Sunday, November 30, 2014

Newcastle Art Space - The Strutt Sisters & Toni Amidy

Watching the ascension of The Strutt Sisters is a part time habit for most of us Novocastrian art types.  It can’t be denied their quirky and brilliant art work entices a grin and has us swanning about in nostalgic reveries.  And it’s a treat at the moment to see so many of their works on exhibit at Newcastle Art Space.  Garish colour collides with strident pattern and combined with the quaint images it all adds up to idealise femininity.  These kitsch works emphasise the beauty of the girl and perhaps along the way remind us that once connectivity was as easy as poking your head over the neighbours fence to borrow a cup of sugar.

But there’s lurking within the confines of each of these fanciful installations a sad discontent where lives were woven with gossip, drudgery and prejudice.  To delve into the narrative of each work of art makes the viewing of The Strutt Sisters work so much more rewarding.

Occupying the second gallery at NAS is painter Toni Amidy.  It’s an impressive collection of abstracted works each thoughtfully composed.  Appealing use of paint, whether it is acrylic or oil, is a big draw card.  There are many standouts in this exhibition but for me I kept returning to those works that were rich in texture and painterly prowess.  A snapshot of a queue in Posturing 3 is painted so vigorously and with such movement I had trouble removing myself from the gallery.  Observing how artists treat the touching of positive and negative space is intriguing and Amidy consistently uses confidence to create rich juxtapositions.  It’s a notable exhibition, one that will have me searching for more of Amidy’s work in future.

“Let the Chips Fall Where They May” by The Strutt Sisters and “Surface Tension” by Toni Amidy both conclude on Sunday.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

13th November – 30th November 2014

Curve Gallery - iDENTITY

Revealing what’s hot in contemporary art has been the real deal for Newcastle’s Curve Gallery.  This month is no exception.  Bringing together the urban contemporary artists M-lon, Graphico & Apeseven keeps that upbeat vigour rollicking along.

Transporting street art into exhibition spaces is pretty darn impressive so to see eight large canvases all adept and wildly meshed out is charming.  Miguel Gonzalez aka M-lon sneaks some wild looking heads onto suits that trip the light fantastic with their anthropomorphic expressions.  Backgrounds by Juan Vivas aka Graphico are sharp with graphic symbolism working well with the detailed foreground. “Miss Zebra, Dressed and Rowdy” is a stunner with her zebra stripes absorbing background graphics.

Amazing as these canvases are the real stand out in the gallery space is the ephemeral wall piece incorporating the talent of both the artists M-lon and Graphico with the addition of street artist George Hambov aka Apeseven.  It’s in this collaboration that graffiti art can truly be recognised as a stand alone genre.  The easy ambivalence Apeseven achieves is contrary for while his technique appears fresh and relaxed his images dominate and thrive.  In this collaboration the individual styles of the three artists are easily identified.

What’s great about this form of art is the lack of pretension involved.  These fellas make art knowing it’s momentary and with a society based on the tangible it’s refreshing.  Curve Gallery exhibits iDENTITY until 15th November.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

1st November – 15th November 2014

Number Forty Seven - Karen McPhee

Lying on the lush green grass and staring up at the sky through the canopy of leaves is one of my favourite past times which I am so way overdue at doing, but upon seeing the series ‘Here and There’ at Number Forty Seven in Rylstone it all came back. This series of work by Karen McPhee is a sheer delight, it’s light and dark works manage to work well together giving us a balanced selection.

From ‘Up and Down I & II’ acrylic on board, 60x60cm with their blacked out backgrounds and lightly lit bodies swinging to a lofty perspective. ‘Bushwalk I, II & III, acrylic on board, 60x60cm has an eerie quality about them yet at the same time I can see myself going for a quiet stroll through them with not a care in the world. ‘Riverside’, acrylic on board, 120x60cm is a stunning piece to enjoy while sipping a coffee and enjoying the lushness of the greens, greys and watery depths.

