Abstraction is one of modernism’s most profound and innovative concepts. The term indicates a departure from reality into a world of thoughts and ideas expressed through a visual language of form. Artworks of this genre are prime examples of the power of radical and progressive thinking.
This exhibition explores how Australian artists today are collectively responding to the genre of abstraction, as both historical idea and emergent artistic practice.
Abstract is our winter wonder of colour here at Benalla Art Gallery and brings together the work of six important contemporary Australian artists - Sydney Ball, Dale Frank, Marc Freeman, Camille Hannah, Kirra Jamison and Noël Skrzypczak, who, through their individual practices reflect on the relevance and importance of abstraction today. Each artist shares a visual language to develop an identity that connects atmospheric and experiential qualities, art historical frameworks and the nature of innovation itself.
Image: Sydney Ball, Infinex #16, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 250 x 100 cm, courtesy of Sullivan & Strumpf, Sydney
Australia was a destination for settlement in the early 1800s and migration continues to this day. The artists who came to this continent have contributed in many ways to the education and development of the diverse cultural styles of Australian visual arts.
This exhibition is a selection of artworks by migrant artists in the Benalla Art Gallery collection from the early colonial period through to the present day. The sample of images reflects the changes that have influenced Australian art over the past two centuries.
Image: Danila Vassilieff, Street scene, Fitzroy, 1938, oil on board. Bennett Bequest, 1999
Louise Paramor is one of Australia’s most well recgonised and celebrated artists and is widely known for her creative vision for residual and ephemeral materials. In a career spanning more than 25 years she has held over 40 national and international exhibitions and has received major sculpture awards and public commissions.
In 2014 a sculpture featuring a life-size fiberglass polar bear won Paramor top prize at the Lorne Sculpture Biennale. She was recipient of the prestigious McClelland Sculpture and Survey Award in 2010 and in 2012 her monumental work ‘Panorama Station’ was commissioned for the Peninsula Link Freeway.
Paramor works with found objects and plastics that are especially tactile and often striking in colour – characteristics that, not surprisingly, evoke an irresistible sense of whimsy and play. This exhibition showcases a selection of consumer-based plastic sculptural works, collage and abstract paintings on glass that challenge traditional readings of contemporary detritus in a fun and lurid way. There is also a serious side to Paramor’s practice and the significance and indeed resonance of her artwork can be found within religion, architecture, modern day urban life and today’s heavily consumerist culture.
Image: Louise Paramor, Hotel Panorama, 2010, plastic. McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park collection.
The human figure without clothes; it is each of us, at some point, every day. And so we celebrate that; be it in the humble function of bathing and dressing, or some grander reflection of ideals, philosophical concerns or cultural traditions.
The Benalla Art Gallery brings the first Benalla Nude Art Prize. The exhibition will be a selection of shortlisted works, from which the winning work will be awarded the $50,000 non-acquisitive prize.
Daniel Thomas AM, Art Historian & Curator
Jane Scott, CEO & Artistic Director, CRAFT
Ivan Durrant, Visual Artist
In ‘The Gillies’, a single large indefinable anthropomorphic presence, as if coming out of the land, dominates the natural environment. Inside these ominous statues is a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, wearing a ghillie (a camouflage outfit originally developed for hunting and the military).
Polixeni Papapetrou engages part reality, part fantasy moving through the landscape, using the rich terrain as a backdrop for her narratives about the transitional space of childhood. Papapetrou’s art practice has involved an intimate collaboration with her children and their friends for over a decade. As they have grown and transformed, so too have the roles they perform and spaces they inhabit.
‘The Ghillies’ is a reflection on the surrendering of childhood or boyhood to the adult world foreshadowing prowess, as young boys, separate from great maternal intimacy and are absorbed into institutional camouflage of one kind or another. The body is concealed and childhood identity slowly recedes leaving a universal figure that becomes one with the surroundings. Some boys will fit into well-known social archetypes, but other boys want to liberate themselves from those patterns and project their identity more brazenly.
Image: Polixeni Papapetrou, Desert Man, 2012, pigment ink print, 120 x 120 cm, courtesy of Stills Gallery, Sydney
Victoria’s most inspiring and high achieving 2013 VCE artists will showcase their work in the annual exhibition, Regional Art & Design (RAD).
RAD is an exhibition of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, ceramics, film, animation, textiles, drawing, installation and printmaking produced by VCE Art and VCE Studio Arts students.
With a dynamic approach to presentation, which includes the exhibition of student preparatory support material such as folios and notebooks, Regional Art Design provides students the opportunity for artistic recognition in a public art space.
RAD also gives fellow upcoming students a chance to view selected works in the lead up to their own VCE studies, providing insight, education and inspiration for their years ahead.
Albert Tucker was a major figure in the Australian modernist movement, which challenged the foundations of traditional art practice and adopted a spontaneous and visionary approach to the creative process.
Throughout his career, he painted significant portraits of his contemporaries and loved ones. Sitters included Tucker’s colleagues in the so called Angry Penguins group or ‘Heide circle’ — Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and John Perceval.
This exhibition presents nine of Tucker’s most important portraits that transition through various periods of his artistic development, leaving a thread that connects a great portion of his oeuvre.
Image: Albert Tucker, Self Portrait, 1983, synthetic polymer paint on canvas board. Private collection.
This exhibition is an exploration of contemporary artworks in the Benalla collection that relate to a culture and story of the Australian landscape by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. The subject of the land is a response to the site and purpose of the place in relation to the culture of Australian people within urban and rural dwellings.
Image: Brook Andrew, Sexy and Dangerous, 1996, duratran on perspex, 183 x 122 cm
The era of the 60s and 70s in Australian art was a time influenced by art from America and Europe which included Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Hard Edge and Colour Field. The Field exhibition at the NGV in 1968 was a key example of the influence of Hard Edge abstract methods that inspired a generation of Australian artists. This exhibition compromises of a selection of paintings from the Benalla Art Gallery collection that reveal the Australian artists such as Yvonne Audette, Sydney Ball, Peter Booth, Leslie Dumbrell, Robert Jacks and John Sandler who responded to the new modern traditions of the times.
Image: Peter Booth, Untitled, 1968-69, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 158 x 222 cm
Sam Staughton was born into the life of farming but was naturally inclined towards the visual arts. ‘Wolbunya’, the family property was his working life although he managed a full course of study at the National Gallery of Victoria and a tour of England and Europe before he returned to his family’s farming commitments. Marriage, children and continual farming did not stop his painting passion. Finally the farm was sold and Sam and his wife Marian and children moved to Melbourne. Sam was painting full time.
In the years that followed Sam held ten solo exhibitions, almost one a year, establishing himself as a highly committed and well liked artist amongst his peers and industry notables.
Image: The Smoking Room, 2008, oil on canvas, 137.5 x 183.5 cm