This exhibition of Australian female artists, from the late nineteenth century through to today, focuses on photography, painting, sculpture and works on paper in both a social and historical context. Revolutionary Visions recognises the contribution that women artists have made, not only to the history of Australian art, but also to the strength of the Benalla Art Gallery permanent collection.
Many works by female artists within the Collection were purchased when it was unfashionable. It was the foresight of Mrs Erma Ledger – wife of major benefactor Mr Laurence Ledger – who shared his interest in art and encouraged the purchase of works by significant Australian women artists. More recently, through artist donations, major public and private bequests and fundraising by the Friends of Benalla Art Gallery, the collection of works by female artists has continued to grow, adding to our rich understanding of women’s art practice within Australia.
Image: Ethel Spowers, Swings, 1932, colour linocut on oriental tissue paper. Bennett Bequest, 2000.
The Free Art School is a participatory art project developed by Benalla Art Gallery based on the concept of social sculpture.
Benalla Art Gallery believes that everyone has creative potential. To help you discover yours, the Gallery has set up a Free Art School offering classes and workshops in painting, drawing, watercolour, printmaking, ceramics, jewellery making, plant inspired collage, mosaics and some surprises like tie dye clothing.
Set within the Gallery, the Free Art School includes interactive installations, a social space, library and projects with guest artists.
No artistic experience is necessary. Classes are for ages 15+ and are designed to expand an understanding of artistic practice to build confidence in creative expression. Book early for the workshops on 03 5760 2619.
Image: Spenceroni, Collage #1, paper, texta & acrylic. Courtesy of the artist.
From the well-loved, well-used tea cups which have survived generations to the old fenderless car body slowly disappearing into the vegetation, Helga’s images are permeated with understanding. There is not just an overriding feeling of serene melancholy, but something steadfastly respectful in the ordinariness of her subject matter. - Cate Kennedy
Helga Leunig is a resident of North-East Victoria and this exhibition captures so perfectly the region’s particular characteristics of foggy mountain tracks, golden fields of grass, flora and fauna and everyday inanimate objects.
To accompany the exhibition is a book, “Mother Country: Reflections of Australian Rural Life” with an essay by Cate Kennedy.
Image: Helga Leunig, Sydney Harbour Bridge and platypus, 2014, type C photograph. Courtesy of the artist.
Developed in partnership with leading visual arts organisation Gertrude Contemporary, From the Collection focuses on ideas of play, improvisation and the hand-made.
The exhibition features artists Sarah CrowEST, Dylan Martorell, Nathan Gray and the collaborative group DAMP who build instruments, write scripts, compose sound, make costumes and paint ceramics.
Using works from the Benalla Art Gallery collection as a spring-board, the artists have created a series of new works which will be exhibited alongside the Gallery’s collection as a form of call and response.
Image: Sarah crowEST, Untitled (Ned), 2015, self portrait with costume.
“Encouraging Painting, Creativity and Community Involvement”
The Broken River Painters group was established in 1976 by a number of talented local artists who were already painting individually in Benalla and the surrounding district. Their first studio space was located in the Simpson Gallery at Benalla Art Gallery and was eventually relocated to a creative space downstairs, which they shared with the pottery group. In 2011 the studio moved again to the Barc Huts at Benalla Airport, which offered a larger space to accommodate their growing membership.
Over the past five decades the painters have held a number of successful exhibitions locally and have participated in high profile art shows throughout Victoria. A permanent display is held at the Benalla Hospital and in several cafes around Benalla. This community minded art group is widely admired by locals and visitors to the area. Benalla Art Gallery is proud to be holding an exhibition of recent works by current members.
Image: Diwi Bekins, Tranquility, 2015, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Slipstitch presents an Australian perspective on the contemporary uptake of embroidery by a new generation of artists. The exhibition features recent work from Mae Finlayson, David Green, Lucas Grogan, Alice Kettle, Tim Moore, Silke Raetze, Demelza Sherwood, Matt Siwerski, Jane Theau, Sera Waters, Elyse Watkins and Ilka White.
