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
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.