Bowls baskets blankets and boats – Jenny Manning @ Belconnen Arts Centre

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Jenny Manning Has created an exhibition in the four styles listed in the title. Her bowls are big functional and richly coloured. Her baskets come in a range of sizes and styles with a similar colour palette. These are made with plastic tubing wrapped in rough woolen yarn. The blankets are knitted in mohair and scream out to be picked up and wrapped around you as you walk past. The boats are a delightful set of both black and white and also coloured versions of textured sketched boats. The coloured ones have a look as if they are made out of quilted material. Painted on smooth MDF they are charming.
Below are some pics and the gallery sheet to give an idea of pricing.
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Genius and Ambition @ Bendigo Art Gallery

The blockbuster at the Bendigo Art Gallery Genius and Ambition is drawn from 150 years of artists connected with the Royal Academy in London. I have never been to this gallery but the experience invites me to go back again and again. The exhibition space is large and the choice of deep blue, red, and green for the rooms combined with mandated low lighting gave a regaity to the hung works.
Lots of the heroes of the English art world including the superstars of Constable, Gainsborough Turner. The historical background to the Royal Academy is fascinating but it is a bit of a hagiography ignoring the controversies about their role in culture control. However it is an awesome experience to be in these large rooms viewing such superstars of the 19th century art world. The scale of the artworks is often amazing. There are lots of paintings of scenes and people on creations that would cover the side of a double decker bus.
It is an awesome thing that such a great art show gets to be housed in a regional gallery
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Golden Dragon Museum at Bendigo

Two of my passions in teaching Australian History at middle school come together at this Museum, cultural diversity and migration. Whoever is responsible for this exhibition has done a great job. The main room is a high ceilingled round hall with a vast array of information and artifacts informing the visitor about the complex and rich Chinese culture and society as it has developed in Australia. There are clothes, religious items, information about business, family heritage information and heaps of other facets to their world.
The second space is much more object oriented. There are large numbers of remarkable things to learn about. I am so used to stuff that is purely functional that encountering objects that are simply startling in their complex design and decoration always surprises me. Imagine having a small cart like a covered rick shaw that is completely made out of decoratively carved Jade – I found it entrancing. The range of stunningly beautiful examples of creative design and craftsmanship is quite breathtaking.
I have a few pics below to whet the appetite. The web site is http://www.goldendragonmuseum.org/
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Luminous World @ National Library of Australia

Some corporations collect art – usually as an investment. In Australia one of the strong corporations in the field is Westfarmers (the people who also own Coles and Bunnings. Part of the Art Gallery of Western Australia as I recall is named for their collection and they have now put on the current display at the National Library titled Luminous.
The display at the National Library is a delightfully curated set of woks that cover the last 30 years and as you walk through you become aware of the trends that have passed. The art combines indigenous burial poles, large scale landscape photographs, Jackson Pollock lookalikes and a large range of works all of which reflect light in various forms.
I enjoyed the collection mainly because of the historical range and the diverse way the curator has put together a light themed collection. No Photographs wre allowed but the three post cards handed out at the door give you a bit of a sense of the works.
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19th and 20th Century Art – Ballarat Art Gallery

I have wanted to go to the Ballarat Art Gallery for 20 years. Many collected exhibitions I have been to over the years have sourced from this Gallery’s collection. Most of my art consumption has been in Canberra and the National is not strong in 19th century but Ballarat has a reputation for a good collection. As soon as we arrived we did not go to the block buster but we went upstairs and spent a few hours with their collection of 19th and 20th Century art.
The representation of Australian society and country embodied in the art is wonderful.The combination of odd looking Europeans dressed in finery in unpaved bush settings abound. There are lots of representations of the environment in its leached out light and many presentations of people wrestling to make a living out of a harsh environment.
The bonus in these galleries is the furniture taken from the period and laid out in appropriate spaces.

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Fonovale – Fono McCarthy @ Wyndham Art Gallery

The delightful small gallery upstairs in the Wyndham Council building has an exhibition inspired by traditional South Pacific culture. The creations are a set of tied dowling rods accompanied by some traditional framed black and white drawings. Rather than talk about the works I will attach some pics and the gallery sheet for any readers who do not get to Wyndam.
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Barbarella’s Spaceship @ Megalo Print Studio and Art Gallery

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The Megalo Gallery is a well lit cheerful space but when you add the primary colour festival that is in it at present the vibe becomes jubilant. A big collection of print makers have joined to exhibit simple brightly coloured printed useful objects for the kitchen, bedroom, family room and other household functions.
There are bags, tea towels, cushion covers quilt covers and lots of other useful items all set up in categories or spaces to show their usefulness. The overall impression is of vital exuberant usefulness. I have attached the flyer, the gallery sheet and some sample shots to give you a taste of what is in the gallery.
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