In Search of Angels: Images from the University of Newcastle's new Electron Microscope Centre
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Medieval philosophers debated whether angels had an ethereal existence as a pure intelligence or whether they had any spatial extent, and if so, how much? In microscopy, we seek to understand the behaviour of material objects (cells and organisms, metals and ceramics, electronic circuits, etc.) by closer and closer scrutiny. This search not only unearths scientific understanding, but also the inherent beauty of the tiny structures that make up the material world around us and yet which go unnoticed in our daily lives. This often requires magnifications so large (greater than 100,000X) that the image is quite surreal and disconnected from the object under study. We are fortunate to have a new Electron Microscope and X-ray Centre on the Callaghan campus and several new microscopes with which to conduct our studies. This exhibition brings together some of the more striking images taken with these instruments and their predecessors, including micro-forests, hidden cities and the labyrinthine surface structures of animal, vegetable and mineral origin. - Professor Erich Kisi, Academic Head, Electron Microscope and X-ray Centre, the University of Newcastle
Colin Rosewell: Incestuous Trajectories: Expanded
Developed for Rosewell's PhD candidature, "Poetic Remediation: Incestuous Trajectories" explored the remedial and incestuous relationship between traditional and digital media. His artistic practice involves the production of digital images and their eventual transcription in paint. Often using found anatomical images and human autopsy photographs, along with purpose taken digital photographs of his own body, these images then go on to provide the resources for the creation of complex composite digital images. Through such a process, the body of the artist is considered centralised as the agent through which information is filtered and images are made. The final paintings seek to conflate into a single methodology, the poetic potential and working experiences inherent in the production of digital images and paintings. Rosewell refers to this creative process as 'poetic remediation'.
Glenn Murcutt: Architecture for Place
Presented by the Architecture Foundation Australia, this exhibition features architecture and drawings by Glenn Murcutt, photography by Anthony Browell, and video documentary by Catherine Hunter and Bruce Inglis. Murcutt is Australia's most internationally recognised architect and 'Architecture for Place' profiles a selection of his built work and current projects, through his drawings and his working methods. Browell's photography captures the essence of Murcutt's design: harmony between building and nature. The exhibition particularly focuses on Murcutt's houses, private residences that are not open to visitors. With his focus on the sustainability of the natural environment, Murcutt's works are at the forefront of contemporary architecture. They are eloquent in form and refined in detailing, but primarily concerned with bringing the qualities of the surrounding world into the daily experience of the occupants. Pursuing an architecture that is rooted in Australia's culture and its diverse climate and topography, Murcutt is also active internationally, teaching and lecturing as a Professor at Universities throughout the world.
Glenn Murcutt in conversation with Richard Leplastrier was recorded on March 7 and can be viewed on YouTube. Murcutt and Leplastrier discussed their work and the teaching of architecture at a talk hosted by the Architecture Foundation of Australia at the University, following the opening of the Murcutt exhibition.
Two Generations: 20 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art
From the iconic Red Gate Gallery in Beijing comes an exhibition featuring some of China's best contemporary artists, curated in China by Brian Wallace and Catherine Croll. Two Generations celebrates 20 years of Chinese contemporary art by acknowledging the achievements of one generation and heralding the emergence of the next. Recognised as China's oldest and most respected contemporary art gallery, Red Gate Gallery has been a pioneer in promoting Chinese contemporary art internationally since 1991. The University of Newcastle has a long history of supporting international, educational and cultural exchange. The University is delighted to partner with Red Gate Gallery in presenting this exhibition at its University Gallery - an energetic space for the presentation, promotion and discussion of artistic and cultural developments and achievements in the Newcastle and Hunter regions. The Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle is proud to be a major national sponsor of this exhibition. As part of its commitment to enhancing the understanding of Chinese language and culture within Australia, the Confucius Institute is pleased to support this exhibition and the vital and expanding links between Australia and China. As part of 'Experience China - the Year of Chinese Culture in Australia', this exhibition will provide a provocative, inspiring and illuminating experience for all Australians.
