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North East Living Magazine - - Calendar -

CAST your eyes around the room and just for a mo­ment the work of artist Clay­ton Trem­lett trans­ports you back to an­other time. It’s a world where men were men; some­time in the 1800’s when swag­ger­ing, self-con­fi­dent bushrangers thumbed their noses at au­thor­ity, yet posed sternly in suits with their shoul­ders back and their heads high and proud.

But these stylised sil­hou­ette-like por­traits of care­fully coiffed men have not been sourced from the archives of a lo­cal mu­seum. In­stead they are Trem­lett’s thor­oughly unique and con­tem­po­rary twist on the ubiq­ui­tous selfie, show­cased as part of “Beard and In­flu­ence” which opens at the Wan­garatta Art Gallery on May 26.

The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes a se­lec­tion of large scale self­por­trait linocut prints in which the artist in­vokes the dic­tio­nary def­i­ni­tion of beard as a verb – “to op­pose face to face, set at de­fi­ance or to boldly con­front or chal­lenge”. They have been in­tensely re­searched and cre­ated over four years, with the artist re-imag­in­ing him­self in the bearded style of 12 bushrangers of a by­gone era, as part of a study of man, myth and mas­culin­ity.

Wan­garatta Art Gallery di­rec­tor Si­mone Nolan met the spe­cialty print­maker while work­ing at the Heide Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art and was fa­mil­iar with his work, but the artist him­self ac­tu­ally grew up in Wan­garatta.

“He’s had this slight fas­ci­na­tion with the whole bushranger her­itage, sto­ries and his­tory, par­tic­u­larly in the ar­eas of Glen­rowan and Beech­worth but also in Castle­maine,” she said.

“He’s also fas­ci­nated with the pres­ence of a man with a beard and how in that era men would style their beards and it was part of their iden­tity - and when you look at those early por­traits, some of the beard char­ac­ter­is­tics were quite ab­stract. They’re re­ally beau­ti­ful works which come across as old im­ages but are ac­tu­ally Clay­ton’s own face, rep­re­sent­ing these strong char­ac­ters of the era. It’s a re­ally unique show and we plan to of­fer some ex­cit­ing pro­grams to com­ple­ment the works which will pos­si­bly at­tract a younger au­di­ence.”

It’s part of a considered strat­egy by the gallery to con­nect with a broader, younger de­mo­graphic and to in­tro­duce them to one of the city’s most im­por­tant and vi­brant as­sets.

Ms Nolan re­cently cu­rated “Fine Young Things”, an ex­hi­bi­tion show­cas­ing the work of Gabriel Curtin, Mathew Fair­bridge and Anthea Kemp – three con­tem­po­rary vis­ual artists un­der 30 who all grew up in North East Vic­to­ria. She said the con­cept for that show was to bring to­gether and ac­knowl­edge artists who grew up near Wan­garatta and are forg­ing ex­cit­ing ca­reers for them­selves in the art world, to in­spire the lo­cal au­di­ence.

“I wanted to feed back to our young aspir­ing artists in the re­gion, but also to the au­di­ence that don’t know about these young peo­ple who have a vi­sion, are pur­su­ing their artis­tic ca­reers and tak­ing them­selves very se­ri­ously,” she said. >>

Ms Nolan said Kir­rily was won­der­ful at repli­cat­ing the hu­man body and thrilled by the op­por­tu­nity to pro­duce an in­stal­la­tion which was likely to com­ple­ment pro­grams such as the bal­let-science schools pro­gram STEAM which will be de­liv­ered by the Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre in June 2018. She said the fig­ure the artist will de­velop will re­late to chore­og­ra­phy, dance and move­ment.

An­other high­light in au­tumn will be The Has­sall Col­lec­tion – a se­lec­tion of con­tem­po­rary indige­nous art which opened in the main gallery in April. The works are on loan from Syd­ney busi­ness­man and phi­lan­thropist, Ge­of­frey Has­sall OAM - an art col­lec­tor with a pas­sion for con­tem­po­rary indige­nous art.

Ms Nolan said the ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes works from what is a sig­nif­i­cant pri­vate col­lec­tion by artists in­clud­ing Sally Ga­bori, Ivy Drill, Doris Bush and Ti­mothy Cook. She said the gallery will hold com­ple­men­tary ac­tiv­i­ties en­gag­ing lo­cal schools, as well as in­cor­po­rat­ing con­tem­po­rary indige­nous art prac­tice aware­ness into the pro­gram. A fea­ture will be the of­fi­cial open­ing floor talk by the highly re­garded Ju­dith Ryan AM, se­nior cu­ra­tor of indige­nous art at the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria (NGV).

“The works are just beau­ti­ful, very ab­stract and very ex­cit­ing – it’s not the tra­di­tional dot paint­ings tech­niques that vis­i­tors are go­ing to see,” she said.

“We see a lot of po­ten­tial there for school groups study­ing indige­nous art and indige­nous stud­ies which is deeply across the cur­rent na­tional cur­ricu­lum.”

Also vis­it­ing the gallery this year will be “Gra­ham”, the shock­ing and con­fronting sculp­ture made by world-renowned Mel­bourne sculp­tor Pa­tri­cia Pic­cinini for the Trans­port Ac­ci­dent Com­mis­sion (TAC). The grotesque yet life­like fig­ure was cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion by the artist with the TAC, a lead­ing trauma sur­geon and a crash in­ves­ti­ga­tion ex­pert, as what the only per­son de­signed to sur­vive on our roads would look like.

In the flesh, Gra­ham is truly breath­tak­ing and the aug­mented re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy in­cor­po­rated into the ex­hi­bi­tion will al­low vis­it­ing school groups and the pub­lic to in­ter­act with him through four in­ter­ac­tive ipads.

At the end of May vis­i­tors to the Wan­garatta Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre will have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the work of Mel­bourne based artist Marise Maas whose play­ful paint­ings shine a light on the mun­dane in daily life.

In ref­er­ence to the gallery pro­gram ahead, Ms Nolan said her aim was make art ac­ces­si­ble to all and to po­ten­tially lure lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike to take a chance and dis­cover what is be­hind the gallery façade.

“I don’t want our po­ten­tial vis­i­tors to al­ways feel that they are re­quired to un­der­stand the art they are view­ing, it is im­por­tant to some­times view and not al­ways ‘get it’,” she said.

“What I hope is that our vis­i­tors ex­pe­ri­ence sur­prise, in­spi­ra­tion, in­trigue, or pos­si­bly even have a mo­ment of self-re­flec­tion. Most im­por­tantly I want our vis­i­tors to ex­pe­ri­ence en­joy­ment, ev­ery­one is wel­come and it’s free, so what is there to lose.”

Gra­ham TAC - Pa­tri­cia Pic­cinini will visit the gallery March 29 to May 20.

The Has­sall Col­lec­tion: A Se­lec­tion of Indige­nous Art will be on dis­play from April 14 to May 27.

Beard and In­flu­ence: Clay­ton Trem­lett will run from May 26 to July 8.

Pe­tite Minia­ture Tex­tiles will run from June 2 to July 29.

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