Thursday, May 29, 2008

People, Places: AME BALE (ALICE)


Town Hall Gallery holds 2 works by Bale in it's collection. One a self-portrait seen here and the second a small landscape painting depicting Castlemaine. Below is some historical information on Bale and her connection to the area as an artist. Thank you to Anne Holmes from Hawthorn Library for putting this information together prior.
Alice Bale (1875–1955)

Connection: Methodist Ladies College, 83 Walpole Street, Kew; and studio at 39 Walpole Street, Kew.

A.M.E. (Alice) Bale was born in Richmond, Melbourne. Her father was chief inspector of customs, a marine biologist and microscopist and Alice inherited from her father a scientific approach to her art. Alice’s mother was a keen collector of antiques, objects and costumes and was undoubtedly an influence on her daughter’s aesthetic sensibility.

From 1885–92 Alice attended Methodist Ladies College in Kew and excelled in music and literature. Alice had private art lessons with May Vale and Hugh Ramsay and was elected to membership of the Victorian Artists Society in 1894, where she first had a picture exhibited in 1896. From 1918–19 Alice edited the society’s journal. Alice attended the National Gallery School from 1895–1904 and became a good friend of Max Meldrum, a more senior student at the time. Alice was greatly influenced by Meldrum and his tonal theories and was a leading figure in a group known as the Twenty Melbourne Painters, which formed, as an offshoot of the Victorian Artists’ Society in 1918. Alice was first secretary of the group and maintained this position all her life. Alice also became a member of the Women’s Art Club which was later renamed the Melbourne Society of Women Painters.

In 1922 the National Gallery of Victoria acquired two flower paintings by Bale and these were described in the Year Book of Victorian Art as ‘two brilliant studies expressing at once the beauty and character of the flowers’. Bale’s flower paintings are what she has been particularly remembered for, but a review of her work in more recent times has show that she had a talent for figure painting. A particular talent of Bale’s was to deploy the standard genre picture format—the scene from everyday life—rid it of its associations with Victorian sentiment and the dramatic incident, and transform it into a contemplative study of sitters serenely engaged in a private world. (Hammond & Peers, p. 36)

Her family moved to 83 Walpole Street, Kew in 1886 and Alice lived here for the rest of her life. She did not travel or study overseas but took regular trips to a family property in Castlemaine, Victoria, where she painted the local landscape. Alice also established a studio at 39 Walpole Street. When Alice Bale died in 1955 she bequeathed a large part of her estate to the Art Foundation Trust setting up a scholarship in her name, the scholarship continues to this day.

People, Places: ROBERT CLINCH






Town Hall Gallery Collection has 2 works by Robert Clinch, the lithograph Crown of Thorns and the sketch Study for Romeo and Juliet. The 2 images here are both lithographs, with the top one showing Crown of Thorns and the bottom one is the actual lithograph for Romeo and Juliet.


Robert is a locally based artist and is held in many public collections. Currently he has some works in the exhibition Preserving the Past, enriching the future at the National Gallery of Victoria at Federation Square.


I am fascinated by Clinch's eye for detail as well as his imaginative way of depicting the everyday. With the work Crown of Thorns, he shows the spire of the Church of Immaculate Conception in Hawthorn and the city scape of Melbourne behind it. The artist undertook the preliminary drawings of the spire from the roof of Swinburne University in Hawthorn. The imagery is also slightly imagined, with the addition of aerials on the spire, commenting on ugly technological additions to beautiful historical buildings.


Town Hall Gallery has been pleased to have a few of the extra works of Roberts on loan for the People, Places exhibition to allow our viewers the opportunity to see a larger body of work by the artist.

To find out more about Robert Clinch and upcoming exhibitions he is involved in, visit his website here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

People, Places: ERIC THAKE






















Eric Thake (b. 1904 d. 1982)
Sacred and Profane Love 1954
Linocut
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Eric Thake (b. 1904 d. 1982)
Goodnight Lachaise 1970
Linocut (Edition 25/40)
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.


Town Hall Gallery Collection holds 2 works by Eric Thake (seen here) as well as a limited edition book of prints.


