Category Archives: Gallery visits

A lifetime’s work

The current exhibition at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild in North Carlton is work by Lithuanian born Ale Liubinas. She came with her family to Australia in 1949 from a displaced persons camp in Germany. The case her father had made from pine trees on the farm in Lithuania, and used by the family for their few possessions when they fled in 1944, is in the collection at the Melbourne Museum.

After marriage and children she went to night school at Phillip Institute to study dress design and handloom weaving and design. She graduated in Fine Arts with a ceramics major.

This very talented lady worked in all these media for the rest of her life. Ale was active in textile groups in her local community. In 1990, after Lithuania gained independence, she returned to search for her lost childhood and wrote three books about her experiences following her retirement.

Ale passed away earlier this year and her sons asked the guild to assist in selling some of her work to raise funds for the creative art group at Arcadia Aged Care Facility in Essendon North.

From all the red stickers I saw, everything is sold however the exhibition is on at 655 Nicholson St. Carlton North until  July 15.


A quick look

The Archibald paintings are also at the Art Gallery of NSW at the moment and seeing them was a possibility this morning. I spent so long with the tapestries I changed plans. But the Young Archies were fantastic.

Daniel Brough age 7 My Dad when he was 17 years old. You can almost hear the dad telling the story of the huge fish he had caught.

Esther Kim age 8 My little sister Rachel She loved how her young sister looked in her red hood last winter.

Maya Butler de Castro age 8 Self-portrait with animals She thinks animals and the environment is very important and she likes watching magpies visiting her garden and splashing in the birdbath.

During a quick survey of the Australian art collection I saw this work Waratah 1887 by French artist Lucien Henry who was in Australia from 1879 to 1891.

I loved the detailed islamic-style background and the colour contrasts.

Lady and the Unicorn

Wednesday morning and here is the view from my balcony. I’m on the corner so can see old and new Sydney in a few directions.

Off to the Art Gallery of NSW. I haven’t been here since I came as a child with my family. But as soon as I saw those painters’ names around the top of the building it was very familiar. There was even a Morris Major Elite parked out front – same car but different colour that we drove up in. Same trip we stayed at the iconic TV motel in Gundagai.

The six French tapestries are amazing. Hard to believe they were created around 1500. I spent ages looking at them and started discussing them with a young lady who is a real tapestry and costume fan. Made it all even more interesting. After an hour I needed a coffee and fortunately even though pass outs are not available it was relatively quiet and I was allowed to go and come back again. Which was good as when I got back a lot of viewers had gone for lunch and I didn’t feel bad getting up really close.

This little dog shows how depiction of texture, pattern and form is so amazing. The work is wool with some silk which I assume is used for the shine on the corner of the cushion.

The background of flowers and animals is typical of medieval tapestry and appears to be done by different weavers from the main characters. The same images are used over and over such as with these rabbits.

This does not make this part of the works any less mind blowing.

The lion and the unicorn appear in each tapestry. Lions not being common in France, it was fun to speculate about the ideas behind the different ways they appear, particularly the faces.

And look at this. The cloth beneath the positive organ being played in the tapestry representing the sense of hearing, is just like my cushion. I made it in needlepoint to use up left over tapestry wools from other cushion projects.

Cats are cute too.

I am very glad I came all this way for an art exhibition. Lady and the Unicorn closes on 24 June.

Vivid Sydney

First another hotel view. The lift. An over the top interior.

Tuesday evening I headed out to see Vivid. I thought I would just visit Vivid in the Gardens, but they way it was organised, the one-way lighted path started near the Opera House, so I spent time at Circular Quay as well. A mild evening had lots of people out and about including a lot of children. But it was not overcrowded. The light show was everywhere and totally mesmerising.

The gardens had illuminated plants and a sequence of installations but all sorts of artists,  who I cannot acknowledge as I didn’t pay attention to the information pillars. I think they are all listed on the Vivid Sydney site.

Trees taking on new personalities

Some spooky things

Following pathways

Reflections in water

Huge paper lanterns

and birds were singing in the gazebo. Many many more amazing things to see, but one of my favourites was a projection designed by TAFE students on the facade of Government House. Not possible to get a reasonable photo unfortunately.

IMG_9649Finally the view from Cahill Expressway, from the Museum of Contemporary Art to the Opera House.


After a lovely morning and lunch with one of my quilting groups I took a friend to the member preview of a small but interesting exhibition at NGV International. It’s topic is Japan and the Birth of Modern Art. Using works from the gallery collection, it is an exploration of the influence of Japan and Japanese Art on European and Australian artists.

Unfortunately a lot of other members thought attending the curator floor talk a good idea too. The curator is in about the centre of this photo.

Fortunately the PA system worked very well and while not being able to see specific works, at least you could hear what he and the other curator had to say. Seeing works from the familiar art movements of the 19th and early 20th century alongside the ceramics, block prints and textiles from Japan that had a huge influence on their development was fascinating. It gave an insight into how novel the Japanese aesthetic was at the time and how quickly it was embraced, not only by copying but by adapting compositional techniques and the use of everyday subject matter.


Nearly everything is displayed in very dark cases with dramatic lighting.

The serving platter is part of a new acquisition from the Bracquemond Rousseau dinner service designed in France in 1866 by Feliz Bracquemond after work by Katsushika Hokusai.

Cockatoo is stunning piece of French majolica from 1870 shows the popularity of the exotic.

