Ken and Julia Yonetani @ National Gallery of Australia Contemporary

Ken and Julia Yonetani have created remarkable artefacts to draw attention to nuclear issues and the destructive effects of salinity.

The core work in this exhibition is a long white banqueting table staggering under the weight of a abundant food from many generations. The food includes abundant fruit, grains, meat,bread and vegetables laid out is visually exciting ways.

The two strange elements of this abundance are that everything is white and all the objects are made of solid salt. Apparently salt is very hard to use to create such objects and the exhibition  results from a residency the artists had in the Riverina (an area greatly affected by salinity.

The other half of the exhibition is a set of remarkable chandeliers. The designs are not all that novel but the fact that the glass is day glo green is unusual. The set is to point to nuclear issues and the colour linked to light is very thought provoking.

Pics below

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2014 Good Design Awards @ Powerhouse Museum Sydney

Each year at the Powerhouse Museum there is a display of the award winners in the 2014 Good Design Awards. Each year it is fascinating. This year the finalists include lighting systems, parking meters, fruit delivery boxes, sustainable buildings and a optical fibre manometry catheter. I am not a technical type but there is something inspiring about learning about these marvelous problem solvers and their creations.
Pictures below








More than a Body: Organic Perceptions – Frederika Rose

This exhibition features lots of almost macabre creations by Frederika Rose. There are body parts in flesh coloured silicon molds, There is a jewel encrusted sheep skull human hair included in the frame of a picture, pretty nickers and heaps of other items of interest. Ms Rose has used many media and formats to engage the viewer in thinking about the human body

I have put the gallery sheet and some sample shots for you to give you an idea of what Frederika is up to.

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Fenner Forum: The Future of Energy in a Changing World @ Fenner School ANU

I became a teacher of high school Geography at the age of 55. With nine years of tertiary education before I started I thought of myself as well educated. However I did not have a single unit of science anywhere on my transcript. I am deeply in debt to the ANU for the rich program of free public lectures that I have attended over the last seven years. The recent Fenner Forum is a case in point
The forum is the first in a series of four. This one was on energy. In it Ken Baldwin Director of the Energy Change Institute at ANU, Karen Hussey and Jemma Williams of the Fenner School addressed a range of aspects of our global futures in the field of energy production, distribution and consumption.
I am a junkie of politics and global issues in general and as a big consumer of global media I can on occasions get a trifle pessimistic. The thing that was very helpful about the three presentations was how positive they were about possibilities and likely solutions. Jemma Williams who did graduate work on the Clean Energy Future Plan in the ACT region was very positive in her assessment of it as a piece of science based public policy.
I am looking forward to the next three and so have included the website below.

Ancient World @ National Gallery of Victoria

I teach Ancient History to year seven, so finding the Ancient World exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria was a real treat. Under the Australian Curriculum we can range wide so finding artifacts from Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Mexico and other parts of South America was great. The display has a big range of types of artifacts with some great basic explanations of their origin and use in the societies.
The Mesopotamian civilisation is represented with objects representing various aspects of their society. IMAG1910



Egypt has a rich representation in with sumptuous items as well as fairly mundane types of artifacts.





Great exhibition beautifully laid out with a fabulous collection of artifiacts.

Faces of Death the last great carnivores Nayana Rathmalgoda @ M16 Art Space

This exhibition of work by Nayana Rathmalgoda is confronting as it deals with the issue of threatened species among carnivorous animals. The set ranges from tigers to dogs of different sorts. The images have blood in them but refer also to the wider debate about carnivores and extinction. I have included one below that is clearly referential to the great painting “The Scream”. I laughed in simple enjoyment at the appropriateness of that reference in this context.



Helen S Tiernan, Farming without fences @ Belconnen Art Gallery

This is a delightful fun and at the same time deeply sad set of pictures. Helen Tiernan is Irish and Indigenous in her background. This set of works teases out the tensions between European and Indigenous approaches to land management and does so in a charming and also a confronting way
She takes a famous french colonial era wall paper and turns it into an engaging work that highlights the out of place but familiar nature of European presence in Australia. (The first two pics below.)1391824733557





A delightful part of this set of paintings is how comfortably she combines the familiar with the abstract to tell a powerful story. The colours are deeply Australian and they present our land with fresh vitality.
It is a great set – Above also are the gallery sheet prices and some text

Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2013 @ National Archives Canberra

My favourite art show in Canberra every year is the Waterhouse. The show is the best of the finalists and all the prize winners in each category. It is held in the delightful little gallery space at the National Archives of Australia. Every year the artists create extraordinary celebrations of our natural world using a wide variety of media and styles..

The overall winner this year is a delicate shawl created out of paper and other natural elements. It is beautiful but not my favourite. So many beautiful items to choose from. Entrapercevoir by Stephanie Jane Rampton was a remarkable set of over sixty small panels in black and white portraying some gorgeous little bits of natural landscape. Gladdy Kemare Anwerkety (Bush Plum) is one of those magnetic indigenous paintings that draws you do it and in me evokes a strong desire to run my hands over it. There is a wonderful textural look about it and a rich earthy set of colours.

David Atkins thrilled my wife with his Flat screen Icon. He has created a painting of a rare marine creature in its in environment using raised gold paint on the bases of a collection of empty sardine tins.  It has a wonderful layered way of engaging us as the consumer.

One that really got to me was the Passing I and II by Senye Shen. It is a set of high energy waves done in white thread on green background. In so much of nature both in earthquakes and ocean waves there is a flow of energy that looks like these two images.

If there is any chance you can get into this make the effort.  all the works are on the website below but nothing gives you the idea of these great works like being in the room with them

Between a rock and a hard place @ M16

There is a small exhibition space off the big main gallery at M16. This week it is home to two works by Dan Stewart-Moore.One is entitled Vestige which is a beautifully worked piece of granite wit a angularly carved front side and a polished rounded rear. The other is caled Adaptive Paradox which looks like a model of something molecular made out of pine and connected by dowel.

The artist’s description is that they are An exploration of Artefacts from the cognitive dissonance of climate change.  The room is supplemented by a fascinating sound track.

More information and great images of Vestige are at.

National Arboretum Bonsai collection

I finally got to see the exhibition space and Bonsai collection area at the National Arboretum. The Bonsai collection is varied and less lovely than it will be because it is winter. The space is laid out with good walkways and trees on elevated shelving. The space is enclosed but is open to the sky with steel grid pattern roofing to keep thieves out.
The trees are varied in size, styles and complexity. As a newby to Bonsai this type of living thing is so intriguing. There are gum trees in miniture. There are beautifully symetrical densely packed deciduous trees. There are conifers, berry laden trees, small shubs and lichen laded trees. The art of these trees is remarkable and it will be great to go back and see these plants throughout the year. In my first visit it was overcast and in the middle of June. I will go back in spring to see the new miniature leaves arrive and all the associated change of colours. It will also be fun to see these plants in high summer for a less soggy experience.
The web page for this is below.