Photographer Kristian Laemmle-Ruff joins Richard to talk about his upcoming photographic/mixed media exhibition Mind The Gap. Centred around a photo of the infamous Pine Gap military base, the exhibition explores contemporary Australian issues and a look at the diversity of the Australian social, cultural and environmental landscape.

On the dance front, choreographer Sandra Parker and mixed media artist Rhian Hinkley come in to talk about Small Details, in which the dancers interact with kinetic sculptures and explore the space, examining the body's vulnerability in an increasingly technological world.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival Program Manager Spiro Economopoulos rounds off the show, providing some insight into the festival's operations and programming and offering some highlights of this year's program, commencing March 16.

Direct download: Smart-Arts-20170316.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 3:08pm AEDT

First up, The Women's Show, an annual exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women artists from across Australia, held at the Vivien Anderson Gallery. Gallery manager Amy Boyd and Victorian indigenous artist Maree Clark join Richard to discuss the exhibition, Maree's practice and issues of diversity and identity in Australian indigenous art.

The incomparable Judy Davis (most recently of The Dressmaker fame) is directing Brian Friels's Irish masterpiece, Faith Healer, as part of the MTC's season. Judy and Richard talk extensively about the show and its somewhat difficult themes of Irish identity, Judy's career and the film and theatre industries today.

Finally, Nicola Gunn's Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster is back as part of the Dance Massive festival. Nicola discusses the origins of the show and her ideas about its success, which all came as the result of a confrontation about a man and a duck.

Direct download: Smart-Arts-20170309.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 12:47pm AEDT

Bernard Caleo joins Richard this week for Drawn Out, the monthly comics review segment. He introduces us to Resist!, a womens' cartooning collection in response to the election of Donald Trump, The Banksia Project, a local comic mentoring initiative for minority creators, and Naming Monsters, an eerie and haunting comic which is part of the growing graphic medicine movement.

Political Acts: Pioneers of Performance Art in Southeast Asia is an Arts Centre exhibition curated by Steven Tonkin. Steven talks about the process of curating the documentation of live performance for exhibition and issues surrounding political content in art. Political Acts is showing as part of AsiaTOPA.

Finally Sarah Goodes and Ursula Mills, from MTC's production of Annie Baker's John, are in studio to discuss the show's writing style, feel and story. John is a present-day ghost story which juxtaposes the supernatural and the real, as a young couple visit Gettysburg, Pennsylvania amidst the collapse of their relationship.

Direct download: Smart-Arts-20170302.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 1:23pm AEDT

This week, Richard is in studio with Pippa Bailey and Alex Galeazzi, senior producer and co-director respectively of the cross-cultural play The Age of Bones. The Age of Bones (or Jaman Belulang, its Indonesian name) is a collaboration between Australian and Indonesian theatre-makers as part of AsiaTOPA. Pippa and Alex discuss the origins of the story, navigating collaboration between cultures and the processes behind creating this performance of puppetry, politics and satire, creating a bridge between Indonesia and Australia. 

Adam Simmons is in next to discuss the ultimate question, is art useful? His upcoming concert series, The Usefulness of Art,  with the Creative Music Ensemble and Michael Kieran Harvey includes the Australian premiere of his Concerto for Piano and Toy Band, and today he speaks to Richard about the juxtaposition of play and practice, avant garde and tradition, toys and instruments.

Finally, Camilla Blunden joins Richard to discuss her new work, All This Living!, a show about age, myth and women. Camilla talks about the issues surrounding age in society and the invisibility of women as they age, both in theatre and in daily life. This is Camilla's first major show as a solo writer, in which she tells the story of Jay, who wonders why she is gradually disappearing?

Direct download: Smart-Arts-20170223.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 4:05pm AEDT

Smart Arts - 09 February 2017

Richard speaks to the cast of a brand new Australian production, Lifetime Guarantee. Charles Purcell, Julian Dibley-Hall and Izabella Lena star in this satirical, modern-day comedy, written by Ross Mueller and directed by John Sheedy, dealing with issues of modern-day property development and our relationship to objects. Lifetime Guarantee is showing at Theatre Works in St Kilda from 9th - 26th of February.

On the other end of the theatre spectrum, Humphrey Bower has developed a new, solo adaptation of Homer's The Iliad, as part of Stork Theatre's Melbourne Homer Fest. The Rage of Achilles turns the focus to human tragedy within war, stripping back Homer's epic poem to the story of Achilles. Richard and Humphrey discuss questions of male rage, our attraction to war and the relevance of this ancient piece of literature to modern times. The Rage of Achilles is showing at La Mama Theatre from the 7th - 19th February.

