The Grad season: opening salvo….

20 11 2012

Well, it’s now officially on; Grad Season 2012. And first cab off the rank (in our orbit, anyways) was the Bega Valley Regional Gallery with the HSC  Visual Arts Students from Eden Marine High, Bega High and Lumen Christi, augmented by the graduating class (ceramics) from the Illawarra TAFE.

Great turnout for the opening – and the big excitement of the evening was Dr David Sequeira, who kindly did the honours of launching this latest wave of regeneration across our artistically fecund(!) corner of NSW…

 

 

He held the crowd in utter thrall – which was, of course, precisely why Megsie asked him to open the show…

 

 

Everybody loved him.

Meanwhile there’s some seriously classy work in this exhibition, from Shannon Reynold’s Ideal Reality (Lumen Christi)

 

 

(which picked up the Bega Valley Art and Craft Society’s Linda Deighton Youth Encouragement Award) to Harrison Balodis’s astonishing Ring-a ring a Rosie, We all fall down (Eden Marine High)…

 

 

And how fabulous to see the craft scene thriving – just get a load of this sweet occasional table (North Queensland Red Carabeen) from Eden Marine High student Grover Gillespie…

 

 

…and this amazing slide guitar…

 

 

…which maker Kane Gardayer (also from Eden Marine High) will be taking to his audition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in a couple of weeks.

And then there’s Argentinian Ernesto San Juan’s gorgeous stoneware…

 

 

Too cute for words.

The future of the local arts community clearly augurs well. More highlights here.

Get in quick though, folks – it’s only up until the 8th December.

And then hold on to your hats – next week is the EASS Patrons Day/Grad Show at the ANU School of Art…whacko the diddlee…oh oh.





Birds from a New World, and more…

10 10 2012

Last weekend was pretty perfeck from the classic country/culture/lifestyle perspective…

Granny and Minnie travelled from Melbs and the ‘Berra respectively for Nicky Dickson’s opening at the BVRG on Friday night; now that’s dedication for you – and neither was even faintly disappointed…

 

 

Too divine for words…

 

 

Birds from a New World was inspired by the Ducie Collection in the National Library of Australia. This collection of 56 illustrations created in 1788-9 is attributed to George Raper, a midshipman aboard the First Fleet. It forms part of a substantial body of drawings and maps made by several people in the early years of European settlement of Australia. Unlike the Cook voyages, there were no professionally trained artists aboard the First Fleet. Amateur artists, like Raper who drew birds and plants, knew and obeyed fewer of the usual restrictive conventions of formal natural history illustration. Instead they revealed glimpses of their personalities and tastes in the way they composed their illustrations. This means that the body of First Fleet art exists as a record of cultural tastes and interests as well as the birds and plants found in the young colony.

In this exhibition the subjects of Raper’s paintings have been quoted and re-presented in a different context. The paintings aim to convey the wonder and fascination experienced by Europeans when they were introduced to Australia’s flora and fauna. The gun, sword and navigational equipment are also included in the paintings and refer to the fact that colonisation of Australia occurred due to the development of technologies that enabled Europeans to spread over the globe and exert their will.

Nicola Dickson 2012

 

 

Bird lovers, ignoring the turning weather, flocked to the gallery for Helen Maxwell’s official launch of the show…

 

 

Actually, peeps had been streaming in long before it was open to the public – despite the ‘gallery closed for changeover: beware of curator’ signs!! – so we anticipate it’s going to be immensely popular. Fair enough and all, it’s gorgeous.

 

(Taxidermied specimens courtesy of the Bombala National Parks and Wildlife Service)

Seriously worth the drive. More snaps here.

Saturday was cold and rainy – perfect reading/movie weather…

 

 

…and from there on in it was total indulgence. We’ll spare you all the galloping gourmand-o-rama (for once!!) bar this treat of a snap of High Tea in the Banksia, spotted through the bathroom window (yep, here at the Hideout!)…

 

 

Oh, and maybe a little more slab wetting…

 

 

[This could go on for a while… n(Ed)]





A touch of class at the BVRG…

4 10 2012

 

Opening tomorrow night.





Beyond the Garage, at last…

4 09 2012

We thought we’d give you a break from the interminable slab-o-rama, and finally post the opening of Beyond the Garage. This is a fabulous exhibition, featuring the work of artists with disabilities from Tulgeen’s Art in the Garage Project.

 

 

It’s a highly anticipated, enthusiastically supported event that drives the community into a veritable frenzy of retail therapy; in part as a gesture of support for the program but more particularly because of the universal appeal of the work. There’s a sense of joy in the room that’s impossible to miss.

Although this year had a regrettably sad beginning when long time member of the group, Michael O’Dea, passed away unexpectedly – barely a week before the opening.  Michael will be sorely missed by community and canny collectors alike.

 

(You’ll have to excuse the reflections!!)

 

He did a fine line in Kamahl paintings – none, alas, this time around.

The rest of the exhibition is beyond splendid and visitation gratifyingly high. Congratulations to Project co-ordinator Matthew Perry and to Jen and the amazing support crew who make all of this possible.

 

 

Peter Fay opened the exhibition with customary aplomb and a thoroughly entertaining night was had by all. Go here for the highlights.

…and we’ll leave you with Megsie’s wonderful buy: Graham Henkel’s Constable Runstable […the perfect addition to a cop shop. n(Ed)]

 





Opening tonight at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery…

24 08 2012

Excitement’s building in expectation of tonight’s opening of Beyond the Garage at the BVRG.

Peter Fay’s in town to launch it and the eftpos machine is at the ready (it’s gunna go off!!) We  had a school group through this morning and there’s already a rash of red dots spreading across the walls…and it doesn’t open until 6pm tonight!! To describe this exhibition as popular would be an understatement.

We’ll bring you all the excitements of the opening later – but meanwhile here’s a tease: Gavin Irvin’s Critter series





proppaNOW in Bega…

23 07 2012

 

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Gang is heavily into proppaNOW, the artist-activist collective from Brisbane: Richard Bell, Laurie Nilsen, Megan Cope, Gordon Hookey, Jennifer Herd, Vernon Ah Kee and Tony Albert. Nothing like a double shot of healthy irreverence and up-the-culo of the status quo, eh – and that’s just for starters. So so crucial to the integrity of all things art-farty, indigenous or otherwise.

proppaNOW was spurred into action back in the 90’s (though it also partly evolved from an earlier group, Campfire) when members of the urban collective were dismissed as inauthentic (aboriginal artists) on the grounds that they weren’t proper, desert blackfellas.  Unsurprisingly, they took umbrage. Who was whitey (let’s be frank, the art market is an entirely artificial white construct) to deny their aboriginality? [Oh the irony – in pre-millenium Queensland, of all places! n(Ed)] And who was whitey to dictate the tenor or nature of their art practice, period?

proppaNOW, consequently, now runs a no holds barred socio-political agenda, tackling all the hard issues of racial injustice with the grit and determination of a Maroons front-row pack. Or as Richard Bell would no doubt say, ‘bring it on, mother-fucker.’ Pure universal zeitgeist. We love that.

 

 

proppaNOW has landed in Bega, as the continuation of the BVRG’s annual Contemporary Indigenous program; aimed at encouraging local indigenous artists to fight hard for their right to party (…to borrow from the Beastie Boys.) Given that Aboriginal Art undeniably commands the lion’s share of the Australian art bourse and that art is the power tool in the struggle for social change, it makes far more sense to encourage local artists to find their own voice instead of submissively nobbling themselves to the stereotypical demands of the ‘ooga booga’ (to borrow a proppaNOW term) low-end tourist market. It’s all way more complex than that, of course, but a line needs to be drawn in the sand somewhere and at this point in time proppaNOW pretty much encapsulates the broader indigenous political mood.

The exhibition, proppaNOW: existence/resistance, opened at the BVRG on Friday the 13th July and runs until the 18th August. The perennially entertaining David Broker, Director of the Canberra Contemporary Art Space, performed the honours as opening speaker (seriously apt given that his association with various members of the group spans some 3 decades) and artists Richard Bell and Laurie Nilsen were on hand for both the launch and a Yarn-Up at Jigamy the following day.

 

 

This is work that gnaws at the comfort zone – and, actually, is way kinder than it could be. Clever, funny – but nonetheless a very clear admonishment. Fair enough and all, we reckon.

The show we got at Bega was (as Megan Cope’s piece subtly infers) whitewashed for local sensibilities.

More snaps here.

Additional background: Artlink article, Kickarts Read the rest of this entry »





The Shirley Hannan social rounds….

4 07 2012

Well darls, we’re gunna make like the Canberra Times and bring you the Shirley Hannan post in the final week of the exhibition(!)

It’s been super hyper down in the old Burg de Bega and we’ve barely had time to  get the culture mulcher cranked up. But here, at last, are the snippets from the last month –  and we are talking snippets, schveeties – most of the time we’ve been far too distracted to even remember the camera…

Never mind. The Shirley Hannan was bigger and better than ever before (we do take this on general advisement) and it’s been an incredible ride  – irrefutable evidence of the very real and abiding affection held by the community for the Award’s late patroness. Shirley continues to provide the glue for the local arts community.

175 entries, 35 finalists – five of which were locals; something that would have pleased her no end. There was a serious buzz right from the get-go. At least a third of the interstate finalists travelled for the media launch/opening/traditional Artists’ Lunch (the following day.) And what an enjoyable reunion it was – which of course has become one of the salient features of the Shirley Hannan, that sense of collegiate bonhomie. This was, for example, Raelene Sharp’s 6th consecutive hang as a finalist, representing an association of some 12 years standing. She wouldn’t miss it for the world, she reckons.

Proceedings kicked off with the media launch; perfect photo opps for all concerned and the first point of contact for the attending finalists…

 

 

After which the artists repaired to the pub for lunch and an afternoon bonding session (which the Gang was sorry to miss)  and the BVRG went into lockdown while Michael Desmond got into the nitty-gritty  of the judging – a task which nobody envied him. It was an incredibly strong field and he clearly wrestled long and hard over his decision.

