August catch-up…

Goodness, we’re nearly at the half-way mark through August and we’ve not yet spread any of the love….better late than never, so here’s a bit of a job lot…

First up, Jas biz…


Mark Gerada

now showing

jas hugonnet gallery


Mark Gerada is a multi-disciplinary practitioner who lives and works in the mountains west of Sydney. He is a painter, illustrator and teacher with a background in architecture, ceramics and design. He has exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Brussels, China and Malta.

In this selection of works Gerada demonstrates his ability to combine abstraction and mixed media. Through the application and layering of media he creates space within the picture plane.

His dynamic brushwork evokes the act of painting where the subtle use texture creates depth.

To arrange an appointment to view or for media images, please call 0417 235 916 or contact the gallery via the website.

Image: Mark Gerada  Glamaig 2,  Acrylic on Canvas, 90 x 60cm

And then there was Nigel’s starring role at Heidi


[We love that work Nige – super, super cool. We can feel a re-emergence coming on.


And then there was the fabbo snap sent around work by one of the Rangers…



…which shot us straight down memory lane to Rose Montebello’s wonderful Knot…



And then there were last week’s highlights – like another circulated work pic of winter on the Brown…



And news of Alex’s upcoming show, opening this coming Thursday night (16th August) at Beaver…


Be still our beating heart  – we love Alex’s work. If Megsie manages to shrug off her current state (flu-blown) and make it across the Monaro for the Ranamok on Wednesday, the Gang may well manage to swing into the Beaver as well. Joy. (Just a reminder to our American friends that Beaver is the name of a gallery in Canberra…)

Can’t get enough…

…of Alex Asch, who’s just kicking off a new body of work at Jas Hugonnet Gallery

The Gang had dinner on Thursday night with Jas and La Groppa (at Italian & Sons, too good; just like being in Melbs) and so caught up with all the latest g(l)oss.

Haven’t had a chance to deliberate over the ‘woofer’ in the Ranamok yet, though did go through the show like a dose of salts on the Saturday morning. Only had enough time to give Mas a quick congratulatory squeeze – he was about to give a floor talk – before a supersonic exit stage right (people to see/places to be, coast-wise.) Outstanding winning piece, beyond merely deserved (see last post for snap.)

Meanwhile, back to Alex…





Alex Asch 


now showing

jas hugonnet gallery


media release and invitation


In this latest body of work Asch explores masculinty through the male action figure.

These rescued and reconstructed figures have been endowed with new personas and narratives taking them beyond boy hood heroism

and into a flawed and eccentric existence.


To arrange an appointment to view or for media images, please contact the gallery via the website. 




Alex Asch

the hatchet man


40 x 21 x 15cm         

Mea Culpa; Atonement opens in Bega…


The power of art as a social tool.

Two years ago the Bega Valley Regional Gallery formally instituted an annual Contemporary Indigenous exhibition, to be held every July in concert with Naidoc Week. The last two exhibitions, Contemporary Primitive and The New Black, celebrated a diverse range of work by five indigenous artists with innovative practices that transpose traditional techniques away from the stereotypical into a visual currency that more succinctly reflects their own socio-historic reality.

This year the tables have been turned. Bridged metaphorically by the superlative work of indigenous artist Danie Mellor, six non-indigenous artists were invited to contemplate the concept of Atonement. All have responded to what can only be regarded as contentious territory with a sensitivity that reminds the viewer that we all share an ethical responsibility in the process of reconciliation, and that the resolution of the parlous state of indigenous affairs remains a shamefully neglected blight on our (seemingly not so)fair nation. 

At the foreground of the exhibition, in just a whisper of an echo of the Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia, stands a towering sentinel of gas bottles. Sculptor Geoff Farquhar–Still found inspiration for this piece in the pukumani poles at the Art Gallery of NSW; the overwhelming sense of presence and connectivity, of the physical and emotional experience of the poles, impacted profoundly on his approach to his own work. The way of all things 2011 became an immutable embodiment of expiration. 

Imants Tillers, recognised as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists, has two works in the exhibition: the first, Nature Speaks: AX 2002, is from a series made in collaboration with Papunya artist Michael Nelson Jagamara; the second, Nature Speaks CV 2011, was painted specifically for the Atonement exhibition. Featuring a fragment of the Walt Whitman poem One’s self I sing and a litany of extinguished Tasmanian aboriginal tribes, the work is both an expression of regret and a call to brotherhood.

Nicola Dickson’s exquisitely decorative paintings – exploring the blending of the exotic and civilization – spring from imagery first created in 1807 by Barthelemy Roger in an atlas describing the voyages of the French explorers Francis Peron and Nicholas Baudin in Pacific and Australian waters. The work is a delicate reminder of the imposition of colonialism on the natural order of the time. 

