Niagara Galleries: open by appointment only from Thursday, 19 March 2020

Art does matter ….. especially when the world can feel troubling and confusing.
 
However, in the best interest of the community, Niagara Galleries will open by appointment only from Thursday, 19 March, following recommendations by the Australian government and the World Health Organisation.
 
The exhibition program will continue as scheduled and will be available online, or to view by appointment. Please call (03) 9429 3666 or email mail@niagaragalleries.com.au to arrange an appointment.
 
Transport and delivery of purchased works will continue to be arranged during this time, please contact registrar@niagaragalleries.com.au. For any other queries contact mail@niagaragalleries.com.au.
 
The Niagara team are dedicated to staying connected, continuing to support our artists, friends and the wider community. We look forward to keeping you up to date online, via our website, and social media channels, and by phone, until we are able to open the gallery doors again.
 
Stay connected and stay well.
Jan Senbergs in his studio

Jan Senbergs: Not quite the last picture show

We are pleased to share this insightful essay, written by Jan Senbergs as an accompaniment to his current solo exhibition, Not quite the last picture show.
 
 
"Bushfires, drought, flood & cyclones are regular occurrences in Australia. Not many countries of the world can claim the four.
 
Obviously – as a city dweller – and away from the fire front – you cannot ignore the terrible destruction these phenomena cause. 
 
They define Australia.
 
However, I was very surprised how little Australian artists have painted the bushfires…apart from the large painting in the State Library (of Victoria) of William Strutt’s Black Thursday, and John Longstaff’s Gippsland Sunday Night (February 20th, 1898, in the NGV collection), there’s very little to see of a sustained effort on this subject - sure – Fred Williams did some bushfire paintings – when his home was threatened back in the sixties at Upwey – Nolan did some – and some others – but not one artist has done a series on this subject.
 
I got to say here that I did a bushfire show some time ago at this gallery (Niagara).
 
My interest in bushfires was as a result of my drifting through various parts of Australia when younger.
 
I have always felt at ease in the bush – I did a lot of driving and exploring for myself – through the back blocks of NSW and Queensland, as well as a couple of journeys – from Perth to Darwin – zig-zagging through the Pilbarra and the Kimberleys, as well as visiting some Aboriginal settlements like Balgo – the bush was never threatening – the only presence of threat was of a human kind – that showed a sinister presence.
 
In this exhibition I’ve included only two of my ‘fire’ paintings – as the savagery of the flames and the overwhelming force of the fire – was more than a bushfire – it was an INFERNO.
 
The painting – INTO, 2019 – is more of a symbolic nature – a kind of a pause – and self assessment – under the protective and formal double canopy – there is that edifice that you built over the years, collapsing – and finding yourself standing out at the front of your broken past, being unsure of the unpredictable new year – a painting of anxiety – and doubt…
 
FLOATING – I’m not much of a portrait painter – sure – I do some self portraits from time to time – but that’s not my interest. However, in this painting – I wanted to show a tense and intense face – floating without a body – as the head is the last important thing one has. 
Whenever I’m asked about my colour choices – I think of that wonderful title of one of Barnett Newman’s paintings – called – who’s afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue well – I was for some time – I’ve gone through a wide range of colour with my work over the years – when I began those early paintings on Masonite – and Dulux enamel – that were glazed – that eliminated colour in order to create a ‘Kafkaesque’ gloom – I called them my ‘axle-grease’ paintings (after all, Picasso had his blue and pink periods…) they were crude and earnest – and it was important – to seek some light.
 
Later on when I was doing my larger invented structures – incorporating my silk screen techniques – the paintings became more formal and tonal – but I still needed a generally dark palette to convey the ambiguity of some of those structures which were mainly architectural and sculptural – inventions.
 
To use colour would weaken ‘the mystery of the object’. Similarly, to put a figure in would automatically establish scale of the structures – I wanted ambiguity.
 
The break away from the considered compositions of that period came when I decided I wanted to make a direct mark – that is - drawing which came as a form of release – which in turn gradually opened up my colour range over the years – to the point when sometimes I’m blinded by cadmium yellow!
 
Final Approach – I’ve always been interested in the various forms of travel – with its constraints – regulations and sometimes – absurdities - a cruise ship for instance is absolutely absurd – but forgetting its function is a great piece of sculpture – a magnificent art work – my first significant work in this area was a painting called The Flyer  - of an aeroplane – at the point of lift off – where the tail of the plane is seemingly scrapping the runway as it lifts off to the sky at an alarming angle.
 
