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.
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.
I was walking back to my car on Friday evening and thought I’d sneak a peek at the latest offering from Back to Back Gallery in Bull st Newcastle. Well wasn’t I pleasantly surprised. A magical wonderland of amorphous shapes greeted me in an array of scale and colour.
Oh what a way to bring Newcastle alive.
The artists’ Mandy Robinson and Jen Denzin certainly have an eye for the bizarre and theatrical. I wonder they haven’t pursued set design but perhaps there is not much call for this career here in greater “Newie”. So impressed was I that yesterday I found my way back to the gallery for a closer look. Oh to embellish my house with these bewildering sculptures. But alas I cannot have everything I see and love (those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that last week I picked up a painting by the great Ellie Kauffman that now sits perfectly in my home). Anyway for those who are keen to get out there and see some art “Everything That Rises – an adventure in three dimensions” is exhibiting at Back to Back until September 4th.
When I visited Christchurch on the weekend initially I was bewildered by the destruction, dust and lack of apparent eagerness to get the city beautified again (kind of reminded me of Newcastle NSW so there must be a fair bit of politics happening behind the scenes). But then I started wandering about and realised there was so much to this crumbled city and it’s probably a wee (a term used liberally in NZ) bit interesting. So I’ve taken a few photos of the art and the havoc wreaked by the earthquake of 2011. It’s a gentle reminder of our vulnerability I guess. Though we all love to have a go at taming nature.
Art of course is the principle reason for taking a stroll about the west end of Hunter Street. Us arty types know that but the addition of a good dose of sunshine quickens the step so with time on my side I ventured that little bit further and traipsed to the art school to see the latest offering from those dedicated students. And I’m sure glad I did. What I love about art schools is the willingness to take art that step further out of the comfort zone and away from the notion of the safe and saleable.
In the foyer a collection of strange sculptures by Melissa Baldwin echoed the primitive. A sense of Stone Age tool meets Dada crept in here. Around the corner her oil painting “Dapple” had more conservative dynamics. Emilie Tseronis continues her exploration of the mark with jaunty brush strokes delivering expressive results. The printmakers were also in fine form with Jonathon Gilbert holding the fort. A keen sense of the ludicrous was achieved with his drypoint etchings. It appears that whips, chains, piercings and pursed lips were strutting their stuff. On a softer note the images of Kimberley Minto titled Velvet Lace were delicate, subtle and a nice diversion. In the upstairs gallery I enjoyed the screen prints by Erin Reid titled “Acid Cats”. The simple line defined the elusive quality of that barbed beast. Also noteworthy is the naivety of Alex Genezakis’s art. The woodcut prints contained simplicity of detail pertinent to the subject being explored. Her acrylic on canvas painting titled “Fernleigh” revealed an uncomplicated composition and technique that smacked with atmosphere and tension.
They’re a group of emerging artists evolving and exploring, willing to travel the uncertain path that is art. The students are to be commended on an exhibition well done. Headway is on exhibit in the front room Gallery until October 24th.
Snappy colours and a fondness for the surreal give a hint at the art on offer currently at Art Systems Wickham. But however bright and jovial this work appears there is certainly depth involved. Mandy Robinson and Edwin Rush create a dialogue that coupled with insightful titles reveals the curious soul of each artist.
Industrious application to the practice of art is evident as Robinson pursues various techniques to delve ever deeper into the imagination. Shapes repeat and echo, fine line develops into wonderful labyrinths and collage introduces bold colour. The “lumpen objects” located centrally in the art space are sculptural forms made from fabric and found objects. The source and life of these organic forms sprout from core pieces such as old jugs and mixers. It’s a bizarre yet effective concept. The pen on paper drawings mirroring the “lumpens” were a favourite.
The paintings by Rush require contemplation. Although not as prolific as Robinson his work is obvious in its profoundness. Letting a laid-back approach to paint application become dominant in his work could be his mantra as his earlier work is unknown to me. This relaxed approach is quite meditative to view. Patterns emerge behind layers of opaque paint and meaning and essence can be garnered from the random titles of each work. In fact both artists seem to have a penchant for the obscure moniker.
This exhibition is a pleasure, perhaps a tad too busy, but a real exploration of both artists’ work. There seems to be a “need to purge” approach to the pricing of the art and it’s questionable. However for the sake of each artist I hope it works.
All hail the red dot!
“As is” is currently on exhibition at Art Systems Wickham, finishing 19th October.