FOR the larks of the world, the optimism of a new day dawning is hard to match - however long and dark the night may have been. The exhibition Dawn Patrol at Gallery 139 brings together three painters who have a penchant for first light and can demonstrate its essence in different ways. Stylistically, that is, as the exhibition is united in subject and theme.
John Earle has a long history of painting Newcastle coastal scenes in a crisp, almost photographic manner, most familiar during the full noon when blues and greens dominate. In Dawn Patrol, golden ambience has the effect of a rose-tinted filter, evoking a welcome nostalgia for summer. Dino Consalvo's more expressive oils and gestural works on paper trade in the same palette across sand dunes and street scenes, creating the kind of paintings that make artists want to dash off to the studio. For Peter Lankas, the urban environment continues to inspire, his paint retaining immediacy and the freshness of a sea breeze particularly in a large installation of gouache works on paper.
Drop in on Sunday at 2pm for music and drawing, a fleeting dawn chorus.
- UNTIL September 13, visitors to Port Macquarie can see Peter Lankas in another light in Suburban Dreams at The Glasshouse.
Lankas' paintings including large-scale works lean to the nocturne, service stations, street signage and traffic, all with his characteristic painterly shimmer. Dallas Bray expresses a tendency for darkness, but his nocturnal narratives are always lit with a sense of humour and carnivalesque characters. Peter O'Doherty, Susan O'Doherty and Kendal Murray join the mix to create a rich exhibition curated by all-rounder Niomi Sands. The Glasshouse is another regional gallery whose council has done away with a director's position. Also on show is the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award featuring an impressively dramatic figurative drawing by Matthew Tome in a typically strong line-up of beautifully resolved works.
- CESSNOCK Regional Art Gallery has had its challenges but is continuing to operate thanks to the efforts of volunteers and a new and well-appointed Arts Advisory Committee to assist in exhibition programming.
This says much about the dedication of the community, but reflects badly on a council that doesn't value the professional skills of a gallery director and the long-term future of its cultural assets. The volunteers, as ever, are to be applauded for picking up the slack in fund-raising, with an art auction on August 29, a gallery shop and art classes already planned.
- COLLECTED, assembled, photographed, reinvented: the material virtuosity and empathy between the four established artists in Object Urbanities at Maitland Regional Art Gallery delivers a strong show with real accord.
Tracy Luff works elegant serpentine forms with corrugated cardboard; Alison Coates beachcombs and constructs with minimalist surety; and Jane Gillings' bright detritus turns out surprising kaleidoscopic animations. For Lizzie Buckmaster-Dove, nature's rhythms in moon and tide bring home the sense of coastal ambience and calm.
- FINISHING today at Back to Back Galleries, eight women potters from Newcastle Studio Potters have been paired with Hunter Valley chefs who have evidently been inspired to cook the perfectly matched meal.
The result is a range of tableware including porcelain and stoneware, along with accompanying photographs of the feast. The long-ranging debate between ceramics as "art or craft" is decidedly absent here as the integrity is to the utilitarian beauty of the vessel and the platter, all of which evoke a 1980s house style.
- ROLAND Pope's gift to the city has just opened at Newcastle Art Gallery and Newcastle Library, evidence of the extent of his generosity and contribution to the cultural capital of the Hunter. Of a very different nature is the performance work/site specific installation by local artist Penny Thwaite at Eden Gallery (formerly Fourpoint Gallery on Hunter Street). I was intrigued by the mysterious array of Eight Doors, but presumably a visit during Thwaite's finale weekend may shed more light on intentions.