ACTease March 2014
by Courtney Symes
The things that inspire artists constantly amaze and excite me. It could be a word, a feeling, their home or local environment and surroundings that trigger the greatest creative sparks. The beauty of these humble catalysts is that they are often things that are close to the artists’ hearts, and by viewing their work, you become closer to them not only as an artist, but as a person. Responding to these feelings (even it that means revealing personal vulnerabilities) through their practice is one of the bravest and most admirable characteristics of an artist. I love Tasmanian artist Philip Wolfhagen’s honesty when he labels himself as a “stay-at-home kind of artist”, as well as his desire “to paint what I understand and love and not rush about being a tourist artist”.
Renowned for his landscapes, Wolfhagen has a clever knack for combining modern and old aesthetics in his work, which has been likened to the works of minimalist painters such as Brice Marden and Sean Scully. Wolfhagen’s “motifs glow in suggestive darkness or are suffused with a mild grey-and-blonde radiance that relates to the far-Southern climes of Australia”. Illumination: The art of Philip Wolfhagen is Wolfhagen’s latest exhibition at ANU’s Drill Hall Gallery – the first of an exciting exhibition program for 2014. Curated by Sarah Johnson, this exhibition is a collaborative joint venture between the Newcastle Art Gallery and Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery. Runs until 6 April – dhg.anu.edu.au
If you get in quick you’ll be able to catch Beaver Galleries’ exhibitions: Judy Holding’s Connected…? and Victor Greenaway’s white earth, black earth, before they finish up on 4 March. Connected…? is a collection of Holding’s sculpture and works on paper, which “reflect her abiding love of the diverse flora and fauna of Australia”. This is a beautiful exploration of Australian trees and birds, many of which Holding has captured in gorgeous jewel tones that highlight Australia’s natural beauty.
Victor Greenaway’s white earth, black earth presents exceptional examples of Greenaway’s fine porcelain vessels, for which he is renowned. Greenaway’s work draws inspiration from his time spent living between Italy and Australia, and reflects “both countries’ cultural histories”. This exhibition is a great opportunity for viewers to enjoy a sensational showcase of ceramic works from this established artist – beavergalleries.com.au
‘Blaze’ is an appropriate name for one of the first exhibitions for 2014 that promises to “go off with a bang”. Canberra Contemporary Art Space’s latest exhibition, BLAZE EIGHT features eight artists: S.A. Adair, Katherine Griffiths, Martin James, Alex Lewis, Hardy Lohse, Katy Mutton, Jemima Parker, and Tim Phillips, who “are making work that is bigger, bolder and punchier than they have previously dared”. Look out for large-scale political prints from Martin James, Katy Mutton’s cloudscape ink drawings of World War II aircraft in flight, and large works including S.A. Adair’s felt installation and Alex Lewis’ labyrinthine staircase. Runs until 22 March at CCAS Gorman House – ccas.com.au
Three new, diverse exhibitions are on offer at Craft ACT this month, including: Emerging Contemporaries, Nature’s Rhythm and Scorched earth. Emerging Contemporaries offers a great opportunity for visitors to discover hot new works from graduating students and emerging artists in this Craft and Design Centre Award exhibition series. Exhibiting artists include: Shaun Hayes (ANU), Bernard Benny (ANU), Tim Wallace (ANU), Sara Hellsing (ANU), Nellie Peoples (ANU), Amanda Herzman (ANU), Amy Hick (ANU), Karmen Falez (CIT), Jo Walters (CIT), Blake Winterbottom (UC), Charlie Gillings (Sturt School for Wood), Doug Rosemond (Sturt School for Wood), Luke Abbot (Enmore) and Sarah Adcock (CSU). The exhibition includes work from a number of disciplines such as jewellery, glass-making, textiles, and furniture design, to name a few. Profiles of some of the artists included in this exhibition can be found on the Craft ACT blog – events.craftact.org.au/
Christine Atkins captures the beauty of glass – especially when it’s influenced by nature – in her latest solo exhibition, Nature’s Rhythm. This exhibition is “an exploration of the interplay between light, glass and water to echo a moment in nature”. Atkins also offers viewers insight into how she makes her glass pieces, drawing them into her thought process and creative journey.
In the Crucible Showcase, Danyka Van Burren has assembled a striking new collection of jewellery entitled Scorched earth. Discarded jewellery, raw materials and scrap components have been combined and repurposed into intriguing new pieces that reflect Van Buuren’s unique style. All exhibitions run until 29 March – craftact.org.au/
Four talented Canberra-based artists: Jacqueline Bradley, Karen Cromwell, Hanna Hoyne and Amelia Zaraftis, offer their response to the concept of “safety” and “containment” in their latest group exhibition, Safe Passage at ANCA (Australia National Capital Artists) this month. “The strength of this exhibition lies not only in the visually engaging works, but also in the tactile, subtle and thoughtful conversations created between the different artist’s contributions.” Jacqueline Bradley’s forte is sculptural objects, created from humble materials such as household objects, fabrics, wallpaper, and building materials. In this exhibition, “Bradley takes well-worn shoes as the starting point for a series of poetic and tactile objects hinting at a long journey requiring endurance and ingenuity”. Bradley’s work is created from her studio at Australia National Capital Artists (Mitchell Campus). She is also a tutor and lecturer in the sculpture workshop at ANU School of Art – jacquelinebradley.com.au
In Safe Passage, Karen Cromwell presents a collection of woven, sculptural headpieces that “re-work elements of ceremonial and protective headwear with aspects of the natural world, to suggest new and inspiring relationships and purpose”. Cromwell is a visual artist who also works as an educator at Canberra Museum and Gallery, designing and presenting education programs and workshops for both schools and the wider community – karencromwell.net
Hanna Hoyne and Amelia Zaraftis have teamed up to “present photographic performance documentation and sculptural garments that investigate notions of human vulnerability and safety in the ways that we inhabit both the physical environment and our psychological landscapes”. These collaborative works offer “a spirited re-imagining of the domestic apron, set in an Australian suburban backyard.”
Hanna Hoyne is a sculptor and performance artist who has exhibited in Australia, Germany and Hong Kong. When she’s not making art, Hoyne can be found sharing her passion for art with others through teaching. She has taught in Art Theory (undergraduate and postgraduate), Core Studies and Sculpture Studio Theory at the Australian National University since 2006, and has also previously taught at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Museum and Gallery, the YWCA Canberra and Artplay in Melbourne.
Amelia Zaraftis’ focus is on “making objects and imagery in response to field research, with a particular interest in managed landscapes and human consumption of natural resources”. In addition to sculpture, Zaraftis’ practice also extends to collage, drawing, documentation and ephemeral installation, and more recently performance and video-based work. Runs until 16 March – anca.net.au