Botanical Gardens
Bridge Street, Benalla VIC 3672
Telephone: 03 5760 2619
Open 10 - 4pm (Winter Hours) Closed Tuesdays

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Previous Exhibitions

Geometric I Organic Abstraction
3rd May 2019 - 30th Jun 2019 
Geometric I Organic Abstraction
Simpson Gallery

Geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art based on the use of geometric forms.  Organic abstraction is the use of rounded or wavy abstract forms based on what is found in nature.  This field of painting emerged in the early 20th century following Cubism’s shattering of established conventions of form and space. 

Drawn from the Benalla Art Gallery collection, the artists in this exhibition explore the possibilities of mixing geometric and organic shapes to create striking compositions.  A range of approaches are evident, from the hard-edge and minimal work of John Sandler and Peter Booth, to the gestural abstraction of Roger Kemp and the more conceptual approaches of Sydney Ball, George Johnson and Rosalie Gascoigne.  Dick Watkins’ stylistically eclectic neo-pop work, Minerva hangs in a diamond shape and references literature, music and art history. 

Emily Kame Kngwarreye shares her personal cultural legacy in Untitled (Awelye – my dreaming) by using elegant organic black lines that represent strong connections to community and country. Yvonne Audette has a distinctive abstract vocabulary and Harbour Lights from her Cantata series incorporates the abstract expressionist style for which she is renowned. 

This exhibition celebrates some of Australia’s most significant abstract artists whose paintings use precise geometry and natural organic forms to communicate themes and ideas with a clear visual language of shape, form, colour and line. 
Artworks on display are from the Benalla Art Gallery permanent collection.

Image: Rosalie Gascoigne, Banner #1, 1992, retro-reflective road sign and linoleum on composition board. Gift of the artist, 1994.

Julie Shiels: All that Remains
8th Mar 2019 - 22nd Apr 2019 
Julie Shiels: All that Remains
Bennett Gallery

Benalla Art Gallery is delighted to present this exhibition by one of the pioneers of street art in Australia, Julie Shiels. In the 1980s Shiels was actively involved in several of Melbourne’s street poster screenprinting collectives, responsible for some of the most politically strident and visually striking images of that era. Highly regarded as cultural icons, many of the artist’s posters, originally pasted up around streets and laneways under cover of darkness, are now held in major public and private art collections.

All That Remains focuses on the artist’s more recent street-based work in which she stencils dumped mattresses, couches and chairs with meaningful texts to create temporary public art from hard rubbish. Gleaned from nature strips, the artist transforms these pre-loved remnants of domestic histories into metaphors for the transience of urban lives and spaces.

Image: Julie Shiels, Quoting myself, Robe Street 2007, inkjet print. Image courtesy the artist.

Face to Face: Portraits from the Collection
22nd Feb 2019 - 28th Apr 2019 
Face to Face: Portraits from the Collection
Simpson Gallery

This exhibition focuses on portraiture from the Gallery’s collection and includes a variety of themes including self-portraits, commissioned paintings of wealthy patrons, paintings of famous faces and those of family members recorded and remembered. 

A portrait is an artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent of the artist is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, portraiture has always been a popular artform as the artist can delve deeply to reveal the true characteristics of their sitter. 

Wealthy upper class patrons often commissioned artists to undertake portraits of themselves, family members, pets and livestock as a symbol of wealth, prosperity and rank. Today portraits are everywhere in the form of ‘selfies’.  We no longer need to commission an artist to record our likeness.  We can do it ourselves and retain full control over how the image is presented to the world through social media. 

This exhibition comprises several traditional portrait paintings that increase our understanding and appreciation of the people in them through revealing details about their identity, history, social standing, occupation and character. 

Image: Albert Tucker, Maria, 1947, oil on composition board. Gift of Barbara Tucker, 2002.

Ivan Durrant: Colouring Lake Mokoan
14th Dec 2018 - 3rd Mar 2019 
Ivan Durrant: Colouring Lake Mokoan
Bennett Gallery

Colouring Lake Mokoan presents a series of paintings by Ivan Durrant exploring the materiality of painting and the colours and forms of a stark local landscape. Through this exhibition the artist shares his way of seeing the world as patterns of light and form, and the creative processes through which he materialises this vision through paint.

Located in northeast Victoria near Benalla, Lake Mokoan, now known as Winton Wetlands, is the focus of an environmental rehabilitation program. Durrant’s paintings of shimmering water and drowned stag trees are presented alongside studies of the artist’s paint palettes used to create them.

Image: Ivan Durrant, Night Light, 2017, acrylic on composition board. Courtesy of the artist.

Kate Rohde: Monster Mash
7th Dec 2018 - 17th Feb 2019 
Kate Rohde: Monster Mash
Simpson Gallery

Fun for all ages, Monster Mash is an interactive exhibition that draws on the fantastical interiors and mutant creatures created by artist Kate Rohde.

Enter this hyper-colourful, larger-than-life world for participation, play and creativity.  Design wallpaper and magical, ever-growing mirror frames, and create your own mutant from a menagerie of bean bag creatures.

