Callum Preston is a sucker for nostalgia. In his latest solo mission, the multi- talented Melbourne creative shares a childhood dream that anyone who grew up in the ‘burbs have their own version of.
As a child of the Melbourne suburbs in the 1990s, Preston well remembers his neighbourhood milk bar as a place of wonder: the buzzing neon, the faded posters of Diet Coke-loving windsurfers, collector cards, musk sticks, jelly snakes, cigarette ads, the ubiquitous smell of pies and the enticing crack of opening soft drink cans.
In Callum Preston’s MILK BAR, the artist has turned his efforts to recreating his own childhood milk bar, completely by hand — one chip packet and Coke can at a time. Like any milk bar, Preston’s is filled with the usual suspects — magazines, chocolate bars, soft drinks — but take a closer look and you’ll see that each one is completely handmade by the artist.
Presented as a 360-degree art show - Callum Preston’s MILK BAR features over 500 items, with thousands of tiny details all contributing to a unique and immersive experience which Preston describes as “a lo-fi recreation plumbed from the depths of memory and feeling.”
More than just a nod to nostalgia, the project seeks to capture the magic of a long lost time — invoking a sense of childlike wonder in all who view it.
Supported by the SANDREW collection.
Ray Hearn’s True Ned presents a different view of the Ned Kelly story to that depicted in Sidney Nolan’s famous series of paintings. Through Hearn’s paintings, ceramics and assemblages, he examines the artistic influences on Nolan during his early Kelly period including the relatively new phenomenon of the cartoons of Walt Disney.
Underpinning Hearn’s exhibition is a view of Kelly as a bandit hero, a kind of renegade who emerges in rural societies where sharp divisions exist between rich and poor, and where rural communities are facing a period of sudden change or distress.
Join us to hear renowned academic and Ned Kelly historian John McQuilton speak on the exhibition and its related themes on Sunday 25 February from 3pm.
Image: Ray Hearn, Bang, 2006. Found object, timber, corrugated iron.
Enter the Lair is a family friendly interactive exhibition that presents a selection of works by Jazmina Cininas that provide an imaginative window into the fantasy world of the female werewolf. Interactive elements including mask making kits and a large photographic backdrop have been produced especially for the exhibition, enabling visitors to immerse themselves into the imagined worlds and histories of the female werewolf.
Jazmina Cininas is a Melbourne-based artist, arts writer and curator who lectures in printmaking at the RMIT School of Art. For over two decades now, Jazmina has been charting the various incarnations of the female werewolf as a vehicle for her printmaking practice. Her PhD research project saw her create a Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame by identifying women from throughout history who may qualify as female werewolves and selecting a number of them to portray as reduction linocut portraits.
Image credit: Jazmina Cininas, Christina sleeps on both sides of Grandma’s bed, 2010, reduction linocut. Courtesy of the artist.
Tattoos, science fiction, B-grade movies and secret societies – this is the fodder of Rona Green, an artist renowned for her prints and paintings of anthropomorphic characters. Champagne taste and lemonade pockets presents a menagerie of identities drawn from the last decade of Green’s printmaking practice.
Adorned with the tattoos and uniforms of archetypal gangsters, urban legends and ‘Aussie’ stereotypes, Green creates a fantastical world where dogs postulate as stand over men, cats become villainous masterminds and rabbits are fierce cyber warriors. Funny, charming and habitually disturbing, Green’s work highlights the link between social and cultural identity and matters of power, value systems, and ideology.
A Bendigo Art Gallery touring exhibition
Image: Rona Green, McGoohan, 2015, hand coloured linocut. Courtesy the artist and Australian Galleries.
For millennia the beauty, wonder and uses of plants and flowers have been subjects of fascination for artists. The earliest surviving botanical illustration dates back to the year 512 and formed part of a pharmacopoeia of herbs and medicines. In China, brush paintings of old trees, bamboo and rocks by scholar-artists evolved into an independent genre during the Tang dynasty (618-906). By the 1600s many European artists were producing still life paintings of combinations of flowers and fruit, and the creation of flower studies for pure visual pleasure became widespread during the tulip mania of the mid-1600s.
The Botany of Desire exhibition takes its inspiration from a book of the same name published in the early twenty first century which explores the reciprocal relationship between people and plants. It highlights the human desire that connects us to plants and the ways in which plants have shaped our behaviour to their own ends. The exhibition presents work by a wide range of artists from the late 19th century through to the present day, and includes painting, photography, sculpture, video and decorative arts.
