Music and art recommendations, by Cathy Ferguson

M.C. Escher X Nendo Exhibition, NGV

Ok, so it’s $28 bucks. Which is quite a lot of money for a couple of hours. But no more I guess than going to the movies these days. I sound old saying that, but I do remember the days when a movie ticket was about six dollars.


So who is this guy? For those of you living under an art rock for the last 150 years, M. C. Escher was a graphic artist, working from about 1919 to close to his death in the early 1970s. His work was often quite mathematical, almost engineered in their precision, which is why I think he’s discussed as much as a designer as an artist. Many of his pieces are based on tessellations, in which all the animal shapes fit perfectly together and sometimes even morph into other creatures. It’s pretty fascinating and I enjoyed the way the exhibitions showed how he built up to his final pieces, which is always comforting for a wannabe artist. He did lots of studies of the creatures he would later reflect in his completed works. He did lots of technical drawings in order to map out the measurements for his super technical tessellated pieces. This played really well with Oki Sato’s (Nendo) approach to exhibiting his work.


As for the Escher Exhibition itself. It was brilliant. A lot of famous works on display, and when you thought it was almost over, there was another wandering of brilliance. Also the Nendo component didn’t take over the gorgeous pieces of art, it really did just enhance them with the sculptural way Oki Sato approached it. I was grateful that the art I went to see (Escher’s) wasn’t overpowered by Nendo’s architectural design style. Actually, as was intended, they complemented each other beautifully. Escher’s graphic design style and Nendo’s chosen motif of the simple house shape didn’t confuse the viewer.



Need some new tunes?

Meet the music of artists Ainslie Wills and Gretta Ray. A review and reflect on some music I’ve enjoyed in the last year.


Melbourne based folk vocal goddess Ainslie Wills is an artist I’ve discovered only in the last year. I want to share my love of her musical brilliance with you, because I think if you like Clare Bowditch and/or Missy Higgins, then you will dig Ainslie Wills. Her voice has a beautiful rugged quality which feels to me like she’s lived a lot of life in her relatively short time on the planet. My purchases of her genius are the LP, ‘You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine’, which was released in 2013 and her single, ‘Society’ which was released last year and was my anthem for 2018. I honestly think this beautiful track with her thoughtful lyrics kept me from melting into a puddle innumerable times during what was a tricky year. My favourite tracks from the EP have changed over time as I’ve got different things from the songs when I’ve needed them. I think ‘Liquid Paper’ is my overall love though, as the theme of patching someone up until they’re still not good enough and compromising your way through a relationship. Or at least, that’s how it reads to me.


Someone with a different profile but for a similar audience in my mind, is Gretta Ray. Also Melbourne raised, I started 2018 with her single ‘Drive’ on repeat, which is also included in the tracklist on her most recent EP released during 2018. It’s perky but not in a saccharine way. Even in my cynic-soaked mind her music is a delight. Plus I love her husky vocal and the interesting ways she uses enjambment in her lyrics is surprising and endearing. I think if you like Emma Louise or early Ingrid Michaelson, then I think you would enjoy Gretta’s work.