Alex Asch also explores imposition, though of a more strident nature; his work reflects on the harmful introduction of perverse government policy from The Intervention to the mooted suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, and the insidious harm compounded by ‘lifestyle’ (tobacco, refined sugar, grog…) If deaths in custody weren’t heinous enough, consider deaths through no-brand legislation.

Simon Maberley’s reliquaries pay tribute to indigenous people he has met at festival’s and political and/or environmental campaigns over the years; events and relationships that shaped him philosophically and fed his appetite for compassion. The narratives are personal, the social awareness true. The blown glass vessels symbolise the precious nature of the fundamental tenets of respect held within.

Mariana del Castillo tackles the fraught subject of the Stolen Generation, with a beautifully sewn tableau of the doll/child, left abandoned on an uncompromising straight-backed chair, the spectre of abuse lurking, grinning, from the closet. The loaded elements tell the story, the narrative stitched together with painfully prescribed care, cockroaches scuttling in the background. 

Danie Mellor, the one indigenous artist in the group, rounds out the party with the seductive display of colonial accoutrement; specifically the pomp, circumstance (and bling) used to dazzle indigenous populations into accepting imperialist rule. The artist explores the correlations of ceremony and initiation (hierarchical and secretive) that exist between two seemingly diametrically opposed cultures. Dignity, one suspects, resides with the natives.

Atonement is a fabulous show – strong, emotive…groundbreaking, even.

This is sensitive, taboo territory, notoriously difficult to navigate and consequently usually given a wide berth by non-indigenous practitioners. But for artists with an evolved social conscience, who are appalled by the ongoing inability of this nation to reconcile the tremendous wrongdoing still perpetuated against the first people of this land, Atonement represents an infinitesimal step towards at least some measure of moral reparation.

Politics aside, this is a quality show in every sense – and seriously worth the drive.  On until August 6th.

More snaps here, including a peek at the opening.

Alex Asch: double whammy…

 Just in from Jas…

Alex Asch

Deconstructing the Bull’s Head

now showing

jas hugonnet galley


Image: Deconstructing the Bull’s Head 3, Mixed media series 2008-2010, 16 x 5.5 x 2cm

Inspired by Picasso’s 1943 Bull’s Head, Asch presents a series of wall works based on simplicity in assemblage. Asch works with abstraction with added narrative brought about through his use of historical objects, leading to a three dimensional graphic representation that is suggestive of the past and the future. The clarity in the connection of parts is the secret to their success as is symmetrical balance and the hint of cryptic animality.


Oooer: we love that cryptic animality, Jas. Yes please!! 

And for all you Alex Asch fans out there, your cup runneth over – he’s also in a brilliant show opening at CMAG next week, Something in the Air: Collage and Assemblage in Canberra Regional Art. Go here to check it out. Can’t wait, it’s going to be an absolute cracker of a show.

Construct: the show…


Alex Asch, The golden pig toucher, mixed media



Mariana del Castillo, The revelation, mixed media



Bob Georgeson, Mons, mixed media

The exhibition, Construct: Sculpture in the house, is about to come down – so for those who missed it, we’re posting it for posterity. And what a beauty it was…


(Megsie’s) Curatorial overview:

This show follows closely on the heels of Bermagui’s Sculpture on the Edge and quite consciously so. The happy circumstance of a vacancy in our exhibition program provided us the opportunity to extend the sculptural schematic to an audience already primed and receptive, and to introduce them to work of a more intimate nature. Whereas sculpture historically conjures up notions of monumentality – of sentinel endurance and poised grandeur – wrought and forged and intrinsically conspicuous, the work of the artists in Construct is at once familiar and private and inversely monumental in terms of an almost epic domesticity. This exhibition still tackles all the big questions – sex, life and the universe – but in a visual language that tugs at our collective memory through a construct of the careworn, abandoned flotsam of everyday life. Indeed all three artists, whether in 2D or 3D, employ a complex layering of emotion, material and intent to throw light on specious social mores that give us pause to contemplate the myriad absurdities of life.


Ecuadorian born artist Mariana del Castillo and American Alex Asch met at art school in Canberra some 20 years years ago, and have been practicing in a symbiotically simpatico capacity ever since. Though maintaining strictly separate practices, what they do obviously share is a genuine love of material and a clear understanding of the connotations inherent in the use of that material. Both are committed recyclers, unerringly identifying the beauty of discarded ‘detritus’ – which in turn delivers both narrative and a multi-layering of poetic embellishment to their respective practices.


Del Castillo’s work is quite clearly influenced by her Ecuadorian roots. These ‘tableaus’ are imbued with the magic-realism found in the wider South American literary culture, and taking them in is akin to curling up with a favourite South American author. They’re so lyrical and mystical. So enthrallingly visceral. Each work an encapsulated narrative, a tender balance between a private biographical circumstance and the greater universal consciousness. This is, fundamentally, women’s business; cradling all the joy and pain that life entails. It stands both poised and literally pregnant with enshrined privacy – for which del Castillo makes no apology. We really don’t need to know the intimate particulars to feel the pith and the pathos. Nor does the ‘secrecy’ interfere with our intuitive appreciation of her rich aesthetic detailing.


