The Celebration poster illustrates work from a selection of the artists represented in the exhibiton including: Marie HAGERTY, Joseph LYCETT, George INGHAM, Steven HOLLAND, Julie BRADLEY, Frances PHILIP, STUDIO HAÇIENDA , Julian LAFFAN, Ben Edols & Kathy Elliott, Kate STEVENS, Klaus MOJE, Jaishree SRINIVASAN, Frank HINDER, Alison ALDER, Marlene JULI, Toni ROBERTSON, Marcia LOCHHEAD.
Celebration: 20 years of collecting visual art opened at the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) in March, 2018, and as its title suggests, this is an exhibition that celebrates 20 years of collecting art and social history objects in and around Canberra.
Featuring the works of more than 100 artists, its broad themes, writes CMAG Director, Shane Breynard, “embrace our Canberra identity and sense of place” that reveal “rich patterns of connection”. Certainly Deborah Clark, CMAG’s Senior Curator of Visual Arts, should be commended for bringing this diverse selection of works to the public.
With almost 200 pieces, the exhibition spans fine and applied arts including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics, textiles, metalware and more. Works of art include Dianne Fogwell’s linocut, Encounter (2017), Across town by Rosalie Gascoigne (screenprint, 1991), Kangaroo dreaming by Treahna Hamm (etching, 1997) and Frank Hinder’s lithograph, Office staff, Canberra (1942), which was gifted through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Rex & Caroline Stevenson in 2018.
Also included in the exhibition is Tony Convey’s etching, Seek Shining Life (image , top left; 32.6 x 45.1 cm, page 33 of the exhibition catalogue) from 1990. Gifted to CMAG by Studio One Inc in 2000, this is a significant work from the artist’s eclectic oeuvre.
Writes Convey, “Seek Shining Life was an image that haunted me for quite a while and I did several versions. The first version was a large painting (see image , left middle), which was the title piece for my show at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia in 1989. I also did a couple of drawings including a collage/drawing in the monograph, Spirit Lines as Happy Rider. I guess it was about looking for the positive things in life and seeking the ‘light’ rather than the dark.
“I really enjoyed making the Studio One etching and I remember thinking at the time that it was one of my best prints… Looking at it now I think it is one of my best graphic works as it has an energy and sense of movement, which almost lifts the figures off the paper. I also like its positive message, which is even more relevant today.”
Studio One was an open access printmaking studio set up by Diane Fogwell and Meg Buchanan in 1982. Convey completed a small printmaking course shortly after it opened that same year. Master printmaker, Petr Herel was the first artist to edition there, and Convey, the second, with his “little Rooster etching”.
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Celebration: 20 years of collecting visual art runs till July 25, 2018. To view the exhibition catalogue, which features the Director’s foreword, the curator’s statement, and quality reproductions of the artists' works, please click here.