porno talking PORNO with Hazel Dooney

Sometimes asking a simple question can have amazing results. I’ve admired artist Hazel Dooney‘s work since first seeing it at a gallery in Perth in 2001 (I learned today that this was her first big interstate exhibition). Since the controversy around the censoring of her work at ArtMelbourne07, we’ve exchanged the occasional email and we read each other’s blog.

When I read about her forthcoming first photography exhibition PORNO at Mars Gallery in Port Melbourne, I wondered if it would be possible to meet her in person and further our conversation. It’s so intriguing to meet someone face to face after already learning a little about them from a distance. Can online communications give any clues as to real personality?

I sent Hazel an email asking whether she had the time and was interested in meeting, or whether I could attend a talk if she was giving one. She kindly responded and invited me to lunch at the gallery with a small group of artists and bloggers. I was happy to accept!

While the colour and black and white photographs that form the majority of the exhibition were already hung when I arrived at the gallery for lunch yesterday, some watercolours that complement the photos were yet to be hung, tshirt designs were being considered and signage on the front window was in the process of being applied.

Hazel was busy working with the friendly gallery staff on preparations, so it was remarkable that she had the time and focus to also talk with us. Between bites of sandwiches we discussed the role of art in communicating sexual experience, the politics and business of being an artist, and some of the recent art controversies including the response to Bill Henson‘s work.

Hazel was generous with her time and her thoughts and I was very appreciative of the rare opportunity to talk with her and her other fascinating guests (journalist Fiona Scott-Norman and artist Jennie Rosenbaum) while surrounded by her work. I will be attending the opening party on Thursday night and will write about the works in a later post. I’m not giving any more away now than what Hazel has said in her blog.

My wonderful experience yesterday is a perfect example of my general philosophy of ‘if you don’t ask for what you want no one is going to spontaneously give it to you’. Sometimes you get lucky but mostly I think you make your own. Opportunities come to those who seek them out. Thanks Hazel – I hope you enjoy this week in Melbourne and are satisfied with Melbourne’s response to your work. I can’t wait to see it for a second time!

talking PORNO with Hazel Dooney

One thought on “talking PORNO with Hazel Dooney

  • 30 July 2008 at 12:41 am
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    i LOVE hazel dooney’s work – i am so jealous of the opportunity you had to meet her. so are you going to write some MORE about her? from her blog, i could imagine her being quite daunting and her art is defiantly brave and uninhibited? is she like that in person?

    Reply

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