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Sunday Studio Visit

This weeks Sunday Studio is a short one, as I am again not in the studio, but am visiting Shepparton for the weekend. The main purpose of the visit is to see John Perceval’s Angels at the Shepparton Art Museum. I’ll be going there tomorrow -another professional development trip.

So for now I will share the cows of Shepparton!! Shepparton is in the Goulburn Valley famous for growing fruit and the Shepparton Preserving Company (SPC). But prior to fruit the first white settlers grazed diary cattle, so Shepparton have over ninety fibreglass life size cows scattered throughout the town, decorated in various colours and designs.

Called the MooovingArt Cows Project, the cows change locations and design on a regular basis!

Though my partner did not like the cows – “they’re too contemporary” – I thought they were cute and playful, adding a bit of colour and vibrancy to the urban landscape and the parks they are located within. And they certainly catch people’s attention and become talking point.

So, here are a few cows…. enjoy 🙂

© Dawn Whitehand 2014

 

 

Exhibition Opening: Human Gridlock – New Solo Exhibition

Opening of Human Gridlock – New Solo Exhibition in Ballarat

It was a chilly day for the launch of my solo exhibition, Human Gridlock, at Mt Blowhard, on the outskirts of Ballarat…. but thanks to those that braved the conditions, rugged up, and enjoyed some wine and cheese with myself and other art die-hards!!

The exhibition is being held in the Ballarat City Council Public Art Space ContainArt – a council initiative featuring both local and non local artists in a converted container which tours the surrounds of the Central Highlands district in Victoria – a mobile gallery delivering art to people who may not usually have access to it – either because they don’t frequent formal galleries or due to where they live, IE rural areas.

This is a great concept because it brings art TO the people, rather than people having to go TO the art!

The concept gallery was launched back in March with a group show, and has been touring solo shows since, with great success.

My exhibition remains in Blowhard until the 13th August and then tours to Napoleans until 26th September.

The exhibition features hand built ceramic spheres and mixed media collages representing memories and associated attachments which can shape our everyday lives – following is the Artist Statement which accompanies the exhibition:

“Human Gridlock explores the complex relationship between humans and their immediate surroundings, including the natural landscape, domestic environments and the manufactured backgrounds of our lives. Our understandings of these environments are often defined by memories which subliminally shape our dreams and aspirations.

By juxtaposing shapes, surfaces and textures visual associations are triggered in the viewer – past and present – prompting a reassessment of the many and layered connections to the often fleeting, yet momentarily important, events that shape our earthly existence.  The vast array of fragmented memories conjured by this visual composition offers an alternative narrative to the everyday, challenging the viewer to reconsider their priorities of ‘being’ in our modern transient world.”

Following are some images of the opening and the show – all artworks are for sale, and if you like what you see click on individual images for prices. If you would like to enquire  further (including custom sculpture requirements) send me a message – easy!

Lotus Flowers and Chinese Dragons

Last week I visited Napoleons Primary School in regional Victoria to make some lotus flowers, which were to be incorporated into a Blessing of the Ground ceremony at Len Frazer Reserve – the site for the future Chinese monument, public art initiative of the City of Ballarat being designed by John Young.

The monument is due to be installed in November this year, and recognises the presence in, and contribution to, Ballarat by the Chinese population. The Chinese originally arrived in Ballarat during the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s and 60s, and though sojourners – meaning they had every intention of going back to their homeland – many stayed on in Ballarat and other parts of Australia. China at the time was a country of feuding, famine and poverty especially in the south, which is from where many of the sojourners travelled – to find their fortune and return to help their families.

Napoleons Primary school is a small regional with about eighty children, and each child present on the day made a lotus flower, from prep through to grade six. We used air dry terracotta clay for the project, so no firing was required. The children enjoyed the tactile opportunity afforded by clay – which, in my experience, most kids do!

At the end of the day I took all the flowers back to my studio to dry and then spray painted them in white, gold and red – lucky colours for the Chinese. they were installed in a circle on the morning of the ceremony in front of where the speakers would be standing. the speakers included the City of Ballarat Mayor, an emeritus professor from Sovereign Hill, the artist John Young, and the owner of the Golden Crown restaurant. The Golden Crown restaurant is built on the site of a historic Chinese eating house highly frequented during the gold rush, and indeed this is why the monument is being erected in Len Frazer Reserve – because there was a large conclave of Chinese camps, eateries and temples along Main Road.

As part of the celebrations I also made four lotus flowers – one for each speaker. I made the flowers from Magiclay, an air dry paperclay. I had never used this material before and it was very different in texture and feel to what I usually use. Initially it was very sticky – it stuck to the table, the rolling pin, the knife, to me – I almost gave up! But then the hair dryer saved me. Once I eliminated the ‘sticky’ factor it was much easier to control, though I still didn’t use a knife to cut it – I used scissors! Once dry I spray painted the flowers gold.

The ceremony was held on Sunday morning  in conjunction with Harmony Day celebrations in Camp St, Ballarat (Harmony Day was 21st March), and went over well with lots of people in attendance despite the cool morning – the highlight being the Chinese dragon – in my opinion. 🙂

Also a big thanks to the Golden Crown restaurant who provided a delicious yum cha after the ceremony.

