Conference: A Unique Experience
Lee Attends and
Speaks at Neo-Baroque Conference in
London, Ontario, Canada
In mid-2011 Lee was invited by
Associate Professor Angela Ndalianis
(School of Art History & Cinema Studies,
Melbourne University) to attend a
conference and speak about her research
into the resurgence of the Baroque.
This was an exciting opportunity, as
scholars from all over the world were
being drawn to this event in London
Entitled, “Neo Baroque Revisited”,
the three day conference encompassed the
work of experts from all relevant
disciplines, organizations, media, arts
and phenomena connected to Baroque
study. It aimed to provide a
foundation for conference participants
to examine the cultural period from its
historic origins to the manifestations
of Baroque which exist today in the
The conference was run in conjunction
with an exhibition at the Museum of
London, entitled 'Barroco Nova:
NeoBaroque Moves in Contemporary Art'.
The combination of both academic and
art inspirations provided Lee with
exciting insights and inspiration for
her own PhD studies.
The trip to London, via LA and
Toronto, was a long one, but thankfully
Lee had her daughter Bridget along for
the ride, to keep her company.
Lee presented her research entitled
‘The Liminal Meeting Place: Contemporary
Bel Compostic Space for the Portable
Soul”. After presenting, Lee was invited
to participate on a panel discussion,
which included, artists, curators and
the Senior Curator of the National
Gallery of Canada. The discussion
allowed for question time from the
audience which focused around the
re-emergence of the Baroque in
contemporary society as the Neo-baroque.
During and after the conference, Lee
was fortunate to meet some wonderful
Canadian’s, not only from the University
of Western Ontario and King’s College,
but also scholars from around the globe
who were all extremely engaging and very
hospitable and warm.
Additionally, Lee and Bridget saw
some of the sites of the region such as
the magnificent Niagara Falls, including
a Maid of the Mist Tour and Toronto,
including the National Gallery of
Toronto, that had a large selection of
major works, including the Bernini
Corpus, and Rubens’ “Slaughter of the
Innocents” it also featured an
exhibition of Chagall and the Russian
Contructivists, which to Lee was an
amazing privilege to see.
blog post will be an exploration of sorts, a kind of writing
exercise that may not at first seem coherent. Plus I need some
play with words, as I am becoming somewhat overwhelmed with all
of the assignments for school. Shhhh!! Don’t tell.
private life, I write ‘bits of writings’ as I like to call them.
They do not follow a set poetic path or grammatical structure,
nor do they really fit into some sort of concept of time. Maybe
one day I will post something up, if you all desire. Today I am
going to talk of A magical manifestation of spirit that happened
to me this weekend.
In my own
words. With my own sense of storytelling direction.
morning, before heading out to our dear Forest City Gallery, I
was searching on line for an article that my aunt Barb O’Brien
wrote for “Synchronicity Magazine”, on Sacred Spaces. (see pic –
as I was writing this I remembered I actually have a hard copy)
The morning turned into afternoon and I had completely forgotten
that I had been searching for it.
discussion was fueled by the ways in which contemporary artists
work with and play with transcending the historical baroque,
Neo- Baroque work that infers to the historical yet has legs of
its own. It was fascinating to listen to, unfortunately due to
potential plagiarizing problems with assignments I am working on
in school, I cannot write much more here.
What I can
tell you is about the metaphysical occurrence that spoke to my
own life, an experience of synchronicity or perhaps coincidence.
Which I assure you is so tough to write out let alone make sense
of. So I will leave it for you to decipher and if you come up
with anything please let me know. : )
talks began, I was standing just outside the door and
unbeknownst to me spoke with Lee Anne Trewartha, who was to
share her work. Through our conversation I found out that she
lives about 20-30 minutes away from where my biological father
is from, of whom I am searching for information, primarily for
physiological and pathological histories. She has in turn
offered to do a little investigation into my family there.
We enter into
the room, I have a seat and the talks begin. Twenty minutes later
Lee Anne takes the podium.
by circulating two sealed containers, describing that what we
were about to hold in our hands was air from two locations, The
first being a mall in Australia, and the second the air from her
local church, offering an insight on the ways in which we “shift
our thoughts from the mundane to the heavenly.” How we
experience sacred spaces.
is that formation of words again… Sacred Space, I was jolted
upright, remembered how I was searching for close to an hour
earlier on just those words. Holding onto a tiny container that
had air from the land of my biological father, I felt uplifted.
