Thursday, May 14, 2015

Noosa Regional Gallery - Ulrike Sturm

Ulrike Sturm spent her early teens living in Goroka, a town in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.  She describes the time as, ‘an experience that profoundly impacted me in many ways.  It is a place that just grabs hold of your heart and won’t let go.’  The stunning linocut prints in her exhibition currently showing at Noosa Regional Gallery document some of her memories from this period of her life.  Having visited the country only briefly myself I was touched by her images and their simple and powerful energy.

As part of Ulrike’s PhD at Central Queensland University she has been able to explore her personal narratives and memories of this time living in Papua New Guinea.  In this research she has investigated PNG artist, Mathias Kauage (1944-2003) and his vivid visual narrative works depicting the life and changes in the Country around the time Ulrike and her family arrived there.  This spurred her to make her own work based on her own memories and experiences.

Referring to old family albums and memory, Ulrike made sketches that she has worked into large-scale (up to 2.7 metres in length) vinyl artworks.  Each piece is painstakingly cut from a master template.  The ephemeral nature of the works could be said to be a metaphor for the transience of our memories. 

Also available for purchase at the gallery is a small book telling the tales behind each image providing further insight into her favourite people, going to market, the local tribes, and the seasonal tropical storms.

The exhibition continues until Sunday 7 June. Coffee and conversations with Ulrike will be held at the Gallery on Thursday 14 May from 10:30am to 11:30am.

Workshop Saturday 16 May, 10.30am -1.30pm Ulrike takes participants through the concept of creating dramatic black and white artworks using the hand-cut vinyl technique. Please note that sharp blades will be used for this workshop.
$20 per person includes materials. Ages 16 years plus
Bookings and pre-payment essential: (07) 5329 6145

Amy Clarke
Guest Reviewer

7th May - 7th June 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cementa 15 - Margot's Paddock - Georgina Pollard

Georgina Pollard is best known for her amazing woven paintings made from paint, but this new foray is even more gorgeous, if I could have I probably would have laid down under it and waited for it to drip into my mouth, minus the ants or attempted to lick it, but very carefully as to not rip my tongue apart on the ginormous thorns.

There was a similar work hanging from a tree in the Clandulla State Gallery, this work and the one in Margot’s Paddock scrape against the fine line between nature’s idea and man’s idea of a chandelier of temptation and contemplative musing.  A tree branch dipped into a vat of toffee and hung from a tree, it’s surface glistening in the sunshine tempting fate and overlooking the empty reminder of a once thriving Honey producer.

It’s beauty rekindles lost childhood memories of toffee apple eating and trips to the Dentist.  Toffee as a lure for the Bees or as said in the catalogue ‘an apology’.  We need to plant more flowers to convince the Bees to stay, suggesting they create an army of killer bees for companies like Monsanto.

Fleur MacDonald

9th April – 12th April 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cementa 15 - Scout Hall - Williams River Valley Artists' Project

On the edge of the bush and Kandos on the corner of Dabee Road and Campbell Street lies the Scout Hall where the Artist’s of William River Valley Artists' Project, Artist’s include Suzanne Bartos, Neil Berecry-Brown, Sue Callanan, Juliet Fowler Smith, Noelene Lucas, Margaret Roberts, Toni Warburton and David Watson.

‘Instruments of Democracy’ performance and installation, a piece to be reckoned with as it made me realize what the many courageous men and women fighting the coal, gas and logging companies face on a day to day basis. The big companies have been destroying our fragile environment for some time, defacing our beloved land and diminishing the delicate habitat of so many of our native animals.

The lengths that these brave people go to, the ingenuity in creating continual obstacles and stumbling blocks for the big companies and Police to overcome and see beyond the dollar is by far a relentless operation.

If you got to see the performance then you saw something amazing, only wish I had a spare memory stick with me as I would have recorded it.

On display there was an array of photographs of activitist’s attached to an assortment of vehicles, a collection of fauna silhouettes in black netting which was highly affective to demonstrate which ones are displaced and or extinct from the disastrous effects of mining and logging. A black board with drawings and descriptions of the many lock on devices which explain the lengths that these wonderful activists go to and brilliant bunting which covered the length of the hall displaying many backs of toy Koala’s. If only the animals could speak!

