Thursday, June 23, 2011

Town Hall Gallery closed to the public next week...


Town Hall Gallery will be closed from Monday 27 June and will re-open on Wednesday 6 July with our new exhibition On Paper.

Why are we closed?  Well, we like to close every six months to do a thorough repaint of the gallery and make sure everything is looking beautiful for our patrons.  This takes time so we apologize for being closed but it will certainly be worth the wait to check out our beautiful exhibition On Paper with works from the Town Hall Gallery Collection.

See you from Wednesday 6 July!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We Chat to Rupert Gray...

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We asked Rupert Gray, one of the artists exhibiting in Journey Through Landscape, Sea & Sky.  If you missed out on the In Conversation program on Saturday, then check out this interview!

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
I grew up in Melbourne. As a boy I loved nature and the outdoors so after leaving school I headed off to work as a jackeroo/overseer in various parts of South East Australia.

Even though I had excelled in art as a school boy I never really thought about art until as a 30 year old I travelled to Russia, Scandinavia and Europe and was blown away by all the wonderful art, particularly French Impressionism.

On my return I began painting again and so began the slow learning curve to the present. Before our children arrived I benefited from being a member of Hawthorn Artists Society but later family and business commitments precluded practising my art. Now at the age of 67, I am painting full time to realize a dream.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you work in?
At present I work mostly in oils occasionally incorporating acrylics,enamels and also collage but I am very open to all media and intend to keep experimenting.

As for my work process paintings can be planned or unplanned. If I have an image which takes my eye often once I start to paint I am swept along and frequently the mood of the painting becomes quite transformed and stylised.

I am comfortable with this and quite happy to allow ideas and images stored in my mind to shape the painting. The best part is to take risks, to experiment and let the painting determine its own direction. Occasionally this leads to a new unexpected direction which can be very rewarding.

What attracted you to work in the medium that you do?
I like oils because they are slow drying and allow the paint to be “pushed around”, colours to be blended on the canvas and textured effects to be achieved and they seem to have a certain integrity but I do like to keep an open mind to incorporating other media.

What achievement are you most proud of to date?
My greatest achievement to date is the progress in developing my style and how I seek to interpret subjects plus a better understanding of the various media. Last year’s winning of the Mansfield Hospital and Rotary Acquisitive Award judged by Jason Smith, Director of Heide Gallery was a noteworthy achievement and very encouraging. Also to be granted this shared exhibition by the Town Hall Gallery—a first for me – is very pleasing.

If you could collaborate with another artist who would it be and why? Who inspires you?
There are so many artists whose work I admire but in recent times the works of Picasso have been a stand out for me. I am inspired by his enormous creativity, diverse styles and striking use of colour. Closer to home, I always appreciate Sydney Nolan’s work, his empathy with the Australian landscape and narrative style. Both these artists inspire me greatly.

What’s your work practice like? Do you work in a studio/home? What gets you in the mood to create?
I paint at home (in our garage!) which suits me in that I can make a mess and still be connected to the family. Often household disturbances- i.e chores! force a break from painting and provide the opportunity to review how the painting is shaping.

I am easily stimulated and it doesn’t take much to get me motivated and inspired. Often a painting set aside can provide the trigger to develop it in a new direction.

Is there a sound track to your creativity. Do you have music or silence?
Not really. Usually during the day I listen to a mix of light and classical music interspersed with current affairs commentary to counter working alone.

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work.
Its hard to say because I am creating according to my own vision or “wiring” but I would hope the viewer feels a sense of pleasure, excitement and beauty from my paintings.

Where do you want to be in 10 years time? What’s your dream?
I would not dare to say where I want to be in10 years time or express a “dream”.  I just intend to keep painting with an open mind, exploring all possibilities through experimentation and being receptive to new inspiration.  It is sufficiently exciting and challenging to feel that I still have scope for further developments!

Journey Through Landscape, Sea & Sky is open until Saturday 25 June, so you only have a week to check it out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In Conversation with Liz and Rupert this Saturday!!!

