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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Incinerator Gallery

Anyone who goes to Poyntons Nursery and walks along the Maribyrnong River near Poyntons should include a visit to the Incinerator Gallery.

Incinerator Gallery is a great community space that runs workshops and provides a three gallery spaces.  This gallery regularly includes installation art work as well as mixed media, which makes for interesting exhibitions; also they are not afraid to challenge the audience.

Rushdi Anwar is originally from Kurdistan and now based in Melbourne.  His work titled “The Patterns of Displacement” involves a structure made from remnants of discarded UNHCR tents and a video of the Arbat Refugee camp in Iraq.  It is a collaboration of works by Anwar, a refugee tailor and students/children in the camp. It will variously force you to consider what it means to be a refugee, bring a smile to your face and melancholy to your thoughts as you are also drawn to consider what the future might be for the students of this refugee school.

Group Exhibition “standing still; looking back, looking forward” is a celebration of “First Nations Identities” today.  Through the artwork and the artists statements, this exhibition lets it be known that aboriginal art is not just about dot and x-ray paintings;  that there has always been great variation in aboriginal art across a nation of multiple Aboriginal cultures. Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists are making their mark in both traditional and new media.  Each artists has contributed one piece to the exhibition so I am not including images because that would give away the whole show.  You need to visit the gallery to have the full experience of these 3 D / interactive art works.

Katie West has created a visual and aural installation “Body remembering – grinding stone”.  This includes video and sounds of grinding of stone on rock and with birdsong in the background.  It is tradition,  process, intergenerational knowledge passed on, rhythmic and could become hypnotic.

Ashley Perry has created a beautiful, simple yet powerful imagery that so very easily relates to her artist statements.  It all makes sense.  Her artists statement tells of her grandmothers experiences, how their collective history is shared through generations. This 3D artwork represents story and place.  Ashley and Katie’s works, succeed individually and side by side make sense together.

Amala Groom and Nicole Monks have collaborated to make a video.  It is a simple video with a lovely vista and a sound track loop of dialogue in the Wiradjuri and Yamatji Wajarri language groups.  It relaxes, because Groom and Monks (in the video) are relaxed in the land, beside each other speaking their language.  They have created a sense of place, a special place, even though there is nothing to identify the place.  It just is where it is.

Brad Darkson (also known as Brad Harkin) has you looking at a screen and wearing a headset.  Dean Cross has used photography to capture the smashing of a colonial insult to the First Nations people.  Read their artists statements for context and to understand that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, our First Nation peoples, cannot be ‘categorised’ in a box covered with painted dots and are not all alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brunswick Street Gallery (BSG)

The Brunswick Street Gallery has a small street frontage but lots of upstairs gallery space and they always make good use of the street entry, this month with installation art on the walls.  BSG also always has art by a variety of artists on display to engage visitors and this visit was no exception.

Isobel Rayson has a wonderful exhibition of small works (paint and wood) under the title “Time and Trace” the focus is on mark-making.  Isobel uses controlled, small marks to make lovely scenes, some of which fill the wood base and others which allow the blackened wood space to enhance the marks /picture.  In some you can image the rippling surface of water, or ripples in time and some are simple representations of trees in dark space.  They are all restful yet bring a smile.

Ashley McNeil has an exhibition titled “Life, Death and Panic Attacks”. Ashley has tried to illustrate, create a visual experience of panic, anxiety and depression.  These are very powerful images and I feel she has achieved what she set out to do.  Viewed from a safe space of no anxiety, fear or depression they are a bit uncomfortable and a little bit confronting.    Take all that and lock it up inside and it is a little bit scary to think what life might be like trying to deal with these internal pressures.

Ashley McNeil: “Heavy Venom” Oil on canvas 121.5 x 91cm (Included with Artists consent) (Most of us are afraid of snakes so just imagine – paralysing fear,  the gasp of breath caught in the lungs, the weight on the chest)

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Chloe Shao draws “in a way that makes her happy” – I like that.  Her exhibition is titled “Parallel Worlds”. Her drawings are novel in that she mixes the human with botanicals in a way that works really well.  The  images are elegant and perfectly formed.

Chloe Shao: “Waiting to flourish” printed on canvas 15 x 15cm. (Included with Artists permission)

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Langford 120

Langford 120 (named after its address in North Melbourne) is a large light filled space with space to step back and view the art.  In April / May Langford 120 has been participating in Abstraction 2018 in collaboration with Stephen Mclaughlin Gallery, Five Walls Project, Justin Art House Museum and Deakin University.  The abstract artists mind often works a little differently to mine, abstract challenges and sometimes just bemuses me completely.  It is good to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged.  I  found the artist statements and sometimes I thought yes – I get that and sometimes I thought hmmmm!)  That’s OK  – there were some great works cleverly executed – from the fluid and organic to geometric, linear precision.  Too many artists for me to capture them all here – go visit the gallery.

Artists included:

and many more.

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Gallery Melbourne

Studio Gallery Melbourne is located in a large, light-filled space in Cheltenham.  Lots of large works and the room to step back and take them in.  I reacquainted with works by Kerry Armstrong and discovered lots of new artists.  Note the artworks are not crowded  – it is a large gallery space.  I can’t cover all the artists – although I would love to.  Go visit and discover more inspiring artists and artworks that make you want to dip your fingers into the juicy thickness of the paint or wonder at the use of lines, marks and colour.

Deidre Bruhn – has created strong, colourful images of confident, vibrant women.

Clare Brodie – I look at this diptych of simple shapes and clean colours and believe I am ‘looking through’ a landscape.  (Eyes of the beholder).

Clare Brodie: “Looking Through” Matte vinyl on canvas, framed in solid Australian Oak. 108 x 137cm each. (Included with artist’s consent)

 

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Nick Osmond – lots of smaller works of faces – clean colours, simple shapes yet every face is different, in colour, construct, mood.  Each face encourages you to look closer and think about moods and create a context.

Nick Osmond “I didn’t realise that was goodbye”, acrylic on marine ply. 53 x 53cm.  (Published with permission of Studio Gallery Melbourne)

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Daniel Anderson – “Based on a True Story”.   This one is strangely attractive because although the image captures a beautiful play of light on form, it leaves me wondering about the true story  – fire or smoke?

Liam Snootle – has created geometric images using aerosol on canvas.  He draws your eye through the canvas in amazingly clean colour blocks. How he manages to get such clean lines is to me a miracle.

Liam Snootle: “Ionisation” Aerosol on Canvas, 131 x 74cm (included with artists consent)

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Without Pier

Without Pier is located in Cheltenham and focuses on contemporary Australian artists across a range of artistic practice – sculpture (metal, timber, glass) paintings, sculpted furniture.  Wonderful works to capture the eye.  This visit I reacquainted myself with some artists (Rhonda Gray, Nicole Allen – see previous entries) while also discovering Brendon Sims from Gippsland (which is just full of great artists.)

Brendon Sims obviously has a love of Gippsland; this exhibition focuses on the horizon, colours and waters of the Gippsland Lakes.  As you move from painting to painting you move through the different moods and colours of the lakes from dawn to dusk, calm to ripple to wave. Something for every mood, contemplative, meditative, uplifting and even (g)rumbling.

I also discovered a lovely glasswork by Martin Goldin.