Saturday June 6th was a glorious day, a day worthy of getting those walking shoes on and pounding the pavement in search of art. And so I acquiesced. I ventured forth into that warm winter sunshine and perused Newcastle’s abundant art both within galleries and without.
I began my day with a sitting at The Emporium in Newcastle Mall. It’s a trusty old relic but it keeps churning away allowing the artisans renting a space to affordably exhibit their work. Favourites in there at the moment would have to be the collaborative jewellery project between Ali Sobel-Read of Potteryali and Maggie Hensel-Brown of The Workroom. The delicate crotchet encasing ceramic shapes is a marketing phenomenon that is proving rather successful I believe. The NANA shop in this space has been rendered obsolete and is now known as Fancy That, a shared space incorporating the art and craft of 6 locals (one of them being me). However NANA is still a name within The Emporium. The art in the west windows of the building is courtesy of NANA and at the moment there is a photo exhibition titled Barbed Wire and Baklava by Peter Morgan. I’ll be heading back there for another look as my fleeting glance does not seem appropriate for this documentary photography.
After a quick cup of very good hot chocolate at Cazador where I listened to the talented busking of Lakrisen Haricharen I wandered down to Civic Park. The Olive Tree markets were blessed at last with agreeable weather and the crowds gathered in response. Wearable art seems to be the flavour here with a growing food contingent happening also. On the whole it wasn’t quite the inspiration I was hoping for. But I’ll certainly visit again.
The next stop was Back to Back Gallery where three artists from Dungog are presently exhibiting. The preamble in the catalogue gives the impression of the three witches of Macbeth “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” Perhaps these talented women see themselves in this light. For me though their art spoke of associated desires and profound suggestion of place. Hills painted on wood by Lisa Battye were particularly appealing. Clare Tilyard’s textured ceramics were so enticing I touched. Oops! Fortunately this was welcomed and so I continued to feel. Lastly Renae Carlson presents a strong relationship with her medium of choice, sumi ink. Her connection to the Hunter Valley landscape so eagerly annihilated by coal corporations entices a critical response. Witnessing this creeping destruction is obviously disturbing and her abstract works on paper show this. Discordant and turbulent, these works are definitely a powerful statement. “Soul Seams “finishes this weekend 14th June.
Off to Hamilton then to the opening of Helene Leane’s exhibition “Lino & Lace”. I have previously written about this exhibition so all I’ll say is that red dots were abundant.
Newcastle Art Space was a diversion before the next gallery opening for the day at CStudios. I’m pleased I took this detour because it has an intriguing combination of talented young artists exhibiting until this Sunday the 14th June. “Mind Exhortations” by Josh McGregor shows a penchant for the surreal. The studies indicate the precision and detail of a meticulous artist. In the next gallery space “Six Mix” offers an assorted selection of various mediums by six artists. Lochlan Howard’s caravans are bright and cheerful just like his wall installations. Drew Holland’s monotypes are free and expressive and the random quality of this technique is brilliantly shown in these pieces. Luke Grey shows a minimalist grace with linocuts. Also the work of Renae Titchmarsh, Lindsay McDonald and Sophie Montgomery are on exhibit.
I then made my way to CStudios where a number of exhibitions were opening. Mal Cannon has a collection of abstract paintings reflecting a natural ability with colour and juxtaposition. The visual impact of his work in this large space is strong. Also opening an exhibition titled “about land and water” by a group known as Hunter Women Artists. This collection of art includes some familiar yet diverse subject matter. There’s a wonderful piece by Bev Leggett Simmons of quaint houses imbedded in the landscape. The naïve manner is a new path for this artist.