Athur Boyd @ Museum of Australian Democracy

I am a big fan of art but there are lots of gaps in my education. Arthur Boyd has been there in the ether of my life but i have not really got a sense of his overall work. The new exhibition at Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House is a small introduction to his work.

Grand surealistic rich coloured paintings, tightly detailed cartoon like sketches and delecate self portraits give the range. Topics range from blunt anti war material to appealing landscapes. Some of the material is confrontational, other stuff is confusing in a seeming lack of focus for me but the choices and range means that I will make repeat visits and plan in the school holidays to take a trip to the Boyd gallery at Bundanon.

The MOAD site is

The Bundanon Trust is at

Our Hungry Future @ Canberra Grammar School

On May 21 Julian Crib delivered his presentation on food security at the Canberra Grammar School. Cribb’s book The Coming Famine pulls together ute loads of unsettling information about the state of the earth connected to our food supply, (water, soil, protein use and supply, population, etc.). I saw the presentation at one of the ANU events some months ago and so was familiar with his case. Many people in this field leave you feeling like it is time to commit Seppuku. Julian however, has a second half of his presentation that is all techno boosting of the glories of algae farming, urban water management and synthesised foods of various levels of delectability.

The audience questions indicated we had organic farmers and various environmental enthusiasts in the room. Shane Rattenbury (the Green member of the local assembly) was one of the introduction speakers. Second time around it struck me that there needed to be a third strand added to Cribb’s presentation and that was dealing with the political and social realities. He did imply that the internet was going to bring together human ingenuity in unequalled energy and innovative power but the event left me a bit puzzled.

He has a vision of communities with altruism and far sighted engagement with problems but that is the bit I do not see. I see the problems pretty starkly. Apart from a life-long interest in these issues, now teaching high school history and geography I have to be enmeshed in these issues most days of the week. I am aware enough of the current rapid developments in the sciences and technologies to have confidence in the theoretical possibilities of solving the problems. Looking at societies and our political frameworks I lack the confidence of Julian Cribb.

The event was sponsored by Fusion and SEE-Change Inc. Their sites are below along with one for Julian Cribb.

Julian Cribb



Our hungry future


The Rug Project @ Beaver Galleries

There are eight rugs hanging on the walls of the Beaver Gallery.  What is so surprising about that? Beaver usually exhibits flat art on the walls and sculpture and glass throughout. We go to the gallery every month or so and this is the first time I have seen rugs on the walls

The Rug Project is a cooperation between eight local artists and a group of women rug makers in Kathmandu Nepal. Each of the local artists created a special work of art that was supplied to the rug making group who then created the rugs according to the design. The rug makers have made five copies of the rugs and all of the rugs are for sale.
Having seen many of the artists featured in the project on local gallery walls it was a delight to see such strong features of their other work in the rugs. Each of the featured rugs seemed suitable for both a wall and a floor and to me the prices seemed to be pretty good.
Beaver Gallery is at
The rug project is spelt out as follows

WolfgangButtress @ ANU Drill Hall

Grand highly engineered.public constructions are at the heart of the work of Wolfgang Buttress. My first encounters were with large polished reflective metal structures such as the set in the Sculpture Garden at the NGA. This exhibition is designed as a taster to his practice. One room has an engaging set of etched perspex sheets stacked into cubes in which the etchings combine to create internal shapes and colours that move and change from every angle. Another room has two big screens that show the construction of an remarkable large open lace globe in the heart of
Belfast using time laps photography.
Other spaces include star focussed works of art on paper and metal and colour photos of some of the grand public art already created by Buttress foeausr various locations around the globe. This exhibition is supplemented by a recent addition to the public art at the ANU off Lennaeus Way created by Buttress.
His website is here
The Drill Hall on him exhibition is

Wagner and the Grail @ School of Music

I have rarely been to live classical music events. Last night I sat at the School of Musics Llewellen Hall for a couple of hours enthralled by 60 musicians and over 40 singers performing four pieces by the German composer Wagner.
The orchestra is laid out in sections as are the vocalists. The integration of all of this seems to be the task of the conductor. To me a newby to all this the complexity of the music was awesome.
Like all musical genres the more you are exposed, the better your understanding. I got chipped by a man behind me for being annoying for taking photos. The last few concerts I have been to (Paul Simon and Mumford and Son) had a thousand cameras out. Maybe it is like church – most people don’t take pics in church.
I am now on a quest to chase more Wagner. There was a Stephen Fry program on him in his historical context on TV on Saturday night. I have a whole lot of Wagner on my MP3 player in classical anthologies. Wonderful how in my sixties there is so much of our human history I have so little understanding oo so I can keep learning for a long time in new fields.

