Blak Dot Gallery

The Blak Dot Gallery is an Indigenous run gallery, in a lovely location just off Sydney Road Brunswick.  As well as exploring the gallery exhibitions you can also spend time exploring the local offerings in Sydney Road.   Peter Waples – Crowe, a Ngarigo man was invited to create a body of work in response to the collection of colonial prints held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Peter invited Megan Evans to provide a non-aboriginal contribution to the exhibition.  Megan ‘s heritage is scottish, irish, welsh and her great grandfather was a colonist in 1872.

The exhibition is titled “Squatters and Savages” and challenges the visitor to revisit our shared history.

Peter Waples – Crowe uses simple figures and a few blunt words to describe the attitude of the colonisers to, and the impact on, the Indigenous population.  This includes loss of land, life, freedom and dignity.

Megan Evans has taken every day furniture found in the genteel homes of the “squattocracy” to make a bold statement of the  bloody, brutal and deadly colonisation of Australia.

The exhibition is on until 2nd September and worth a visit.

Megan Evans:  Hunting Party 1 and 2 Media: Antique chairs, embroidery thread, glass beads (included with artist’s consent)

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Melbourne City Library

Yes, the Melbourne City Library at 253 Flinders Lane supports emerging artists and has an exhibition space on the first floor of the library.  This library is just around the corner from DeGraves Street, so after a coffee  pop up to the first floor and see what ‘s on.

Sarah Ubik’s exhibition  is titled “SOMA”; the images are strong and evocative portraits and figurative images.   Sarah “explores humankind’s relationship with nature, reproduction, sexuality and femininity.”  I love that she captures a moment in time in the face of her subjects – laughter, huh, what did I do? a deep breath, a relaxing sigh.  This is Sarah’s first solo exhibition and includes works in watercolour and in oil paint.  The exhibition is on until 23rd August.

Sarah Ubik: “Lose Two Teeth” oil on MDF, 376 x 328mm, 2018 (Included with artists consent)

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Sarah Ubik: Twenty Weeks, oil on MDF, 331 x 431mm (2018) (Included with artists consent)

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The Other Art Fair

The Other Art Fair  .  I am counting myself lucky that on Saturday a friend asked me if I was going to “The other art fair” – Huh?  It was on for three days from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August and I am so glad I made it on Sunday.  What a treat.  This fair is run by Saatchi in locations around the world – Melbourne, London, Bristol, Chicago, Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Its purpose is to celebrate emerging artists in the country / region and to put artists and art-lovers in one space.  This is a fair where you can find reasonably priced art from emerging artists.  The fair was held in an old factory (now being repurposed) in Kensington. The artists were present to display their works in their own space, side by side 99 others.  It was a space full of innovation, creativity, variety and talent.  The artists were very generous in sharing what inspires them, how their practice has evolved over time, what techniques they have used.  I had to check myself to not monopolise any given artists and to move on so I could visit as many spaces as possible.

I can’t possibly go through 100 artists but I will touch on a few that I had a good chat with.   Put this event in your diary to attend next year, well worth the visit.

(If you are interested there is an app that can be downloaded to show you the full list of artists and their works.  Go to your app store and search for The Other Art Fair and then select Melbourne.)

Garth Henderson: “current works sculpted within a 3D modelling environment and presented as contemporary print form, in limited editions.”  Garth is an artist and a landscape designer.  He is inspired by the organic geometry of Australian plants.  He first started using computers 10 years ago.  Today he creates, from scratch, an image of an Australian plant that actually looks as if it has been sculpted in metal, then photographed. In his 3D environment he also applies ‘virtual lighting” until he achieves the desired light and shadow.  I can’t believe it is done on computer, and talking with him it is not a quick process (particularly the lighting effects).  His work is exquisite.

Garth Henderson:    “constructive_botanics_banksia_prionotes_01”   Virtual 3D model, presented as a limited Edition of Giclée Prints on Museum Rag Paper. (Included with artist consent)

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Sarah BoultonCreates images from the heart, she doesn’t know what the work will be until it is finished.  There are no polished straight lines here, the lines are organic and accompanied by curves and circles. She uses mixed media (e.g. ink, acrylic etc) and successfully meshes strong vibrant hues with softer pastel shades.  I love her colour selection and the organic nature of her art.