“Did Ken ever?” “Do I have cousins who have entered into the
space of which this air was from and breathe it in?” I very
nearly did not want to pass it along, I wanted to sit there
holding the tiny object and imagine.
Trewartha, Covenant, 2011
LeeAnne Trewartha, who is currently working on her PHD in
fine art at La trobe University in Australia, works with ideas
and concepts that are in dialogue with how Gian Lorenzo Bernini
(1598-1680) created his spaces and sculptures for the
spectators. To help the public to contemplate the heavens, “the
permeation of the heavenly”, to feel a real connection of spirit
in a space, Bernini transformed the everyday prayer rituals into
one of transcendence by creating a new innovation in art, called
“the Bel Composto, Beautiful Whole.” As Rudolph Wittkower wrote,
“Bernini’s statues breathe, as it were, the same air as the
beholder, are so “real” that they even share the same space
continuum with him.” Through our breath, and the air in the
space surrounding Bernini’s works, people can achieve a heavenly
uplifting peace, to as shift our thoughts from the mundane.
Bernini also used light in very specific ways to help with this
spiritual uplifting when experiencing his works. Wittkower
translates this experience, “The directed heavenly light,
sanctifies the objects and persons struck by it and singles them
out as recipients of divine Grace.” Trewartha’s studio practice
works within the idea of the bel composto, utilizing it as an
interweaving of mind, body and spirit, of that of the artist and
the spectator. Questioning whether “spectacle stays with us, or
does it affect the spirit of the individual?”
Now it is
time to rewind a few years in an attempt to describe how in awe
I was sitting there listening to her descriptions of her work.
All I could think of was Bernini has his hand in this somehow,
that silly guy.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Corpus, around 1650
Height: 174.0 cm (68 ")
Gift of the Murray Frum Family, 2006
Photo Copyright: Salander – O’Reilly Galleries / Maggie
Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
every shift I volunteered at the
Art Gallery of Ontario, I would walk past Bernini’s Corpus,
I would say a prayer, or sit with him for a few minutes. Just
allow my mind to be open and wish wish wish. I did a lot of
wishing with him. My life changed for the better, I experienced
so many transformations in life, of spirit and mind that I
secretly attribute to those moments with him, sharing the same
air. The last time I did this was in September. Not to sound
flakey I just truly believe that my meeting Lee Anne has some
sort to do with how we experience Bernini’s works. She herself
has had many otherworldly experiences, when researching for her
thesis. Could it be that by breathing the same air, and praying
with Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s works, we still are able to
transcend space and time? Or could this just be a case of
synchronicity? If so is there any difference if it is one or the
elated and puzzled. I cannot wait for when two of my
classes go to visit the AGO next Friday, I'm going to have a
little conversation with Bernini's corpus, I assume you.
Problem is he never physically talks back.
20 August-7 September 2008
Paddington Contemporary Fine Art
241 Glenmore Rd, Paddington
There is no doubt walking into this exhibition that Trewartha's
style is unique but holds an echo of the past. She calls her genre
"contemporary 'Bel Composto'" - meaning 'Beautiful Whole' - in the
vein of the original, named and practiced by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in
the 17th century baroque period, which sought to unify different
artistic mediums and transport the viewer by creating a sense of
altered perspective. Whereas Bernini combined painting, sculpture
and architecture, Trewartha merges the mediums of painting,
print-making and photography.
Trewartha's work is a modern re-creation of typical baroque art with
a distinct focus on expressing charged emotional states through
subtle physicality. Each individual piece is undeniably intense,
evoking a certain collective oppressiveness in the small exhibition
Whether it is the inner torment of
The World Will Never Find You,
a large portrait of a clearly abandoned woman, or the sad, soulless
female in the circular
Without a Centre, Where to Fix the Soul?
one cannot help but be moved by the women on the walls. This is
heightened by the combination of colourless materials and the
various mediums used in potent combination.
This is a dark, but incredibly striking exhibition and in its
unpredictability ensures a solid base from which this artist can
move forward in popularity and further investigation of her genre.
Emma McGowan (20 August viewing)
City Search Sydney