Reflective Dialogues Featuring Chris Capper, Andy Devine, Chris Langlois and Peter Tilley
The four artists whose works are presented in this exhibition collaboratively chose its title. They reflect deeply on their subject matters, absorb underlying themes, and portray personal "dialogues" with their subjects, with themselves and with their viewers. Despite the wide range of imagery, from formalist sculpture to landscapes and still lifes, and their varied techniques, the artists' reflections unify the exhibition. We perceive influences from Cornell, Turner, Whistler and Morandi, artists whose reputations are based on, partly, their intriguingly patterned surfaces and the presences they created from otherwise undistinguished objects. Although the influences on each of the artists in the exhibition are diverse and their works are highly individual, all emphasise silence and stillness and the formal qualities of order, negative spaces and the relationships of simple forms within their spaces. Like the artists who influenced them, they create their gestalt from the prosaic. The images are underlain with personal concerns, which the artists voice candidly. The multiple meanings are intertwined with the aesthetics and make the outward results of the inward "journeys" rewarding for them and for us. Some have used their practices to resolve deeper questions, and for some, these art works were instrumental in personal healing processes. The images are uncrowded, non-directional, self-referential yet universal, and studying them leads viewers to rewarding personal interpretations. - Michael Hedger, March 2012
Aubry Byrnes: Convergence - the minimal and the beautiful
Contemporary theories about beauty and how these are exemplified in Minimalist paintings and sculptures has informed the work of Aubry James Byrnes. Research has shown that there is an interdependence between the object, the viewer and the gallery/exhibition environment. Here the Minimalist aesthetic creates a space where the viewer is encouraged to become reflexive, open to ideas of temporality, free thought and the imagination. The foundation for Byrnes' painted and woven works is undoubtedly the form and structure of the grid. The repetition of marks is also fundamental to forming a Gestalt, that along with the seductive exploration of surface texture, materials and the restrained use of colour entice the viewer to acknowledge that there is indeed a convergence between beauty and the minimal. Convergence is Byrnes' PhD examination exhibition.
Virtual Reality: Interpreting the Landscape - King Street Gallery @ Newcastle University Gallery
Featuring work by Elisabeth Cummings, Amanda Penrose Hart, Idris Murphy, Peter O'Doherty, Leo Robba, Jenny Sages, Wendy Sharpe and John Turier. Many artists will deconstruct the landscape, reducing the image to colour and shape, yet all artists involved with the landscape will at one time or another paint 'en plein air' settling for a period of time within the landscape they are portraying; reviewing, considering and recognising what lies around them. As each individual is informed by their own personal history and culture, they never truly see in the same way as another - this particularly applies to the artist. Here, each artist approaches the landscape from their private world depicting their own 'virtual reality'. The University Gallery is delighted to partner with King Street on William in Sydney, to bring you this stellar cast of artists who share with us their personal interpretations of landscape. From visceral depictions of Central Australia, one of the oldest landscapes, to constructed motorways and the built environment of our cities, to window views of Paris and landscaped gardens in Britain and Australia, and our own dramatic front yard - Nobby's Beach and the heroic retrieval of the Pasha Bulker.
The Friends of the University: Art Collector's Choice
The Friends of the University are a tireless group of volunteers who raise money for student Scholarships and other needs of the University. Formed in 1981 more than $500,000 has been raised since its inception. Known for the fantastic biennial Book Fair, the Friends are hosting an Art Collector's Choice exhibition on each alternate year to raise funds for student Scholarships. Reviving the iconic "Collector's Choice" annual art exhibition instigated by the legendary Anne von Bertouch, Gael Davies is our guest curator to ensure that we bring the same quality at affordable prices that had art lovers queuing for days in deckchairs outside the gallery in Laman Street. No work will be priced over $2,000 and so this exhibition represents a rare opportunity to add significant artists to art collections - all our favourites from the best of contemporary Australian art, which includes so many of our own region's artists, will be on exhibition. A number of Aboriginal artworks from the Central Desert and Pre-Columbian artefacts will also be on offer. The Friends will award an Acquisitive Prize of $6,000 on the night and two prizes for students. They will also announce the recipient of the Margaret Olley, Friends of the University Post Graduate Scholarship in Fine Art.
