Artel #7 ~ MRAG Members' Magazine (Autumn/Winter 2022)

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ARTEL ARTEL ARTEL ARTEL RTEL Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Members’ Magazine

Autumn/Winter 2022

Biannual #7


Biannual #7 Autumn/Winter 2022





Located on Wonnarua Country at the gateway to the Hunter Valley in Maitland New South Wales, Maitland Regional Art Gallery presents awardwinning exhibitions and events alongside engaging and varied public programs, educational offerings, and an in-depth Arts Health program.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery Members. The vibrant community of MRAG supporters who, through their membership and fundraising, help sustain the Gallery’s creative learning programs.

230 High Street, Maitland, NSW 2320 Open: Tues–Sun 10am–5pm Ph: 02 4934 9859 E:


‘Artel’ is of Russian origin and refers to an arts or crafts co-operative. The ‘Artel of Artists’ (1863) was formed by a group of St Petersburg Academy of Arts students who’d rebelled against the rules of its annual art competition. Artel has been the name of the MRAGM newsletter, now magazine, since 2007.

COVER IMAGE Shan Turner-Carroll, Edge of the Garden, Ruby & Monique, 2020, archival digital inkjet print, Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection

Represented by volunteers on the MRAGM Committee, elected annually.





NoŊgirrŊa Marawili





Amanda O’Bryan


Digitisation Hub


Dani Marti





Maitland Cultural Resurgence


Jessica Wolf


Female Drivers

Sami Bayly Acquisitions


Social Gallery



ARTEL 04 MRAGM Committee Jannette Rush James Marshall Michaela Swan Elizabeth O’Brien Leah Riches Sarah Crawford Catherine Kingsmill Council Representative Cr Sally Halliday Gallery Director Gerry Bobsien

The Committee wishes to gratefully acknowledge the support of Maitland City Council as well as Patron Jenny Aitchison MP. Artel is produced by MRAGM volunteers and MRAG staff. Copies available at MRAG front desk. Read online via Designer Clare Hodgins Editorial Coordinator Liz O’Brien Printed by Jennings Print Group

Contributors Johanna Bartels, Gerry Bobsien, Cheryl Farrell, Jenny Hunter, Cherie Johnson, Sarah Crawford, Elizabeth O’Brien, Anne McLaughlin, Linden Pomarè, Michelle Maartenz All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without written permission from MRAGM. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information and to secure copyright permissions, we apologise for any oversights, which we will correct in future issues.



We invite you to explore MRAG through these pages and discover more about the Gallery’s wonderfully diverse exhibitions, programs and the people who enjoy and support it. This edition of our new-look Artel is the culmination of a lengthy period of collaboration, between the team at the Gallery and our dedicated MRAGM Committee members. The Committee hopes you enjoy our reborn and revitalised Artel. READ UP! - there are lots of exciting things happening at our Gallery.

Jannette Rush, Acting Chair, MRAGM There is so much to experience at the Gallery over the next six months. An early highlight brings to Maitland the work of one of Australia’s most important artists, Nongirrna Marawili through the generosity of the Hassall Milson Collection. Our 2022 program puts many Hunter based artists front and centre including a major solo exhibition by artist Dani Marti. We get to share in the experience of local First Nations school students who worked together to make possum skin cloaks and woven sculptures with their schools and the team at Speaking in Colour. It is a privilege to exhibit the work of these young artists as part of the Maitland Cultural Resurgence. In June, our exhibition Sleepwalking, lets us revel in all things dreamy and otherwordly, bringing out works within the Gallery’s collection alongside a special commission, Shallow Pond Deepest at Night by LOVEDAVID (David Lobb) and e4444e (Romy Church). We hope you enjoy our new look Artel and look forward to seeing you in the Gallery over the coming months.

Gerry Bobsien, Gallery Director

Tamara Dean, Fallen Willow (Salix) in Autumn, 2017, archival pigment print on cotton rag, 120 × 160cm, edition of 8 + 2AP Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection



Daughter of the Lightning Snake 19 F E B 2 0 2 2 – 14 A U G 2 0 2 2

The Gallery is honoured to share the work of one of Australia’s leading artists for an extended exhibition this year. NoŊgirrŊa Marawili: Daughter of the Lightning Snake represents a partnership between Maitland Regional Art Gallery, the Geoffrey Hassall Collection and Buku-LarrŊgay Mulka Centre. The following article is an edited excerpt from the essay by Will Stubbs found in the catalogue accompanying the Exhibition. We understand the ‘arrow of time’ as a fixed truth which underpins our modern lives. The past moves through the present to the future and nothing can reverse this. Einstein however disagrees, “People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” An image taken by Donald Thomson in 1935 shows a YolŊu warrior named Mundukul standing smiling into the camera on a remote beach on the shores of Blue Mud Bay. In other images he is pictured with his large family. He is a tall, strong, lean man with wide shoulders carrying a bundle of finely made spears. He is at home here. To this day there is no road or permanent man-made structure within 25 kilometres of this spot. And if you discount the few tiny scattered homeland centres in the near radius the closest town that fits such a description in having paved roads and mains power is 150 kilometres distant.

