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At a time when uber cool black hotel interiors are the order of the day, Brisbane’s new Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo uses black in wonderful context. Some might consider it slightly mood zapping, but we think it’s black and charcoal colour scheme that you’ll love, accentuating the art and amplifying the raw story telling of Australian painter Vincent Fantauzzo. Tucked snugly underneath Brisbane’s Story Bridge and providing a powerful visual backdrop to the…

A captivated crowd last night packed the house at the newly re-branded De Bortoli Wines Rutherglen Estate cellar door for the Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery landmark exhibition titled: Northern Exposure – Stories from Lockhart River and Fitzroy Crossing. Flying in from Lockhart River, Cape York, and arriving to the gallery decked out in a thick winter jacket, woolen gloves and beanie; the cold climate was the only shocking element that Aboriginal artist Patrick Butcher Jnr faced as…

In the Footsteps of Tatiana Metanova After an early morning flight over Russia’s vast tundra, laid flat like moss-green jigsaw pieces interspersed with connecting waterways and small lakes, we were finally on descent into Leningrad, or Saint Petersburg, as it is once again known as today. From my window seat I had a perfect view of Lake Ladoga. Here in the winter of 1941 the 219-kilometre ‘Road of Life’, was built on the lake’s 90-150cm…

Painting is a visual language and doesn’t need an explanation. Artists call on all their years of experience, conflict, disappointment, loves and obsessions to create a mood, a feeling that words can’t replace. It’s not necessary to know how the artist arrived at the work, or what was in their mind. Your job as a viewer is just to look – allow the image to wash over you. In my mind the first impact is…

The first exhibition of its kind to be presented in Australia, Northern Exposure – Stories from Lockhart River and Fitzroy Crossing launches later this month at Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery at Rutherglen Estates. Opening to the public on Friday June 21, the exhibition showcases works from three celebrated Aboriginal artists and will connect viewers with the joys of life on Country, Dreamtime spirits and Aboriginal culture; also showcasing all the colour, movement and textural feel of…

While it might appear tiny, it’s amazing how vast and striking the contents of Beechworth’s Arcadia Gallery are. Owner Susan Reid describes the collection as pieces that are each connected in spirit; ‘hands, heart and mind,’ is a statement she uses to explain the feeling we experience upon stepping inside. ‘Everything here is made by one pair of hands,’ she says. ‘There’s also a lot of plant and botany in here but not necessarily botanical…

An historic cattle station in rural NSW is probably not where you’d expect to find a trove of contemporary sculpture and art. But the 124-acre Mona Farm, first established in 1836, is an uncommon find. Situated an hour west of Canberra, the farm was the home of ship’s surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson, who lent his name to the town that would grow beside it. Walk through the elm forest and across swathes of lawn to…

Aboriginal artist Billy Doolan joins this weekend’s La Fiera Festival, set within the bustling country town of Myrtleford, situated on Victoria’s Great Alpine Road. Celebrating the Italian way of life in the Ovens Valley, the festival this year expands to include an Italian/Aboriginal art connection. The festival will this weekend host a selection of artworks from visiting Queensland Aboriginal artist Billy Doolan. Work from his Sicilian Dreaming exhibition – a touring show that was launched…

Married to the Sea Ceramics, based in the seaside town of Sunshine Beach, (near Noosa Heads) Queensland, produces handmade stoneware and porcelain pieces using Australian clay. Each piece emphasises  simplicity of design through colour, shape, line, form and texture. The designs are free flowing, natural-toned and textural – crafting an elemental sense of calm. Studio visitors can choose from various collections (Squid Ink, Granite and others) and a range of custom glazes including a clean,…

She’s been considered a bright new shining light in Aboriginal art, yet only a few art curators and collectors have ever seen her paintings. At 32 years of age, far north Queensland-born Kuku Yalanji (language group) Tarsha Davis, a highly modernist painter, is creating new Aboriginal themes that are destined to become important teachings for future generations. As I interview her at Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery (Rutherglen, Victoria), seated among some of Australia’s finest collection of…

