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).

Celebrating Ballarat – Art Gallery of Ballarat

This week I visited Ballarat to view the exhibition “Into the Light: from the Musee de la Chartreuse” at the Art Gallery of Ballarat  and also discovered three other galleries (see separate pages for galleries listed below).

The exhibition of works by french artists showed how painting developed from the clearly delineated portraits and landscapes into softer, more ephemeral, approaches, and specifically catching light in its many different displays.  The exhibition concluded with works by Australian artists who visited and were influenced by the french.  It is a good exhibition with relevant statements as to the changing approaches. They also have on display recent acquisitions – a selection of a variety works by different australian artists.

I must say I enjoyed the exhibition of art by two local Ballartat artists and recent acquisitions the most (perhaps because I looked at “Into the light” as an educational exercise whereas the other was based on emotional responses). The  artworks by Anne Chibnall and Tim Sedgwick are lively and will engage adults and children alike.

Anne Chibnall  artworks are a bright explosion of colour and enthusiasm.  They cheer you up and warm you up, even on a freezing cold Ballarat winters day.

Tim Sedgwick  is very clever.  His works are created using found objects – including shoes.  He has a trail of ants climbing up the wall around the corner and back down again.  And then a great display of ‘fish’ on two walls.  Sometimes, you need to look closely to determine what the found object is, only to  realise you are looking at a plate, or a thong, or a bottle etc.  His works are colourful, well crafted, interesting and they just work together beautifully.  Love it.

Ballarat is also celebrating the cold with a Winter Festival  that provides lots to do if you are out for a day trip a week-end stay or a school holiday stay.

Art House Gallery

The Lost Ones Gallery

the Post Office Gallery

GallerySmith

GallerySmith is currently exhibiting painted, photographic and ceramic artworks.  This is a large space.  Each work has space to breath and good lighting.  There is also always a good variety of great art.

This exhibition is on until 21 July 2018.

Adrian Strampp has both large and small artworks on display.  Adrian has an amazing ability to create images of the dark.  She often uses a limited palette, with wonderfully delicate tonal changes to portray the shadows within the darkness of the night, or (in my mind) the silent stillness of a frosty morning.  You need to sit for a while, watching from a distance and then get up closer to find all the nuanced changes in tone that reveal leaves, the branches of a tree, the side of a mountain or a headlamp within the landscape.  Even in her smaller untitled works she manages to conjure up for me the stillness of a river or the sea on a frosty morning.  I find her artworks to be restful and to resurrect memories of my own travel experiences.

Michelle Stanic’s artwork is large giclee prints of digital photographs she has taken of the German autobahn and Tasmanian forests.  I love the forest and bark images – particularly as the large size  suits the towering, moss covered, forest trees, with filtered sunlight.  Anyone who has visited our Tasmania forests will feel at home with these beautiful images.

Michelle Stanic “Light” 98cm x 172cm, framed 107cm x 181cm – limited edition prints.  Note: “Light” is one of a trilogy.  (Included with artist’s consent)

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Fiona Hiscock has created oversized ceramic works, pitchers, basins, bowls and smaller  plates.  The exhibition is titled “Woodland” and everything is beautifully decorated with native flora and fauna.  I love that I can actually recognise the birds.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Council Galleries

This is just a reminder that many of our local councils include a public gallery.  These hold curated exhibitions and are worth visiting.  The gallery is sometimes within the Town Hall precinct (refer recent visit to The Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre) or may be in another location (Refer Incinerator Gallery for the Moonee Valley City Council) .  I will be visiting a few more council galleries over the weeks ahead but keep it in mind if you are wandering down to council offices to pay bills etc.  ask them to point you to the local gallery it may in the same building and is worth a visit.

In the listing for Suburban Galleries I have identified which are local council galleries.

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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