Sunday, 11 March 2012

Travelling to see art

Part of the reason that I haven't posted for a while is that I've been off travelling to see art!  I've had a couple of weeks off work and did a little tour of NSW - flying to Newcastle, bussing to Port Macquarie, where I stayed wuith my friend, George, for a couple of days, then we drove to Armidale; I took the train to Tamworth - for the main purpose of my trip, to see the fabulous GW Bot, 30 year retrospective, The Long Paddock, then I took the train to Sydney where I spent the day at the AGNSW, ejoying the Picasso and the Kaldor Collection in new contemporary galleries.  I had a lovely time!
Besides Sydney, I'd never been to any of these places before.
I would have liked to spend longer in Newcastle. Enjoyed the walk along the harbour/wharf and out along the breakwater.

   In my short time there I also found the Newcastle Art Gallery where I saw Leaving a Legacy, Margaret Olley's gifts to Newcastle, and Shay Docking - Works from the Newcastle Collection.  They are both well worth a look.  Of the Shay Docking works, I was particularly impressed by those from the 1960s.
Margaret Olley's donation was quite diverse; mostly paintings - from a 1960s Carl Plate abstract work to Ben Quilty's very loose expressionist portraits of Adam Cullen from 2006.  I was particularly attracted to Elisabeth Kruger's lush Taffeta - a large-scale detail of two white roses, reminiscent of Georgia O'Keefe in its tight framing, but with more emphasis upon luxuriance and texture, and Kevin Lincoln's pared down still life, Grey Jug 1999.
Kevin Lincoln Grey Jug 1999 oil on canvas Newcastle Art Gallery, Gift of the Margaret Olley Art Trust 1999
 I was very interested to see three examples of Cressida Campbell's work.  I confess, I'm not sure that I see the point of her process - cutting a woodcut plate, then painting/inking(?) the plate to take a single print impression.  Olley's gift included two such prints and also a painted plate, or a plate retaining the paint after the single  print was pulled.  I was most interested in the plate.  It reminded me of learning in Art History of the  Spanish wooden sculptures that were originally brightly coloured (polychromed - that we would now perhaps see as gaudy.)  
Spent a couple of days in Port Macquarie, enjoying the beaches and the rainforest walk at Sea Acres National Park.

One evening we went for a cruise on the river, where I was pretty excited to see some dolphins.  They were too quick for me to catch on film, but here's the last of the sun on the water.

We spent a long but very pleasant day driving from Port Macquarie to Armidale, along the Waterfall Way, stopping at Bellingen for lunch, as well as three of the falls for which the Way is named!
The modest Newell Falls,

The very spectacular Ebor Falls, with a series of drops, the first image being the upper section, the second the lower.

 and finally Dangar Falls.  I wondered if they had been named for the family of Anne Dangar, a contemporary and great friend of Gace Crowley, who spent most of her life working at Moly-Sabata in France.

We walked out on the Skywalk at Dorrigo National Park.  Shorter than I expected but very high with fabulous views over the valley. Next post, I'll get to the art!


  1. Welcome back Penny, sounds like you've had a wonderful time. I'm keen on GW Bot's work too -often shown by Noreen Grahame's gallery up here in Brisbane but it would be worth the trip to Tamworth to see a 30 year retrospective.
    Philip Bacon and the QUT have both shown big exhibitions of Cressida Campbell's work in Brisbane and those plates are gorgeous. Both exhibitions exhibited the print and the plate together and both were for sale at Philip Bacon's gallery - I'd always have gone for the plate which was much more enticing! Like you I've always thought it was an enormous amount of work and a difficult process. I've got something about her technique somewhere but from memory she paints the wood with gouache/watercolour and then has to mist it and remoisten it enough to print one copy. Wonder if I can find that info! However I guess it does make the print process fairly uniquely hers!

    1. Well, I'm happy to tell you that you might not have to travel too far to see the GW Bot exhibition, Helen, as it's a touring exhibition, put together by Goulburn Regional Gallery, and next moves on to Stanthorpe Regional gallery (April/May), Artspace Mackay (May/July) and then Toowoomba (JUly/September), Perc Tucker Regional Gallery (Sept/Nov)and Maitland (Nov/Jan 13). (Sadly, I don 't even know if the latter is is Queensland or NSW.) It's been touring for about a year already, but not to Victoria. There's a PDF catalogue available, too, at
      I found something of Cressida Campbell's technique...and have to think a bit more about that!