Exhibitions by year: 2014

Denese Oates

New Sculpture
29 January - 15 February

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DENESE OATES is a sculptor of considerable skill who transforms ordinary copper wire into inspired objects that range from the biological to the botanical. OATES studied at the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education in Sydney (now College of Fine Arts, UNSW). Since 1976 she has exhibited in over eighty group exhibitions and twenty-five solo exhibitions.

Mary MacQueen

Works on paper
18 February - 15 March

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MARY MACQUEEN's works on paper show an intuitive sense of gesture and a simplification of lines that is now iconic. She wrote, "The line lives, an empathy exists. It is indeed a small happening. A rare completely successful drawing cannot be changed, cannot be developed. Everything is said in a few lines."

Liz Shreeve & Denese Oates

Group Sculpture Show
4 March - 15 March

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Liz Shreeve

The Sense of Light
18 March - 15 April

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Working from architectural references of strong horizontal and vertical grid structures, LIZ SHREEVE'S multi-dimensional paper works enlist a cohesive sense of light, colour and perception. There is quietude to these works as SHREEVE attempts to capture ambient light void of artificial means. From this, SHREEVE infers that her works are, to some extent, made of light.

Rod Holdaway

When Paths Cross
15 April - 17 May

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ROD HOLDAWAY's paintings reflect the transmutable and elusive nature of social interactions in public spaces. Through their gestural intensity the figures in these works are distinguishable, yet somehow also vague and interchangeable. The built environment provides the perfect analogue for the human psyche. As the artist fragments and dissects, winds and navigates his way through familiar streetscapes and public parks their materiality is simultaneously captured and dissolved. What emerges is unique to the artist's perspective yet also reflects a commonality. These paintings encourage reflection upon the social constructs and contracts that underpin much of human behaviour in an exposed social context.

Trevor Weekes

Small Machines for Big Minds
20 May - 14 June

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TREVOR WEEKES has consistently expressed an interest in animal and bird life in a myriad of ways through his works. They provide a core subject matter and visual device through which he engages a broader range of relational observations, questions and ideas. Through a combination of drawing, painting and bronze sculpture, WEEKES has explored the notion of machines, their function and their ultimate consequences. Small Machines for Big Minds applies WEEKES' concerns for the growing invasiveness of machinery through the context of the animal kingdom.

WEEKES posits whether machines are harmonious aids to animals and nature or devices that complicate their lives unnecessarily. There is a tension between the aspirations of invention and its ultimate outcome. In works that speak through a visual language of construction and design, the natural, organic forms of animal life are interposed with machines and gadgetry in a way that questions both their logic and necessity. Through nonsensical contraptions birds' wings are constrained and replaced with redundant mechanism for enabling an artifice of flight. Lost in the layers intricate draftsmen ship and detail, it is easy to overlook the ultimate fault in the design.

WEEKES' pseudo technologies mimic the mechanisms of nature yet have incongruous effects. By imagining a relationship between animals and possible machines created to assist them WEEKES contemplates the role of machines in all our lives.

Judy Holding

Bonded Worlds
17 June - 12 July

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JUDY HOLDING's work continues to be preoccupied with both the interconnected narratives and vulnerability of the natural world. In Bonded Worlds HOLDING draws particular interest from pre and post-colonial contexts of the Australian natural environment, as well as concern for its future. HOLDING identifies particular sets of imagery such as birds and native flora from "pre contact times" to the present. She describes the Australian landscape and its animal inhabitants in striking silhouettes and textures inspired by the bush. Such silhouettes are found in the rustic tactility of sculptural forms and lightness of watercolour. HOLDING overlays line drawings from cave paintings and natural history images burrowed from early convict artists with her own observational watercolours. Through this layered approach, the viewer is incited to find messages and questions buried within this imagery.