NoŊgirrŊa Marawili, Baratjala, 2020, natural pigments and recycled print toner on bark, 230 × 115cm (detail)

NoŊgirrŊa was not born at this time but came shortly afterwards. Mundukul a Madarrpa warrior (c.1890-c.1950) was a famed leader/warrior with uncountable wives of the Marrakulu, Dhudi Djapu and Gälpu clans. Uncountable because the only record of births, deaths and marriages which dates from this era is the Mission ‘Stud Book’; a yellowed typewritten collation of some earlier document

ARTEL 08 with annotations of further births and deaths in handwritten biro and pencil. Yirrkala mission was being established far away as this photograph was being taken. But Mundukul does not appear in the record. He never submitted to the lure of addictive tobacco, tea, flour and sugar which was God’s reward for surrendering a YolŊu life. Someone at a later date has entered NoŊgirrŊa as being born in 1939. This was an estimation made some time in her teens when she came to Yirrkala. NoŊgirrŊa was a child of BuluŊguwuy, one of the four Gälpu wives. Life was a bountiful but disciplined subsistence amongst a working family group of closely related mothers, brothers and sisters. This was over fifty people! She was born on the beach at Darrpirra, North of Cape Shield on the ocean side. But they were wakir’ - camping/ moving around. They went to Yilpara. They went to Djarrakpi. But their special place was GuwaŊarripa (Woodah Island). They were a fleet of canoes travelling all the way to Groote Island and back and forth from the mainland. They lived in this rich place surrounded by coral reefs. When they wanted to catch the wind they would break off the branch of a tree and use that as the sail. Mums, babies, dogs and kids being paddled by their husbands, brothers and fathers through tropical waters full of huge reptiles, mammals, fish, turtles and sharks. The lightning she paints is spat across the sky by the Yirritja serpent Mundukul who towers above the monsoonal cloud mass communicating with similar beings to the South and East. He imprecates curses and spells drawn from the epic song poetry of YolŊu law. This speech is in a grammar unknown to English speakers. It is in a simultaneous past/ present/future continuum. He spat/is spitting/will spit his language of light, heat and power. And what of the woman who is the thread between these two realities? What has she experienced? How has she followed the arrow of this time? To spend time with her is to understand how strong a human can be and how much resource is within all of us. If all the cosy comforting reference points of reality are snatched away by history there is still a centre which can be relied upon. A certainty and a confidence that what is past is still present and will be again. She has lived her life in the past/present/future as a sovereign being and the daughter of the Lightning snake.

Will Stubbs, Coordinator, Buku-LarrŊgay Mulka Centre DAUGHTER OF THE LIGHTNING SNAKE


Mai-Wel is a Hunterbased organisation that empowers and encourages people with disability to achieve their own goals through engagement with a diverse range of activities and training programs. From 1960, Mai-Wel has contributed a rich vein of ART AND COMMUNIT Y

creativity and energy to the Maitland community, nowhere is this felt more keenly than here at Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Mai-Wel’s The Hub in High Street is just that – a creative hub and studio. The participants, assisted

by their Mai-Wel Creative Arts Mentors, develop their own art-making practices with inspiration coming from weekly gallery visits. As Kelly, a Mai-Wel support worker noted, “The group goes there every Thursday, they do their own take on all the different types of art – they love

11 seeing the new exhibitions, they do their own responses in their artbooks, all to be used back at Mai-Wel.” The exhibition National Art {Part One} was greatly enjoyed by Mai-Wel artist Jeni as Leah, her support worker, said, “Jeni loves to make art and she loves coming down here to look at art. Her favourite work In the NAS exhibition was Tim Maguire’s painting - every week we visited she would sit right in front of it.” Sophia, who works with Mai-Wel artist Diane, explains Diane’s love of collage, “She get stuck right in, doesn’t stop until it’s time to go home. She also gets ideas from artworks in the gallery, especially Michael Johnson’s painting Cormorant, she loves geometric and abstract patterns.” Briety, another of the Mai-Wel artists, is a painter. “I like coming to the gallery because it’s always interesting and I always like different sorts of art. I like Mai-Wel because I like to show my work. Paintings are my favourite.” A visit to The Hub Open studio shows the dynamic connection between the artists and their gallery visits; Leah explains, “Jeni brought back the Operation Art catalogue one week, found a painting of whales in it and spent a week painting whales.” Gabi is working on making her own art gallery in a box. Leah explains, “She will bring in a box or container and come up with an idea - she made a treasure chest for her brother in law and now she’s making mini artworks for a mini art gallery.” Alex, another Mai-Wel artist, is an online workshop participant - she mentions one of her paintings, “It’s called Lost in the Forest, there’s lots of trees and leaves.” Alex is also selling some of her artworks online, “I’m learning how to design and print them,” she said.

