Chisholm 9×5 Exhibition at Cube 37

Artwork Crtique, Blogs, Exhibition Critiques, Exhibitions

Frankston Arts Centre, Victoria
July 2022

Sadly, I missed the opening of the 9×5 exhibition this year, which is unusual, as I try to get there every year to support the art students in person. This is an exhibition that I was happy to enter when studying at Chisholm especially as I made a few sales.

So, despite my visit being a little late, I was happy to give all the artworks a good look today before the exhibition closes.

One major difference to the presentation of artworks this year, which I was very happy to see, was the addition of frames around each piece. Whilst they are only for presentation, and do not accompany the artworks when sold, they do set them off nicely, giving potential buyers a glimpse of how good they will look in their home.

Cube 37 also always allows room for artworks to ‘breath’ by not cramming them together. In this case the artworks are set on the walls at about eye-level, making them very easy to see. No artwork is set up at the disadvantage of another, and the lighting is well managed.

In regard to the artworks themselves, the topics and materials are quire varied so there is something there for everyone. The topics include landscapes, seascapes, figurative pieces both realistic and inspired by graphic novels, still life and abstract. Materials, I noticed this year, also included digital artworks, reflecting Chisholm’s inclusion of digital and graphic art-based artworks in this exhibition. It was also good to see water colours and gauche on paper used for some of the works.

The quality of the artworks, as I have noticed for previous 9×5 exhibitions, varied, as they are completed by students from Certificate 1 through to Advanced Diplomas, and possible degree level study, so this is to be expected.

Paintings of which I would ike to make special mention for the quality of drawing, painting skills, use of colour, and style are:

  • Artwork 56, based on graphic novel styled art was very well drawn and drew the eye in with some emotive action hinted at
  • Artworks 30, 6, 9 and 8 were more traditionally painted and the attention to the medium was well done creating an attractive little painting
  • Artwork 32 was a figurative piece showing only the eyes, but they were very well done, showing a wealth of emotion for such a small section of a face
  • Artwork 11 containing a little girl reading a book with a possum on her shoulder and dog at her feet was a very charming and beautiful little painting.

At the time of my visit five artworks had been sold, which is about average for this exhibition, although I would like to see more support from the local community for these emerging artists.Congratulations to Meagan Kent, Ashley Michelle Cooke, Leisa Holland, Nicholas Lederer and Naomi Ryder for selling artworks.

I totally enjoyed looking at the work by Chisholm’s students again this year and the only things I can criticise in the exhibition would be the few artworks that did not fit into the frames, or were ill-fitting. This detracted from viewing them, so I think a little more care would have invited me stay to enjoy them longer. Just a small thing, but when selling and exhibiting, it is the little finishing touches that make the difference.

Overall, however, well done to all the participants and I look forward to catching up for this event next year.

In Our Imaginations

Artist Critique, Artwork Crtique, Blogs, Exhibition Critiques, Exhibitions

A Collaborative Exhibition at Track Gallery
47 Miller Crescent, Mount Waverley, Victoria

Barbra Vernon and Georgia Brain have collaborated to produce a creative and engaging exhibition at this intimate and highly suitable gallery space. The exhibition was officially opened by State MP for Mount Waverley Matt Fregon in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Fregon appeared genuinely supportive of the efforts put in by both artists, and the need for local artists in the arts world, as it is these artists that often introduce the public to visual art in general, reinforcing their place in Australia’ culture. It is also the locality of such exhibitions outside the much touted cultural centres such as Melbourne CBD that make them important for local residents and their families to attend and enjoy.

What I noticed at this exhibition was how much both artists enjoy using found and natural materials in the creation of their artworks, combing sculptural and painting methods to invite viewers to explore colour, form and pattern. The colours are always vivid and complementary, adding to the feeling of “being right” from a visual artist’s perspective, and the imaginative use of materials build stories that any viewer would enjoy, making each artwork a wonderful asset for any home owner wanting a unique and beautiful piece of art to grace a feature wall. Not to be overlooked were also the imaginative craft pieces that included a beautifully made baby book, and a stunning floor lamp that I imagined gracing the bedroom of a little girl who loves pink, and a host of other items. All available to purchase at what I consider are very reasonable prices.

About the artists

Georgia was introduced to her current methods of art-making later in life, but that hasn’t deterred her from delving into a variety of materials and whilst her style is still developing, it was clear to me that she is well on her way, with some very distinctive pieces in this show. As she has said, “art is not afraid”, and this attitude is clearly seen in her choice of materials.