Coloured Earth: Adrienne Richards, Ed Rush, Mazie Turner
The biological principle of paint as a plastic material comes initially from the ground. In Coloured Earth, Adrienne Richards, Ed Rush and Mazie Turner take this essence, through the reduction of process, back to its primary form. It is from this relationship with the materiality of earth that these three artists work. Ed Rush literally mixes coloured ground in refined mediums and applies a palimpsest of marks which weave in repeated forms to create a seamless surface, but one which belies its simplicity by an intellectually considered approach to complex layering. Adrienne Richards used the ground - clay - as a matrix to make the form on which she then applies pigment, to paint ancient landscapes in natural hue. By virtue of their round thrown forms, these images become flattened zoetropes of a captured view. Mazie Turner uses ground as biological pigments which have been refined and applied, either in a raw state or in mediums reflecting light that is captured in these layered applications. As in the work of Rush, these layered works use an intellectual and technical approach to the substance of ground as pigment and the use of colour in its most pure and vibrant form.
WAAP 2012: the Wollotuka Acquisitive Art Prize
Now in its fourth year, the Wollotuka Acquisitive Art Prize continues to grow and engage with communities and their artists both locally and nationally. From its regional beginnings in 2009, WAAP aimed to provide a platform for our local communities to display their art practice and to profile those artists working and exhibiting in the areas where the University has campuses, the Hunter, Central Coast and the Mid North Coast. In 2012, the reputation of this exciting art prize has grown and the WAAP Prize now attracts exhibitors from all over Australia with extensive support from communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Victoria. An initiative of the Wollotuka Institute and supported by the University of Newcastle, this exhibition and prize promotes traditional techniques and contemporary art on a national stage. It engages all sectors of the community with WAAP as a cultural event and through this builds lasting partnerships with our local community, with the regional community, and with the national community through a celebration of Indigenous Art and Culture. Through these partnerships our students, staff and the extended community can identify and acknowledge the importance of individual cultural expression, acknowledge the diversity of that expression and its origins, and promote the vibrancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art practice through WAAP. The Wollotuka Institute and the University of Newcastle are committed to provide such a platform - WAAP 2012 invites an extended audience to share, enjoy and consider these extraordinary and provocative artworks. We come together to acknowledge excellence, we come together to share stories and to celebrate culture. The WAAP 2012 $5,000 Acquisitive Prize Winner is Jenni Kemarre Martiniello; the $1,000 Interrelate Acquisitive Prize Winner is Candy Nakamarra.
Ella Dreyfus: I forgive you every day
I forgive you every day is is an installation of hand-stitched felt letters and a series of large format colour photographs, which reflect upon childhood perceptions of family trauma. Central to this work is language and the power of words to evoke strong emotions. The words spelled out by Dreyfus are the words of psychological trauma, words of abuse or the impact of abuse Scumbag. Horrific. Punishing. Silence. The photographs in the exhibition reveal the words placed within the landscape of an anonymous suburban housing estate, evoking a silent testimony witnessed only by the artist through the camera lens. Dreyfus is demonstrating her concern for emotionally charged inner and outer worlds. The complex work evokes a dialogue between childhood, materiality, feelings and language. At the centre sit powerful phrases which lay bare innermost thoughts. They visually and linguistically inscribe intimate aspects of identity that often remain shamefully and fearfully concealed 'behind closed doors'. Ella Dreyfus is an award winning artist whose photographs have been widely exhibited and published in Australia. She specialises in subject matter that unsettles the viewer, and can bring about affective emotional encounters with audiences. Her images reflect upon the frailty and physicality of the human condition and on subjects who are often rendered invisible and hidden from view.
Carla Feltham: Preservation
The urge to document, capture and possess a moment has driven Carla Feltham to produce Preservation, a body of work for her Master of Philosophy (Fine Art) photo media exhibition. Road trips throughout the Hunter Valley and further afield in western NSW, have produced images of landscapes that fuse the city to the country and vice versa. These are territories that fascinate Feltham; with landscapes of faded architecture and fatigued functionality she searches below the usual polished surfaces on a quest for deeper social truths and a way to illustrate the fabric of our culture and time. By not focussing on the grandiose or monumental, Feltham is able to draw inspiration from more mundane aspects of contemporary suburban life. She looks for the otherwise unobserved; things once new are now discarded signifiers of times and lives long gone. By fixing her gaze on the ordinary, these images attain possession of an unexpected intensity, and her keen observations bring forth feelings of both empathy and estrangement. Although rarely figurative, Feltham's photographs infer human presence through an outsider's perspective - there is a strong sense of a world on the fringes, looking in.
