Sunday, 25 March 2012

... to Arts in Ballan

G'day, Shane 'ere again.
I had a wander through the Ballan Autumn Festival yesterday ... y'know Arts, Crafts, Stalls, Pet Judging, Tableau Vivants eerrr ...Parades.... all the sort of things you see in the Louvre but on a smaller, more modest scale. That's me below sitting and having a gander at the Lal Lal Photographic Groups' exhibition.

Shane at Ballan Art Show
They were very polite as they were still setting up but let me have a wander through anyway.
Mostly landscape work with some macro images; mostly good prints, an interesting show.....
Lal Lal is about 20 km SW of Ballan which is 80 Km W of Melbourne... (I thought I'd add that for the American readers so they wouldn't confuse it with the (2) Balan or Ballans in France).
Still mostly rural but fast developing into outer suburbia, Ballan was originally settled around 1840 on Wurunjeri land and by the time gold was discovered in the area it was quite a noted place for its vegetable output and the cordials made with the Mineral Springs water which were shipped to Melbourne and the goldfields at Ballarat. 1870 and its population was around 7000. The First World War hit this area as hard as it did most other country towns in Australia and the losses in young men saw the popultion plummet to around 4200 by 1919  only to fall still further to 2600  by 1951.  Presently about 5000.   As I said, Lal Lal Photo group were still setting up, as you can see... and as is normal with all groups, one person seems to be doing the work......

Shane at Ballan Art Show

....which only goes to prove that photography does lie!

From here we wandered off to the local life drawing group to find Brian Munn, left, local artist (painter) holding the fort for the occasional visitor ... so  I numbed him sensless with troglodyte travel tales for a bit ( he survived ..I saw him later, walking and talking at the same time).
 Some nice work here too, Brian's, Paul Anthony's and Julia Crawford's particularly.
Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder
   Then on the way to the Art show  I saw this car, a '54 Holden, bright yellow, so we took some shots of it, its owner, Keith Wright, his children, and a bit later he got some more of his toys out, so we shot them too.

 Thanks for being so amenable, Keith.   
Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder
The Kids
Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder
Keith and the Yellow Peril
Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder
The Toys

 The art show had some really nice stuff in it but the hanging was, as so often you see in country shows, a bit daggy!  (And for the American reader the word "daggy' was used with intent.)
I know there are volunteer, time, space, size, variety of works.. all those  constraints but I dunno, they looked to be, in the main, put up as they came through the door. Which makes works hard to see and for some they tend to disappear because of their surroundings. Ahh well, some of the Salons in Paris weren't any better....
Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder

Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder
Overview  with the Queen as Foo


Ballan Art Show Lawrence Winder
Majorie Trebilcock "Oh Yea" 

ballan art show Lawrence Winder
Joel Magpayo, "Bearded Man", Encaustic.
I  liked these works for their painterly qualities, both were small  about 300mm x 200mm and very expressive.

ballan art show Lawrence Winder

Thea Koning's, "Alarm Clock" Still Life, Pastel: interesting in that it has been "drawn" from a photograph and the reflections of the photographer are seen in the chrome objects as is the op-shop label. A cute idea but pretty nicely handled except for that rather dense blank shadow....

Sheila Muratori's, "Point Richard", reduced Lino Print and Janet Cattlin's, "Feathered Friends", Collagraph were both little delights in the printmaking section, seeming to keep alive a spirit of the thirties in Australian printmaking.

Col Brown's "Sparrow's Fart" won the Best Oil/Acrylic  in the show: the finely nuanced colour and tone, sureness of paint handling, excellent drawing and settled planar composition all belie the rather prosaic taste of the implied "aussie" subject matter.
Before we arrived at the Quilting  we walked past the Old Ballan Court House (now the  Historical Society's HQ) probably built 1852 (?)  ....nicely proportioned building.
ballan art show Lawrence Winder

At the quilting (about which I know as much as I do about "String Theory") I fell into conversation with one, Yvonne Sebire and her friend who began to elucidate the finer points of both quilting and patchwork.. particularly the Japanese criteria that the stitches are one grain of rice in length and that measure apart, too.
To me it's that sense of humanity that makes art
Yvonne's quilting work is on the left a piece by Di Paul
Yvonne with the quilt designer Pam Ludge
 ....the detail in these works was exquisite the upper work being Koi and the quilting literally being the waves they make whilst the lower piece had finely drawn (sewn leaves) see detail below, lovely stuff and thank you ladies for the conversational lesson.

And then there was the Parade.... Ta, Daaaaaa
ballan art show Lawrence Winder
Bands and bubbles and boys with their toys.......
ballan art show Lawrence Winder
...dress-ups and down, kickin around and a bit of chop-chop...
ballan art show Lawrence Winder
...with dogs in dresses and driving cars, stars in your eyes and an odd one to boot, why not wear funny hats: Llama's do too.

...and then came il macellaio pazzo........
preparing for the hordes who did arrive and who did enjoy....Grazie, Salvatore e Tricia per la tariffa multa...

and a last but not least, blast from the past for two special ones....from Ballan Festivals '94 and '95
ballan art show Lawrence Winder

Sunday, 4 March 2012 the Canberra

G'day all,
 Shane here again with tales from the Renaissance, a small part of which is in Canberra having come over from the Acadamia Carrara, Bergamo
That's me with me mate, Sandro...(Botticelli) he's got a couple of goodies in the show as you'd expect from someone of his talent. 
Ohh... by the way all the other pics on this page are courtesy of the National Gallery Canberra

It's not a big show but it is a fascinating and absorbing precis and look at the C15th & C16th; of  the growing "humanism" that developed out from the Renaissance as the society of the Italian states became more secular..... but this little Andrea Mantegna (28cm x 19cm, 1450) of St Bernardino of Siena has it's roots firmly back in the religious gothic even though the austere realism and formidable sense of the ascetic's quiet have an almost Modernist / Minimilist manner to them.
This piece struck me from a distance and held my attention.. it's a wonderful work but this and all pictured here, really don't give have the "gravitas" the real things do...

Marco Buono, "Procession of Love" C1480 is an enigmatic small tempera on panel 39cm x 56cm ... finely dressed people solemnly process with wrists bound ..a symbol of extended family ties perhaps but a work that delighted Mrs.Wombat and repayed much looking. 
The limited depth of field and the planar nature of Renaissance painting seems to add the "crowd" effect in this work as do the complimentary contrasts of the reds and the greens in the costuming.


The dramatic development in Renaissance painting can be seen in comparing these three works, Giovanni Bellini's "Madonna & Child" (left) was painted some eight years after the Porcession of Love in 1488 and (below) Ambrogio Bergognone's "Madonna Lactans" of 1485. 

The realism of the backgrounds, the attention and understanding of the fall of shadows added to the sophistication of compositional elements is almost a world away from the Buono. 
Yet, they still maintain the spiritual as the Mantegna did.. an aloofness, a seperateness from the ruck.

One of the good things about this exhibition is that the relative smallness of its size some 60 odd works, allowed you to return to works again and again as something more struck you and that the visitors were controlled through in not overly large numbers it was a very comfortable experience.


I had not seen Bergognone's work before and what startled me was how much it reminded me of a Pre-Raphaelite painting: Burne-Jones came to mind immediately in the composition; its division of space, the Madonna's hair, the foliage in the background as a screen..... the Englishman I think, must have had a good look at works like these. 
Which also made me think of some contemporary Australian photographers who are showing more and more evidence of being influenced by paintings, some to the extent of mixing metaphors by dropping in elements from different artists and photographers... point is though, they don't seem to credit their sources and effectively, create only a pastiche.... nothing new... It's all hollow!
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood readily acknowledged their sources and still managed to be original in the long run. 

This one of Sandro's (one of two), affected me greatly, it hit me as Pop-Art-for Pretty-Serious-Catholics... after all, he painted it after hearing Savonarola screeching hellfire and brimstone to the Florentines... the halo virtually RADIATES, the colours I felt, are more strident than here ( or was I just getting a whiff of Savanorola?)
I just said "felt" for colour...hmmm.....
The attentuated face and symbolic hands in Botticelli's "Christ the Redeemer", C1500, harks back to earlier

times but with the knowledge that once you've "eaten-of-the-fruit ..." there is no going back... hence its anguish of knowledge, unchained. 
Sandro burnt much of his work after hearing Savonarola.  Perhaps he was presaging the monks own demise? 

I loved this work.. I love its considered nature, its emotion, arcane composition and its ultimate power. 

  Supposedly, Cesare Borgia  by Altobello Melone  in 1513 here's a bloke who not afraid of a bit "sturm und stress".  

People wandering through a storm, clenched fists, implacable (good) looks, this gentleman is not that gentle to his opponents and he is looking back, remembering.... the party's going to get rough, petals! 
Almost a monotone of blues contrasted with the gold and the freedom in the brushwork ...this had me thinking of El Greco.... the-times-are-a-changing..... perfection isn't here it never will be.... time is inexorable.

I did not know of this artists work before ...another good thing about this exhibition. .......

......and then, WHACK... in 1507 there was Titian.

Everything seems to come together into a cohesive amalgam of rightness.
There are no dubious bits here; only an expression of an absporption of all that had technically gone before as well as a philosophic understanding of the present state and a capacity to reveal it.
This is what art is.
Here we see space sliding diagonally, sfumato for directional and compositional effects, colour and tone for the same and brush / paint handling..... bliss!  

And then came a summation in Moroni (Mrs. Wombat's "new favourite painter"... I don't think he'll really throw over Delacroix though...) 
1550, all that had had been learnt and was now being put to use for the emerging middle class ... no saints here.. just occasional patrons, even if somewhat doubtful as to their place in history and the veracity of the artist.
Beautiful portraiture, just beautiful.

A terrific exhibition... and ta to Hayley at the boarding desk at Virgin Airlines for limiting our time from sitting in Canberra Airport waiting to fly back to Melbourne from four hours to 20 minutes... mwaaah
To the young couple, particularly, in the exhibition, who looked like they should have been at a football match... forget the notes supplied ... look at the works for more than 15 seconds.... allow you emotions and humanity to be engaged in a one to one ...for once; it will only be of benefit.
You weren't the only ones but were the worst "clocked" during a sit down break. 
One other thing was very noticeable .... there were no cameras: not even surreptitious mobiles! I've never checked the NGA's policy on that but it did make for a more relaxed viewing than some people provided in the Louvre.

cheers petals,