Barbra has been experimenting with mixed media for about five years, with previous experience as a seamstress and craftsperson in the performing arts sector. Her first solo was in 2019 and she has contributed to several group shows around Melbourne. Barbra says “I see colour in everything, I feel colour, and if I listen hard enough I can almost hear what the colour is trying to say,” indicating her total engagement with her materials and mediums.

As an artist and arts writer, I enjoy seeing women artists of any age exploring their creativity in the visual arts, proving that gender and age are no indicators of talent, dedication, or ability to make beautiful art that can engage and delight any viewer. What I know, is that putting your art out into the public sphere is, in a way, an act of bravery, because each piece holds a little of each artist’s heart and soul. So, while not many of us can afford to purchase a painting by a famous artist, something that would be found in a major public gallery, it behoves us to remember that every artist, even the very rich and famous, started somewhere small and intimate just as Barbra and Georgia have done. So when you find yourself in front of a lovely artwork made by a local artist, if it “speaks” to you, if you can imagine it in your home, on your walls, talk to the artist if you can, find out the story behind the art and the artist’s journey in making it and support Australian art art at the “grass-roots” level. Our living artists need your support so why not?

In Our Imaginations is open this week from June 4th to 12th (excluding Mondays and Tuesdays) from 11am-4pm weekdays and Sundays, and 11am-6pm Saturdays

A Little Birdie Told Me

Artist Critique, Artwork Crtique, Commentary, Exhibition Critiques, Exhibitions, Uncategorized

This week at the Malvern Art Society gallery

1297-1299 High Street, Malvern. Victoria

Rhonda Owen

It was my pleasure last night to attend the opening of Rhonda Owen’s solo exhibition at the Malvern Art Society gallery. Rhonda has a lifelong passion for all things feathers and furred, which is obvious in her beautifully detailed paintings.

Rhonda draws her inspiration from her photography and en plein air sketches of wildlife and domestic animals from around the world. As I spoke with her, she described how she uses her images for inspiration to create artworks with unique compositions by taking only the idea and rearranging her animals to reflect their characters and personalities. As an emerging artist, it is not always obvious to see a clear style, but this is not the case with Rhonda’s work. She has definitely indicated in this prolific exhibit of paintings that she is on track to an identifiable look that engages viewers. On close inspection of her work, another important aspect is the care she takes to ensure that the anatomy and features of every creature is correct to the smallest detail, which if you know a lot about a particular animal, makes her work so much more appealing.

Rhonda’s exhibition is only on this weekend, May 27th to 29th 2022, so I urge animal and art lovers to attend to check out, and purchase a piece to enhance your home or office. Artworks like these also make wonderful gifts if you know someone who has a passion for the world’s wild animals.

A different direction for Australian landscape painting

Artist Critique, Artwork Crtique, Blogs

Lessons from Australian Impressionism taking to lines and abstract application

Anyone looking at this artist’s work roughly a decade ago, would have predcited a safe journey through the well-trodden path of traditional Australian Impressionist painting. This is not to say that it doesn’t have a place in contemporary Australia, because the number of artists inspired by this genre proves that there is a market for paintings produced usng the same topics and methods as they were over a century ago.

The regular high profile exhibitions at galleries like the NGV in Melbourne also prove that the public wants to see such works, especially by the high profile artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is a however coming though, and that is that whilst an artist may be drawn to and inspired by the Heidelberg School artists and their often overlook peers (another blog about that some other time), there is more than emulating that can be used as homage and inspiration.

As a recent example, the artist in question (who shall remain nameless for this story) has taken lessons from the Australian and French Impressionists and gradually worked their way from emulating, to homaging, to an exploration of the “bare bones” of the Australian landscape, using what they have learnt to underpin their new work, but not govern it. I will give an example. The palette is similar but not copied from various women Impressionist artists, the topic of the Australian landscape is the same, but these and other methods are taken in a new direction, to look under the surface and explore what it is that draws a viewer’s eye into and around a painting.

Rather than form and familiar shapes, abstract lines using tone, temperature and understanding of colour theory to describe in a new way the contours that make up a scene. Not like Fred Williams exactly, but also inspired by his reduction of the landscape, and not quite like John Wolseley who uses line, colour and form along with abstract washes of paint, this artist has endeavoured to take her art from the familiar to the unknown in an effort to “see” the land and her art from a new perspective.

In these early steps, the work can easily be criticised for a certain amount of hesitancy and lack of distinct direction, but I consider that normal as any artist takes on experimental and challenging forms of expressing their aesthetic sensibilities. I will, therefore, leave it open for others to praise or refute as they see fit, with my final thought that the direction taken by this artist is challenging and unique, indicating what I think is lost in a lot of Postmodernist visual art, a degree of originality.