The Hill…

1 04 2011

The Hill opened at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery last Friday and what a cracker of a show it is!! A must-see for anybody swinging through the Far South Coast (on until 7th May.)

We’ve nicked the wall blurb…

The Hill is the culmination of an exploratory journey undertaken by four local artists – Sue Chancellor, Jen Mallinson, Poppy Benton and Lorna Crane – to Broken Hill, an iconic destination for generations of Australian artists.

The self-initiated project, which began with a residency at the Broken Hill Art Exchange in 2009, has been an ongoing and dedicated commitment to a creative development that has seen all four artists embrace significant technical progression in their individual practices; to better express the raw physicality of the experience.

In essence, Broken Hill is a microcosm of Australian Cultural Heritage; the interface of a socio-historic landscape that encompasses thousands of years of Indigenous (pre-colonial) history, an honour roll of early exploration (Major Thomas Mitchell, Charles Sturt, Burke and Wills), waves of migration from the first Afghan pioneers of the 1890’s, the mining lore of The Lode, and the stoic perseverance of pastoralists and ‘townies’ in the harsh climate and topography of the great outback.

It’s an environment that, for artists, almost demands a creative epiphany; a shift in perspective that translates beyond pictorial representation into technique, and medium, itself. The Hill is a working example the very real value of artist exchange and residency programs; the quantum leap in terms of an artist’s professional practice.

This exhibition represents succinct idiosyncratic responses to an extraordinary environment;

Sue Chancellor’s soft nostalgic snapshots of the 50’s and 60’s and the hand-tinted sepia-esque prints that hark to an even earlier time…

Jen Mallinson’s rusting, remnant sentinels and her evocative portrayal of weathered timelessness…

Poppy Benton’s industrial regimentation of mining company housing, and the wry, museological referencing of the feral goat…

Lorna Crane’s multi-media lyrical homage to the Darling River – an earthy mix of new media, poetry, music and works on paper…

It’s a rich and varied show, with a visual dialogue at play across the room that speaks of empathy and connection; a nuanced harmony that affords us entrée to the tangible, dramatic quality of Broken Hill.

[From the curatorial point of view this was a preferred practice scenario, insofar as we’ve had a progression of studio visits along the way, which has led to genuine critical development by all concerned and has enhanced and added to the resolution of the show. This is a stunningly mature and sophisticated exhibition, and I congratulate the artists on a truly enriching show (said Megsie.)]

More snaps here. 

 

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