Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Y Now

Meg Harrington, Alex Prockter and Hamish Harrington at the exhibition opening.

The Mayor Cr Andrea Marian officially opened 'Y Now: 2010 VCE Graduate Exhibition' on 16 December 2010 at 6pm. The Mayor provided her opening remarks to a large crowd including secondary school principals, teachers and community representatives and, of course, the participating young artists and their families and friends. The exhibition opening provided an opportunity for the community to join in celebrating the students' talents and achievements in the visual arts and the conclusion of their VCE studies. The opening of 'Y Now' coincided with the announcement of VCE results and there was much excitement and discussion about future plans for study and careers.

This is the third time an annual celebration of VCE graduates has been presented at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery. It has taken some time to develop this event, but the success of the 2010 exhibition has established this VCE celebration as a core part of the Gallery's community programming. Eleven young artists from across the region feature in 'Y Now' representing their respective schools, Marian College Ararat, Donald High School, Lake Bolac College or Ararat College. This year's exhibition features many impressive artworks in a range of mediums including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics and textiles. The young artists have explored diverse subject areas including fairy tales, childhood themes, animals and nature and social justice issues. Some students have also presented their work in applied art areas such as fashion and theatre design. Journals from some of the exhibitors are on display as well, and these provide a sense of the process involved in creating the artworks featured in the exhibition.

Rainbow Love


Artist Cath Johnston and Jules Walker, Community Development & Health Promotion Manager for Grampians Community Health.

Ararat Rural City Mayor, Cr Andrea Marian officially opened Cath Johnston's exhibition, Rainbow Love on Thursday 9 December 2010 at 6pm. The opening was one of our new Mayor's first official engagements. Cr Marian spoke passionately about the struggle to receive equal rights and recognition for gay and lesbian people, with reference to Cath's exhibition and interactive 'Rainbow Love' sculpture. Cath's exhibition is deeply informed by her personal circumstances and values and its creation is motivated by a desire to break down prejudices in the community towards the recognition of same sex relationships.

'Rainbow Love' presents the idea of 'Love' in a sculptural form. Integral to this interactive artwork is the tying of rainbow ribbons by gallery visitors on to each of the sculptural letters that form the word "Love'. Cath said, "I have created this installation in support of the designation of 2011 as a year of action for equal love". Cath chose the word 'Love' for her sculpture because she feels it is "the unifying ethos by which all change, tolerance, acceptance, hope, equality and positivity evolve". In the introductory panel to the exhibition she writes, "We are all equal in love. My personal wish is that one day very soon all gay, lesbian, bisexual, trangender and intersex (GLBTI) people will be able to legitimise their love for one another by law. She then asks the viewer, 'What is your hope for our shared future?' ".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Many Become One

Ararat-based artist Jade Kahle was approached earlier this year with the idea of introducing textile craft skills to children leading to an installation outcome in response to the 2010 Children’s Week theme, ‘A Caring World Shares’. The project has been funded through a Children's Week grant from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
This resulting installation ‘Many Become One’ is the culmination of the collaboration between Jade and the participating children. The exhibition was launched by Ararat Rural City Councillor Anne Marshall last Tuesday afternoon, 3 November.

Jade’s concept for ‘Many Become One’ focuses on forms from nature, such as beehives, bird nests and wasp daubs. A half-seen and imagined world of bee and bird is evoked through crochet, knitting and stitch-work, with honeycomb motifs symbolising unity, building and co-operation. Each workshop led to the creation of the various textile pieces that feature in the installation that was designed and constructed by Jade. The individual elements were made by primary school students from Ararat West, Ararat North, Landsborough, Moyston, Willaura, St Mary’s in Ararat and Skene Street in Stawell. Children from the monthly Embroiderers Guild Needles and Pins children’s textile group also contributed to the installation. The installation is presented until 5 December 2010.

Jade Kahle is an artist and designer who has been working with her zooblast label since 2004. For more information visit the zooblast webpage.

