Nicholas Harding – Drawing Godot @ Beaver Galleries

Nicholas Harding has a whimsical collection of stage paintings and drawings on exhibition at the Beaver Gallery right now. They has an almost Dickensian look about and there is a playfulness about the characters portrayed in the works. Inspired by his time observing stage production rehearsal in Paris and a time as artist in residence with the Sydney Theatre Company Mr Harding has put on paper some great characters.
I was rapt in the great charcoal drawings he did to accompany the photos that make up the bulk of the Arcadia exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. They were impressionistic with little character visible in the people. These buzz with life and personality and colour.
Attached is the flyer, gallery sheet some pics I took and a pic from a long essay on the works given away in the gallery.
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Stars of the Tokyo Stage – Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints @ National Gallery of Austraia

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. 

http://nga.gov.au/TokyoStage/Default.cfm

Here is one of the pics from the gallery to give you a sense of the beauty of this material.japana

Theatre of Dreams – Theatre of Play @ Art Gallery of NSW

One of the great specialisation areas of the Art Gallery of NSW is Asia. Currently in the main level one gallery is Theatre of Dreams – Theatre of Play, a thorough showing of the six hundred year history of the No Theatre tradition from Japan.
The exhibition is a sumptuous display of costumes, masks, props and other creative arts connected with the No theatre. The displays are subtly lit and delightfully supported with text. Elegant, delicate, subtle, rich are some of the words that flow through my brain in this exhibition. The aesthetic of most Japanese artistic achievement is finely crafted and exquisitely executed. That quality is strongly present in everything in this display. I loved this for its refined and restrained beauty.
There is a charge of $10 dollars and a great brochure explaining the artifacts. I have included a few pics below to give a sense of this exhibitionDSCF1173 DSCF1174 DSCF1192 DSCF1193 IMAG4812 IMAG4813