Artel #3 ~ MRAG Members' magazine (Autumn/Winter 2020)

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BI AN N UAL #3 - AU T U M N/ W I NT ER 202 0

MRAG Welcomes a New Decade

$4 | Free for Members

Exhibition Program Meet a Member Five Ways to Experience MRAG Collection Peek

“Life is as fragile as paper.” – CHINE SE S AY ING MRAG



Maitland Regional Art Gallery, known affectionately as MRAG (pronounced ‘em-rag’). 11 exhibition spaces, a beautiful gift shop and café, an inspiring arts and community hub. With a three-metre-tall fibreglass dog in the gardens.

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.

‘Artel’ is of Russian origin and refers to an arts or crafts cooperative. 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.

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

Represented by volunteers on the MRAGM Committee, elected annually. E:


Contents Welcome 5 Exhibitions 6 Feature Story


Creative Kids


News for Members


Meet a Member


Five Ways to Experience MRAG


Creative Insight


Meet an Artist


Collection Peek


Social Gallery


Art About Town


Inspired! 34

Cover Image Li Hongbo, Gun No.1 (detail), 2016, paper, dimensions variable. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2016.

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MRAGM Committee Chairperson Sui-Linn White Vice Chairperson Holly Fisher Bidwell Council Representative Councillor Ben Whiting Treasurer James Marshall Secretary Sarah Crawford Magazine Secretary Sally Denmead Events Coordinator Leah Riches General Committee Members Kerri Gear/Jannette Rush MRAG Representatives Keryl Collard/Kattie Bugeja

Maitland Regional Art Gallery and its members acknowledge the Wonnarua People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land upon which the Gallery stands.

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. Printed copies are free for members and are also available to purchase at the MRAG front desk. Available to read online via Original Layout Jaime Pritchard Issue Designer Clare Hodgins Editorial Coordinator Sally Denmead Advertising enquiries Printed by WHO Printing

Look Out! Look out for some familiar artworks from the MRAG Collection throughout Artel. On pages marked with the symbol you'll see works from the Collection, which are on permanent or semi-permanent display around the Gallery. See page 23 for artwork details.

Contributors Kattie Bugeja, Keryl Collard, Sally Denmead, Cheryl Farrell, Liss Finney, Ashley Grant, Jaime Pritchard, Linda Lunnon, Linden Pomare, Leah Riches, Michaela Swan, Simone Torpey and Sui-Linn White. 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. Maitland Regional Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of:

Maitland Regional Art Gallery is a service of Maitland City Council and is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.



Dear Readers We invite you to dive into MRAG through these pages and discover more about the Gallery’s wonderfully diverse exhibitions and programs, and the people who enjoy and support it.

Message from the Gallery As we launch into a new decade and a new phase for MRAG, we continue to build on the incredible legacy of inclusion, generosity and community that has been forged over the Gallery’s lifetime.

We know from speaking with many of you over Summer the high value MRAG members place on the vibrancy, variety and inclusivity the Gallery offers our community.

Planning for the future and heading into a new season of exhibitions, we are reminded by artist Li Hongbo that life is as fragile as paper. His paper sculpture, Gun No.1, held in the Gallery’s permanent Collection and showcased in the thought-provoking Guns to Roses exhibition, challenges our perceptions and expectations of strength and beauty, as well as the optimism arising out of metamorphosis.

We hope you’ll share this message with others to encourage them to ‘Dive into MRAG’ too! In 2020 we’re aiming to dramatically increase our membership numbers to strengthen our support for the Gallery. We look forward to seeing you and your friends and family at our events! Join us on our coach trip in July. Give your kids a first-hand experience of making and exhibiting an artwork at our fundraiser in October. Above all, keep visiting and enjoying MRAG!

Keryl Collard Manager Gallery and Libraries Maitland City Council

Sui-Linn White Chairperson, MRAGM Committee


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Exhibitions Step into MRAG this Autumn and Winter to enjoy etchings by old Masters, be enchanted by an exotic reading room and contemplate the fragility of life.

29 Feb – 2 Aug 2020

Guns to Roses from the MRAG Collection Guns to Roses brings together artworks from the MRAG Collection, and selected works on loan, that illustrate how artists respond to the precariousness of our times – the fragility of life as impacted by war, political unrest and climate change, and the consciousness of our own mortality. The central element of the exhibition is the installation Gun No. 1, which sees paper weapons transformed into vibrantly coloured rosettes. This work, created by Chinese artist Li Hongbo, reflects the Chinese saying that ‘life is as fragile as paper’. Li Hongbo, Gun No.1 (detail), 2016, paper, dimensions variable. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2016.



