Ruth Lane-Poole – A woman of influence at Canberra Museum and Gallery

Photo of one of Ruth’s watercolours illustrating the range of her creative skills

I love the role of curators. This weekend saw the opening of an exhibition devoted to arguably Australia’s first career interior designer – Ruth Lane-Poole. The display is at CMAG because the biggest and most significant contributions she made to Canberra was to design the interiors of the two grand residences of the captial in the 1920s, Government House and the Lodge.

The curator, Margaret Betteridge has pulled together a gorgeous collection of related artefacts to tell the story of two significant buildings set in an era and intertwined with the story of a creative, courageous woman. Lane-Poole was emerging from a creative family to influence the visual elements of interior design in her generation and in many ways each decade since. Betteridge has told the complex tale effectively.

This show has lots of what I love in exhibitions. The artefacts range from a garland with fabric flowers used in Lane-Poole’s wedding through to a two metre carved timber table. The story is fascinating, the layout is easy to following and the intertwining of history with the personal lives of the participants is engaging.

The exhibition is on till Saturday 2nd October 2021

Details on website

Coincidences – John Wardle Architects @ Nishi Gallery

Big architect practices contribute richly to societies. They create wonderful spaces in which we live and work and they contribute richly to the visual amenity of our towns and cities. This exhibition was created by John Wardle Architects to show what their contribution consists of.  They have invited 12 photographers to visit their projects and take a photograph that shows their take on the building.

The exhibition has very large photos and a set of smaller ones that reveal the projects from which the photos were taken.The images are beautiful and the take of those buildings through the images are fascinating.

Below is a web page from when the exhibition was on in Melbourne

There are some snaps below of our visit,

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Glenn Murcutt – Architecture of Faith @ National Gallery of Victoria

I have been a fan of Glenn Murcutts architecture for a long time. I have been a fan of Islamic architecture for even longer. When I found out that Murcutt has been asked to work with the Melbourne Islamic community to prepare a building for them to centre their shared lives on I was excited.

There is currently an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Federation square that shows the designs, the developing thinking and the community consultation involved between Murcutt, the community and one of their architects to bring about a remarkable centre for worship, education and socialising. The exhibition did not disappoint and next visit to Melbourne I hope to visit the completed centre.The website has an essay and some pictures of the plans and the build.



Next Door – Photographs by Paul Blackmore @ State Library of NSW

30 Aug – 29 Nov 2016

Some photographers tell great stories. Some record history. This exhibition tells a great story about one of the central features of Australian life – the suburb. Blackmore’s moment in time shots give you a window into the nature of some Sydney suburbs in the 90s. They record the variety of house proud approaches to house and yard, There are pictures that taken together portray cultural diversity. There is also a tale of social aspiration and its opposite. They are a very engaging set of pictures of suburbia.


Pic samples

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Point of Contact – Fangmin Jack Wu @ Hurstville Museum and Gallery

27 August – 18 September 2016

The Dragon’s Lair Gallery in Hurstville provides exposure to the work of local artists. The current exhibition is a set of richly coloured highly textured largely urban images from the artist Fangmin (Jack) Wu. The subject matter is drawn together under the title of Point of Contact” which is his take on places in our community in which we come into contact with each other such as railway stations and cul de sacs.

There around 30 pictures and many of them represent delightful parts of European cities visited by Wu. Some of the pictures are reproduced below from phone pics.

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Transitions @ Hurstville Museum and Gallery

25 June 9 October 2016

History is often wonderfully told with well chosen photographs. There is a small exhibition in the Snapshot Gallery at Hurstville Museum and Gallery of photos that tell the story of the roots of the now highly developed region of Sydney Hurstville. The pictures portray shopfronts, the railway station, and other public buildings.

I would have loved as a not resident to have matching pictures of the spaces as they are today to give a sense of change over time. There is a great sense of nostalgia in the set and I particularly loved the reproduction of a block and section map of the area near the railway station.

Local museums have a great role in reflecting on the community’s past and this one does it well.

Pictures and gallery material below.

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St Matthew’s @ Albury

The non indigenous culture in Australia is comparatively recent. I am getting interested in our older buildings. In Albury I went in and had a look around St Matthew’s church. I particularly enjoy stained glass and the other art in these buildings.

Three architects contributed to the current building. Edmund Blackett, created the earliest parts of the building in 1857-59. William Boles completed the original building in 1876 with the chancel, and Ian O’Connor designed the rebuild after fire gutted it in 1991.

Below I have included pics of stained glass, a couple of the modern stations of the cross and some modern inclusions.

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Reflections – 9 Glass Artists @ Australian Parliament House

24  June – 11 September

The blurb on the APH website says about this exhibition “This exhibition features nine internationally renowned glass artists who have created new works at Canberra Glassworks in response to the art, architecture and landscape of Parliament House. Artists include: Annette Blair, Lisa Cahill, Mel Douglas, Hannah Gason, Jeremy Lepisto, Ruth Oliphant, Emilie Patteson, Kirstie Rea and Harriet Schwarzrock.

The exhibition further explores one of Romaldo Giurgola’s original concepts in the planning and design of the Parliament House building, which was to honour the best skills and craftsmanship in Australia. Each artist has spent time touring the building and gardens and engaging with works in the Parliament House Art Collection to provide inspiration for their works. The finished works will be shown side-by-side with an accompanying piece from the Parliament House Art Collection.

In the President’s Gallery there is an interplay between artworks and glass artworks. There are some wonderful black and white photos of the building interposed between delightful examples of glass art. The photographs are fabulous productions on the building and its light and angles by people like Max Dupain and David Moore. The work I liked most was the Ruth Oliphant glass object which enabled you to look through the marble clad block pillars at the front to the angled wall of the sloping grass at the front.

Below is a set of pics from the exhibition.

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Zogas Sutherland Ortega @ ANU School of Art Foyer Gallery

2 June to 9 June 2016 featuring Mariana Ortega, Karlyn Sutherland, Tom Zogas,

Three artists in residence brought together this exhibition at the ANU School of Art Foyer Gallery.

Tom Zogas centred his art around a set of class containers that he created and then used them to be the basis of some photos of the containers through an almost Xray style process, The colours are transparent and black and white and all the images and objects are curvy and fluid.

Mariana Ortega has produced a series of tapestries made out of course wool representing women in various poses. They are accompanied by a set of tiny faces in tapestries.

Karlyn Sutherlandhas an interest in architecture and her contribution to this exhibition consists of striking black and white sketches, geometric glass architecture models and some layered cut out drafts for buildings.


There are images to give you an insight to the three artists work below with gallery materials.

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Visionary – What we can create @ Gallery of Australian Design

Feb 5-27 2016

“The works displayed in Visionary represent a range of creative responses to Australian issues and can give insight into creative and design thinking processes of Australian researches.”The panels celebrated the work of a series of designers addressing specific design briefs. The website page is below with some pics.

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