Gabi Reibel, Self Portrait, 2021 acrylic on board Briety Dorahy, Stormy days, 2021 acrylic and pastels on canvas Many thanks to Alex, Briety, Denise, Diane, Gabi, Jeni, Kelly, Leah, Sophia and Zoe from Mai-Wel.

Kelly sums up the relationship between the gallery and Mai-Wel artists. “I’ve been coming to the gallery for at least 9 years and I’ve brought the participants along many times –for morning tea, a look around the gallery. They always have a great time; when they leave, they always talk about different art when we get back to Mai-Wel.”

Anne McLaughlin, Learning and Audience Development Curator


04 JUN 2022 — 04 SEP 2022

When we fall asleep, where do we go? – B I L LY E I L I S H

It’s certainly not a new question but one that has sparked the interest of artists for many years and a dreamy premise for an exhibition from the MRAG Collection focused on night stories, the surreal and otherworldly. In our lifetime, it is estimated that we spend 50,000 hours dreaming and around six years of our lives in the other worldly life of sleep.1 Philosophers have often referred to our nightly visions as our second life, a place we experience very differently from our shared life of the day. Matthew Spellberg writes that dreams are full of its ‘unexpected villains and lovers, its indescribable moonscapes, its fantastical concatenations of memory, its unfathomable vehicles and dungeons, its transports of flight and its corporeal crises when the limbs turn stiff and the monster is upon you.” 2

1 3

What we want to do with this exhibition is explore the places we go, the gardens, the homes, the landscapes that inspire the dreamy narratives of our subconscious. New works acquired into our Collection recently by Shan TurnerCarroll and Tamara Dean provide evocative scenes dreamt up in the in-between gardens of twilight and the dark spaces of night. Turner-Carroll says of his Edge of the Garden series, “These night visions emerge as apparitions found at the edges of the garden, between dusk and dawn, as though of an alternate dream world.” 3 We will also dive further into our Collection and bring out works by Charles Blackman, Goya, James Gleeson and Deborah Paauwe. These are works of art that wrestle with the nocturnal or subconscious and create wonderful opportunities for

education programs and lively creative workshops. Building on the theme of twilight and dreamscapes, we have commissioned a new work from artists LOVEDAVID (David Lobb) and e4444e (Romy Church). If you were lucky enough to see their performance Invisible Stone at the Civic Theatre in 2020 you would have experienced the sounds and visual animation of this beautiful music/ art experience. Both Lobb and Church will create a large-scale film piece we can step into and be swept away by. We can’t wait to present Sleepwalking in June this year. It gives us the opportunity to showcase new and old works in our collection and commission new work from local artists.

Gerry Bobsien, Gallery Director

Chloe Nahum, ‘The art of dreams: creativity through the unconscious. 2 Matthew Spellberg, ‘On dream sharing and its purpose’ Cabinet Magazine, Issue 67. Shan Turner-Carroll, available online 12/4/2021: Image: Shan Turner-Carroll, Edge of the Garden, Nigel 2, (detail) 2020, archival digital inkjet print, Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection




Rutherford HS staff wearing their PSC’s, freshly returned to them. Photo: Cherie Johnson Left to right: Mrs Michelle Keyes, Micheal Heitmeyer, Jaimie Carpenter and Principal Simone Hughes


15 Maitland Regional Art Gallery presents the work of Aboriginal students across the Maitland area through woven sculptural art pieces and Possum Skin Cloaks. Cultural enrichment is paramount in all Speaking in Colour programs and while individual cultural knowledge and ability vary, we have found the hunger to learn and create is shared by all. Through the cultural journey of our programs, it is wonderful to see community coming together, with students becoming the teachers and sharing what they have learned with their friends and family. Generations have shared and worked collectively on projects, and for some participants, this may have been their first opportunity to do so. The ‘end point’ for these projects is not about the artworks, but rather the ceremony of connectivity, relationality and cultural strengthening. It is an honour for Speaking in Colour to facilitate cultural programs. Our hope is when the community visit Maitland Cultural Resurgence they will be able to recognise these ceremonies in action. Over the duration of the exhibition, some showcased items may come and go, witnessing cultural revitalisation in action as the objects now have a life and purpose of their own. Works in the exhibition have been created by local Aboriginal community group ‘Hunter Aboriginal weaver’s Alliance’ and Central Coast cancer services wellness group, ‘Coast Can Care’, as well as school groups that involved both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and teachers. Primary and secondary schools exhibiting include: Morisset Public School, Bolwarra Public School, Maitland Public School, Greta Public School, Abermain Public School, Kearsley Public School, Tenambit Public School, East Maitland Public School and Rutherford Technology High. We also have exhibiting Early Childhood Education Child care centre and Uniting Preschool Adamstown Heights.

