ART: Come to your senses

CALL AND RESPONSE: Tim Bruniges' artwork, titled Piano Installation 2015 is at the Lock Up in Newcastle.

CALL AND RESPONSE: Tim Bruniges' artwork, titled Piano Installation 2015 is at the Lock Up in Newcastle.

STATIC+Silence, the latest exhibition in The Lock-Up’s inventive program, requires a new order of perception.

In place of the sensory overload of much installation art, and indeed daily life, the five artists, here until June 18, strive to create a slowness, a state where the visitor must contemplate images that move almost imperceptibly, or ambient sounds almost of a frequency beyond the capacity of the human ear.

Tim Bruniges is the creator of several of these demanding pieces: the drum and cymbals that substitute a vibration for the anticipated percussive assault, the piano that almost inaudibly responds to our presence and the mesmerizing slow-motion video of Icelandic ponies in the snow, where the herd’s changing dynamics requires virtually the same meditative level of perception as watching paint dry.

thelockup.org.au.

Artist activism

BIMBLEBOX gum trees are the dominant vegetation in the vast area of the semi-desert Galilee Basin of central Queensland, currently coveted for exploitation by the coalmining industry.

This hitherto barely touched landscape is now the focus of environmental protest, with an exhibition titled Bimblebox at the University Gallery until June 11, documenting the work of a group of varied artists who camped together in this remote arid area, discovering its flourishing diversity.

A textile work by Jill Sampson invokes the colour of the earth. A wall of wire-sculpture birds’ heads is accompanied by a soundtrack of their calls. There are installations of fallen leaves and gumnuts as well as a line-up of threatened finches. Photographs of pioneers are overlaid with mining diagrams by Fiona MacDonald.

This exhibition is touring widely, supported by Australia Council funding, another example of cogent artist activism.

newcastle.edu.au/community-and-alumni/arts-and-culture/the-university-gallery.

Landscape lithographs

I CAN’T imagine when was the last time I saw an exhibition of lithographs by a single printmaker.

At Art Systems Wickham until May 15 are many works by Breony Delforce, sometimes hand-coloured, occasionally combined with monoprint, but always with the distinctive quality of the crayon-like line.

The subject is the landscape, with Lake Macquarie a favourite site, its indented shoreline and wide horizon suggested in strong linear structures.

Lithographs can resemble the textural contrasts of charcoal drawings as well as their immediacy. It is a treat to find an artist today seriously working in this traditional medium.

art-systems-wickham.com.

Strength in numbers

THE nine artists at Back to Back Galleries until May 22 represent many forms of art making, inspired by the garden and the allure of growing things.

Clay is used with real imagination in Sue Stewart’s delicate ikebana arrangements, in Faye Collier’s openwork leaf bowls and by Sandra Burgess in pod or sprout forms and a row of miniature individual porcelain flower heads.

Varelle Hardy’s collages, Jeanne Harrison’s collagraphs and Helen Leane’s monotypes adorn the walls, along with Julie-Anne Ure’s mythologies.

Bronwyn Grieve makes lively birds from layered fabric. Pat Davidson’s embroidered leaves are as eloquent as her waterlilies.

It’s an exciting group show of strength.

facebook.com/Newcastle-Studio-Potters-Back-to-Back-Galleries-450603221651085.

Special project

THE mixed exhibition at Newcastle Art Space until May 22 is a special project, with work from many artists whose lives have been touched by cancer.

It will directly support a TROG research project, the breast cancer radiotherapy clinical trial run by the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group.

It seems invidious in these circumstances to single out artists who have contributed works, or the life-changing stories they tell. But there are many lyrical dawn photographs of the Newcastle shoreline by Joerg Lehmann, a robustly textured textile hanging by Judith Bee and two of Marika Osmotherly’s balletic sculptural figures, with their interplay of weight and air.

ncac.org.au/newcastle-art-space.

Watt Space Open Prize 

THE Watt Space Open Prize required entrants to work with layers of meaning, resulting in references to coal’s ambivalent role, with several pieces incorporating living plants.

Vanessa Lewis’s winning work, an ornate glass jar of dramatic black coal nuggets, is both precious object and a reference to the storage of poisons in the past. Also toxic is an elaborate installation by Dale Collier.

Andrew Styan’s ingenious addition of a projected heavenly body inserted into a banal op-shop landscape is instant thought-provoking surrealism. Kaswyn Hunt finds a new use for Cherry Ripe wrappers.

On view until May 22, this show could have made much more of environmental or political issues.

wattspacegallery.wordpress.com

Bimblebox: Specimens of endangered black-throated finches by Emma Lindsay.

Bimblebox: Specimens of endangered black-throated finches by Emma Lindsay.

NATURE: Breony Delforce's lithograph '#Day in Wynwood', detail.

NATURE: Breony Delforce's lithograph '#Day in Wynwood', detail.

GROWTH: Embroidered Leaf Lace by Pat Davidson at Back to Back.

GROWTH: Embroidered Leaf Lace by Pat Davidson at Back to Back.

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