Who is a fan of The Phantom? If you are than you must go and see The Phantom Show at Newcastle Art Gallery. Now I admit that I’m not a die-hard having never picked up a comic (well I have though it was an Archie) but it’s not a problem. This travelling exhibition is all about fun and appreciating some great capabilities with medium. Apparently 40 years ago when our gallery was a spring chicken it was host to the first Phantom show and Peter Kingston, one of the original artists has come back to curate alongside Dietmar Lederwasch.
Plenty of locals have managed to squeeze onto the walls of the gallery and their work is often a highlight of the exhibition. Michael Bell is always a favourite of mine. He’s the artist that always harnesses the fun spirit alongside great painting techniques. MB’s canvases truly suit the soul of the event. Tony Abbott as The Phantom had me chuckling. This sculpture by John Turier captures the political times to perfection. I also found the humour of Dino Consalvo’s Phantom appealing. Both Turier and Consalvo have exhibitions at ASW this year Turier’s opening 1st July and Consalvo’s in September.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an interpretation by Elisabeth Cummings. The portrait is intense, the sitter (which is the curator himself Peter Kingston) seeming to study the artist with resignation almost. Her use of the paint would make it seem the work was rapidly executed and it works well. I particularly like the background. This artist is a living treasure.
I also have to include the work of Euan Macleod whose layered painting is heavy with texture and storytelling. His capacity to incorporate what would appear to be a comic strip into a painting and also create a stand out composition is considerable.
I might add here that the exhibition is dominated by the male of the artist species with only a smattering of female’s gracing the walls. With the lower floor of the gallery dedicated to the female abstraction exhibition it is a balancing act of sorts. We’re a spoilt city at present with the gallery bursting with history and brilliant art. It’s just a shame those funds for its extension seem to be as evasive as ever.
Anyway get in to see The Phantom before 20th August.
It’s been over a week since I’ve seen it but I can’t not write about the NGA’s travelling exhibition at the Newcastle Regional. This exhibition of Australian women abstract artists is a paid exhibition so be forewarned. If you forget and wander in unaware you will be chased. It’s a small fee though and with the addition of a complimentary booklet, I think worth it. It’s not a large exhibition but there are some great works. And some unfamiliar names (for me anyway). Such as Inge King whose work is remarkable for its recognisable shape and place amongst other non-figurative sculpture of the mid 20th century. Because I’m unfamiliar with her work perhaps there are more sculptures in her oeuvre that identify personally with the artist rather than of the time.
Janet Dawson’s lithograph work titled “Night Bird” had me rather excited. The combination of colour and shape, simple yet elegant is timeless. Lithograph is a mystery to me having skipped this technique in art school but I always seem to admire the finished works. Her three lithograph works in this exhibition date back to 1960.
There’s also the familiar name Margaret Preston whose work I never tire of seeing. She has three works in the show all woodcut prints and all recognisable. Grace Crowley whose work from 1928 titled “Sailors and models” is fascinating for its patina and reference to cubism. I couldn’t help thinking of the cubist work of the French artist Fernand Leger when viewing this work.
This exhibition is divided up into 6 sub genres and I’ve bounced around a bit with sequence but on the whole it runs from earliest works to most recent. While wandering about the gallery I frequently returned to the early work from last century where colours were more subdued and quiet. Such as the abstract expressionist work of Yvonne Audette. The texture, emotion and determined movement of materials about the canvas beckoned me to keep returning to it. It’s the highlight of the exhibition for me. But of course it’s subjective this art viewing and perhaps the more strident works of the minimalists might appeal to others more.
Anyway it’s worth taking a look and the more who attend the more likely we are to get more travelling exhibitions coming to Newcastle. Cheers!
Friday: cold, brisk and perfect for gallery watching. As long as the old winter woollies are embraced what’s not to love about an energetic walk about our city. And that’s just what I did on this blustery day. Apart from the Newcastle Regional (which I’ll talk about another day) I dropped in to Back to Back Gallery where I finally met the sculptor Lynda Gibbins. I have been watching Lynda’s work for a number of years now and I am always in awe of her technique and vision so it was great to finally meet her and learn about the paths she has travelled to arrive at her current creative destination. Of all her works I vividly recall her expressive floral creations that seem like a tribute to Day of the Triffids. In this exhibition her work evolves into new magical territories. The tempting installation of flowers and leaves along the front of the space is bristling with colour. I also loved her banksia domes illuminated from within with light bulbs.
On the walls of the gallery the ever evolving artist Emilie Tseronis has her most recent work. Many of the paintings utilise abstracted colour to define the positive space of the form. There were also 3 intriguing pieces where images were drawn onto layers of glass and shadow united with the line drawings to form the image. It’s great to watch the evolution of these two artist’s. “Illuminarty” finishes Sunday 11th June 2017.
