Monday, October 3, 2016

Taking the Arts by the Horns and Momo Hatley-Couper and Kali Sunshine Barcala

 Current Exhibitions at NAS
The countdown is on to stage the last exhibitions and events to be held at Newcastle Art Space in its current location in Parry Street.  With the closure of the Newcastle Community Arts Centre and NAS due December 2016/Early 2017 period the last months are upon us and there is still a lot of art to experience.

Gallery 1

Taking the Arts by the Horns

Hannah Simonovich, Sarah Box, Leslie Duffin, Patrick Mavety, Lauren Horwood, Ellie Kauffmann, Mark St Clair, Maggie Hall, Sharon Cooper, Joerg Lehmann, Jordan Fardell, Louisa Magrics, John Barnes, Neal Booth, Christina Frogley, Ahn Wells, Peter Lankas, Stephanie Gobor, Chris Byrnes, Melissa Bull, Michelle Schmitzer, Nadia Aurisch, Nathan Keogh, Aaron McGarry.
Lto R Details from works by John Barnes, Neal Booth, Melissa Bull, Chris Byrnes, 
Christina Frogley, Sharon Cooper, Leslie Duffin, Ellie Kauffmann
This showcases the works of those with connections to NAS particularly people actively involved with NAS over the last eight months.  The group includes exhibiting artists at all stages of their careers, teachers, students, past prize winners of NEAP, and the considerable number of volunteer workers all in one space.  The NAS gallery was originally started by the tenants of the Newcastle Community Arts Centre as a venue to help artists take further steps towards professional development. 
Lto R Details from works by Stephanie Gobor, Jordan Fardell, Nathan Keogh, Laura Horewood,
Aaron McGarry, Peter Lankas, Maggie Hall, Louisa Margics
It has offered a space to show work, the opportunity to gain experience with administration, learn to understand artists’ contractual obligations with galleries, and provided a venue for other art pursuits, community groups and art-related ventures.  It has fostered links between the art and business world both locally and wider. It has been a meeting place for the art community as a whole.  NAS continues to do what it was set up to do with twenty-four artists displaying a diverse range of work across most disciplines.

L to R Details of works by Sarah Box, Nadia Aurisch, Michelle Schmitzer, Patrick Lavety, 
Ahn Wells, Hannah Simonovich, Joerg Lehmann and Mark St. Clair, .

If you have not been to NAS or not recently, come in and see the work, visit the space and the NCAC site and bid farewell for now.  I feel a little sentimental and melancholy about the change of venue myself, but only momentarily so, because it is clear there are brighter opportunities ahead for the arts in Newcastle. We still cannot take the future for granted though and must continue to work towards a desirable new beginning.

Gallery 2


Momo Hatley-Couper and Kali Sunshine Barcala

Gallery 2 is alive with colour, lights and with a dynamic and youthful energy.  Both exhibiting artists are in the third year of a Bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Newcastle and hope to extend their education in the coming year.  Both artists spoke of an interest and belief in the power of art as therapy and are using creativity to show their experiences of living in a changing world, one with wonder, passions and tribulations at the heart of humanity. Underneath the colour and lights there lies a deeper consciousness and experiences that all is not right with the world. The works are very much about hope and the beauty of our world.

Momo Hatley-Couper

Momo, (so named by her parents from the Japanese for little peach), Hatley-Couper, works confidently with ceramics and uses them well as devices to talk about war or rather as anti-war statements.  Her face masks “Grenade” are impressed with a hand grenade resplendent in gold glaze along with wire pieces woven through the mask. At first glance “Peacenik” looks like white earthenware vessels or large platters.  Closer inspection reveals a grenade this time protruding from a representation of the female genitalia in the centre of each vessel.  In one work the grenade has transformed itself into a bird – dove of peace perhaps, about to take flight and be released from the centre. Regardless of the ugliness and toxicity of such a topic, in Momo’s hands the materials retain a sense of the beautiful which often presents a dichotomy in art as an artist approaches the ‘more difficult’ aspects of the world.   
Images of some of Momo Hatley-Couper's work in Gallery 2
A large work reads as a figure of mother earth or Mother Nature to me although another viewer might find another meaning. It is called “Witch” and depicts a female form with tentacle-like branches reaching out into the surrounding space, with the tentacles representing the soul. Momo spoke of referencing her drawing style into the 3D works. A small series of black and white photographs refer to the psychology of the artist. My favourite was a small bronze work and its title tells its own story, “Ever since I was little I’ve had a mind full of mountains and worries equally as big”.

