3

City of Fremantle Collection, Fremantle, Australia (Graham Carr)

part of the Department of Culture and the Arts, Government of Western

AWARDS

2004 Connectivity, The Contemporary Museum, Hawaii, Fall 2004

Uniting Church of Australia, Perth, Australia

Australia Mid Career Fellowship, awarded to the Carrs.

2009 Mid Career Fellowship. Department of Culture and the Arts.

2005 “Launching the Imagination, A Comprehensive Guide to Basic

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia

 

Bullseye Glass Company Collection, Oregon, USA (Tanija Carr)

Tanija and Graham Carr would like like to thank FORM for producing

Hill

The Kamm Teapot Foundation, Los Angeles, USA

this publication.

“Transformations: The Language of Craft”, Robert Bell, National

Donna Karen, New York, USA

Gallery of Australia

The Contemporary Museum, Hawaii, USA

2009 “Hot Tea”, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

“Habatat for Healing”, Habatat Galleries, Virginia, USA

“Celebrations of the Stations of the Cross”, Wesley Church, Perth,

2000 Art & Design in Western Australia, Perth Technical College 1900-

West Australia

2000, Central TAFE Centenary Publication

Western Australia.

Design” 2nd Edition, Mary Stewart, McGraw

PUBLICATIONS 1981 “Graham and Tanija Carr’, Craft Australia, No. 4

1982 Craftworks by Twelve Western Australians, Art Gallery of Western

Hinchliffe, ARTONVIEW Issue 44, Summer

Australia 1985 Impulse and Form, Art Gallery of Western Australia

2005 National Gallery of Australia

“The Distinctive Collaboration of Tanija and Graham Carr”, Andrew

1992 “Religious Themes in Leatherwork’, The Canberra Times, 14

Nicholls, FORM Magazine, Edition 3

November (Tanija Carr)

1995 “Leather as Medium”, Craft Arts International, No. 34

“Transformations: Narrative, Materiality, Structure”, Meredith

“Tanija and Graham Carr. Approximations of Then”, Andrew Nicholls, FORM Contemporary Craft and Design

“Illusion in Leather”, The Canberra Times, 23 September

2006 “Approximations of Then”, New Forms by Tanija and Graham Carr.

1996 SOFA Newsletter, October

Review by Judith Mc Grath. Art Seen in

1998 “SOFA Chicago 1997”, Tran Turner, Craft Arts International, No. 42

Western Australia. www.artseeninwa.com/carrleather

“Transformations: The Language of Craft”. Review by Julie Ryder.

Nature as Object - craft and design from Japan, Finland and Australia, 3rd Australian International Crafts Triennial, Art Gallery of

Textile Fibre Forum No. 81, 2006

Western Australia

2008 “Enigmatic Vessels”, Dr Dorothy Erickson, World Sculpture News,

“Australia and Finland - a Dialogue in Design”, Form Function Finland

Vol 14 No.3 Summer

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Leather and Bronze: Tanija and Graham Carr  
Leather and Bronze: Tanija and Graham Carr