Angus Nivison: a survey
"Whatever their psychological underpinnings, the space in Nivison's paintings is the landscape in which he lives and works. The Darkness is the bush at night, the white the blinding glare of a summer's day. The morning mists and frosts, the occassional glimpses of fire, are all included in his artistic vocabulary. One might say these forms are in disguise, asked to carry a burden of meaning that takes us away from the physical world and into a realm where every motif and every mark is part of an ongoing dialogue between the painter and the painting." - John McDonald. Angus Nivison has spent many years creating work that embodies his understanding of the Australian landscape. Curated by Sandra McMahon, Director, Tamworth Regional Gallery, this exhibition brings together key paintings from a career that spans more than twenty years - acknowledging Nivison's consistency as a practitioner and his vision as a painter, confirming his status in contemporary Australian art. The University Gallery is pleased to present this important survey exhibition.
Vintage: the lost works of Max Dupain
This Vintage exhibition brings together for the first time two glorious collections of forgotten images of wine grape vintages in the Hunter - heart of Australia's wine world in the mid-20th centrury - by the legendary photographer Max Dupain. Dupain took the photographs on commission as part of his commercial practice, and his skill in capturing the arcadian beauty of the everyday work of vignerons, grape harvesters and cellar hands represents a sublime encounter between the world of art and the world of wine. The McWilliam's Mount Pleasant images are held in the National Library of Australia but are little known within Dupain's wider opus. The equally significant but never-before-exhibited Tulloch photographs were gifted by Dupain to the family in an album of original photographs printed by Max himself. Presented together the Mount Pleasant and Tulloch photographs reveal a little known part of Australia's farming past and the labours of love which produced some of the most memorable wines of the early 1950s. Several of these Dupain images are part of an older collection of photographs which include photographs, artworks and objects reproduced in a new book by University of Newcastle historian Dr Julie McIntyre, which shows the importance of wine growing in early Australia. The book, First Vintage: wine in colonial New South Wales, will be launched at the exhibition opening and is available for purchase from the University Co-op Bookshop. This exhibition is supported by the Faculty of Education and Arts and the Faculty of Business and Law as part of their commitment to interdisciplinary research in Wine Studies.
Cate McCarthy - Dig a bit deeper: connection and contemporary landscape art
Cate McCarthy's Master of Philosophy (Fine Art) exhibition considers the process of becoming. It examines how memory, knowledge and connection are imbued in place, and how to personally relate paintings and drawings to a sense of place and country by the use of materials, such as ochres and the use of strong simple abstract forms. Discovering the graves of her mother's ancestors at Goolagong cemetary during her research, was a pivotal point in both McCarthy's work and thinking. The ziggurat, a motif of the self and a representation of the link between heaven and earth, has been a recurring theme in her artwork since that time, linking ancestry and self to feeling a sense of connection to country. The sticks and charcoal are from the snow gums where McCarthy now lives at Yetholme NSW. They are a fragile yet tangible link to that place. McCarthy states that through her research she now has an understanding that we do not 'belong' to a place, but that we are part of landscape in its entirety, and that this includes all of the places we have been, and that these places are embedded in us, deep in our cells and out psyche - hence, digging a bit deeper.
Kiera O'Toole - Beyond the Pale: Australia
For her Master of Philosophy (Fine Art), Kiera O'Toole examines the emotional and political landscape of Irish national identity politics from an engendered migrant perspective. Beyond the Pale:Australia presents a trilogy of sculptural and drawing installations, embedded with signs and symbols which reflect mother Ireland's cultural history and identity. O'Toole considers her own reflections of 'Irishness' from the perspective of migrant. As a visual leitmotif, the traditional Irish boat the Currach as a referent to the West of Ireland functions as a discordant cultural reference which frames and conceptually underpins the exhibition. By re-purposing the Currach and other cultural artefacts, O'Toole denies the prospect of finding universal meaning in the art object, but instead arranges the works in a form of story-telling that configures a scene-setter for the whole of Ireland.