Which of course wasn’t revealed until about halfway through the evening’s opening, by which time the capacity crowd (close to 200) had worked itself into a veritable lather of anticipation…

 

 

Needless to say it was a fairly big night – followed by a very civilized recovery luncheon the following day at Thornliegh-on-Newtown, hosted by Brian Settle and the Shirley Hannan Trust. The Artists’ Lunch had been held by Shirley since the early ’90’s, a tradition that’s been continued by Brian. Held in honour of the finalists, it’s become a celebration and tribute to Shirley herself in many ways and is one of the most enjoyable events on the SH program.

 

 

Perfeck.

And ever since it’s been a huge month of high gallery visitation (as one would expect.) The highlight mid-way was the ARTspeak with winner Neil Moore…

 

 

What a wonderful floortalk, it was – and what an erudite speaker he is. He brought something, dare we say it, that we rarely see down this neck of the woods – intellectual rigour! Goodness, what a concept. Though with buckets of charm (reminded us of a young Patrick McCaughey, actually.) Fabulous.

And then, just as Megsie was thinking things couldn’t possibly get any better, in popped her two favourite pollies…

 

 

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Thanks Shirley, it’s been a cracker year.

Glimpses of the good times here.

The background (in case you missed it) here.





On at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery…

30 04 2012

Apologies to Harry and Craig for being a little tardy with this posting.

 

First Cut opened a week ago at the BVRG – one of those fabulous exhibitions that’s deeply satisfying on so many different levels, not the least being the quality of the work. It’s a grown-up show, for art lovers with a mature appreciation of contemporary practice (ie probably not for the chocolate box brigade.) Make an effort to check it out in the flesh if you can – well worth the drive.

 

 

Opening snaps here.

Meanwhile, the hang itself…

 

 

 

In 2009 the Bega Valley Regional Gallery became a Patron of the Australian National University’s annual Emerging Artist Scholarship Scheme (EASS); a program that provides support for meritorious graduates from across the breadth of the school’s visual arts disciplines. The patronage takes many forms – from acquisition by prestigious corporate collections, to travelling scholarships (from the Spanish Embassy, for instance), to exhibition opportunities (as in this case) at appropriate regional venues.

Young graduating sculptor Harry Townsend was a clear standout in the class of 2010; his work so preternaturally familiar, with an inherent primeval sensibility that intuitively connects with the viewer. There’s a maturity in his work that belies his emerging status, a wonderful feeling for materials and process, an eye for the idiosyncrasies of his chosen/gathered elements.

In this he is the perfect visual foil for Craig Cameron. Both artists approach their work in an extraordinarily similar way – seriously tooled up, painting and scraping and carving and torching – in a purely gestural response to their respective individual conceptual intent. Craig Cameron was the winner of the Bega Valley Art Award in 2008 and (twice) a finalist in the Far South Coast Living Artist Scholarship Project. He is long overdue a greater measure of public exposure. He is the classic artist’s artist – his work uncompromisingly ‘guttural’; a marvellous amalgam of the likes of Mike Parr, Jackson Pollock and Tony Tuckson – abstract expressionism with a satisfyingly nihilistic edge.

 





Matt’s opening…

15 03 2012

It was the second weekend in a row for nail-biting apropos whether or not to cancel an exhibition opening; this time the Matthew Jones show at the BVRG. Had it continued to rain on the Friday we really would have pulled the plug, if only as a duty of care to all the cognoscenti who’d feel obliged to travel through the dangerous conditions. But we had a fair day of it – and decided that we wouldn’t be morally culpable for any mishaps after all.

Guest speaker for the evening, Andrew Sayers, went the long-haul around the Darragh (the Brown having collapsed) with nary a murmur and we’re convinced that he’s entirely responsible for bringing the glorious weather for the (Canberra) long weekend that followed.

 

 

There was a gratifyingly dedicated show of support in the end, many people making the supreme effort to drive the long way around Merimbula or Cobargo in order to make it. And they were well rewarded for their effort. Matt, the 3rd recipient of the Far South Coast Living Artist Project Scholarship, did the program (and his Dad) proud.

 

 

It’s a fabulous exhibition; strong and fresh, with just enough soft-pop to contemporize the ‘storybook’ mien. The portraits are merely numbered (ie not titled per se), apart from the one self-portrait as a pleasant young man…

 

 

and that seriously cute, folkloric series of animals…

.

No prizes for guessing Megsie’s favourite, though…

Gallery visitors are loving it big time. One definitely not to be missed.

More goodies here.

Even more goodies here

But wait, there’s more  (this from Matt’s friend Sam, who’s one of his subjects)





Opening tomorrow at the BVRG…

8 03 2012

Tomorrow, rising floodwaters notwithstanding, Matt Jones’ exhibition at the BVRG will be launched. Punters may be deterred by the inclement conditions, but we figure the faithful will make the effort regardless. Well, Megsie and Matt will be there, at any rate…

Matt spent yesterday arvo applying the finishing touches…

…noice.