Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Walking in the Artist’s Footsteps

Gordon Morrison, Director of Art Gallery of Ballarat opened the exhibition on Friday 16 December at 6pm.

Pictured right is Eugene von Guérard's 'Mount Langi from Pleasant Creek' (1871) from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, on display at Ararat Regional Art Gallery until 12 February 2012.

An iconic painter of colonial Australia, Austria‐born Eugene von Guérard (1811–1901) is sometimes referred to as the ‘father of Australian landscape painting’. This year the National Gallery of Victoria marked the artist’s bicentenary with a major exhibition, ‘Eugene von Guérard: Nature Revealed’. Now Ararat Regional Art Gallery will see out this celebratory year with, 'Australian Landscapes: Eugene von Guérard in the Antipodes’, an Art Gallery of Ballarat Travelling Exhibition presented from 15 December 2011 to 12 February 2012. The exhibition chronicles Eugene von Guérard's peripatetic ways through an entire set of 24 magnificent lithographs from 1866‐67 which capture some of the most remarkable and spectacular parts of South Eastern Australia and Tasmania.

Augmenting this outstanding exhibition is an oil painting of immense local significance: Eugene von Guérard’s ‘Mount Langi from Pleasant Creek’ from 1871, which is on loan from the National Gallery of Victoria. ‘Mount Langi from Pleasant Creek’ is a rare document of the early period of settlement and expansion in our region. The painting features gold mining in the foreground and a sweeping vista of the Pyrenees ranges in the distance.

It seems that ‘Mount Langi from Pleasant Creek’ depicts a view of the Pyrenees Ranges from the Big Hill Lookout in Stawell, which was then known as Pleasant Creek. However, the painting was also previously known by the title, ‘The Gold Diggings at Ararat’, until research uncovered and reinstated its original title.

The questions remains: is the painting based on a view of Mount Langi Ghiran from Stawell or from elsewhere in the region? If it is a view from Stawell, did von Guérard bring forward the Pyrenees Ranges and condense the middle ground in order to maximise the painting’s picturesque qualities? Or did he source the scene from elsewhere in the region, perhaps a little closer to Ararat, as the painting’s previous title suggests?

The local community can assist in locating and photographing the vantage point from which von Guérard sourced this image. If you think you know where this view can be found, please contact Ararat Regional Art Gallery on 5352 2836 or gallery@ararat.vic.gov.au

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Li Gang - in the grey scale

LI GANG, Seoul Subway no.4 2008, chromogenic print, courtesy of the artist

Ararat Regional Art Gallery current exhibition, ‘Li Gang -in the grey scale’ features large-scale contemporary photography by Beijing-based artist, Li Gang. Using hand‐built cameras, Li Gang produces large and complex images of contemporary East Asian urban spaces, including Beijing and Seoul. The use of hand‐built cameras introduces risk and accidents to Li Gang’s work. In his photographs, instead of control and mastery, there is magic and mystery. The photographic darkroom was always a place of magic and Li Gang returns to those roots.

We were honoured to welcome to Ararat, Madam He Ta, Cultural Consul from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Melbourne, who officially opened the exhibition on Saturday 5 November 2011 at 2pm. Madam He Ta was welcomed and introduced by Mayor Cr. Andrea Marian who spoke of the significance of Ararat’s historic and contemporary relationship with China.

Ararat's connection with China that dates back to over 150 years when miners from Guangdong Province came to Victoria in search of the rich deposits of gold. The city's contemporary relationship with China is underpinned an active sister city relationship with Taishan in Quangdong province, and friendship agreements with Ji'an in Jiangxi Province and Huzhou City and Yiwu City within Zhejiang Province. Given the important of this active contemporary relationship, it was a great honour to have Madam He Ta with us to offically open 'Li Gang - in the grey scale'.

Tony Trembath, the curator of the exhibition, also spoke at the opening and his remarks helped provide a context for better engaging with Li Gang’s work. Tony is an established and respected Australian artist who has maintained a studio in Beijing since 2007, where he works for several months each creating new work inspired by this vital and fascinating city. Tony is the driving force behind the exhibition and he has worked closely with Li Gang over several years to bring this ambitious show to Australia – the first ever touring exhibition by a Chinese contemporary photographer. A very fine, fully illustrated bilingual catalogue accompanies the exhibition, and includes essays by Tony Trembath and Dr Isobel Crombie, Senior Curator, Photography, National Gallery of Victoria.