With works titled Snow Geese Over the Mallee HOLDING attempts to invoke the ridiculous and impossible demands and stresses we place on the natural world, and its ultimate struggle in the way nature attempts to evolve and regain balance. HOLDING reflects that "Snow geese flying over the Mallee in Australia may seem like a ludicrous concept, but we must cast our minds to the future when who knows how birds may need to adapt and migrate in order to survive the changes we humans are making to the planet." The mix of natural and human-made materials in HOLDING's sculptures also draws attention to the impact that industrial scale agriculture, mining and water exaction is having on the ultimate fate of Australian land and its inhabitants.

Tanya Chaitow, Janet Dawson, Merran Esson, David Fairbairn, Rachel Fairfax, Ashley Frost & Mary MacQueen

Gallery Artists
15 July - 16 August

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Steve Lopes

19 August - 6 September

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STEVE LOPES continues to pay reverence to the quiet beauty of the land in his work. This new exhibition of paintings is created outside the studio and located entirely within the landscape. These plein air oils were completed directly on location and reveal the artist's connection to particular areas that have sparked his inspiration over the last year.

LOPES demonstrates a skilled, thoughtful approach to landscape. He is interested in the potential for landscapes to set a particular tone and atmosphere to enable a psychological setting in an image. Outsider not only speaks to LOPES' plein air approach, but also to the artist's role as an outsider stepping into a setting that seems otherworldly and almost void of human existence. It is as if LOPES is the first person this land has played host to in a long time. In some paintings, an empty, abandoned boat, old ruinous buildings and man-made constructions hint towards some level of human engagement in the land. There is a haunted beauty in the rugged, windswept, coastal wilderness captured by the artist.

LOPES exhibits a vitality and confidence to the paint handling in this latest series of works, which reflects the busy and energetic approach that LOPES is fast gaining a reputation for in the Australian art scene.

Viola Dominello

Recent Work
9 September - 4 October

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VIOLA DOMINELLO works en plein air. Her paintings transform the immediacy of her surroundings into an emotive image. This exhibition showcases her recent oil paintings and watercolour works depicting landscapes and scenes of coastal Australia and abroad in Italy. DOMINELLO continues to employ her own contemporary take on traditional art methods by remixing historical modes of painting. Her works have the ability to invoke landscapes of Chinese scholar painting just as they suggest the stippled greenery of 17th century Dutch landscapes, and echo early en plein air watercolour landscapes of Italy. Cultural influences on seeing and perceiving are made evident through DOMINELLO's own hybridised practice. Her trans-historical images imbue the Australian landscape with unseen ancestral and cultural ties.

Her watercolours of Italy, particularly Venice and the Aeolian Islands, reflect DOMINELLO's continued connection with her Italiao-Australian heritage, and its influence on her practice.
These oil and watercolours have a delicate sensibility that is both evocative and refined. DOMINELLO explores the immediacy of her mediums. She cuts into oil paint, moving and scraping it over the surfaced of the canvas, using the same evocative, but refined, dextrous gestures attributed to her watercolours. Responding to nature, DOMINELLO's dappled colour and brush strokes are masterful: translating light through bodies of water in a way that is evocative of the trembling beauty of a mirage.

DOMINELLO captures the shifting light and liquescent air of coastal vistas. Through painterly gestures she reveals moments that describe the intricate and transient beauty of the landscape.

David Fairbairn

Drawing on the Past
7 October - 1 November

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Historical art forms have traditionally served as an invaluable source for artists, from which to emulate and develop skills in their own drawing practice. Like many artists before him, DAVID FAIRBAIRN has occasionally made small, notational drawings based on the works of a variety of both Classical and Modernist Painters. In recent years he has taken to developing this practice, though always with a view that the drawings would remain essentially a private studio activity. Drawing on the Past brings together FAIRBAIRN's vision to fully instigate and realise his interest in this practice.

FAIRBAIRN's research extends across a great spectrum of artists, beginning with Italian Medieval artists such as Giotto and Piero Della Francesca, through to studies of Goya, Velaquez, Rembrandt, Delacroix, and Poussin and into the Modernist era with studies of Paul Cezanne. Poussin has been the primary focus throughout FAIRBAIRN's studies. Attracted to the complex, rhythmic and compositional dynamics of Poussin's paintings, FAIRBAIRN endeavours to explore the underlying structures of his original works. FAIRBAIRN's studies demonstrate his own distinct style as he translates and reinterprets the narrative workings of Poussin's epic paintings through bold lines and colour.

Aware that English artist Leon Kossoff had made drawings and etchings in front of the Poussins in the National Gallery Collection in London, FAIRBAIRN contends that his engagement would not only encompass Poussin, but also Kossoff's interpretation of the great 16th Century painter. FAIRBAIRN approaches these studies with the hope they might lead to both an interesting transformation and interpretation of the subject matter and a richer and more profound understanding of his own practice.

Tanya Chaitow

Moonlighting with Ai WeiWei
11 November - 29 November

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Narrative motif and symbolism is core to TANYA CHAITOW's work. These themes are often rendered in a combination of both personal and universally engaged forms and ideas. Moonlighting with Ai WeiWei explores recurrent themes of expressing freedom and tradition. It addresses ideas of the symbolic boundlessness of human connectivity beyond our physical restrictions.

While travelling through Myanmar at the beginning of the year CHAITOW noticed that at the entrance to every temple there were vendors with crowded birdcages. It is the tradition in Myanmar that birds are caught and placed into cages for sale so that they may be released as 'luck birds'. The release of these birds is accompanied with the following prayer:
Today I give you your life; someday you will give me my life.

For CHAITOW, the deprivation of freedom placed on these birds was highly symbolic and led her to examine the work of Chinese artist and political activist Ai WeiWei. In recent times Ai Weiwei has served time in jail for criticizing the Chinese government's stance on democracy, the abuse of human rights and the lack of freedom of expression within China.

CHAITOW's own work draws on the 2013 Moon Project launched by Ai WeiWei and Olafur Eliasson in order to emphasize the global reach and interconnectivity of ideas beyond the limitation of political and geographic boundaries. It used the Internet to travel beyond the physical restrictions placed on him by the current Chinese regime. CHAITOW's paintings and works on paper embrace Ai WeiWei's motif of the moon as representing the universal connectivity of ideas and humanity. She contends that "wherever or whoever we are in the world we look at the same moon [it symbolises] our connectivity beyond the geographic and political limitations". CHAITOW draws upon the moons association with the owl as ruler of the night and seer of souls. The owl has been emblematic through history as a wise, intuitive and mystical creature that keeps the spirits who had passed from one plane to another. It has been connected to humans blurring the distinction between the real and the imagined and bridging the gap between day and night and the conscious and unconscious.

CHAITOW's imagination and emotional resonance ignites these psychological connections. She intuitively captures mental states through poetic works that contemplate the human condition.

Ashley Frost

Harbour Studies
2 December - 20 December

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ASHELY FROST grew up around Sydney harbour, living in Seaforth, Fairlight, Mosman, Cremorne and the Rocks in Sydney. Coastal scenes have continued to be a significant and present force throughout FROST's life and art practice, since his time in high school sketching of The Opera House during his Latin classes. This exhibition showcases the paintings by FROST that are inspired and developed from a series of plein air painting sessions around Sydney Harbour and similar local views.

Harbour Studies is very much a process driven exhibition. FROST builds up thick, luscious layers of paint to give his works a highly appealing tactile quality. Many of these works are early morning paintings produced through the winter and spring of 2014. Typically arriving onsite from 5.30 am, FROST paints until about 10 am, capturing the sublime transition of early morning light. Other works captures these coastal vistas through twilight. Frost's paintings play on the relationship between bodies of water and vast skies through a communication of colour, light and reflective qualities.

FROST addresses the significant art history of these Sydney locations that resonate with his own practice. Many early Australian artists, including Lloyd Rees, Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton have frequented these specific local scenes with similar intent. For FROST, plein air painting is very much about a shared vision of a time in a place. Thus the first light for these works is paramount, enabling FROST to explore a lush spectrum of colour on palette and in the works. There is also an immediacy and honestly in the works, due to a narrow window of gentle and yet dramatic light.