Cherie Johnson, Founder and Managing Director of Speaking in Colour

ARTEL 16 JESSICA WOLF In her Helensburgh studio, Jessica Wolf is surrounded by bags and boxes bulging with her vast collection of vintage fabrics and antique head blocks. Jessica Wolf creates a unique range of colourful and eco-friendly accessories using table linens and upholstery fabrics gathered from second-hand shops. Her sewing machine of choice is an old Bernina, which clatters companionably away in true retro style while she stitches together contrasting materials to create her signature headwear. Jessica learned to sew as an adult and in 2013, while living in Melbourne, she enrolled in a course at the Alchemy Sewing School and started making garments for herself, friends and family. Later, she tried local markets where the overwhelmingly positive response to her range of headwear convinced her that she’d found her niche.

“It’s a thrill for me to rescue forgotten-about linens, and to turn trash into treasure,” she enthuses. “My favourite things to make are reversible sunhats using vintage Australiana tea towels and table linens that feature our unique flora and fauna. I use the pattern pieces to capture the best parts of the fabrics. In the last few years I have made literally thousands of hats, all one of a kind.” Sometimes Jessica finds just a small amount of a vintage fabric, only enough for one side of the hat, she then enjoys the challenge of matching it with a complementary and contrasting material for the reverse side.

“I love watching people try on my hats, and it’s rewarding to see people wearing them. And I love hearing people say things like ‘My nan used to have that tablecloth!’ or ‘My mum had those curtains!’ They may not have planned to buy a hat, but there’s an instant connection there, and they feel like it was meant for them.” “I feel like I am doing my bit for the environment by recycling and repurposing materials that were unwanted and giving them the chance to be cherished and loved again. Hats are a useful and practical accessory here in Australia where the sun is so harsh, so I am also helping people to be sun safe as well.” MRAG SHOP


Up your autumn gardening game with these seasonal gardening essentials from the MRAG shop


Be sun safe in style with a one-of-a-kind sustainable gardening hat made with vintage & reclaimed materials by Jessica Wolf Designs. Prices starting from $120.


Find a sunny spot in your garden and enjoy a quiet cuppa with a handcrafted mug by Lyndel Henry from Henry & Tunks, $42 each.


Learn how to make your own herb garden with Sustainable Home by Christine Liu, an inspirational and practical guidebook for maintaining an eco-friendlier household, $29.99.


Boost your wellbeing and mood by bringing a little bit of nature inside in a hand thrown artisan planter with saucer by Katherine Mahoney. Prices starting from $55.


At the end of a satisfying day in the garden, hang up your gardening gear with a hand forged hook by Hunter Valley Blacksmith, Will Maguire. Prices starting from $13.50.

ARTEL 18 FEMALE DRIVERS Curated by Madeleine K. Snow 2 8 M AY 2 0 2 2 — 2 8 A U G 2 0 2 2

Global advocacy for fair gender representation in the arts has gained momentum over recent years. In Australia alone, we have seen the women led research and advocacy initiative The Countess Report (2014) effectively highlight prejudiced representation of women artists in major galleries and art prizes, followed by the National Gallery of Australia presenting the Know My Name initiative (2020-2021). On the coattails of such conversations surrounding gender representation, Newcastle based curator and arts educator Madeleine Snow presents Female Drivers, an exhibition of Australian women artists excelling in their individual practices.

Maggie Hensel-Brown, Tripped up and strung up on an endless stream of overtly personal comments from strange men, 2018, silk, cotton. Image courtesy the artist.


Female Drivers exhibits the works of Mechelle Bounpraseuth, Michelle Brodie, Bern Emmerichs, Michelle Gearin, Sarah Goffman, Charlotte Haywood, Maggie Hensel-Brown,


Nicola Hensel, Julie-Anne Long, and Elizabeth Pulie, presenting a broad range of disciplines inclusive of painting, textiles, ceramics, sculpture and performance. The initial idea of the exhibition was formulated in 2017 when a prominent focus of the art world was on questioning and challenging unequitable representations of women artists. Hearing the phrase “female driver”, there is much to consider in regard to connotations associated with the phrase – from the mocking of women at the wheel, to the celebration of women as a driving force. Speaking to Snow on the conceptualisation of Female Drivers, she professes the title of the exhibition was a deliberate choice in wanting to unpack and challenge the use of language. Each artist in the exhibition is undeniably a master of their craft in their own right, each dedicated to and driven by the mediums of their practice.

