2 10 2015

Major excitements for the coming week which, alas, the Gang is going to miss (we’re off to Melbs in the morning to look after Granny post her wrist op.) Our biggest ‘doh!’ comes courtesy of tomorrow’s opening of the swimming season at the Candelo Pool. Serious bummer dudes, can’t believe we’re missing it – not the least because we’re keen to start working off the winter pud. Ah well.

The other goodie will be the opening of Ken + Julia Yonetani’s exhibition, The Last Supper, at the BVRG next Friday night…



It’s a cracker of a show.

Exit stage left…post the launch of Men…

5 03 2014

It’s official – Megsie has left the building.  (For Vale Megsie from the BVRG…go here.) Her final duty was the opening of Men




…and a damned fine exhibition it is.




(foreground) Jay Kochel, Breathe

(foreground) Jay Kochel, Breathe


And here’s her curatorial overview…


This exhibition is not entirely as it seems – artworks-by-five-men-about-men-contemplating-manhood is much too simplistic. Too literal. Too redolent of the gender clichés that cyclically brand and drive the psychobabble of each evolving epoch (…since the Neanderthals.)

Because, contrary to social marketeering, men are as complex and emotionally vulnerable as their female counterparts (possibly more so if only they’d own up to it!) And now, post-millennium, men are stretched on the rack of receding identity, inhabiting a world that sets ever diminishing store on the physical evidence of principle and integrity; where manufacture has become virtualization and men – in the main – inhabit a space of (often) undisclosed confusion. They are thrust into roles that have, for the most part, already been written out of the script.

And this is where the visual arts play such a critical role in our lives  – as an expressive vehicle for the social currency of our times. Art at its most prosaic is caught in the facsimile syndrome; the verbatim copy of the subject (be it landscape, still life or pampered pooch.) But art at its most potent and sublime can reveal the very essence of our existence. It explores and contemplates our common humanity. It alerts us to anomalies in ways that can shift our consciousness, with a deftness of touch that can be nothing short of game changing.

Men, as an exhibition, aptly demonstrates the efficacy of this kind of nuanced communication. Liam Ryan’s wonderfully blokey vignettes are an entertaining reference to classical antecedents, with a contemporary twist; his Graces have the seductiveness of Bond chicks and Deposition of the Windfield Cup (below left) is lacking only in the pity and piety accorded Christ.


Liam Ryan


There’s archaic ritual running through all Ryan’s work, and the Masons are probably the least of it.

Filmmaker Lee Chittick’s tender study of a young Julien on the verge of manhood is a rhapsodic interplay of dawning awareness.  Vulnerability vying with a strengthening resolve. Whereas his self-portrait as an older man (below right) conveys an almost ingenuous sense of bewilderment. It’s evocative, gentle and sweet. And perhaps Tony Sweeting represents the artist’s ideal for Post-millennium Everyman (he’d probably get our vote, too.)




Frazer Bull-Clark’s cinematic rendition of Derek O’Conner places him firmly in the quintessential role of the artist as anti-hero; the renegade, the loner, sexy in that dangerously disreputable way. The vision is apocalyptic and the voice-over faintly ironic given that O’Conner is the strong and silent (even taciturn) type. All of which is poles apart from the signature verve and vibrancy of O’Conner’s style of painting. In this regard Leaving Lost is a quite brilliant construct of masculine complexity. (Catch on Vimeo here.)

The work of Neil Roberts has always revolved around ‘manly energy’. To quote Deborah Clark, Roberts looked “at masculinity, its culture, its rituals, its nonsense, and the fantastic possibilities of its transformation.” The titles of his works were invariably expressions of intimacy – a key to what would always be a deeply compassionate thought process. He was drawn to objects that were stiff with the sweat of toil and stoic perseverance. Objects that, when assembled, often spoke of exhausted ruination – even, perhaps, that slip into eternal quietude.


Neil Roberts, Suicide of the Hands

Neil Roberts, Suicide of the Hands

Jay Kochel’s work is the most enigmatic of all, which is hardly surprising given the title of his series; Touch me Gertrude Stein. The shared, almost obsessive, investigation of meaningful meaninglessness could just as easily be translated into the perennial fixation ‘what makes men tick?’ [though of course Kochel (and Stein) always has a more strident intellectual bent.] This work is, by its very nature, unashamedly esoteric. And in a gallery context of touch me/don’t touch me, we catch the universal dilemma of gender politics itself.

