Showing posts with label Newcastle Art Gallery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newcastle Art Gallery. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2014

bill henson - across time

It's very rare that a person is afforded the chance to meet an idol, let alone the opportunity to interview them in a room with their work. For me, that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity occurred with Bill Henson when he came to Newcastle to generously offer his time sharing his wisdom with an enraptured audience. I arrived early which gave me a chance to settle in to a back row seat while Henson spoke to over 150 high school students who'd come to listen to his lecture.

Lucky kids.

He was so generous. He obviously wanted to share his talent and his passion - calling regularly for questions and spending an extraordinary amount of time giving detailed, intelligent answers.

I hope most of them went home inspired. 

I know I did.

Newcastle Art Gallery is currently hosting Across Time, a collection of Henson's work stretching from around 1974 to the early 2000s. Breathtaking works from his Paris Opera Garnier series feature, as well as haunting landscapes with a saturation of colour that makes you sink deep into the frame, pondering what's in the richly-hued depths.

With a Bill Henson display there is one consistency - the walls. They're a special colour that Henson specifically mixed to showcase his work perfectly. It's a deep, dark, velvety brown. Rich, yet unobtrusive. On this background the works pop.

For an artist, it's rare that they have the chance to see their work in a collection once it leaves their hands. It's only when it's on display that they have the opportunity to explore it again, seen through a curator's eyes. I loved watching Bill Henson rediscovering his works in Newcastle, and discussing the cohesion of colour in all these works, as diverse as they are.

Henson says that darkness expands the suggestive potential of a photograph. "The palette is quite subdued in the Opera Garnier works - the light on the audience is the light that's reflected from the stage. And there's uplighting too - which we're not used to - they create an ethereal and unreal atmosphere. When they asked me to do that commission it was interesting as they told me it could be anything - I could design sets, photograph the building anything. But watching the audience gather together with a sense of anticipation, I found that fascinating."

These works are stunning - with a haunting quality that's beautiful and begs for closer inspection. Bill Henson has a very distinctive photographic style, it's considered more painterly than your typical photographs. I asked him how he came upon this style, and he said he didn't set out to develop one - everything's just determined by the individual picture.

He works in groups of photographs, considering each of them as they relate to the other - which is probably how this style is formed - we're seeing a world through his eyes.

That's a true artist, someone who doesn't work thinking about what an audience wants to see - but what he wants to show them. His final piece of advice to the students, and something that's still ringing in my ears, is: "Be true to yourself and don't stop working."

Seeing photographs like these hung in an exhibition is an experience that many deny themselves, "The funny thing about photography is it suffers more than any other artform in that if people think they've seen a reproduction somewhere they think they've seen it," said Henson. "But it's really important to have the experience of seeing the photographs in person - hung with so many others. Seeing an exhibition gives you so much scope for your imagination. Contemplation and deeper examination requires silence and a little bit of time."

Bill Henson: Across Time is on display at Newcastle Art Gallery until February 2 - don't miss it!

And what do you do when you meet an internationally-renowned photographer? You take a selfie with them and pop it on Instagram. Natch.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

too much fun!

Last night my hubby and I went with some friends to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery and it was a hoot! Everyone was all frocked up, there was a DJ spinning awesome tunes, and Bob Downe was as hysterically fabulous as always. There was also a vintage photobooth where we got these cute shots to remember the night {everyone looks better in black and white don't you think?}

I got very crafty and framed it using the invitation from opening night as the background matt. Cute non?

Here's a few shots from the night - Newcastle Art Gallery sure knows how to throw a party!

The Prince of Polyester serenaded us. Bless.

There was fair-dinkum dancing around the handbags while drinking tequila sunrises - these gals know how to commit to a look bless them.

If there's ever anyone who knows how to 'strike a pose' it's Bob Downe. 

Oh no, is that Bob with a *gasp* woman? A very foxy woman in fact… Jane sure does know how to party - and I think she loves the Gallery as much as I do. 

There was always a line-up for the vintage photobooth - such an awesome way to record an awesome night. What a blast!

Can we do it again?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

glamarama wrap party - giveaway!

Hey, have you been to see the extraordinary vintage fashion exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery yet? After Five: Fashions from the Darnell Collection is an absolute must-see. Sadly, it ends on November 10 but excitingly I have TWO TICKETS to giveaway to the Glamarama Wrap Party on Saturday November 9! Taking place from 6 to 9.30pm this party will involve much entertainment, delicious canap├ęs and cocktails from Silo Restaurant and Lounge and the fabulous Bob Downe as host!

There'll also be music from DJ Eoin who'll be spinning tunes from the all the eras represented by the fashions - from the 1920s to today! FUN! 

Want to come? For your chance to win, simply tell me which era you'll come dressed in homage to and why and I shall select a winner.

Will it be the fabulous 40s as epitomised by Dior's New Look?

The flirty 50s? {Oh look, another Dior!}

The sexy 70s? {That Halston, in the middle - to die for}

Excessive 80s perhaps?

So tell me, tell me do. Which era most suits you? 

The winner will be drawn on Wednesday November 6.

To book your tickets {because c'mon, this is a bring a bunch of gal-pals kinda night} call 4974 5111. Tickets are $55 or $50 if you're a member of the Gallery Society. Frock up and be fabulous as there'll also be a vintage photobooth on location so you can take away some cute snaps of the night.

Good luck - and I'll see you there - I've already bought my tickets! {Hey, I've only seen the exhibition four times so far, and I'm a HUGE Bob Downe fan, oh, and a cocktail fan...}

Saturday, February 09, 2013

art in life

A few weeks ago I went to the Newcastle Art Gallery for a sushi and sake night, and while I was there I fell a bit in love with the works of Del Kathryn Barton. This is one of them - gorgeous isn't it?

The artworks are based on the classic Oscar Wilde story The Nightingale and the Rose. In real life they're just extraordinary. The saturation of hues, and the incredible dots that Barton uses in her work make for a work that's so extraordinarily tactile I had to view everything with my hands behind my back. Just gorgeous.

I was naughty and snapped off this pic - I love the way that people interacted with the pieces - up close, far away, head cocked to the side. They're not glance and move on pieces.

Today Del Kathryn Barton was in conversation with the Associate Director of the Art Gallery, and it was a fascinating insight into how the works come about. And how she works. I'm intrigued by how creative people work - and Barton's no exception. She fits her work into long 10 to 12 hour stints at the start of the week - trying to knock the top off of as much as possible in this time.

Because these pieces were devised as artwork for a book the question was asked, "Why not just do a series of drawings? Why work on large scale paintings that took up years?". I loved the answer. I'll be paraphrasing, but Barton effectively said that she worked on each piece and gave it the space she needed. She had 10 canvases, all different sizes and shapes - and that each painting just evolved.

I loved this answer. I think that's why these pieces work so well - they're individual.

Here's the book that resulted. Isn't it just glorious? The exhibition is on display until February 17 - go see it.

I love supporting the Art Gallery, and today I finally signed up for family membership. I adore these events they come up with to share art with a wider audience - today's talk was packed with art-lovers of varying ages and interests (and one fabulous pair of leopard-skin legs).

What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, particularly when it's with a friend and it's sandwiched between coffee and a spot of shopping on Darby Street.

Life's good huh?

French word of the day: poser (po-sehr) - to put.

ps: art gallery peeps, don't get mad, I found the shots of the artwork online, I didn't take them myself! Well, you know, aside from those two that I obviously took, but hey, that's not *really* of the artwork is it? And I didn't use a flash, and had my volume down, so, you know, not like doing anything at all really!

pps: two official images from here.