Gershwin, Granger and Bernstein @ Albert Hall

On Saturday afternoon we attended one of the Canberra International Music Festival Concerts at the Albert Hall. Anna Grinberg and Liam Viney worked up a storm on dual Steinways through a program of American music written by three of the greats George Gershwin, Percy Granger and Leonard Bernstein. I am not a great fan of the piano but sat in admiration as these two entertained us with a remarkably synchronised collection of great piano pieces that demonstrated the power and range of the instrument. The instantly recognizable Maria and Everything is free in America from West Side Story was a high point but I loved the piece that they did on the one piano.

The Albert Hall is a charming venue for such an event and it was nice to be in an audience where I felt relatively young. The performance lasted only an hour and fifteen minutes but it worked as the music was demanding to listen to and was broken into digestable parts.

A website for the duo

Craft 2620 @ Q Gallery Queanbeyan

If you like hand made handmade arts and crafts with a variety of styles this exhibition is for you. The small gallery at the Q in Queanbeyan currently has a group of artists displaying paintings, glass, silver-work, jewellery, woodwork and other art forms. The range of styles is truly exciting. I have attached a few of the pictures I took to give a sense of the styles. The prices are reasonable for the items on sale.

Natalie Maras Kathleen Mills, and Matthew Curtis are among the contributing artists. To me Natalie Maras was the most creative and varied in her arts and crafts.

The Q gallery site is at

Verge Canberra @ Huw Davies Gallery Manuka

I love Canberra and have lived here for 57 of the last 62 years. The latest exhibition of photos at the Huw Davies Gallery in Manuka was a delight to my heart. The photo set were all taken in the early morning and are up on the wall in large black and white prints. The subject matter is Canberra as it ages in contrast to the constant focus on the new and glossy.standard image.

These photos are of cracked footpaths, overgrown front yards, flaking paint and broken fences and the quirky interplay between odd houses and sculptured shrubbery. It is so recognizably Canberra vast numbers of streets are lined with this stuff but it is a long way from the usual image of Canberra. This exhibition is also devoid of people. The photographers Mark Mohell and Rohan Henderson went out early in the day and their choice to do so has done a great service to the image of Canberra.

The photoaccess Huw Davies gallery is at:

The catalogue pdf is at:

Click to access Verge%20Catalogue.pdf


Stocking makers and Luddites @ ANU

People live in different worlds. Last night at the ANU the annual Alan Martin lecture was delivered by Professor Carolyn Steedman. Her presentation was on her research into certain individuals in Lancashire during the Luddite era. For me as an outsider to the realms of academic historical research it was a remarkable insight into the processes. Professor Steedman has worked closely recently with documents generated by two men working in Lancaster and their documents varied widely. One was a 100,000 words of a diary and another was primarily of court related records but much shorter. Her lecture walked us through the different methodological issues and the ethical valued that need to be woven into this type of work
The complex interrelationships between publishers, university funders, the reading public, academic debates and personal feelings in the process were woven into a fascinating explanation of the task of an academic historian.
Luddism was not the focus of the explanation. Professor Steedman mainly walked us through how historians bring to the student and the reading public the product of their work. The most surprising element to me was the discussion of guilt in the researcher as they invade and use the product of people who are now dead. This issue occupied time both in the lecture and in the Q and A.
As a High School History teacher it was great to weave into my class the next day insights from Professor Steedman to help the students better understand how we create understandings of Industrial Revolution.

Carolyn Steedman at Warwick University UK

Her book page is at

Ten Squared 10 Artists 10 decades 100 Years of Glass @ Canberra Glassworks

As part of the Canberra 100 program the Canberra Glassworks have brought together an exhibition of ten glass artists who have played roles in the Glassworks since it opened. Glass art rocketted into my life with the arrival of Chihuly at the NGA in the 1990s. The sense of joyful awe I felt still resonates through me as I recall that first introduction to the spectacular world of glass art. This exhibition traverses some wonderful adventers in glass art.
Simon Maberley bought a traditional oval shaped mirror and etched by removing the reflecting backing from the mirror the image of the indigenous leader who attended the opening of Parliament House in 1927. The observer is reflected in the mirror as they try to work out the image. There is a set of necklaces by Blanche Tilden called Capital Growth I-VI made of oblong chunks of frosted glass riveted together and available in various numbers of symetrically arranged sets of chunks. Poor description of simple beauty.
This is a traditionally small exhibition but it is a great set of works from some of the best people working in glass art around here. The range of styles and methods is a delightful
A blurb on this is at