NATURAL: Neal Booth is presenting Hidden, his first solo show, at Newcastle Art Space.THEREare big changes ahead in the local art scene with the announcement by the University of Newcastle that it will no longer be offering a Bachelor of Fine Art course from 2017. This occurred in the same week that over 10 of its graduates and a multitude of current students feature in high quality exhibitions across five city galleries.
REFLECT: Digital photo by James Rhodes, is part of Ahn Wells’ exhibition.
As part of the university’s New Futures Strategic Plan, (extensively illustrated with paintings by Fine Art honours graduate Nicole Chaffey) the schools of Design, Fine Art and the internationally acclaimedNatural History Illustration will now be merged to form the fully vocational School of Creative Industries. The details of this new school are yet to be announced.
BOUNDS: Fun with Magritte photogram by Chris Byrnes at Gallery 139.
The Expanded Print is the feature exhibition at the university’s inner city art gallery, Watt Space displaying artists’ books, photographs, prints and 3D pieces from 20 Fine Art staff and students who use traditional and digital printing techniques to reinterpret the relationship between text, books and printmaking. The supporting exhibitions are; Travelling Birds by April Collison and Tallulah Cunningham who are recent graduates from the School of Natural History Illustration; the enchanting Tiny People drawings from Amy Hamilton and photographs by Mark Mason. Until March 20.
At Back to Back Gallery another UoN Fine Art graduate, Maddyson Hatton presents her first solo show Pulling the Wool, a thoughtfully realised project exploring ideas of surveillance and control through the successful employment of recurrent motifs in her drawings, prints and ceramic pieces. Until March 20.
PULLING THE WOOL: A ceramic piece from Maddyson Hatton at Back to Back.
Master of Fine Art graduate Neal Booth presents Hidden at Newcastle Art Space. This is his first solo exhibition of two and three dimensional work since 2011 and it is natural materials and the earth itself that continue to dominate his practice, both as artistic mediums and the source of his inspiration. In his atmospheric, timeless abstractions he uses paints made from pigments discovered in the inland where he also gathered the sticks that form the giant bird’s nest on the gallery floor.
Like so many other exhibitions, Hidden would be stronger with more judicious editing and the removal of a few works that actually detract from the overall exhibition. This over-hanging situation is amplified in the second NAS gallery where Vasanth Rao’s No Distance Left to Run assails us with a high energy explosion of line, colour and form. While intentionally overwhelming, the impact would be further enhanced by thinning things out, so each of the complex works is given some breathing space, allowing the eye to settle, if only for a bit. Until March 20.
The run of high quality photographic exhibitions we have seen in Newcastle this year rolls on. 139 Gallery, which is owned and operated by another Fine Art honours graduate, Ahn Wells, gives us The Bounds of Photography, highly individual works from six local photographers of whom half are Fine Art graduates. Through traditional means along with contemporary digital and video techniques, this group stretches our appreciation of the discipline in a tight, engaging exhibition. Ends March 12
It is good to see Forsight Gallery reopen with a strong new show after a long lay-off. Monday brings together seven skilled artists, many of whom are also Fine Art graduates, who work under the guidance of highly respected artist and former Newcastle Art School senior painting teacher, John Morris. Until March 20.C Studios presents The Gift of Nature from the prolific Newcastle Art School graduate Ros Elkin. Until March 27.
While it is true that art will continue to be created with or without institutions and despite shifting political values, thank goodness we still have the Newcastle Art School which has withstood a battering of its own over recent years but continues to offer quality courses and produce high class practitioners across all artistic mediums.