Alex Asch’s aesthetic approach tends more toward the minimal. He is both drawn to naturalistic materials (metals and glass as opposed to plastics) and driven by the intellectual fascination vested in the re-invention of the found object. In this he subscribes to the school of Du Champ – with a Bostonian take, of course. His work invariable has a humorous edge –  sagacious observations of the ironies in life – and he’s not one to shy away from socio-political concerns. (As anyone who has seen his recent Guantanamo Man series can attest.) But Asch’s brand of sedition is a soft-shoe shuffle; he pokes and prods gently at the wider social conscience – if only to ensure that the home fires of compassion still retain some spark. Invariably he cocks an eye at risible enigmas – the Ready to Wear piece, for instance, was prompted by the haute couture/prêt a porter scenario, and contemplates the brittle absurdities of the cat-walk and high fashion industry.


While maintaining very disparate practices, what Mariana and Alex do patently share is a genuine love of material and a clear understanding of the connotations inherent in the use of that material. The overriding sensibility is one of infinite charm and exculpation – of salvation in simplicity, beyond and despite the reckless inhumanity of our time. There’s something almost Shaker in Asch’s work which yet sits astonishingly well in apposition with del Castillo’s arcane ‘catholic’ memorabilia. Each, in their own way, pays homage to The Relic.


The voice of the third person in the show is that of Bermagui artist Bob Georgeson (winner of the SEMAG exhibition held here earlier this year.) His most recent work is photomontage – often a dense construct of compelling, symbolic imagery of a psycho-sexual nature that delves into the straticulate hypocrisies of social convention. His ongoing Bridal series explores the conflicts inherent in the romance versus reality conundrum of the time immemorial mating game. Captivated by bridal magazines found in op-shops, he strives to reconcile the modesty of the veil with the louche sexuality of the garter. For Georgeson, the bride is the universal sacrificial lamb, central player in a coyly titivating ritual that masks a darker purpose. Here love and desire are caught in the erotic mesh of a carefully marketed and mannerly, staged drama – where bridezilla secretes the excesses of her cheap and sleazy hen’s night in the demure folds of unimpeachable white, and the complexity of the marriage bed wreaks havoc on the romance. In this modern day Dickens, Miss Havisham gets her wedding day, but the bouquet wilts and decays regardless. Georgeson is a dadaist at heart, and consequently at odds with cultural and intellectual conformity. His practice is a balanced assemblage of decorous imagery offset by a quiet cynicism, and is at once mesmerizing and repellant in its contrivance of an inevitably deviant beauty. And yet surely we can detect just a hint of tenderness for the very vulnerability of that doomed dream.


Construct: Sculpture in the house is a complex show, representing astute artistic handling of both media and concept. There is a fascinating visual dialogue at play in the room. And – glued together by diverse sentiment and strung on humanist ideology – an almost unfathomable yearning for the safety of the (metaphoric)womb.





Alex Asch, Guitars, mixed media



Alex Asch, collage series




 For more snaps, go here.

The ‘Construct: Sculpture in the house’ opening…


(above) Klaus and Megsie with artists Bob Georgeson, Mariana del Castillo and Alex Asch.

Last Friday night was the opening of Construct: Sculpture in the house at the Bega Regional Gallery, and what a great show [even if we do say so ourselves!! n(Ed)] This was Megsie’s first curatorial outing in the Gallery (she’d inherited an almost  fully booked 2 year program with the job – but happily there’s the odd blank for her to play with, and this is the first…) 

The exhibition is an Eden-Monaro special, featuring the work of Queanbeyan artists Mariana del Castillo and Alex Asch, and Bermagui artist and winner of the recent SEMAG show, Bob Georgeson. We’ll bring you the show proper, with the curatorial overview, shortly. But for now, sit back and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the social rounds.

More snaps here.

Alex Asch, ‘Land’s End’…


Alex Asch, Land’s End



Darlings!! Jas has just sent through these gorgeous snaps from one of our fave men about town, Alex Asch. Yes, it was Sculpture By The Sea time again in Sydney, and above is Alex’s contribution to SXS 2008. Too good. He also had the three smaller pieces (below) in the Taramara and Bondi Pavilion.


                  alex-at-bondi1      alex-inside-at-bondi1      alex-at-tamarama 

                 (click to enlarge)

Gotta love that work. The exciting news is that he’s been invited to participate in Sculpture on the Sea in Denmark – more news about that on the SXS website. And, of course, you can see more of Alex’s work at Jas Hugonnet Gallery.

We’ve been meaning to do a studio profile of Alex (and Mariana, too, though seperately) for some time now…we’ll get around to it as soon as…