ACTease August 2014
What makes you happy? Eleven weeks ago I gave birth to my second child, and one of the things I missed most during pregnancy was running. I tried to run for as long (and as gently as I could) into my pregnancy, but ultimately gravity won and I had to take a hiatus from one of my favourite activities for a couple of months.
Post-pregnancy, my fitness is improving and I’m enjoying getting back into running. I was running up a steep hill the other day and felt my body working hard to propel myself (along with my baby and his pram) to the top. Despite the burning sensation in my legs and lungs, I took a deep breath and a moment to look around and marvel at the beautiful Brindabella ranges in the distance. At that moment I felt a wave of pure happiness surge through me. Although the run was difficult and I was hurting, I realised that I was really enjoying the challenge of this simple activity.
I have no doubt that artists get the same “buzz” when creating their works as I get from running. I’m sure they also encounter “hills” on their artistic journey, but it is the healthy challenge of ‘getting to the top of the hill’ that spurs them on and results in sensational works, such as those in this month’s exhibitions.
At Drill Hall Gallery this month Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, one of Thailand’s leading contemporary artists, has her latest exhibition, Story tellers of the Town at ANU’s Drill Hall Gallery consists of three decades of Rasdjarmrearnsook’s work, and is the first major solo exhibition to be held in Australia. The exhibition is comprised of prints and videos that explore themes such as “life and death, history and fate, the tragic limitations and absurd failures of communication, and the reconfigurations of self through a succession of artistic displacements”. “I believe that humans can learn more deeply by encountering misery, or traumatic emotion, over laughter and joy. It is the ‘moment’ that teaches us, more so than contentment does, to learn something either about ourselves, or the problem. That is my concept,” says Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook. Runs until 10 August.
Also at Drill Hall Gallery, Colour Music “looks at connections between visual artists practicing abstraction and music – all things synaesthesia! With a bit of the psychedelic thrown in for good measure,” says exhibition curator, Tony Oates. The exhibition consists of “Extended forms of painting using light, performance, kinetics and musical collaborations” from Roy de Maistre, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Jozef Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski, Frank Hinder, Warren Burt, John Aslanidis, Cathy Blanchflower, John Nixon and David Sequeira, among others. Circle 15 August in your diary for the Colour Music “light and sound extravaganza”, run in conjunction with the School of Art. Colour Music runs from 14 August – 28 September – dhg.anu.edu.au
Samuel Townsend & Abigail Varney present a striking collection of photographs that explore the beauty of young men in their latest exhibition, All the Young Dudes at Belconnen Arts Centre. Townsend and Varney challenge Germaine Greer’s observation that “Society is not accustomed to seeing beauty in young males” (source: The Boy, Germaine Greer, 2003). Works included in the exhibition have been captured over the last decade, and “are meditations on masculinity and its ever-evolving flexibility. Each image contemplates the unique form and physicality of the selected characters as they forge their own ideas of what it is to be male. The dual lens, both male and female, investigates aspects of strength and vulnerability, youth and beauty.” – abigailvarney.com
Shibori is a fabric dyeing technique that uses the folding and manipulation of fabric to achieve striking resist-dye results. Synergy — Shibori Down Under at Belconnen Arts Centre offers viewers the unique opportunity to appreciate beautiful works from members of the World Shibori Network Australia and New Zealand (WSNANZ). The WSNANZ aims “to support shibori artists in Australia and New Zealand and to educate the public in the art of shibori”. Many of the works featured in this exhibition will also be included in the Ninth International Shibori Symposium in China.
Also at Belconnen Arts Centre, another master of fabric, Anna Sutherland presents a stunning collection of hand-dyed and printed fabrics. Not only does Anna create unique designs on her fabrics, she also demonstrates how her designs can be applied to unique furniture pieces and accessories “with jewel-like qualities”. A Printed Space treats viewers to the launch of Sutherland’s new collection, using digitally printed fabric which “has been incorporated into this exhibition showcasing the versatility of the designs which can be further altered to different colour ranges”.
Sutherland describes her latest body of work: “A Printed Space brings life and colour to the interior. The exhibition has been created using decorative items of jewellery as the print design inspiration. I have created two interior settings, one using hand-printed fabrics while the other uses digitally printed fabrics, a new addition to my label, Maddison Jayne. Both settings boast a riot of bold colour and pattern with the intention of adorning the interior space. Other handmade elements of my work such as hand woven braids, dyed velvet and silk are showcased throughout the exhibition on soft furnishings and upholstered furniture to further enhance their unique and decorative qualities.” It is also exciting to learn that this exhibition was awarded to Sutherland by Belconnen Arts Centre as part of the Australian National University, School of Art, Emerging Artist Support Scheme – maddisonjayne.com
All Belconnen Arts Centre exhibitions run from 1 – 24 August, with the official opening on Saturday 2 August at 2pm. Meet the Artist sessions will take place at various times on Sunday 10 August – belconnenartscentre.com.au
In Craft ACT’s Crucible Showcase, Phoebe Porter presents a unique collection of geometrical bracelets in Unfold. Each piece is designed in conjunction with the other pieces in the collection, reflecting Porter’s evolutionary approach to design as she moves from one piece to the next. The pieces also draw inspiration from the properties of titanium – “the precision, accuracy and method needed to work such a strong metal”.
Also at Craft ACT with her latest exhibition, Metamophosi, Kristel Britcher presents a body of work that “is a celebration of the evolutionary potential of sculptural glassmaking processes; independent structures, developing over generations into new hybrids of form and function, a new murrine aesthetic”. Through the exploration of traditional Italian glass making techniques (such as murine and cane), Britcher pays “homage to the utilitarian history of glass blowing” through utilitarian pieces “with the idea that these traditional forms have in their own time evolved, with cane and murrine no longer being a pattern to be seen in a glass form but to become a form in itself”. All Craft ACT exhibitions run until 20 August – craftact.org.au
Courtney Symes is a Canberra-based writer, small business owner, and mother. When she’s not writing, you will find her enjoying a run around one of Canberra’s beautiful parks and seeking out Canberra’s best coffee and cheesecake haunts with the family. Read more at – alittlepinkbook.blogspot.com.au