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ACTease November 2013

ACTease November 2013 Wendy Teakel, 'Mungo Track I' (detail), acrylic, charcoal, pastel, collage and scorch marks on rag paper, 75 x 55cm.


Courtney Symes


One of my favourite excursions on a sunny weekend in Canberra is a stroll around Lake Burley Griffin, followed by a wander through the NGA and National Portrait Gallery (and a sneaky coffee stop at one of the gallery cafes). The best thing about November in Canberra is that there are usually more sunny weekends to choose from, as the warmer weather finally arrives. Checking out a couple of exhibitions can easily turn into a fun day out when you throw in a bit of walking between galleries and a couple of coffee stops for good measure…


What do the seven Canberra artists featured in Canberra Contemporary Art Space’s (CCAS) latest exhibition, Backburning have in common? Whilst each of these artists featured in CCAS’ Blaze ACT Emerging Artist Showcase exhibition over the last seven years, they also work in a similar way. Curator Annika Harding was drawn to this group of artists because they all creatively transform everyday materials into captivating pieces. “Backburning provides an opportunity to slow down and explore how we perceive the world around us, and reflect on the wonder that can be found in the seemingly mundane.” The seven artists include: Julia Boyd, Jacqueline Bradley, Chris Carmody, Karena Keys, Trish Roan, Adam Veikkanen and Fiona Veikkanen. Keep an eye out for Trish Roan’s Even the Most Solid of Things (Constellation 3), Fiona Veikkanen’s ski jacket sculptures, and Karena Keys’ large hanging works made entirely out of paint.  Runs until 9 November –


I’m looking forward to the diverse line-up of exhibitions at Beaver Galleries this month. Catch Wendy Teakel’s Mungo Traces and Chris Denton’s the Dahlia Suite before they finish up on 5 November. As the name Mungo Traces hints, Teakel’s latest exhibition focuses on her recent visit to the Lake Mungo World Heritage Site.


This latest collection of work “explores the notions of time and erosion as well as revealing the traces of human and animal passing”. Teakel explains that she aims to “acknowledge this landscape as a significant Australian place and to record my own experience and wonder of it through spending time there.” Teakel is a painter and sculptor, whose work can be found in collections such as the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank and Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Teakel is also Head of Sculpture Workshop at the Australian National University Institute of the Arts.


Wendy Teakel, 'Mungo Track I', acrylic, charcoal, pastel, collage and scorch marks on rag paper, 75 x 55cm.

Wendy Teakel, ‘Mungo Track I’, acrylic, charcoal, pastel, collage and scorch marks on rag paper, 75 x 55cm.


Chris Denton’s the Dahlia Suite is an intimate study of this beautiful flower, executed as an intricate series of drypoint prints. Denton’s “works combine a love of intellectual enquiry with objects of great beauty – an aesthetic fusing of science, nature, spirituality and philosophy.” Denton’s work is currently represented in collections such as The National Gallery of Australia, Parliament House, Association Musee d’Art Contemporain (Chamalieres, France), Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts and Tama Art University (Tokyo).


These two exhibitions are followed by Barbie Kjar’s Setting the compass and a studio glass exhibition, Held within, from Annette Blair & Jeremy Lepisto. Barbie Kjar is a Tasmanian artist renowned for her striking prints, paintings and drawings “with a powerful narrative at their core”. The selection of Kjar’s work featured in this exhibition dates from 2008 to 2013 and includes a diverse range of pieces inspired by sources such as Kyudo (a Japanese form of archery), or the travels of Ulysses outlined in The Odyssey. This is an excellent opportunity for visitors to appreciate the rich, extensive collection of Kjar’s best work over the last few years. As well as exhibiting extensively throughout Australian and internationally, Kjar’s work can also be found in collections such as the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, and in numerous regional Australian galleries.


Annette Blair, ‘As you left it (in the shed)’ (detail) 2013, blown and hot sculpted glass, glass enamel, 36x36x35cm.


Two Canberra artists, Annette Blair and Jeremy Lepisto have teamed up for this joint studio glass exhibition, Held within. Blair’s work consists of enamel portraits on handblown glass forms and “examines the relationship between form and imagery”. Blair’s work also aims to demonstrate the link between people and everyday domestic objects and the nostalgia this evokes. Lepisto’s painted, coldworked and fused glass sculptures explore “everyday landscapes and the condition of spaces we all share”. Urban architecture, in particular the silhouettes and lines of these structures is the main source of inspiration for Lepisto’s work, as he encourages viewers to take a second look at their surroundings. Setting the compass and Held within both run from 7 – 26 November. –


The ellipsis (three dots strategically used to replace words: “…”) is a versatile piece of punctuation that can be used in several different ways: to indicate the omission of a word or phrase; an unfinished thought; or a slight pause in speech or text. Ellipsis is the title of ANCA Gallery’s latest photographic exhibition, which features work from four Canberra artists (Natalie Azzopardi, Holly Granville-Edge, Katherine Griffiths and Amy McGregor) who further explore how these ‘pauses’ and ‘unfinished sentences’ translate in photography. “Drawing inspiration from what is not written, but remains suggestive, Ellipsis features incomplete, cinematic, fabricated and dreamlike narratives with focus on rethinking the visual story.” Runs until 10 November.


Later in the month at ANCA, Vox Nautica – a light and sound installation by Denise Higgins and Gary Smith will run from 14 November to 1 December. This work features “the stripped carcass of a boat, and the remains of an organ, girded in iceberg”. This exhibition promises a complete journey for the senses. –


Richard AVEDON, Elizabeth Taylor, cock feathers by Anello of Emme, New York studio, July 1964. © The Richard Avedon Foundation, New York

Richard AVEDON, Elizabeth Taylor, cock feathers by Anello of Emme, New York studio, July 1964. © The Richard Avedon Foundation, New York


Richard Avedon (1923-2004) is probably most well-known for his portraits of famous people throughout the 20th century. It is evident in Avedon’s portraits that he has established a level of trust and rapport with his subjects, as they appear relaxed and natural in these shots. Most people would be familiar with many of his subjects, such as: Andy, Marilyn, Twiggy; John, Paul, George and Ringo. In 1970, Avedon revealed part of the secret behind his mastery: “My photographs don’t go below the surface. They don’t go below anything. They’re readings of what’s on the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues.” Avedon’s other significant body of work is his series, In the American West, featuring 124 portraits of “decidedly un-famous and earthy people”, says Stephen Zagala. Avedon’s talent has even been extended to fashion magazines, demonstrated through his iconic Harper’s Bazaar work, Dovima with elephants. Dovima with elephants depicts American fashion model Dovima with a troupe of circus elephants; their rough, wrinkled skins contrasting with her elegant black and white gown. This is the first Australian exhibition of Avedon’s work, which has been curated by National Portrait Gallery’s Senior Curator, Dr Christopher Chapman, in conjunction with The Richard Avedon Foundation, New York. Richard Avedon People runs at the National Portrait Gallery until 24 November –


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 –

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