Momo spoke about her continuing search for enlightment being at the core of her life.

Contact Momo:

Phone: 0439251634 or instagram: momo.artist

Kali Sunshine Barcala

Kali Sunshine Barcala finds making art a necessity and uses it as a search for understanding and uses personal experience to create her work.  Dreams, people, phases of light and personal growth are all topics and impetus for her making.  Again, her ceramics are the strongest and in her set of three torso and mask works “Mind Cast”, Kali uses her own body for the ceramic casts that she referred to as self – portraits.  They are painted with images from the plant and animal life Kali clearly loves and are festooned with beautiful marks and rich colours over the surface.   
Images of some of the works by Kali Sunshine Barcala in Gallery 2
Two large fantasy ceramic creatures span the divide between human, not quite human / amphibious, not quite amphibious and are titled: “Keepers of the Deep”.  These figures are covered with crystals and lights.  The female figure wears an open-headed crown made up of pieces suggesting coral, sea creatures and the underwater world.  Kali spoke of her awareness and concern for the current bleaching of Australia’s coral reefs and these concerns are referenced within the work.  Kali includes a series of works which suggest connections to dreaming and includes images of family amongst self –portraits.

Contact Kali:

Phone: 0402597898

Social Media: Kali Sunshine Art


Monday, September 19, 2016

Augmented and Beyond Casablanca - Newcastle Art Space

Gallery 1


Christina Frogley and Louisa Magrics

Two quite different approaches to the topic of Augmented have been realised by these artists.   Christina takes direction from her homeland in Central West NSW where family have resided for over five generations.  This is where Christina returns to connect with family and the land after her busy life.  Christina works in marketing with NAS, is studying in a Masters programme (marketing) and runs her own graphic design business.  Christina also works with Ahn Wells at Gallery 139 assisting with marketing and graphic design.  The strongest works for me are the larger charcoal drawings.  There is a strength and confidence in how the materials and processes are handled.

Images from some of the fabulous works on display from Christina Frogley

From her artist statement:

Augmented explores the way land and nature can change over time with the presence of people.   Remnants band together with the natural landscape, becoming inextricably connected.  Exploration and documentation of the land represents nostalgia for home; a route to depart from (and return to) while exploring life elsewhere.

Contact Christina at:

View works at:

Louisa Magrics is studying for her Master Philosophy (Fine Art), won the Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize (NEAP) last year, and is also a musician/drummer.

Her research is influenced by Frei Otto and the Institute of Lightweight Structures.  Some of the works on display are small scale models for larger constructions. Louisa has an installation coming up on 23rd September as part of the 4-year anniversary of Oxford Art Party. You can join Louisa at Watt Space on 30th September in a crocheting workshop where participants will contribute to the development of a large scale artwork. Louisa talked about her work being ‘form finding’ and realised through a mediated process with digital technology. 

A small segment of form works by Louisa Magrics

From her artist statement:

Research explores crochet as a basis for painterly and sculptural discourse, coupled with an investigation of formal patterns and environmental concerns.  The work translates elements of logical, deductive reasoning, but seeks to infer wider meaning conjured by the ambiguous, sometimes bodily, subject matter. Exploring an aesthetic discourse between the organic and the synthetic, Augmented is an investigation of experimentation.

Contact Louisa: @LouisaMagrics

Gallery 2

Beyond Casablanca

Pamela Ireland, Olga Juskiw and Melody Jones

Vibrant walls of imagery envelope as you enter Gallery 2.  This exhibition is the result of two weeks travelling and working in Morocco during 2015 by three artists.  Their tutor was Wendy Sharpe.

Olga is a retired art teaching returning to Newcastle after working in Albury-Wodonga over the years.  Olga’s focus was drawn to the domestic animals as evident in her work.

A sectional view of larger scale full colour images from Olga Juskiw

Melody Jones’ work was highly commended in the recent Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize (NEAP) in the Works on Paper section.   Her works in this exhibition depict a variety of subject matter from this travel experience.  The strongest of these, are the shrouded faces, which are predominantly mono-prints on Japanese papers.

The eyes have it.  Some of the mono-prints from Melody Jones

Pamela Ireland is passionate about art and regularly travels to India for inspiration.  This is her first overseas workshop. Pamela has rendered her works predominantly in gouache and charcoal and found inspiration amongst the streets, people and landscape.