Jay Kochel, thongs and pump

Jay Kochel, thongs and pump

(background) Neil Roberts, Pause in time of weariness

(background) Neil Roberts, Pause in time of weariness





It’s on until Saturday 14th, so swing by if you haven’t seen it.

Meanwhile that’s it folks/sayonara amigos/over and out from the BVRG.  Megsie is now officially on the loose – WATCH  OUT!!

For more info on Jay Kochel go here. For more info on Neil Roberts go here.

Bringing up the rear…

22 12 2013

Well it’s been a fast and furious finale to the year as per usual – so we’ll give it to you good’n snappy.

A few weeks ago the Gang fanged across the Monaro for the annual Grad-o-rama at the ANU School of Art; firstly for Patron’s Day on the Wednesday (Megsie was choosing the BVRG EASS recipient) and then back again on the Friday for the opening and Awards ceremony.

And what a ripper show it was this year. Plenty of buzz in the old fank yet – lots of goodies we coveted big time – which is always a good sign, eh. Congratulations to Adele Rae Cameron (Textiles) who landed the BVRG Award this year – she’s gains a place in the BVRG’s 2015 exhibition program. Super work (we’d been very keen on her stuff last year too – marvellous bush-dyed tartans and all sorts of whacky scottish/aussie fusion.)

And of course we caught up with lots of our fave peeps, including…OMIGOD!! Sammy Jo who flew in as a surprise treat for Ging…


Megsie, Sammy Jo and Ginger

Megsie, Sammy Jo and Ginger

Major excitement (and thanks to David Broker for the snap – we nicked it from the CCAS social pages – completely forgot to take photographs of most of the salient stuff on the night!!)

Lots to love in the show, but of course we’ll be outrageously brazen and show off Ginger’s work first…


Ginger Bottari, from 'The Prisoners of the Crown' series

Ginger Bottari, from ‘The Prisoners of the Crown’ series


And then of course there was Adele Rae Cameron’s fabulous work..


Adele Rae Cameron's work

Adele Rae Cameron’s work

Adele receiving her EASS Award from Megsie

Adele receiving her EASS Award from Megsie


As usual Megsie had a lovely time blending right in…




Mugshots and highlights (no significance to be read into the order of appearance) here

And then there was the Bega Art Prize 2013. Not without the mandatory merde accompaniment we’re happy to report (after all, what art prize worth it’s salt doesn’t spark at least a modicum of controversy.)

This year’s categories were photomedia and small sculpture and the 44 entries received were judiciously whittled down to 19 finalists by two eminent pros, eX de Medici and Klause Moje…




Plenty of baying for blood as you might imagine but the final field is, consequently, tight and interesting.

This year’s judge Dr Denise Ferris (Head of the ANU School of Art) awarded the prize on opening night to Rocky Hall artist Tony Sweeting for his video Transition 1…


Winners are grinners, Tony with Denise

Winners are grinners, Tony with Denise

Tony Sweeting, still from Transition 1

Tony Sweeting, still from Transition 1




opening 2

opening 3


The Mailroom Prize ($500) went to Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend’s Horologist’s Horse and Briar Watt-Meek picked up the $1000 eX Factor Award, donated by eX to support a young artist of recognised merit. The exhibition runs until 1st Feb, so there’s plenty of time for gallery visitors to cast their vote for the SEA People’s Choice Award ($500)


Matty flips the bird

Currently showing at the BVRG…

18 11 2013

Briar W-M

Grad Show 2013 DL-2

Hot on the heels of the HSC Visual Arts assessment comes the BVRG’s annual Grad Show, featuring selected work from the shire’s four secondary schools; Eden Marine High, Bega High, Lumen Christi and Sapphire Coast Anglican College.

It opened last Thursday night and runs for 3 weeks…


grad 9




Plenty of gems, including Juanita Scott-Funaki’s lino print Avion Garuwangan (Plane Dreaming)  – My World Trip 2009, recipient of the 2013 Linda Deighton Youth Encouragement Award…

Juanita Scott-Funaki

…and Eden Hendry’s digital photography series, of which Stonehouse Trails was one…

Stonehouse Trails_1 copy

…which earned him the Australian National University Student Equity Encouragement Award.

