Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NAS Gallery Studios' End - Art from the tenants of the Newcastle Community Arts Centre

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight

But go we must.    But not quite yet.....

The words from the Sound of Music are not resonating around the walls at Newcastle Art Space gallery.  Rather the walls sing with the memory sounds of past events, exhibition openings, educational exchanges, artists meeting and greeting, artists engaging with each other, friendships being made and opportunities being exchanged with laughter and chatter in an atmosphere of fun, music, conversation and life.

Gallery 1 and 2

Studios’ End
Annual Tenant’s Spring Salon Exhibition

Gallery 1 and 2 display the works from artists who are tenants of the Newcastle Community Arts Centre.  For some it has been a long association while for others a relatively short one at Parry Street.  Dr John Barnes, a former director of the gallery, opened the event and spoke about the history of the gallery which was formed by the artist tenants themselves.   Natalie Engdahl updated the group briefly on future plans and directions regarding relocation of the Centre.  Andrew Finnie introduced the book he designed, “Artists and Artisans” with photography by Joerg Lehmann, which is an historical reference of the artist tenants.  This book will be available shortly and can be purchased by pre-order from the gallery or the Newcastle Community Arts Centre office. A must if you are interested in the history of Newcastle arts and culture. I can only mention a few amongst such a vast sea of art work and my selection in no way diminishes the professional standard and technical achievements across all works. Some detail images below but come in and see the complete work in full.
Works from L to R Toni Amidy, Nadia Aurisch (directly below), John Morris, Melissa Bull, Susana Enriquez, Ellie Hannon

 In Gallery 1 an iconic work by John Morris captures and fills the wall space perfectly. It is matched at the other end by the colour and finely executed relief works of the Strutt Sisters, Catherine and Jennifer.  In Gallery 2 I was captured by Ken O’Regan’s re-workings on found ‘opshop style’ paintings, by the ever delightful textile constructions of Olivia Parsonage and by the intensively beautiful marks of Dan Nelson. In the foyer is a photographic print of the external building and the studio artists by Joerg Lehmann.  This would make a great souvenir of this period in Newcastle’s art history.
L to R top to bottom Section: column 1 Joerg Lehmann, John Harrison, Grant Keene, Peter Lankas, Column 2 Leslie Duffin, Column 3 Olivia Parsonage, Meredith Woolnough, Natalie Engdahl, Laraine Palmer

Most works are for sale and prices reflect the experience and achievements of the individual artists.  There is of course, always an entry point for anyone wanting to invest in art and history has shown that wise investment in art can turn into financial gain over time.
L to R Details from Ahn Wells, Ken O'Regan, Jennifer Finnie, Annemarie Murland, Dan Nelson (below) and Catherine and Jennifer Strutt bottom right.
Work by Jennifer O'Brien and Bill Wallin
Details L to R from Andrew Finnie, John Barnes, Jordan Fardell, Michael Bateman, Christina Frogley, Malcolm Sands, Aaron McGarry, Liss Finney, Pablo Tapia
What is Next?
The next exhibition is the Newcastle Club Foundation Painting Prize with works due at Newcastle Art Space Monday 31st October.   Details can be found at: www.ncac.org.au. Email ncac@ncac.org.au for an entry form.

The timing is right for a new Community Arts Centre/Arts Hub/ for Newcastle to be created within the plans for Newcastle’s overall revitalisation.  It is really a new beginning and direction for our large art community and it is just ahead if those with insight, creativity, political and financial power can work collaboratively on common ground with one far sighted clear vision. How hard can this be?  We already have the artistic talent, business ideas, educators, passion and commitment  to take it forward.

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

Email: kalisunshinebarcala@gmail.com