Eric Thake was born in Auburn, Victoria, in 1904. At 14, he was apprenticed to the art department of a process engraving firm, but, after attending evening classes at the National Gallery school in 1922, went on to study painting and drawing part-time between 1925 and '28 with the influential Melbourne artist George Bell.

Thake enlisted in the RAAF in 1943 and worked as a draughtsman until his appointment to the RAAF Historical Section as a war artist in 1944. During the next two years he traveled to central and northern Australia, Timor and Dutch New Guinea. Thake concentrated on the debris of conflicts, particularly crashed aircraft and machinery. His dream-like and mysterious viewpoint, focuses on the design of equipment in ways which were not usually considered by other artists. Kamiri searchlight and Parachute Store, No 31 Squadron, Morotari are two examples of his almost surreal images. On the completion of his appointment, Thake's paintings and drawings were distributed amongst the Memorial, state art galleries and the RAAF. After the war Thake worked on a variety of commissions, including postage stamps and museum murals, and as a medical illustrator and designer.

Thake’s work is innovative and fascinating for its time. The simplicity and humour in the work make it appealing to a wide audience. The two linocuts are from slightly different periods in Thake’s career but make a fantastic pair from an exhibiting point of view.

The work Goodnight Lachaise is one of my personal favourites as it pokes fun at the art world. In the image we see a gallery patron in a tuxedo viewing a sculpture and another patron has left their champagne glass on the sculpture! This work hits a note with me as I have seen this many times during my curatorial career and giggle when I see serious patrons inspecting and commenting on non-artworks in the gallery when they think they are part of the exhibition.

To find out more about Eric Thake, please visit the State Library of Victoria website
who have a website dedicated to him.

List of works on show: People, Places

For visitors who haven't had a chance yet to see the exhibition People, Places or for those who wanted more information on the works on display, here is a complete list of all works in the exhibition.


Works on display:

Kenneth Jack (b. 1924 d. 2006)
Portland Railway Station 1956
Watercolour
Donated by Hampton Beale in 2006 to Town Hall Gallery Collection

Kenneth Jack (b. 1924 d. 2006)
Como South Yarra 1960
Watercolour
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2007.

Robert Clinch (b. 1957 - )
Study for Romeo and Juliet 2007
Pencil and chalk on paper
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2007.

Robert Clinch (b. 1957 - )
Crown of Thorns 2004
Lithograph (Edition 4/40)
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2005.

Robert Clinch (b. 1957 - )
Romeo and Juliet 2007
Lithograph (Edition 4/40)
On loan from the artist.

Robert Clinch (b. 1957 - )
Limited Additions 2007
Lithograph (Edition 4/40)
On loan from the artist.

Gloria Stern (b. 1949 - )
The Platform 2004
Oil on linen
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2005.

Eric Thake (b. 1904 d. 1982)
Sacred and Profane Love 1954
Linocut
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Eric Thake (b. 1904 d. 1982)
Goodnight Lachaise 1970
Linocut (Edition 25/40)
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Sean Carnell
Death of a Salesman 1993
Black and white photograph
Acquired with funds for Town Hall Gallery Collection 1993.

Matthew Sleeth (b. 1972 - )
Zurich, Switzerland 1997
C Type photograph
Donated by the artist to Town Hall Gallery Collection 2002.

John Brack (b.1922 d.1999)
The Yarra at Kew 1946
Oil on board
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2004.

Fred Williams (b.1927 d.1982)
Mount Killie Crankie (Flinders Island) 1980
Gouche on paper
Town Hall Gallery Collection

Fred Williams (b.1927 d.1982)
Head of a Child c.1947
Gouche on paper
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2007.

Mathew Greentree (b. 1974 - )
Player 2 2004
C Type of Photograph
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2005.

James Fawcett
Ricketts Point 1898
Watercolour
Town Hall Gallery Collection from former City of Camberwell.

AME Bale (b. 1875 d. 1955)
Castlemaine
Oil on canvas
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

AME Bale (b. 1875 d. 1955)
Self Portrait 1925
Oil on canvas
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2007.

