A large number of shows have recently opened in the region, including work from international, national and local established and emerging artists.
The highly significant touring exhibition from the Australian National Gallery; Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists at the Newcastle Art Gallery is a ‘must see’ for all art students and those interested in the development of Australian art. It will be looked at in detail next week.
Maitland Regional Art Gallery continues to offer a broad selection of popular exhibitions. Once through the buzz of activity around the café and gallery shop, the visitor is confronted by Locust Jones’ Back to the Dark Ages, a frenetic, highly charged response to the endless bombardment of news and information in which the artist has drawn together disparate, freely painted elements to form a huge scroll that flows from the central atrium. Until June 18.
Upstairs is Colonial Afterlives, a major touring exhibition from Contemporary Arts Tasmania. It includes work by indigenous artists from Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Canada, Guyana and Barbados who use video, photography, drawing, painting and sculpture to re-assess the impact of our British colonial past on contemporary indigenous life.
It is rare for smaller regional galleries to present such internationally significant exhibitions and MRAG should be congratulated and supported in their efforts.
Until July 17.
Young tattooists explore aspects of their creativity beyond skin and ink
ART OF THE QUESTION
The annual Open Exhibition at Watt Space is a prize open to all current and former students of UoN and, therefore, covers a wide range of experience and practice.
The diversity of mediums employed – from painting, analogue and digital photomedia, printmaking, sculpture, video, drawing, fibre art and multi-faceted installations – goes some way towards answering the show’s theme: What is Art?
However, it is the winning work of Dale Collier that expands the question by asking what new forms art might take through the use of developing technologies in combination with more traditional notions of craftsmanship and aesthetics.
THREAD OF INTRIGUE
Timeless Textiles continues with its aim of exhibiting highly respected international, national and local fibre artists, and Breath of Felt from Anita Larkin and Lumpy from Olivia Parsonage show the benefits of this approach.
Both of these accomplished artists, with extensive careers in the use of fibres, have produced complementary exhibitions full of intrigue and humour.
Until June 4.
Art Systems Wickham is presenting a group show from the Tattoo ARI Project, a collective of young tattooists who have come together to explore different aspects of their creativity beyond skin and ink.
While there is still fantasy art and ‘old school’ stencils on the wall, the presence of delicate natural history illustrations, works addressing contemporary social issues, large floral studies and others saturated with artistic references from Bruegel and Bosch to Lucas Cranach’s porcelain-like nudes, makes for an eclectic show. It is full of small surprises, including an illustrated grid of 100 derogatory terms for 100 vaginas.
An adult show until May 28.
POTENTIAL ON SHOW
In the foyer and upstairs gallery of the Newcastle Art School, diploma students offer a glimpse of their potential in an exhibition featuring work produced during the first three months of their course. While there are some strong pieces in each of the disciplines, the work is generally uneven, as one would expect at this stage. It will be interesting to see how it develops under the guidance of the small band of expert and dedicated teachers of this intense one-year course. Until June 2.
TOME AND FLANAGAN
Gallery 139 presents Ambedo, a bright and vibrant exhibition of paintings from Mathew Tome, who is head teacher at Newcastle Art School, and former Newcastle resident Julia Flanagan.
Both artists are widely known from their extensive exhibition schedule in recent years. Both have exhibited at Gallery 139 before, but this is the first time they have shown together and the interaction of their diverse styles adds energy and strength to the exhibition. Flanagan’s colourful and carefully constructed abstracts, with their links to Cubism and Howard Hodgkin, bounce off Tome’s further reduced and textured tonal planes with their simple linear overlays. Until June 4.