Monday, December 30, 2013

National Exposure for Ararat Collection

In 2013 we welcomed arts writer Bronwyn Watson to Ararat Regional Art Gallery.  Bronwyn viewed objects from the gallery's collection and wrote a series of articles for her Public Works column in The Weekend Australian.  Have a look at the links below to learn more about these works:

Mona Hessing 
Annemieke Mein 
Olga De Amaral 
Ewa Pachuka 
Kate Just 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Top 10

If you visit Ararat Regional Art Gallery in November 2013 you can help curate the exhibition, ‘Top 10: The People Curate the Permanent Collection’. A book presenting photographs of textile and fibre artworks from the permanent collection will be available for you to peruse. You can select your three favourite works and make a comment which could end up on a panel in the exhibition.

The ten artworks which receive the most votes will be exhibited to provide an historical context for appreciating the ‘Recent Acquisitions’ exhibition. There are some iconic works in the collection which are enduring in their popularity, but it will be interesting to see which ‘dark horses’ make the final cut. We hope you can be part of this exciting experiment! We’ll also be posting photos on our Facebook page, and we’d love you to join the conversation.

Last week we hosted a group of tapestry weavers (pictured), led by gallery advisory committee member Debbie Herd, who visited our current exhibitions and had access to the permanent collection. The ladies all cast their votes for the 'Top 10' exhibition. Photo: Wendy Stevens

Goya meets Todd

We were pleased to welcome the very charming Bianca Acimovic, Visual Arts Coordinator from Albury Art Gallery to Ararat Regional Art Gallery t on 9 October 2013. Bianca presented a floor talk about Francisco Goya's 'Los Caprichos' which is touring to Ararat from the AlburyCity collection. This exhibition features an early edition of 'Los Caprichos', a set of eighty-one etchings first published in 1799. It is one of the most influential series of graphic images in the history of Western Art. The arresting images in 'Los Caprichos' deal with such themes as the Spanish Inquisition, the corruption of the church and the nobility, witchcraft, child rearing, avarice, and the frivolity of young women. Its cast includes goblins, monks, aristocrats, prostitutes, and animals acting like human fools; these personages populate a world on the margins of reason, where no clear boundaries distinguish reality from fantasy.

Geoff Todd, 'The Goya Painting (2013), Acrylic & charcoal on canvas, 168cm x 214cm, Courtesy of the artist.

To coincide with and complement our presentation of the 'Los Caprichos' etchings, Ararat-based artist Geoff Todd was invited to respond to the exhibition which resulted in a major new painting which updates Goya's satirical vision of a corrupt society. Geoff’s new painting references Goya’s art and life as well as his own socially-engaged practice. Geoff presented an illustrated talk about his work and his affinity with Goya on 23 October at 6pm.

'Los Caprichos' and Geoff Todd's 'The Goya Painting' will be on show until 23 November 2013.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sensorial Loop

Michelle Elliott installing her artwork, 'hemispheres, drawn to you, still' (2011) with the able assistance of Sue Kennedy. Photo: Wendy Stevens.

Image: Michelle Elliot, 'hemispheres: drawn to you' 2011, materials: cotton thread, paper, 2,000 hand-made wooden pins, 300 H x 180 W (variable)

We are installing the touring exhibition, 'Sensorial Loop: 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial' with our team. Pam Brown from Tamworth Regional Art Gallery visited Ararat to guide the installation of some fascinating and complex textile fibre works. Sydney artist Michelle Elliott was also with us installing her extraordinary work, 'hemispheres, drawn to you, still' (2011). This is the final presentation of this Tamworth Regional Gallery touring exhibition. We hope to see you this Saturday 17 August 2013 at 2pm for the exhibition opening. 'Sensorial Loop' will be opened by the curator Patrick Snelling, Program Director, School of Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University, Brunswick campus. Pam, Michelle and Sandra McMahon, Director of Tamworth Regional Art Gallery will also be in attendance together with some of the represented artists.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Permanent Collection

Yvonne Koolmatrie, ‘Large Eel Trap’ 2012, woven sedge, 224 x 49cm (variable), Purchased with Ararat Rural City Council annual allocation, 2012, Ararat Regional Art Gallery Collection, Photo: Chris Koolmatrie

We often receive enquiries about the Ararat Regional Art Gallery's permanent collection, but it is not possible to present a good representation of the collection at any one time. However, to mark our 45th birthday we recently presented collection works across all galleries in the 'Big Time' and 'Bold Beginnings' exhibitions and these shows attracted a very positive response. For locals it was a chance to revisit old friends, and for visitors from out of town a chance to get a very real sense of the collection's strengths and unique character. These exhibitions were enhanced by two articles which appeared in The Weekend Australian highlighting objects from the collection by Annemieke Mein and Olga De Amaral, offering considerable national exposure to Ararat.

The collection focus continues into winter with our current retrospective, 'Making Time: The Art of John Corbett 1974-2013'. John is one of Australia's foremost fibre artists and the most represented artist in the gallery's collection. The exhibition features 18 works of great diversity from quilts, embroideries and woven sculptures.