The colourful people of Morocco - sample images from Pamela Ireland

All three women spoke with joy about their experience.  As women sometimes walking alone at night, they all felt safe in the main cities of Morocco.  The place was alive with colour and traditional culture and dress and this vibrancy of life is reflected in the works.  The group are planning on taking the exhibition to other venues.

Contact: Pamela Ireland at:

Contact: Olga at:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Q & A with Karen Tipper Winner Packer Prize Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize 2016

Winner Packer Prize 2016 - Karen Tipper

Morning Journey by Karen Tipper

What did winning a prize at NEAP mean to you?

This was the first time I’d entered an art competition so winning the Packers Prize will always be very special to me. I’m delighted that Greg chose ‘Morning Journey’ for the Packers Prize above all the other finalist entries – he said that when he looked at my painting it was ‘a place he wanted to be’.

What is the winning work about?

Every day Clyde, our cat, travels from the stool to the chairs to the ottoman following the morning journey of the warmth of the winter sunlight. It was a scene that drew little attention until the day I was beguiled by the light. An ordinary view had become extraordinary and my gosh, it was beautiful.

What medium, processes and techniques did you use?

‘Morning Journey’ is oil on canvas.

What is ahead in the next twelve months?

More painting! I’m working towards a group exhibition at Finite Gallery, Caves Beach from 2
nd December – 18th December (, and also my first solo exhibition in 2017.

Contact Karen at:
Facebook:  or search for @KarenTipperArtist

Friday, September 2, 2016

Q & A from 2016 NEAP prize winners Dylan Smyth and Libby Eckersley

 Winner Photo-media Dylan Smyth
Harbour by Dylan Smyth


What did winning a prize at NEAP mean to you?
Winning the photo-media section of NEAP means further recognition and a chance to more broadly share my work in the local area. The prize money is also of great help as I am investing it in framing and printing for some of my future projects.

What is the winning work about?
I think of my entry as a snapshot of life in Newcastle as it is today.
To me the image represents the tensions and competing interests between Newcastle's traditional industries and it's more recent urban renewal. The image is taken from Honeysuckle which today is an area of recreation and leisure but was previously a part of the working port. It looks towards the grain silos and working docks of Carrington. I see the ship which is moving through the scene as a kind of representation of modern progress i.e. moving forward. Of course it's also a bloody big ship. Visually it's saying hey we are here (we being industry) and we aren't going anywhere. The tugboats always fascinate me as well, that tether between ship and tug, plus the disturbed water between ship and tug shows such a fascinating visual tension.

What medium, processes and techniques did you use?
This image is shot on a 35mm film camera. Photographing the harbour and city is an ongoing process for me; I shoot it from all sides, even from a kayak at times. I've photographed countless ships from many viewpoints. The day I took this image I was commuting to work along the foreshore and as I noticed the ship I quickly found a viewpoint and arranged the image. It was one of those rare but amazing times when an image falls into place as the lady in the foreground began to walk into the area where I was.

What is ahead in the next twelve months?
I have a lot of things happening actually. I've very recently started selling more of my works online so preparing that has taken a bit of my time recently. Shortly I will be launching a new book project following up from my previous 2hrsnorth project which photographed all the suburbs of Newcastle. I'm also working on a project documenting suburban architecture and finally I'm preparing work for an exhibition at Photoaccess in Canberra which involves lots of work building and photographing models. That work is a dialogue about photography and the processes behind image-making which are not always evident. So I'm obviously super busy and really looking forward to those different projects hitting the public space in the coming months.

Contact Dylan at:

Winner Works on Paper Libby Eckersley
Libby with her winning work 1M 2.1.1

What did winning a prize at NEAP mean to you? 
Winning the prize for 'Works on Paper' was a huge encouragement. Making art is a process so often filled with doubt. Doubt, not just in terms of what you are doing, but about the amount of time you spend doing it. The support awards like NEAP provides, boosts morale and provides important feedback about the reception of your work. 

What is the winning work about? 
I use drawing and print media to order thought and drive the creative process. The work, in a sense, is about the quality of thought material thinking provides. 

What medium, processes and techniques did you use? 
The work is a screen print of a drawing, of a photo, taken of a prior artwork called Information Mutations, 2015. For that piece, I cut and plaited strips of newspaper into long strands. The practice is process driven, and takes advantage of the ruptures that occur from one medium to the next. 

What is ahead in the next twelve months? 
The next twelve months will see me immersed in my PhD candidature. I will undertake further making, reading and writing on processes of this kind. 

Contact Libby at: