Friday, February 12, 2016

Currently on Show
Beauty and Smoke
Joerg Lehmann
Gallery 1

Images: Joerg Lehmann
Joerg Lehmann is stepping onto the centre stage at Newcastle Art Space with a large new body of work.  His attachment, dedication and passion for all things Film Noir is clearly on display in Gallery 1.  The walls are laden with signs of his connection to the power of light.  Images as individual story lines are precisely lit with artificial studio lighting or outdoor available lighting.  Joerg always refers to these works as being collaborative works between photography, hair and makeup artists, models and designers who set the stage and develop each sequence.   Film Noir does carry with it the nostalgia of times now spent, of a memory attached to viewing the first black and white photography, and acknowledgement of the stylised constructions that both form and inform these works.  They are just such a joy to look at and imagine the story, the situation, the drama and the characters.  Stepping into the experience may provide a temporary step away from the everyday-ness of our lives and allow an opportunity to fantasise, to imagine oneself in the images, in costume with another persona.   Write your own story of connection to the works or engage with Joerg’s.  For me personally, the most rewarding images are those without people or with just a suggestion of the human, where I have the freedom to write my own narrative over the surface and I do love atmospheric spaces.  Just fabulous.

Our Vessel, Our Gender, Our Sexuality, Our Selves
I Am Series
Kalinda Nelson-Boyd
Gallery 2
Images: Kalinda Nelson-Boyd on opening night with 2 examples of her work
 Kalinda Nelson-Boyd is exhibiting work from her recent Bachelor of Fine Art Honours collection.  On her artist statement Kalinda refers to her work as being …… “A celebration of non-conformity in the individual construction of femininity, sexuality and gender...  Kalinda challenges historical and religious underpinnings within a western cultural context”.

Kalinda photographs people mostly in tight interior spaces and then draws out a new image across the surface.  The background image appears classical and uses a rich colour palette in which to play out her conversation.  She scribbles and breaks down the barriers of the body surface below.  In this way Kalinda defaces and re-writes the idea of ‘the norm’, whatever the ‘norm’ is, and layers her figures with altered states of our humanity, with a fluidity of gender and sexuality.

Technically these are digital photographs with a separate drawing made on thin paper and sandwiched together with the photograph in a computer environment.

Within this construct Kalinda depicts her female subjects as being all woman in the natural raw state of existence, all knowing, in proud display of all body parts, some unshaven, slightly dishevelled, without fear (or perhaps in spite of fear) of censorship or adherence to any traditional cultural ‘norm’. 

A work from this series I Am No. 4 (not on show in the gallery), was selected as a finalist in the Contemporary Art Awards 2015
This particular work started me looking to find ways to connect with the work.  I saw her work last year at the Honours show, and at first I was uncertain how to approach the work.  The harder I looked at this small image of a female-like figure in full frontal pose, challenging us to accept her, to acknowledge her, the more I discovered. Perhaps it is my age, and acknowledgment that everything in art now reminds me of something else as an automatic normal reaction, but it is difficult to disconnect my initial thoughts about the pose in I Am No. 4 from the naked female courtesan depicted in Edouard Manet’s Olympia from 1863.  Olympia also turns her eyes to the viewer and does not hide from her body and sexual identity.  Both poses challenge the viewer to accept the notion of female as a powerful, independent force rather than a passive figure attached to a set of specific traits and physical attributes.  Then I went back and had a second look at Kalinda’s work, wondering if I was way off track with these connections.  Olympia is lost from my memory as Kalinda pushes the idea of non-conformity further onto her surfaces and dissolves the labels of gender and sexuality.

I love the Freddy Mercury look-a -like image, because of the colour palette and how it is positioned within the frame.  Although a masculine figure on the surface, he is resplendent with the drawn edition of female lingerie.  The colour palette and composition remind me (here I go again) of a beautifully tonal Rembrandt and I think of the woman with her fleshy legs exposed as she attends to her bathing in Bathsheba at Her Bath finished in 1654 and the colour palette from  A Woman bathing in a Stream  from 1654. Am I looking to find comfort by identifying traditional and historical representations of the body within the image?  I stepped closer into the frame, looked closer and deeper and of course, spoke to the artist which is sometimes the most important element I think. The actual discussion about the work is important, to clarify, accept, challenge and ultimately understand the concept and methodologies involved.  Seeing what is presented on the surface is seldom enough.  Knowing what lies behind and underneath the surface is often more significant.

