The following is a transcript on Swiss Radio about my Midnight Gardens exhibition in Geneva. The broadcast can be heard here
I am pleased to announce that the exhibition is having a good response with viewings and sales, and the closing date has been extended from the original June 21st to
Midnight Gardens exhibition.
Mines D’Art Gallery , Geneva, Switzerland.
39, rue Saint-Joseph
CH – 1227 Carouge
Gallery hours: Monday – Friday 13h30-18h30; Saturday 10h30-17h
(tel: +41 (0)22 301 30 19)
George Powell interview with John Douglas
GP Most times I meet Australians, I’m either playing rugby, at the pub watching sports and drinking heavily, or at a youth hostel. In my experience, Aussie blokes come with a built-in notion that their opinion matters more than everyone else’s, with a voice-volume setting to match. They tend to be funny and confident and in good shape, blessed with a reckless enthusiasm most of us lose at the end of our teenage years.
Like the Irish, Australians are very likable people, and the Australian multimedia artist and painter I met earlier on this week was no exception. Unlike most Australians I’ve ever met, however, he was mild-mannered, polite, sensitive, and something I didn’t think possible for an Aussie, soft spoken. John Douglas has had a long and successful career, winning awards and exhibiting his artwork all over the world. The latest gallery to play host to John’s work is the Mines d’Art in Carouge nestled halfway down the rue St-Joseph between other art galleries and arts and crafts shops, fancy boutiques, and cafés. A trip to the Mines d’Art art gallery felt to me like a mini-holiday to the south of France. I had a chat with John on the opening night of his solo show and asked him for a quick rundown of what the exhibition was all about.
JD The primary subject of the paintings is Midnight Gardens; they’re symbolic of Man’s relationship with the Earth. It’s somewhat surreal, but I hope also fun and engaging. The Midnight Gardens series were inspired by my first visit to Switzerland some years ago. I was very taken with the colours and the shapes of the natural environment and took that with me back to my home country, Australia. This is the first time that all of the Midnight Gardens paintings have been exhibited, and given that they were inspired by Switzerland originally, it feels like they’re coming home.
GP John Douglas works on many different artistic levels with many different mediums. In 2010, a film of his entitled Ward 9, which showed what life was like living in an HIV ward, won the Outrate International Film Festival. A photograph of his was given an inspiration award for World Peace Day, and another one of his works inspired a peace mural in Los Angeles and in Sierra Leone and went on to be part of a movement to build and distribute crutches and mobility devices for the victims of landmines. I asked John why he has always opted for such a variety as an artist.
JD I think one of the things as adults…we start to close down and we narrow ourselves into an area that either will produce more compliments from others in every area, not just artistically, and personally I really enjoy exploring, so if I do try something and I enjoy making a film or I enjoy the experience of creating music, then I’m very glad to continue creating in that way.
GP I mentioned some of the assumptions I’ve held about Australians, and in fairness they’re all based on personal experience, but I wanted to know what differences John saw between European and Australian art appreciators.
JD There is certainly a difference in the quality of attention that I see people bring to looking at the work. One of the great joys in coming to Switzerland and to almost anywhere in Europe, really, is that you notice there is a greater depth of appreciation for all sorts of artworks, be it visual, aural, or otherwise.
GP Europe 1, Australia 0. In all seriousness, though, if you’re in or around Geneva and fancy a look around the cool, dark rooms of the Mines d’Art gallery, then I highly recommend it. Also, Carouge is in a beautiful part of the city and it really does stand alone as one of the most picturesque and quaint little neighbourhoods. You can check out minesdart.com for more information on the gallery or johndouglasart.com for more on my new favourite Australian artist. This is George Powell for Radio Frontier.