NEWEND Studio Visit – Monk House Design blog

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Q&A with Michael Ciavarella

Describe your artistic practice.

My practice is studio-based, predominately focused on painting and
collage.  My work is generated through found images. I spend a lot of
time looking through second hand books, online, magazines, newspaper
and other visual media.

Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition Prima Facie?

‘Prima facie’ is a Latin expression which appealed because definitions
of it invariably employ visual metaphors, such as ‘at first sight’,
‘on the face of it’.  The exhibition consists of figurative paintings
of people, faces sometimes obscured, in various poses, performing
different tasks.

The way the source imagery for each painting is
dealt with varies from painting to painting.  Some have little or no
change, relying on changes in scale and cropping to transform them.
Other paintings combine two separate images together like collage,
while others are transformed through the painting process in a more
spontaneous way.

The narrative threads which run through and across
the paintings is really important to me; the way the paintings might
relate to one another, or how they may rub up against each other, in a
strange kind of dance.  While using humour and absurdity as a key
tool, the works bear out a tension between trivial and earnest

Who are Melbourne artists who you admire?

Helen Johnson – her paintings have an uncompromising intelligence and
subvert a number of painting conventions.

Ross Coulter – multi media artist who has an impressive commitment to
ambitious large scale projects, that have an element of collaboration.

Patrick Pound –  I really love his use of found photographs, and the
way he deploys methods of the museum/archive. The groupings and
juxtapositions are a delight and source of wonder.


Prima Facie is showing at Long Division Main Gallery from April 6 – 27. Gallery open 9am – 3pm Monday to Friday or by appointment.

Opening night:
Thursday, April 6th

Rob McHaffie Studio Visit

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Smiths Journal “A Good Idea”

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Read Article Here

Esther Stewart Exhibition documentation

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More photographs here

TIGGY CAFE Threethousand

TIGGY CAFE on Threethousand




Timeout – Review

Timeout Review


The Design Files

Schoolhouse Studios were chuffed to be interviewed for The Design Files: Interview


Schoolhouse Artist Profile – with Elizabeth Barnett

Visit the Schoolhouse Tumbler here


What is your first memory of SHS?

Being led by a Steiner exchange student through the musty rooms of 97 Nicholson street with Alice and Otis before we signed the lease. It was like finding treasure… there was so much potential in all of the rooms.

How has the closing of current SHS affected your practice?

I moved out just prior to the closing of Nicholson street to have a baby, but it is incredibly sad to lose something that we created from scratch. There have been lots of tears.

How has SHS helped to develop your practice and strengthen the creative community?

Schoolhouse created so many opportunities and friendships that would never have possible without the shared cups of teas, gigs and workshops offered. Being a part of a community of artists helped me to grow as an artist. My studio was heavenly, with views on three sides of the room overlooking the treetops and rooftops and out towards the city. It was definitely a rare treat!

Tell us something that might not have happened, had you not been to SHS?

A number of exhibition opportunities have come up for me as a result of being a part of the Schoolhouse community and I have made some wonderful friends with the other artists who I got to know over the last 2 years.

Elizabeth Barnett is a Melbourne based Visual Artist and Illustrator. She’s also the co-founder and former board member of Schoolhouse Studios.

To see her work visit: 

Schoolhouse on Broadsheet Melbourne