Gums, Pines, Willows & Vines

Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne
26 May – 29 May 2016

Report: Don’t wait for Godot – art auction

Thank you to everyone for your support. The night was a huge success. We raised $121,650 in art sales and another $20,000 in donations. And everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

My speech:

This is the quote that inspired us to use the title Don’t Wait For Godot for this marvellous auction of very inspirational works.

“Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not everyday that we are needed. But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late.”

This is from Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’.

The metaphor of “waiting” is significant for a couple of reasons; the two main characters have many questions, that they expect or hope will be answered with Godot’s arrival. They wait and wait talking of what they will do, could do, should do, but the waiting itself paralyses them.

It is the metaphor through which we understand the futility of these characters’ lives, but it is also the metaphor through which we begin to understand our own lives.

We wait for something to provide meaning to our existence, as a rationale, simply so we can avoid having to use our energies in the first place to do what we know we need to do. Instead we procrastinate or neglect to take action.

Neglecting to take action at a certain age as regards your health, for instance, can have disastrous consequences. Silly and unnecessary when you are fortunate to be living in a time where there are places like The Prostate Cancer Clinic that offers advice and testing on all manner of men’s ills in complete confidence and in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. Not to mention – FREE.

Fortunate that the Prostate Cancer Clinic is a research center that is pushing the boundaries of cancer research, rapidly expanding our knowledge of the causes and the cures. The progress in recent years is almost miraculous. But not exactly FREE.

Someone has to fund this adventurous research and the equipment and labs and offices it takes to do it.

The PCC has done much already, thanks to quite a few generous donors over the last few years, supplemented by some state and federal funding, but there is much more that needs to be done and funds are urgently needed to do it.

So as the character in Waiting for Godot says “Lets us not waste time in idle discourse, let us do something while we have the chance.”

So I beseech you to dig deep into your pockets to help the PCC continue their work and in the process reward yourself for doing so by buying some of this magnificent art. A collection from some of the very best artists in Australia. Which will be good for the soul. More than likely at some time, good for your health. And definitely will provide a little meaning to your life.

‘Just a Minute’ exhibition – opening speech by Damian Walshe-Howling

In October 2014 Mary Schepisi’s successful ‘Just a Minute’ exhibition at Mossgreen in Melbourne was opened with these words by Damian Walshe-Howling…


Exhibition by Mary Schepisi

Good afternoon Ladies and Gents. WELCOME to MOSS GREEN GALLERY and the opening of Mary Schepisi’s current exhibition..

“Just a minute..”

Shit.. Just a minute.. Hang on.. SORRY!?

AHHHH.. This is what I’m looking for… (Taking out iphone)

This seemingly innocuous little device that has, perhaps more than anything.. CO-ERCED us into believing that abandoning ourselves to fleeting distractions is OK at anytime.

That we can comfortably give ourselves over to ANYTHING that takes our fancy..

ANYTHING that takes our focus away from the present moment..

That it is absolutely acceptable to WITHDRAW our attention AWAY from whatever PARTICULAR incarnation of the present moment we are engaged in..

and play with our phone.. or ipod or iPad..


AS IF we were ANDROIDS ourselves…


“JUST A MINUTE” as if it were a magic STOPPER of time..

A somehow acceptable CORK in the FLOW of current interaction..



“JUST A MINUTE, I have to text my girlfriend and remind her to tape the footy.”

BUT WHAT IF we were to CLAIM that minute back????


60 SECONDS of time!!!??

What MIGHT we do with that minute!??

If you look around you on these walls you will see what one INNOVATIVE and CORAGEOUS artist, MARY SCHEPISI does with her minutes.


We are here to EXPERIENCE a snapshot of what MARY chooses to do with MANY of the minutes of her life.

Since she was 10 years old – MARY told me when I went to visit her in her Collingwood STUDIO SPACE…

Since she was 10 years old, in NEW YORK CITY – and her parents enrolled her in the infamous ART STUDENT’s LEAGUE all she wanted to do was DRAW and paint Nudes..

WOMEN… Big.. Small.. curvaceous.. linear..

FIGURATIVE ART – The movement in the shape of the FEMALE FORM..

What is it you get out of it??? I asked.

“I get into a rhythm” she told me.. “It calms me down.. takes a lot of the ANGST out of it.”

“FRED – he sees LAYERS..”

“ME – What ya SEE is what ya GET.”

“I want to POP you in the HEAD and JUST…”

“I want to POP you in the HEAD and JUST…”


I LOVE that MARY’s sentence ends there.

“I want to POP you in the HEAD and JUST…


“JUST A MINUTE of our time in her beautiful hands…”

Although her and FRED see things DIFFERENTLY.. (Mary told me)

“Neither of us makes concessions.”

Two ARTISTS in the same marriage, FULLY APPRECIATIVE of each others individual CREATIVE MINUTES.

Some would say this is a true TANTRIC Relationship!!

In fact it was FRED who suggested MARY call this exhibition JUST A MINUTE in honour of all the Minutes MARY has sat in COMMUNION with each of these life models, both here and NEW YORK CITY.

Speaking of TANTRA.. The ancient TANTRIC MEDITATION MASTERS apparently advocated what they called MICRO PRACTICES.

10 second 20 second 30second..

MINUTE LONG PRACTICES to bring FULL AWARENESS to the breath and the PRESENT LIVING ENVIRONMENT. A simple practice to break the habit of constant distraction and MARRY the MIND back to the MOMENT.

Here is what the very highly respected MASTER.. POET and ARTIST..

“DR SUESS” (whom MARY loves) has to say on the subject..


This is actually what I originally got the phone out for.

Here we go!!! (Reading From iphone)

DR SUESS. “How did it get so late so soon?

It’s night before it’s afternoon.

December is here before it’s June.

My goodness how the time has FLEWN.

How did it get so late so soon?”

SO before it gets SO LATE SO SOON,

I encourage each and every one of you to use your following minutes to VIEW each work…

FEEL INTO them.. APPRECIATE, these, MARY’s Minutes..

AND of course..

IF you are KIND.. and so INCLINED..

Take JUST A MINUTE to dig into your pockets,

pull out your cash AND BUY ONE OF THESE little SUCKERS…

BECAUSE.. they are EACH..


a GENUINE NEW YORK “POP IN THE HEAD” from the beautiful, generous and eternally INDELIBLE… MARY SCHEPISI.

CONGRATULATIONS MARY. It is my great pleasure to officially announce, your current Exhibition…




Damian Walshe-Howling..