CHRIS Capper's latest exhibition extends a 40-year career during which he has had 34 major shows in galleries from Perth to Sydney and the Hunter.
Has he always painted flowers? They have become increasingly vestigial, often just glowing spots of colour constrained in an armature of lines and planes.
This exhibition, at the Adamstown Uniting Church until November 20, reveals novel variations. Flowers and their containers almost disappear into an enveloping background. There are pairs of vases and odd still life inclusions, even an icon. Always there is interaction of positive and negative space.
Hanging the works in the body of the church as well as the foyer emphasises that these small works inhabit an indefinable dimension beyond physical appearance. Layered paint surfaces suggest a sometimes troubled history of creation. Suggestions of paint-encrusted scar tissue are witness to the challenges of the creative process, the compulsion to get things right.
Once again, we understand that Chris Capper is a serious painter, dedicated, hardworking, often enigmatic, always engrossing.
- ANOTHER significant one-man show at the moment finds Paul Maher exploring more deeply the urban landform interface at Bar Beach, leading up to the striking fin of the headland above.
At his last exhibition this was the subject for many paintings in muted colours. Now he takes the subject into more dramatic contrasts with experiments, exploring the potential not only of stronger colour but also using watercolour, etching and even digital print.
In combination with large oil paintings, the suggestion is of work in progress. So too is the introduction of house interiors and figures, including a theatrical woman and grand piano. The inventive blocks of black-outlined houses form an increasingly dramatic contrast to the bare slopes nearer the sea.
Paul Maher used to paint the figure. Populating his chosen landscape has worked so well that he has been selected as a Kilgour Prize finalist.
Female gymnasts and pianists are not the only possible subjects, though they work well in a group of ceramic figurines.
At their best, the works in this exhibition at Gallery 139 until November 14 have a vibrant rhythmic presence, indicating several potential new directions in this persuasive re-imagining of our familiar Newcastle.
- IN contrast, Heather Ellyard is an artist for whom image is subservient to word. At Maitland Regional Art Gallery until November 29, she reveals herself a collector of mediums and concepts as much as thoughts, poems and alphabets.
She makes use of small models of an ear, an eye, a baby, the plenitude of the Venus of Willendorf to convey messages. Large wall pieces consist of dozens of small square images, both pictorial and text, tackling huge themes, with meaning often, as she says, waiting to settle in a world that wobbles with human uncertainties.
It is rare to find an artist so aware of the big issues, happy to give them voice, translated into a language of visual suggestion.
- JOSH McGregor is an unusual young painter. He imagines his dreamlike surreal subjects in well-conceived detail. And he has the patience to work from preliminary drawings to create highly worked surfaces. Water, fire, huge trees and some scary characters suggest highly wrought narrative.
Tomorrow is the last day to catch this mesmerising work at Forsight.
- THAT Cessnock Regional Art Gallery continues to mount exhibitions after the city's council withdrew funding is due to the hard work and dedication of its band of volunteers. They now run art classes as well as a shop with work by local artists.
The latest show is of small sculpture, coinciding with this year's Sculpture in the Vineyards at Wollombi, which runs until November 29. Found and recycled metal are used by several artists. Glass, driftwood, even gilded termite nests appear.
- A VISIT to the TAFE graduate exhibition, which came down yesterday, revealed some real achievements in mastering the new concentrated course structure.
It will be interesting to compare this exhibition with the University Art School's products at the newly invented Watt Space next week and later the graduands at the University Gallery.