Image: Milan Milojevic, Night and Day (The Tree) 2016 (detail), digital/etching/woodcut print. Courtesy the artist and Colville Gallery, Hobart.
Prue Acton is widely known as Australia’s ‘golden girl of fashion’. Acton once described herself as “an artist who chose to work in the field of fashion”. She originally intended to become a professional artist, but after her move into fashion in the early sixties she rapidly became known as one of Australia’s top designers.
Prue was born in 1943 in Benalla. She spent many years in the fashion industry and won several awards. During the 1980s she returned to her first love, painting, continuing her study under the mentorship of Clifton Pugh and partner, Merv Moriarty. This exhibition comprises of a collection of still lives and native flowers recently painted in her coastal bush home and studio in rural NSW.
Image: Prue Acton, courtesy of the ABC.
Erewhon presents the work of five contemporary Australian artists that disturb distinctions between our real and imagined selves, and between the authentic and the fantastical. The exhibition shifts between sincerity and satire although its propensity was to shadowy psychological turns, . and towards darker, more charged imaginings.
Erewhon is influenced by an 1872 novel set in a fictional country that resembled the south of New Zealand, where the author had lived as a young man. The story was a satirical and philosophical exploration of various aspects of Victorian society, most notably crime and punishment, religion and science. According to Erewhonian law, offenders were treated as if they were ill, whereas ill people were looked upon as criminals. Related themes such as the fear of technological progress, the impossibility of utopias and the effects of colonisation, discipline and control form some of the ideas explored in the the exhibition Erewhon.
Artists: Brook Andrew, Claire Lambe, Clare Milledge, Mikala Dwyer and Tony Garifalakis
Curated by Vikki McInnes
A NETS Victoria Touring Exhibition
Image: Installation view, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, VCA, 2016.
Colonial Afterlives considers a range of contemporary responses to British colonisation from indigenous and diasporic artists living in Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, Britain and Canada. It incorporates a diversity of views ranging from melancholic eulogies to passionate and sometimes scathing commentaries on the complex legacies of British occupation.
Several of the artists explore multiple identities through performance and photography, including Fiona Foley (Australia), Christian Thompson (Australia), Charles Campbell (Jamaica), Kent Monkman (Canada), and Ewan Atkinson (Barbados). Others are keenly attuned to the nuances and contemporary resonance of the colonial archive—Julie Gough (Australia), Daniel Boyd (Australia) and Lisa Reihana (New Zealand)—while Yvonne Rees—Pagh (Tasmania) examines some of the deep wounds of ‘empire’, as manifested in racist stereotyping and modern forms of frontier violence. While the artists are all finely attuned to the histories and politics of their own region, the exhibition will reveal profound and sometimes surprising confluences. Ultimately, it will raise larger questions around the nature of post—colonial identity in an increasingly globalised and globalising world.
Curated by Dr Sarah Thomas
A Salamanca Arts Centre Touring Exhibition
Image: Joan Ross, The claiming of things, 2012 (detail), digital animation, 7 min 20 sec.
TextaQueen has developed an enviable reputation for her compelling portraits that explore gender, race and identity through the medium of fibre-tipped pens.
Bringing together work created over a 15 year period, this survey exhibition reflects on how visual and popular culture inform personal identity via re-interpretations of the salon nude, re-creations of cultural and historical identities undressed in the Australian landscape, critiques of colonial histories in apocalyptic movie poster portraits and in recent work articulating the evolution of TextaQueen’s own identity as an Australian-born Goan Indian.
This exhibition features 28 fibre-tipped marker works alongside a new body of landscape and self-portrait photographs.
A Mornington Peninsula Travelling Exhibition
Image: TextaQueen, Reunion, fibre-tipped markers and coloured pencil on Stonehenge cotton paper. MPRG Collection, purchased 2014.
Taking its title from an artwork by Leah King Smith, Patterns of Connection features the work of Indigenous artists from the Benalla Art Gallery Collection.
Indigenous art is often political, and several of these artists address contentious issues including representation, racism, religious influence and the exploitation of land. Others express their identity and connection with the land by representing ancestral stories, traditions and ceremonies.
The exhibition includes works by Brook Andrew, Destiny Deacon, Fiona Foley, Leah King-Smith, Gordon Bennett, Gloria Tamerre Petyarre and Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula.
Image: Leah King Smith, Untitled No. 11 from the Patterns of Connection series, 1991, cibachrome photograph. Benalla Art Gallery Collection. Licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency, Sydney