A high tech phantasmagoria; portraits of prominent and prestigious professors and pundits; and prints by a former Armidale resident close the New England Regional Art Museum's 2019 year.
The diverse mix of exhibitions, opening on Friday night, will be fun and engaging, NERAM director Rachael Parsons said.
Kids and young adults will particularly enjoy Experimenta Makes Sense, NERAM's largest and most ambitious exhibition of digital and new media, curator Belinda Hungerford said.
The touring exhibition from a three-yearly Melbourne media arts festival - a mixture of installations, screen-based works, and projections - is unlike anything people might have seen at the gallery before.
- Water Pressure podcast: Are mines making our rivers and bores run dry?
- Fire bans in place as crews brace for severe, gusty conditions
- The Walcha Rural Women's Gathering is declared an outstanding success
- Tiny home donated to BackTrack
- Labor leader visits Armidale, calling for drought relief for small business
While many modern artists work in these media, Ms Parsons said, regional galleries like NERAM lack the infrastructure to exhibit them.
"It's exciting, contemporary, and cutting-edge," Ms Parsons said.
From Town to Gown showcases Armidale and the University of New England's education and cultural history.
The university has lent eight portraits of chancellors, vice-chancellors and college principals, from a traditional portrait of the first warden, Sir Robert Madgwick, painted in 1944, to a modernist painting of former vice-chancellor Bruce Thom, painted in 1998. Works by the artists in NERAM's collection accompany the portraits.
"These pictures ... are an important historical and artistic record of the leadership of the first regional university in Australia," vice-chancellor Professor Brigid Heywood said.
Many in the community will fondly remember Jonathon Larsen, Ms Parsons said. The linocut artist was involved with the Black Gully Printmakers, and was caretaker at Saumarez Homestead.
Luminous Land displays his scenes of places he travelled through, visited, or worked while driving across Australia, from Armidale to Alice Springs. The prints are based on both his memory and geographical fact, Ms Hungerford said.
The exhibitions will be on display until the end of January. On Saturday, November 9, co-curator Lubi Thomas will lead a tour of Experimenta Makes Sense, and Jonathon Larsen will talk about his prints in Luminous Land. Mr Larsen will also teach a linocut workshop on Sunday.
The 34th Packsaddle exhibition, the gallery's main fundraiser, closed on Sunday. 270 artworks were sold out of 475 displayed - "a brilliant result considering our plight with the drought," organiser Glenda Kupczyk-Romanczuk said. Takings have not yet been calculated.
She thanked the people of Armidale and surrounds for their support: Ms Hungerford for curating the exhibition; the people who bought; the volunteers who helped; and the Friends of NERAM for catering.