Now the next exhibition unfortunately is finished so I’ll keep it brief. Ambedo at Gallery 139 showcased the work of Julia Flanagan and Matthew Tome. Some of you might know Julia from her bags which are works of art in themselves. And Matthew is the head teacher of Newcastle Art School. In this exhibition abstracted paintings from each of the artist’s complimented the sculptures in the space. And the sculptures were my favourites. Lively and bewildering, the menagerie of found objects painted with dots and stripes really stood out as playful and unique. Another favourite (well surely I can have two) was Matthew’s painting titled “Vinery”.
And lastly I just have to mention Coco Monde on Darby st. Who has tasted better hot chocolate than what is on offer here? It has to be pure melted chocolate in milk. Yum! I don’t think I’ve ever left this cafe feeling disappointed. And it’s clean. Which might seem an odd thing to add but pretty darn important in my books. So there you have it, 2 galleries (well actually 3 but who’s counting) and a hot chocolate. Until next time happy hot chocolate hunting. Cheers!
Here are two reviews from previous exhibitions including Emilie and Lynda.
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.
I’m in the market for a new piece of art. Shh don’t tell the family. My house is cluttered with art though mainly my own. So it doesn’t count really. Anyway I like the idea of having a collection of works by local artists. So on Saturday when I read in the Newcastle Herald that there was an exhibition for a charity at Newcastle Grammar School it gave me the inspiration to trek into the big smoke and take a peek. Nexus Art Show is an annual event attracting many local artists and raising money for the Nexus Paediatric and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the John Hunter Hospital. So it’s a good cause. One that I would not hesitate to support. Unfortunately though I am still in the market for my next piece to add to my collection. But that doesn’t mean that there was not great art to be had. I particularly liked the sculptures of Braddon Snape who I have spoken about in a previous review. The $2000 odd price tag though was a little out of my reach. I could also do with a piece by the artist Linda Greedy. Her paintings are superb. One day hopefully but this weekend wasn’t my time. Lisa Pollard’s ink and gouache paintings were serene and cosy. And Jo O’Toole’s abstracts always show a self-assured technique.
One of Linda Greedy’s oil on timber paintings. I just love her way with paint and one day I’d like to add one to my collection. Just not a doggy.
The abstract painting by Jo O’Toole.
While I was out and about I took the chance to pop in to a few more galleries. I had another look at Magic Mike: Michael Zavros. Still not convinced but I could be missing some irony in there somewhere. Then on to cstudios where there was a very busy opening happening for the artists’ Peter Ermon Smith and Kay McFarlane Smith. I had a quick look but it was a tad too crowded for a decent squiz. I always enjoy looking about the smaller gallery and the shop so I spent some time in there and found some treasures.
This work by Gillie and Marc is at cstudios for $2800. Rather “funky” I think.
Then a quick stop at ASW where Shelagh Lummis has new work in her exhibition titled Wet. If you get a chance this is worth making the effort to see. Her work is beautiful and timeless. Certainly a name to remember about the Newcastle art seen. This exhibition concludes on the 14th May.
New work by Shelagh Lummis.
Helene Leane’s exhibition at Gallery 139 is a comprehensive look at the Australian Red Cedar Tree. Although I only had a quick glimpse before the gallery closed for the day it struck me as a cohesive and well executed show flowing smoothly from one work to the next. It’s funny how some exhibitions just work seamlessly. And for me this is one of them. Red Gold: The Cedar Story closes the 14th May also.
Remember to pop in to The Emporium whenever you get a chance. It’s still a haven for creatives in the Newcastle CBD.
That’s if for this weeks tour of the Newcastle art seen.
Maitland served up the goods yesterday while we waited patiently for a son to liven the cross fit crowd of Thornton with a few lively beats. We departed the Lycra clad scene and found a pleasant little cafe in The Levee called Lavenders Riverside where we soaked up the atmosphere (literally) before we headed off to Maitland Regional. I had no idea what was on at the gallery which is generally my way of seeing art. But this gallery never disappoints. There’s always some out of the way nook to probe that will deliver. And yesterday was no exception.
Impressed is one word I’d use to describe my reaction to Braddon Snape’s manipulated steel sculptures. I’d seen this innovative technique of his at a group show previously, but it just didn’t have the impact it has as a body of work in Maitland’s great space where spotlights are directed onto each piece. It’s worth taking the time to watch the video installed just outside of the exhibition room to see the inflation of a flat featureless piece of steel transform into a work of art. Fascinating.
So if you’re up Maitland way in the near future make a beeline to the gallery. Finishes 6th November.
No not a piece of scrunched foil.
These are so tempting to touch (but I didn’t). Having said that though it was like Camp Runamok at the gallery yesterday. A bit of touching going on there. Must be new age hipster parenting.