There’s something I just love about Andy Pye’s work. He paints with a style that is sometimes unusual, and often highly accomplished – delivering beautiful and striking work in one moment, and work that challenges in another. I, like many others, am drawn to his Australian landscapes showcasing imperial-like powerful colours combined with wild composition – unrestricted and gutsy. Encompassing all the chaos, drama and loneliness that the Australian bush can present, I feel like…

If you’re a fan of modernist sculpture, and can cast your mind back far enough (if you’re old enough I guess), you might recall a painted steel sculpture previously located outside Myer at Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne – Lenton Parr’s Plant Forms, 1960; currently residing at Point Leo Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. This black, strangely shaped object – part-mechanical looking, part organic – features dark foliage that appears to reach toward the sky, possibly…

There’s something inexplicably powerful about Empire – an art installation project that has transformed the 1930s Dandenong Ranges mansion Burnham Beeches into a living, breathing arts organism of gigantic creative proportion. The project also combines an elaborate music soundtrack, lighting design and a series of botanical installations that aid in the delivery of a beautifully beastly work. Developed over a course of a year, the project features both ‘pretty’ and sombre images of female faces painted…

Arriving in 1951 from Paris, Mirka and Georges Mora transformed the Melbourne food and art scene. Their cafés and restaurants offered sophisticated food and their Tolarno art gallery inspired and energised the rich and famous. Launched in the year of Mirka’s 90th birthday and her passing, Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair, a new book release from MUP, gloriously illustrates the Mora’s extraordinary story. Recalling his first exhibition held at Tolarno in 1970 and the…

Its no secret that the extensive 2017 redevelopment of Rutherglen Estates’ cellar door, featuring the newly established Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery within the same historic 1880s Seppelts Cellars building, has in recent years seen a marked increase in visitation; however its Tuileries Restaurant – within the same complex – at the time perhaps had not stepped up to the mark, that is until the much needed recent arrival of French-born head chef Christoph Niklaus; who’s culinary…

Our roundup of what to see this summer among Australia’s best capital city and regional art galleries. REGIONAL VICTORIA Ivan Durrant: Colouring Lake Mokoan: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by the unplanned accidental out-of-focus background areas in photographs. It’s the way these colours and shapes playfully hover and bounce between abstract and reality. No matter how vague they appear, we seem to have no trouble interpreting them as the real world. It’s an unspoken visual language,…

Opening to the public tomorrow, Saturday October 6 in Rutherglen, Victoria, the Aboriginal Exhibitions – Collection Highlights 2018 exhibition is an exploration of some of the most significant Aboriginal paintings and artefacts created in modern times and it gives just about anybody the opportunity to take home a wonderful piece of Aboriginal art. Featuring works created by many of the leading Aboriginal artists of our time including: Kudditji Kngwarreye, Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra Nelson, Russell Butler,…

It’s easy to be reminded, how great an artist Charles Blackman was, especially with his painting Girl with a Nosegay (pictured). You have to stop – it’s a mesmerising magnet. You’re into his poetry, life, mood and love, boots and all. As Charles said to me on our first meeting in 1969, you can’t make art without love. To paint is to make love to the world. In the early 1950s Blackman was a cook…

Anna-Marie Wallace discovered a penchant for clay by accident one afternoon while visiting a community arts centre pottery shed to kill some time. Five years later her products dress the tables of some of Australia’s finest restaurants including Melbourne’s Lûmé, Igni, Fleet and D’Arenburg winery’s new Cube restaurant. Jock Zonfrillo, owner/chef of Restaurant Orana, Adelaide, was the first to order Anna’s unglazed ceramics; her signature ovoid vessels were developed for food service four years ago…

Internationally exhibited artist and Palm Island Aboriginal elder, Billy Doolan has exhibited and led cultural programmes across Australian and the world. Sharing inspirational messages and his artistic talents and techniques, he continues to educate students, dignitaries and art fans on the importance of caring for the environment. His influence has reached as far as Hong Kong and Sicilly as-well-as across many parts of Australia. Billy Doolan – Patterns of Life, opens this Saturday June 23…