Progress Leader 14 June 2011 Landscape
Article about our current exhibition, Journey Through Landscape, Sea & Sky in this week's Progress Leader.  Click on the article to enlarge for easy reading.


Don't forget to come on in to the gallery this Saturday 18 June from 2pm to hear from Liz Johnson (pictured above in this week's Progress Leader article) and Rupert Gray as they talk about their works.

Our In Conversation programs are a great opportunity to hear directly from the artists and gallery curator Mardi Nowak.  So come and get out of the cold and warm up with some fascinating arty talk!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview with Liz Johnson about Landscape and Pastels!


Stormy Day, pastel on paper by Liz Johnson.

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Installation view of Journey Through Landscape, Sea and Sky.

We asked one part of the Journey Through Landscape, Sea and Sky exhibition, Liz Johnson some questions about her work and how this series came together for the exhibition.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I have lived in Melbourne all my life but have spent time living overseas in Japan, USA, and Canada. Although I grew up in the city, I spent many weekends and holidays in country Victoria. I am a wife, mother of two, teacher of Japanese and an artist. As a child I spent many summers at Brighton Beach, eating sandy sandwiches and looking for mussels. I have always loved being outside in nature, drawing and being creative.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?
I hesitate putting labels on my work, but it is probably both impressionistic and expressionistic. I hope to capture the sense or mood of something, rather that the reality, although I hope the places are somewhat recognisable. Largely I have been doing landscapes, but I also do still-life drawings. This series of pictures have been done in pastels, but I have done others in watercolour, pen and ink. Although I enjoy capturing the beauty and intensity of nature, I am often drawn to scenes that may not be so appealing, like rubbish snagged in the creek.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?
I love the portability of the pastels, immediacy of colour, and the opportunity to get my hands dirty, just like in kindergarten. You can work quite quickly; this is helpful when working outdoors, especially when it is windy and cold.

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?
Since 2004, I have been creating works for group shows, the completion of each work is an accomplishment; however, I am most proud of creating a body of work for this exhibition.

IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I have friends who are writers and musicians; I would love to work on collaborative projects with them.
I love Fred Williams’ landscapes; he just seems to have captured the essence of the Australian landscape.
I would love to have painted beside Streeton and Roberts. And the atmospheric effects in Turner’s landscapes are inspiring. I appreciate when an exhibition spans a significant period of an artist’s life. I was lucky enough to spend a day in the Picasso museum and was inspired by his early works, which captured the landscapes near his home.

WHAT'S YOUR WORK PRACTICE LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A STUDIO/HOME? WHAT GETS YOU IN THE MOOD TO CREATE?
Honestly, erratic, my best intentions often get hijacked by the realities of a busy life. I do try to carve out chunks of time when my intention is to be focused and I work on site drawing or painting. I have a studio space at home, (the laundry), where I finish things off or work on ideas. I also have a pencil, fine line pen and small sketchbook with me always, so I can draw while I am waiting. I worked out of the back of my car whilst doing the work for this exhibition. I often need to run or walk outside before I sit still and work. When I do get to work I often work quite quickly and intensely. I also spend a lot of time reading and thinking and writing about my work. I also value attending a weekly art class and meeting with other artists and showing my work.

IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?
When I was working at the beach side locations, I always had the radio on in the car. I like listening to 774 AM. Sometimes, I like to work in silence, and other times I like to work to music, from my eclectic tastes, everything from brass band music to contemporary rock.

WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORK?
I hope the viewer will get some sense of a journey. I have tried to capture a sense of the seasons in Melbourne. I have also wanted to convey a feeling of the elements, but within that a sense of calm within the chaos. I do like to remind people of the beauty that is around them.

HERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?
I hope to be more established as an artist. I hope also to have had the opportunity to explore some other mediums, like woodblock printing and Japanese sumie.

Journey Through Landscape, Sea and Sky features works by Liz Johnson and Rupert Gray.  The exhibition runs until Saturday 25 June with both artists talking about their work on Saturday 18 June at 2pm.