Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Slab - Postcards from Laika

What a wonderful exhibition, perfect for the ‘Year of the Dog’ although a little sad regarding the theme for the show. ‘Postcards from Laika’ the first dog to go unwittingly into space and to have a heart attack before leaving Earth’s atmosphere. But forever remembered for her bravery!

23 Artists from the Blue Mountains and beyond were invited to contribute a work primarily A5 in size to go into a silent auction to raise funds for equipment for The Slab, a fledgling ARI based in Hazelbrook and run by Miriam Williamson & Brad Allen-Waters.

Contributing Artists are: Pam Vaughan, Judith Martinez Estrada, Chia Moan, Fiona Davies, Ian Milliss & Wendy Carlson, Fleur MacDonald, Sarah Breen Lovett, Billy Gruner, Caroline Wilde, Vivienne Dadour, Beata Geyer, Fi Kanera, Emma Rooney, Brad Allen-Waters, Graham Davis-King, John Prendergast, Jacquelene Drinkall, Anne Hughes, Miriam Williamson and Ivy Frechtling, Pearl Frechtling and Tallulah Costa.

The opening of this show was fabulous, with an amazing sound performance by Brad Allen-Waters and Jon Drummond, Brad on his hand made Aesthetiscope (a formal kinetic sculpture “The Aesthetiscope” expressing the physics of optics, the essence of early to mid 20th Century design and analogue electro mechanics) This thing blew my mind, Brad has made a unique piece of Sound Art out of found objects sourced from everywhere. It is a thing of mesmerizing beauty and if ever you get a chance to see it perform then do not hesitate to see it.

Oh there was cake too, Miriam is a fantastic cake maker, a Sputnik Cake and a CCCP Cake and they were Sooooo delicious!

The beauty of silent auctions is that you don’t know who did what, it’s also a great way to start a collection as these works are affordable. So many great and gorgeous works to choose from such as No.7 ‘Saint Laika, Patron Saint of Unwilling Martyrs’ mixed media, you can see it’s made with love with strings of pearls as stars in the sky and the surface of a planet, the tiny dog face peering out of the small window of the pressed and thin cut tin.

The painfully sad No.6 ‘Let Me Out’ it’s as if Laika was tearing at the inside of her ship to get out, demonstrated in the torn canvas. No.3 ‘USSR Dog in Space, clearly written here in painted Russian. No.1 ‘With Love to Laika’ Dry point etching oozes a love for all dogs. The woven work No.21 ‘Laika’s Dream’ made with stainless steel, silk, cotton, metallic thread and copper, it’s gorgeously luxurious. No.18 ‘signal in an Orange Universe’ watercolour, is a little ripper with it’s vibrant orange background and sensitive green.

No.15 ‘In space no one can hear you bark’ acrylic & pencil, a silent sensitive work in mainly black and white, dark sky, white dog quietly reflective. A cat amongst the dogs, No.12 ‘First Cat in Space’ sharing it’s true story in all it’s colourful glory. Oh to be a dog, No.11 ‘Doggie in Space’ watercolour, I think it’s title references that movie with Michael Hutchence, but the painting is oh so sweet.

If you need more information or want to see this show then hurry as it closes 20th February, the silent auction closes mid night 19th February and you can register to be a bidder via or message the Facebook page The Slab.  There are Rules as in minimum bid $20 with a minimum raise of $5.

I’m hoping I can come home with one so don’t miss out!

Fleur MacDonald
20th January - 20th February 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Gallery 47 - Damian Castaldi

“Our Town” a collection of portraits of some of the inhabitants from Kandos and Rylstone, a cheeky look at the different characters that make up the two towns.  Damian took the happy snap approach, sometimes unawares but mostly with his recipients permission.  The portrait of ‘Deb No.14’ has the air of contempt, her eyes giving Damian that sly sideways look as if he is about to be roused on.  I remember the event well as it was a hot sunny day in the backyard of a Kandos local.

‘No.6 Bruce’ almost with an eerie quality, captured between blinks and before his passing, may he rest in peace.

Another Kandos local ‘No.5 Cowboy’ with his faithful dog has been given the painterly affect, the boldness of the red dirt enveloping the figure while the dog hides in the shadow, the gorgeous mountain basking under the wide blue sky.

‘No.1 Colleen & Caroline’ looking like two tourists snapped while holidaying on the French Riviera, but alas they are in Kandos and happy to be photographed by the wonderful Damian.

It was great turnout for the opening in Rylstone at the popular Gallery 47 with delicious wine from the local Naked Lady Winery.

Fleur MacDonald

6th - 29th January 2018