Monday, February 16, 2015

The final countdown

2015 has already gotten out of the blocks like a shot. This week is the final week for our major exhibitions before we turn all three spaces over to the next show Data Flow: Digital Influence. We've had some terrific responses, including a lovely mention of Ilona Nelson's show by The Age critic Robert Nelson (here). So, there's only a handful of days left to come and check out Ilona's show and see what we've been acquiring into the Permanent Collection this past year.

It is also the final week of our Place Making <Making Place> artist-in-residence program. We've had some amazing art production taking place inside the gallery by our artists - OK Collective, Kitty N. Wong (HK) and our current participant, Justin Hinder.

OK Collective in Gallery 2, worked up a storm during their stay.
Justin is on site, producing his enigmatic and engaging paintings, chatting to our visitors and exploring the way his artwork is influenced by a new environment and an audience watching him.

Justin Hinder's paintings
We are very excited to bring you a swathe of artistic talents for the next major exhibition, Data Flow. We've got an America artist, two Australian artists who now live in Los Angeles, quite a few artists with doctorates or in the middle of finishing them, an artist who is a Director of an Art College and quite frankly, more artistic eye candy in a wide variety of media than is reasonable to expect in any one place. Again, it's our intention to bring you art that captivates the eyes and body first of all, and is rich in ideas if you're interested in delving into that aspect too.

Part of the exhibition will see us utilising our social media platform on Instagram as a fourth, virtual gallery space. We're looking for 6 artists to exhibit in this 'space' - you can find out more here. It's a unique opportunity and a way to explore ideas in the show through experimental expansion of the traditional four-walls of a white cube gallery.

Lastly, there's still a couple of weeks to visit the wonderful work of Parisa Taheri Tehrani. Captivating our visitors, the works are moody, intense and unique character study portraits in oil, charcoal and ink. Parisa is an Iranian born artist, now living in Australia after studying in the UK and the USA. She's been a valuable contributor to the gallery, volunteering here since we relaunched in late 2013 and it's a delight to have her art gracing the walls of the Community Project Wall. Show ends Sunday 1 March.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We're looking for Instagram Artists!

Here at Town Hall Gallery, we LOVE Instagram. Our handle is @townhallgallery if you fancy checking us out (there's lots of delicious arty-ness on there!).

Our next exhibition, Data Flow: Digital Influence, kicks off on Tuesday 3 March 2015 and runs through to Sunday 12 April. To coincide with the exhibition theme, we're looking for 6 insta-artists to infiltrate our THG Instagram with their art and imagery. 

'Wow', you're thinking, 'that sounds super COOL...but what does it mean?!'

For the duration of Data Flow, we will be turning our Instagram account into an online exhibition space. Each of the selected insta-artists will be regrammed from their personal accounts onto the THG Instagram, once a day, for seven days. 

Let me break that down for you again:

* We're looking for 6 artists/instagrammers who's work is suited to online distribution
* Each artist/instagrammer will have 1 week as a 'Town Hall Gallery Insta-Artist' 
* As an Insta-Artist, we will bestow upon you a special hashtag for your 'exhibition'
* We will regram onto the THG Instagram one of your 'artworks' once a day for each of those seven days.


Now here's the fun part...
...Are you interested in becoming a THG Insta-Artist

All we need from you is your Instagram handle (for example, @YOURINSTAGRAM) plus a 100-200 word statement of intent outlining why you want to be a THG Insta-Artist! 

Send your submission to by COB Monday 23 February. That's 5pm for those non-9-to-5-ers. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Beautiful Buckmaster

For those who haven't recently visited Town Hall Gallery, our first batch of exhibitions for 2015 includes 'Placement: New Town Hall Gallery Collection Acquisitions'. Located in Gallery 3, this exhibition presents artworks that have been acquired or donated into the Town Hall Gallery Art Collection since our relaunch in November 2013. Featuring a diverse range of works and artists, 'Placement' highlights the richness of creative practice within the City of Boroondara. Not only this, but it also shows the significance of Art within the municipality.

BUCKMASTER, Ernest, Still Life (c. 1935), oil on canvas, 106 x 80cm, Courtesy of the artist and Town Hall Gallery Collection.