Image: Monster Mash exhibition

Broken River Potters
26th Oct 2018 - 2nd Dec 2018 
Broken River Potters
Simpson Gallery

Broken River Potters are a community group of ceramic artists based in North East Victoria. They meet regularly to learn new skills and share creative ideas and processes. This exhibition showcases recent works by many talented members of the group. Membership is diverse and inclusive, ranging from complete beginners to those who regularly enter exhibitions. 

A key feature of the group is its self-help ethos and supportive environment – the sharing of ideas and knowledge to help newcomers learn more about this ancient craft. As all members have their own unique style and employ a wide variety of techniques, there is never a shortage of inspiration, new ideas and creativity. Techniques include: hand-building with coils, slabs and pinching, slip casting and using the wheel.  Works created include functional wares, realistic or creative animals, architectural sculptures and exquisitely carved artworks. 

“Seeing the way members decorate their pieces is always a highlight, especially the glazing. How textures and glazes interact and fall, sometimes unpredictably, is an endless source of delight. No one can describe the anticipation, before opening the kiln, nor seeing our finished pieces, with their beautiful glazes catching the light, for the first time”. Lorna Hobbs, 2018

Opening Reception: Sunday 28th October, 3 - 4:30pm

Public Programs:
Saturday 17th November - Pottery Workshop, 10 – 2pm
Saturday 24th November - Makers’ Market, 9 – 1pm

Image: Melissa Grimwade, Pots, 2018.

Future Perfect: Benalla Art Gallery 50th Anniversary
6th Oct 2018 - 2nd Jun 2019 
Future Perfect: Benalla Art Gallery 50th Anniversary
Ledger Gallery

A Celebration of 50 Years

Benalla Art Gallery was established in March 1968 and 2018 marks the 50th anniversary.

Since its early beginnings, housed in the Benalla RSL building in Nunn Street, Benalla Art Gallery has grown to become one of Victoria’s most prestigious regional galleries. The striking modernist gallery complex, set on picturesque Lake Benalla and completed in 1975, was designed by Philip Sargeant and Colin Munro. 

The Benalla Art Gallery permanent collection is one of the most important public collections of Australian art in regional Victoria and surveys Australian art history across indigenous, colonial, impressionist, modernist and postmodernist eras. 50 years on the Gallery has become a major attraction for both Australian and international art-lovers.

Image: Future Perfect exhibition

Samantha Heriz: Initial Suspicions
22nd Sep 2018 - 21st Oct 2018 
Samantha Heriz: Initial Suspicions
Simpson Gallery

Samantha J Heriz is a British/Australian visual artist working conceptually across media. Much of her work concerns language, words, speech and the conveyance of subtlety. Often juxtaposition and duration are utilised to play with figure/ground to highlight the overlooked.

This 4-channel video installation was made whilst on residency at TAKT Berlin in 2016. During the month Heriz overtly spied from the inside and outside of Building No.1, the location of the Stasi Headquarters. The building remains largely unchanged and its essence of ‘ubiquitous control’ seems to linger. This work sees words from Party slogans, songs and official media, paired with footage of the Stasi Headquarters in 2016.

Looking But Not Seeing
10th Aug 2018 - 4th Nov 2018 
Looking But Not Seeing
Bennett Gallery

There are more images circulating in the world then ever before. Despite this, never has photography occupied such an anxious understanding of itself. Freed - through technological advances - of the requirement to represent the real, globally photography is questioning its expressive value and beginning to redefine itself.

This exhibition contributes an Australian voice to this international conversation. Concentrated through strategies of dispersal and aggregation, Looking But Not Seeing brings together a group of artists whose work engages with questions of what photography is now and where it is going.

Jacqui Ball, Nina Gilbert, Eliza Hutchison, Will Nolan, Nik Pantazopoulos, Kiron Robinson, Vivian Cooper Smith, Darren Sylvester, Marian Tubbs, Xanthe Waite and Grace Wood.

Curated by Kiron Robinson.

This exhibition has received assistance from NETS Victoria’s Exhibition Development Fund, supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Exhibition Opening Sunday 2 September, 3-5pm

Image: Darren Sylvester, Ghost Story, 2017, light jet print. Courtesy the artist, Neon Parc, Melbourne and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Sea HER Land
30th Jun 2018 - 26th Aug 2018 
Sea HER Land
Simpson Gallery

Inspired by this year’s 2018 NAIDOC theme ‘Because of Her, We Can’, Sea HER Land showcases exquisite works made entirely from natural materials by six of Baluk Arts’ key female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Each artist has a strong connection to the material they have utilised in their work, such as bull kelp, shells, bones, clay, wool, wood, river reed and feathers. Collecting and working with materials from places lived in or travelled to, these strong Indigenous women identify with their heritage to reclaim and reignite their innate cultural expression. Whether from the sea or the land, these materials evoke memories of personal history.

Cradled in the form of vessels, these are women’s stories, expressing the essence of protection and strength.

Artists: Tallara Gray, Cassie Leatham, Beverley Meldrum, Nannette Shaw, Lisa Waup, Gillian Garvie.  Presented in partnership with Baluk Arts and Craft Victoria.

JEWELLERY WORKSHOP: Join the artists for an introductory workshop in the use of natural materials such as twine, wood and reeds to make earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
Sunday 15 July, 11am - 1pm
Gallery members FREE, non-members $10
Bookings: 03 5760 2619

Image: Lisa Waup, Vessel 2018. Photographer: Fred Kroh