Pilar Basa: creates beautiful botanical illustrations of Australian native flowers.  Her images capture the vibrant colours of our flowers and the subtle, silvery greens and greys of the leaves.  The works are created on quality white archival paper.  Preparation is everything – being sure of your design / layout of the subject and its position on the paper.  It needs a very steady hand and mastery of the medium, a white paper background is very unforgiving.  No chance to paint over a boo boo.  An unplanned drip of ink means painting another leaf or flower.

Pilar Basa: “The flowers I found in my room” giclee fine art print, 2018.  (Included with artists consent)

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Rachel Rovay: these works are an explosion of colour and while they may appear chaotic, take a minute to step back and soften your view, don’t focus on particular shapes – you might (not always) find a figure within.  My favourite looked like a wonderful work in thick, glossy enamel – it wasn’t. Rachel uses a special resin (does not fade / yellow) on board.

Grant Stewart: grant creates work using robotic devices to draw his art.  Grant has created a program that gives some limited instruction as to what can be done, what is not to be done and then leaves the rest to the computer to determine.  The computer program manoeuvres a robotic device holding a pencil to generate the abstract images.   The images displayed were crafted from very fine lines in close proximity creating contours and a sense of movement.  Think of a fine fabric floating in a breeze.  Grant captured interest because he had a set up with the robotic device in action creating a new image.  This image was the antithesis of fabric in a breeze.  This was all straight lines over a large space and it was amazing how random the work appeared to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Substation

“The Substation” is a wonderful 100 year old building in Newport and is one of the oldest and largest of existing substations.  Most of the original equipment has been removed and the building now serves as a not-for-profit art centre.  The building has multiple rooms that serve as gallery space and are perfect for the  current exhibition, which is on until 8th September 2018 – go see it.

Alisdair MacIndoe (Alisdair Macindoe’s Creative Portfolio) exhibition is titled  “Noncompete”.  This is installation artwork delivering a unique visual and sound experience in each of several rooms.   The artists statement “reflects on the idea that digital technology is a new life-form we are currently gestating. NONCOMPETE explores the inevitable point where technology has agency and its own agenda.”  A scary thought but fortunately the art is engaging, not scary.

Alisdair is a clever chap – the art draws you in to visually examine each work, teases you because it appears to respond to your presence, sometimes faster than others, starts moving behind your back, sounds from subdued or to klaxon!  I found myself actively engaged with the works – what did he use to make it, chasing which bit might move next, whats happening behind, above  or right in front of me.  You are engaged visually, aurally and intellectually – this is art in motion, it draws you in and it just happens to looks interesting too.

Photo:       Davina A Lias
Artwork:  Alisdair Macindoe (Included with artists consent)
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Photo:       Davina A Lias
Artwork:  Alisdair Macindoe
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Photo:       Davina A Lias (This is a component of a larger work – my favourite work)
Artwork:  Alisdair Macindoe
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Footscray Community Arts Centre

Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) is an active centre for community arts across painting (exhibitions and classes), dance, music, installation art.  The major exhibition room is the Roslyn Smorgon Gallery – walk between the Happy River Cafe and the FCAC building to reception and the gallery is left of reception.

Until July 28th, they have an installation work – video and screen based titled “Before After”.  Don’t be afraid to ask the staff to turn up the volume so your can hear the artists story, also the script is available in hard copy.

Artist Nikki Lam has considered her family history and created an interesting and engaging visual artwork.  Her family lives in Hong Kong – which once was English but is now Chinese.  In Hong Kong her grandparents were not English and her parents were not Chinese.  Now in Australia a further element is imposed.  A multi-lingiual child born in Hong Kong, living in Australia with her own memories of before Australia, plus generational history / stories of those other times, cultures and lived experience.  This includes now living on land not ceded by it’s aboriginal owners. With this rich history, how to determine ‘identity’ in this new country.  How do we adapt or assimilate? What sense of ‘identity’ is imposed by others?

No photo’s for Nikki’s work – you need to see it on screen and listen to her poetic pondering. The spoken word is essential to her art. I enjoyed this exhibition and wish I had found it earlier.