'Li Gang - in the grey scale' is touring to six public galleries in four Australian states as part of the Year of Chinese Culture in Australia from July 2011 to June 2012. The exhibition was launched at the Monash Gallery of Art in September 2010 (check out the MGA link for a great interview with Tony Trembath about the show), and continues at Ararat Regional Art Gallery until 11 December.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Big Basket

Ararat Regional Art Gallery celebrated Children’s Week on Tuesday 25 October 2011 with a community art event leading to the creation of ‘The Big Basket’. Around 100 school children from Ararat, Stawell and the wider regional community participated in a one-day workshop led by basket maker, Cherree Densley, and held at Alexandra Hall, Ararat.

The theme of the project, ‘We’re all in the same basket’, aimed to maximise participation and encourage cooperation amongst children across a range of ages and abilities. The outcome of this intensive day of creativity was the creation of a one and a half square metre woven basket constructed from hay and wool and surrounded by a multitude of grass dolls. The dolls were individually created by participating children and placed around the basket to reflect the theme of community unity.

Now completed, ‘The Big Basket’ will tour to participating and host schools that will have the opportunity to create more dolls, ultimately representing hundreds of children from the community. The basket is presently on display at the Skene Street School in Stawell and will visit other schools in the region in the coming months. Following its tour, the basket will be exhibited at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery in February 2012 as part of a program to complement the 30th anniversary presentation of `Floating Forest’ - a basketry-based installation by the late American artist, Douglas Fuchs. Ararat Regional Art Gallery's Children's Week event was presented in partnership with the Victorian Government's Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Optical Collusion

Donna and Chris at Ararat Regional Art Gallery

'Wheatstone Chamber' (2010)

We had the pleasure of welcoming Melbourne-based artists, Donna Kendrigan and Chris Henshke to Ararat for the official opening of their exhibition, 'Optical Collusion' on Saturday 8 october 2011 from 2pm. Donna and Chris provided an artists' talk about this intriguing exhibition of pre-cinema optical devices, reworked with post-cinema technologies.

Collaboratively developed by Chris and Donna, the exhibited works reflect both artists’ knowledge of and fascination with the scientific and aesthetic history of optical invention. These sculptural pieces contain digital media, including works funded by the Australia Council Visual Arts Board. Tricks of perception mediated by technology are not new - magic lanterns and stereoscopes were popular entertainments in the Enlightenment and Victorian eras. These hands-on, interactive artworks play upon our perceptions and the self imposed deceptions of contemporary media technologies.

Chris Henschke and Donna Kendrigan work under the name, Topologies, a name chosen by chance that describes their collaborative artworks and processes and is a manifestation of their combined creativity. For more information about the artists, visit the Topologies website. 'Optical Collusion' is supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria and the Community Support Fund, and has in-kind sponsorship from Global Bionic Optics Ltd who have created a ‘Once In A Generation Innovation’ – The Infinity LensTM range of products.

Friday, September 9, 2011

1st Tamworth Textile Triennial Opening

Ararat Regional Art Gallery director, Anthony Camm at the opening of the 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial with Tamworth Regional Gallery staff (l to r) Kate Hofman, Pam Brown and Tamworth director, Sandra McMahon.

Patrick Snelling speaking about the exhibition.

Tamworth Regional Gallery's 1st Textile Triennial, 'Sensorial Loop', was officially opened by ABC presenter, Claudia Chan-Shaw, on Friday 30 September 2011 at 6pm. Although this is Tamworth's first triennial, it builds on 18 earlier biennial exhibitions, which have provided an important platform for surveying developments in contemporary textile art practice.

Ararat Regional Art Gallery's director, Anthony Camm, had an opportunity to visit Tamworth Regional Gallery for the first time to attend the launch of the triennial. His visit was possible thanks to a grant from the Gordon Darling Foundation. Ararat Regional Art Gallery and Tamworth Regional Gallery share similar collection and programming specialisations and his visit provided an opportunity not to only view the triennial exhibition, but to meet staff and participating artists and view the collection area.

This triennial exhibition has been astutely curated by
Patrick Snelling, and is thought provoking in the way it addresses the diverse concerns of artists working with textiles fibre materials and techniques today. It is especially interesting to see the work of established artists alongside recent graduates and to consider the extraordinary developments that have occurred since textile fibre art first came to prominence in the 1970s. A series of curator and artists' talks held on the weekend following the opening inspired lively discussion about the state of textile fibre art in Australia. ‘Sensorial Loop’ will soon commence its national tour, which includes Ararat Regional Art Gallery in 2013.