8 Feb – 3 May 2020

Let all birds fly: the hybrid print Questioning long-held traditions of printmaking, guest curators and artists Therese Kenyan and Patricia WilsonAdams have invited ten artists to join them in exploring the very nature of printmaking. They seek to push the boundaries of the medium and fly free from conventions.

Alison Alder, Remember Me (detail), 2019, screen print on paper, aluminium, plastic, steel, 120 x 80 x 50cm

8 Feb – 3 May 2020

Kei Takemura: How can it be recovered? Kei Takemura’s artworks are characterised by overlapping a layer of embroidered cloth onto a photograph, drawing or broken objects. In her Renovated series, Takemura repairs broken objects using silk thread, transforming these wounds into objects of beauty. For the artist, the act of embroidery creates a state of being ‘tentative’; it transforms objects and places which no longer exist, and brings fragments of memory towards a tangible existence.

Kei Takemura, Renovated buildings GUTANNAHME-ESSO (detail), 2014, broken German model buildings, Italian synthetic cloth, Japanese silk thread, 25 x 15 x 19cm

22 Feb – 3 May 2020

Masters & Apprentices The ‘Masters’ part of this exhibition is comprised of 21 works on paper by Goya, Renoir, Picasso, Rembrandt, Chagall, Miro and more from the Lakeview Collection of Old Masters. Budding ‘Apprentices’ from local primary and high schools were invited to creatively respond to these works; together we have the Masters & Apprentices!

Lauren Hughes, Distorted (detail), 2019, Kotara High School, Year 11, pencil on paper. 7

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22 Feb – 3 May 2020

Maitland International Salon of Photography For over 60 years the Maitland International Salon of Photography (MISoP), which operates via various Camera Clubs in the Hunter Region, has invited photographers from around the world to enter its annual competition. This exhibition showcases 50 entries chosen by MISoP judges and MRAG, across categories including Colour, Nature and Travel.

Roger Lancaster, The Blue Room (detail) digital print, dimensions variable

22 Feb – 17 May 2020

Lucas Grogan: Long Story Short Maitland-born artist Lucas Grogan’s work spans multiple disciplines, including embroidery, murals and painting. This is the first solo exhibition at MRAG of Grogan’s work, and includes a mural painted directly on the Gallery walls. Grogan’s sense of humour and personal experiences permeate his bold fastidiously patterned, highly graphic, pun-filled signature blue artworks.

Lucas Grogan, The Shroud (detail), 2016, cotton on Italian wool, Venetian lace, chux and cotton, 259 x 239cm

9 May – 26 Jul 2020

Ken Searle & Nadia Wheatley: Learning from Country Learning from Country showcases six multi-award-winning children’s books by artist and designer Ken Searle and author Nadia Wheatley, including The Papunya School Book of Country and History. The books explore what Searle and Wheatley learnt from Country whilst working as consultants at the school in the Aboriginal community of Papunya, Northern Territory.

Ken Searle, Playground cover (detail) acrylic on paper, 47 x 60cm 8


16 May – 23 Aug 2020

Helen Hopcroft: The Re-Enchantment Local artist Helen Hopcroft invites you to transform a giant cardboard box city into the city of your dreams, and to sit in a rather exotic and enchanting reading room. Her exhibition explores the idea of falling in love again, whether that be with someone, something, or even your own life.

Helen Hopcroft, Accidental Harpy 3 (detail), watercolour, pencil and ink on paper, 21 x 29.5cm

23 May – 16 Aug 2020

M &G QLD: Safe Space Contemporary Sculpture This touring exhibition from Museums and Galleries Queensland brings together three-dimensional artworks by twelve Australian artists exploring psychological aspects of physical space. Central to many of the works is the human body – its dimensions and the theatre or spectacle that unfolds around it.

Alex Seton, Someone Else’s Problem, 2015, marble dust, resin, Tasmanian oak, stainless steel, dimensions variable

In Brief

Waiting for Equality

The Australian Society of Miniature Art: Intimate Universe

Based on an in-depth research project at the University of Newcastle, the first to focus on a regional LGBTQI community, this exhibition documents the Newcastle/ Hunter LGBTQI community in the critical decade leading to the vote for marriage equality.

9 May – 16 Aug 2020

9 May – 26 Jul 2020 The universe is unfathomably vast, limitless and unknowable; but we each live in our own small world, an intimate universe of personal experience. These artists reveal what living in an ‘Intimate Universe’ means to them.

Please note that exhibition details are subject to change.


