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.



Blake Prize 2015 @ Casula Powerhouse

The biggest single art  show I have seen in the last several months is the Blake Prize show at the Casula Powerhouse. The displays cover all the gallery spaces and as a religious ideas prize the content and styles are awesomely wide.

There are a large group of cut out bright outlined cardinals. There is a display that takes mugs from ornamental isolation on shelves to smashed rubble returning to the ground..There are portraits, there are mythical style creations and a delightful pair of spray bottles that  are bigger than I am.

The range and diversity of styles in this exhibition includes a large carcass of meat. There is a great installation that uses hats and flat screens that tie together the celebration of a birthday. I usually only get one visit to these and in this case I wish I could get back. It was an inspiring set of art works.

Below is a set of snaps taken on the phone in the gallery.

20160313_113607 20160313_113650 20160313_113753 20160313_114205 20160313_114214 20160313_114528 20160313_114648 20160313_115240 20160313_115419 20160313_115459 20160313_120227 20160313_120842 20160313_122056


Safrizal Shahir @ ANU School of Art Gallery

Islamic Gravestones are at the heart of Safrizal Shahir’s exhibited work at the ANU School of Art. His Phd in Prnitmedia and Drawing is behind this exhibition. The large pencil and graphite creations have all sorts of images and engravings that characterise Islamic gravestones and some more abstract renditions of similar images.. The images are beautiful if haunting and some of the larger ones are very dramatic.
Some images and the gallery sheet below.










Radicals, Slayers and Villains @ Ballarat Art Gallery

Dr John Ord Poynton has blessed generations through his donations of art.The exhibition Radicals, Slayers and Villains at the Ballarat Art Gallery is curated from a collection he donated to the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne. The thing I love about an exhibition like this is the age of the material and the insight it gives me into the methods, styles and ideas of say the 1500s. Below there are three pics that are taken from the three sections of the show. All were produced in the 1500s. I still am in awe when I stand in front of an art work in great shape that is 500 years old. I have also included some pics of some of the informative wall text that is with the exhibition.
A Radical is embodied in
Heinrich Aldergrever Martin Luther 1540
A Slayer is embodied in
Giovanni Battista Scultori – David Cutting the head off Goliath 1540
A villain is embodied in
Albrecht Durer – A Coat of arms with a skull 1503



EIKON: Icons of the Orthodox Christian World @ Ballarat Art Gallery

The Christian form I am involved in is not really into art, creativity and religious representation – plain walls no decoration of anything. The exhibition at the Ballarat Art Gallery is an exhilarating experience for me. It consists of religious objects of worship drawn from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East.
Each of the objects has a religious purpose, a religious context and tells a deeply religious story. Some of the pictures are of the great characters and stories of the Christian and Hebrew scriptures. Other pictures weave the stories of the great characters and heroes of the Eastern Orthodox Church. There is a whole room devoted to mother and child portrayals.
These icons are majorly made of egg tempura paint on wood. The representations are fairly flat and have little depth of field. They are created to aid people’s devotion. They are at the heart of controversies between several branches of the Christian movement during the middle ages.
The exhibition is beautifully laid out on red walls with dim lighting and a fabulous set of textual boxes explaining the history and background of each icon. The whole set is supplied by a single Sydney collector and is accompanied by a remarkable hardback book that includes lots of the icons and plenty of background information.
Here are a few pics to give a sense of the set.











The Sculpture program @ Ballarat Botanic Gardens

I remember in some connection when I was young, hearing that the gardens of the Palace of Versailles had sculptures of great people installed throughout its vast areas because the nobles did not want to be lonely in the gardens. Tha Ballarat Botanic Gardens has a collection of sculptures installed in the gardens. The explanation is spelt out on a charming glass and corrugated iron pavilion. The collection is basically a gift from Thomas Stoddart and James Robert Thomson. Some are scattered among the trees and shrubs. The set I was most impressed with is in a pavilion. In the centre Flight from Popmei. Around the edges are four statues, Rebecca, Susanna, Modesty and Ruth. The Flight from Pompei has marble reliefs set into the base. The sculptures are part of a heritage that seems a little antique today but fun to look at.











Mambo – 30 years of shelf indulgence @ National Gallery of Victoria Federation Square

Mambo is fun. Whenever I look at something to do with their work I get the idea that it must be a fun place to work. Their artworks often have a serious side to them but you never get the idea that they take themselves too seriously. To walk into the NGV Federation Square gallery and spend an hour with a collection of 30 years of their art and production is to leave with a sense of exuberant thankfulness for a unique form of creativity.
Curators have brought together a time line, surf boards, clothing, posters, cartoons, sculpture, video, wall art and lots of other objects decorated with distinctive Mambo style creativity. The story that is told is inspiring and uplifting because of the rich creativity it explains and exposes.
There is no Mambo log. They use the word in a myriad of changing forms. There are core members of the project but I think I read that they have used 250 graphic designers over their time. While they have generated lots of clothing they are not a clothing company. They have done lots with surf paraphernalia but they never became a surf company. Mambo has always been about the art and the remarkable thing is that it has a style that is recognisable but it has stayed fresh through constant reinvention and morphing.
I go to lots of exhibitions and the thing that keeps me going is surprise. I was aware of Mambo. I had no real idea of the range and scope of their art and their creativity. Every panel, every shirt, every board tells of a quirky sense of fun combined with a delight in poking in a stiring way at important comfortable parts of our society.
It was great to see the gallery full of people ranging from the frail aged to the primary school aged all seeming to enjoy asking questions of the art and pointing out to each other interesting features.
Web site
Some pictures below give a sense of Mambo











Jewish Museum of Australia in St Kilda Melbourne

Targetted museums have a fascination to me because of their focus. The Jewish Museum in Melbourne is a rich small record of the history and culture of one of the world’s great people and the religion of some of them.

The long first room is an analysis of the time line of the Jews over the last several thousand years. It walks the visitor from creation through Abraham to kingdoms and their dispersion regathering and dispersion again. The text and pictures on the walls and floors are detailed and sequential. Modern people often see Jews through either the Holocaust or their wars against and the oppression of the Palestinians since 1949. This museum takes a much more global and deeply historical approach.

The second room traces the presence of Jews in Australia since the first fleet of European arrivals of 1788. It deals with the waves of arrivals and the contributions the various groups have made to our history and society.

The third room weaves a picture of the calendar that shapes the lives of a Jewish community. it is a lunar calendar and rotates through feast days and other markers of their priorities. The displays are clear and weave artifacts and text well.

The fourth room is a place for their ceremonies. There are weddings and sabbath and passover activities portrayed with manikins furniture and other museum techniques. This room was very engaging for me. The ceremonies have great history and mystery to them and made for great reading and learning.

I loved the museum for its big picture approach and the quality of the content. I will go back next time I am in Melbourne because there is lots more to learn from this place.

There was a no photographs policy (hard to understand) so no pics with this post,