Yhonnie Scarce’s work explores the modes of perceptions used as underlying weapons of colonial power to keep Aboriginal people submissive to the hierarchy of colonial rule. Through research into her family’s experiences, Scarce’s glass work engages with the wider issue of containment of Aboriginal people, including the forcible removal of these people from their land and consequent death.
Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University. Scarce is one of the first contemporary Australian artists to explore the political and aesthetic power of glass, describing her work as ‘politically motivated and emotionally driven’. Her work incorporates her personal histories and research with artefacts from the past, hence attempting to highlight the legacy of issues related to white settlement in a dialogue with the present.
Image: Yhonnie Scarce, N00, N2359, N2351, N2402, 2014, blown glass, archival photographs, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Collection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
Saturday 17th November - Pottery Workshop, 10 – 2pm
Saturday 24th November - Makers’ Market, 9 – 1pm
Image: Melissa Grimwade, Pots, 2018.
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 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.
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