Community members can expect to see our program draw increasingly on the collection in the future.
Our summer programming will now annually feature collection based shows, with an exhibition of recent acquisitions planned for later this year. This will create a context to present recent acquisitions for the first time, including works by established fibre artists such as Nalda Searles and Diana Wood Conroy, alongside innovative contemporary works by Sebastian Di Mauro and Starlie Geikie.

Given the importance of weaving and fibre in Aboriginal culture, it is disappointing that Aboriginal fibre artists have long been underrepresented in the permanent collection. To correct this underrepresentation Yvonne Koolmatrie was commissioned to create one of her signature large eel traps to form the centrepiece of a sub-collection which will focus on the indigenous fibre art of South Eastern Australia.Yvonne Koolmatrie is a Ngarrindjerri woman and a pivotal figure in the rise of Aboriginal fibre craft since the 1980s, especially through highlighting the cultural importance of weaving to cultural continuity for Aboriginal people in South Australia and Victoria.

Her large eel trap was woven in the first half of 2012 in the artist's home town of Berri in South Australia, and the work features woven sedge which was harvested from the Murray River near her home.
This elegant eel trap will join other beautiful and intriguing art works in our recent acquisitions summer exhibition.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Time: The Art of John Corbett

John Corbett and  his sister in law Betty Corbett at the exhibition opening.

'Fighting For Our Love II (1987-2013)

John Corbett is a pioneering contemporary Australian fibre art who has made his mark through an innovative use of materials and techniques in wall works and sculpture since the early 1970s.  He is the most comprehensively represented artist in the collection of the Ararat Regional Art Gallery. 'Making Time: The Art of john corbett 1974-2013' traces John's development from off-loom weaving in the 1970s to deeply personal and political text based textiles and sculptures of the 1980s and 1990s, including those which poignantly and pointedly address the AIDS crisis.

John's art was forged during the heady era of experimentation in the 1970s when an anything goes approach to materials and form was emerging in reaction to high modernism.  This exhibition explores the artistic and social context and rich sources of influence which have forged his unique visual language. John's art and career has principally been aligned to the Australian craft movement, but this exhibition seeks to position his powerful vision in fibre in the wider sphere of Australian and international visual arts practice since the 1970s.

John's exhibition was opened on Saturday 22 June 2013 at 2pm and was attended by family, friends and members of the Ararat community.  John was born in Hopetoun, but is a long time Melbourne resident, and it was nice to see his regional connection reflected in the attendance at the opening of family and friends.

Download a PDF of the exhibition catalogue here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yarnbombing the gallery

Elizabeth Carnaby and Sue Kennedy have completed yarnbombing the gallery. Thanks to Sue for driving this project and for Elizabeth for her commitment to making this happen with Sue. The project has had important contributions from Debby Fuller and Jean Halvorsen, and many donated sections from knitters in the community. This is a project driven by our volunteers and community members. Thanks to everyone involved in marking the gallery's 45th birthday in such a exciting way.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Plastic Fantastic

'Plastic Fantastic'

'Colour the World'

We had a fun night on Friday (5 April 2013 at 6pm) at the launch of Annabelle Collett's 'Plastic Fantastic' exhibition, which was launched together with 'Colour the World'.

Annabelle's 'Plastic Fantastic' exhibition uses recycled trash to fashion a vast array of artworks from all types of plastics.  She utilises discarded objects such as plastic lids, old children's toys, broken jewellery pieces and dumped containers to make bold and vibrant statements.  With a background in textile art, Annabelle's sculptures, installations, wall pieces, lighting and clothing use many methods and processes that link art, craft and design, evoking a range of cultural associations with fashion, interior decorating and the crafted object.  The exhibition continues to 28 April 2013.

'Colour the World' is an installation resulting from two workshops involving 23 children.  Annabelle led children on an exciting journey through colour, texture, invention and endless possibility to create an amazing array of artworks.  The exhibitions were opened by Ararat Mayor Cr Ian Wilson.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gordon Monro's Generative Art

Gordon Monro is a Ballarat-based digital media artist engaged in generative art. Generative art is art made partly or wholly by an autonomous process the artist sets up. Gordon writes computer programs that generate videos one frame at a time; for videos with sound, the same program generates the sound. Gordon’s practice is informed by his background in science, mathematics and experimental music composition and performance. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Generative Art at the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash University in Melbourne. For more information about Gordon and his work visit:

Gordon will present an illustrated talk about Generative Art on Sunday 14 April 2013 at 3pm, followed by drinks to mark the closing of his 'Four Generative Videos' exhibition. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Waradgerie Weaver

Ararat Regional Art Gallery is honoured to present 'Waradgerie Weaver', an exhibition of new work by Lorraine Connelly-Northey which continues to 10 March 2013.

Swan Hill-born Lorraine is a Waradgerie woman who grew up in the area where the Mallee bush meets the Murray River, and this background – and its meshing and tension with her father’s Irish heritage – has informed her work.  She is nationally known for her poetic use of found and scrap materials to produce finely crafted objects which reference their place of origin in powerful ways

'Waradgerie Weaver' was commissioned by Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, and Ararat Regional Art Gallery is the second and final gallery to present this impressive exhibition. The exhibition features work made at the same times as her acclaimed Asia Pacific Triennial installation (see John McDonald's review).

Lorraine will present an artist's talk on Saturday 2 February 2013 at 2pm to formally open her exhibition.  We hope to see you there.