19th June Billy Gruner, Welcome to the Flat Platform

On Friday we visited with Billy Gruner in the Blue Mountains. Guests joined us from Denmark, Germany, Greece, Australia, The Netherlands and the US. Thank you all for joining us! Some were new audience members to the Art Zoom Bus and receiving the positive feedback from you all was lovely. (:

We heard about the Australian bushfires, it was only a few months ago, that impacted Billy and Sarah’s home and community. The fires impacted many artists, their families, their work, studios and communities. Many are still working hard at bushfire recovery and dealing with loss of work and income during the global pandemic.


Billy and Sarah’s bushfire recovery work. Using a damaged water tank to isolate a dead tree stump for burning. Photo courtesy of Billy Gruner.

Sadly many beautiful rare tree gardens were destroyed along with the national parks flora and fauna and with loss of homes and lives. At the time I thought the bushfires would perhaps be the defining event of 2020. Wow, was I wrong. Now, as we approach midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere and Australian’s have a chance to regroup over the winter, let’s not forget that soon another summer is approaching. We discussed how annual bushfires are becoming a global crisis and the sharing of knowledge, fire fighters and aircraft is becoming difficult with the longer, hotter, summers.

Billy and Sarah’s Blue Mountains rare tree garden at the top of a cliff adjacent to national park. Photo courtesy of Billy Gruner.

We listened to Billy describe his past projects, collaborations and his and Sarah’s participation in arts events and organisations, such as Sydney Nonobjective (SNO), Modern Arts Projects (MAP). We enjoyed his hilarious reminiscences on being a gigging musician and gaining his PhD at the University of Sydney.

Look and read: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5226b113e4b0defa8ef0b0ad/t/54cf6955e4b0bdddd221509b/1422879061851/sno_catalogue.pdf


Billy connected us with the history of nonobjective art and its connections to De Stijl, the Bauhaus, architecture, the concrete, abstraction, punk, music and more! There were so many wonderful ideas we could explore but we only had an hour! I hope you enjoy exploring some of Billy and Sarah Keighery’s work here and online. Billy said he welcomes you connecting with him on social media. https://www.facebook.com/westproject/

We learnt about Nino Sydney, the Australian architect, and the iconic Beachcomber houses of Australia’s east coast. We also explored the preservation and restoration of Modernist architecture that is so threatened by demolition and development.

Read: https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/big-box-on-steel-legs-ushered-in-modernist-aesthetic-20121019-27wqv.html

The event that really caught my eye over the last couple of years from my roost in The Hague was when Billy and Sarah took to the road and campsites across the US and the EU with the RNOP, Reductive Nonobjective Project. Billy described a colourful journey that included bringing together new and established artists in exhibitions and collaborative spaces and even lecturing to German tourists in summer campsites, late into the night around the campfire! It was wonderful to follow online and in addition to seeing the RNOP works and exhibitions Billy also took us along digitally on many visits to great modernist works a of architecture.

Read: http://fivewalls.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/RNOP-Melbourne-_-The-Road-Paintings.pdf

Finally I challenged Billy to show us a Nonobjective work from his house in Mount Tomah. And he rose to the challenge!

Billy brings the art to the Zoom.

And finally folks, a message from Billy himself. Thank you Billy for your tremendous generosity and for making the world a little kinder and the breaking the isolation in the best possible way!

Hi everyone, it was good to talk, to break into the great silence in art. And I really enjoyed meeting old friends and new people. Thanks to all it made a great change from clearing burned trees, if people want to look into our world there’s a few of the pages.
Billy Gruner
Reductive Non Objective Project RNOP
West Projects
The Stores Building Projects
Kno Kyiv Non Objective. The artwork was from the Collective Polychrome series, works made with two other artists, including myself. Seen is the Matthew Deleget and Mark Titmarsh and Billy Gruner work, a monochrome bound in a perspex box.

Published by lisamckimmie

I am an artist and art teacher currently living and working in Sydney. I studied undergraduate Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University in Perth, completed my Masters in Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney and studied printmaking at the National Art School, Darlinghurst, Sydney. I worked in Sydney in contemporary art galleries up until I left Australia and wrote and presented Professional Arts Practice lectures and seminars to final year undergraduates at the NAS. In Asia, the UK and Europe I have tutored and taught art privately including distance tutoring online. While living in Singapore I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Education, Visual Arts with Monash University. In The Netherlands I worked, in pandemic lockdown, in a small studio in the forest of De Paauuw thanks to the generosity of Dutch artist and printmaker, Florence Fernhout and the Wassenaar Gemeente. Our May 2020 exhibition at Pulchri Gallery in Den Haag (The Hague) was cancelled due to corona virus controls, reschedulaed and again cancelled in 2021. To break the isolation and bring attention to artists and their works (including current exhibitions in lockdown or cancelled) I started the Art Zoom-Bus, AZ-B. Initially AZ-B was to bring together friends and colleagues who usually meet annually at a conference. This years conference (in Lisbon) was cancelled. Though the work has gone online and continues, the social outings that give everyone a work/leisure balance, do not. Social outings are often to galleries and museums so, at the suggestion of friends in lockdown in remote places, we went online for gallery and studio tours! Other friends have joined the tours now and so we have AZ-B! The Zoom Bus is temporarily parked as lockdowns have lifted and I carry on with my art studio practice in Sydney at One Plus 2 Studios, Balmain. I am still pondering on whether I'll reboot the Bus and in what format! If you'd like to see the Zoom Bus back on the digital road let me know your thoughts!

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