The 'First Monday'program postponed in June will now be held on Monday 5 July from 10 to 11 am in the Bennett Gallery - “An insight into Robert Jacks Rhythmic Compositions with Independent Art Curator & Writer, Kirsty Grant” Rhythmic Compositions focuses primarily on Robert Jacks guitar-inspired work of the 1990s and 2000s and includes paintings, sculptures, artist books and works on paper. To secure your place, phone or email Benalla Art Gallery: 03 5760 2619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At our last gathering in the Gallery we listened to three local artists - Ralph Bristow, Frank Bugers and Anthea Kemp - explain their work and their philosophies surrounding Art. This was most informative and enjoyable, and we have to thank The Gallery for organising it. All have examples of their work on show in the Simpson Gallery and are well worth a second look.
Our next First Monday will be on 7th June frm 10 to 11 am in the Bennett Gallery - “An insight into Robert Jacks Rhythmic Compositions with Independent Art Curator & Writer, Kirsty Grant” Rhythmic Compositions focuses primarily on Robert Jacks guitar-inspired work of the 1990s and 2000s and includes paintings, sculptures, artist books and works on paper. To secure your place, phone or email Benalla Art Gallery: 03 5760 2619 or email@example.com.
Photographs: Benalla Art Gallery Facebook Post, May 3 2021
U3A Art Appreciation members are once again participating in the Benalla Art Gallery’s ‘First Mondays’ program of curated talks and tours, a wonderful way to see and learn about the latest exhibitions.
In March we gained an an insight into the PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography with the organisation’s founder and artistic director, Elias Redstone. The session coincided with the Benalla Art Gallery’s presentation of Damien Shen: A Stone from Another Mountain.
There was no 'First Mondays' session in April as it fell during the Easter break.
Next session: Monday 3 May 2021, 10AM
Topic: Northern Abstraction
Speakers: Ralph Bristow, Frank Burgers and Anthea Kemp
Join us after the session for a coffee at the Gallery’s ‘Munro and Sargeant’ café.
As numbers are limited, please don’t forget to phone or email the Benalla Art Gallery to secure your place - T 03 5760 2619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Benalla Art Gallery staff and other members of the community on the first Monday of every month at 10 am for an eclectic and ever-changing curated program of talks and tours. The program for 2021 begins on Monday 1st February at 10 am in the Ledger Gallery with an informative lecture exploring the history and highlights of the RACV Art Collection with Mardi Nowak, Head of Visual Arts, RACV. Price $2.
Eric has asked me to let members know that this year they need to phone or email the Benalla Art Gallery on 5760 2619 or email@example.com before each session to book a place.
In early March we were fortunate to be able to listen to and question Phillip Edwards who had an exhibition of water colour/mixed media paintings showing the ecology and geography of Mount Buffalo entitled The Mountain's Quiet Heart on display.
Mount Buffalo in the winter has its own special attractions and beauty and Phillip has managed to capture the ecology quite well. These water colour/mixed media paintings have been skillfully produced and do not look like normal water colours. Most are painted with wide brushes and thick paint. The colours are realistic rather than romantic.
Phillip told us something of his private life, how he currently finances his art - and his previous career and history. This exhibition was well worth seeing.
While the gallery is closed until further notice, a virtual tour of The Mountain's Quiet Heart is currently available on the Benalla Art Gallery's website.
We thank Eric Nash for organising our meeting.
Photograph: Benalla Art Gallery 'First Mondays' Website page
On Monday 3 February we were welcomed by the Benalla Art Gallery's new Director Eric Nash.
Eric introduced himself and expanded on his hopes and dreams for the gallery. He advised how the Gallery has been digitally recording unframed prints and paintings and showed us one painting held in the gallery’s archives by Russian Painter Danila Vassilieff who spent some time in Australia in the middle 20th century. He also showed us other examples of this artist’s work and explained his influence on several Australian Artists.
We thank Eric for his efforts and look forward to the March ‘First Monday’ where he has organised a lecture by the artist Phillip Edwards who has a number of paintings of Mount Buffalo in the Simpson Gallery.
Photograph: Benalla Art Gallery Facebook Site
Join the Art Appreciation group at ‘First Mondays’ at the Benalla Art Gallery and a coffee catchup in the Gallery Café afterwards. On Monday February 3 Eric Nash will speak about Danila Vasilieff, featured collection artist in the current Ledger Gallery exhibition ‘On the Up’.