Our Vessel, Our Gender, Our Sexuality, Our Selves
Body Works Series
Phoebe Turnbull
Gallery 2
Images: Phoebe Turnbull

Phoebe Turnbull is a dancer, actor and artist.  The works on display are from her recent HSC work entitled Body Works.  Currently Phoebe is performing in Maitland Repertory Theatre’s production of Therese Raquin.  A review is available at:
Phoebe talked about her interest and observations of the different ways male and female bodies inhabit and move within a physical space.  As a dancer and actor, Phoebe would understand how her body should be positioned on the stage or on a physical platform.  We talked of her interest in watching the TED series of pod casts.  One in particular by Amy Cuddy, a Social  Psychologist, relates to power postures that increase the release of testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, depending on the particular body position adopted.  Phoebe has impressed words from this pod cast into a clay bodice form.  Link to the podcast can be found at:

Phoebe’s blue and pink costumed figures link to the assignment of a particular colour to a specific traditional and historical gender, i.e. the notion of pink for girl babies and blue for boy babies.  The doll figures have no identifying traits about their sexuality with only one large eye representing their faces. There is a video about the work for viewing.

All the works in the gallery invite conversation and debate about our bodies, our perceptions and how others view us.  Are we not all ‘just human’ under the skin.  A fascinating mix of imagery, techniques, media and concepts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year 2016

New Co-Directors

New Committee and Volunteer Members

New Directions 
‘8 by 10’

NAS First Exhibition 2016 

Gallery 1 and 2

January 21 to February 7

Our new Co-Directors for the Newcastle Art Space gallery, Melissa Bull and Jordan Fardell have hit the ground running with the first show 8 x 10.  With the opportunity to submit one work in a gallery space with an outlay of only $20 for the entry fee, the exhibition has attracted an influx of new faces as well as regular contributors to our exhibitions. What other space in Newcastle permits artists to step into in the art world or test their work to an art audience in such a way.  
L to R works by Michelle Schmitzer, Sharon Williams, Cherie Wren, Sharon Risdale
There is a strong display of ceramics in particular, some exciting photographic works, accomplished works in mixed media and a significant range of works across all media.  Although small in scale they are large with inventiveness, commitment and energy. Small works are popular with buyers as it is far easier for an art collector to fit a number of 8” x 10” works on a wall or to squeeze another small work into an almost overflowing space.  
L to R Dorothy Compton, Christina Frogley, Christine Hogan, Chris Byrnes
A perfect marketing tool (can't quite believe I am actually saying that!) for an artist to showcase a small sample of their work to perhaps gain commissions to make larger work as well.
Small works are popular with buyers as it is far easier for an art collector to fit a number of 8” x 10” works on a wall or to squeeze another small work into an almost overflowing space.  A perfect marketing tool (can't quite believe I actually said that!) for an artist to showcase a small sample of their work to perhaps gain commissions to make larger work as well.
L to R Nadia Waugh, Vanessa Lewis, Gina Ermer, Simone Pilla

Official Opening is Friday 22nd January from 6pm and the exhibition runs until Sunday 7th  February

Some thoughts about small scale possibilities.

The notion of small scale works provides an opportunity for artists to work on a small scale, perhaps outside their usual scope and perhaps allows for a quicker achievable work ready in the New Year.  Small works have proven popular across art history with a notable early example being the 9 x 5 Impressionist Exhibition held in August 1889 in Buxton’s Rooms, Swanston Street Melbourne.  Several artists from the Heidelberg School, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, and Frederick McCubbin took part where artists painted on wooden cigar-box panels 9” x 5”.

In more recent time Linden Arts in St Kilda has included an annual event in their exhibition programme, the Linden Postcard Prize.  While we have no prize this year, we decided to show our own version with our postcard size scale set to 8”x10” to allow artists a little more freedom with scale.  For your interest you can view works from the Linden Arts Postcard Exhibition at:
The winner of the 2015 Portia Geach Memorial Award for female painters was Natasha Bieniek for her smaller scaled work, Sahara (self portrait), oil on wood.  Natasha in interview on a recent ABC Arts Programme, talked about  using a smaller scale that drew the viewer  into the work, to step up close to see and connect with the work.