In recent years contemporary artists in Australia have embraced embroidery for its capacity for poignant and reflective narrative. The re-emergence of embroidery is part of a broader questioning of the hierarchy of materials that has gained momentum since the 1990s. Embroidered objects have often been read literally and relegated within a domestic framework. These new contemporary works break down preconceptions by exploring what embroidery can become once it transcends the regularity of pattern and decoration. Historically, embroidery like the Bayeux Tapestry, was used as a tool for personal or political narratives. Slipstitch aims to introduce a contemporary audience to the capacity of embroidery for drawing and communication in this mode.
The tour of this exhibition has been made possible by Creative Victoria through the Touring Victoria program and a full colour catalogue publication has been generously supported by the Gordon Darling Foundation.
Image: Lucas Grogan, The Universe Quilt 2013 (detail), embroidery; cotton, cotton thread on black laminated, 200 x 175 cm, Ararat Regional Art Gallery Collection. Purchased with the assistance of the Robert Salzer Foundation, 2013. Photo: Asa Gauen, New York. Courtesy the artist and Gallerysmith Melbourne.
An Ararat Regional Art Gallery and NETS Victoria touring exhibition, curated by Dr Belinda von Mengersen
Bindi Cole is a contemporary Australian artist of both Aboriginal (Wathaurung) and British ancestry. The artist uses photography, installation and video to create artworks informed by personal experiences. Cole’s practice navigates defining aspects of her life story including her Aboriginal identity and the importance of spirituality in her work.
At some point in our lives we all require forgiveness, just as there are also times when we need to forgive others. The exhibition We All Need Forgiveness is a 30-monitor video installation, a deeply personal work which engages viewers in the act of forgiveness. This is powerful in the context of Cole’s mixed heritage, yet the work also taps into a fundamental aspect of the human condition by expressing the courage to forgive.
Image: Bindi Cole, We All Need Forgiveness, 2014, multi-channel HD video installation, colour, sound, 5 mins. Courtesy the artist and Nellie Castan Projects, Melbourne. Producer: Daniel Chocka. Video and sound editor: Rachel Fong. Production assistant: Nikita Lotis.
Drawing the Labyrinth comprises hundreds of drawings reflecting an intimate journey of the artist’s life over a year. This seemingly endless concertina reflects glimpses of the artist’s travels in Europe, family gatherings, self-portraits, studies of friends, actors and musicians, anonymous people on trains, teenagers in classrooms, a live band, and even a woman in labour.
Presented in the form of a walking labyrinth, the work invites viewers to slow down, observe and contemplate their surroundings.
During the exhibition Jacqui will be drawing visitors in the gallery and adding their images to this ongoing piece.
Image: Drawing the Labyrinth, 2015, concertina book of ink & pen drawings. Courtesy of This is No Fantasy, Melbourne & Edwina Corlette Gallery, Queensland.
Philip Sargeant and Colin Munro were life long friends. They attended the same secondary school and studied architecture together at the University of Melbourne in the early 1950s. Between 1965 and 1975, in partnership, they carried out two major design projects: Benalla Art Gallery and the McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park at Langwarrin, today considered two of Australia’s most iconic buildings.
Painting and drawing was another common pursuit of both men, established during their early school days. Art remained a life-long passion and several exhibitions of Sargeant and Munro’s work have been shown in Australia, Samoa and Greece.
This exhibition celebrates the artists and architects fine careers and coincides with the 40th year anniversary celebrations of Benalla Art Gallery.
Image: Colin Munro, Architectural Landscape #1, oil on canvas. Private collection.
Dawn till Dusk: Gifts of Light and Landscape celebrates the generosity of donors to the Benalla Art Gallery. Laurie Ledger donated the first substantial gift of art works from his private collection in 1975. Since then the Gallery’s collection has grown substantially as a result of gifts, bequests and donations to become one of the most significant public art collections in Australia. Dawn till Dusk presents a rich legacy of landscape paintings by some of Australia’s most significant artists from the early nineteenth century to the present.
Image: Lina Bryans, River Landscape, 1945, oil on paper on board. Ledger Gift 1988.