In early October we listened to an enjoyable lecture by Meredith on the ‘Working the Land’ exhibition in the Simpson Gallery. All artworks in this show are out of the Galleries own archives. Some have been recently framed and have never been on show before.
The ‘Working the Land’ exhibition, which mostly highlights rural life in the colonial era, is well worth attending. The paintings are of high quality and full of interest.
There will be no 'First Mondays' session in the the Gallery on the Cup long weekend. The December talk will run as usual on Monday 2nd December, 10am - Eliza-Jane Gilchrist, Strange Garden, in the Simpson Gallery.
We have received news from Shanley that the Gallery will not be running a U3A/First Mondays talk on Monday 4th November. This is due to the long weekend, Melbourne Cup Day being Tuesday 5th November.
The December talk will run as usual on Monday 2nd December, 10am: Eliza-Jane Gilchrist, Strange Garden, in the Simpson Gallery.
Meredith Paez will remind members at the next First Mondays talk on Monday 7th October, when she will be speaking about the exhibition Working the Land, in the Simpson Gallery. The paintings in this exhibition are historically and culturally diverse but all share a common thread – men and women working the land.
For members keen to come along as a ‘taster’ in October or December, our long running Art Appreciation sessions have been incorporated into the Gallery’s First Mondays sessions held at the Library - cost $2. Members often get together in the gallery’s café for a coffee after the session. All welcome.
U3A Art Appreciation group members among the audience of the 'First Mondays' sessions at the Art Gallery
Source: Benalla Art Gallery Website
A quick note to let you know that we will not be running a U3A / First Mondays talk on Monday 4th November. This is due to the long weekend, Melbourne Cup Day being Tuesday 5th November.
The December talk will run as usual on Monday 2nd December, 10am: Eliza-Jane Gilchrist, Strange Garden in the Simpson Gallery.
Can you please let your members know. Meredith will remind you all at the next talk on Monday 7th October.
On Monday 5th August we listened to an informative lecture by Meridith from the Gallery on the current set of paintings in the Bennett Gallery.
These largish paintings are all from the Gallery's own collection and were curated by Bryony before she left.
All these paintings are by Australian Artists some indigenous and some non indigenous. All depict some semblance of landscape. Some realistic - some indicative. Sharpening the Spears could fall into this category and Incendiary Structure could also be classed as a landscape even though neither have elements of landscape in them.
Meridith's lecture was extremely thought provoking and detailed. We thank her for providing an enjoyable morning.
At our last Art Appreciation gathering we listened to a lecture by Artist and Curator Yhonnie Scarce.
Yhonnie explained her intention of illustrating her perceptions of what methods the Colonial Powers used to keep the Indigenous people submissive. She has researched her family history and has used glass to record their various experiences. In particular she has portraits of several close relatives inside glass.
Benalla Art Gallery - 'Personal Histories' - Yhonnie Scarce
(Source: Benalla Art Gallery Facebook post July 18 2019)
Other glass sculptures portray embryos on stainless steel hospital trolleys. There is also a large scale photo of the child section of the Woomera Cemetry showing the high incidence of Indigenous children interred there.
Yhonnie was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University.
Yhonnie describes her work as ‘politically motivated and emotionally driven’ and incorporates her personal histories and research with artefacts from the past.
The U3A Group has now settled in to the new arrangement with the Gallery in which the sessions are advertised to and attended by the general public as well as U3A.
Members of the group are reminded that the session in July has been altered to 8 July - hopefully you will have all seen this message and can attend.
Meg and Neville
At our March meeting we were given a lecture by Bryony on portraits in the Simpson Gallery.
Bryony concentrated on the two portraits of Henry Johnson and Caroline Johnson by Joseph Backler.
Unfortunately not much is known about Henry and Caroline Johnson - were they husband and wife or brother and sister for instance? A quick check of NSW historical records does not throw up any information. As the paintings were done before the Gold Rush it is unfortunate that nothing is known of the figures as they could have been significant members of the small community.
However we do know something of the Artist Joseph Backler. Joseph was an ex convict who after his ticket of leave was granted made his living as an artist. Convicted of being a forger he was transported to Sydney and during his early years in Australia suffered further heavy punishment because he was suspected of further forging activities. But even when he was on Norfolk Island he managed to do several paintings. He was not an Artist who mingled with the art crowd in Sydney, but nevertheless a number of his paintings have survived. He travelled around the colony with a handcart carrying his art supplies advertising his capacity for portraits. His portraits concentrated on showing details of the face and leaving the rest of the portrait with general impressions. It could be that he used props to fill in details of clothes etc. However his portraits do show a certain amount of character and appear to make no attempt to improve the beauty or otherwise of the sitters.
Elsewhere there are other portraits by Clifton Pugh and Albert Tucker that are worth viewing and are valuable assets of the Gallery.
Next Monday 4th March at 10am Bryony will speak about Face to Face - Portraits from the Collection.
Bryony has requested that some changes are made this year as she is keen to expand the Art Appreciation group. She will attempt to get more people involved and will be inviting the public to also attend our lectures. The Gallery will be collecting the $2 coin donation directly but we ask that you tick your attendance off in the attendance book.
On Monday 1st April Julie Shiels to speak about All That Remains.
On Monday 8th May Bryony will speak about Collection Digitisation.
Ivan Durrant spoke to our group about his latest exhibition. Colouring Lake Mokoan, on display until March 3rd at the Benalla Regional Gallery. These restored local wetlands, formerly the Winton Wetlands, are now cycling through their natural periods of dry and wet.
Ivan talked about his childhood fascination with water and reflections and his ability to see glowing colors in the landscape. He became very familiar with Lake Mokoan when living in Benalla and visiting friends who lived by the lake.
This exhibition brings these influences together in shimmering displays of reflections, water and sunsets, all reimagined by the artist. Ivan talked about his love of color and his technique for
creating the lost edges of the abstract shapes that bring this landscape to life. His paints and brushes are on display too–a colored confection of the artist at work. Well worth a visit. You will never look at Lake Mokoan in the same way again.
Meg Dillon, co-convenor
This Monday 4 February 10 am - Ivan Durrant is scheduled to give our group a talk about his paintings, career and current exhibition at Benalla Art Gallery. This should be extremely interesting.
It would be wonderful to have as many people from the Art Appreciation group attend as possible.
Five local schools submitted works of some of their final year VCE art students. Participating were Benalla Secondary Collage, Euroa Secondary College, FCJ Benalla, Galen College - Wangaratta and Mansfield Secondary College. In their final year, students spend two terms researching an art project that they developed into an art work in their final term.
The art diaries, which are also on display are worth looking at as they capture the experimentation and detailed research leading up to the final production of a work. Some of the small experimental drawings and painting in the diaries are fine work.
The exhibition successfully reveals the interests and emotions of the students as they transition towards adulthood. Personal experiences, environmental issues and social commentary formed the basis for some of the student work.
The works of the photographers were particularly fine exploring portraits, landscape and experimental techniques that utilize digital photography and computer processing of images.
Well done to all the exhibitors! Well worth a visit before it finishes on 9th December.
Photographs - Margaret Walshe
This local group of thirteen potters now ensconced at the Barc huts, exhibited their recent works in a stunning display of local creativity. Their range included functional wares, architectural sculptures and carved clay pieces. A broad range of techniques were used including coil construction, slabs and pinching, slip casting and wheel thrown pieces.
Each potter deserves a mention, but space precludes that. I was entranced by the lovely raku works of Ruth Terry and Melissa Grimwade, whose pot “Feathers”, contrasted the fragility of the decorative feathers with the sturdy rounded pot shape upon which they were placed. Figurines have been explored by many of the potters who produced models of birds and animals both real and imagined.
Particularly striking were the three stark goddesses of Jo-Ellen Jackson contrasted with the funky witty ladies produced by Elspeth Keith. These hand built objects included high plain huts and the arresting totem poles of Katrina Carter made from wheel thrown pot shapes that towered over a meter and would look especially lovely in a garden. These works showed the special glazing skills of this group, who can surprise and delight viewers with their variety of visions for clay.
This week we had a poorly attended meeting but it coincided with the Gallery starting to hang the anniversary exhibition. Consequently, we had little to look at except for a video installation relating to East Berlin.
Bryony explained her plans for the upcoming anniversary and advised us that the Nolan Tapestry will be rehung. She also showed us some Nolan prints that will be on show.
We look forward to the anniversary celebrations.