“Can any of these women create a masterpiece, because it isn’t a mistress-piece?” Snow questions. “Stuff like that has bugged me forever about the art world.” Snow mentions exhibiting artist Elizabeth Pulie’s response to the title Female Drivers, “[Pulie] really saw it more as women driving an idea… she didn’t see it as a negative at all.” Artists were not asked specifically to respond to the exhibition title, but rather, to explore the ideas and materials of their craft. Exhibiting artist Bern Emmerichs, whose work is known for presenting historical Australian narratives, has explored a quite literal and positive approach to Female Drivers. Emmerichs’ works specifically respond to the exhibition title by exploring First Settlement period stories of female horse drivers and bushrangers from the Maitland and Hunter Valley region.

“There are links between these artists. Some are looking at historical narratives, while others really tap into that ‘everyday’ idea.” Maggie [Hensel-Brown] is a great example of this making work drawn from her everyday life. Working in ceramics, Mechelle Bounspraseuth recreates ordinary tomato sauce bottles and objects from her table while Sarah Goffman uses the ordinary plastic that you find every day, but then transforms it into something magical. Visitors to the Gallery can also look forward to the inclusion of The Countess Report by Amy Prcevich, Elvis Richardson and Miranda Samuels, as well as works by Fiona Foley and Fiona Hall selected from the Gallery’s collection which proudly includes an ever-increasing catalogue of Australian women artists.

Elizabeth O’Brien, MRAGM

ARTEL 20 A M A N D A O ’ B R YA N In each issue of Artel, we introduce you to one of our members and for this issue we profile Lorn resident, Amanda O’Bryan. Amanda runs Creative Queen Bees and is the author of the book Daily Acts of Creativity and you can find this in the Gallery shop!


21 Tell us about yourself and your creative practice? I’m an artist, illustrator and designer with a 20+ year career in creative industries. I studied art and design at the University of Newcastle, then moved away from the Hunter for most of those 20 years. I moved back with my family a few years ago and made Lorn my home. It’s been a delight to be back and to be part of a wonderful community with so much creativity and beauty all around. I work from my little garden studio in the backyard of my home and feel lucky to be surrounded by the flower farms and river. It is a constant theme in my work. People may have seen my work at the Lorn Rose Farm; the painted rose mural on the side of one of the cottages.

You recently released your first book, ‘Daily Acts of Creativity.’ If people are looking to live a more creative life, how can your book help? I wrote the book as a way for people to re-imagine what creativity is, how to identify their creative style, and to rediscover their creativity as a state of wellbeing. It’s about making and expressing creativity as part of daily life. The book is a place to start and to grow into creativity with over 100 everyday ways to spark a happy, healthy, and creative life - one that will reward you with greater fulfilment in the process.

You are an abundantly happy and positive person, what is your secret? Haha! Creativity! I think we have to cultivate happiness, be willing to choose happiness and experience positive emotions rather than holding onto negative beliefs about what we think is right. Being creative teaches you to think, see and feel in ways that encourage joy and gratitude - that is a great place to start with feeling happy.

What has been your favourite MRAG exhibition or MRAG moment? My sisters and I often take all our kids (grown-up ones too) to the gallery. I love seeing them engage with the artworks, I watch them looking at the work, moving their heads from side to side, studying, and thinking. It sparks much curiosity and reverence in them. It is a joy to witness, actually, it also makes me view the works in different ways, seeing it through their eyes.

If you could go anywhere in the world to see a specific artwork, what and where would it be? I am a bit obsessed with the work of the mid20th-century abstract expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler. Visiting the foundation in her name in New York is absolutely on my wish list. It would also be thrilling to see a work titled Triptyque 1987-1988 by the Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-ki. His work is sublimely inspiring to me.

Elizabeth O’Brien, MRAGM

Photo: Trish Evans Photography




The Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection is a diverse, vibrant and strong collection of more than 7000 items, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and prints, by Australian and international artists. In 2021, we embarked on a major digitisation project to make the collection searchable and accessible by all. One of the exciting aspects of this project is the capacity to make highlighted or online exhibitions from the collection. Over the coming months we will invite members to curate a quarterly highlighted exhibition from the collection viewable online through our collections portal. Our cultural collections tell us so much about our City, our region and our place in the world through historic objects, archives and through the eyes of artists. Through the acquisition, development, care and management of the Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection, we bring works of art to life and increase public access to ideas, history and conversations. Maitland City Council is custodian to several significant artistic and historic cultural collections and these collections are spread across facilities and sites within the City including Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Library, Maitland Gaol, Morpeth Museum and the old Maitland Hospital. A digitisation photographic hub has been established at the Gallery and our collection continues to be photographed and accessioned online thanks to an extensive digitisation project, supported by the NSW Government Regional Cultural Fund. This is a major milestone for the Gallery and we hope you will jump online and have a browse.