The 1957 Arthur Boyd painting Shearers Playing for a Bride is the most powerful and emotionally moving work I’ve ever seen – it’s haunted me for over 40 years. It is one of the 30 paintings of his Love, Marriage and Death of a Half-caste series, commonly known as the ‘Bride series’. It’s a deeply personal response to the dispossessed, detribalised Aboriginal peoples – victims of the ill-fated assimilation program of 1930 – that he…

Milawa Gourmet Region’s Off Centre Gallery to Plate up a Ceramic Arts Feast this Winter On the Queen’s Birthday long weekend 2018, Friday to Monday, June 8 to 11, Off Centre Gallery will celebrate winter with a full-scale winter-themed dining setting showcasing English born, Sydney-based ceramicist Katherine Mahoney’s contemporary functional wares. Off Centre Gallery will also present a special ‘meet the artist’ event on Saturday, June 9. Katherine produces outstanding functional wares – plates, cups,…

Maureen Morrangulu Thompson, one of Australia’s most gifted Aboriginal artists, knows how to excite viewers, telling uniquely detailed stories within her paintings. One of my personal favourites, Burial Ground Place, 2004 (featured above), comprises many elements, a beautifully assembled kaleidoscope of colours that fit together like a complex jigsaw puzzle. Within the folds can be seen spirit figures, unusual faces, ceremonial dance, flowers, mountains, treetops, foliage, rivers, birds and animals – all here, existing as…

Victorian artist Jim van Geet has a long-term vision – to slowly grow an art business that educates people on their own level and at their own pace. Visitors who stop along the Great Alpine Road touring route to explore the area tend to ask questions soon after entering his gallery. ‘Painting is essentially about light and composition,’ says Jim. ‘The more you look at a painting, the more you discover how the better artists…

Dhungala: A  landmark launch exhibition featuring Latje Latje and Yorta Yorta artists Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown and Craig Charles. A strong sense of togetherness and a feeling of peace and pleasure comes from viewing the collection of works by Victorian Aboriginal painters Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown and Craig Charles. Both artists have strong family and spiritual connections to the expansive Murray river region – Dhungala as the river is known in Yorta Yorta language. The exhibition shares…

Every three months for the past 40 years I’ve visited my good friend the great artist Asher Bilu to get a fix – art fix, that is. He’s always got something new that takes me on a journey. Asher’s now into his 80s, but is brighter, stronger and more energetic than any young pups in the art world today. To me he’s the greatest living artist, his only match in history Van Gogh. Both worked…

TOP: Jim van Geet, The Jury Whisperer (Charles Waterstreet), 2015  90 x 150cm, oil on linen Victorian artist Jim van Geet gathers background and visual evidence on his portrait subjects before tackling brush and canvas. He says of Australian barrister, author, theatre and film producer Charles Waterstreet, that he ‘met with him, over several days in his Sydney chambers’ to gather inspiration and research for the painting. ‘During this time, a procession of clients were…

Just before his death, Vincent van Gogh said to his beloved brother Theo, ‘La tristesse durera toujours’ ­– the sadness will last forever. And many well-known facts of the artist’s life – his complex and debilitating mental illness, an inability to exist comfortably within the world, the long string of failed careers and relationships – seem to reinforce such a view. But what they don’t reflect is Van Gogh’s extraordinary vitality and profound spiritual devotion…

TOP: Beryl Gay: Of Rugged Mountain Ranges (detail), 2015 Oil on stretched canvas 60 x 150cm Visitors to artist Jim van Geet’s new Myrtleford Contemporary Art Gallery have labelled it a surprising oasis, a gift, a rare needle-in-a-haystack find. I can wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment: it’s a major experience to visit the shopfront gallery, where a wealth of hugely varied work is on display. There is gold displayed on these walls and I encourage…

It’s three-quarters the way through November, and we’ve finally got a decent day down on the Peninsula. Twenty-six degrees in Blairgowrie and Sorrento, 30 in Melbourne, and 35 in my old home-town, Benalla. So why not, I thought, go and check out the spot where my old mate John Perceval painted Ocean beach, Sorrento, 1957. It was only yesterday during a conversation with noted freelance curator Rodney James that I discovered this work was in…