Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Holiday art catch-up

Over the past month I’ve been to a lot of very different exhibitions and I thought I’d share my impressions of some of them with you. I won’t attempt to work through chronologically, as there’s no logic to the order I saw them. In fact, I’m going to start with the most recent, which is still showing.

I’ve just returned from 4 days on the Sunshine Coast to attend the prize announcements at the Noosa Travelling Scholarship at the Noosa Regional Gallery. You might recall that I was selected as a finalist in the $12000 scholarship. 

The winner was Shona Wilson, who makes beautiful sculptures of diatoms, a microscopic organism, from materials she finds on the beach.

Shona Wilson

Image from Shona’s website.

The exhibition was limited to 3-D work for the first time this year, and was judged a successful sculptor, Salvatore Di Mauro, who lectures at the QCA in Brisbane.

With my background, I was quite pleased to see a number of ceramic artists were selected, including Shannon Garson, Michael Ciavarella (my very 1st throwing teacher) and Rowley Drysdale. There were also works in glass, assemblages, soft sculptural works, installations and much more. I couldn’t help thinking how difficult it must be to make a judgement when works displaying superb craftsmanship are to be compared with works that operate primarily conceptually.

The works that appealed most to me were Tina Lee’s “Recalling Materiality”, Lyndal Hargrave’s Song Towers and Erin Keys’ “Drawn”, and I do recognize that this relates strongly to my own interests and biases.

Tina Lee had created a work where she collected mass produced ceramic trinkets from Op Shops assembling them with her own work and putting them into the context of the gallery, thus pronouncing them  “artworks” in the Duchampian way. It was an interesting approach to ceramics and I found myself drawn back to look more closely at the individual works.


Image from NRG website 

Lyndal Hargrave used mixed media on pianola rolls, which were suspended from the ceiling to create her “Song Towers”.


                Image from Lyndal’s website

The surface was really quite beautiful, and I thought it was interesting that the “towers” roll up into their own individual cases for transportation!

Erin Keys’ work was another favourite. Entitled  “Drawn”, I found the way it hovered between a drawing (its obvious origin) and a sculpture, and incorporated the use of shadows really satisfying.


Image from NRG website

To me, this piece is both aesthetically pleasing (the photo doesn’t do it justice) and conceptually interesting – and this is not a common combination, I find.

I haven’t really attempted to be terribly analytical about the works on show, to make a call about whether I agree with the judge or not. It’s such a “mixed bag” as I said, and having work included, I felt it probably wasn’t a realistic task to set myself. If you’re interested and nearby, the works will be in the gallery until August 29th, or you can take a look at the other finalists work here.


  1. wow lots of really fab work there, very high standard. I have seen Shona's work before .... very interesting stuff. Bummer you didn't win tho, although great to be in the finals!! Well done :)

  2. Lovely to see such interesting works through your eyes. I especially liked the pianola rolls.

  3. Some great work there. Love Lyndal's pianola rolls. What are Op Shops ?..saw something similar to those in show at our nearest gallery last year. Thanks for sharing

  4. Oh sorry Cusp! "Op" is short for "opportunity", and it's our equivalent of your charity shops.

    Yes the pianola rolls were really gorgeous!

  5. Oops! somehow posted that comment before I was finished.

    LeeLee - I have to say that I'm a almost relieved actually! It would have been a fantastic opportunity, and I would have made it work - but it would have necessitated incredible discipline and planning to avoid exhaustion. Still, they seemed reasonably flexible about how it could be organized, so I do think it was possible.

  6. Sorry you didn't get it. But as you say, it would've presented its own rather interesting challenges. Still, it was wonderful that you made the short list and got to take part in this most interesting exhibition. Not a small accomplishment.