Ivan Durrant - Boundary Rider

Ivan Durrant, 'Ball Carrier' 2010, acrylic on masonite, 97 x 148cm

Ivan Durrant is well known for his confronting happenings, sculptures, films and paintings of the 1970s and 1980s. Ararat Regional Art Gallery is pleased to present Ivan's most recent series of paintings,'Boundary Rider', in which he celebrates the colours of a football match in a semi-abstract style. 'Boundary Rider' is an exhibition that provokes a response from the viewer and many interesting conversations have been had in the Gallery since the exhibition went up on the walls. It has been interesting to see how visitors to the exhibition react when confronted by Ivan's intensely bright paintings with their strongly contrasting colours and out-of-focus and sometimes almost abstract representation of moments from football matches. This recent series of paintings has attracted considerable critical attention with Ivan winning the prestigious Sulman Prize in 2009 and having two 'Boundary rider' paintings acquired and currently on show at the National Gallery of Australia. This exhibition, which continues until 12 December 2010, provides an opportunity to view the work of one of Australia's great contemporary painters.

Artist Tony Flint opened the exhibition

Ivan Durrant's 'Boundary Rider' exhibition was officially opened on Saturday 6 November 2010. It was great to welcome Ivan back to Ararat following his visit in 2009 for the opening of the Albert Tucker exhibition 'The Intruder: The Perfect Allegory' which he curated. Ivan's good friend and fellow painter Tony Flint opened 'Boundary Rider' with a warm and insightful appreciation of Ivan and his work. To see some images of Tony's paintings click here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Living Treasure

Liz Williamson presenting her floor talk

Dr Kevin Murray opens the exhibition.

Last night we celebrated the official opening of Liz Williamson:Textiles, which is an Object Gallery Touring Exhibition as part of its Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft series. Liz was raised at Carisbrook, near Maryborough, and her regional Victorian connections remain strong to this day. It was great to welcome many of Liz's family and friends to the opening. We were thrilled that Liz could attend and present a floor talk prior to the opening. Dr Kevin Murray, Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and well-known craft writer and curator officially opened the exhibition to a large and appreciative crowd. Ararat Regional Art Gallery is the exclusive Victorian presenter of the exhibition which continues until 31 October 2010.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Upcoming Events

Simon Tedeschi Piano Recital
Acclaimed US-based Australian pianist Simon Tedeschi will perform the music of Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Gershwin and Fats Waller at the Ararat Performing Art Centre on Wednesday 29 September 2010 at 8pm. Advertised ticket prices are $22 full price, $19 Concession and $15 Students, but Ararat Regional Art Gallery members will receive a 25% discount on the purchase price of tickets for the recital. This offer is only available when visiting the Ararat Performing Arts Centre box office or booking by phoning 5352 2181. Please mention this offer when booking your tickets and present your current gallery membership card when collecting your tickets.

Liz Williamson: Textiles – Floor Talk and Exhibition Opening

We are thrilled to confirm that the esteemed textile artist Liz Williamson will be present at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery exhibition opening of her touring exhibition, 'Liz Williamson: Textiles' on Thursday 30 September 2010. This exhibition is an initiative of the Sydney-based organisation, Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design, as part of its Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft series. Liz will present at floor talk on at 5pm which will be followed by the official opening of her exhibition at 6pm by Dr Kevin Murray. Dr Murray is Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and a well-known craft curator and advocate. It will be a great night and we hope to see you there!

Antiques Evaluation Day
Antiques and collectibles valuer, Lester DeVere will help you piece together the origins of your trinkets and treasures and advise you on their worth. Bring along your favourite antique or collectable or just come for the fun. There will be two sessions presented on Friday 8 October 2010: a morning session from 10.30am to 12pm, and an afternoon session from 1.30pm to 3pm. Bookings are essential. The cost is $5 per person, which entitles you to bring along one object for valuation. The session is designed to be informative and interactive. It is important to note that Lester will value all pieces in an open forum. These are not formal written valuations, but provided in a fun and educational environment of learning. The Antiques Evaluation Day will be held in the Art & Craft workshop, next door to Ararat Regional Art Gallery. Tea and coffee will be provided. For information or to confirm attendance, please contact Marcella Crowley on 5352 2836 or email: mcrowley@ararat.vic.gov.au

Monday, August 16, 2010

Australian Studio Tapestry

Above: Tim Gresham with his tapestry 'Triptych from Red (2002)
(l to r) Cresside Collette, Gerda van Hamond, Marie Cook, Sara Lindsay

Ararat Regional Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, “About Time: Australian Studio Tapestry 1975-2005” was officially opened on Saturday 14 August 2010 at 2pm by tapestry artist and Head of Art, South West TAFE, Warrnambool, Marie Cook. Marie, whose work is represented in the exhibition, joined tapestry artists from Melbourne and across Victoria at the opening.

“About Time” features 23 mostly large-scale tapestries in a rare survey of independent tapestry practice. The exhibition draws on the Gallery’s substantial holdings of studio tapestry, alongside some selected loans from other public galleries and private collections. While the exhibition does not tell the complete story of studio tapestry in Australia, it does aim to promote a greater understanding of the movement and acknowledge those who have been important in establishing and advancing this field of contemporary craft practice.

Since 2008 the Gallery’s studio tapestry sub-collection has been strengthened with acquisitions of major tapestries by important artists Kate Derum and Sara Lindsay. The “About Time” exhibition opening provided an opportunity to announce the Gallery’s successful funding application to the Robert Salzer Foundation, through the Public Galleries Association of Victoria, to support the acquisition of Tim Gresham’s ‘Triptych from Red’ from 2002.

“Triptych from Red” explores the tension between the immediacy of photography and the slowness of the weaving process. Tim, who is also a professional photographer, has distilled compositional elements from his photographs of the built environment to create this stunning abstract tapestry in three parts. Tim’s ambitious tapestry, which is presently on display in the “About Time” exhibition, took a year to weave and featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s prestigious Colin and Cecily Rigg Craft Award in 2003. “About Time” continues until 26 September 2010.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Virginia Kaiser's 'Outback Stories'

Virginia Kaiser, 'Shapes in the Landscape' 2010, Bulrushes & dyed rattan core x 4, muehlenbeckia & dyed rattan core x 1, Photo: Boris Hlavica

Participants in Virginia's two day workshop

Kaiser is an artist who employs a wide range of weaving techniques and natural fibre materials in her sculptures and baskets. Her current exhibition 'Outback Stories' is deeply informed by the landscape around Broken Hill where she presently lives.
Her exhibition is presented at Ararat Regional Art Gallery until 8 August.

life and work has been closely tied to the development of the craft movement in Australia and the practice of basketry in particular. She is widely recognised as a leader in contemporary Australian fibre art as an exhibiting artist, curator and mentor.
'Outback Stories’ is dedicated to some of the key influences in Virginia’s life, including South Australian basketry pioneer Jean Lange and American fibre artist Douglas Fuchs, who influenced the character of Australian basketry so profoundly during his Australian residency in the early 1980s. During her visit to Ararat, Virginia had a chance to see some of the fibre artworks in Ararat Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection, including objects from Jean Lange, Douglas Fuchs, and many Australian basketmakers.

The launch of Virginia’s exhibition last Friday 2nd July 2010 began with an artist’s talk in the afternoon where
she spoke about the development of contemporary Australian basketry. Following her talk, Virginia’s exhibition was officially opened by special guest Lindy Allen, Senior Curator, Anthropology (Northern Australia), Museum Victoria. Lindy spoke about Virginia’s influence on Australian fibre art and about the unique position that basketry holds as a means for dialogue between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

exhibition opening was attended by many people with an interest in contemporary fibre art, including practicing basketmakers who travelled to Ararat from Melbourne, Sydney, and Regional Victoria and South Australia for the opening.
A contingent of visitors also attended a weekend workshop presented by Virginia at the Allanvale Homestead’s Shearers Quarters, between Ararat and Great Western. Participants were thrilled to have completed several baskets during the workshop, as part of their introduction to this ancient craft.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Flames of Creation: The Pottery of John Eagle