‘Looking up I, II & III’ acrylic on board, 60x60cm are my favourites, I can feel the swishing of the leaves in a soft breeze and maybe some birds tweeting. These works show off a talent for mixing colour and applying it quickly to full affect.

‘Rob’s Party I & II’ acrylic on board, 60x60cm show more talent in placing light just in the right place, reminiscent of early Louise Hearman and the same goes for ‘Night Walk I & II’ acrylic on board, 60x60cm which clearly states Karen’s love of dark and light and a good well rounded use of colour.

If you’ve not been to Rylstone, it’s roughly 3 and bit hours on the way to Mudgee, has a couple of pubs, a fabulous bakery, a hardware, a tiny IGA which sells the best honey that supports the Ferntree Gully Reserve Trust, a wonderful wool and craft store at the old Convent, a groovy new wine bar called Ned ‘n’ Bel's and a sprinkling of café’s including where this exhibition is on called Coffee Concrete run by 2 of the Cementa Arts Festival Directors Alex Wisser and Georgina Pollard.

Please by all means go to Rylstone, have a look at some Art and take in the sights and promise me you wont leave until you have tried the Deep South Chocolate Cake .. Yum!!

Fleur MacDonald

8th November - 30th November 2014

Mosman Art Gallery - Lucy Culliton

I have a small grey knitted bunny which I bought in Kandos back in 2003, it’s starring in my latest painting which is going into a group show next week so painting knitted toys is a first for me and after seeing Lucy’s paintings of knitted toys my jaw dropped and I think I may have cried a bit.

The last show I saw of Lucy’s was the flowers in bottles which was truly magnificent and managed to pick up a signed copy of the Bibbenluke catalogue. Upon seeing works again from that catalogue pulled some heart strings, yes I’m sorry I admit to being a gusher and why not as the work in this survey is Fantastic with a capital ‘F’ and doesn’t fault on any level.

Let’s start with ‘Knitted dolls, crown scene’ 2007, oil on canvas, 120x120cm this intense staring down by the dolls eyes could be unnerving but thankfully not with all those happy faces you just want to pick them up and hug them and there is a number of knitted works to keep any knitter satisfied.

And cake anyone? ‘Still Life/White Ground’ 2000 oil on board 122x122cm creates immediate hunger pains from the perky Meringues to the soft creamy Eclairs, displayed gracefully on eclectic decorative china which has captured flickers of the lighting to perfection. I fondly remember those pearlesque mugs and have scowed many second hand shops looking for the loveliest tea cup set.

That Laminton will always beckon me even now that I have quit processed sugar, it sit’s quietly in the middle of the delicate green floral side plate tempting me forever.

Sweetness as well as light is a prominent theme with Lucy’s work, ‘Lucy’s Bathroom’ 2010, oil on canvas 86x76cm had me entranced with the delicate flickers of light bouncing off the ceramic toilet and bath, I stood affixed for sometime. How the light can play games with your eyesight and yet how it changes a picture when a twinkle of light is added to it.

‘Sissors Green’ 2001, oil on board, 30.5x22.5cm beckons the viewer to pick them up and keep cutting the swath of green fabric, allowing the light to bounce off the metal and get you in the eyes. I’m a little delirious looking at these but yet I keep going as there is more to come. I would have kicked myself if I had missed seeing ‘Cactus’, 2004, oil on canvas, 101x133cm as I saw it in the catalogue before arriving at the gallery and only by chance I found it on the stairwell hanging on the wall in all it’s rustic charm. 

Lucky last ‘Wattle’ 2011, oil on canvas, 80x110cm the only one out of all the glass bottle works that has stolen my heart for I am a Wattle lover and the scent is intoxicating to me. Lucy has captured and bottled their existence for all eternity.

Go forth young Lucy as you are one hell of a painter!

Fleur MacDonald

20th September - 30th November 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Conny Dietzschold Gallery - On Site & Covers and Grids

A brilliant day out to look at some Art started with a train trip down the mountain to a Darlinghurst gallery on Crown Street. Conny Dietzschold at number 99 is showing off a newer space with a cavenous interior and a wide street frontage.