Unknown artist
Tree Pruners (featuring Bill Lyall)
Men pruning trees along nature strips, Bill Lyall worked for Council as a tree pruner.
Donated by Ken Kyall for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2000.

Unknown artist
Portrait of John Beswicke 1847-1925
Architect of Hawthorn Town Hall
Donated by Mr. K.C.B Bettell (grandson) to former Hawthorn City Council in 1982.

Dora Wilson (b. 1883 d. 1946)
Portrait of a Young Woman in a Red Dress (Peg Williams) c. 1930
Pastel on paper
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2007.

Norma Bull (b.1906 d. 1980)
Awaiting the Seaside Express
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Town Hall Gallery Collection

Thomas George Wells (b. 1934 -)
The Itinerant c. 1970s
Watercolour on paper
Town Hall Gallery Collection

Nina Sers (b. 1985 - )
Timed Perfectly 2005
Oil on canvas
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Nina Sers (b. 1985 - )
Lucky 2005
Oil on canvas
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Nina Sers (b. 1985 - )
Captured 2005
Oil on canvas
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Nina Sers (b. 1985 - )
Untitled 1 & 2 2005
Polaroid film
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2006.

Elizabeth Summons
The Eric Thake Picture Book
Published by Gryphon Books Melbourne
Limited Edition of 1,000

Shigemi Nishigaki
Untitled 1994
Stoneware
Acquired with funds from City of Boroondara for Town Hall Gallery Collection 2004.

Michael Meszaros
The Mayoress 1991
bronze
Maquette for public art work that was commissioned by former City of Camberwell and is situated in Camberwell.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

People, Places - works from Town Hall Gallery Collection

The new exhibition People, Places which features works from the gallery collection is now up and open to the public. To give viewers a bit of an idea of how I came about putting the exhibition together I will be posting on individual works and the themes from the show.

For a taster, here is the catalogue essay for People, Places by Mardi Nowak Curator

In every public gallery collection you will always find strong bodies of work featuring landscapes and portraiture. Looking after a collection, I often wonder why this is. There is a long history of the landscape and portraiture genres but I think that there is more to just the skill of painting a realistic face or scene.

When looking through the landscape and portraiture works held by the gallery, I began to become absorbed by the works in a collective way. I noticed that all the works made me remember another time or place that I had been to, or a memory of something else. All great art has the ability to move the viewer and take you to another place. It is easy to see how a landscape can be seen as an image of a place but it can also be seen by the viewer as a place that maybe very particular to their memory. In this exhibition, there are several works that depict everyday, urban scenes and landscapes. Kenneth Jack’s watercolour of Portland Railway Station and Gloria Stern’s painting The Platform are landscapes that show the built up transportation environment that many of us take for granted as we move through these spaces. We forget the beauty of them or the transient nature our bodies move in and out of these landscapes. Waiting for the train can often be a time for reflection and deep thought. These works give the sense of that.

But how can a portrait be an image of place? Often as viewers we see portraits of people that we have never met, or do not know. Our human instinct is compelled to look at images of people. We investigate to see if they look like someone we know. Maybe the portrait reminds us of our mother when she was younger, or a great aunt. These trigger memories of people who have built our sense of identity and therefore our place in the world. In this exhibition, a wide variety of portraits have been selected that could trigger the viewers sense of place. There are historical portraits contrasted with more modern ones. We also see people within the landscape. There is also the anonymous person such as in the Matthew Sleeth work Zurich, Switzerland and also in the Eric Thake works. These works are mysterious and engage the viewer as we put our own personal idea of ‘place’ onto the image. We create our own narrative as to what is occurring in the image.

Similar to the idea of the anonymous person is the ambiguous landscape which can be seen in the works of Nina Sers. In this body of work Sers has manipulated the photographic emulsion on Polaroid film to create organic, abstract landscape designs which are the inspiration for the oil paintings. The free flowing paint, thickly applied is similar in appearance to geographical maps or faraway views of Google Earth. We see the land ebb and flow and wonder where we fit into the larger scheme of things.

