Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wild Silence

In fantastic showcase of our region, David Collins who visited Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun in September 2016, in a partnership with FORM, is wrapping up a mesmerizing exhibition at the end of this month. 

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council would like to acknowledge David's breath taking work. We hope to see him back in our region again. 

Wild Silence
by David Charles Collins 
What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk.
by Gian Manik

July until September, 2017
FORM Gallery Perth
357 Murray Street, Perth, WA, 6000

Gian Manik and David Charles Collins mark significant new direction in upcoming FORM exhibitions highlighting Western Australia’s Pilbara and South Coast.
FORM’s latest exhibition features a return to Western Australia by artists Gian Manik and David Charles Collins with new bodies of work marking a significant new direction for each artist.
Wild Silence, by David Charles Collins and What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk., by Gian Manik are the first major bodies of work created in Western Australia by the artists since leaving their home state. The works, a photographic series depicting iconic orchids, and a 10-meter long collaborative canvas respectively, open together at FORM Gallery Perth on Friday 9 July, 2017. They are drawn together by their focus on the remote Western Australian landscape and process of co-creation with communities in which they were developed.
FORM Curator Andrew Nicholls said Manik and Collins established their practices in Perth before moving to Melbourne and Sydney respectively. “In 2016 FORM invited both artists to return to Western Australia and undertake residencies in two of the State's remote regions,” Nicholls said.
“Over recent years Collins has gained growing national attention for his richly sensual photographic and video works, which reference the aesthetics of high-Renaissance painting to critically comment upon the hedonism, decadence and apathy of his generation,” Nicholls said. 
In late 2016 FORM commissioned Collins to travel to Western Australia’s remote southern regions and create a new body of botanically-themed works in conjunction with the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Festival. His resulting photographic series, Wild Silence, documents the iconic orchids of the Fitzgerald Biosphere, an area of nationally-significant biodiversity at the border of the Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions. In striking contrast to the high baroque sensibility of Collins previous works, the images have a stark and minimal beauty, representing a new direction in his practice.
Collins describes each photograph as an abstracted portrait. “The flowers, initially hard to see and find, still carried the weight and history of the place in which they had quietly existed,” he said. “Becoming more than flowers, I conceptualized them as individuals in a community, all tacitly aware of the knowledge of the land they inhabited. I found these silent bodies heavy with the secrets they keep to themselves”.
Nicholls describes Manik’s paintings as having come to focus almost exclusively on reflective and mirrored surfaces since he relocated to Melbourne in 2011. “This subject matter allows him to represent an in-between or ‘liminal’ space that shifts between abstraction and representation,” Nicholls said.
Manik spent three weeks in the Pilbara during April 2017, developing a series of new paintings inspired by his surroundings. What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk. showcases a spectacular 10-meter long canvas produced during this time, in partnership with students from Hedland Senior High School. Manik mentored around 40 students from years 6-12 in drawing and painting techniques, inviting them to work directly on to his canvas. His own impressions of the Pilbara were then over-painted to create a bold collaborative work.
Manik said he liked the way that a section of the canvas was rolled out at a time, the children sat around and then did their work. “I worked similarly, paying little attention to perspective and orientation, let alone relational aesthetics, so there is little expectation in terms of landscape/story as is expected in most mural work.”
As with Collins’ exhibition, this work represents a new direction in the artist’s practice – having focused on refining a single concept for the past five years, this new site-responsive, collaborative project has resulted in a chaotic, layered aesthetic combining diverse mark-making and humorous juxtaposition.

Wild Silence 2017

David Collins

Hopetoun Photography Workshop with Photographer. David Collins and FORM Curator, Andrew Nicholls. 2016

Want to see more of Wild Silence?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Oh Barbara, Oh Barry

Barbara & Barry's Sweet, Sour and Saucy

Jerdacuttup Hall.

The consensus has arrived, and we have all agreed that Barbara & Barry’s Sweet Sour & Saucy lived up to its name. Locally presented by Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council in partnership with Country Arts WA, Melissa Western & Tnee Dyer (aka Barbara & Barry) are a highly talented pair who provided a thoroughly entertaining and polished show. At times absolutely hilarious, the performance was top class, with the audience fully engaged and appreciative of the musical skills of the pair. We even had Eva and Tim Flanagan renewing their wedding vows on stage after 56 years, complete with cavorting bridesmaids!

The Jerdacuttup Community Association played host to the event on Saturday 12th of August 2017, setting up the Jerdacuttup Hall in true retro style complete with checkered tablecloths and Bakelite items. The food was delicious and the hospitality warm and welcoming as always.

During “Barbara & Barry’s” Hopetoun visit, they hosted two community workshops. Firstly, on Friday night, the music workshop gave beginners a simple approach to extend their skills in improvising, particularly using a basic 12 bar blues rhythm. Members from the local ukulele group “RHUkulele” strummed away with delight as they picked up a few tricks of the trade.

Then there was the singing workshop which was dubbed ‘pure fun’, especially when participants were paired and asked to improvise a duet, to Anthony's skilled piano accompaniment.  In this exercise, each pair sang gibberish to each other, with grand theatrical gestures to enhance the message. Talk about some budding opera stars...
Under Melissa and Barry's expert guidance we were also asked to improvise a short blues refrain, with some hilarious results as all tried valiantly to come up with lyrics on such diverse topics as boots, men (or lack of them), women and rain. A thoroughly enjoyable and successful hour.

All in agreement, Barbara & Barry were excellent. We'd love to see them back again; if laughter is the best medicine then this show left us all feeling mighty fine! Thank you to all community members who made the event a laugh out loud success.

Tour coordinated by Country Arts WA.