Earlier in the year Natasha Bieniek's Biophilia won the Wynne Prize and is the smallest ever winning entry at only 9cm x 9cm.  Natasha stated "Because it's so small you have to get up so close to view it accurately, creating this intimate one-on-one "I want to pull [viewers] in to experience the subject ... Source:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Opening Friday 4th December at 6pm

Drawn Upstairs V and The Naked Truth #2

3 - 20 December 2015

Swiss artist Paul Klee stated that drawing is taking a line for a walk.
Paul Gauguin on drawing (supposedly) said:  A critic at my house sees some paintings. Greatly perturbed, he asks for my drawings. My drawings! Never! They are my letters, my secrets. Claude Monet (supposedly) said: I never draw except with brush and paint...

Drawing is still alive and well as an essential discipline in the arts arena, whether drawing for the very act of drawing itself, sketching en plein air as preparation for painting or printmaking, or drawing plans for a Marquette for a 3D construction.
The practice teaches us to look in order to see, to see in order to understand, and to then interpret this experience perhaps as a platform on which to build our observations. 

Drawing for the sake of drawing may be difficult, requiring close observation, or quick, spontaneous responses to particular elements.  It can also be great fun and adventurous when the conventions of the discipline are re-interpreted or discarded or when the artist ‘just lets go’ of pre-conceived ideas of what a drawing might be.
At Newcastle Art Space drawing from life is the focus with an exhibition highlighting the works of artists from three drawing experiences.  Gallery 1 Drawn Upstairs V shows work from Peter Lankas’ Newcastle Community Arts Centre (NCAC) and Ann Caddey’s Drawing Room artists. The Drawing Room Group currently meet at the Royal Exchange Hotel in Bolton Street Newcastle to draw and share a glass of wine in a relaxed environment.
In Gallery 2 The Naked Truth #2 works are on display from the Thursday morning life drawing group at NCAC.  This morning group allows intermediate or advanced students to work from a live model, without a tutor, share the experience with like-minded creatives and pay a fee of only $10.00 per class.  All groups then share an exhibition space to demonstrate and validate their practice and development of ideas and skill.
The range of techniques and styles always makes this an exciting annual exhibition. There are beautiful accomplished works, dramatic impressions, quirky interpretations and joyful playful ideas.  This is a must – see art experience.
Official opening night is Friday 4th December from 6pm. The exhibition runs from Thursday 3rd to Sunday 20th December and is the final exhibition for 2015. 
Next year promises to be an exciting one for NAS Gallery and one full of possibilities.   The appointment of new directors and committee members will allow NAS to further define and/or redefine its role and position within the local art landscape.  Thank you Ahn Wells for undertaking the director role with such enthusiasm and optimism, and for setting up future ventures and opportunities.  A thank you also to all previous directors and committee members who have all contributed to the success of NAS.  Ahn will be continuing her relationship with NAS as a mentor.  Exciting times ahead for 2016.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Opening night Friday 13th November at 6pm

In the Black

Dotei by Hide Koboyashi
Newcastle Art Space (NAS) gallery provides a venue for artists at any stage of their career to display their work to the wider community.  The gallery is managed by a team of volunteer workers.  Each year NAS holds two fund raiser exhibitions to support the gallery’s activities, including the annual Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize.  It is only through the generosity of such a collective community that the gallery continues.

Yellow Cactus by Christina Frogley
The most significant difference between NAS and other Newcastle galleries is the fact that the gallery does not take a commission from the artists for any sales they make during their exhibition.  This means if an art collector pays $250 for an artwork, the entire $250 goes directly back to the artist.  The annual fund raiser exhibitions are the only variation on this of course, with artists choosing to dedicate 50% or 100% of any sales back to NAS funding.
Pretty in Pink by Maggie Hall
The artists are familiar names on the art scene with some newcomers which is great to see. The price range for works in the current exhibition is $35 to $6,000 so there is a price point for everyone interested in adding to their collection, and an easy entry point for new collectors and even early Christmas shoppers looking for a unique gift.

Stormy Evening from The Hill by Kerrie Coles

The Last Stop by Peter Lankas

The exhibition opens Thursday 12th November and runs to 29th November with the official opening night this Friday 13th November at 6pm.  Dress in black.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Spring Salon
Last few days to see the NCAC studio artists at NAS gallery.  Open Thursday till 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12noon to 5pm.  If you are exhibiting don't forget to collect any unsold works from 4pm this Sunday 8th November.