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.
Push and Pull of the City / Ebb and Flow of NatureRod Holdaway & Denese Oates
7 May - 8 June
Push and Pull of the City
ROD HOLDAWAY presents Push and Pull of the City a new series of painting and collage that play with perception.
Collage has been an integral part of HOLDAWAY’s practice since 2014, though this most recent return to including collage in finished paintings links to his work in the 1980s. The cyclical nature of HOLDAWAY’s practice mimics the circular movement of light, space, form and shadow in his compositions. The appeal is in the play of making, as he states, “I like the freshness of collage, the way it enables me to chase and capture images from my imagination fast - to bring things to 'plastic' reality immediately. Then there is time for reflection and fine tuning.”
In conversation with the work of Georges Braque, Arshile Gorky and Paul Cézanne, HOLDAWAY states “The process of making these paintings has brought me closer to Cézanne. A deeper appreciation of the way that he made forms and space interact with one another to create depth and rhythm and balance in the composition.”
Working within the city HOLDAWAY fragments and dissects familiar streetscapes and public parks, with their materiality simultaneously captured and dissolved. Playing with perception the works engage the viewer to navigate through the push and pull between the layers of paint and collage. Summing up this new stage, he states, “There is complexity and beauty in the interaction between space and form, between constructed elements and natural elements in inner-city suburbs. These paintings are about expressing something of that living world.”
ROD HOLDAWAY has studied painting and sculpture at the Adelaide School of Advanced Education, philosophy and linear perspective in Italian Renaissance art at Deakin University as well as printing and photography at TAFE. In 1995 he received his Bachelor of education from the Australian Catholic University. Holdaway exhibited for three years consecutively in the Dobell Prize for Drawing (2007, 2008, 2009). In 2010 Holdaway was a finalist in the Kedumba Drawing Award and previously his work has been selected for the Redlands Westpac, Mosman and Waverly Art Prizes. His work is represented in private collections in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Ireland.
Ebb and Flow of Nature
Throughout her practice DENESE OATES has explored natures potential, drawing links from biology to botany. Finding inspiration in nature she creates delicate odes to its intriguing forms. OATES is fascinated by contrasts and ambiguities, and by the human relationship with other living organisms. She captures flora in different stages of development, budding, sprouting, branching and tangling. OATES says she is "interested in the vulnerability of nature".
OATES trains verdigris copper vines into serene yet lively and mysterious forms. Her manipulation of copper and patina suggests beauty in the wild and raw qualities of nature and a sense of hope in new growth. They remind us of its remarkable capacity to regenerate, proliferate and multiply into a myriad of exquisite forms.
DENESE OATES transforms ordinary copper wire into inspired and carefully crafted natural forms. Her copper wall sculptures take the form of painterly trees and vines; full of undulating movement and rhythmic lines, her organic forms convey the ebb and flow of nature.
Tree ChangeMerran Esson & Steve Lopes
11 June - 13 July 2019
Tree Change presents new work by STEVE LOPES and MERRAN ESSON, whose work explores the changing seasons and landscape through the shift in the trees.
STEVE LOPES created new paintings and works on paper in situ during a residency in the Jamberoo Rainforest on the South Coast of New South Wales. A new terrain for LOPES to encounter, he notes “I was transfixed by the prehistoric forms of the forest, it's weird shapes and forms and especially the colours”. The resulting works are playful in their engagement with the vivid tones of the rainforest. Painted en plain air, LOPES captures the intense immediacy of being ensconced within the walls of the rainforest with his light and energetic brushstrokes.
Travelling through the Monaro plains of NSW in Autumn, MERRAN ESSON was inspired by the change of colours in the European trees planted in the plains. The resulting works reflect the orange, green and gold tones of the tree change in season. The roundness of ESSON’s sculptures are reminiscent of the geometric simplification of landscapes by European Impressionists such as Paul Cézanne. The paring back of forms enables ESSON to distil the trees, as if viewed from multiple perspectives.
Golden Moon: 50th Anniversary of the Moon LandingTanya Chaitow, Janet Dawson & Di Holdsworth
16 July - 17 August 2019
Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, TANYA CHAITOW, JANET DAWSON and DI HOLDSWORTH look back to the moment that shifted Cold War power structures and captured the world’s imagination simultaneously in a single footstep. Embracing the madness that surrounds the moon; the mythologies, the space race to land, the hoax theories of Neil Armstrong’s landing, and even David Bowie’s Space Oddity, the artists revel in the energy and lunacy that the moon can inspire.