The oldest work on display is a luscious still life oil painting by Ernest Buckmaster (see above image). Still Life was presented to Reg and Cora Harris at the Return Mayoral Ball in 1965 by Prof. Lance and Mrs Jean Townsend for the Citizens of Hawthorn (see image below). Reg Harris was the City of Hawthorn's 105th Mayor, serving in 1964/65 and was the Councillor of Power Ward from 1958-1972. 

Prof. Lance and Mrs Jean Townsend presenting the Buckmaster painting to Reg and Cora Harris at the Return Mayoral Ball in 1965.

Reg Harris was born in 1916 and lived to the ripe old age of 92, a well-known Boroondara local. He was a shopfitter and builder, and in his retirement years a restorer of many vintage and veteran cars including Melbourne’s famous 1923 Yellow Cab, the only one in Australia. "The painting had pride of place in our parent’s dining room for 45 years," Margot Dorum, daughter of Reg Harris, comments. 

Reg Harris in Mayoral robes, 1964.

Reg Harris in the Boroondara Progress Leader, April 5, 1994.

The artist, Ernest Buckmaster, was born in Hawthorn in 1897 to English parents; his father, Harry Amos Buckmaster was a straw-hat manufacturer. Working under James Beament from 1913 (Beament was primarily a signwriter), Buckmaster was encouraged to join the Victorian Artists Society (V.A.S.) and soon after he enrolled in the National Gallery Art School and received formal art training from W. B. McInnes and Bernard Hall. Buckmaster won many prizes and sold most of his works exhibiting with the V.A.S., and continued to exhibit with the V.A.S. until 1943. He also won the Archibald Prize in 1932 for his portrait of Sir William Irvine. 

Ernest Buckmaster, 1945. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

A Boroondara local, Buckmaster married Dorothy Laura Cook at the Methodist Ladies' College, Kew, in 1936, yet their marriage only lasted 3 years, after which he married Florence Botting in 1939. He was appointed an official war artist and was assigned the task of capturing the Japanese surrender in Singapore; 25 completed pictures are held at the Australian War Memorial. His particular techniques and strong opinions on Modern Art were well-respected by his peers and Buckmaster passed away in his Warrandyte home in 1968. 

Artists like Buckmaster hold a special place in Australian Art History for their dedication to their craft. 'Still Life' represents the hand of a very well accomplished artist and a significant piece of Boroondara's history; we're proud and privileged to be able to take care of this artwork and preserve its story for generations to come.

Monday, January 26, 2015

In Conversation: Adam Stone

Install View of A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), Debut X, Blindside ARI, Melbourne, March 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

Adam Stone is a Melbourne based photographer, sculptor, video and installation artist who recently received his BFA First Class Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Fiona Myer award, a finalist in the Qantas SOYA award, a finalist in the McClelland Gallery Sennini Sculpture Award, the recipient of a Melbourne University Grant and the George Paton Gallery ‘Readings’ Prize. He was the recipient of the Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship, The Centre for Contemporary Photography Kodak Salon Borge Imaging Prize and The George Paton Framed Prize in 2012.

In 2014, Adam completed residencies at Inside Out Museum in Beijing and Residency Unlimited in New York. His work ‘A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash)’ won the Montalto Sculpture Prize in February.

He has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions at ARI’s, commercial and public galleries in Melbourne and Asia. Selected galleries include: Monash Gallery of Art, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Inside Out Museum (Beijing), Melbourne Museum, Albury Regional Gallery (collaboration), Seventh Gallery, Blindside ARI, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, The Centre for Contemporary Photography, MARS and Langford 120 (collaboration).

He is held in public and private collections in Australia and Asia.

Install View of A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), Debut X, Blindside ARI, Melbourne, March 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.


Tell us about your connection to the City of Boroondara.
I grew up in Canterbury and went to school I Kew, so I’m pretty familiar with the area. A lot of my time was spent at Camberwell skatepark where I now work (supervising, taking lessons etc). My interest in extreme sports that is evident in my work has been undoubtedly influenced by my time there. 

Was there a time when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Creativity was always fostered in my family. My Dad is an artist who studied painting at the VCA and my Mum studied graphic design, eventually perusing an art/craft practice instead. I had a passion for art and drawing early on that eventually dwindled in my teenage years as I became more and more impatient with the rigor hyperrealism demanded. Through BMX riding I became interested in photography, predominantly as a means of documenting my friend’s tricks, but this shortly transformed into a passion for art photography; its immediacy suited my teenage lack of patience. 

From there, it sort of became the only thing I could do. I would have been a complete idiot to choose a boring course at university when I could pursue art. For me, that decision was made out of laziness and self indulgence – which are both pretty abysmal and depressing to admit. However, I actually do enjoy admitting that because it does fit with the sort of cheekiness that sometimes seeps into my practice. 

What inspires you?
The primary concern in my work is the notion of hubris or an overreaching that has negative connotations. For example, a skateboarder who crashes trying a trick, global warming due to carbon emissions and the global financial crisis are just a few examples. This innate and troubling human behaviour is fascinating to me, because despite being so technologically advanced, we are still at the mercy of self indulgence and are attracted to high risk high reward behaviour. 

A lot of my interest in this area comes from personal experience. I used to be an athlete competing in 800m and cross country until I got post viral/chronic fatigue from overtraining. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I ride BMX and have had countless injuries, but can’t help myself from riding. 

Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), polyurethane, fibreglass, steel, automotive paint, 2 x 1.8 x 1.54 m. Image courtesy of the artist

What’s your favourite artwork and why? (Can be from any time in history).
To be honest I’m more influenced by an artist’s whole body of work rather than just a specific work. Each work is just a specific moment, or slice out of something greater in a successful art practice. With that said, I spend a lot of time enjoying the work of AES + F, Callum Morton, The Chapman Brothers, Urs Fischer, GCC and Paul McCarthy. 

Your sculpture A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) was acquired into our collection; can you tell us a bit about the work? It looks painful yet beautiful!

As I mentioned earlier, my work tends to deal with the idea of hubris. For this work I have used found images and my personal experiences with extreme sport and apply them to the notion of the hero in classical sculpture. By extracting found images and transforming them into 3D forms, I convert my/their failure into success. This highly gestural transformation creates a monument out of the digital image, an image devoid of any physical presence. I recreate this ‘cyberspace’ image using my own body, creating the basis for the self-portrait. I intend for the work to be a haunting reminder of the cycle of hubris and a reinterpretation of the Icarus myth in 2013. However, I also realise that viewer projects their own experiences onto the work and that informs their interpretation of it, which I also recognise and find interesting. 

What does it mean to you to have your artwork acquired into a public collection?

Besides being incredibly affirming and humbling, it gives the work an opportunity to exist in an ongoing capacity where it becomes (when exhibited) part of the public domain. 

If our readers want to learn more about you and your artworks, where can they go? Eg, websites, books, galleries, etc.

You can see more of my work and keep up with exhibitions I’m in at 

Finally, what’s coming up for you in 2015? Any big projects or exhibitions on the horizon? 

I have an upcoming solo show at Kings ARI in March 2015 where I will be showing a series of 3D printed sculptures including A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash). I have also been selected as a finalist in the Montalto Sculpture Prize where I will be showing a marble sculpture I completed during my residencies this year in Beijing and New York. I’m also planning on showing the work (alongside other new works) in a solo exhibition later in the year.

Work in Progress view of Pieta (Nick and Angus), white marble, 100 x 80 x 54 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Volunteers (WEEKDAYS) at Town Hall Gallery

We are seeking volunteers to join us at the newly redeveloped and expanded Town Hall Gallery. You must have a love of the visual arts, preferably with a background in Fine Arts or the creative industries (arts students welcome).

Some typical daily tasks may include: invigilating the gallery spaces; facilitating sales at the gallery retail store, The Emporium; assist in the running of workshops and public programs; participating in the delivery of exhibition openings; cash handling; and liaise with the public to answer questions about the gallery and exhibition program.

We expect our volunteers to act as ambassadors for the gallery at all times and in return, we offer valuable training and insights into the public gallery industry. Must be available weekdays with a minimum commitment of 2 to 4 shifts per month (approx. 10 hours).

Please send a cover letter and CV to 
Applications Close Friday 20 February, 2015 at 5pm.

Located in the redeveloped Hawthorn Arts Centre, Town Hall Gallery is the peak public gallery space for the City of Boroondara.Spanning three gallery spaces, Town Hall Gallery features a diverse range of contemporary and innovative curated exhibitions, public programs and exhibits drawn from the Town Hall Gallery Collection. The collection celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the City of Boroondara and fosters a strong sense of community and shared history. Part of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV), we support local, national and international artists at varying stages of their careers. We also offer a space for local artists and community groups to exhibit professionally on our Community Project Wall, located at the eastern side entrance of the Hawthorn Arts Centre.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Off and Running

To kick off the 2015 Exhibition Program at Town Hall Gallery we decided to put our four gallery spaces to four different uses - launching four quite different exhibitions. On a lovely summer Saturday we were delighted to have a bubbly and excited audience fill the galleries, engaging with our artists-in-residence and interacting with the participatory elements of the shows. 

