Tag Archives: #reviews

Abstraction

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

2 galleries and a hot chocolate.

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.

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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.

https://thelaymanreviewer.wordpress.com/archives/newcastle-galleries/four-point-gallery/water-women/

https://thelaymanreviewer.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/in-the-gallery/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anyway until next time happy arting!

Egyptian Mummies

egyptA few weeks ago I watched a series called Tutankhamen starring Sam Neill who I’d seen prior to that on ABC’s Home Delivery. His charm encouraged me to have a meander about my local library website (yes very rarely do I peruse the book shelves at the local library instead opting to reserve titles in the comfort of my armchair) and lo and behold I came across this Egyptian series. I still have My Brilliant Career awaiting a viewing. And just thought I’d add his portrayal last year as a laconic loner in the New Zealand film Hunt for the Wilderpeople was quite marvellous. I can’t say the same about Tutankhamen which turned out to be predominantly a love story. But then I suppose if it wasn’t it would be a documentary. Anyway it piqued my  ancient Egyptian interest. So when I heard there was an exhibition a mere 3 hour train ride away I was eager to see it. The Egyptian mummies are currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, Sydney.

Darkness is a sensation I first encountered in the exhibition space which I guess is maintained for preservation purposes along with constant temperature and humidity. The 6 mummies have been borrowed from The British Museum and come with their respective artefacts. The dedication to preparing a calm passage into the next life is illuminating. Coffins made of wood, metal or pottery are patterned with hieroglyphics and it’s interesting food was added for their comfortable journey. Preserved bread has been analysed and found to contain tiny pieces of pebble which perhaps accounts for the deterioration of the teeth. Just a note that the decline of bones with age obviously can’t be seen without unwrapping the body (which I read was a party trick in the Victorian years in Britain. Such fun!) but imaging techniques have remedied this and all is revealed through the CT scan. Which are interactive. Rough ages are given of the age at death which not surprisingly is much younger than our present life expectancy in our wealthy part of the world. Without being too specific under 49 seemed a popular age to die in ancient Egypt. Septicaemia was mentioned as a cause possibly relating to abscesses in the mouth however this is speculation on the historians part. Gravel sandwiches don’t seem conducive to good oral hygiene though.

Mummification gradually declined when other cultures infiltrated and diluted customs. Nothing stays the same though it’s perhaps not always recognisable until after the event. The mummies on display died in ancient Egypt 1800 – 3000 years ago the most recent being a young man from Roman Egypt. So much reading for me to do. Moses as a baby was floated down the river Nile to escape the Romans is about the extent of my knowledge from that time and not being a biblical type I’m not quite sure of that. But regardless I found this exhibition fascinating. So many interesting facts. Apparently the prolific god Anubis is most likely the jackal (recently reclassified as the African golden wolf) that was often seen about grave sites. Of course it wasn’t for spiritual reasons but purely as a source of survival. They prefer rotten flesh over fresh. Hmmm.

Anyway if you get a chance and you’re interested in reading lots about ancient Egypt I recommend this exhibition. We were there for around 3 hours. So careful who you take as a pal. It won’t be for everyone.

On until 30th April.

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http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/julia-zemiros-home-delivery/

http://mentalfloss.com/article/67423/9-strange-uses-ancient-egyptian-mummies

https://maas.museum/