I loved how there was so many ways to engage the younger generation in educating them, inviting them to paint clay cups to represent animals, birds, plants and water was one way of the many on display.

My niece Meret MacDonald is an Activist and stationed primarily at the Leard State Forest blockade. Hats off to her and her comrades and the Williams River Valley Artists' Project!!! 

Fleur MacDonald

9th April – 12th April 2015

Art in Newcastle April/May 2015

A review of the many exhibitions I’ve seen recently.
Although the greater populace of Newcastle are pretty much disinterested in the art scene going on about them this doesn’t deter the enclave of artists here producing and exhibiting quality work.  And the past couple of weeks I’ve seen so many exhibitions of high quality that it would be disappointing not to mention them.

My fortnight began on Friday 17th April when I attended the opening of “Insightful” at Four Point Gallery.  Cheridan Chard delves into the quirky side of photography making images that show strength in composition.  That mundane photos of everyday life become twisted and obscure via reflection or using opaque material as filters is exceptional.  Sticking to photographs of people and the urban environment yields a unique street photographer for the old Newy.

That same weekend I took a wander through the East end of town with a couple of the non-arty types of Newcastle so art viewing was limited.  I peeked through the window of Curve Gallery to see a menagerie of wire and hear a few disgruntled comments from my pals.  I’ll come back to this exhibition later.  Then I managed to convince the philistines to visit The Lock-up and become familiar with the layout of an old jail.  I let them peruse while I admired the work on display.  This exhibition titled “A Second Shadow, Prelude and Trail” brought together a variety of works with a conceptual base requiring lengthy viewing.  Needless to say I did not get the luxury of time however I couldn’t help being attracted to the paintings of South Coast artist Mignon Steele who builds layers utilising existing texture so a lumpy abstracted looseness is the result.  My art viewing was then unfortunately cut short. 

Not to be deterred I again ventured out Friday to see the last days of two great shows.  Back to Back Gallery was hosting “Fraternity Futility Hope” where art works were small and related to The Great War.  The gallery was filled with poignant pieces such as the stitched line drawings by fibre artist Tanya Matas who is able to capture hope and sorrow in the image.  I then dashed off to Art Systems Wickham where Shelagh Lummis was exhibiting “Of mist and illusion”.  The landscape of New Zealand provided the inspiration for these moody and lusciously painted oils.  Some had a dreamlike feel as of underwater worlds.  A favourite for me though was “Go with the flow” where the landscape was built up with broad strokes of strong colour completely succeeding in convincing the viewer of the presence of the scene.

Saturday saw the opening of Nanshe’s 3rd Birthday Exhibition which continues until May 23rd.  I’m an exhibitor in this show so am reluctant to comment on the overall feel however I will say that Barb’s gallery has that quality of down-to-earthiness which seems to reach out to those Novocastrians out there that still want original art but are just not into the art scene.  From Nanshe I crossed the road to see an exhibition titled “Sculptured Out” at what I would say is Newcastle’s newest gallery, Gallery 139.  I recognised instantly the abstracted mono types of Helene Leane.  Flynn Doran’s geometrical steel structures wonderfully brought the industrial into the gallery.  His wall mounted assemblages made of painted steel rod proved very successful.  This exhibition continues until 9th May.

I then went back to Curve Gallery to see “Wind Shear” by Joanna O’Toole.  What I saw through the window as a menagerie of wire a week before became on closer inspection a gust of wind harbouring an abundance of sculptured birds in flight.  The hours of labour that went in to manipulate the fine wire is astounding.  This exhibition continues until Saturday 9th May.

And so that concluded my fortnight of exceptional art watching.  I must say I’ve missed out on Ben Kenning’s exhibition and I haven’t been to Timeless Textiles or CStudios in a while.  Oh the many galleries of Newcastle.  Aren’t we lucky!  And I don’t say that facetiously.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

April/May 2015