For over two decades Howard Arkely and Juan Davila engaged in a collaborative partnership which resulted in the birth of a significant and complex large-scale installation Blue Chip Instant Decorator: A Room, 1990. Although fundamentally different in their ideas, both artists were meticulous in their approach to making art and yet understood the important role that chance, informality and the comedy of misadventure can play in collaboration.
The work, driven by the spirit of surrealism, features two painted suburban domestic interiors hung behind constructed furnishings. It references art history, mass media and pop culture. The sofa on fire quotes René Magritte’s surreal painting The Discovery of Fire, 1935, and a real mirror painted with a fake reflection is a direct allusion to the American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s mirror series.
Blue Chip Instant Decorator: A Room remains the only manifestation of a remarkable partnership between two of Australia’s most prominent painters.
Blue Chip Instant Decorator: A Room, 1990
Synthetic polymer paint on two canvases (each 200 x 240), wood, glass and found objects
Benalla Art Gallery collection, 1997
Asher Bilu returns to Benalla with another major exhibition since ‘Heavens’ in 2007. ‘Cosmotifs’ continues Bilu’s exploration of the grandeur of the cosmos with a floor installation and a selection of paintings from 1978 to 2012 which show his long standing fascination with science and cosmology.
The installation title ‘M-Theory’ refers to a concept in String Theory, the mathematical investigation attempting to unite particle and gravitational physics, the meaning of ‘M’ being undefined, but with suggestions including ‘magic’ and ‘mystery’.
Bilu builds on the magic and the mystery to provide an inspirational experience of awe and wonder.
This evocative suite of prints reinterprets the sad myth of the unicorn, left off The Ark in the Biblical Great Flood.
“The Unicorn lived in the forest where he cared for his fellow-creatures by cleansing the pools, breaking the traps and guiding them to pasture. Since the Flood, no man had ever seen the Unicorn, though all knew of him.” Peter Porter.
The exhibition is the result of a successful collaboration between the London based, Australian poet Peter Porter and Arthur Boyd, in which Boyd’s great talent for illustration and proficiency in etching are confirmed.
One of the oldest inspirations, the female form, is bought to focus in Naked Ladies. This exhibition celebrates the female form thorough a collection of work by artists including David Laity, Sidney Nolan, Ivan Durrant, Arthur Boyd and Norman Lindsay.
Works are from the Gallery’s permanent collection and on loan from artists and private collectors.
We know it; we sometimes choose to ignore it; we sometimes study it with a curiosity that is detailed, scientific, beautiful and hard to pull away from all at the same time. It is the close proximity and perplexing relationship between simian and human.
Lisa Roet uses sculpture, etchings, drawings, photography and animation; a committed and multidisciplinary approach to her ongoing preoccupation with apes and monkeys. The artist is both researcher and advocate.
Take a privileged glimpse, both very human and very intimate, into what helped one man survive World War II.
Arch Simpson was part of the 78th Fighter Squadron. During his years of service, his maiden aunt sent him pin-up images of beautiful women.
This is a wonderful story, laced with an irrepressible spirit for life and a celebration of beauty that even the darkest of circumstances could not suppress.
Arch was a long-time volunteer and champion of the Benalla Art Gallery. The gallery in which this work is presented is named in his honour.
The Benalla Art Gallery is fortunate to have access to the greater part of Arch’s pin-ups through his family, complimented by additional material from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This complete presentation is the story of one of Benalla’s heroes and firmly locates these pin-ups in their important and original context.
Cups of tea, painting in the countryside, the wool price is good, things are good “back home” in England, Robert Menzies’ Academy of Australian Art is building exaggeration, true, but the late 1930s to early 1940s provided the perfect environment for new ideas and different values.
Enter “Angry Penguins”: named after the Adelaide magazine published by a young Max Harris, the artists whose core group of Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester were occasionally complemented in idea and image by members of the Contemporary Art Society.
The time was ripe for change and the fuel came from Europe and America - surrealism and modern poetry. It was going well until the Ern Malley hoax.
Ironically, many of the same artists formed the “Antipodeans” - a group of artists reacting to the “threat” of abstract images from America and Europe. This show is a celebration of works within the Benalla Art Gallery’s own collection and of a time when every painting had a story to tell.
The CCP Documentary Photography Award is a biennial showcase of contemporary Australian documentary photography. It represents a unique, national initiative in support of documentary photography, providing a rare opportunity to assess the themes, styles and ideas that characterise this fascinating genre.
Charlotte Reynolds is a regional artist whose photographic images capture a blend of the immediacy of the moment and the formal elegance of traditional compositions seen in paintings.
‘On Any Day’ brings local pastimes of work, play and whiling away the day forward in sharp focus, sensitively informed by a knowledge of and feeling for classical artistic values.
In this joint exhibition, great friends and fellow artists Ivan Durrant and Tony Flint explore photography and inkjet printing colours in a confronting and at times nightmarish, out-of-focus vision. While Ivan examines the power of horse-racing, Tony explores dark moods of abandoned rural buildings.