Objects within the landscape is also a reoccurring theme in this exhibition. Abandoned Umbrella Series by Matthew Sleeth highlights how inanimate objects allow us to see beauty in what has been thrown away. The rain soaked roads that the umbrellas have been tossed onto bring back memories of rushing through the city under a mass of coloured ‘brollies’. Similar is the work Romeo and Juliet by Robert Clinch where we see sneakers hanging delicately over a phone or power line. It is a study of a solo object but takes the viewer to many urban landscapes where we may have been walking and looked up to see these mysterious shoes hanging over head. How did they get there? Who did they belong to and what do they mean?

All of the works in People, Places have been selected because they remind us of something else, or another time. As curator, I have chosen both contemporary and new acquisitions, allowing the viewer the opportunity to see them up close. I have also selected some of our older pieces in the collection such as the landscape work Ricketts Point which was painted in 1898 to highlight the traditions in each of the genres. When putting the works together, I attempt to show the works in a way that is unexpected as to question the viewer’s sense of the work. Many of the works, viewers will have seen before but I hope that they will take away something new each time they see them by juxtaposing them with something surprising.

People, Places runs from 21 May to 14 June.

Slides and Sushi photos




The group who attended the last Slides and Sushi program were in for a treat with presenters Danielle Ashcroft and guest speaker Samara Adamson-Pinczewski. Both artists spoke about space, colour theory and abstraction and their approaches to these themes.

Samara had brought in a selection of works including a piece from a new body of work where she is painting on metal.

Danielle spoke about how her work evolved for the exhibition It's All About Me as well as reading an email from her father John who was overseas, to describe the main themes in his body of work (we may have the email to post on the blog for you at some point!)

All in all it was a great evening with much discussion and visitors leaving very inspired.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Slides & Sushi - your guest artist...



The next Slides & Sushi session is coming up this Thursday 15 May from 6-8pm.

This session will feature current exhibiting artist Danielle Ashcroft (minus her father John who is currently overseas) who will discuss their exhibition and works from It's All About Me.

As well as the fabulous Danielle chatting about the show, Town Hall Gallery is pleased to have special guest presenter Samara Adamson-Pinczewski. Samara will discuss her artistic practice and will create a fascinating comparison to the current exhibition. To find out more about Samara please visit her website.

We hope to see you there on Thursday for your sushi fix!

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's All About Me - article



Article on the current exhibition from the Progress Leader on 6 May 2008, story by Cassie Maher and photograph by Paul Loughman.

Great photo of Danielle Ashcroft with her father's work, John is currently overseas jetsetting around! Click on the image to enlarge and read the article.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Those Wayward Toonists...

















With their upcoming exhibition happening at Town Hall Gallery from 18 June to the 12 July, the boys that make up the 'wayward toonists' have put together a site where you can see works in progress and their crazy research that has led them to create this exhibition!

visit http://www.waywardtoonists.blogspot.com/

to see more and be blown away!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Town Hall Gallery aims to inspire creation


We aim to inspire people to create after they have been to the gallery, seen a great exhibition or attended an artist talk. We are very excited that someone was inspired to create a small installation on to our fire escape stairs outside the gallery!


We don't know who created this fantastic installation featuring 2 dinosaurs and some some toy soldiers but Town Hall Gallery loves it so much that we have documented it so it won't be lost forever.


If anyone knows who made the work and installed it at the gallery or is the artist, please contact us and let us know!


Enjoy the photos!


New Addition to Town Hall Gallery Collection


















Last night, Town Hall Gallery officially welcomed the latest acquisition into it's Collection.

The work by Matthew Sleeth titled Abandoned Umbrellas is a series of 9 C type photographs that were shot in 2004 in Tokyo.

The Town Hall Gallery Collection Acquisition Advisory Committee, Art Nerds, Councillors, staff and fellow art professionals enjoyed getting the first chance to view the work and enjoy a champagne and some fabulous nibbles to mark the occassion.

Artist Matthew Sleeth came into the gallery to speak about the work, drenched after riding his motorcycle to the gallery. He was quite pleased to change into an official Art Nerds tee-shirt to make his presentation. This acquisition is the major acquisition funded by City of Boroondara for the Collection in 2008. It will also feature in the upcoming exhibition People, Places which will be the first opportunity for the general public to view it.