5 February - 2 March 2019
In Summer 2019, our artists have responded to the sublime nature of an Australian summer; both its awe inspiring beauty and its wild and terrifying potential. Each artists has engaged with their local experience of the summer months, including around the Hawkesbury, the South Coast, rural NSW, in and around Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and Tasmania. From the crackling, dry heat through to refreshing coastal scenes, the artists capture the unique qualities of summertime.
ANNABEL BUTLER’s paintings take us on a road trip along the Hume and around Lake George. Her painterly landscapes evoke the dry heat and strong light of an Australian summer in the passing landscapes on a stretch of highway. JANET DAWSON’s ongoing desire to explore and expose the resonance of a place emerges through her pastel drawings of, often, rural Australian landscapes and the everyday subjects of her still-life.
VIOLA DOMINELLO finds inspiration near her home around the Hawkesbury and the hinterlands. Working en plein air she captures an instant of changing light and tone. Through painterly gesture DOMINELLO’s practice is imbued with a sensitivity that reveals moments of intricate and transient beauty of the landscape. Painting at the turning points of each day ASHLEY FROST’s works capture the sublime transition of early morning or late evening light. Fluid in form and composition, his paintings engage with the relationship between bodies of water and vast skies and their otherworldly evocations of light through a vivid and viscous palette.
STEVE LOPES settled into daily life of Carss Park, observing the minutiae of everyday scenes along the rambling coastline, and the people passing through it. Working en plein air, the fluid brushstrokes in Lopes’ studies of Carss Park respond quickly to light and tone, resulting in lively vignettes of the surrounding coastal and bushland area.
CORINNE LOXTON’s focus is often on the sky and its transient light, colour and form; uncontrollable and ephemeral. Her paintings recognise the potential for both beauty and harshness through her depictions of land and sky amidst the devastation of the Blue Mountain bushfires; a familiar scene during a hot, dry Australian summer. IAN MARR’s panoramic paintings capture vast, uninterrupted, and rambling landscapes. Glints of copper peak through MARR’s warm colour palette; appropriately twinkling and glowing as they catch the light.
Fish and other thingsDeirdre Bean
5 March - 30 March 2019
DEIRDRE BEAN presents Fish and other things, a cabinet of curiosities that delights in the spoils of collecting and the catch.
From delicate compositions of Bracken fern and a cicada, to a John Dory with two shells, or a heaped pile of Lantana and a spider, DEIRDRE BEAN collects the natural world. This attention to the minutiae of her surroundings has been ongoing in her work, as she writes, “since my childhood I have been inspired by the natural world. Our family home was surrounded by pristine bush. The nearby beach and river were an idyllic playground. My father was an expert fisherman, and it seemed we had an endless supply of food from the sea. My recent paintings are inspired by those times.”
The simple couplings of fish with plates and utensils spark musings of potential feasts to come. For BEAN the works celebrate the moments of shared feasting at the family table and reinforce the idea of fish as food.
Painting with watercolour on paper or vellum, the traditional method used by natural history illustrators, BEAN’s works balance precision with flare and imagination. Of her process she writes, “my subjects are drawn from life, painstakingly measured and colour matched. The paintings can be viewed as still life studies.”
Countering the scientific exactitude of BEAN’s process is the humour in the compositions. Flowers positioned alongside Chinese inspired ceramics depict the stories from the artist’s every day. From the white faced herons, residents of the mangroves in Throsby Creek that visit her back garden, to the wattlebirds that leave droppings on her car, the watercolours are rich with narrative and wit.
Alongside Fish and other things, DEIRDRE BEAN has a major exhibition, Australia’s mangroves: living on the edge at Tweed Regional Gallery, which is open until 17 March 2019.
Bright NightJanet Dawson
2 April - 4 May 2019
JANET DAWSON presents Bright Night, a new series of abstract and representational paintings that celebrate her curiosity for the clouds and the moon.
A subject of long held affection, the moon first appeared in DAWSON’s early abstract, geometric paintings in the 1970s. The eve of the millennium was a time of great uncertainty with the prophesised collapse of civilisation DAWSON bought a telescope to paint the first of the tondos – articulating the moon upside down with all its character.
For DAWSON the return to the moon marks a new direction as she deftly melds representation and abstraction within the canvas. Working at night with the moon as her muse, DAWSON plays with the pictorial space of the canvas as she shifts in-between the representational still life of her studio to the formalist abstraction of the moon out her window. Drawing attention to its compositional quality she states, “The moon is a wonderful point on a surface, an activating force in a painting, it will draw the eye immediately to it”.
DAWSON has played with the potential of painting, with these new tondos recalling the circular shapes of her canvases in the 1960s when she first pushed outside the confines of the rectangle. Speaking to Christine Frances, Dawson recalled in 1968 American art critic Clement Greenberg attended her exhibition at Gallery A, he told her to stick to one thing. She listened politely but took no notice. Blue Clouds captures the intensity of DAWSON’s process, “there is to be very little time lost in thought between what you put on the canvas and how you do it. It is like action painting; I have to tinker very finely to get it exact, but I also have to bash it on to be immediate.” Remarking on this effect, Jenny Bell described Dawson’s paintings as seeming “to represent the moment caught, the multiple perspective, the transitional glimpse of something about to become something else”.
Looking to the moon and the sky, what remains consistent in her every shifting practice is DAWSON’s fascination to observe and depict the natural world around her.