You can find it here:

ARTEL 24 OH CANOLA! Dani Marti 0 5 M A R 2 0 2 2 - 2 9 M AY 2 0 2 2

Oh Canola! A landscape of endless fields of yellow flowers. Dani Marti and partner Phil drove through kilometres of South Australian canola fields dovetailed against brilliant blue skies. They were overwhelmed. “Oh Canola!” Marti exclaimed in Spanish, “wow that is incredible.” This was the starting point, the seed of an idea, and forms the main work in this show, a minimal and abstracted landscape ‘painting’. Dani Marti explores light, colour, abstraction and reflection through works designed to overwhelm us, allowing us to stop, slow down and look. “I had a totally sensory reaction. I want people to have this same experience” Dani said.Marti uses industrial road reflectors to create large scale minimalist landscape ‘paintings’. The colour and light change as we move around the work. “For me that is the relationship with painting. It is about little particles of light capturing light.”

Dani Marti, (background) Natura morta (Variacions en Gris Verd) (detail) 2021, Polyproplene, powder coated aluminium 190 × 190cm, (above) Oh Canola!, (detail) 2022, customised reflectors, aluminium, 280 × 1150 × 6cm


This exhibition will include works that are part of a series called Dust, which Marti began working on about 18 months ago. “I remember one day seeing these particles of dust with the light filtering through. It was just like floating in space. That little image was the starting point of this huge series I am working on. There is the whole notion that these little particles of light and everything else dissolves into dust,


to nothingness. Nothing is solid and everything is fluid, transforming and floating in space.” In the past, it was people who were the starting point for Marti. He focused on connecting with people through his video practice, where he was trying to capture or convey something very intimate about being human. His works involved sexuality, intimacy and ethics. Marti did portraits of lovers, of people he used to come across, family, his sister and mother. In his latest body of work, he has focused on the industrial materials he’s has had a lifelong obsession. Marti had a similar transformative experience

to the Canola immersion while visiting the pink salt lakes of South Australia. In the work Almost Square (walking on pink lakes), reflectors fracture the light reminiscent of the pink shades seen on the salt lakes at different times of the day. Dani Marti remains interested in industrial materials after 20 years and he is still learning, exploring and pushing them further. “I just keep working and experimenting with them.” The series Natura morta is made out of recycled melted plastics formed to express movement. Marti started developing this series for Art Space, doing small sculptures using recycled

plastics. When you look at them they appear as big strokes of paint that become three dimensional. These works were started during lockdown last year but emerged out of earlier work commissioned by a private collector in 2008. The only portrait on show in the MRAG exhibition is Nude, (After Therasa) it represents a dear friend and fashion designer from Spain. This large-scale sculpture will encapsulate the gallery space in a floating, sweeping curve. Oh Canola! makes big immersive statements. Don’t miss this exhibition at MRAG March 5 through May 29.

Sarah Crawford, MRAGM

ARTEL 26 S A M I B AY LY G E T S C R E AT I V E I N D O G D AY S This Autumn, the Gallery will embrace one of the most recent additions to the MRAG Collection, Troy Emery’s Park Creature with an exhibition that invites five artists to respond to this playful and mysterious work of art. One of the artists, Sami Bayly will also be participating in our creative kids program Free Art Sunday in June. Sami Bayli is a natural history illustrator whose passion for weird and wonderful animals and the environment has taken her art practice into the world of books. She is the creator of an award winning series of books for children, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals, and her most recent book The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature.


27 How did you start your first book the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ugly Animals ? When developing the Ugly Animals book, I started thinking about what I would have liked as a kid. I love strange and weird animals, they aren’t really ugly because everyone views them differently, what I might say is ugly is beautiful to someone else. I started with the research and ended with the illustrations, breaking up the text into short sections, so you can easily choose which parts you want to read. I love the fun facts.

Where is the most interesting place your work has taken you? I visited Taronga Zoo twice for the Children’s Book Council Awards announcements in 2021. Different authors were asked to interview an animal and I chose the Tassie Devil. It was pouring rain and I ended up getting soaked, but I did get to play a meat tug of war with a Tassie Devil. I also got to draw a Giant Tortoise! I felt like a VIP, it was very special. Photo: Hachette

Additionally, I got to meet some of the zookeepers who let me get up close and personal with a critically endangered Southern Corrobboree Frog. In my 3rd year of Uni we went on a field trip to Borneo to study the ecology of some of the creatures that lived there. We saw and interacted with some amazing animals, like the Proboscis Monkey and Bornean Orangutan.

What do you enjoy most about your work? I love doing the research! I’m always learning something new and discovering strange and obscure animals. I also love teaching workshops at schools, it’s really the only time I get to interact with other people and work with teachers, librarians and children. I am usually in my office writing and drawing alone, so it’s great to get out and meet people. Kids are great, they’re always excited to learn something new and ask funny questions.

