Australian Galleries

One of my favourites, Australian Galleries (open seven days a week and just off Smith Street Collingwood) has three excellent exhibitions on at the moment.

Mary Tonkin “Ramble”.  The star of this exhibition is a series of 1.8m high panels put together which curve around the large gallery space.  Mary’s works are of the bush in Kalorama Victoria – not far from Melbourne. Her visions straddle the seasons invoking bright summer days, cool misty mornings and vibrant autumnal colours.  The gallery has provided benches, so if you have the chance sit awhile soak in her colours and brush marks, you can almost the birds sing and the leaves rustle.

Across the road in their second building is an exhibition of works by John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda.

This is the fourth collaboration between these two artists focusing on Arnhem Land.  This exhibition focuses on the coastal stretches – sea creatures, sea plants, mangrove swamps and so on.

John  Wolseley works include sculpture, paintings, and prints.  His is a very unique style of “painting” – using the objects or living specimens (e.g. , branches, seaweed) to create images on his medium.  His aim is to beyond a fact of existence and capture  a sense of a life over time.

Mulkun Wirrpanda works include beautiful bark paintings and memorial poles, focusing on the creatures and plants of coastal Arnhem Land.  Mulkun’s art is not just inspiring, it is also her means of recording and passing on knowledge within the indigenous and broader Australian community.




National Gallery Victoria – Ian Potter Centre

This week is NAIDOC Week so I wandered into the NGV Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square.  On the third floor are two free exhibitions – they could not be more different. Vibrant earth colours versus the softest of pastels.

The first is an exhibition of Indigenous artwork: “From Bark to Neon” spread through multiple gallery rooms.  This exhibition displays beautiful “dot” art and “line” art and extends beyond these traditional methods into contemporary indigenous art.  This includes completely different  painting styles and mediums, including neon. However there is always a message or story associated with the works. Includes paintings and sculpture and neon.

On the opposite side of the third floor is an exhibition of contemporary artworks by Rosslynd Piggott “I sense you but I cannot see you”.  As per the title you need to to exercise your eye-sight and your imagination with many of these artworks.  Really interesting tonal works and blending of different pastel colours on a single canvas. Master of subtle.  Includes sculpture, photography, paintings even glassware.



Incinerator Gallery

Incinerator Gallery exhibition titled “Fireworks 2019” showcases the art and design of Year 11 and 12 students who live or go to  school in Moonee Valley.  The exhibition is on until 24th March and is well worth a visit.

I love this exhibition.  It would be a serious misjudgement to underestimate the skills and talents of these school kids.  Works include (but not limited to):

  • recycling of plastic into wonderfully colourful structures that look like glass,
  • portraits in a variety of styles and mediums – with the added stress of capturing with brush strokes a history / character  of family members (that isn’t easy and yet they have done it so very well)
  • watercolours and video that address depression and anxiety in young people and how to work through it
  • sculpture using found objects, chalk paint, fabric etc.

Each artist has provided an artist statement.   They are written using simple language, in simple sentences to clearly state the inspiration for / purpose behind their art and the statements are directly relatable to the artwork created.  Thank you artists, in my opinion there is lesson in your statements for many practicing artists whose statements are mind boggling complicated.

In addition to the artworks are design works – these include logos, perfume bottle design, building design, interior design.  This is another WOW.

Go visit the gallery and then enjoy a stroll along the Maribyrnong River or visit Poyntons Nursery (all within a short walk of the gallery).

Bella Iliovski: “Modern Praise” glass paint on carved acrylic sheet (St. Columba’s College Essendon)


Olga Alexandrou: “Entropy” Oil on cotton, wood, nails (Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School)


Natalia Cierpisz: “Matthew in Green” oil pastel, oil paint on mount board (Ave Maria College)


Tiana Monteleone: “Amorphous” plastic, (St Columba’s College Essendon)




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.








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)



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)


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)





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.









Stockroom (Kyneton)

The Stockroom is both a gallery and a boutique.  You wander through beautiful clothing, hand made shoes and jewellery to the main galleries.  Don’t forget to visit the smaller galleries at the back – you will find interesting works there to.