Top: L-R John Eagle, Janette Todd, Rosemary Eagle

'Flames of Creation' was officially opened at the gallery on Saturday 22nd May at 2pm. It is an exhibition highlighting the 40 year career achievement of ceramicist John Eagle. Now based in Ararat, John Eagle is widely recognised for his contribution to ceramics in Victoria, including through his pursuit of excellence in functional pottery. The exhibition was opened by special guest Janette Todd, an exceptional artist in her own right, who has known John for a number of years. The opening was attended by over eighty people including Cr Andrea Marian, local pottery enthusiasts as well as a number of visitors to the area.

A graduate of RMIT, John enjoyed early success when selected for inclusion in the seminal Victorian craft exhibition, Craft Victoria '75 at the National Gallery of Victoria. In the 1970s, John dedicated himself to a life as a potter. In 1988 John was awarded the National Bicentennial Art-Craft award for Functional Pottery.

'Flames of Creation' presents a range of objects that track John's growth as a potter over a forty year period, revealing pivotal breakthroughs in his throwing and glazing techniques. Many of these featured objects are treasured possessions of the artist; other signature pieces have been sourced from a range of private collections. Also included is a new ceramic installation 'Garden of Creation' ,"based on the memory of annuals that used to flower every Spring at Linton', which was created especially for this exhibition. 'Flames of Creation' continues until June 27 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ochre, bark, fibre, wood

Above: Guests at the opening; Below (l to r) Elizabeth Crauford, Ian Mitchell and Ted Lovett at the opening.

Last Thursday we were was pleased to open our latest exhibition, 'Ochre, bark, fibre, wood: The art of Arnhem Land from the collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat'. The opening was well attended and guests had the opportunity preview the exhibition as well as hear opening remarks from indigenous Elder, Mr Ted Lovett, and Director of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Mr Gordon Morrison.

The exhibition is curated by Mr Morrison and is the first travelling survey of Ballarat's Arnhem Land collection since it was established in 2004. Mr Morrison gained a deeper appreciation of the art of Arnhem Land through a research trip funded by the Gordon Darling Foundation in May 2005, which enabled him to spend five days at Yirrkala and five days at Maningrida. Meeting artists and learning about the cultural context in which they created their work profoundly informed Mr Morrison's approach to establishing this new area of collection at Ballarat. Mr Morrison commented that, "although Arnhem Land is an integral part of Australia, travelling to this part of the Northern Territory can seem like travelling to another country. It is not just a matter of the physical remoteness of the region; this is a place where indigenous languages - and there are many of them - are still spoken and where age old customs, tribal law, ceremonies and art are still part of everyday life".

Bark paintings and fibre works rarely tour due to their fragility, so we are indeed fortunate that the Art Gallery of Ballarat has so generously shared its collection with us. The exhibition brings together exquisite bark paintings and majestic wood and fibre sculptures from 'the Top End'. It provides a rare opportunity for people to learn about the rich indigenous culture from this beautiful and remote part of Australia. The exhibition continues until Sunday 16 May.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jukebox Paintbox Exhibition

Bernadine Streeter (centre) with members of the Jailhouse Rock committee.

Marcella Crowley and Bernadine Streeter announcing the winners.

Ararat Regional Art Gallery's staff were pleased to welcome 40 community members to the launch of the Jailhouse Rock Festival last Wednesday. The launch was an opportunity to celebrate the festival's commencement and enabled the Jailhouse Rock Festivals committee to thank its many friends and supporters. This gathering also provided a great opportunity to introduce community members to the Gallery's current Jailhouse Rock exhibition 'Jukebox Paintbox'. This community access exhibition is our contribution to the 2010 Festival program and builds on last year's successful community exhibition, 'Discard to Disc Art'.