Are you working on a new book at the moment? I am, I’m at the fun stage of sending off the run down to the publisher. The next book is different to the others, it isn’t part of the Illustrated Encyclopaedia series and I can’t really say anything about it just yet. I can say, that although it’s different, it still covers the same kind of strange creatures for all of those animal loving readers.

Michelle Maartenz, Learning and Development Curator


Portraits and painted dragons, landscapes constructed, abstracted, surreal and serene, discarded toys and a cloud shaded mantle clock. More than 100 drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, created by some of Australia’s most significant artists, have been acquired into the Gallery’s Collection recently. These artworks have been donated to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection by artists and private collectors, signifying the respect that our Collection holds across the art community and adding significantly to the vibrancy and depth of our Collection. MRAG COLLECTIOM

29 The artists in this group of works include: Michael Cook, Lyndon Dadswell, Robert Klippel, Ildiko Kovacs, Tamara Dean, Dongwang Fan, Hector Gilliland, Taloi Havini, Jane Lander, Darren McDonald, Luke Roberts, Jenny Sages and Peter Tilley, and their diverse works will provide curators inspiration to curate beautiful, challenging and educational exhibitions and programs from the MRAG Collection for years to come. Michael Cook’s series of photographs, Mother, 2016, is a curator’s dream and we can’t wait to share these works with you. Michael Cook is an Australian photographic artist with an international reputation. His work has been included in major exhibitions all over the world (this series, Mother, was launched at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2016) and his photographs are held in significant international collections such as the British Museum and in every major Australian collection including the National Gallery of Australia. This series of nine photographs are beautiful yet unsettling. The constructed and stylised settings focus on a well-dressed young woman alone in a deserted, monochromatic landscape. The scenes include discarded children’s toys, playground equipment and rider-less rocking horses referencing the absence of a child.

“Michael Cook’s ‘Mother’ series captures the longing of the stolen generation”, The Age, 21/3/2016


Michael Cook, Mother (Dolls House), 2016, inkjet print on paper, Ed 8/8, 80 × 120cm. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael Cook, 2021

Within this series, Cook draws upon his personal story. He was adopted at three weeks of age into a loving family who were non-Indigenous but who encouraged his connection to his paternal Indigenous heritage. In creating these photographs he not only reflects upon his experience of the loving presence of one mother and the absence of another but also connects these personal histories with the traumatic experiences of the Stolen Generation, and the images evoke the sorrow of loss, or longing, of a mother for a child. Whilst inspired by both his mothers, the series reflects the universal theme of the importance of the relationship between a mother and child. Mother, Cook says, is about being part of the human race. It is about our loves, longing and losses.1

Cheryl Farrell, Collection Management Curator, MRAG



Portraits and painted dragons, landscapes constructed, abstracted, surreal and serene, discarded toys and a cloud shaded mantle clock. More than 100 drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, created by some of Australia’s most significant artists, have been acquired into the Gallery’s Collection in the last few months. Valued at more $100K these artworks have been donated to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection by artists and private collectors, signifying the respect that our Collection holds across the art community and adding significantly to the vibrancy and depth of our Collection. PAT R ICI A PICCININI W OR KSHOP



Portraits and painted dragons, landscapes constructed, abstracted, surreal and serene, discarded toys and a cloud shaded mantle clock. More than 100 drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, created by some of Australia’s most significant artists, have been acquired into the Gallery’s Collection in the last few months. Valued at more $100K these artworks have been donated to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection by artists and private collectors, signifying the respect that our Collection holds across the art community and adding significantly to the vibrancy and depth of our Collection. ARCHIBALD OPENING

Photography: Leighsa Cox


26 FEB 2022 - 24 APR 2022

Young Archie Celebrating young artists of the region, the Young Archie exhibition showcases the work of budding Hunter based artists aged between 5 and 18 across four age categories. The first week of the Young Archie takes place at MRAG in the final week of Archibald Prize 2021 touring from the Art Gallery of NSW.

19 F E B 2 0 2 2 – 14 A U G 2 0 2 2

Daughter of the Lightning Snake: NoŊgirrŊa Marawili NoŊgirrŊa Marawili is regarded as one of the most important artists in Australia today. Working from the extraordinary landscape of her home in Yirrkala, north-eastern Arnhem Land, Marawili captures the atmospheric forces of water, wind and ocean as a celebration of Country and culture. Daughter of the Lightning Snake represents a partnership between Maitland Regional Art Gallery, the Hassall Milson Collection and Buku-Larrngay Mulka Centre. The work in this exhibition is on loan from the Hassall Milson Collection Warrang/Sydney with curatorial assistance from Robert Hirschmann.

