Canberra is blessed with several large vital arts communities. One of the greats is Strathnairn out on a property beyond Holt in Belconnen. The artists inhabit what look like farm buildings and a farm house has been turned into a cafe, gallery and shop. The shows by members are varied and give great insight into the community’s creativity.
The Belconnen Arts Centre is hosting a delightful exhibition titled Strathnairn by the Lake in which there are samples of the creative production by nearly 20 artists from the Holt centred community. The items on display include paintings and various approaches to art on the wall and metal and earth based sculpture works. The range is wide and many of the artists are well known in the districts.
Samantha Small has a fascinating set of photographs on glass called Westlake Project. Carolyn Fitzpatrick has a watercolour called Still silent morning. Sheila Lyn has a couple of attractive hand built sculptural fine clay pots. Avi Amesbury has some classy looking white porcelain useful objects titled the “After the fire series” decorated with volcanic ash. Jo Hollier has a viscoscity monoprint titled “Sunshine and shadow” These are just a few of a wonderful collection of art on display in the gallery.
Japan is endlessly fascinating. Their unique creativity shows in every form or artistic creation. The current exhibition featuring Japanese creativity at the National Gallery is focused on a long lasting theatre tradition. The Kabuki theatre is complex, beautiful and weaves together a range of elements. This exhibition covers character, plot, costumes, publicity and personel over the hundreds of years these traditions have continued through.
Families have played roles in Kabuki generation after generation. They have samples in the exhibition of PR pictures done by a grandfather and decades later by his grandson. The interweaving of people and roles over generations shows up throughout this exhibition. The costumes are sumptuous, richly-coloured creatively embroidered artworks. There is a film of one of the plays in a 1943 print in a mini theatre within the exhibition. I love the Japanese aesthetic in most art forms and this exhibition is colourful and richly backed with great historical details in the walls.
The NGA has some fabulous website backing to this exhibition. Their anti photograph policy and no gallery sheets to take way means it is often hard to go back and remember the details without buying the 40-75 dollar type books they produce for most of their exhibitions. Not so for this exhibition. The website has a gallery of a few dozen pictures that are part of the exhibition and there is a delightful secondary school resource that is there in PDF form with great glossy illustrations.
Spectacularly beautiful is my reaction to this exhibition. It is a collaboration between two great caches of source material. The National Library has J.W.Power’s sketch books and Sydney University has lots of his striking abstract artworks. This exhibition brings together those elements and includes some contemporary artworks which were owned by J.W.Power to give a sumptuously coloured and creatively varied set of works.
Generally I am not a fan of Cubists and their ilk. Having seen this Power exhibition I am so excited at the vitality and exciting use of shape and colour I am rethinking my past attitudes. There is a great take on underwater corals. I loved one of them that has an accordion player as part of its subject matter. There is a huge range of heads done in this style but the subject matter is so wide that it did not get boring.
The NLA contribution to this exhibition is primarily the 32 sketch books. I love sketchbooks. Artists are often so talented in quick small takes on lots of aspects of life and they are often done in little pads with several sketches on the same page. It is always fasciating to have an insight to the backgound practice of artists and scanning so many books from parts of Power’s life over decades was awesome. (Of course I wanted to open the cases and flick through the books but I understand their unwillingless to let that happen.
I have seen lots of Picasso but the other contemporary star artists featured with Power were Francois Poncetton, Andre Sportier and George Valmier. To me the Valmier works were truly spectacular in their vibrant colour and design.
I love being surprised by art. This one did it – a style I am not usually warm to engaged both my wife and I with a constant stream of exciting images that showed imagination and creativity in big quantities. Attached are the image off the front page of the NLA page and another great one from Google. The NLA page on this is at https://www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/abstraction-creation
There is a great line about Suzie Edwards’ work in the gallery sheet. “For this exhibition, Suzie has set herself the challenge of trying to understand and identify the elements necessary for an image to captivate the viewer…” Eight large multi part images are on the wall and every one has that “what is this about?” element. They range from awe inspiring almost cathedral style views to almost grimy modern urban images. It is a very delightful set of images.
I love Canberra. I love Photoaccess. The two often are woven together. Having lived here for 57 of the last 62 years I have seen it change hugely. It has its booms and busts it has its local and national elements and it has its new and old.
This exhibition is working with an Instagram group #urbancanberra and the pictures are printed in Polaroid size to reflect that. The three have quite different styles but all show a mix of old and new, high end and low end and human and built urban elements.
The three photographers are big fans of phone photography of Canberra Urban scenes.
I have included a few pics below to show the lay out and the types of pics included.
Megalo is where I will go when I want to take up doing art. To me print making is such an exciting, varied and complex art. The exhibition that is on now has such a great range of styles and creativity. The artists are James Lieutenant, Leo Loomans, Mehwish Iqbal, Tomiyuki Sakuta, Tanya Myshkin, and Adam Veikkanen. The ideas in some of these prints were particularly interesting. Mr Veikkanen created printing using ply wood frames and carpet four look a likes to TV static. The work I loved the most was one using a technique called IIntaglio by Tomiyuki Sakuta from the Megalo archive called Canberra Friends. As it was behind glass my phone did not get a good shot but the front of the gallery sheet below has the whole pic and I have added a couple of the friends.
Nine local artists are hung in the Gallery in the Nishi right now. James Powdichtch, Richard Blackwell, Paul Sutton, Jacob Potter, Byrd, Louise Upshall, Natalie Mather, Emily Valentine are the artists. Below are a sample of the art works basically arranged around the list above. The gallery sheet is there also.
There are two very large objects created out of pale undecorated corrugated cardboard on display in the ANU School of Art Foyer Gallery. Ross Byers has created them and calls them Mnemonics. The publicity blurb has two other large cardboard creations on it that are not on display. The brief gallery sheet and some pics are below:
It is a special thing to be in a gallery with gorgeous objects and to meet and converse with the creator. After taking in every object I went to just comment to the three people on the counter and it turned out that one of them was Janet De Boos..She has been creating for fifty years and has such skill and creativity it is striking. Interwoven in her pottery are classical Chinese themes, Indigenous influences and many other elements.
Some of her works almost gleam with glittery variegated surfaces, others take all their colours and textures from the earth and there is a fabulous set of pale green high lustre urns that squeal China. I have included some of the publicity and some pics to give an idea of the glory of her work.
Often I walk towards a gallery thinking “What on earth is this going to be about?” If I have done no pre-reading and am not familiar with the topic or artist that is the best I can do. Approaching the Drill Hall Gallery in the rain today that was exactly what was going on in my head.
What a powerful surprise awaited me.A colour and sound explosion in vital and energetic forms is in that building right now.These artists were intrigued with the possibility of representing sound visually. Some screen savers on early computers tried that and must have been influenced by these artists.
At heart this exhibition straddles two sets of artists past and contemporary that use painting, film, light and music To me the star of the show is Ludwig Hirschfield Mack. There is lots of his work and it is exciting, colourful and playfully musical. Of the modern group Cathy Blanchflower’s marvelous musical looking large flowing works are a delight. John Aslanidis has other great interwoven images that cry out a musical background.
Gallery Three has a wonderful video musical creation on multiple screens that are immersive and invigorating to sit amongst. It has been created by an audio-visual performance group called Botborg. The performance is called Neural Luminance Amplifier.
Below are a few pictures and the hand out. I was surprised by how exciting I found the art on the wall and all the other forms of representing music visually.