Tag Archives: #australianart

East End Art

I should have written this blog 2 weeks ago when I poked my head into a few of the galleries up the east end of Newy but alas I didn’t quite get there. And in the mean time I’ve cleaned all the photos off my phone so I’ve had to borrow some from Facebook. So thank you to the internet. Anyway here goes.

I made a dash to the 3 galleries we have in Hunter street’s east end on a Thursday a couple of weeks ago while there was a lull in foot traffic heading through the doors of The Emporium. And I wasn’t disappointed with the line up on offer. At the Lockup until 11th June Sally Bourke is exhibiting her soulful depictions of human angst. They are portraits of emotion that delve into the human psyche. Rather impressive really. No one image can  represent an individual but all humanity is described in this series. Think of Edvard Munch’s The Scream and you’re on the right track. Jamie North is also exhibiting his body of work titled Slidings which delves into the industrial heritage of Newcastle using waste products such as slag with a little bit of nature softening the concept.


Then on to Timeless Textiles who are presently exhibiting a favourite, our local artist Olivia Parsonage. I just love her quirky stitches. Her ability to transform scraps of fabric into charming works of art, each with their own little personalities, is fantastic. In the adjacent gallery Anita Larkin uses her impeccable felting ability to produce thoughtful pieces. It’s brilliant that this gallery has brought fibre art to Newcastle. It’s a genre that is underestimated in most art watchers eyes probably because of its close association to craft. And I’m not belittling craft, my home is full of bright coloured crochet rugs made by my Nan last century.. But Timeless certainly is introducing us humble Novocastrians to a high end art form. Both exhibitions close 4th June. And don’t forget to pop into the shop in the back of the gallery space. Lots of inviting treasures in there.



I was also lucky enough to catch Jane Lander’s exhibition “Sea” which has unfortunately finished. As the title suggests the ocean is muse. Using copious quantities of paint the tempestuous body of water is transferred to canvas with expert technique. I really appreciate the magnetism of each of the canvases but I just felt I’d seen wonderful atmospheric oceans before. The next exhibition at Curve Gallery is Luke Beezley ‘Scratching the Surface’ opening Friday 23rd June 6pm.


And lastly I have to bring some news on the continuing improvement of Newcastle Mall. The old David Jones building is looking like it’s finally going to see bigger and better things so as a result The Emporium is closing. Last trading day is 17th June so those that want to check out the old building (well at least the front section) in its original form have just a few more weeks. Open Wed- Sat 10-4 It’s been enjoyable being part of the Renew Newcastle scene but “times they are a changin” and some might say for good ole Newcastle it’s about time. Let’s just hope they can get the ball rolling now. Because there always seems to be obstacles in the way for this section of town.


Anyway until next time happy arting!


Magic Mike: Mike Zavros

Straight up I’ll say that while I can absolutely acknowledge the skill and technical expertise that goes into creating these wonderfully perfect pieces of art, it’s a style that I don’t generally regard as a favourite. Mike Zavros is precise and perfect in his work and I would imagine this is an extension of his interest in beauty and vanity. The beauty he projects onto the canvas is the manufactured variety. The type you purchase at the big brand store, that’s painstakingly produced at the gym, that lacks any style and originality. All that is required is the large wallet with loads of cash and lots of time. But while I am not inspired by works of art such as these I know his message is all the more pertinent because of his flawless execution. What’s disturbing though is the video that is on constant rotation in the gallery of himself and his daughter. I would think that having acknowledged the ridiculousness (but perhaps he hasn’t and is an advertising bill board for the capitalist mantra “economy, economy, economy”) of devoting time to the empty pursuit of fashion and contrived beauty it would be discouraged as a creative outlet. But there is his daughter maybe 4 or 5 years old totally cute and totally ensconced in all that will encourage a lifetime of feeding an appetite for expensive stuff that will not be sated. All while Dad walks about the studio wonderfully buff and I doubt that is because he’s putting time in at the local community garden. Hmm…

The message I went away with was “shun consumerism:embrace imperfection, because perfection looks just so uptight”.

Anyway take a peek. I’ve selected the most vain pieces but there is so much more on display that is worthy of a visit. His compositions are unique and besides his painting prowess it was this I found intriguing.

Magic Mike: Mike Zavros . It’s on exhibit at Newcastle Art Gallery until May 28th.

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Just thought I’d add that I have tried over the past 5-10 years to hold the consumer instinct at bay and it’s hard. A fashion fast for a year (not buying any item of clothing for a year and at the same time gradually discarding) helped me but I’m unashamed to say I regularly have relapses. As the song goes “I’m a weapon of massive consumption, it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function

Let’s see what’s happening about our local art galleries. Well a few anyway…

Just because I happened to be driving past. That was the explanation for the sore tooth I stumbled across today. And hence is now sitting in my backroom proudly on display. Of course it’s not a real tooth but one hand sculpted out of ceramic by the artist James McFarland. His pop up exhibition at ACRUX Gallery in Hamilton, titled Bite the Bullet, mimics the desire of that rare species of human that enjoys displaying the mementos of a hunt. His collection however is a slightly macabre array of huge human teeth some complete with fillings. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether there is a weird serial killer on the loose or a morbid dentist with an assortment of strange curios. The tooth I purchased happens to belong to a receptionist with a sweet but rotten tooth. I know this because each tooth comes with a code to decipher (it’s quite an easy puzzle) that is stamped onto it. His exhibition, the work from his Honours thesis, concludes next Sunday 2nd April.


James McFarland’s large teeth specimen collection

Yesterday I quickly caught the tail end of the opening of “The art of collecting” at The University Gallery until 8th April. It’s a small selection from a local collector. However there were 169 pieces there. Wow now that means there has been a lot of buying happening. I left the gallery thinking if it wasn’t for this one collector perhaps the Newcastle art scene would be a shadow of what it currently is. Perhaps not but with a few people telling me this was only 20% of the collection it is worth considering. It must be like an archaeological dig venturing into the home of this collector and like most avid art collectors I imagine there are a few gems amongst the many. If you get a chance it’s astounding to see the diversity.


From “The art of collecting” Artist: Anthony Buseli, Untitled, 1997

Also on the Newcastle art trail is the work of another local artist Stephen McDonald. His affinity with nature is apparent in his exhibition “illume” at cstudios until 1st April. They are perfectly captured snapshots of crashing waves, billowing clouds and beautiful horizons. I particularly liked the adventurous colours in some of the more luminous images. I appreciate the level of skill and expertise in this exhibition built up over the artist’s lifetime. It’s a traditional and conservative collection but one that has classic longevity.


Billowing Clouds by Stephen McDonald.

If not for closely analysing art as I do via this blog it’s often I would dismiss a huge selection of work because of my propensity to love the looseness of movement and line through the painterly flow of a brushstroke. But I enjoy taking a closer look. Hopefully it expands my knowledge of art along with my appreciation. Anyway until next time. Yours in art watching…

Merewether ~ a transition


If you only get to see one exhibition over the next few days make it Dino Consalvo’s at Gallery 139 Hamilton. It’s simple to fall into these images and feel the atmosphere. The muted tones appeal and I rather like the scratching into wet paint to identify line. It closes Saturday.


So much movement. You can sense the moment and know it’s only fleeting.


It’s the composition that captures my attention. Also I love the familiarity. Any Novocastrian knows where this is. Memories of sport days back at high school come to mind.