The concept behind 'Jukebox Paintbox' was that people respond artistically to a classic rock'n'roll song from a jukebox playlist. Each entrant was provided with a small canvas as part of their challenge and artists of all abilities were encouraged to enter their work. There was no selection process as the exhibition is essentially about promoting participation in the visual arts with everyone encouraged to have a go. A few prizes were on offer to keep things interesting. Sue Kennedy of Pomonal took out the $150 open prize for her painting, 'Tutti Frutti (after Arcimboldo)'. Sue's work was selected as the winning work by local artist, Carolyn Thomas, who is also the director of Off the Beaten Track Wine and Art Gallery in Buangor.

Carolyn was especially taken by Sue's homage to the Italian Mannerist painter, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who is known for his intriguing portraits of people whose images are made entirely out of fruit and vegetables. In this case, Sue's portrait captured the likeness of Little Richard, who is famous as the singer and composer of 'Tutti Frutti'. The Jailhouse Rock Festival director's award was judged by Bernadine Streeter and presented to Rosemary Wilson for her painting, 'Blueberry Hill at the Central Hotel'. Bernadine presented her award to the painting that she felt best captured the character of the Jailhouse Rock Festival.

Both judges were full of praise for those who contributed to this fun and colourful exhibition celebrating rock'n'roll culture. The People's Choice Award is being tallied today following the receipt of many votes over the festival weekend. The winner of the award will receive a voucher from Blue Whippet Art Supplies. The exhibition continues until March 28.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tea Party: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria

Dr Morna Sturrock AM officially opening 'Tea Party'

Last Thursday evening a crowd of around 100 people attended the launch of Ararat Regional Art Gallery's latest exhibition, "Tea Party: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria". The exhibition includes objects from the Gallery's own collection, historic tea cosies and aprons from the Embroiderers Guild's collection, contemporary tea cosies by guest artists and works borrowed from public and private collections.

A highlight of the exhibition is an afternoon tea table setting made by the Guild's Ararat branch members featuring knitted, crocheted, felted and embroidered cakes, sandwiches, slices and, of course, tea cosies. Many of the women who contributed to this project were in attendance at the opening to celebrate the completion and unveiling of their amazing collaborative artwork.

The opening attracted a strong contingent of Embroiderers Guild members from across Victoria, including representatives from the executive committee, its entire 50th anniversary sub-committee and members of branches in Geelong, Hamilton, Ballarat and as far as Mildura. Many people heading home from the Grampians Texture textile event at Halls Gap also stopped by to attend the opening.

We were especially honoured to welcome two distinguished guest speakers at the opening - Dr Morna Sturrock AM and Janet de Boer OAM, who are both well-known and highly respected textile art identities. Their respective opening remarks were warmly received by the large audience and provided a valuable context for appreciating 'Tea Party' and its contribution to the Guild's state-wide celebration. The exhibition continues until 4 April.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Y Now - VCE Exhibition Opening

Participating Artists at the Exhibition Opening

Last Saturday we were pleased to host the opening of our new exhibition Y Now. The exhibition features 2009 VCE visual art graduates from the Ararat and Pyrenees region. It was a great opportunity for the young people of our community to see their work exhibited in a professional environment. Gallery Director Mr Anthony Camm offered words of encouragement for the young artists in his opening speech. The exhibition was attended by around 70 people including family and friends of the artists, members of the Gallery, VCE art teacher, Mr John Eagle, and principal of Marian college, Mr John Crowley.

The exhibition features works from the students of Ararat Community College, Stawell Secondary College and Marian College Ararat. The young artists have used a range of methods and materials including, oil paint, canvas, textiles, paper mache, photography, Raku pottery and drawing. The subject of the artworks include local issues such as the impact of bushfires, whimsical themes like fairies, as well as exploring the more serious issues of relationships and drug addiction.

The VCE exhibition forms a major part of our community arts programming for the year, launched for the first time in 2009, and the success of this show will ensure its place on the Gallery calendar in future years. An important initiative for our young people. The exhibition will be open until February 21, 2010.