Thursday, August 30, 2012

Golden Years

In 1981 one of Ararat's most important artistic sons, Stan Kelly, began teaching painting at the Ararat Town Hall's Art Craft Workshop. Stan Kelly was a respected artist renowed for his comprehensive study of eucalypts.  Many of the original participants in these weekly classes attended with the aim of learning botanical art from this master of the genre. Stan Kelly died in 1994, but the group continued and is known today as the Stan Kelly Art Group as a tribute to their late teacher.  Today the group has broadened and its members pursue painting and drawing in all mediums to explore a wide range of subject matter.

The Stan Kelly Art Group will exhibit recent work at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery from 5 September to 28 October 2012 to mark the 2012 Golden Gateway Festival (19 to 28 October) and to complement the inaugural Ararat Antiques Fair at the Ararat Town Hall (26 to 28 October).

Art group members have taken on the challenge of making a new painting or drawing in response to the theme, 'Golden Years'.  The theme has been interpreted broadly by members, and resulting works will extend from reflections on Ararat's gold mining and agricultural past through to more poetic explorations of the idea of nostalgia.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jenny Watson Visits Ararat

Jenny Watson, one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, will visit Ararat Regional Art Gallery on Wednesday 12 September 2012 at 7pm to talk about her international career and 30 year-plus arts practice, which includes painting and mixed media on fabric, often incorporating text and script.  Her illustrated talk will provide an insight into her development as an artist and coincides with the gallery’s ‘Recent Acquisitions’ exhibition which includes her suite of eight lithographic prints on show until 22 October 2012.  

Jenny Watson came to prominence as an artist in the late 1970s during a formative period in the rise of Melbourne’s underground creative community.  During this time Jenny’s practice included commissions for post-punk musicians including Boys Next Door and The Go-Betweens.  In the early 1980s Jenny’s art was positioned as part of the ‘return to figuration’ in international contemporary painting known as neo-expressionism.  She exhibited widely and was represented in Paul Taylor’s groundbreaking 1982 exhibition, ‘Popism’, at the National Gallery of Victoria, which signaled a new internationally-focussed critical context for Australian art.  She represented Australia at the 1993 Venice Biennale and her work is represented in all major Australian public and private collections. She continues to regularly exhibit internationally and is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery (Melbourne), Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (Sydney), Greenaway Gallery (Adelaide), Transit (Belgium), Annina Nosei Gallery (New York) and Gimpel Fils (London).   She will present her first one person show in Tokyo in October 2012 with Tomio Koyama Gallery.

Jenny’s diaristic art is often knowingly child-like and expressionistic, and her use of colour and energetic mark-making heightens our empathy with her subjects.  She makes the ordinary extraordinary in her ambiguous narratives, which are often tinged with pathos.  Her work increases our identification with seductively familiar situations, which are personal and specific, yet evocative of our collective memory.  She often paints directly on fabric sourced from a range of cultural contexts which adds further layers of meaning to her work.

Jenny Watson’s talk is free.  Please RSVP to (03) 5352 2836 or by 10 September 2012 to confirm your attendance.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Under My Skin

Ararat Regional Art Gallery launched its newest exhibition, 'Under My Skin' by Cath Johnston on Saturday 18 August 2012 at 2pm.  Cath, an Ararat resident, presented a floor talk and shared stories about the inspiration behind her work.  The focus of this exhibition is her leather-based sculpture, alongside related photographs.  These photographs feature adults and children presented in a squalid domestic environment.  Each photos features a 'prop' made by Cath, an anthropomorphic leather couch fashioned into a human figure - the ultimate couch potato. The actual couch is also including in the exhibition in the installation, 'Still Life'.

'Under My Skin' highlights fragile exterior forms - represented as a ‘skin’ - to comment on deeply personal interior experiences.  Cath’s sculptures, which are hand-made through stitching and moulding leather, shine with sardonic insight and humour to explore themes of fertility, mental health and social disconnection.  

For more information about Cath Johnston, visit her webpage: