News / Notes

The Power of Inclusion in Donald Judd’s Art

The Power of Inclusion in Donald Judd’s Art by Gail Hastings

Art Journal, College Art Association, New York, Vol. 77, no. 3 Fall 2018

The Power of Inclusion in Donald Judd’s Art: Observations by an Artist, Gail Hastings, pp. 48-62.
Artist’s Project: Space Practising Tools, Gail Hastings, pp. 63-75.

A dark void is the denouement of . . . two wood panels stained light cadmium red and joined at right angles.1 Each red panel has a small black circle at its center, is of equal height, but of different width. The panels join at a perpendicular that juts toward us. Red sinks behind the surface of the wood, embedded. It saturates, without covering or obscuring the wood. At first, the black circles look to be dense solids against the cadmium red.

Gail Hastings

The blackness is so dense it obliterates any sign of wood grain within each circumference. Then, we see each circle’s black defy the logic of solid pigment. Instead of remaining opaque, the circles empty into a dark vastness of two hollow depths. Spatial illusion, traditionally constructed with pigment, gives way to the inbuilt construction of physical space. Instead of artistry, the circles are black through the everyday unlit emptiness of reality.

See: The Power of Inclusion in Donald Judd’s Art: Observations by an Artist

National Assistance Program for the Arts

Space Practising Tools - Gail Hastings

Biggest thanks to the National Assistance Program for the Arts for the one-off payment I received in May.

I spent lockdown writing in-depth applications for assistance from federal, state, local and subscriber arts agencies, to be continually rejected one after the other. At one stage I submitted my name, only — frustrated by the time, thought, hope and expectation each application extracted — to see that rejected too.

Nothing worse than spending time on an activity that generates continual rejection during a pandemic lockdown that has caused most to ride its various waves of panic. Governmental safety nets were stoically put in place to avoid this type of degenerating despair for many in society — except for artists.

My time would have been better spent focussing on my Space Practising Tools project, a part of which is pictured above. Arts agencies do not generally see my art as art, since it consists of the space we look ‘through’ everyday, rather than ‘at’.

For example, while you’ve no doubt spotted the three boxes on the table in the photo above, these are not the point of this particular Space Practising Tool. The point is the scoop of space at the front of each, which is not dissimilar to the scoop of space of the adjacent windowsill.

The similarity forces the first to be treated not unlike the second — ignored as just a part of the room.

This is the situation this particular Space Practising Tool has somehow to solve, where it is pictured here in midway development.

In writing this I hope to emphasise why I am thankful to the National Assistance Program for the Arts for the payment they provided. For in their distribution letter they wrote:

This initiative was created and supported by the below named-group to provide some support to Australia’s arts industry through the COVID-19 crisis. The arts are a critical part of our culture, community and national identity. We see you and we value your contribution to life in Australia.

The last sentence of the letter from the National Assistance Program for the Arts still makes me emotional: ‘We see you and we value your contribution to life in Australia’.

Thank you.

Participating Philanthropists and Philanthropic Entities:

Andrew Myer AM & Kerry Gardner AM
Ann & Warwick Johnson
Berwyn Roberts & Jennifer Mackenzie
Carrillo Gantner AC and Ziyin Gantner
Creative Partnerships Australia
Darin Cooper Foundation
Day Family Foundation
Doc Ross Foundation
FWH Foundation
Inner North Community Foundation
James and Diana Ramsay Foundation
Kate and Stephen Shelmerdine Family Foundation
Kathryn Fagg AO
Kim Williams AM
Lindisfarne Foundation
Mandy and Edward Yencken & Family
Mark and Louise Nelson
Minderoo Foundation
Nunn Dimos Foundation
Robert Bishop
Philanthropy Australia
Sarah Myer and Baillieu Myer AC
Sidney Myer Fund
Simon Mordant AM and Catriona Mordant AM
Spinifex Trust
Tim Fairfax AC
The Skrzynski Family Sky Foundation
Vallejo Gantner
Yulgilbar Foundation

Art Journal’s Fall Issue out soon

Art Journal Vol. 77, no. 3 Fall 2018

Gail Hastings The Power of Inclusion in Donald Judd’s Art: Observations by an Artist
Gail Hastings Artist’s Project: Space Practising Tools