Art House Gallery (Ballarat)

The Art House Gallery in Ballarat is located in the City Centre Arcade off Sturt Street.  Exhibitions were changing when I arrived (my bad timing) nonetheless there have a variety of artists works including some previously seen (search this site for Sarah Paxton)

Ralf Kempken’s  exhibition is focused on streetscapes with, if you look closely, some great identifiable locations in Melbourne.  His use of colour and light (or absence of colour) draw you through his streetscape and create dramatic contrast.  His technique is also new to me, described by Ralf as “hybrid stencil” it creates a very interesting effect.   Even though I feel familiar, at home with his subject matter, his technique has me looking at the familiar with new eyes as it draws me in to look closer, wondering how does he do that?  I also recommend a look at his web site, Ralf obviously creates big art, great public installations in metal.  I will get out and about to find more of his public works beautifying our city (we need more great public art).

Ralf Kempken: Shady Cafe #10 Red. (Included with artist consent)

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Tacit Galleries

Tacit Galleries in Collingwood has some great exhibitions over the next 4 weeks.

Until 1st July, Albert Koomen, Celia Bridle and “the Exquisite Palette”.

Until 15th July, Peter Newton, Anna Hamalainen and Craig Daniels

Albert Koomen has a display of portraits that celebrate men and hair;  beards and body hair, not your typical subject matter, for a portrait.  In his artists statement, Albert explains “…. aim to uncover the qualities of their handsomeness, strength, intelligence and vulnerability”.  Job well done.

Celia Bridle has created drawn and collaged works, scanned them and then created digital prints the same size as the original artwork.  Sometimes she goes back and repeats the processes, drawing over the digital image, rescanning etc. The end result is very detailed drawings (both black & white, and colour).  Where she has created depth and a 3D sense by drawing contour lines in the images.  These works are small, detailed and demand up close examination.

“The Exquisite Palette” – this is a show put on by St. Luke art store of 347 artworks, created using  small wooden artist’s palettes.  It is a fun display of the ingenuity and sense of humour of our Australian artists (and I think about 30 odd international artists).     Our artists have applied paint, sea shells, glass, enamel, feathers, sculptures, and one clever clogs, cut up the artists palette to create a miniature freight palette!  Remember everyone had to work around or incorporate into their work that damned little thumb-hole.  It has been used as a pregnant belly, a gasping mouth, filled in, used as a window to other images.  Serious thought, humour and then effort has been put into the creation of this little art works.  A fun exhibition.  Well done St. Luke and all the artists who contributed.

Craig Daniels is titled “Sebastian and the Ghosts of the Old Edo Road” in Japan.  The works include oil painting, watercolour, digital print and sculpture.  There is a whimsy and hope to many of the works but sometimes I sense (or impose) a slightly dark undertone, the way some fairy tales may do.  I love his use of simple form and bright colours.  Sebastian is a star.

Peter Newton has created eleven works that display his reaction to and memories of snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, from reef, to sea grass, to rock pool.  He layers colour, adding and subtracting until the image resembles his response to the location.  His colours and brush strokes / mark making has you feeling the sea grass and colourful coral swaying in the tide.

Peter Newton: “Reef #2” synthetic polymer on canvas 100 x 120cm.  Copyright Tacit Galleries and Peter Newton.  Included with artist consent.

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Anne Hamalainen has another display of artistic humour.  She has a quirky take on the humanisation of our pets; her paintings put animals in human situations and, just to keep it fair, humans in animal situations.  I’m thinking our animals look much smarter and better suited to a human situation, than we humans do in an animal situation.

 

 

 

 

Australian Galleries (Melbourne)

Australian Galleries is one of my favourites and did not disappoint with works by three artists with completely different styles and subject matter.  However, you need to get in quick as this exhibition concludes on 17 June 2018.

Peter Neilson has created two large scale paintings, smaller drawings, paintings and sculptures.  I absolutely love his large scale (185cm x 200cm) works.  Beautifully executed, each component is clearly depicted.  These are busy paintings, containing many “arrangements” that work together to create a overall image which is harmonious but never boring. Do you remember the old saying a picture paints a thousand words?  I look at Peter’s paintings and start writing a story in my head – ascribing personalities to his characters and a context to their  particular arrangement based on its locations / connection other arrangements.  Look at his painting, examine it, walk away come back later – you will find something new that you missed the first time. Peter draws you into his painting and it remains new and fresh with each viewing.  That’s why I love his major works.

