I: SoArt gallery, Narooma
When I went to this exhibition, I was expecting a feast of painted chairs. I found that, and far more.
For one thing there were plans and a photo of a model of the planned Narooma Arts and Community Centre, plans already at council awaiting approval. The guardian of the gallery assured me that it was perspective that made the new building dwarf the Art Deco Kinema.
Then there were chairs of historical interest: a milking stool (not shown – there was a crowd of women standing around it discussing its background), a Welsh hall chair, a tapestry footstool made by an Australian aviatrix and a battered commode.
A Tilba artist in wood going by the name of Smiley created two chairs of great elegance, one of which my iPad didn’t do justice to
The painted chairs were varied.
II: ReVive at BAS, Moruya
Every two years the challenge goes out: turn waste into art. The results are astonishingly varied, making use of sea glass, local timber, copper pieces, discarded clothing, double adaptors, electric transmission cable scrap, inner tubes, wheel rims, old denim, old paintings, foam pool noodles and bandages. See if you can figure out which uses what.
It seems that the judges had a liking for circles, although I’m sure their assessment was more widely based than this.
My pick, Box of curios by Carmel Cox, was for all sorts of reasons other than the artistic. Such boxes are part of a long tradition of cabinets of curiosities, reaching back to the 16th century, in which collectors displayed their treasures.
III: Gallery Bodalla – John Sharman and Amanda Williams
John Sharman’s gleaming oils bring the Western Australian landscape to this coastal village on the other side of the country: red dirt, chasms and water in pools and rivers. (Water is currently an obsession in this drought-stricken country.)
Amanda Williams works in collage and oils; her genres are varied (landscape, still life); and her style equally so: the almost naive simplicity of a tree; the complex realism of the snow gum; the abstraction of the collages; the impressionistic wild flowers.
IV: Ivy Hill Gallery – The French Connection
On a grey cool November day, we drive along the coast to Ivy Hill gallery near Wapengo. We’re greeted by a beautiful garden and a verandah of sculptures.
The exhibition inside is part of the Art and Place art trail, instigated by the Spiral Gallery in Bega.
In his artist’s statement, Roger Stuart says
I need both a great wilderness and a great city in my life. Barragga Bay and Paris juxtapose the wild beauty of NSW’s far south coast and hinterland, particularly where the sea meets and sculpts the forested bays and headlands, and the human-designed elegance, cultural density and intensely peopled spaces of France’s capital, one of the world’s truly urban centres.
One set of his photographs move through the day just south of Bermagui, capturing early light, fierce seas, morning mist, peaceful lagoons, contemplative cows, birds in flight.
In Paris, his compositions are more easily deliberate: a line of statues, each with a pigeon on its head; a man lounging against a graffitied wall; a figure juxtaposed with a sculptured horse; a couple of railway stations peopled by reflected figures; a night scene in the jazz district, lights striped in the damp pavement; buildings at night, illuminated and in darkness.
Alison Thomas captures her two places in paint: the beaches of the south coast of NSW, water and cliff faces, and the patterns and beauty of Mumbulla Falls.
In France, she paints water and boats nestling shyly under willow trees; and higgledy piggledy roofscapes.
This exhibition resonates with me, as a woman who lives in both Potato Point and Warsaw.
I’ve given a taste of the exhibition’s offerings (with acknowledgement to the Ivy Hill website). The images can be seen to better effect if you click on the links to the artists’ online catalogues.