Ellis D Fogg is the pseudonym of Roger Foley (born 24 January 1942) who the National Film and Sound Archive have described as Australia’s “most innovative lighting designer and lumino kinetic sculptor.” The term Lumino Kinetic Art was first used in 1966 by Frank Popper, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Paris.
Foley was born in Cairns, Queensland and attended Newington College (1957–1959). In the late 1960s he started designing rock concerts and psychedelic light shows. His experimental light shows through to the 1970s were precursors to present multi-media installation.
He was one of a group of artists who worked and exhibited at the Yellow House Artist Collective in Potts Point. The Yellow House was founded by artist Martin Sharp and between 1970 and 1973 was a piece of living art and a mecca to pop art. The canvas was the house itself and almost every wall, floor and ceiling became part of the gallery. Many well-known artists, including George Gittoes, Brett Whiteley, Peter Kingston, Albie Thoms and Greg Weight, helped to create the multi-media performance art space that may have been Australia’s first 24 hour-a-day happening. Current work While continuing as an artist Foley is a producer of light shows and architectural theming for festivals and events. He was part of the Yellow House Retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1992 and was a finalist in the Blake Prize for Religious Art in 2003 and 2007.
THE YELLOW HOUSE
The house at 59 Macleay St is a “Queen Anne” terrace, one of ten designed and built in the late 1890′s by architect Maurice Halligan. Its design was in many ways a wide departure from the ordinary style of terrace adopted across Sydney in that era, differentiated by distinctive gables and balconies set back behind roman arches. (Theatre lovers – note the reference below to Hair)
Yellow House some years later. The building is still there with a cafe on the street.
During the 1950s, No. 59 Macleay Street was a haven for many of Australia’s best-known artists. It was the scene for the emergence and acceptance of an important phase of contemporary art within Sydney. The property’s resident owner, writer Frank Clune, author of dozens of popular books on history and travel, started this artistic link. In 1959 the Terry Clune Galleries opened on the premises, exhibiting Sydney’s emerging abstract and modernist artists — John Olsen, Robert Hughes (now New York based art critic for ‘Time’ magazine), the late Robert Klippel, Stan Rapotec and others. During this period the Clune family house was also home to a number of artists, including Russell Drysdale who lived there for a short time.
The building’s most colourful and famous period began in late 1969. Martin Sharp was frustrated by the traditional gallery scene, so he approached the owners to make use of the disused Clune Galleries space. Sharp had returned to Australia in early 1969 after spending several years in London. During his period in the UK he created posters and illustrations for the infamous Oz magazine (working with his friend Richard Neville) as well as designing the famous covers for Cream’s albums Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire. Sharp took up residency in the old Clune Galleries. Thelma Clune, the gallery director, had decided to sell the building, but was in no hurry to do so, so Martin was able to use the space to present his first exhibition after his return home. This was followed by ”The Incredible Shrinking Exhibition”, which comprised photographs of the first show re-exhibited in small gem-like mirror frames.
These two exhibitions laid the foundations for The Yellow House. The project was inspired by an unrealised dream of Vincent Van Gogh, who had mentioned the idea in a letter to his brother Theo. Van Gogh envisaged setting up his house in Arles as a centre for artists to live, work and exhibit. During the late 1960s Conceptual Art had emerged as a major new movement, and novel combinations of music, theatre, film, slides, lightshows and live performances of music and/or dance — “total environment installations” or “happenings” — had. Public awareness of conceptual art in Australia was given a major boost by the French artist Christo, who came to Australia in late 1969 and created his famous “Wrapped Coast” at Little Bay.
Vincent van Gogh – The Yellow House
Sharp produced a catalogue and coordinated the setting up of artists’ spaces to be prepared for the Spring show of 1970. In many repsects, the creation of The Yellow House was the culmination of much of the activity on the Sydney “Underground” scene of the late ’60s. Sharp’s contact with the UBU film/lightshow collective led to several UBU members — Albie Thoms, Aggy Read, Phil Noyce — becoming closely involved in the Yellow House. The opening attracted considerable media attention. Sydney’s Sunday Mirror called it ..”the wildest, most way out happening of the week..”, and commented that “…the guests wore really wild gear, and many looked as though they had come from a performance of Hair … ” — which had opened a few weeks earlier at the nearby Metro Theatre in Kings Cross.
The Yellow House was an innovative ‘multimedia’ space, perhaps the first permanent “happening” in Australia. It included artworks by Sharp, Brett Whiteley and others, a special sound system created by Aggy Read, films by Read and Philip Noyce, “Lumino Kinetic” lighting presentations by Ellis D. Fogg, tapdancing by Little Nell (aka Laura Campbell, who later played Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and photography by Greg Weight. Other well-known names associated with the Yellow House included painters Tim Lewis, George Gittoesand Bruce Goold (now one of the group of artists who contribute designs to the famous Mambo clothing company), and film-makers Albie Thoms, Peter Weir and Jim Sharman.
The rooms were transformed into a range of environments, many reflecting the influence of the Surrealists. One was an homage to Magritte, another a bonsai room created by Brett Whiteley. The Stone Room contained everyday objects made to look like stone. The exterior was painted yellow and the building became known as “The Yellow House” as a tribute to Van Gogh. The House took on roles which extended beyond a simple exhibition space and it increasingly became known for its music and performances by people such as Little Nell, Bruce Goold and George Gittoes; films were screened and classes in film-making and folk music were organised by Albie Thoms. As well as exhibiting there, Greg Weight photographed the interiors of the House extensively, documenting this exciting moment in Australia’s art history. Weight’s photographs record the wondrous environments of the Yellow House, such as The Stone Room, but are also artworks in themselves, tributes to what Sharp claimed to be “probably one of the greatest pieces of conceptual art ever achieved”.