Erika Gofton’s earlier works reminded of the naiveté and innocence of childhood.     More recent works are confronting for some.  My favourite “Threshold” is not brutal or violent, a child (not a baby or toddler) is present yet concealed behind a diaphanous, semi-transparent, plastic bag.  There is no visible distress – that is the automatic adult reaction to the dangers of plastic bags – confronting.  I wondered about a child seeking refuge from danger, held in isolation for years initially by chain fences and then by something less tangible, less visible but just as constraining, dangerous and hopeless.

Erika Gofton: “Threshold” Oil on Linen 81 x 56cm.  (Included with artist consent)


Chee Yong – these small perfectly formed pieces, titled “Ghosts” seem to progress through stages.  I see a face in a fantasy wood, where the forest gradually takes over the human form.   And strangely for some reason I was thinking of a modern, somewhat darker take on blue willow china.   Each work warrants close examination, it is all about the mark-making.

Chee Yong: “Ghost #4” oil and enamel on wood 29 x 23.5 x 1cm


Adam Cusack has created some very quirky, beautifully executed charcoal drawings.  “Drawing” just doesn’t seem an adequate description for these charcoal artworks,  they almost look like they have been painted.  Amazing.

Adam Cusack: “Inception” 2017   570x750mm h














The Old Auction House (Kyneton)

The Old Auction House has been open for a year.   It provides not only an art gallery, it is working studio, provides various art classes and activities for all ages across varied arts and crafts.  A great arts space provided  by some enthusiastic artists;  they provide gallery space for established artists and community groups – good on them.

Syndicas – A Family of Artists.  This is an exhibition of works by two brothers Syndikas, and children.  Five artists in one family.

Anthony Syndikas (parent) exhibits vivid landscapes in oil paint.

Alex Syndikas (parent) exhibits photographs (manipulated, photomontage)

Alex Syndikas: “Nude and Skeleton” (included with artists consent)


Jean-Luc Syndikas exhibits beautiful photographs and ink drawings.

Diahann Syndikas exhibits mixed media – photo interpretations and acrylic paint plus sculpture.

Natasha Syndikas (RIP passed suddenly  in 2010 at age eighteen) exhibition of photos, evidence even at this young age she too was a talented artist.

Judy Place exhibited a wonderful work titled “Veges”.  It looked like a classical, old still life painting but was actually a contemporary work in pastels.












fortyfive downstairs

fortyfive downstairs” is a Melbourne based not-for-profit gallery and theatre space.  It is great for a lunchtime visit.  It supports big works and this visit had large photographic works and even bigger oil paintings.

Serap Osman’s exhibition is titled “hands all over”.  She is commenting on the use and misuse of plastic.  I think she has done so with a sense of playfulness,  an eye for place, colour and surprisingly fashion (later discovered she has a background in fashion).  And that was before I read her artist statement.  These works are both great photo’s in themselves as well as statements on the impact we have on our environment.

Serap Osman: Hands all Over #3, 2017, photograph 880 x 1070mm (included with artists consent)


Kerry Armstrong’s exhibition is titled “A Life Seen Through Cut Outs”and consists of big, bold, colourful  oil and acrylic paintings.  She loves big, dynamic marks and uses lots of paint.  Some of the work reminds of a free-wheeling, childlike approach to art and these were the emotions Kerry drew on but in a grand scale.

Kerry Armstrong ‘Girl in Grass (Night)’ Paddocks for Ponies series, 2018, acrylic & oil on Belgian linen, 250 x 190 cm, framed in black Australian oak (included with artists consent)


Australian Galleries (Melbourne)

Australian Galleries

A major exhibition of works by Nick Howson.

Nick’s works are new to me and presented an immediate challenge.  His technique is different to anything I have seen before.  While the image remains the same whether you view it up close of from a distance, the effect does change.  I prefer to view his work from a distance.  I recommend a visit to determine how you like to view Nick’s works.  (No photo to be displayed as that would give the ‘effect’ away).  The exhibition includes landscape, cityscape and sports events

Mary Tonkin:

Mary ‘s landscapes do not focus on great expanses rather she goes into the forest (Kalorama) and focuses on a small area.  She captures in splendid colour the layers and the depths (horizontal and vertical) of grass, ferns and trees.  There is a peacefulness in her artworks, she makes me want to go for a walk in her colourful forests and I can almost hear the native birds singing.

Marty Tonkin “Dance 1, Kalorama” oil on linen 42cm x 120cm  AG104865   © The Artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney.