Exhibitions by year: 2016

Denese Oates

Out of the cracks crawls green
3 February - 27 February

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Finding inspiration in nature DENESE OATES creates delicate odes to its intriguing forms. Interested in the "vulnerability of nature", as a sculptor OATES skilfully transforms copper and iron into carefully crafted forms that undulate with the ebb and flow of nature. In this exhibition OATES extends this infatuation, branching off to incorporate books into her wild wanderings.

Capturing flora at different stages of development, OATES plants them in the confines of the pages; visualisations of the secrets, and dark mysteries within. Integrating botanical forms into the space of the book creates a visual metaphor, just as the plants burst from the books, so does the viewer's imagination; led astray as the plants wind up, out and into the narrative journey.

Throughout her practice OATES has explored natures potential, drawing links from biology to botany. Lively and vibrant the copper sculptures blur resist a static state, rather the visual eruptions project an energy that escapes from the binds of the book, as if information is sprouting, reaching and spreading out.

Virginia Cuppaidge

Another Kind of Light
1 March - 26 March

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VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE may have lived in New York for 45 years; however looking at her abstract works it is undoubtable her memories of Australian light and colour have continued to feed her work.

Born in Brisbane, CUPPAIDGE studied in Sydney with Desiderous Orban, Stanislaus Rapotec, Marea Gazzard, John Olsen and Robert Klippel before moving to New York in 1969 to "see the best abstract art going on at the time and live in the art museums."

This exhibition returns to a focal point in her practice, CUPPAIDGE's works on paper - created in SoHo, New York in the 1970s - reveal the artist's uninhibited exploration of light, and Australian light in particular. The Pacific Rim Light inspired CUPPAIDGE, who lists, "seeing Australian eucalyptus trees dotted over the bright California landscape, while being artist in residence in Berkley, the light cast from the water shimmer of Sydney Harbour, and looking to south Manhattan from my loft windows, gave me a new sense of light." It was this exploration of light that resulted in works of undulating, vivacious colour.

Reducing the composition to its most reductive elements of light and colour, CUPPAIDGE deftly carves organic forms that play with the space of the work. Floating forms and shapes, unrestricted in motion, create a sense of infinite space, engaging the viewer with the push and pull of the colours around the canvas. Despite the abstract nature of the minimalist works, there is familiarity to the light emanating from the colours - the bleached colours reminiscent of the harsh Australian sun during a hot summer.

Steve Lopes

The Late Riser
5 April - 30 April

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In The Late Riser STEVE LOPES taps into his personal experience of immigrants - both those who left their place of origin and those who chose to remain at home. Returning to the Italian islands from which his migrant family hails, over a series of trips LOPES painted his relatives and the landscapes they inhabit. Inviting the viewer to be privy to these intimate encounters, The Late Riser successfully balances humour and sensitivity in portraying the migrant experience.

LOPES writes: "My family lives on both sides of the globe. As I travel between Australia and Italy I become older. We come from a small island off Sicily, called Filicudi. As migrants, our relatives came searching for opportunity to make a new life - others stayed behind. Unwittingly, I have become more aware of the distance both real and imagined; to the quirks of fate that allow some to flourish and others to endure. Some sleep in."

With lively and free brush strokes, there is a vitality and confidence to LOPES' paint handling. The colour palette exudes a sense of familiarity to his country of origin, with the resulting city and landscapes exuding the characteristic warmth of Italy.

Richard Spoehr & Ling Yoong

'Nuance - a reflected past' and 'Photographs'
3 May - 28 May 2106

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RICHARD SPOEHR and LING YOONG each present photographic and ceramic works that are a culmination of a lifetime of thoughtful creative exploration.

For RICHARD SPOEHR this exhibition marks his keen foray into the potential of clay. Attracted to essential forms, SPOEHR imbues functional everyday items of life with a delicate simplicity. Working with porcelain and clay, SPOEHR creates beautifully thrown bowls, vases, jugs and cups whose symmetry is offset by the delightful imperfections of dripping edges, speckles and colour graduations. However do not think these are quickly "thrown together" forms. Under SPOEHR's eye for curve and balance of space, each piece catches the light and grows with its changing shadow.
In each work SPOEHR explores the potential of form, some are delicate and seamless in their smooth surface, whilst others are imbued with a solidity of form and weight. Carefully considered, there is a quiet stillness within each of SPOEHR's works that awaits engagement.

