ACTease by Courtney Symes
What do your possessions say about you? Imagine that a collection of your favourite items, including paintings and drawings you created, clothing, furniture and other precious mementos were locked away in a room for fifty years before being uncovered to an audience you’d never met. How do you think your character and life experiences would be viewed in the eyes of these strangers and what’s more, would you care?
The National Portrait Gallery’s latest exhibition, Paris to Monaro: Pleasures from the studio of Hilda Rix Nicholas explores the objects of artist Hilda Rix Nicholas, as discovered in her studio on the family property, Knockalong, near Delegate, Southern Monaro. These possessions offer a glimpse into Hilda’s life, which was shaped by adventure, tragedy, and romance. Born Emily Hilda Rix in Ballarat in 1894, she travelled to Europe in 1907 with her sister and widowed mother. Hilda studied at the New Art School in London, before attending art classes at the Académie Delecluse and the Grande Chaumière in Paris. Hilda’s study was complemented with exotic journeys to Tangier, Morocco with her sister Elsie. Tragically, Hilda’s mother and sister succumbed to typhoid fever during the First World War. Hilda then married Australia soldier, George Nicholas, but sadly within weeks of their wedding, George was killed in France. Hilda retained George’s name, and continued to sign her artwork with the Nicholas name. After returning to Australia, Hilda remarried Edgar Wright in 1928 and lived on the Wright family property, Knockalong. Hilda designed a custom-built French-style studio on Knockalong to accommodate her artwork, costumes and souvenirs collected from her travels. Amazingly, this building still remains on the Wright property and has been largely untouched since the artist passed away in 1961. Paris to Monaro is an exhibition that showcases the “treasure trove” of objects found within Hilda’s studio. This fascinating collection is like a time capsule and includes paintings, costumes, handmade toys, furniture and more. Each of these cherished pieces represents key moments in history, as well as in the artist’s rich and accomplished life. Paris to Monaro is on at the National Portrait Gallery until 11 August – www.portrait.gov.au
ANCA’s latest exhibition, Gestalt-ed is a slightly nostalgic exhibition that includes the work of six artists who all attended the Canberra School of Art during the 1980s: Elisa Crossing, Colin Grant, Felicity Green, Philippa Hofgartner, Gerald Jones and Andrew Kaminski. Whilst this exhibition focuses on the artists’ new work, it is interesting to see how the artists have progressed in their respective practices over the last three decades. “We have really enjoyed reflecting on the work that we’d created thirty years ago during our time together at the Canberra School of Art, and seeing the echoes in our current work today,” say the group on this latest project. The exhibition title, Gestalt-ed, is based on the German word, ‘Gestalt’, meaning ‘shape’. The Gestalt concept was used as a psychology theory in the early twentieth century and suggests that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Gestalt applies to this exhibition in that the artists believe the culmination of their individual experiences makes for a strong, dynamic and varied exhibition. Runs until 14 July – www.anca.net.au
Two Views – An Interpretation of Australian Native Landscape, Flora and Fauna is the resulting exhibition when a visual artist and photographer team up and present their perspective on the same subject matter. Both Cindy Wilkins (Australian Photographer) and Kylie Fogarty (Visual Artist) share a love for the Australian landscape, flora and fauna, which is evident through this captivating exhibition.
Wilkins has focused on the habitats of the bush that are often over-looked as they become the heroes in her work, whilst Fogarty has honed in on the “organic tone and line” of the Australian landscape. Fogarty works with a combination of pen and ink and mixed media monotypes to capture her abstract compositions, whilst Wilkins is constantly seeking the unexpected in the scenes she captures. Wilkins is based in Brisbane, but she never sits still for long – always striving to “capture the perfect image” at home and abroad. Recently Wilkin’s award winning work was featured in the Cranleigh Capital Chemist Art Show, Radford Art Show and The Bentley Art Show, NSW. Fogarty is a local Canberra multi-disciplinary artist who enjoys working with graphite, pen and ink, etching and painting. You may have seen Fogarty’s work at the The Belconnen Arts Centre, The Platypus Gallery, Casino NSW, and previously in the Strathnairn Arts Gallery Solo Exhibition in 2011. Two Views runs from 19 July until 4 August. Don’t miss the exhibition opening on 20 July at 3.30pm. Strathnairn Homestead Gallery is one of Canberra’s best-kept secrets. The converted 1920s homestead is located on the north-western outskirts of Canberra and boasts a gallery, café and a small shop. Visitors can enjoy regular exhibitions across a variety of disciplines, including ceramics, glass, mixed media, photography, sculpture, textiles and woodwork. – www.strathnairn.com.au
Another pair of artists; Jock Puautijimi (Tiwi Islander) and Luna Ryan (local artist) have teamed up for collaborative exhibition, Parlingarri Mamanta or ‘Long Time Friendship’ at Canberra Glassworks this month. Both artists have added another dimension to their established practices by casting Puautijimi’s ceramics into glass forms.
Through the process of sandblasting and engraving, Lyndy Delian has created an intricate body of work consisting of carved glass wall panels in her latest exhibition, Sand Carved. “Delian explores the subtle depth of pattern within her works … evoking rhythm and patterns of the land”. Join Canberra Glassworks for the opening of both these exhibitions on 3 July at 6pm. Both exhibitions run until 4 August – www.canberraglassworks.com
Digital technologies extend the boundaries of thought and possibility for craft practitioners. Embracing Innovation Volume 3 is Craft ACT’s tribute to the important role that digital technology plays for the creative arts. This exhibition is the culmination of work from artists who are exploring the frontiers of digital technology in their practice.
The Side Project demonstrates how our obsession with food and molecular gastronomy can be extended to art and craft disciplines. This exhibition is the collaboration of Cesar Cueva (internationally recognised Australian designer) and Karl Firla (Sydney-based chef) and explores “the culinary movement of molecular gastronomy and presents new work exploring the relationship between this movement and object design”.
Visitors can look forward to an exhibition of new work from Cueva, offering an “entirely visual and tactile experience from furniture, lighting and objects for the table, complemented with serving and eating implements”, to complement chef Karl Firla’s interactive dinner. “Researching the molecular gastronomy culinary movement, I became aware there has been very little investigation into object design that responds to this departure from conventional cookery,” says Cueva.
This exhibition will certainly indulge and thrill the senses. “Discarded objects that invoke a forgotten story or untold narrative” are the inspiration for Mariana del Castillo’s captivating jewellery pieces.
Craft ACT’s showcase of del Castillo’s latest work features intriguing (yet wearable) objects that hint towards her Ecuadorian heritage. These pieces will capture your heart and your imagination. All Craft ACT exhibitions run from 18 July until 24 August. – www.craftact.org.au