Tully Manhood, Freedom on paper - The Spark, (detail), lino print, Maitland High School


This exhibition has been supported by Publication Sponsor, the Gordon Darling Foundation. NoŊgirrŊa Marawili, Baratjula, 2014, natural pigments on board, 242 × 121cm (detail)


26 FEB 2022 – 05 JUN 2022

0 5 M A R 2 0 2 2 - 15 M AY 2 0 2 2

0 5 M A R 2 0 2 2 - 2 9 M AY 2 0 2 2

Of This Place: Alysha Fewster

Wonnarua Elders

Oh Canola! Dani Marti

The Wonnarua Elders Painting Group have been meeting and making art together for several years; this exhibition is an opportunity for all to see, share and connect with their creativity.

Oh Canola! presents the work of Dani Marti in all its material and textural splendour. Catalan born Marti lives in the Hunter Valley working between Scotland, Spain and the Hunter.

Of this Place will plant our feet on the ground, slow down time and reconnect us with our natural environment. This body of new work by Alysha Fewster was created in the Hunter Region using sound, image and objects to link our bodies directly to the natural environment.

Alysha Fewster, Flannel Flowers, 2021 (detail), digital photograph

Marti surrenders to his materials transforming common industrial fixings (such as rope, nylon, reflectors) into dramatic and monumental forms to transform the gallery into an immersive, sensory experience.

Marge Weastell, untitled, (detail), undated, acrylic on canvas

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Dani Marti, Almost Square (De Formigó I PedraT1) (detail), 2022, customised reflectors, powder coated aluminium , 250 × 260 × 10cm


19 M A R 2 0 2 2 – 15 M AY 2 0 2 2

3 0 A P R 2 0 2 2 - 12 J U N 2 0 2 2

2 1 M AY 2 0 2 2 - 0 4 S E P 2 0 2 2

Maitland Cultural Resurgence: Speaking in Colour

Dog Days

Connected to Nature: Mai-Wel Creative Arts

Led by Cherie Johnson and the team at Speaking in Colour, Maitland Cultural Resurgence brings together Aboriginal cultural knowledge holders with schools and community groups in the production of possum skin cloaks and large-scale woven sculptures. These projects celebrate the ceremony of connectivity and cultural strength.

Zeke Richards (left) and Jack Barlow (right), image taken at Rutherford NSW 2021 and supplied by Speaking in Colour


Step into the Gallery’s Project Space and experience new work created in response to Troy Emery’s lusciously textured Park Creature. This is part exhibition, part artist residency and part performance. Join us as we watch five Australian artists with an affinity for craft, illustration and wild colour make work in our gallery space.

Troy Emery, Park Creature, 2020 (detail), polyester, polyurethane, pins, adhesive, Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection

This exhibition by participants of Mai-Wel Creative Arts will be a celebration and exploration of the natural environment within our local area. Artists will connect with nature through photography, visual arts, music and multi-media. Mai-Wel Creative Arts provides an avenue for people to explore, create and progress their creative skills through one-on-one or group mentoring and activities.

Brushes/mark-making tools made from found and foraged materials from nature including sea sponge, seaweed, gymea lily, spinifex, feathers, driftwood, bottlebrush, twine, wool


2 8 M AY 2 0 2 2 – 2 8 A U G 2 0 2 2

04 JUN 2022 - 04 SEP 2022

18 J U N 2 0 2 2 - 11 S E P 2 0 2 2

Female Drivers


Curated by Madeleine K. Snow

From the Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection

See You in the Soup: Soft Stories

Female Drivers brings together a powerhouse of artists to explore the representation of women in art and culture. The term, female drivers, is loaded with opposing meanings – women in control and in the driving seat/women undermined for being there. Female Drivers embraces the personal and political through the work of these leading artists.

Charlotte Haywood, It’s Now or Never… Caladenia audasii, 2019, bras, underwear, slips, lingerie, nightwear, evening gowns, silk, satin, organza, steel, rod organza, Photo: Kate Holmes

Turn on the night lamp and explore the dreamy and fantastic, the fanciful and the surreal. Sleepwalking explores our fascination with dream, memory, twilight and the subconscious. Explore works from the Gallery’s collection alongside a special commission Shallow Pond Deepest at Night by LOVEDAVID and e4444e.

Deborah Paauwe, Sweet Lullaby, 2002 (detail), edition of 6, C-type photograph on paper, Maitland Regional Art Gallery Collection

A collaboration between Cat Rabbit & Isobel Knowles What happens when a small and humble duck goes on an epicurean adventure across the city? Be amused and delighted as you explore the soft, food-laden immersive installation by Soft Stories, a collaboration between Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles. Traverse duck’s narrative via stop-motion animation, miniature scenes and large scale soft sculpture.

Soft Stories: a collaboration between Cat Rabbit & Isobel Knowles, See You in the Soup, 2019 (detail), photography by Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles

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