Prowse_2

Rosemary Laing  Prowse  2010  from the series leak,  C Type photograph,  Image size 110 x 246.59cm. The Corbett Lyon and Yueji Lyon Collection, Lyon Housemuseum. Image courtesy the artist and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne   

TarraWarra Museum of Art is showing “Boundary Line”, the first exhibition curated by their brand new curator, Anthony Fitzpatrick. Last week I had the privilege of being taken on a guided tour of this wonderful exhibition by Anthony himself.  For an arts and design blogger like myself, it doesn’t get any better than that.

I’m going to ‘fess up’ now and admit that I was one of those ill informed people who thought that nothing would quite measure up after the pleasure and excitement of the recent Archibald Prize. I’m here to tell you that I got that wrong!  “Boundary Line” is equally engaging, equally jam packed with fine artists (Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley, Howard Arkley to name a few) and just as provocative and full of the unexpected.  I came away buzzing, with a brain full of amazing images and my thoughts about the care of the environment on red alert.

Michelle_Hamer

Michelle Hamer Is this your new home?  2011, hand-stitched tapestry on perforated plastic,  82 x 104.5cm.  Courtesy of the artist 

The best description of the theme comes from Anthony himself via his essay, published in the exhibition’s catalogue,

“The Tarrawarra Museum of Art collection provides the basis for this exhibition which looks at the boundary between the natural world and the landscape, urban or otherwise, where man has brought about change.”

In addition to the works from TWMA’s own collection, Anthony has gathered works from other places to ‘flesh out’ his theme. Together, the works span the last sixty years.  While mosly two dimensional, there is a refreshing variety, from the handstitched tapestries of Michelle Hamer (above) to the works of Rosalie Gascoigne (below) which make clever use of recycled materials.

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Rosalie Gascoigne (1917-1999) Municipal Gardens 1983,  recycled linoleum on plywood, 122.3 x 92.7cm. Gift of Eva and Marc Besen 2001, TarraWarra Museum of Art collection

There are two works by Fred Williams. Both images incorporate elements of man’s impact on the landscape.  Both are perfectly chosen to illuminate aspects of the “Boundary Line” themes.

Fred_Williams

Fred Williams Lilydale landscape with Blue Train 1974,  oil on canvas, 107×92 cm  Private collection. © Estate of Fred Williams

The two Howard Arkley paintings are knockouts…no surprises there.  But interestingly, the tiniest painting in the whole exhibition by Andrew Mezei, packed the biggest punch. It’s a wonder to me, that a painter can achieve so much on such a tiny canvas!

This is not an exhibition for the faint hearted. I’ll finish with this very disquieting image painted by Jan Senbergs. In this image nightmarish ‘constructions’ sit within a bleak, blackened landscape. A terrifying reminder of mankinds ability for destruction. Ah the power of art!

SENBERGS_Port_yard

Jan Senbergs (1939-) Port yard 1981, acrylic on canvas, 122.5 x 183.2 cm. Gift of Eva and Marc Besen 2001, TarraWarra Museum of Art collection

A good curator makes sense of artwork, draws out qualities and themes and gives the observer food for the senses as well as food for thought. For me, this exhibition ticks all of the boxes.  I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on Anthony’s exhibitions from now on and never again will I assume that the Archibald Prize is the ultimate TWMA exhibition.  TWMA is undoubtedly very fortunate to have Anthony Fitzpatrick as part of their team.

TarraWarra Museum of Art is open Tuesday – Sunday 11am-5pm

“Boundary Line” closes on 2nd October 2011.