ABC Radio has posted an interview with Patrick Snelling online about the triennial exhibition, which shows photographs of the featured artworks. A catalogue accompanying the exhibition can be purchased from Tamworth Regional Art Gallery, including in a lovely, limited edition boxed version. There is an extract from Patrick Snelling's catalogue essay on his blog.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leo Sayer launches Geoff Todd exhibition

On Sunday 18 August 2011, Ararat Regional Art Gallery's latest exhibition, 'Private Pop: Prints, multiples, ephemera, and the paintings of Geoff Todd', was launched by international recording artist, Leo Sayer. Leo visited Ararat from his home in Sydney to launch this impressive exhibition by his friend and collaborator, Geoff Todd. 'Private Pop' presents objects from Geoff's private art collection alongside his own paintings informed by the artists he has admired and the artworks and ephemera he has collected. The exhibition contunues until 25 September 2011.

Margaret Burin from ABC Ballarat has recorded a great interview with Geoff about the exhibition, which is available on-line - click here. There is a nice interview with Geoff in the Ararat Advertiser as well - click here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Neville Pilven's exhibition opening

(l to r) Artist Neville Pilven with opening speaker, Paul Kane.

Ararat Regional Art Gallery's current exhibition, 'The Wimmera and other places', recent paintings by Neville Pilven was officially opened by Paul Kane on Saturday 9 July 2011 at 2pm.

Neville spends a lot of time painting at his second home and studio located on the fringe of the Wimmera, near Stawell. We are very excited to showcase the work of a senior professional artist who has such a strong regional connection to the gallery. There was a warm atmosphere at the opening with many of Neville's family members and friends in attendance. Paul Kane's opening remarks were eloquent and insightful, and the celebratory atmosphere was further enhanced by the music of violinist, Andrea Keeble.

We were especially pleased that American poet and critic, Paul Kane, could visit Ararat to open Neville's show. Paul had just arrived in Australia to attend the Mildura Writers' Festival, where he serves as its Artistic Director. Paul has a long interest in Australian culture and is Professor of English and Environmental Studies at Vassar College, USA.

Born in 1939, Neville Pilven studied at the National Gallery Art School and the George Bell School. In the mid-1960s, Pilven left Australia for several years of European travel, study and painting, to England, Spain and Hydra, Greece. In 1972, he studied printmaking at Morley College, London, before returning to Australia in 1973, to settle in Melbourne. He was a finalist in the John McCaughey Invitation Art Prize, 1979, National Gallery of Victoria. Neville has held twenty solo exhibitions, many with leading Melbourne galleries. His work is in collections including Artbank, Latrobe University, Westpac, National Bank and Telstra. For more information about Neville Pilven, visit his website

Monday, July 4, 2011

Annemieke Mein

Above: (l to r) Anthony Camm
, Director, Ararat Regional Art Gallery; Annemieke Mein, and Anton Vardy, Director, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, at the opening.

We have been so incredibly busy since the opening of our Annemieke Mein exhibition on 19 July 2011, so it has been a while since we lasted posted. Here are some photos from the opening - finally. The exhibition has just closed (on 3 July) and was one of our most popular shows ever. The exhibition received a phenomenal response, with many people deeply affected by their experience of viewing Annemieke's work. Thanks to our staff and volunteers who have worked incredibly hard to make the exhibition a success. We are especially grateful to Annemieke Mein and to the Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, for lending works and supporting the exhibition.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Annemieke Mein in Ararat

Ararat Regional Art Gallery is proud to present an exhibition by textile artist, Annemieke Mein OAM, from 19 May to 3 July 2011. Annemieke’s meticulous representation of the natural world through textiles is distinctive in the Australian art world. Her singular vision has inspired audiences for three decades and she remains unique amongst Australian artists for the fervent interest her work attracts in the community.

Over the years, Annemieke has pushed the technical and pictorial boundaries of her work in textiles. Underpinning her practice is an astute eye for detail borne from an intense engagement with the natural world. Annemieke has said that each of her artworks “requires extensive research, field studies, observation, specimen collecting, countless sketches and a disciplined timetable of working hours”.
This stunning exhibition surveys Annemieke’s career from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, with works loaned from the Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale and from her own collection. The exhibition also includes samplers and drawings that provide an insight into Annemieke’s creative process. Two soft sculptures from Ararat’s permanent collection are also included and will be contextualised alongside related loaned works.