‘On Site’ works by Daniel Gottin from Switzerland and Salvatore Panatteri from Australia inviting us to explore the inner beauty of these works. Personally I love the block colour’s, lines and processes in these works. Offering me another chance to explore the unknown landscape these artist’s venture to. 

Fortunately I had the opportunity to meet Daniel and talk to him, he wasn’t too keen on talking about his work as most of us believe the work speaks for itself and doesn’t need to be explained. But from one artist who paints still life's and is currently enjoying being exposed to minimal/non objective art I kinda wanted to know what goes on in the head during the making of these sublime works. 

‘Untitled 1-32, 2014 adhesive textile tape on anodized aluminum 20x20 at $600 each or buy the whole set for $15,000. I would have if I could have, everytime I see an art work in a gallery that is for sale that I love, I check my bank balance, sadly for me I’m a low income earner and sometimes I get in a tizz and the heart starts racing and I desperately try to work out how the hell I can pay for it. All of the works in this show are affordable to anyone even me.

Really loved ‘Untitled 12, 3 & 5’ 2008, acrylic, adhesive tape on wood, mixed dimensions, intimate pieces to die for. And ‘Network 53’ 2014 adhesive textile tape on wall (site specific) 326x874cm encompassing two walls at the front of the gallery, creating a new space within a space which changed my perspective dramatically.

‘Untitled (01-12) & (01-03) chroma-key red, acrylic, anodized aluminium, mixed dimensions by Salvatore Panatteri are in a whole other dimension, they feel like snapshots from architectural drawings, the boldness of the colours give them a higher edge which make them jump out at you.

Down in the back room there is ‘Covers And Grids’ amazing works by two artist’s Amanda Ryan from Australia and Gerda Maise from Switzerland. Amanda’s coloured folded forms create the illusion of folding time and space, if only it was that easy. Her use of dress and furnishing fabrics in bold and complimentary colours reached out to my inner sewer. Particularly loved ‘Yellow Folded Form 1, 3 & 4, 2014, fabric, wadding, eyelets, stand offs, mixed dimensions, three rays of sunshine to brighten anyone’s day.

Gerda Maise who happens to be Daniel Gottin’s wife has three very different works to her husband which gives a good healthy balance to any relationship. Creating grids with assorted coloured ribbons against block coloured fabric backgrounds reveals different drops in the pattern by being hung on a wall, if they had been on stiff fabric there would be no subtle change in the curves of ribbon and even with the vertical lines which makes the fabric move inwards from sides. There is a sense of calm to these works and I felt relaxed looking at them.

Love Conny Dietzschold Gallery.

Fleur MacDonald

4th November - 29th November 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eumundi Sculpture Prize - Discover Eumundi Heritage and Visitor Centre

Queensland artist, Hew Chee Fong’s impressive stone piece, ’Sustainable' has been awarded the inaugural $15,000 Eumundi Sculpture Prize, which pays homage to the town’s historical timber industry.

‘Sustainable’ is a steel-like, totemic granite sculpture conceived to celebrate and commemorate methods and systems that won’t deplete resources or harm natural cycles. Ultimately the piece tells the story of regeneration and coming full-circle. Hew Chee is well-known for his use of stone as a preferred medium. “Stone is more than simply an aggregate of minerals,” says the artist. “It universally connotes all things of an enduring nature – stability, dependability and the passage of time.”

The prize is an exciting development in the cultural life of the town which is known nationally and internationally for its unique markets. It is anticipated that the sculptures will add a dynamic cultural element to the village as each winning sculpture is installed for permanent display in Eumundi’s public spaces.

Other 2014 finalists include Pamela Lee Brenner and Johannes Muljana; Stephen King, Antoine Bruinsma, Shane Christensen, Meg Greer, Kim Guthrie, Ian & Audrey Gunn, Gleny Kohnke and Scott Maxwell. All of the Marquette's are on display at The Eumundi Heritage Centre.

You can vote for the People’s Choice Award by logging on to

Amy Clarke
Guest Reviewer

14th September 2014