30 December 2006

A quick note

If you've seen Rose's latest post, you'll know we've split up. I'm staying with my parents briefly until I get sorted.

25 December 2006


20 December 2006

19 December 2006

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

16 December 2006

Quote of the day

The ultimate disappointment? When the illusion that one is free of illusion reveals itself as such. (The most oppressive manoeuvre of vanity: making oneself out to be more stupid and bad than one would like to be in order to indulge the vanity of not being vain. Fails miserably.)


One should begin at long last to speak out against oneself! One should begin!! One!! (For a long time now I have, in quiet hours, been spitting on my own head ... Oh, I don't give a damn about ... Yes, about what? ...)

- Dr Walter Serner

10 December 2006

The opening

The opening was fun. Lots of people made the trip up from Wellers - and Wangas and the 'Rapa - which made a huge difference. All the difference. I think everybody enjoyed themselves. I certainly did. I even sold six works. I've updated my website with some proper installation shots. We forgot to take any photos during the opening until just before those who hadn't left to make the return trip went for dinner, but here are some of what we did get:

09 December 2006


07 December 2006

Punk rock

My friend Stephen played the other night - during which I yelled some useful suggestions.

05 December 2006


04 December 2006


The Barrs have started blogging.

Artbash site down

The Artbash site's been down for a week or so. Check out what's replaced the error page. Very funny.

28 November 2006

Quote of the day

They say that Apelles used to hide behind his painting, so that viewers could speak more freely and he could more honourably listen as they went through the flaws in his work. I therefore want our painters to ask and listen to everyone's opinion, openly and often. For this helps the painter, among other things, to acquire favour. Everyone thinks it an honour to express their opinion on someone else's work. And there is no need at all to fear that the judgement of censorious and envious people can detract from the painter's praises. For the painter's merit is public and known to all, and they can call their own well painted work as a talkative witness on their behalf. Therefore they should listen to everyone and, after first thinking the matter through for themself, make corrections. Then, when they have listened to everybody, they should follow the advice of the more expert.

- Leon Battista Alberti

27 November 2006


23 November 2006

Last night's efforts

Well, I think it went all right. Apparently the 'Dada Manifesto' in particular went well. I think we lost it a bit towards the end. 'Random Fucken Abuse' was meant to be Paul and me abusing each other, but Paul wussed out so I had to abuse the audience instead. From all accounts, I succeeded in offending and annoying most of them. Then I had a few technical problems with 'Global Fascist Police State' and forgot to refer to my notes.

It was fun.

22 November 2006

Can't Play Won't Play playing

My band Can't Play Won't Play will be performing live for the very first time at the open mike thing at the Adelaide this evening. After drunkenly heckling last week I rashly put us down to play, and so we've had to come up with something to can't play. If somehow everything goes to plan, we'll do four original (if somewhat minimal) songs and cover a Dada manifesto from 1920. It will of course be a total shambles.

20 November 2006

An amusing diversion

A friend of mine sent me a link to the Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney.

19 November 2006


I need to beef up the colour of course, but you get the idea.

Something in Auckland to go to

Andrew McLeod has a show at the Ivan Anthony Gallery opening on 22 November.

Some more blither

I bought a couple of books recently. One was Dada: monograph of a movement, which has lots of good pictures and some good essays in it. My favourite essay was one by Richard Huelsenbeck on 'Dada and existentialism'. The other was The Dada reader: a critical anthology, which is an anthology of texts from the various Dada magazines translated into English. It is an excellent read and a wonderful resource.

I've prepared a couple more canvases. One I had to rescue from where I'd left it in a friend's studio in Lyall Bay. The other's still drying.

I got pictures back from the framers last week. They look really good. I only got two framed and will pin the rest to the wall. Getting them back means I'm all ready for the show. All I have to do now is get my website ready to be updated when it opens.

And, finally, check out the Artbasher's blog for some good links.

11 November 2006


07 November 2006

This and that

I've drawn a line under my show. Finished the last things over the weekend (the last one being the image above). Not going to do any more work for it but move on to the next thing instead. To that end I splashed out on a nice linen canvas at the end of last week. Since then it's been sitting there staring at me reproachfully.

Went to a fun experimental music and film gig at the jazz fest on Sunday night. It was enlivened by the smoke for the final guy's laser show setting off the fire alarms. I especially liked Campbell Kneale's film.

27 October 2006

Off up to Wangas again tomorrow

You can check the show out here. You need your pop-ups enabled but.

5000 website hits

26 October 2006

Toi town

I went and checked out Te Papa's show of the national art collection yesterday arvo. My review of it is here.

25 October 2006

Painting and the fourth dimension

Whatever exists as a movement, as something happening in a space with a specific number of dimensions (n), can be represented as a form in space which has one additional dimension (n + 1).