The Annemieke Mein exhibition will be officially opened by Anton Vardy, Director, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale on Thursday 19 May at 6pm in the presence of Annemieke Mein OAM.

Image: Annemieke Mein, 'Pink Emperor Gum Moth' 1982 (detail), Collection: Ararat Regional Art Gallery, purchased with the assistance of an Australia Council Crafts Board Grant, 1982, Photo: Terence Bogue.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Shilo project comes to Ararat

Ararat Regional Art Gallery launched its newest exhibition, 'The Shilo project', last Friday afternoon to an appreciative audience. 'The Shilo project' is a NETS Victoria touring exhibition developed by the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne, and is curated by its Director, Dr Chris McAuliffe.

An iconic album cover from the 1970s, Neil Diamond's 'Shilo' is the stmulus for this exhibition which explores the introcate relationship between pop music and contemporary art. The original album cover featured an innovative join-the-dot image of Neil Diamond, inviting fans to complete their own portrait. 100 leading contemporary artists were invited to respond to the artistic challenge posed by the do-it-yourself 'Shilo' album cover.

'The Shilo project' is fascinating both in terms of the surprising artistic responses that emerged from the chellenge, but also for its innovative and inclusive exhibition design. Vicitors to the exhibition can leaf through racks of Neil Diamond album covers as if they are visiting a record store. They can even pull up a bean bag, relax and play the 'Shilo' album on a record player as part of the exhibition experience.

We were very pleased to welcome the exhibition's curator, Dr Chris McAuliffe, to Ararat last Friday to speak about the ideas informing 'The Shilo project' and the process involved in developing this intriguing exhibition. Dr McAuliffe's talk was followed by an exhibition opening reception where people had a chance to view the exhibition and enjoy the 'Shilo' album. Local artists who contributed their own Shilo album covers to the Ararat presentation of the exhibition were also in attendance.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nalda Searles Visits Ararat

l to r, Christina McGuiness and Nalda Searles with Ararat Regional Art Gallery Director, Anthony Camm

On Friday 1 April 2011, we were honoured to welcome the esteemed contemporary fibre artist Nalda Searles to Ararat Regional Art Gallery for a series of events that concluded our presentation of the ART ON THE MOVE touring exhibition 'Nalda Searles - Drifting in My Own Land'. Nalda travelled from Perth with exhibition coordinator, Christine McGuiness, to present an artist's talk and attend an exhibition closing reception. We were thrilled that during her brief visit Nalda was able to share her prespective on fibre art through an intensive workshop for a small group of participants. Visitors came from far and wide to participate in the workshop which was held in the Shearer's Quarters at Allanvale Homestead. The gallery will hold future workshops at Allanvale. If you would like to receive advanced notice of future workshops please subscribe to the gallery's e-newsletter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

About Time in Horsham

(l to r) Anthony Camm, Mardi Nowak and Adam Harding at Horsham Regional Art Gallery ( l to r: tapestries by Valerie Kirk, Kate Derum and Gerda van Hamond)

Our touring exhibition, 'About Time: Australian Studio Tapestry 1975-2005' was officially opened at Horsham Regional Art Gallery on Sunday 20 February at 3pm. The exhibition looks great in the gallery's temporary home. It was nice to see many people from Horsham's textile community in attendance and the inclusion of a Horsham community tapestry at the entrance to the exhibition was a nice reminder of the importance of the community tapestry movement in the studio tapestry story. Horsham Regional Art Gallery Director, Adam Harding was a great host and with his colleague Michael Shiell has done a great job in presenting and promoting the show.

We are thrilled that Mardi Nowak, who is an artist-weaver featured in 'About Time', has agreed to deliver public programs to support the exhibition's tour throughout regional Victoria. The day after the opening, Mardi presented a very successful talk in Horsham to over 50 high school students from across the Wimmera. Thanks Mardi! Mardi is also Curator of the Town Hall Gallery in Hawthorn.

The 'About Time' catalogue essays are now available to read on-line at Craft Victoria's 'Craft Culture' respository of craft writing. Ararat Regional Art Gallery Director, Anthony Camm's essay provides a response to the works in the show and their place in the rise of the studio tapestry movement. Essays by notable artist-weavers, Professor Kay Lawrence AM, Sara Lindsay and Hilary Green, from a section of the catalogue called, 'Reflections from the Field', can also be read on-line.