A subject of long held affection, the moon first appeared in JANET DAWSON’s early abstract, geometric paintings in the 1970s. It was then at the eve of the millennium, a time of great uncertainty with the prophesised collapse of civilisation, when DAWSON bought a telescope to paint the moon upside down in all its splendour. For DAWSON the return to the moon on the eve of the 50th Anniversary also marks a return to the formalist abstraction that she engages with so deftly. Working at night with the moon in full glow, she remarks upon its compositional quality stating, “The moon is a wonderful point on a surface, an activating force in a painting, it will draw the eye immediately to it”.
Looking to the mythology of the moon, TANYA CHAITOW presents imaginary characters, often part animal, part human as a vision of her personal mythologies. CHAITOW weaves complex narratives that centre on a negotiation of the self and contemplation of the human condition. Playing with the real and the imaginary, CHAITOW engages with the shared imagery of the moon that blurs boundaries of the everyday and the imagined in the macabre moonscapes.
DI HOLDSWORTH revels in the reconstruction of histories and cultural narratives in her musical assemblages. Engineering unique combinations of found objects, movement and sound, her works strike a chord with the mythology and dark lunacy associated with the moon. From space cowboys with Greek Minotaurs and saucy dancers, HOLDSWORTH creates fantastical responses to the iconic 1969 Moon Landing.
CeramicsRichard Spoehr & Prue Venables
20 August - 21 September 2019
Delight in the combination of aesthetic innovation and balanced form in the new ceramics of RICHARD SPOEHR and PRUE VENABLES.
Working fine high-fired porcelain, RICHARD SPOEHR creates beautifully thrown bowls, vases, jugs and cups that almost float with the luminous and translucent light gradations that his glazes inspire. Carefully considered, there is a quiet stillness within the soft blue and yellow palette that shifts in tone with the changing natural light of the day. The classic, balanced silhouette of each bowl and cup in this series of work is intrinsic to his endeavour for beauty.
Exploring the potential of dark satin textures PRUE VENABLES’ process results in softened forms and edges defined by elegant, simple cuts. Refraining from decorative elements, the works are minimalist in temperament and form, aligning with modernist and industrial influences. With bisque and high temperature reduction firing the fragile designs are fortified into dense forms that maintain the delicacy of line and smooth texture.
VENABLES is currently the ninth artist in the Australian Design Centre's (ADC) series Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft. Open until 25 September at ADC, VENABLE’s work will then travel as a national touring exhibition opening at fourteen locations across Australia from 2019 to 2022. Accompanying the exhibition is a book that provides an in-depth insight into VENABLES’ life and work, and includes essays by UK-based potter and writer Alison Britton and Australian ceramicist Neville French.
Across the work of SPOEHR and VENABLES is a celebration of everyday objects. The artists successfully create works that appear deceptively simple, however these are mastered processes. With an eye for balance, the ceramics are distilled with a minimal palette, yet excitingly push and elevate the functional forms to another level of distinctive refinement and poise.
The Persistence of BlueLiz Shreeve
24 September - 26 October 2019
From the Ancient Egyptians to Yves Klein Blue, the colour blue has been a point of fascination and inspiration for art, culture, music and science. In her The Persistence of Blue LIZ SHREEVE looks to the everyday occurrence of blue, inspired by her observations of the colours of posters in shop windows. Unlike pigments in artists’ watercolours and inks, printing inks fade in strong light turning something brash and gaudy into a thing of subtle beauty.
With attention to blue as a lasting colour, SHREEVE plays out its changing states through the shifting tones across paper patterns. In the delicate almost minute gradations of blue there is a observation of time and its passing, as SHREEVE marks out the process of blue fading from initial deep tones to almost white.
SHREEVE’s work delights in the myriad patterns of light and shade that the grid can inspire. She uses the strict geometry of the grid to create contemplative, harmonious shifts in depth and space. The grid is a point of control and inspiration.
Adding dynamism to the transition of blue, SHREEVE engages with the grid to create depth and space in her paper works that move between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional. With mathematical principles as her starting point SHREEVE discovers new arrangements in the repeating of geometric elements. A sense of transition occurs as light moves across the patterns, enhancing the depth and colour of blue and its seemingly infinite tones.
LIZ SHREEVE has recently been selected as a finalist in the Hazlehurst Art on Paper Award 2019, which will be in exhibition concurrently with our show, from 21 September until 17 November.
