Archibald, Beatles and Desert Art: Summer Delights in Australian Regional Galleries | Culture
Fancy a road trip to celebrate the end of a very trying year?
Hop on your bike, charge the electric vehicle, shift gears on gas to visit one of Australia’s regional art galleries. And don’t forget to check the entry rules secured against Covid in advance.
Geelong Gallery: Archie 100: a century of the Archibald Prize
The best paintings available in 100 years of the Archibald Prize have been brought together in an exhibition, called the Archie 100, and it’s a treat.
Most of the time, the Archibald’s annual portrait exhibition features a handful of notable works and plenty of medium to medium (and that’s nice) works, but for Archie 100 the selection process has chipped away a chunk of rock for reveal a Michelangelo’s David inside.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there’s no doubt that from the original 6,000 portraits curator Natalie Wilson gave us a superb selection, capturing not only the similarities, but most importantly the essence of the models.
Many of them aren’t winners (because judges are often wrong) but iconic images abound, including William Dargie’s Albert Namatjira, Natasha Bieniek’s Wendy Whiteley, John Brack’s Barry Humphries as Dame Edna and a self-portrait with Chuck Berry, among others. people, by Vincent Namatjira, great-grandson of Albert.
If you’ve watched Finding the Archibald, hosted by Rachel Griffiths on ABC TV earlier this year, you’ll know it all, but nothing beats seeing the real thing. There are also associated special events on offer, including night viewings on some Friday evenings and a curators’ conference. Archie 100 is a traveling exhibition of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Geelong Gallery is its only Victorian venue.
Ballarat International Photography Biennale
Last call for road tripers and locals, from now until mid-January, (exact date varies by location).
This central Victorian-era town is like a living open-air museum: experience real-time one of the world’s most impressive colonial architecture, gradual decline and a resurrection of the last days.
It’s all there in the fascinating streetscapes – a lot of which you can experience as you move between dozens of venues with exhibitions as part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, now extended until January.
The main one is the Ballarat Art Gallery, a compelling reminder of the claims of the attempts of the notables of the Golden Age to transplant the European academy to the antipodes.
Firmly in charge, curators and the wealthy, who would have thought that the very edifice they built in their image would one day host three photo exhibitions, each featuring a view from below and from outside that was once unthinkable.
The working class and the provincial Beatles, so central to the changing of the guard that made the British Empire instantly go out of fashion in the 1960s, are at the center of Linda McCartney: Retrospective. Two hundred photographs taken between 1965 and 1997 document the height of pop culture and beyond.
Iconic faces and intimate family photos feature in a selection curated by former Beatle Paul McCartney and his daughters, Linda, Mary and Stella. Hurry, because it ends on January 9th.
Also on display is the view from the pink parts of the globe that powers both Robert Fielding’s Miil-Miilpa (Sacred) and Anindita Banerjee’s Ondormohol.
Fielding, an indigenous artist of Afghan descent, has built an impressive body of work exploring, or rather celebrating, the energizing presence of Tjukurpa (the Dream) in the lives of his Yankunytjatjara elders and the landscape around his community of Mimili, deep in the APY lands of the far north of South Australia.
The elders are depicted in close-up black-and-white elegiac photos that capture deep-grained, vigorous faces with the inner light of traditional traditions. The landscapes are captured in an experimental process that incorporates the sun and the earth as elements of the image, crushed by statements of ownership and belonging.
Banerjee, from Kolkata, Bengal, India, was struck by the familiarly evocative Victorian-style architecture of the public spaces in her adopted town, Ballarat.
The personal connection to Bengal and Ballarat, two outposts of the empire, one in collapse, the other restored to its magnificence, raises questions about how we see ‘here’ and ‘ over there ”and our relationship to time and the world around us.
The three exhibitions offer a nuanced and lively counterpoint to the imperial narrative embodied in the imperial architecture – frankly, often oppressive – of the city, within which their photographs operate their transgressive magic.
Desert Mob 30: celebration of 30 years of Desert Mob exhibitions. Reopening from January 11 to June 1, 2022.
Since 1991, the annual Desert Mob Exhibition at the Government of the Northern Territory’s Araluen Arts Center in Alice Springs has been a showcase for community art centers in central Australia.
These tiny communities located in some of Australia’s most remote places have been the driving force behind the flourishing of desert Aboriginal art into one of the most dynamic contemporary art movements in the world.
Invention, risk-taking, sheer beauty, and an assertive self-confidence that is rarely found elsewhere – as the world (finally) acknowledges. And every year, the Araluen Arts Center acquires the best of them for its own collection of desert art. All the big names are included of course, but one of the biggest thrills of Desert Mob is discovering unknown artists displaying “a fully formed artistic expression based on deep cultural knowledge and sovereignty,” as Araluen Arts puts it. Center.
Until June 1, 2022, you can see the best of the best, a retrospective selection of 50 works from the Araluen’s Desert Mob collection. In my humble opinion, there is no more thrilling and exciting collection of recent desert art in the world – and it encompasses all forms of art, from sculpture, printmaking, and sculpture to painting, textiles and fibers.
Often raw and honest, he can be avant-garde adventurous and a lot of fun too.
If you’re looking to take art home with you during your stay at Alice, don’t miss selections from Raft artspace and Talapi – two long-established galleries that deal directly with community art centers owned and operated by of aboriginal people, so that you can be sure of the ethical provenance when purchasing.
Or come back to September 2022 and take a deep breath of the intoxicating scent of spring gum blossoms in the pure desert air as you make your way to the next annual Desert Mob exhibit. This is your chance to buy from dozens of stalls in the art center and also in the main exhibition.