Having just seen the documentary The First Monday in May, a behind the scenes look at the mounting of the fashion exhibition ‘China Through the Looking Glass’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the corresponding 2015 Met Gala, I had a bit more of an idea of what goes on in mounting an exhibition. By the way it is great viewing and on iView until 19 June.

Still, it was a bit disappointing to find a couple of glaring problems with this NGV exhibition. As my friend pointed out, the labels were placed so that the reflected light flared on them, or your own shadow obscured the print.

An interesting set of lithographs from 1901 by the Austro-Hungarian designer Koloman Moser, were intended to be adapted for use in wallpaper, textiles and other flat surfaces  After much puzzling we figured out the labels did not match the layout of the prints so I could not find Wish hat, fabric in two colours at all. It was easier to identify this one as Silvanus, a printed textile design.

I think I will drop in again for a second viewing when it is not so crowded.

The Field: Revisited

I remember, even if many people don’t, visiting the Art Gallery in Melbourne when it was in the State Library Building. The museum was also housed here.

Then 50 years ago the brutalist building by Roy Grounds was opened in St Kilda Road. The building itself was controversial with its huge grey walls and defensive moat. It is now one of the most visited Art Museums in the world, sitting around number 20 depending on the list used.

Imagine the excitement when the art works that had formerly been seen in a few Victorian era galleries in a Neo Classical building, were moved to a huge, modern venue. The opening exhibition was keenly awaited. What was shown – shocked.

The Field was a big and bold survey of colour field and hard edge art movement shown on silver walls inspired by the walls of Andy Warhol’s Factory studio. The legacy, quoting from the catalogue – is the “recognition of the public art gallery as a place where expectations can be challenged rather than where the familiar is confirmed”.

The Field: Revisited opened at the end of April in the Ian Potter Centre, the gallery for Australian art that opened also amid controversy in 2002. In her introductory talk, the curator explained how they decided to show all the paintings and sculptures that could be found, and place them in the same space as much as possible considering it was in a different building. She used photos from the original catalogue to determine where the works were hung.

A grey tone masonite replica is hung where a missing work should have been as with this work by Rollin Schlict Twentieth century note which is believed to be destroyed. Also by Schlict, Dempsey 1968 was thought to have also have been destroyed but was found rolled in his studio. Both works explore the concept that paintings need not be confined to the conventional shape of the square, rectangle, oval or circle.

I liked the way this painting seemed to contain architectural elements; stairs, arches, window panes or tiles. He was also an architect, maybe that was the influence.

More domestic items were the inspiration for other works.

Dale Hickey’s magnificent untitled work of 1967 was based on a quilt pattern found on a bedspread. The use of shading creates an amazing optical effect of depth.

Kind-hearted kitchen-garden IV 1968 gets its name from the first and last words on the page of a dictionary. Robert Rooney’s series is based on observations at his parents’ home in Hawthorn East. The main shape comes from the internal curves of a clothes peg.

The myth of the machine 1968 is by Udo Sellback who was born in Germany and migrated here after spending the war living in Cologne. This is part of a series that explore abstracted rectangles. His forms are inspired by topographies of cities bombed and devastated.

The shadow cast by a sheet hung from a Hills hoist is transformed in the breeze, like a rectangle but with edges that moved.

I found this work totally absorbing, with so many forms to explore around the edges of the black shape.

Three other works I really loved. Noumenon XIX Indian Summer 1967s by Alun Leach-Jones and one of two works from the series in The Field. The circular form is filled with a complex and lively pattern.  Malvern 1967 by Dale Hickey has the most serene look you could almost fall into it.

And James Doolin’s Artificial landscape 67-5 is just beautiful.

After 50 years this important exhibition still looks fresh and new and exciting.

Worth the wait

What was supposed to be a quick detour on my way home from Carlton, turned into a slow crawl through Warrandyte Village. The traffic jam highlighted just how vulnerable this community is with a single road in and out and only one bridge across the Yarra. That was the reason for the hold up, the bridge is being revamped and widened.

Many motorists did U turns to go back towards Doncaster or Templestowe, but my destination was right in town. It was worth the half hour wait to make it to the first carpark.

The Annual Textile Art exhibition “Threadalicious” is on during the month of May at the Stonehouse Gallery. Don’t let the traffic put you off, the sign said this road work is only until 7 May.

The work is by members of Stonehouse and guest artists. Catherine O’Leary’s transparent dresses with digitally printed fabric looked lovely wafting in the breeze. Regular exhibiter Michelle Mischkulnig had a huge embroidered chaise lounge and felted and embroidered jackets. Her lily pond machine embroidery will appeal to many viewers. There were also sun dyed cushions and woven scarves.

Elizabeth Syndercome was at the gallery. She is a weaver and she was very keen to talk weaving. So of course I had to ask her about her loom and why she liked it. It is a large countermarche which was very interesting as this is the mechanism that I haven’t seen but have been reading a lot about. She was very reassuring about the tying up process which I had heard was tricky. Her lovely wrap is below on the right.

The machine embroidered and quilted bee image and the bird cluster are from the ongoing gallery display.

After a walk to the bakery to get something for lunch, I had a bit of a wait again to exit the carpark as this bin truck was using the area to turn back and the line of cars in the road had no where to go to clear a path.IMG_8885

Fortunately I was in no hurry, and knew an alternate way home via the Warrandyte State Park. Unfortunately others had found this route and didn’t really know how to drive on a dirt road. So much dust!