We were really keen on Joe Stewart’s Akuna

Joe Stewart, Akuna, Eden Marine High

…and Beth Knox’s Lifecycle

Beth Knox

…but would have to say that Briar Watt-Meeks work, the Heredity – my lineal pattern series, pretty much knocked our socks off…

Briar Watt-Meeks

Briar Watt-Meeks 1

This show is most definitely worth a squiz. Always nice to witness that affirmation of regeneration in the tidal pool of the local art scene, eh.

grad 5





Currently showing at the BVRG…

26 10 2013

Liquid Crystal Dreams DL-1

Liquid Crystal Dreams DL-2


The BVRG is maintaining serious currency with a fabulous new media exhibition of 13 works from the ANU School of Art’s Photography and New Media Workshop. It’s very cool…


Jen and Gra watch Dom Aldis's animation



Liquid Crystal Dreams

Throughout the BVRG’s 2013 exhibition program gallery visitors will no doubt have noticed the strong thread of photomedia. This, of course, has been quite intentional − in part as a developmental continuum for projects such as YoofTube and in part as prelude to the gallery’s end-of-year headliner, the Bega Art Prize (the categories for 2013 being photomedia and small sculpture.)

Exposure to contemporary commentary and innovative practice remains critical to the development of local artists and audience alike. Hence the current show, Liquid Crystal Dreams – manifesting the enormous trend towards New Media Arts, now an integral part of the contemporary art scene (most specifically digital media and film.) This exhibition represents ‘a taster’ of new media practice from the region’s closest tertiary institution; the Australian National University School of Art, where the Bachelor of Visual Arts (Animation & Video Major) program provides students with a ‘hands on’ learning experience in the key areas of digital media: digital video, computer animation, digital compositing, visual effects and interactivity.

In the first year of the degree, students engage in a broad range of digital media software and processes, exploring new techniques and strategies in digital image production. As they advance through the program, students become increasingly specialised in their practice by honing their skills in just one or two of the key areas.

The thirteen works curated for this exhibition present a chronology of undergraduate engagement in digital moving image practice since it was offered in a disciplinary framework at the ANU in 2003. All the works were conceived and produced by students in their graduating year. They each in their way possess creative and technical attributes that make them especially engaging or innovative, and are a showcase of the talents of students at the pinnacle of their undergraduate study.

We’ve dropped in some stills, but you can chase ’em up on YouTube…



Andrew Zukoski

Sam Thow, Keith



Liquid Crystal Dreams is on until Saturday 9th November.

Be there or miss the bus – it’s the new millennium, people….

And then there was…

20 10 2013

Skun DL-1

Skun DL-2

Haeli Van Veen, Skun


In 2009 the Bega Valley Regional Gallery joined the ranks of the Patrons of the ANU School of Art Emerging Artist Support Scheme (EASS); offering an exhibition opportunity here, at the gallery, to a meritorious student at the school’s annual Graduate Show. Haeli Van Veen is the third recipient of the BVRG award – receiving it in 2011 on the completion of her undergraduate degree in Textiles for a body of work that romanced tattooed embroidery on latex. It was at once humorous and edgy (and immediately prompted the intriguing curatorial possibilities of a combined show with eX de Medici.) Since that time Van Veen has gone on to complete Honours at the ANU SoA Sculpture Workshop, taking a huge leap in scale and creative breadth.

The work in Skun has clearly been informed by both disciplines. And so much more besides, not the least being the advent of baby Juniper, both muse and model for this current show, and the trigger for a thrillingly powerful interrogation of the psycho-biological imperative, wrought by motherhood and driven by universal socio-cultural heritage. The morbid portent of the fetishistic/shamanistic sculptural work is palpable; that black density lurking in the hoods carries unearthly overtones of the portal between life and death further promoted by the contrast between the archaic foreboding and the rude health of the tattooed child.

 Haeli Van Veen, Visitor

Haeli Van Veen, Snare, plastic, leather, hair, bone, pigment

Skun at the BVRG


It’s a tension that bridges the mediums. Post-modern urbanity has a fixation with the outward trappings of fealty, of fashionable tribalism (tattooing, scarification, piercing, costume.) But the tattooing of the baby is far more ambiguous. In Tongan culture tattoos are symbols of protection, carrying no aggressive implication whatsoever. In the Chin tribes of Myanmar, the faces of young women were tattooed to discourage lustful kings from stealing them for wives. Over time this has translated into a tradition evincing beauty, strength and pride. Undoubtedly many people will find the images contentious – but in the arts, of course, this is a very desirable thing.

 eX in Iranian censorship mode


eX de Medici is certainly no stranger to contention. She has never shied away from the central tenets of socio-political activism, knowing full well that art is a powerful tool and that some things are best served illustrated. She is represented in all the major national collections from the NGA, to the Portrait Gallery, to MONA and Goma, to the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of NSW, and of course in many significant private collections. And some more private than others, those many enthusiasts lucky enough to bear an eX de Medici tattoo.


The Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra very recently held Cold-Blooded, a survey show of de Medici’s signature watercolours – huge, highly detailed and decorative canvasses; overwhelmingly seductive and shocking in the one breath. The work here at the BVRG is from a different though no less powerful facet of the artist’s practice – her photography. Over the past few years she has revisited Iran, spurred on by her perception of the community injustice in a country held and squeezed at the mercy of both its own oppressive government and the callous propaganda of the West. Having grown to love the people and culture of Iran, it’s hardly surprising that the rich and decorative vein of Persia has struck an already long established, sensitive visual chord.


eX de M from her (Un)skun series


Happy snaps here.

Bringing up the rear…

7 10 2013

Well honeys, we can feel a quickening in the wind at last and thought we’d better round up some of the missing links before we just carry on as if the bloggo black-out hadn’t occurred. Shan’t bother with the explanations – let’s just call it a bucket of funk and leave it at that, eh. Meanwhile we’ll poke about in the short term memory and see what we can come up with….

Back in May there was…

Tuned DL new proof-1

Tuned DL new proof-2

…featuring work from Andy Townsend and Suzie Bleach, Annie Franklin and Gordon Robinson and Ulan Murray and Rachel Burns. And what a cracker of an exhibition it was,

from the install…


…to the opening…

opening 1

opening 2

…to the dinner…


…and everything in between…

Tuned gallery view

Gordon Robinson

Annie Franklin


The curatorial premise for this exhibition arose from a natural curiosity apropos the degree of creative cross-pollination between artists who, while long established as artists in their own right, yet live in a relationship with an equally professionally esteemed other. One imagined there would undoubtedly be a heightened sensibility and intellectual and critical exchange that couldn’t help but mutually benefit and inform the other, however subtly. Because, in the main, artistic practice is a solitary pursuit – the muse internalised and the production bordering on obsessive. And the artist is, by nature of the game, an isolate. How much more interesting it might be to have the constancy of a supportive and empathetic other; a sounding board, an emotional fillip…a brake.

The six artists in the show are local (although this wasn’t a condition of inclusion); two painters who share a studio, two sculptors who divide their time between a collaborative practice and their own individual work, and a sculptor and a painter who work from entirely separate studios (not at all surprising given the industrial regimen of a sculpture workshop!)  

In the case of Annie Franklin and Gordon Robinson the harmonic communion is plain. While their thematic verse might vary both in measure and subject matter, yet there are points of utter visual concord that is nothing short of breathtaking. In Tuned, Robinson’s work – often reminiscent of the vertiginous sublimity of his homonymous other, William Robinson (though inversed in scale) – plays beautifully on classic marine painting traditions, with just that hint of drama and romantic mysticism. Annie Franklin continues her signature leitmotif of holistic engagement with her coastal environment, now with the recently added dimension of the carved and painted wood. Both celebrate an enveloping landscape that they clearly hold dear.

Though the work of Rachel Burns and Ulan Murray is patently more variant than that of the other couples, yet there is a conceptual collusion in the very ‘style’ of the work. The juxtaposition of Burns’ abstracted landscape alongside the literal naturalism of Murray’s botanicals delivers an intriguing dimensional twist in which the anchored physical landscape counter-foils that rush of peripheral vision. They sit together in total accord, despite the fundamental dissimilarity.

Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend, like Franklin and Robinson, have more obvious points of engagement; they are both sculptors, they share a workshop, they spend as much time on their collaborative work as they do on their separate pieces − and so it would be fair to say that their overall practice operates on the principle of ‘total synch’. The hint of their broader practice in Tuned demonstrates perfectly their shared aesthetic values, their love of material, and the evident respect they each have for the work of the other. 

Tuned is an exhibition of reciprocal respect and professional affirmation, with a resounding endnote amplifying the advantage of a vision shared. There is strength, according to the old adage, in numbers − and three’s a crowd!


Tuned gellery view 2

Ula Murray and Rachel Burns


Tuned gallery view

gallery 3

What lies beneath

…right up until the de-install…

fish biz

wapengo walking fish



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