The Yellow House continued in operation for most of 1971, but during the latter part of the year financial problems and artistic tensions led to the departure of Sharp, Gittoes and Thoms. The House continued as a performance space for some time after, presenting acts like The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band and Lindsay Bourke, but without a clear artistic direction it became little different from other performance venues and it closed towards the end of the year.
The Yellow House was a milestone in the history of contemporary art in Australia and its importance was recognised by a retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1990, coinciding with the centenary of Van Gogh’s death in Auvers, France on the 29th July 1890. Today The property is a private boarding house.
References / Links
Real Wild Child CD-ROM (Mushroom Pictures – Pacific Advanced Media – Powerhouse Museum – ABC, 1998)
HERE IS A DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE PROGRAM STARTING THURSDAY NIGHT 14 MARCH
TALES FROM THE FOGG - by Roger Foley-Fogg
MARCH 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, Easter Weekend March 29, 30, 31 and April 1
at 107 Projects 107 Redfern Street, REDFERN.
Noon to 5:00PM each day
AND different performances each night see : http://www.talesfromthefogg.net
A personal psychedelic exhibition and opportunity to purchase:
Costumes and fetish wear clothes by Madam Lash. Clothes by Linda Jackson,
My collection of fantasy shoes include some with 8 inch heels,
Paintings and posters by Martin Sharp, Jim Anderson, Maggie Walsh and many others.
Rock and Roll and psychedelic posters from the 60s
funky 60s theatre lights
My photographs from The Spirit of the Gija series taken while working with indigenous desert Aborigines in the Kimberley.
photo montages from The Spirit of India series by me
Lumino Kinetic Artworks inspired by Indian culture by me.
Same as above with more dertail nsd some groovy photos
GRAND OPENING – with licensed bar
Thursday March 14th
the Psychedelic Exhibition 6:00PM to 9:00PM.
Opened by Jon Lewis and Prof. Ross Steele.
With MC Edwina Blush.
and then the following performances on the weekend which include a relaxed time after each show for supper and a drink with the artists.
Friday March 15, 6:30PM live performance with JIM ANDERSON – An Artists Journey – illustrated,and EDWINA BLUSH see flyer below.
Saturday March 16, OATS 6:30PM – the long lost film of the first pop festival in Australia at Ourimbah 1969 - WORLD PREMIERE – Once around the Sun and a celebration with Director David Huggett, licensed bar and light supper provided for ‘after party’.
Sunday March 17, 6:30PM - live performance with MADAM LASH and DANNY ABOOD - a personal story with Sylvia and The Synthetics Danny Abood – a highly entertaining interaction. Followed by:
8:30PM following Gretel’s live performance a free screening of ‘Thats Showbiz”, one of PHILLIP NOYCE’s first films. Starring Madam Lash and her ‘whip act’
Exhibition continues the following two weekends:
Noon to 5:00PM thu fri sat sun with Mr FOGG – free admission.
Live shows continue the following weekend with JOHNNY ALLEN’s illustrated talk about The Aquarius Festival-Nimbin, Cabaret Conspiracy, The Arts factory and Paris Theatre accompanied by the great JEANNIE LEWIS – Then an expanded screening of Albie Thoms ‘Marinetti’ introduced by David Perry followed by our tribute to BLACK and WHITE FREEDOM on the 50th anniversary of OZ Magazine with Francesca Emerson with HERE -CORRECTION REQUIRED) Andreea Kindryd’s FROM SLAVERY TO STAR TREK.
DETAILS and links to all the artists here www.talesfromthefogg.net
More information and pictures follow.
Some of the costumes on display and for sale at the exhibition which including the’ Gown-less Evening Strap’ by Madam Lash.
- POSTER FOR JIM & EDWINA’S NIGHT
- Oz boys in London: admiring/pissing on? their own magazine promotion!
- advertisement in GO-SET for the Ourimbah Pilgrimage for Pop.
OATS or ‘Once Around the Sun’, The film about this festival, the first Rock/Pop Festival in Australia, has just been found and its world Premiere will be on Saturday March 16
Once Around The Sun was inspired by the Pilgrimage For Pop Festival at Ourimbah near Sydney on a hot and sunny Australia/Invasion Day Weekend in 1970 – so the film is now 43 years old – and has finally made it to the screen, thanks to Exec Producers David Hannay and Jeff Harrison at Umbrella Entertainment. OATS was originally conceived and filmed by the late Gordon Mutch and the late Eddie Van der Madden in 1970. It has now been digitally restored on video by the original editor and co-director David Huggett, who worked on the project until it crashed in 1973
Once Around The Sun is an evocative psychedelic joyride back to the heady culmination of the flower-power era and, assisted by the consciousness-expanding effects of psychotropic drugs, is a celebration of the dawning of the Space Age, The Nuclear Age and Aboriginal and Gay Liberation in The Cultural Revolution at The Dawning of The Age of Aquarius. Once Around The Sun contains unique performances in 35mm colour by some of the first Australian Rock and Blues icons: Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, Jeff St John and The Copperwine, Chain, Leo de Castro, Tully, Wendy Saddington and Company Caine, Hans Poulsen and Max Merritt and The Meteors.The orchestral music score accompanying the flights of fantasy into the origins of life, the universe and everything, was written and conducted by Australian jazz/rock legend John Sangster.
Madam Lash meets and wisely ignores Fred Nile
A tasty enuf final image to tempt any of you? Remember exhibition during afternoons is free. And shows at night are very low cost. I am going to everything – to remind myself where I came from.