In my work I avoid a ‘literary’ rendering of a subject – but rather – re-invent an object – or see another way to show something – with an element of surprise perhaps.
 
Final Approach – is a view of an aeroplane descending after a long flight. Where it starts to shudder and out of the window, you can see the lit streets of the city – and even make out cars and traffic moving below.
 
This last phase of the flight is called the final approach – as the plane aligns itself to the runway – for the landing. In this painting – I have painted eight small planes of various sizes – surrounding the large composition – they are like small satellites to the ‘mother ship’ flying along.
 
The five – Urban Garden works are my latest works that are included in this exhibition – they are my latest probe in seeking a new direction – I think of Philip Guston – and his last stand – where he jettisoned his previous long standing abstractions and barged into his new territory with gusto – shocking critics and his followers – it took a while to re-gain acceptance – and admiration.
 
Now that I’m 80 – I understand Guston’s attitude even more so – these garden works have allowed me – to loosen up and search for new possibilities – it is important not to tread water as you age…
 
Melbourne Promenade – my fascination with cartography goes back a long way – when I began looking at the ‘picture maps’ of Antiquity – from the early attempts of maps of the world – the legacy of the geographer Ptolemy and on to the medieval picture maps of towns etc… They were the basis of my ‘modern day’ picture maps – of Melbourne – Sydney – Venice – Barcelona - New York – Boston – and others – some cities are imagined – some like the Melbourne paintings - come from local knowledge – Melbourne Promenade – is a schematic view of Melbourne – where I can emphasise certain aspects of the city – Melbourne is a city that likes a parade or some sporting or cultural event – or a promenade.
 
It is often said that one should not try to describe one’s works - it’s become an adage to say - let the work speak for itself  - and generally I agree with that notion - however, there are times when some specific work can do with some introductory description - and to say no at every turn can be a bit precious and holier than thou…
 
So for good or bad I have tried to respond to some of the questions that were put to me about work that’s included in this exhibition. My comments here have been simply an attempt to describe - and note the circumstances of their production. I believe that an interesting painting or artwork in any medium firstly has to have some original quality - messages and causes, no matter how worthy, are of ‘secondary importance’. I think you can still make relevant comment and be enriched by simply looking at paintings."
 

- Jan Senbergs, February 2020

 
Not quite the last picture show
Niagara Galleries
3-28 March 2020
High Wire cover image

Euan Macleod: High Wire

Euan Macleod has collaborated with author, Lloyd Jones to create a hardback book, weaving together words and pictures in the first of Massey University Press' kõrero series. The venture aims to explore the potential of images and writing to compliment and elevate one another.

The book will be available to purchase from Massey University Press in April.

Glenn Barkley, Socrates with fancy curved handles, shells and mount, 2019. Earthenware. 300 x 240 x 100mm

Glenn Barkley: Jhana Millers Gallery

Glenn Barkley's solo exhibition, Higher beings reveal mystic truths, is on show for the next three weeks at Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand. The exhibtion is featured as part of Fired Up: festival of ceramics.

Higher beings reveal mystic truths
Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington, NZ
21 February - 14 March 2020

Bakhiya, installation view, image courtesy of Threshold Art Gallery

Rubaba Haider: Threshold Art Gallery

Works by Rubaba Haider are included in the group exhibition, Bakhiya, at Threshold Art Gallery in New Delhi. The practice of bakhiya (stitching) is understood as a symbol of the meditative activity of not letting things fall apart - repurposing rather than discarding. The exhibition explores themes of resilience and the acceptance of imperfection through works related to this practice.

Bakhiya
Threshold Art Gallery, New Delhi, India
10 January - 29 February 2020

Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Brenda L. Croft: NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT PRIZE 2020

Congratulations to Brenda L. Croft, who has been shortlisted for the 2020 National Photographic Portrait Prize. An exhibition of finalists work will be held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra from March and then tour New South Wales and Queensland througout the year and into 2021. The winner will be announced on the 19th of March.