Peter Neilson: “The two way mirror: Cinderella as spy (never suspected, she lived happily ever after the overthrow of the Prince’s brutal junta)” 2007-08 oil on linen 185 x 200cm. © The Artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. (Included with gallery / artists permission.)

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Julian Twigg has created large and small seascapes.  The views are familiar to those who know St.Kilda  / Williamstown.  I often visit the foreshore around Williamstown  / Altona (great for dog walking) and watch the freighters, yachts and surfers moving through the waters.  Julian is generous with his application of paint, so you can see (and want to touch) the turbulence of the waters and darkening skies.    He captures the moody day and the grand scale of the fully laden container ships as they stand up to the blustering wind and the choppy waters, moving towards (or way from) the docks.

Julian Twigg: “Bearing down” 2016 oil on board 30 x 40cm.  © The Artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. (Included with artists permission)

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Julian Twigg: “Six Ships, Princes Pier” 2016 oil on board 122 x 81cm.  © The Artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. (Included with artists permission)

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Kit Hiller has created wonderfully evocative works of St Petersburg in Russia.  These include some wonderful portraits of famous women from Russia’s history and scenes of modern day life in the canal city.  I was drawn to the simple beauty of her portraits and the controlled use of colour in the cityscapes.  Sometimes we are so busy looking at the painting that don’t see the whole of the artwork.  Kit includes the frame in her artwork by painting it up in way that enhances the image and reminds of the intricate embellishments of Russian arts and crafts.

Kit Hiller: “A Stalin-era poet” 2017 oil on canvas 77 x 61cm. © The Artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. (Included with artists permission)

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Kit Hiller: “Strawberries from Ukraine” 2016 oil on canvas 77 x 61cm. © The Artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. (Included with artists permission)

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Neon Parc (Brunswick)

Neon Parc has galleries in both Melbourne City and Brunswick.  I visited the Brunswick Gallery which has a solo exhibition of works by  Taree Mackenzie until 23 June 2018.  This is a big space that enables large installation works to be exhibited.

Taree Mackenzie – I loved these works (there are multiple).

So you stand before a shape suspended from a ceiling,  which is in front of a large, light box mounted on a wall, and both behind an an apparently clear glass screen.   It is three dimensional,  has motion and changes colour.  The fourth dimension is you – the mobile viewer.  The artwork changes based on where you stand in relation to the screens and the moving shapes.

I found myself wondering if I should remember something from school science / physics / chemistry to explain how this works?  No – too long ago.  Children will love it, adults  will love it and both will be asking – how did she do that?

Taree Mackenzie:  “Peppers Ghost” Photo below is a cut-out from a larger photograph taken by Christo Crocker.  (Included with artists permission)

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beinART Gallery

beinART Gallery is a lovely, bright, little gallery in Brunswick (a few short steps into a laneway / mall off Sydney Road).    The current exhibition runs to 24 June 2018 and features works by multiple, overseas artists.  They each have quite different approaches to their art and in this exhibition, all the works include visions of women. (Just 1 painting of a man managed to sneak in).

Miles Johnston (a british artist) has created delicate, whimsical visions of women in graphite.  Strangely the image of the only man included in this exhibition is just a little bit scary.

Miles Johnston: “Projection” graphite on pearl grey Stonehenge paper 17 x 24.4cm (included with artists permission)

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Miles Johnston: “Mitosis” graphite on moleskin paper 13 x 21cm

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Kari-Lise Alexander  (an american artist) artworks draw on her scandinavian heritage.  Looking at some of her works I feel as if I am standing outside a window looking in at a woman.  She is  looking out the window, features gently divided by a rain drop sliding down the window pane, totally unaware my presence.

Scott Scheidly (an american artist) artwork has the women and the environment in close contact.  The environment may be flowers, sky or animal. Beautifully rendered, finely detailed oil paintings.

Scott Scheidly: “Halo” Acrylic on Masonite 27.9 x 35.6 cm (included with artists permission)

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