Little artists contributing to the blackboard wall in Ilona Nelson's solo exhibition, 'This Place'

Across the main spaces we have curated the shows around the idea of place. Ilona Nelson's solo show This Place occupies Gallery 1 and incorporates a variety of interactive experiences for children and adults. The nature of parenthood, and particularly motherhood, is the underlying concept running through the work. Featuring a series of terrific photographs and a video work, along with the activities, the exhibition is designed to open a dialogue around the obligations of career, domestic labour and family.

Ilona Nelson, The Children's Republic
We're pleased to also be able to present the most recent acquisitions to our Permanent Collection. As a public gallery we have a role to collect artwork as an active archive of cultural life in the City of Boroondara. Over the last 12 months we have purchased work - photography, sculpture and painting - and also had several artworks donated to us. There's a broad array of work, covering various commitments we have to the Collection, from the work of a recent art graduate (Adam Stone), to a fabulous mid-career Australian painting talent (Tony Lloyd), to the icons of Australian art (Lin Onus and Eric Thake).

Checking out the work of Eric Thake
OK Collective, an artist duo consisting of Kathy Heyward and Oliver Cloke, has set up its studio operations in Gallery 2, the first of three rotations that will also see Kitty N. Wong (from Hong Kong) and Justin Hinder also work in the gallery space. OK Collective are researching and experimenting with communication techniques, testing out some ideas with the language of semaphore at the opening.

OK Collective talking to an enthused audience
At the Community Project Wall, our dedicated space for local artists and art groups, Merryn Lloyd presents a series of work continuing her wax painting process. Having been schooled in Boroondara and living not far from the gallery, Merryn is the perfect example of the artistic talent we have right at our doorstep. Her work is very popular, and has been exhibited right across Melbourne. A career on the rise having only recently graduated from art school - and the paintings are selling fast!

Merryn Lloyd in front of her work.
We hope you have a chance to come down soon to the shows - and keep in mind that Gallery 1 has lots of opportunity for engagement, with kids activities to creatively inspire young minds, and Gallery 2 will be a hive of artist working processes, with the chance to see artists making work in the flesh and for you to chat directly with them about their ideas and their ways of working.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ronald Greenaway - The Artist and His World

With our Artist Commission for the August retrospective of Boroondara artist Ronald Greenaway already generating a lot of interest, let's take a closer look at the artist's work and his history. Much of the premise of the commission relies on artist research, so we'll take a general look through some of his highlights to set the scene of his life.

Ronald Greenaway's work promoting the Contemporary Art Society of Australia (Victoria).
Greenaway was the editor of the Society's magazine in the 1960s and served as Secretary and President.
Greenaway was born in Melbourne in 1932 and studied at Swinburne and completed an MA at Melbourne University. He has amassed a huge body of work, numbering more than 300 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints that are in exhibition-ready formats. Portraits, still lifes, landscapes and scenes from Melbourne life and its art scene feature heavily, with Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff, and Charles Blackman subjects of numerous paintings. Greenaway was friends with Albert Tucker and the Boyd family, exhibiting their works at the Contemporary Artist Society with which he was actively engaged.

Just one example of Greenaway's still life oil painting
There is a surrealist slant to much of his work, a sense of humour and insightful eye for the contemporary scenes of life around him. Greenaway was awarded a gold medal by Accademia of Italy in 1980, founded a group called 'The Essentialists' with Michael Smither in 1967, and has work in the collections of the NGV, the State Library of Victoria and Newcastle Art Gallery. 

An example of the highly coloured oil paintings of Greenaway, and a focus on Melbourne life.
What is most exciting with Greenaway's work is its broadness and depth, covering a variety of classic genres in a vibrantly contemporary manner. He is a living connection to a critically important era of Australian art and we're very much looking forward to showing you a great deal more of his art. For those artists looking at submitting for the commission, please feel free to be bold, courageous and innovative with your ideas about how to engage with the work. or to use Greenaway's art as an inspirational springboard from which to launch your own approach to new work. Best of luck - we're excited to read your ideas.