Members were excited to meet the curator of the Benalla Gallery’s new exhibition “Looking but not Seeing”. Kiron Robinson is an art lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts who specialises in the art of photography.
He has selected twelve contemporary Australian photographers whose work illustrates the new directions in photography. Selfies, the internet and photographic software has revolutionised the way massive numbers of photographs are produced by all of us on our smart phones and uploaded to Facebook, Snapchat etc. Kiron emphasised that we can never see all that is being produced so why are we uploading our photos and who are they for?
Kiron argues that we are producing these images for ourselves rather than for others: the act of making photographs is the real point of our images – creating the world not reflecting it.
Despite this, the twelve photographers he has selected share their images with us in this exhibition. They electronically print, scan, rephotograph, distort and manipulate their images using all the technology made available by programs like PhotoShop, ON1, Corel Paintshop Pro., Cyberlink Photodirector etc. These are photos like you have never seen before – they represent the individual ways the artists have seen and constructed their images.
If you have ever taken a selfie, uploaded your holiday snaps to Facebook or wondered what on earth you are going to do with all these images sitting on your computer – then come along to the Benalla Gallery and see some of the new possibilities of image making.
The group are to meet on Monday 8th October at 10am when Bryony will speak about the 50th Anniversary Exhibition - all works on display from the Gallery’s permanent collection, with a focus on those that were first acquired.
Photographs: Margaret Walshe
Would Art Appreciation group members please note the following change of plan and mark in diaries! Neville.
I just wanted to write and follow up on the change of date for October's U3A Art Appreciation.
The group are to meet on Monday 8th October at 10am and Bryony will speak about the 50th Anniversary Exhibition - all works on display from our permanent collection. A focus on those that were first acquired.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Shanley Cleeland – Education and Public Programs Curator
Benalla Art Gallery
This morning we were fortunate to have Shanley explain to us the delights of the
See HER Land' exhibit.
This is an exhibition of recreations of Indigenous artefacts lovingly produced by Indigenous women artists. The object of their intentions was to recreate the spirit of the art and craft of their forebears and not all objects are exact reproductions. The artists have researched original sources and have studied both drawings and descriptions of aboriginal artefacts and have brought these objects back to life. Both Art and Craft have been used in the manufacture of these exhibits.
We thank Shanley for her generosity and her expertise.
At our July session at the Benalla Gallery, Bryony informed us about a special exhibition of paintings currently on show at the Gallery by the current Archibald Prize Winner Yvette Coppersmith.
These paintings - all portraits of female relatives of the painter - were painted after the death of a relative and were meant to mitigate against the feelings of loss experienced by the artist.
They are all of a high standard and indeed do give the feeling of paintings that could give solace to the viewer once we learn the true story.
Photographs: Margaret Walshe
This month Peter Warples-Crowe and Megan Evans discussed their current exhibition ‘Settlers and Savages’ with our art group.
Peter, an Aboriginal man from near Tumbarumba NSW, uses his art to explore the misconception of Aboriginals as ‘savages’. His series of mission blankets with copies of nineteenth century etchings starkly confronted this idea. The large study of ‘Progress’ showing an Aboriginal man being crushed in a mining whim, asks the question: Was the finding of gold in Ballarat progress for Aboriginal people? Likewise the video of Megan and him on the high plains, masked and wearing a possum skin cloak as they acted out their roles of settler and Aboriginal, with Megan obliterating the art works that Peter had drawn on the rock faces. Within these serious charges, Peter confronts the events with a certain wry humour and irony as he seeks to explore what these deprivations mean to contemporary Aborigines.
Megan, a descendant of squatters in the same area, uses her textile skills to embellish pieces of colonial furniture with beaded scenes including portraits of her grandparents and herself. Using red beads, Megan mutilates the furniture with slashes suggesting the blood spilt in these frontier confrontations. Chairs with carving forks stuck in them, a settee with rifles for legs and a chandelier dripping with red strands of beads cascading from it, further define this idea. Her excellent beaded work on these pieces gives an unsettling contrast of both beauty and horror.
Both artists wanted to debunk the idea of the ‘golden light of colonisation’ that has pushed Aboriginal history aside to acknowledge the tragedies of settlement. Both artists believe that if both cultures face these facts and listen to these forgotten stories there will be a better chance of settlers and Aborigines moving forward in shared understanding.
About the Art Appreciation