The Horsham show closes on 6 March, after which the exhibition will travel to Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery (1 July-14 Aug)and Central Goldfields Art Gallery in Maryborough (4 Sept-9 Oct). 'About Time' is funded by the Regional Exhibitions Touring Initiative and its catalogue is sponsored by the Gordon Darling Foundation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nalda Searles - Drifting in My Own Land

Debby and Mark installing Nalda Searles' 'Loitering at the Dancehall' (2008)

'Nalda Searles - Drifting in My Own Land' - an ART ON THE MOVE touring exhibition - will open at Ararat Regional Art Gallery tomorrow and will continue until 3 April 2011. We have just finished installing the exhibition and have had a lot of fun discovering Nalda's different artworks hidden in the many crates that carried them across the Nullabor to Ararat, which is the first gallery beyond Western Australia to present the exhibition. Nalda's exhibition will appeal to people interested in both surface design in textiles and the sculptural use of fibre materials. This is an exhibition that will no doubt attract many visitors given Nalda's profile in the textile/fibre art world.

Nalda Searles is a living icon of Western Australian art. For nearly thirty years she has been an innovator in the use of native plant fibres and found objects from the environment for the production of fibre-textiles, sculpture and installation artworks. Her exhibition is an expression of identity in relation to physical and social landscape. She has drawn on her own life, memories of her parents and the experiences of numerous regional women she has known in the gradual development of the twenty one exhibition works on view.

Nalda will travel to Ararat for a closing reception on Friday 1 April at 6pm, which will feature closing remarks from exhibition project coordinator, Christina McGuinness. Prior to the official closing, Nalda will present a free artist's talk at 4.30pm.

Ararat Regional Art Gallery will also offer an intensive residential workshop with Nalda Searles from 1 to 3 April 2011. The workshop will be held at Allanvale Shearers’ Quarters, located on a magnificent working sheep property, in the vicinity of the Great Western wineries and within a half‐hour scenic drive to the Grampians. The fee is $330 (including GST) per person, which includes the two day workshop, including materials, basic twin‐share accommodation and meals, including a Saturday night catered dinner. There are only a few places remaining and payment in advance is required to secure a place. For information and application forms, phone
(03) 5352 2836 or email: gallery@ararat.vic.gov.au

For more information about Nalda you can visit her blogs: Fodder for Making and The Stringmakers, or read an Artlink review of 'Nalda Searles - Driting in My Own Land' by textile artist and writer, Holly Story.

The national tour of this exhibition is managed by ART ON THE MOVE. This exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Celebrating the Glover Legacy

The daughters of Eileen and John H. Glover, (l to r) Margie Glover, Ellie McCutcheon and Cate Whitehead, with opening speaker, David Crofts.

Ararat Regional Art Gallery officially opened it's latest exhibition, 'Parallel Lives: The Art of Eileen Glover and John H. Glover' on Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 6pm. 'Parallel Lives' is a tribute and celebration of the lives and work of Eileen and John H. Glover, well-known community identities in Stawell and across the Western region, who died in 2007. Despite a very wet evening - and the floods that subsequently followed - people travelled from far and wide to celebrate the exhibition opening. Melbourne-based writer and friend of the Glover family, David Crofts, provided opening remarks that were marvelously evocative and gave a sense of Eileen and John's respective and shared personal and artistic journeys.

'Parallel Lives' has its genesis in conversations between the artist's three daughters about their parents' creative lives and the rich legacy and influence it has had on them and their individual creativity. The exhibition spans 60 years of art making and includes paintings, drawings and mixed media works dating back to the 1930s. The exhibition features a range of journals and artist's books produced by Eileen and John early in their artistic lives, and these are a real highlight. An extraordinary comic book depicting the Australian countryside is an early example of Eileen's life-long interest in horses serving as source material for her art. John is represented by a number of journals, including one from 1934 that was completed while he was resident at the Boy's Training Farm, Tally-Ho. The journal shows a sketch from a photograph of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which was opened in 1932. John was to later draw the newly constructed bridge on-site after riding his bicycle from Melbourne to Sydney in 1937, and this drawing is also featured in the exhibition. This is just one of the fascinating stories that emerge when viewing 'Parallel Lives' - an exhibition that aims to capture the spirit of Eileen and John's life-long commitment to art that was passionately pursued from their youth to their later years. The exhibition continues until 13 February 2011.