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:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize 2016

Last few days left to see the NEAP winners for 2016.  Yes, I am late, very late in blogging about the exhibition but this in no way reflects anything beyond my difficult time management.  While I initially had involvement with the early stages of this award, I stepped back and so was able to see the event as an outsider, although an outsider with an insider understanding of what it all means and what it takes to stage such an event.

With the end of the Newcastle Community Arts Centre’s current leasing arrangements, and therefore the end of Newcastle Art Space (NAS) Gallery’s location drawing closer, the 2016 NEAP marks a significant historical point in Newcastle’s art history.

My general comments are that overall the works appeared to be of a similar level of art expertise, although it was obvious to me that sculpture and 4D were in fact the strongest group.  While the exhibition hanging display was extremely well organised, it prevented the viewer from judging across categories.  There was little opportunity to gauge how each work related to others in a particular section.  Even reading the media information on the catalogue did not necessarily inform if the work was submitted in one particular category.  I personally would have liked to see the works hung in their categories so the initial visual impact could be seen clearly against each work.  I do understand though, that this often means a less attractive hanging situation.

While I understand the judges’ decisions and the reasons behind each choice, I still take the general perspective that the only people who (totally) agree with the judges are the judges themselves, the winners and others with no vested interest in any work or particular artist.  Everyone else has their own subjective view.  Overall works that drew me personally in for a variety of reasons, be they winners or not, were Ellie Kaufmann’s painting because it leaps off the wall with youth and vitality, and Cheridan Chard’s interesting painting which required quieter contemplation and spoke to me as much about the artist behind the work as the work itself, and thus was a richer experience for me the viewer.  It is no secret that I live in the world of photography and that is somewhat a separate world in some ways from the collective term photo-media general.  The works that spoke about photography and on photography were Dylan Smyth’s colour film image,  a black and white graphic / drawing style work categorised as a photograph by Jesse Henderson, and Scott Probst’s work which appears to reference the medium of photography (analogue) as much as the image itself.  Of course, my interest in alternative and historical photography was well covered by Danielle Minett, Dylan Reilly and Robyn Davis. All the 4D works were worthy winners even though in a small category.  The Works on Paper section always covers a vast range of techniques and ideas with paper as the main support.  There were a number of fine drawings and works in this category.

Overall, this has been a great event for Newcastle and art practitioners. There were some absences though of artists that I believed would fulfil the entry requirements so I can only assume they are now further established along in their careers. With such an anti-art plague infesting Australia within higher levels of decision-making areas at the moment, remember behind each art work is an artist always in need of support regardless of such decisions and artists will still want to make art.

Today Friday 2nd September through to Sunday 4th September are the last days to see these works.  These kind of exhibitions provide the best (and often the cheapest) time to support artists when they need it most.

I know I have said it before but my favourite bumper sticker pretty much says “if you want to support an artist – they all accept cash”.

P.S. I hope to post comments from the winners as soon as possible.