Here are some more pics of the morning 🙂

ContainArt: Ballarat’s Newest Mobile Gallery

ContainArt inviteThe latest public art initiative to emerge from Ballarat City Council is ContainArt, a mobile gallery that will house changing exhibitions and tour around Ballarat and the surrounds bringing art to people who may not usually have access to it – either because they don’t frequent formal galleries or due to where they live, IE rural areas.

This is a great idea because it brings art TO the people, rather than people having to go TO the art! This was proven correct this afternoon as, while taking the photos for this post, I witnessed many people stopping, looking, walking around the container, pointing and talking to whomever they were with.

I was lucky enough to be selected as an exhibiting artist in ContainArt’s inaugural show, and yesterday was install day. There are also five other artists exhibiting, including my (new) hubby Strobe – he took the photo of his art piece while we were on our three day honeymoon – the mini-moon!.

The gallery itself is an old shipping container fitted out on the inside with display boxes that face outward and solar electricity for lighting. The display boxes are quite large providing artists with lots of scope to exhibit multiple pieces or just one large piece – which is what I did!

My artwork is a mixed media piece using found objects, both organic and manufactured, and ceramic shards. Entitled Scattered Urban Memories, it is the largest work I have ever made (approx 1 x 2 metres), and therefore was challenging yet satisfying.

Yay.... a passer by is looking at my artwork!!

Yay…. a passer by is looking at my artwork!!

I spend lots of time collecting things from heavy clunky railway studs through to light delicate feathers – and both of these objects found their way into the work along with many others.

While making the work during the past week I did post a couple of sneak peeks on Facebook and Twitter– following me on these networks is a great way to stay updated on the daily going ons of my art making, sometimes crazy, world.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

The other artworks in the show include painting, ceramic sculpture, foam sculpture, recycled works and photography – this mix of materials and perspectives combine to produce an interesting and fun show.

The show is currently at Lake Wendouree until the 18th March, then will move to MADE (Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka) where the official launch of ContainArt will take place on the 21st March. The exhibition will remain at MADE until the 3rd April… and then it will be a new round of artists at a set of destinations!

It was difficult taking photos of the exhibit due to reflection factors, however I’m sure you get the gist. So, without further ado… here is a slideshow of images from the exhibition… enjoy 🙂

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All Images © Dawn Whitehand

What Lies Beneath – A Public Art Exhibition

I live in Ballarat, a regional town of Victoria, Australia and I must say that I am starting to love living here – as a an artist.  I did the ‘tree change’ from Melbourne to Ballarat in 2000, because I love the history here, and the property I live on is beautiful. However, not much was happening in the ‘art’ scene at the time – but in the last few years that has been changing rapidly!

In recent years artists in Ballarat have stood up to be counted – Facebook pages have been launched, art groups have been funded, artist registries have been created and council committees have been re-invigorated!

It has been amazing!

The most recent initiative, a public art exhibition, funded by the City of Ballarat, via the City of Ballarat Public Art Committee (PAAC) entitled What Lies Beneath officially opened on March 28th to a huge crowd of art enthusiasts. The exhibition features images from eighteen artists (including myself) printed on a commercial product – Earth Wrap, a non-slip aluminium backed pavement product normally used for commercial signage or safety applications. This exhibition is the first time it is being used in a public art context.

What Lies Beneath

Julie Collins, Ballarat Public Art Co-Ordinator and the curator of the show was inspired by an existing public art piece in Police Lane and Alfred Deakin Place entitled The Goanna Totem designed by Dianna Nikkleson. The goanna image is impressed into the pavement and recalls the indigenous history of Ballarat. The participating artists in What Lies Beneath were asked to create an image that explore what lies beneath the surface – physical or metaphysical. The response from participating artists was diverse – from the literal presence of minerals, water or archaeological fragments beneath the surface through to the more abstract notions of listening to the Earth.

Another new initiative present in this exhibition is the presence of QR codes with each image, allowing an interactive experience for the viewer who can scan the QR code with their smart phone and learn more about each individual artist.

As an exhibition that incorporates these original notions into the viewers experience, it is well worth checking out if you in or near or visiting Ballarat. It is at the Backyard Gallery in Alfred Deakin Place until 5th May 2013.

A Public Art Perspective: Sculpture Exhibition in Ballarat.

Focusing on the benefit of public art to the broader community, including business, the public and local artists,  A Public Art Perspective consists of two linked exhibitions: Backspace – exhibiting a range of smaller marquette works, and Backyard Gallery – displaying public art from some of Australia’a leading public artists.

The marguette works are on show in an intimate gallery space, and the larger works are sited in the centre of the Ballarat Arts Precinct: adjacent to the Ballarat Art Gallery, Backspace Gallery, and the University of Ballarat Arts Academy; home of Inge King’s landmark sculpture Grand Arch; and the site of community celebrations such as Harmony Festival, effectively cementing Alfred Deakin Place as an arts hub for downtown Ballarat.

Curated by Julie Collins the exhibition represents a diverse sculptural practice, ranging form the playful mixed media sculptures of Louise Paramor, the formal sculptures of Robert Hague through to the powerful works of Bruce Armstrong.

The exhibition is ongoing until the 22 April, and is well worth a visit.

Featured artists:
Bruce Armstrong
Robert Bridgewater
Chaco Kato
Robert Hague
Matthew Harding
Louise Paramor
Julie Collins & Derek John
Inge King

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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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