National Photographic Portrait Prize
National Portrait Gallery
6 March – 10 May 2020 and touring

Euan Macleod, Orange Sky, 2020, oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm, NockArt Gallery

Euan Macleod: NockArt Gallery

In October, Euan Macleod will be exhibiting at NockArt Gallery alongside Rodney Pople in an exhibition titled Shadows: Hong Kong 2020. Paintings by the artists will explore themes of alienation, tenacity, defiance and impudence in relation to the physical and political lanscape of contemporary Hong Kong.

Shadows: Hong Kong 2020
NockArt Gallery, Hong Kong
Opening in October 2020

Paint vs Colour, installation view, Five Walls, 2020

Steven Rendall and Michelle Grabner: Five Walls

Works by Steven Rendall and Michelle Grabner are included in Five Walls' current exibition, Paint vs Colour. The exhibition presents a vibrant selection of works by over 40 artists from 12 countries, whoes work reflects contemporary approaches to colour-focused painting.

Paint vs Colour
Five Walls, Melbourne
12 - 29 February 2020

Brenda L. Croft Self Portrait Wave Hill no 4, 25 June 2014 from Self-portraits on country, 2014 pigment print

Brenda L. Croft: Geraldton Regional Art Gallery

Still in My Mind. Gurindji location, experience and visuality - an exhibition curated by Brenda L. Croft - is on display at Geraldton Regional Art Gallery throughout February. Through primarily audio visual media, the exhibition explores the lasting impact of the Gurindji Walk-Off, an important event in Australian history, with powerful resonances within contemporary Australia.

Still in My Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality
Geraldton Regional Art Gallery
1 Februrary - 7 March 2020

 

Crying river, laughing liver

Angela Brennan: Artery Cooperative

Work by Angela Brennan will be exhibited as part of the Artery Cooperative's two day exhibition, Crying river, laughing liver alongside Manisha Anjali and Mel Deerson.

Crying river, laughing liver
Artery Cooperative project space, Northcote
Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 February 2020

Patterns, installation view, left: Michelle Grabner, Untitled, 2019, right: Sheila Hicks, Reine des glaciers, 2019, Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie

Michelle Grabner: Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie

Michelle Grabner is exhibiting alongside Sheila Hicks, Edda Renouf, Dan Walsh and Stephen Westfall in Patterns, an exhibition at Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie in Switzerland. The exhibition is an exploration of repetition, equilibrium and aesthetic rhythms.
 

Patterns
Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie, Switzerland
14 December 2019 – 28 February 2020

Rick Amor, Journey, 2007, oil on canvas, 116 x 130cm

Rick Amor: Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

Rick Amor's work is included in the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery's current exhibtion, Sublime Sea: Rapture and Reality, by guest curator Dr Vivien Gaston. The emersive exhibition brings together objects and fine art pieces related to the sea and its mythic histories.

Sublime Sea: Rapture and Reality
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria
14 December 2019 - 23 February 2020

image courtesy of Zan Wimberley and Lyon Housemuseum

Jennifer Joseph: Lyon Housemuseum

Jennifer Joseph's work is included in the current exhibition In Full View: Works from the Lyon Collection at the new Housemuseum Galleries in Kew. Four works by Joseph (pictured directly to the left of and above the doorway in the image above) feature in this exhibition, which has been curated to celebrate the diversity and depth of works in the Lyon Collection.

In Full View: Works from the Lyon Collection
Housemuseum Galleries, Melbourne
until Sunday, 26 January 2020

Ebony Truscott, Bucket with drawing board, cloth and inhaler, 2019, oil on linen, 77 x 61cm

NOW REPRESENTING: Ebony Truscott

Niagara Galleries is excited to announce the representation of Ebony Truscott

The acutely observed detail of Ebony Truscott's paintings and works on paper reveal the artist's interest, not only in describing the visible, but also in depicting tactile and spatial experience.

Truscott's subjects are drawn from her immediate surroundings and include contemporary objects related to the body and the home: ventolin inhalers, earplugs, bricks, fruit and light bulbs are repeated motifs. The tradition of vanitas and still life painting is apparent here (the objects are used, fruit looks soft) and points to the passage of time, to human mortality.

Born in Warrnambool in 1977, Ebony Truscott completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 1997; and a Bachelor of Fine Art (First Class Honours) at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 2003. Exhibiting since 1995, Truscott's work is held in a number of public and private collections including: Deakin University Collection; The National Library of Australia, The State Library of Victoria, The Besen Collection; The Orloff Collection and The Athenaeum Club, Melbourne.

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