Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DiVerse at the Utzon's Opera House Exhibition

Sunday the 12th of January 2014, DiVerse performed their poetry with artists Reg Mombassa and Mika Utzon-Popov, Jorn Utzon's grandson at the S.H. Ervin, as part of the Utzon's Opera House Exhibition.

On Friday, September 28, 1973, the Australian Opera gave its first performance in the newly completed Sydney Opera House which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The work was Sergei Prokofiev's War and Peace, based on Tolstoy's novel. The architect, Jørn Utzon, resigned from the project in 1966 after conflict with the Minister for Public Works. Although Utzon never saw his masterpiece completed, and never heard a note of music in it, later, when invited to design an update to the interior, he was honoured to do so.

This year celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the Sydney Opera House. The architectural design that won the 1957 competition for its construction, made of hyperbolic parabolas, was later replaced by Utzon with a design based on complex sections of a sphere. Utzon's reason for the change was to create a common curvature on every surface. The result is iconic − a structure challenging the Sydney Harbour Bridge as our badge of national pride and identity. Poets and artists have recorded its every mood, and the S.H Ervin Gallery has assembled some of the finest artworks epitomising the principles of this magnificent building. Louise Herron, Chief executive of the Sydney Opera House, has suggested that these artworks inspire a feeling of "silent euphoria" (as in Peter Kingston's interpretations). But they also inspire responses of delight and colour (Reg Mombassa, Ken Done), of history (Margaret Olley, Lloyd Rees) and of iconoclasm (Bruce Goold, Martin Sharp, Brett Whiteley).

DiVerse poets, transcribing the visual into text, respond with ekphrastic poems which capture the moods and artistic representations of a number of these valued artworks, and which reify both the monument and its inspirations. 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Roaring Days

DiVerse have written and performed their poems for the exhibition The Greatest Wonder of the World at the State Library of NSW. 13th and 20th of April 2013.

 "Days of Gold...when finds of wondrous treasure...set all the South ablaze."    − Henry Lawson
Lawson documented the roaring days partly from his experiences as a boy, at a time when the Holtermann photographic plates were being created. In fact, a portrait of his mother, Louisa, appears among them. Through his poetry, he explored human experiences in the settlement and expansion of inland NSW and elsewhere. This tradition of earlier Australian poetry is thus linked with our contemporary practice of ekphrasis, written in response to the Holtermann Collection of photographs.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Live of Patrick White

Poems - Paintings - Patrick White

The poets from DiVerse read their works transcribed from the exhibition The Life of Patrick White in The Galleries of the State Library of NSW over three dates.

Tuesday 4 September 7 - 8pm
Sunday 9 September 2 - 3pm
Saturday 13 October 2 - 3 pm

Both art and poetry have been present throughout Patrick White’s extensive writing career. Although White’s poetry rarely gets a mention today, his novels are full of poetic and spiritual insights. The writing includes images and descriptions of the creative energies of the inner worlds of his characters, including the life of painter Hurtle Duffield in The Vivisector, a composite of several artists White knew. White was a great admirer of visual art and collected many artworks throughout his life, in particular the work of Australian artists. A number of these artworks inspired him in his writing.

The audience at Sunday the 9.9.2012 performance.

Marcelle Freiman reads a poem at the 13.10.2012 performance.

Sheryl Persson reading one her poems based on The Life of Patrick White. 4.9.2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Drysdale and DiVerse

2012 marks the centenary of the birth of Russell Drysdale. To celebrate this iconic Australian artist, the S. H. Ervin Gallery has over 60 drawings in the exhibition Russell Drysdale: The Drawings, curated by Lou Klepac.

The sensitivity with which Russell Drysdale depicts his characters, his settings and landscapes, speaks to DiVerse as a visual poetic. As poets, our responses to his drawings are of an individual but empathetic nature, such is the power and eloquence of his images.
DiVerse at the S.H. Ervin Gallery. 25.3.2012

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Between Real & Shadowed Worlds

The original artworks of Lawrence Daws have inspired five poets from DiVerse to respond to his creative painting.

The Promised Land of Lawrence Daws is a fertile landscape for DiVerse, rich with innuendo and iconic scenery. Conversant with the work of Carl Jung from the mid 60s, with Taoism, the I Ching and Tarot, Daws' interest in the collective unconscious led him to explore the "space between real and shadow worlds" in his art.
DiVerse performed their specially written poetry on Sunday the 7th of August, 2011.

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Monday, November 01, 2010


2010 celebrates 45 years of the Portia Geach Memorial Award, a national visual arts award that salutes the talents and creativity of Australian female artists for achievement in portrait painting. The award was established by Florence Kate Geach in 1961 in memory of her sister, Portia Geach (1873-1959), an artist and an activist for women’s rights. Each year the prize is awarded to the“best portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters or the Sciences.”

This is the second time DiVerse has responded to the artworks in the Portia Geach Memorial award.

Photo by Peter Hislop of DiVerse at the 2010 Portia Geach Awaard at the S.H. Ervin Gallery.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Salon des Refusés

The S. H. Ervin Gallery exhibition Salon des Refusés follows the tradition made famous by Napoleon III in Paris in 1863. The Emperor insisted that the huge number of works which had been rejected by the Academy for that year’s Salon be displayed for the public to view and judge. Selection for the S.H. Ervin Gallery, Salon des Refusés is considered to be prestigious in its own right. The very first Salon des Refusés included works by Manet and Pissarro.

The DiVerse poets have been invited to write ekphrastic responses to this eclectic selection of works. Ekphrasis is the transcription of visual art into poetry, a tradition dating perhaps from Homer’s description of images on Achilles’ shield. Ekphrasis may take many forms and goes beyond merely describing, annotating or substituting words for images.

DiVerse at the 2010 Salon des Refusés
Sunday the 23rd of May, for the 2010 SWF.