New England Regional Art Museum held its last opening event for the year recently when it launched five new exhibitions, giving audiences a diverse range of artworks,with a strong focus on the region's local artists and landscape, to discover over the festive season.
Compass: Generations of Walcha Artists acknowledges and celebrates the vibrant artistic community that live and work in Walcha. The small town is renowned for its public art and the number of artists who call it home. The exhibition features established senior artists of the region and the new generation coming into their own with works spanning painting, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture.
Artists include Kate Durack, Julia Griffin, Myfanwy Gullifer, Paula Jenkins, Gemma King, Stephen King, Ross Laurie, Angus Nivison, James Rogers, Ben Tooth and Rosie Waugh, who have made work responding to life and the landscape of Walcha.
Walcha seems to be the centre of a strange creative vortex
"There is a significant group of established artists living and making work there and this concentration of artists has had a very real impact on the town, evident in the abundance of public art and the establishment of the Walcha Gallery of Art," said NERAM Director, Rachael Parsons. .
"At NERAM we have wanted to produce an exhibition focussing on this community of artists for a long time and have worked with Walcha Gallery of Art Director, Carley McLaren to curate the show."
Summer School is a collaboration with the University of New England exploring the history of artists undertaking residencies at UNE to teach its renowned summer school residential program in subjects including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, creative embroidery, weaving and ceramics.
For more than 30 years significant Australian artists such as John Olsen, George Baldessin, Suzanne Archer, David Fairbairn, Andrew Sibley and many others were engaged to teach adult education courses over summer on campus at UNE.
"This is another in our collaborative exhibitions with UNE," said NERAM Curator Belinda Hungerford.
The summer schools ran from the 1950s to the early 1990s and contributed hugely to the cultural vibrancy of Armidale and broader region.
"The calibre of artists who came to teach indicates just how well regarded the program was."
Photomedia artist Kurt Sorensen debuts work he developed during a residency at NERAM earlier this year in the exhibition, Things must have an end. Sorensen investigated sites of enigmatic mysteries and disappearances in New England and photographed the locations in his unique and singular way.
"Kurt's photographs are more about mood and atmosphere than overt documentation," .Curator Belinda Hungerford said
"There is a beautiful uneasiness in the images that stoke the imagination and reading the historical newspaper reports that accompany the images, a chill will run down your spine."
a chill will run down your spine.
New England is renowned for its picturesque countryside and a new group exhibition The New England Landscape showcases the work of 15 local artists from Armidale, Ebor, Guyra, Invergowrie, Inverell, Sandy Flat, Tamworth, Tenterfield and Walcha.
These artists were invited to create new artworks that express their diverse experiences and interpretations of the landscape that inspires them, from rolling green vistas to the ravages of drought and bushfire.
"This exhibition highlights the abundant talent of the New England region," said NERAM Director, Rachael Parsons.
"Our community is full of artists and NERAM is committed and delighted to support our local arts ecology. When you spend time in New England, you quickly understand why this landscape has inspired so many artists to try capture its beauty and at times its brutality, and the dramatic changing of the seasons."
This exhibition is truly a celebration of our region.
Playdate!, an exhibition sourced from the NERAM collections, is one for the kids.
"Bring the young ones along to engage with the artworks in a different way," said Ms Parsons. "They'll be able to recreate artworks, do activities, play with props and follow the I Spy trail.
"We love seeing young children being excited with what they see at NERAM. Introducing art to children in an engaging way sets them up for a lifetime of appreciating and enjoying art. This is a fantastic exhibition for families to enjoy together and will be open over the summer to provide a fun creative school holiday outing."
All exhibitions will be on display at NERAM until January 31, 2021.