LING YOONG is an experienced GP whose work has taken her to China and Central Asia and many remote parts of Australia. A constant traveller, accompanying this passion is her photography. With her always is her trusty camera, a Canon 5D 111, including a 100-400mm lens for the trip. In 2012 YOONG travelled to Far East Russia where she met photographer Sue Flood, this then led to a trip to Zambia the following year in 2013.
YOONG is interested in capturing the immediacy of nature. Her photographs are glimpses of those moments of flight or ripple with a vitality and energy that exuding from the action shots. With an eye for composition, YOONG reveals patterns within nature that blur the line between reality and abstraction.

Though different mediums and focuses, be drawn into the artist's eye through the compelling works of RICHARD SPOEHR and LING YOONG.

Ashley Frost

I do talk to the clouds
31 May - 2 July

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Returning with his most recent works, ASHLEY FROST invites you to share his vision of nature and the urban world. Looking to the skies, the exhibition title is a quote derived from the naturalist poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau 'You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds', who FROST shares a kindred belief in expressing the value of the natural world.

Indeed the coastal vistas and skyscapes painted en plein air are ephemeral observations of the natural world. Frost paints at the turning points of each day - capturing 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.

FROST builds up thick, luscious layers of paint with a vibrant spectrum of colour that convey the cyclical pulse of the physical world - from the motion of the bustling streets to changing coastal tides between day and night.

Fascinated by intersections, where the city's periphery converges with the inner suburbs and the moment where day ends and night begins, he shows us there is great physical beauty to be found in both nature and the urbane.

Born in Sydney, ASHLEY FROST studied at the National Art School and did his PhD in Visual Arts at the University of Wollongong. FROST has had regular solo exhibitions in Australia and New York since 1991 and he has shown in numerous group exhibitions around Australia. In 2003 he won the Kings School Acquisitive Art Award as well as receiving an Australian Post- Graduate Award Scholarship. In 2004 FROST received an artist-in-residence aboard the MV Orlova, which sailed to Antarctica.

FROST has also received numerous grants from the Ministry for the Arts and has worked on many community arts projects, including Warilla Federation Local History Public Art Project and Heritage Walk Shellharbour. He was a finalist in the Waverly Art Prize in 2012 and The NSW Plein Air exhibition at Parliament House in 2013 and 2014. In 2016 he was an artist-in-residence at Stone Vineyard near Austin, Texas.

Gallery Artists

Merran Esson, Janet Dawson, Ian Gentle, Rod Holdaway, Di Holdsworth & Mary MacQueen
5 July - 30 July

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Gallery Artists brings together gallery artists JANET DAWSON, MERRAN ESSON, ROD HOLDAWAY, DI HOLDSWORTH, IAN GENTLE and MARY MACQUEEN to examine the landscape in its many forms. Ranging across the mediums of paint, iPad drawings, sculpture and ceramics, some artists reflect upon the organic forms of the natural landscape, and others engage with the bustling urbanscape and its social paradigms.

For JANET DAWSON the mutability of nature takes focus in her latest work. Drawn from her rural life, the works are portrayed in the sensitive pastel renderings of early morning dew, travelling clouds and her local surrounds. DAWSON's landscapes express an intimacy with natural Australia and its many moods.

The perforated forms of MERRAN ESSON's ceramic vessels resonate with the naturally occurring catchments within the rural landscape, such as basin shaped areas and drainage networks. Engaging with the organic as well as the industrial forms of the landscape, ESSON's buckets are reminiscent of water tanks and silos embedded in the country.

ROD HOLDAWAY's paintings are an expression of people and place, revealing the intertwined interactions between physical and psychological landscapes. HOLDAWAY fragments and dissects, winds and navigates his way through familiar streetscapes and public parks. In conveying the narratives of congested interactions on the street and in the park, these paintings reflect upon the social constructs that underpin human behaviour.

Cutting up and reassembling plastic, replica toys from the 1960s, DI HOLDSWORTH subverts the notion of the traditional 'unattainable' music box ballerina. Navigating the social landscape and its paradigms, she undercuts the idea of women as still objects, positioning the female assemblages to ride animals with 1960s plastic cowboys in an acts that are both whimsical and underpinned by desire.

IAN GENTLE referred to his sculptural wall works as 'drawing'. Trained as a painter, his components of eucalypt wood twigs and branches, each carefully stripped and meticulously tied together, are informed by an understanding of composition as they "grow off the walls". The eucalypt timber works are imbued with Australian bush mythology, as his idiomatic titles suggest.

David Fairbairn

2 August - 27 August

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Identifying himself as a draftsman not a drawer, DAVID FAIRBAIRN's practice is not limited to a single medium. Working across drawing, painting and printmaking, Overview marks his recent preoccupation with printmaking and its potential to reveal the subject in an entirely different light.

In Overview FAIRBAIRN showcases a suite of copper etchings alongside a selection of drawings of the same subjects. There is a marked shift and difference that occurs when marks made in paint and pastel are transferred to copper and etched in ferric chloride. FAIRBAIRN's loose and expressive gestures take a new form in print. The viewer is encouraged to explore the variances, and see how both mediums can compliment and reveal the subject in new ways. Selected from the last four years the works have been created at FAIRBAIRN's studio in Wedderburn and a residency at Maleny Queensland.

For FAIRBAIRN it is his varied processes that him enable to explore multiple variations of an image. The works have numerous layers through FAIRBAIRN's rubbing and reworking of the works. Akin to 20th Century figurative artists such as Frances Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, he adds colour to create mood and depth in a work. And his application of white and black pastel marks creates tonal variations that tighten the works and give depth to the figure.

Rich and varied, his integration of painting, drawing and printmaking in his practice results in dynamic expressions of the individuals he portrays. There is a sense that through this intensive reworking FAIRBAIRN is engaging with the ephemeral presence of the sitter.

Since 1981 DAVID FAIRBAIRN has received over forty awards and prizes including the Dobell Prize for Drawing and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. In 2012 he was awarded the Mosman Art Prize and the Sunshine Coast Art Prize. FAIRBAIRN teaches at the National Art School, Sydney. He has had thirty solo exhibitions since 1981 and has been in over eighty group exhibitions. In 2010 Campbelltown Arts Centre produced Lineage: David Fairbairn Selected Portraits 1998-2010 that toured until 2012. Fairbairn is extensively represented in both public and private collections.

Ian Marr

Poet in the Landscape
30 August - 1 October

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Poet in the Landscape came to being over the need for serious tree work done at Les Murray's current and childhood home at Bunyah. In informal proceedings, Les called Piers Laverty, who then called his mate IAN MARR, resulting in an afternoon of conversations and poetry on the sunny back verandah. In homage to the afternoon at Bunyah with the poet and Piers, IAN MARR painted a series of en plein works on copper and inscriptions on stone, and the works began.

The warmth and inspiration of Bunyah, resonates with a quote by fellow poet Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote -

"If a man has good corn or wood or boards or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs, or knives, crucibles or church organs than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods."

Similarly whilst the road to Les's house is unsealed, the journey to see the poet is well travelled. Fondly recording the memorable Bunyah encounter, MARR's paintings on copper were en plein air to begin with, capturing the fragments of conversation and quotes between the artists and poet. And his inscriptions on slate and sandstone are intended for groves, shades and forests.

Building from the afternoon at Bunyah, MARR has painted a variety of places and encounters, ranging from Willina, Kramback, Wallamba, Kimbriki, Nabiac, from Gloucester to Forster. They are tonal explorations of his treasured areas, with the soft colours and viscous gestural application of paint speaking to Australian landscape tradition and history. Sparked by a fruitful encounter with friends, the paintings invite you to explore MARR's beaten paths across Australia.

Trevor Weekes

Mach-in-able: Beneficial machines for ill-fated animals
4 October - 29 October

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When Trevor Weekes requests you write a sonnet,
Just think of all those bees within his bonnet!
I somehow wish my mind were less befuddled
As somehow he unravels what he's muddled.
And so imagination takes a heave
As I enter Trevor's world of make-believe.
Here: a weird, but non-existent bird.
And there: a monkey's stare from the absurd.
His engineered designs are carefully jotted.
With portolans on charts, so neatly plotted,
Described in nonsense language he's invented;
Confused by puns that cannot be prevented.
So not to put too finer point upon it
It's a crazy world in Trevor Weekes' bonnet!
Patrick O'Neill

Childhood trauma - that is unintentional trauma towards animals as a child - became a catalyst for WEEKES' lifelong devotion to creating machines for animals. In his latest series, WEEKES continues to studiously design unique mechanical aids. Harnessing a language of construction and design, the natural anatomies of the animals are interposed with machines and gadgetry in a way that questions both their logic and necessity. WEEKES' pseudo technologies mimic the mechanisms of nature yet have incongruous effects. Lost in the layers intricate draftsmanship and detail, it is easy to overlook the ultimate fault in the design.

There is a playful tension between the aspirations of invention and its ultimate outcome. Whether the machines are harmonious additions to animals, or just devices that complicate their lives unnecessarily, it is up to the viewer. In this role WEEKES plays upon the never-ending interventions by humans upon other species. By imagining a relationship between animals and possible machines created to assist them, just like WEEKES', the works make us wonder how helpful to animals we really are.

TREVOR WEEKES was born in Orange, NSW and currently teaches at the University of Newcastle. In 1999 he was awarded his PhD, Newcastle University and in 1994 he gained his Masters of Fine Art from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. His work is represented in public collections, including Artbank, College of Fine Arts, Hamilton Regional Gallery, Macquarie University, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, New England Regional Art Museum, National Gallery of Australia, Powerhouse Museum, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, as well as many private collections in the USA, Britain, Spain and Australia. In 2011 Weekes completed a residency at Red Gate Gallery in Beijing.

Tanya Chaitow

A cup of sea to sail in
1 November - 26 November

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"We set off in boats. The stars were the lights on top of the masts. We didn't know that stars are like fossils, imprints of the past, sending light like a message, like a dying wish. We set off in boats, thought we'd sail to the rim of the world and slip over the edge like a raft on a waterfall, spinning to the place we knew existed, if we dared to find it."
A gap in time. Jeanette Winterson

Early explorers set off into the unknown. They circled the world like satellites aiming to reinvent themselves and rewrite history. Guided only by the moon and stars they searched the Unknown for freedom and a piece of land. The traveller and eternity under the vast cloudless sky.

The moon circles the earth once every 28 days. She must find the reflection of its fullness in the sea, and then slowly turn her face away as if searching for something new or looking for something lost a long time ago. And so we continue as the explorers of our hopes. History repeats itself. Our brief excursions through time leave barely a trace.
We travel through life heavily bound by our expectations and disappointments. We are like turtles flying through the sky. Guided by starlight we set sail on our paper boats. We are inconsequential against the elements. All our hopes and dreams are like a pocket of air in an upturned boat as we struggle to find our way in the dark. We find our reflections, full, in the sea, and we slowly turn our faces away
In the image and likeness of the moon, we rewrite ourselves.
Tanya Chaitow.

A Cup of Sea to sail in invites the viewer on an emotive journey. Speaking to the inner child within the adult, TANYA CHAITOW's fanciful paintings and drawings blur past and present, fact and fiction, internal and external reality, to engage the viewer's imagination. Adopting a naive style, CHAITOW is able to work intuitively to capture fleeting mental states and her poetic works are charged with a powerful psychological resonance.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, TANYA CHAITOW immigrated to Australia in 1978. She completed her Masters of Fine Art at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales at the end of 2007. CHAITOW has had seven solo exhibitions since 2007 and exhibited in over fifty-five group shows since 1988. Her work is represented in both public and private collections in Australia, South Africa and the USA.

Rae Bolotin

Aku Aku: The Journey from Central Asia to Easter Island
29 November - 17 December

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"Aku Aku is the name of the book by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdal about his archaeological discoveries at Easter Island. My mother, who was a passionate book collector, gave the Russian translation of this book to me at the age of 7. Over the years, our substantial library took many shapes as it moved with us from city to city, from country to country, from continent to continent, from Central Asia to Australia.
Only a small number of books survived our complicated life journey. Aku Aku was one of them.

Last year, I finally managed to visit Easter Island, the place that captivated me as a child. I took on the trip Aku Aku, and that book's story, which is so close to my family's story, has inspired this exhibition."

Rae Bolotin

Using collage as her mode of exploration, RAE BOLOTIN fulfils a childhood dream of visiting Easter Island after reading Aku Aku as a child. Playing with depth and form, the works intertwine memory and narrative, as the gestural paper extends out of the frame to draw the viewer into BOLOTIN's visual journey. With Aku Aku as your companion, follow BOLOTIN's gaze and flowing forms through the memory-laden landscapes with the mystical moai.