- Hermann Minkovski

24 October 2006

Something in Wellington to go to

I went to three openings last week. The most interesting show was the one at Hamish McKay's. They're people who haven't shown there before, and about half of them were from Melbourne. It's always good to see what other people are up to, even though I suspect the range of work on show reflected the people choosing it rather than what's out there. A lot of the stuff left me cold, but there was a drawing on a scroll of paper that wasn't too shabby. My favourites, though, were a couple of studies on canvasboard - small and unassuming but punching well above their weight.

18 October 2006

Working definition

Art is symbolic thought expressed materially in a self-conscious and highly associative way.

12 October 2006

Something in Wanganui to go to

Prologue: The Matthew Couper and Jo Russ Collection, at the Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui, is open to the public from 14 October.

I'm in the mortality section (but then aren't we all? ho ho). Here's a shot of what I've got in it (next to Nik Kokx skulls, a Simon Ray sheep painting, and a Andrew Ross photo):

Here's a nice shot of another section of the installed show:

Quote of the day

When we want to throw off an intolerable depression, we sometimes take marijuana. Well, in my case the marijuana was painting. Painting is an antidote for everything that bores you; in itself, I must admit, it is a poison.

- Francis Picabia (sort of)

09 October 2006

Something in Sydney to go to

My brother Ben has a show at the Ray Hughes Gallery on at the moment.

08 October 2006


Just been sailing for the first time in a couple of years or so. Went out on my friend James's Sunburst (though his doesn't have a spinnaker). It was very calm this morning, though with 40 knot gales forecast for this evening. As we were launching, the wind started picking up and everybody else was coming back in. We had a bloody good run though; timed it just right. The wind kept on increasing all the time we were out, and heading into the wind the swell tended to knock our bow off the wind but that was no biggie. We tacked halfway up Evan's Bay a couple of times and had a couple of brilliant broad reaches back down, planing on the waves with the boat humming. The gusts got up to 15-20 knots probably. Absolutely brilliant.

Even though it'd been a while, I found I had no problems at the tiller. A gust would come and I'd luff up automatically, without hving to think about it. I feel a bloody good summer coming on.

02 October 2006

Film society

Just been to see Fassbinder's The third generation at the film society. I really enjoyed it, especially the soundtrack, which was chaotic to say the least. There were some brilliant visuals as well, such as the bank robbers and the gun-toting carnival clowns. Very nice.

01 October 2006

Something in Chch to go to

My friend Scott has got a show on at the Brooke Gifford Gallery in Christchurch at the moment. Well worth checking out if you're down that way.

Doctor Who

I've just had a somewhat self-indulgent Doctor Who frenzy, watching last year's series over a period of 24 hours. I'd forgotten how good some of them were.

The big finale of this year's season is on Thursday. I've missed a whole lot of the episodes, so will have to do something similar when the DVDs come out.

27 September 2006

Full on

Just had a big day. Well, a very full on week. Very full on. I've done a few things over the last wee while regardless, but I don't think I'm going to post them just yet. Got to have a few surprises for people coming to my show in December after all.

I'm pretty much all ready for it. Just got to get a couple of things framed. Even got invites printed, and there's still two months to go. Got to be happy about that. I want to do a lot more stuff so I've got a good range to choose from for the final line up.

18 September 2006

The weekend

Spent the weekend racing around the lower North Island and drinking too much. We went to Peter Ireland's opening at Thermostat at Friday, and then to a house warming at the Tylee Cottage on Saturday. We stayed in a totally ludicrous room.

Olmec writing

See here.

06 September 2006

Suitably humble

03 September 2006

And another

02 September 2006

And some more

29 August 2006

At last

22 August 2006


I've just had a go at writing an art review.

19 August 2006


Just been out to a gig for the first time in yonks. Went to Happy to see a few bands. It was really good to catch up with lots of people I haven't seen for a while. I even got to hear what some old friends from Dunedin are up to now. The music was excellent, especially the Hi-Aces. Stephen did a sterling job at the mixing desk. It was all good.

Oh yeah, we also got to watch the edifying spectacle of Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner - political journos from TV1 and TV3 respectively - being drunken assholes.

17 August 2006


I've not just been slack about updating my blog and checking my email, etc. I've also been slack about doing work. Tsk, tsk. I think a bit more auto-anthropophagy may be the way to get back into it.

I did write some notes for a statement for a catalogue, which I was quite pleased with at the time. But when I read over them the next day I was dismayed to find that where they weren't factually wrong they were trite.

Quote of the week

Apparently, George W Bush read Camus' The Stranger over his holiday.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush "found it an interesting book and a quick read" and talked about it with aides. "I don't want to go too deep into it, but we discussed the origins of existentialism," said Snow.

Can you just see it? 'Well, George, there were these French intellectuals who didn't believe in god...'

06 August 2006

Over Grover

The film fest is over for another year. We went out in style, with three films today: Raging of the elements: programme II (which was great, especially the arctic one, and went with Black sun very well), Los olvidados (which was gruelling), and The science of sleep (which was a litlle bit too cutesy, but a good one to finish on).