Rebecca M. Brown writes:
Editorial work involves listening, opening one’s sense to silenced voices, to the quiet whispering at the porous edges of our consciousness. Gail Hastings notes that sometimes artworks seem to be reticent teachers, “muttering a lesson,” which we have to pry out of them. As both an artist and scholar reading the material and spatial in Donald Judd’s sculpture Untitled (DSS 33), Hastings rejects this metaphor,

stating with and through Judd’s works and words that “The knowledge we therefore seek of DSS 33’s space cannot be found as a critically apt, well-packaged utterance detachable from the work. It is found, instead, in the reciprocal movement of the work’s self-determination, the ‘living force of its existence,’ forever in process of creating space while perpetually wading through the ‘natural confusion’ of life this embroils.” (A pause, here, to agree wholeheartedly with Hastings’s formulation while recognising it as, indeed, a well-packaged utterance of the highest caliber, one that does not deliver a didactic lesson.)

See Art Journal, ed. Rebecca M. Brown, Vol. 77, no. 3 Fall 2018, p. 5.

Thank you Kalamunda Hospital

Winner of this years Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize

Gail Hastings and Adrian McDonald awarded 2018 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize

The judges for this year’s Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize – Natasha Bullock (MCA Senior Curator), Judith Blackall (NAS Gallery Curator), Mark Harpley (Visual Arts Coordinator, Redlands School) and Fabian Byrne (Visual Arts Teacher, Redlands School) – announced the award at the opening of the exhibition of finalist works presented at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney.

Natasha Bullock said: “Gail Hastings’ work is playful and inventive, and distinguished by its aesthetic rigour. It is an exquisitely-made object, which questions the definition of minimalism, and the movement of everyday space.”

Mark Harpley, Head of Visual Arts at Redlands School, added: “Gail Hastings’ colour circle: four colour scheme for a room (2018) will be an important addition to the Redlands Collection. Hasting’s assiduous engagement and comprehensive investigations with art practice are reflected in this five-part work.  For teaching and learning, the work has an immediate reference to the colour wheel, a tool used by all art students. It allows them to undertake their own investigations into Hastings’ interpretation of space and the stories in a broader context.”

Gail Hastings has been working and exhibiting since 1989. Her rigorous and deeply-committed practice is informed by a complex spatial investigation from the 1960s that the artist and others believe has been miscalled ‘minimalism’. Her works, which she describes as ‘sculptural situations’, or ‘sculptuations’, call our attention to a real space made active through its co-extension with an aesthetic space of objects and form, with colour and text that engage the viewers’ imagination. Her ‘sculptuations’ are like ‘passages’ of thought that meander through rooms with walls, where we find ‘ourselves’ physically wandering, while wondering. The viewer’s ‘engagement’ becomes an unfolding plot that turns back on itself: her work is poetic, witty and always visually accomplished.

2018 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize at the National Art School Gallery

The prize exhibition will be held at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney from 15 March until 12 May 2018.

Nike Savvas writes, ‘I have selected artists whose practices evidence discriminating, uncompromising and highly individualist approaches to art making. In a cultural climate beset by hype, hits, corporatisation and swinging social agency, the next iteration of this exhibition titled Extreme Prejudice seeks to highlight the personal and critical imperatives that belie and drive such single-minded work’.

Fellow participating artists include Richard Bell, Vivienne Binns, Vicente Butron, Richard Dunn, Sarah Goffman, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Tim Johnson, Lindy Lee, Stephen Little, Hilarie Mais, Jonny Niesche, John Nixon, Rose Nolan, Kerrie Poliness, Elizabeth Pulie, Huseyin Sami, David Serisier and Jenny Watson.

In addition to the main prize, each artist nominates a younger artist to participate in the emerging prize. Harking back to her WA roots, Gail Hastings nominates Dan McCabe — a Fremantle based artist.

Thanks go to Nike Savvas for her invitation to participate in the exhibition.


Best Artist Book – AAANZ Prize 2017

Judges of the Best Artist Book for the AAANZ Prize, 2017 — Martyn Jolly and Christopher LG Hill — write that this ‘publication pushes the format of Artist book the most, and is engaged with its format. As one of the few projects not heavily engaged with research as a format, it is important. It is good that art can step outside of a retrospective mode, and this does that  engaging with media of it’s time but not for the sake of it’.