At BundanonAshley Frost
29 October - 30 November 2019
Arthur Boyd shared both home and studio at his property at Bundanon and Riversdale with many artists, including his brother-in-law, the renowned Australian artist, Sidney Nolan. In 1993, Bundanon and other surrounding properties (1100 hectares in all) on the Shoalhaven River were gifted by Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne, with the purpose of offering a creative retreat for artists, writers and musicians to be inspired by the land and scenery as they had been.
ASHLEY FROST recently took part in a three week long artists residency through the Bundanon Trust. The opportunity to paint under different skies has resulted in a series of plein air landscapes, interiors of the artist’s residence on the historical property, and portraits during his stay. It was an opportunity to paint and gather a newfound inspiration as many key Australian artists had before. Frost applies his own perceptive eye to capturing the Bundanon region, with subtle nods to Boyd through his engagement.
A finesse for painting en plein air is evident in FROST’s treatment of the landscape, sky and surrounding vistas on the adjoined Bundanon and Riversdale properties. Attention to colour and light is strong in FROST’s work. He captures the vivid fiery tones of the Illawarra flame trees known to the region, against the bright – sometimes harsh – sunlight and vast plains. Other works of Riversdale revel in the cool reflections of over-hanging bushland at the riverbank, or the high contrasts of a silhouetted landscape against the dramatics of a setting sun and fading light during dusky hours.
Observing the shared histories and practices that take place within the land, FROST painted works in response to events such as after a burn at Bundanon by the Mudjingaalbaraga Firesticks team. In doing this FROST memorialised an act of revitalisation and renewal. His paintings of winter poplars are ablaze and energised in response. With attention to light and its movement, the works trace light atop the trees and hills, and exude the vibrancy of the artist’s encounter. FROST’s interiors continue his evocative study of light and its transition. Painting interiors at dusk, or at turning points in the day there is a glow that warms the palette.
In the spirit of Bundanon’s artist legacy FROST invited fellow friends and artists to sit for him. Over a series of sittings FROST painted Painter John Bokor, who he met during his degree at National Art School in the 1990’s; Nicole Kelly who he regularly paints with en plein air around Sydney and Wollongong; and journalist and writer Caroline Buam. The confident mark making, and playful use of colour and tone brings liveliness to the works and subjects. Painted within Bundanon there is a sense that FROST has added new and personal memories in a place that is intrinsically embedded in Australian art history.
In dreams I wakeTanya Chaitow
3 December - 21 December 2019
In dreams I wake slips into TANYA CHAITOW’s world of romantic landscapes and chimeric beings. Ambiguity and whimsy are important elements in CHAITOW’s works. Her fanciful paintings blur past and present, fact and fictions, internal and external reality. Adopting a naïve style, she is able to work intuitively to capture fleeting mental states and her poetic works are charged with a powerful psychological resonance. These romantic, almost ‘fairy tale’ depictions have the surreal quality of dreams; where they don’t quite make sense. However, it is through embracing dreams and these dreamlike qualities in her art that the artist feels most attuned to her sense of self.
As with her Family Matters series, this body of work continues with themes and depictions of familial human relationships. However, the subjects of CHAITOW’s paintings are not altogether human. Ghostly figures; swarms of bees that take on corporeal human formations; and anthropomorphised characters that embody an amalgam of human, plant and animal parts, populate her paintings. While her works often blur the distinctions between human, animal and the plants, CHAITOW identifies personally with this imagery; describing them as self-portraits. She associates animals with representation of, and kinship with the human psyche: particularly her own. There is an interrelatedness between the human and animal self she depicts. Here, CHAITOW offers up a vision of her personal mythologies. Like a playwright she enlists us in imaginary worlds where we are free to reflect and fantasise.
Uncanny depictions of historic genre paintings lend themselves to this dreamlike amalgam of the familiar made strange. CHAITOW works from the old masters, such as Goya, Gainsborough, de Hooch, and Vermeer. Goya in particular is a source of these works, after having had the opportunity to work directly from his paintings in the Prado museum. Her troupe of impossible characters take the places of the original figures and subjects in their iconic settings. CHAITOW creates a series of works where the same Gainsborough or Goya painting is recreated in multiple; with differing and eerie results. In each rendition something in the composition, setting or characters has gone awry. Heads burst into a flourish of foliage and flowers; figures are swarmed with butterflies and bees; human heads are transfigured with bird and animal features; while some figures seem to disappear from the composition altogether or become no more than ghostly apparitions. Portraits of regal gentlemen and women are rendered faceless and featureless amidst the throng of CHAITOW’s dreamlike devices: their egos succumbing to her surreal reformations. These delicately reimagined vignettes entwine history with CHAITOW’s signature floral motifs, symbolisms and whimsical characters to marvellous effect.