Richard's final guest, Penny Byrne, is a sculptor and visual artist working with ceramics, among other things. Her upcoming exhibition, Brutal, uses reworked porcelain figurines to create new sculptures, dealing with contemporary global humanitarian issues. The result is confronting yet familiar, with a sombre political commentary. Brutal is running at Linden New Art in St Kilda until the 8th of March.

Direct download: Smart_Arts_-_9_February_2017.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 12:17pm AEDT

Smart Arts - 02 February 2017

Continuing Richard's exploration of the current Midsumma Festival program, this week's podcast features an interview with Tom Halls and Yvonne Virsik, whose production Sad Digger Mad Mary is showing at La Mama Theatre in Carlton. Sad Digger Mad Mary is a one-person show, presenting a man struggling with his return to society from the war, and the unlikely visitor who guides him out of his hermitude.
Richard is also joined by the Director of the biennial Castlemaine State Festival, Martin Papen, discussing the significance of place and environment to Martin's final festival as Director.
Wrapping up the podcast are performance artists Luke George and Daniel Kok, whose intriguingly titled show Bunny is a part of the much-hyped Asia TOPA festival. The 2-hour performance piece is described as "safe, sane and consensual", and this segment may leave you hanging out to see Bunny.

Direct download: SmartArts-20170202.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 1:15pm AEDT

SmartArts - 26 January 2017

This week's podcast includes an in-depth discussion with Jacob Boheme, the Artistic Director of the Yirramboi First Nations Festival, on the significance of 26 January to the First Nations' people of Australia and the upcoming Yirramboi Festival in Melbourne.

Richard also speaks to Daniel Lammin about his upcoming production, Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, showing during Midsumma Festival at the Brunswick Mechanics' Institute, and Artist Amy Spiers regarding the Miranda Must Go campaign, aimed at de-mythologising one of Victoria's historical natural landmarks, Hanging Rock.

Direct download: SmartArts-20170126.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 1:39pm AEDT

SmartArts - 08 December 2016

This week's podcast includes Fleur Kilpatrick's fortnightly theatre review 'Shoot The Messenger', as well as performers Matt Kelly and Richard Higgins giving you the low down on the new family oriented production of 'The Listies Ruined Xmas', which has a Richard Watts stamp of approval.

Also on the show is Angela Conquet on the return of the annual celebration of freedom and movement that is Dance Massive.

Enjoy!

Direct download: SmartArts-20161208.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 5:42pm AEDT

SmartArts - 01 December 2016

This week sees another outstanding bunch of artists and performers and general creative minds in to the studio with Richard, as we gear up for the holiday season.

Firstly we have the multi-talented performer Josh Piterman whose latest role is in the musical theatre production known as 'The Last Five Years', running at 45Downstairs in December - sure to provoke some introspective thought for many young couples out there.

Secondly, a gripping interview about the struggles of free-thinking and sometimes dangerously expressive artists, with Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina and founder of the Belarus Free Theatre Company Natalia Kaliada. The pair are in Melbourne running their theatre production 'Burning Doors' at the Arts Centre.

And finally on a cheerier note to to round out the episode, Richard speaks with Melbourne artist Marcia Ferguson about the upcoming MoreArt Public Art Show in the City of Moreland.

 

Direct download: SmartArts-20161001.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 12:08pm AEDT

SmartArts - 24 November 2016

Richard's first guest is the curator at the jaw-droppingly beautiful TarraWarra Museum of Art, one Julie Ewington, who came in to the studio to discuss, among other things, a new exhibition of metalwork sculpture by renowned Australian artist Bronwyn Oliver.

 

Secondly we have Mr Brett Sheehy on the upcoming 2017 theatrical season at MTC (it's a cracker) and last but certainly not least Richard is joined by a trio of guests including, in no particular order, Lisa Sullivan (curator at Geelong Gallery), Tully Moore (seasoned visual artist) and Chris Bond (also a seasoned visual artist). The subject matter at hand is the current exhibition at Geelong Gallery, 'Tricking the eye–contemporary trompe l’oeil' - a delightful journey in to optical illusions and visual play.

Direct download: SmartArts-20161124.mp3
Category:Smart Arts -- posted at: 9:42pm AEDT



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