Missing includes a brief foreword by art historian Richard Shiff, who ruminates on how a ‘“copy” exists in two different modes, two different kinds of spaces, two different realms of experience’.

Missing is a digital book of limitless copies. The original, however, from which these copies are drawn does not occur outside the copies. It occurs inside each sculptuation comprising it. This is the particular peculiarity of a sculptuation. Each of the four that comprise Missing endeavours as actual art, not the documentation of art. Missing also includes a brief afterword by Amanda Rowell.

Hastings thanks the judges for awarding the prize, AAANZ for hosting the prize and Monash Art Design and Architecture for putting up the prize. Hastings congratulates Ana Paula Estrada, also, who shares in winning the first prize for Best Artist Book.

Hastings thanks the judges for awarding the prize, AAANZ for hosting the prize and Monash Art Design and Architecture for putting up the prize. Hastings congratulates Ana Paula Estrada, also, who shares in winning the first prize for Best Artist Book.

A review by Annabel Crabb of Missing can be read here.

Missing: Four Sculptuations by Gail Hastings is published by Pigment Publisher and can be purchased through iBooks.

Australia Council for the Arts grant: Space Practising Tools

We are happy to announce that Gail Hastings’ studio is a current recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts grant for the project Space Practising Tools.

The Space Practising Tools project is a studio based experimental study of three-dimensional space from which Gail Hastings will make a number of new works called ‘Space Practising Tools’.

The study will, in itself, be an all encompassing visual investigation that will form the basis of Gail Hastings’ contribution to a book to be published as part of the project.

The book will include an art historical study of Donald Judd’s space by Adrian Kohn and introduction by Andrew McNamara.

An excerpt from the submission to the Australia Council for the Arts in part reads:

First: What is a Space Practising ToolA tool helps us to do something, to achieve something. As a tool, it is not an end result, but helps us to reach an end result; as will a Space Practising Tool. With it, we will be able to practise seeing space. The space, though, we practise to see will be the three-dimensional space that it, as a tool, is made of.”

“If we think of this in terms of colour, if the sky, sea, sand and trees, everything, were all red, then we wouldn’t be able to say they were red. For red, to be differentiated as red, needs to be seen against another colour. Differentiated colours are the tools of their own making. Without blue, we would only have red and non-red, just as today we only have space and non-space. To see space as a tool of its own differentiation is to begin to name the differentiations of space.”

As well as the book Space Practising Tools published through iBooks and available August 2017, the project includes an essay by Gail Hastings on the space in Donald Judd’s art published in Art Journal, New York, in the fall 2018 issue, and an exhibition of Gail Hastings’ Space Practising Tools at Daimler Contemporary, Berlin, in 2019.

For more information please contact Gail Hastings’ studio using the contact form at the top-right of this page.

Architecture Bulletin – The room issue

Architecture Bulletin - The Room

Gail Hastings‘ page 28 from ‘Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 28–30’ graces the cover of the upcoming Architecture Bulletin – The room issue, Autumn 2017, available in mid-March.

Download the issue, here.

Andrew Nimmo has written an introduction to the issue that in part reads:
The Autumn issue of Architecture Bulletin explores what the room means to a cross section of practitioners, academics and friends of architecture. Is it internal or external? Does it provide shelter? Is it public or private? Is it grand or intimate, old or new? Does it have a function? Does it even exist in a literal sense? At its most elementary it seems reasonable to assume that a room is defined as space – however scale, enclosure, function, form and materiality are all up for negotiation. The other critical thing is that for a room to have any meaning at all there needs to be a relationship to the body, either through inhabitation or observation – and this reminds us that architecture has no meaning without people. 
Andrew Nimmo
Chair of the Editorial Committee

The autumn issue of Architecture Bulletin will be distributed to members of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Anyone can collect a free printed copy from the Institute at 3 Manning St, Potts Point. A digital edition can be found here after mid-March:

‘Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 28–30’ is one of 12 works from the 36 pages about time edition first exhibited in 1996 at the Chicago Art Fair. It is one of four works from the edition collected by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in 1996. Seven of the remaining eight works from the edition are in either public or private collections. The last remaining work is the first in the edition, pp. 1–3. Originally in the artists‘ collection, it is now available and can be found here.