05 August 2006

A nightmarish proposition

Went to Black sun this arvo, which is about an artist who goes blind after having paint rermover thrown in his face. Rather than committing suicide or becoming a junkie, as some of his friends expect, he goes travelling the word by himself. It was a gorgeous film.

04 August 2006

And there's still more

The obligatory self-portrait:

A psychocosmological map:

The one that was giving me gyp:

Went to 13 last night and It's only talk tonight. Just got the weekend to go and it's all over for another year. Then I need to get stuck in and do some bloody work.

03 August 2006

This and that

Andrew McLeod's Artistic conscience opened at Peter McLeavey's last night and is well worth a visit.

Been to a couple more flicks: You're gonna miss me on Sunday and Mutual appreciation on Tuesday. You're gonna miss me is the depressingly tragic tale of Roky Erickson.

29 July 2006

And again

I've been a bit slack about updating my blog (not mention such other things as checking my email etc - but then that's just an exercise in deleting spam). Just got back from The new world, which though it looked really good was strangely unengaging.

I finally managed to redo the picture I'd stuffed up. I haven't been doing so well on the painting front. Partly it's cos I've been constantly ill for weeks now (due to my shall we say unsatisfactory living arrangements). Not good at all. Only got myself to blame though - what you get for not being right in the head and making stupid decisions. Also at the moment I'm trying to put the hours in at my job, cos being ill has meant I've not been earning much at all of late and it'd be nice to get on top of things. Didn't do too badly last week, especially at the start of it, though I pegged out at the end. Slept for about 18 hours last night.

Oh yeah, I managed to get told off at work last week - apparently some of the authors are scared of me. It's a dreadful state of affairs all round.

Quick update

Wednesday night was Who's Camus anyway?, which was good fun. It was kind of appropriately followed on Thursday by Regular lovers, which was fantastic. Long and slow, with some great shots - especially a static one of burning cars and barricades, people throwing Molotovs in the background, and two guys in motorbike helmets and leathers standing in the foreground watching, one with a loudhailer and revolver in his hands. Apart from that it was mostly people lying around smoking opium and hash while arguing about the revolution.

24 July 2006

Let's hear it for the vague blur!

What a fantastic evening it's been. Thomas K├Âner was great. Overlapping pictures slowly fading in and out accompanied by great looming oceanic waves of sound. Very meditative. Words are a poor tool indeed for describing visual sensations (ever read a halfway decent description of someone's face?), and I'm not even going to try.

A scanner darkly was great. Robert Downey Jr nailed Jim Barris. Worth seeing just for that. It looked really good, especially on the big Embassy screen. I believe it's got a fair number of bad reviews, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

In other news, I get to find out what inadvertantly putting your pipe through the washing machine does to it.

Film Fest

I emerged from hiding away from the world just in time. The annual film fest madness has begun again - though we're not going to as much as usual this year. I'm only going to 18.

The Gala Opening on Thursday was Tristram Shandy: A cock and bull story, which was actually Steve Coogan taking the piss of himself as a big star - very much like his turn in Coffee and cigarettes. Opening night proper was The wind that shakes the barley, which was a cheery Ken Loach film about the Irish civil war of the 20s. Yesterday we went to Sketches of Frank Gehry, which had far too many extreme close-ups and some funny exchanges where the film-maker and Gehry (who are old mates) compare notes on the creative process ("So do you ever accept jobs and then have no idea what you're going to do?" etc). This morning was Al Gore's An inconvenient truth, which was a cheery tale about global warming, and Shortbus, which was a comedy porn flick and very enjoyable.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night. First up is the excellently named From the outskirts of nothing to the suburbs of the void, followed by A scanner darkly. Rock and roll.

I even managed to do a couple of pictures yesterday. It would've been three if I hadn't rushed the last one and stuffed it. That'll learn me.

16 July 2006

The exquisite corpse of the PLF

Ben did the top third, Steve the middle, and I the bottom:

12 July 2006


Been feeling reasonably crappy ever since I forgot to take my nutter pills one day last week. I've been lying round slowly making my way through Real Spaces: World Art History and the Rise of Western Modernism, broken up with Philip K Dick novels (ahead of A Scanner Darkly at the old Film Fest), and not producing anything at all. Not likely to once the film madness hits neither.

03 July 2006

Something to go to

Liz Maw has a show opening at Peter McLeavey's on Wednesday.

Yet more shameless self-promotion

I've joined ArtRemains and am slowly sticking stuff up. I like the site's concept. Good old notional independent states - if I had my way there'd be 6 billion odd of them.

02 July 2006

Image is virus

Word is image

29 June 2006


Jo and Matt had a shindig on Saturday to celebrate heading off to Wangavegas. Note Rose's skelly guy in the background of the last one there.
visitors since 29 March 2004.