Australian exotica showcases photographic work that engages with the theme of the exotic antipodes.
Ever since the fifteenth century, when European cartographers began including the contour of Terra Australis Incognita (‘the unknown land of the south’) in their speculative maps of the globe, the continent of Australia has been thought of as an exotic place. For many of the artists in this exhibition, this European vision is something that needs to be subverted and critiqued. For others, the idea of living in an eccentric environment, with surreal undertows, continues to inform a distinctively Australian sense of place.
Artists include: Brook Andrew Michael Cook, Destiny Deacon, Peter Dombrovskis, Marian Drew, Leah King-Smith, Joseph McGlennon, Tracey Moffatt, Darren Siwes, Robyn Stacey and Christian Bumbarra Thompson.
Australian Exotica is a touring exhibition organised by the MGA.
Image: Peter Dombrovskis, Lake Oberon, Western Arthur Range, south-west Tasmania 1988.
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection courtesy of the estate of Peter Dombrovskis.
Jennifer Paull’s paintings speak about the beauty that exists in the play of light and colour. Her dramatic images of people, places and objects are rendered in rich colours which vibrate with luminosity and movement.
Image: Jennifer Paull, Oriental pots, 2016
Jacqui Stockdale is an artist who grew up in Benalla and whose work is now acclaimed and sought after internationally. Familija includes painting, collage, photography and drawing from the past 15 years of her art practice and explores the artist’s fascination with the body, colonial history and constructed identities.
Using masks, costumes and objects collected from her travels, Stockdale creates theatrical scenes that are layered with cultural and historical references. Her compelling photographic portraits combine photography and painting, playfully mimicking the genre of exotic postcards where subjects are depicted within a fictional landscape.
Stockdale’s latest photographic portrait series, The Boho, draws on 19th century narratives surrounding Ned Kelly. Her re-imagining of the Kelly story is staged in front of painted landscapes from around the Benalla region, such as Stringy Bark Creek and Power’s Lookout.
Image: Jacqui Stockdale, The Offering 2016, C type print
EXHIBITION CATALOGUE: Download the Familija catalogue by clicking the link on the left of the screen.
Sally Simpson’s work reflects her fascination with the way values and meaning assigned to land change over time, according to point of view, culture and situation. She uses unexpected methods to transform natural and man-made materials found at particular sites, creating sculptures that evoke artefacts or specimens and drawings that reflect the fragility of the environment. The purpose of these objects is to record the interaction between humans and the land at a particular point in history, as if for a future museum.
Simpson’s Lake Mokoan Series utilises both manufactured and natural materials collected on site including discarded irrigation pipe, lace and fish bones, that reflect the fragility of this environment in flux. Her drawings of mummified fish found at the lake suggest the provisional nature of survival in a changing environment.
Part of a former irrigation scheme, Lake Mokoan is now in the process of being converted to the Winton Wetlands.
Image: Sally Simpson, Venerated remains (installation view). Courtesy of the artist.
For the past 27 years the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (DMNPP) has encouraged both excellence and creativity in contemporary Australian portraiture by asking artists to interpret the look and personality of a chosen sitter, either unknown or well known.
Founded by Doug & Greta Moran and family in 1988, the DMNPP is an annual Australian portrait prize. Currently with an annual first prize of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), the Prize is an important part of Australia’s Arts calendar.
Benalla Art Gallery was selected as the only Victorian venue to present this prestigious prize.
Image: Wendy Sharpe, Self Portrait with Ridiculous Hat, oil on linen, 2014.
Eva Ponting (Gunditjmara), Lyn Thorpe (Yorta Yorta), Naomi Ota (Japan/Australia), Cynthia Hardie (Yorta Yorta)
Developed for Collisions – A Cross Cultural Artist’s Collaboration, a partnership project between Gallery Kaiela & SAM Shepparton Art Museum.
Collisions: Cross-Cultural Collaborations provided an opportunity for artists from a diverse range of backgrounds to come together and collaborate in the making of art. The project involved a number of local Indigenous artists partnering with established contemporary artists, collaborating side-by-side, or in response to each other’s practice. The participants included North-East Indigenous weavers Aunty Cynthia Hardie, Eva Ponting and Lyn Thorpe with Naomi Ota, a Melbourne-based installation artist whose work uses fabric, hand made fibre paper and other fibrous materials. Through the sharing of ideas, narratives and techniques, the artists engaged in an exploration of cultural difference and similarity, conflict and connection, forging relationships in a dialogic exchange that departs from the art-making process.
Unfolding over several months the project was a journey - as the artists charted the treacherous waters of cross-cultural identity politics, intersected by the post-colonial wake. The project reimagines the scientific notion of a ‘collision’ as a creative act; an encounter between particles resulting in the exchange or transformation of energy.
This collaborative installation combines organic and man-made materials, with diverse cultural historic, artistic traditions and expertise such as weaving and making of fibrous textiles. The installation incorporates coolamons, Indigenous vessels traditionally used to carry food or cradle babies. Their inclusion pertains to spiritual birthplace, the cycles of life and gathering sustenance. These suspended mobiles refer to blood lines, genealogy and a sense of universal connectivity.
Discover a fascinating selection of shorts, newsreels, propaganda and feature films produced by the developing, local film industry, as well as a selection of international content. See how the war was presented on the big screen, and explore the melodramas and comedies that offered entertainment and escapism to those on the home front.
A collaboration between ACMI and The National Film & Sound Archive of Australia.
Image: Lottie Lyell in The Church and the Woman (1917), directed by Raymond Longford. Courtesy NFSA
Vista presents the work of six painters with connections to North East Victoria whose practices engage with the landscape and ways of seeing.
Anthea Kemp and Tony Flint’s works present dramatic renderings of places of personal significance and the impact of human habitation. Robert Hirschmann and Kirstin Berg’s layered constructions explore the forces that occur in nature and how these mirror psychological and physical experience. Ivan Durrant’s dark photorealistic paintings of interiors of shearing sheds are pierced through with intense light flooding in through gaps in walls and ceilings. Nina Machielse Hunt engages with the rich history of the region and its stories of the gold rush and bushranger heritage.
Image: Anthea Kemp, Ranges, 2015, oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist.
Acclaimed Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo painted 30 portraits in 30 days of well known figures from across Australian arts, science, entertainment, politics, philanthropy and sport. Portraits include film director Baz Luhrmann, AFL legend Ron Barassi, actress Asher Keddie, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, champion Australian Rules footballer Heritier Lumumba and many others.
Image: Vincent Fantauzzo, 30/30 portrait montage. Courtesy of the artist and Wonderment Walk.
Colour and Movement will present paintings from the CBUS Collection of Australian Art and the Benalla Art Gallery collection. The exhibition will navigate developments in Australian art in the twentieth century, exploring the journey through Australian impressionism, modernism, abstraction, postmodernism and contemporary painting. Colour and Movement will include many of Australia’s most significant artists and provide audiences with opportunities to gain a greater appreciation of their work.
Image: Elioth Gruner (1882 - 1939), Field, 1917, oil on board. CBUS Collection of Australian Art.