Friday, February 26, 2016

Grafton Regional Gallery - Highlights

A long way from Sydney, in a regional gallery not near you.

The eminent ebullient Wendy Sharpe opened this show with a lively dialogue on women in art and society.

The highs and lows.  The reasons why it’s easy to be a woman artist working in obscurity, the brilliance of the Gorilla Girls and the resilience of woman artists.  Who wouldn’t be a woman artist when there is such inspiration to just keep going!

The Postcard show, a little gem on a few walls exposing a nice array small beguiling works!  I’d go for the GW Bot, Ken Done and Wendy Sharpe of course but it’s a silent auction so don’t tell anyone.  It’s only a phone call away to place a silent bid and assist in fundraising for the marvellous Jada sssshhhhh !

Photography meets feminism with the outstanding Carol Jerrems and her intimate and iconic photographs.  I can never get enough of her enigmatic photos of everyday people in a decade she has defined.  Pat Brassington is another wonder for me!  I have only mentioned two photographers to get this little article out there.  Many of the works are drawn from the MGSs national collection of Australian photographers.

Check them out!

Bernadette Trela
Guest Reviewer

3rd February - 12th March 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Art Gallery of New South Wales - The Greats

When was the last time you saw a great painting, especially one that was painted way before you were born.  A painting which viewed for the very first time in a fleeting moment then realising you have to stand firmly in front of it studying it’s every detail.

That painting for me is ‘Reverent Robert Walker Skating on Duddinton Loch’ Medium oil on canvas, 76.2x63.5cm by Sir Henry Raeburn c1795.  Although I know some of you may have thought I would have chosen a more flouncy floral type of work but hell no this is the one that gave me goosebumps on my forearms and the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up, this is the one that struck me with a lightning force and sent my eyes into a mad scurry searching for detail.

The slight of hand detail around the knees and upper thighs to the off white cravat, the blade scarred ice set against a soft turneresque background.  The steadfast stare to the effortless pose.  The serenity relaxes the viewer into submission.

The perfect end to a perfect exhibition.

Fleur MacDonald

24th October 2015 - 14th February 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

Casual Powerhouse & Hazelhurst Regional Gallery

A couple of summer holiday shows on at two Sydney regional galleries well worth a visit.  Patternation at Hazelhurst and Outer Space at the Casula Powerhouse are substantial but very differently curated exhibitions.  One explores the formal aesthetic and conceptual possibilities presented by the largely abstract device of pattern making.  The other addresses the phenomena of technology and the zeitgeist effect each event had on our culture eg space travel, satellite images…

Patternation at Hazelhurst,  John Aslanidis, Cathy Blanchflower, Mark Booth, Gary Carsley, Helen Eager, Sophia Egarchos, Benjamin Forster, Heath Franco, Rochelle Haley, Natalya Hughes, Eveline Kotai, Melinda Le Guay, Al Munro, Brian Robinson, Liz Shreeve, Jason Sims and Djirrirra Wunungmurra.

Patternation, curated by Carrie Kibble, is a vibrant show that draws attention to the perception of art as something of a higher purpose as opposed to being purely decorative.  In this show we are presented with works that undertake a deeper investigation of the concept of pattern.  Pattern in this context becomes the structure that binds the scientific, natural and aesthetic world.  It is the invisible phenomenon that forms our cellular structure and the engineering that holds our skyscrapers together.  It is also the most potent device used in great art, music, poetry and prose whether it be figurative or abstract.  So we are informed by this show that pattern is not merely ornamental but is an inspiration of mathematical movement and rhythms that reflect the building blocks of life itself.

The space allows for ambitious large scale works that at times overwhelm.  John Aslandis’s amazing sprawling work takes on a slightly different interpretation in each venue it is exhibited, the last at Gallery 9 earlier in 2015.  Liz Shreeve’s delicate paper cut piece is spectacular in its uncharacteristically huge format and Natalya Hughes’s Panic Room is an installation that buzzes with anxious discord that is unsettling but compelling.  Wunungmurras’ indigenous pieces bring a quiet spiritual evocation of living symbiotically with the earth and video work from Pompom artists Heath Franco and Rochelle Haley provide a less formal and more conceptual utilisation of the exhibition’s parameters.

Outerspace at Casula Powerhouse, Anotinette J. Citizen, David Haines & Joyce Hinterding, Peter Hennessey, Christina Lissman, Alasdair Macintyre, Adam Norton, Liam O’Brien, Mira Oosterweghel Sylvia Schwenk, Vernon Treweeke, Liam O’Brien, Wanderlust.

Outerspace addresses space, the void between the earth’s atmosphere and the planets and stars.  The pondering of space as positive rather than negative is an endeavour of artists metaphysically and compositionally – the space between.  This show showcases installation, performance art, paintings and video traversing science fiction, popular culture and space technology as a vehicle to express the complexity of the human condition and it’s revaluation in the context of constant change to our terrestrial and extraterrestrial environment.  The impact I felt was strangely nostalgic, a reminder of the eventfulness of every technological advancement from man walking on the moon to the mind bending special effects of Star Wars compared to the current day where we seem to be desensitised to the wave after wave of technology and media.

Also there is an opportunity to pay homage to the late Vernon Treweeke with a selection of works.

Finally emerging artist Veronica Habib’s show Tracking Security is occupying the Marsden Gallery. This thoughtful work is an extension of her graduate work started in 2012 that explores the perception of safety and compliance in contemporary city living.  The themes are prophetically more relevant now than perhaps at their inception.

Both shows close February 7th.

Much of this show looks at technological advancement and popular culture during the era of the space race and its jettisoned aftermath.  It has been covered by paintings, installations, video and performance.

Glenn Locklee
Guest Reviewer

5th December 2015 - 7th February 2016
12th December 2015 - 7th February 2016