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Feature Story


Cheryl Farrell provides an insight into Guns to Roses, the major 1 Collection exhibition she has curated for MRAG this Autumn and Winter. And Kattie Bugeja takes us behind-the-scenes with an update on all the innovating and planning that’s been happening to prepare MRAG for the next decade. Guns to Roses, the latest exhibition to celebrate the MRAG Collection, features work by artists responding to major issues confronting the world today – global conflict, the impact of weapons of violence and war, and a fragile environment threatened by climate change. While some of the artists in the exhibition directly tackle these overwhelming issues, many take a subtle approach, leading us to contemplate the fragility of life through beautiful images and delicate materials.

On display until 2 August, the exhibition includes work by some of Australia’s leading contemporary practitioners alongside international artists, all of whom have had their work shown in major exhibitions in Australia and around the world. Many of the artworks are recent acquisitions to the Collection and this will be the first time they have been on public display at MRAG. Central to the exhibition’s key theme, and highlighting the MRAG Collection 10


Hunter, Paterson now lives in the USA, where gun violence is tragically common. Paterson created these works whilst working as Associate Professor of New Media Art at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In 2007 the university was the scene of a horrific mass shooting in which 33 students were killed. These mandalas are Paterson’s response to this tragedy and represent her efforts to visualise and evoke a mindful, peaceful energy that brings the world into balance.


focus on paper, is the colourful paper installation, Gun No.1, 2016 by Chinese artist Li Hongbo. Li Hongbo’s use of paper in his sculptures draws on a long history of papermaking in Chinese culture; and his use of the gun as the central motif in this work is layered in meaning, underpinned by the Chinese saying, ‘life is as fragile as paper’.

Paterson is not the only artist in this exhibition with a local connection. Dr Christian Thompson AO attended high school in Raymond Terrace and later went on to make history by becoming the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. Writing on the Wall, 2019 is one of Thompson’s most recent works (from his Flower Walls series), and one of MRAG’s most recent acquisitions (purchased in December 2019). Thompson’s work is subtle in its message but alludes to increasingly dominant evidence of the precarious times we are now facing, with climate change threatening our fragile environment.

By transforming guns and bullets into colourful rosettes Li Hongbo both challenges the viewer and offers a sense of hope for the possibility of positive change. Gun No.1 has its origins in previous large-scale installations Li Hongbo has created, including the spectacular paper landscape Ocean of Flowers, which delighted visitors to Cockatoo Island during the 2012 Sydney Biennale. MRAG purchased Gun No. 1 in 2016; we are very excited to display it for the first time and hope it delights our visitors.

The threat to our climate is more explicitly addressed in Shona Trescott’s series of silkscreen prints, Kyoto Protocol, 2015, purchased by MRAG in 2017. Shona Trescott was born in Maitland and has recently returned after living in New York and Berlin. In these works, Trescott has obscured the text from the Kyoto Protocol document with

Another recent acquisition on display in Guns to Roses is two prints by Dr Simone Paterson, Magnum Mandala, 2014 and XP100 Mandala, 2014, purchased by MRAG in 2019. Originally from the 11

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Australian, and particularly regional artists, from emerging to established. The program provides a strong foundation for dynamic exchange between artists, the community and MRAG. Last year, as the Gallery entered its second decade, we celebrated MRAG’s achievements and also took the opportunity to reflect, consult, innovate and plan for the decade ahead. We embarked on an extensive community consultation process in 2019 to identify critical community needs, current and desired participation levels and barriers to visitation. The response was phenomenal, and the constructive,


sooty marks and images drawn from her childhood memories of the Hunter Valley coal industry. The text has become illegible, reflecting the disintegration of the treaty that aimed to reduce worldwide carbon emissions. Guns to Roses includes many more artworks from the MRAG Collection, by artists who have been compelled to create work expressing their concerns about major global issues. Additional artwork details and images can be found in the exhibition catalogue, which is available in the Gallery and on the MRAG website.


Looking Ahead – MRAG welcomes a new decade 2020 marks a coming of age for Maitland Regional Art Gallery. A decade on since its visionary redevelopment, the Gallery is thriving as an inclusive, engaging space treasured by the Maitland community and visitors from near and far. Our 2020 artistic program features 28 new exhibitions (increased from 24 in 2019) and supports many





considered and creative feedback we received will directly inform MRAG’s 2025 strategic framework (to be delivered mid-2020) and ensure the Gallery’s longevity.

for art to be a catalyst to improve the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable in our community, including those with memory loss, mental health experiences, sensory processing needs or accessibility requirements.

In 2019 we also conducted a full review of the Gallery’s creative learning program, including staff resources and budget. From this we developed a 2020 program of events and activities which champions creative learning, connection to artists and inclusivity. It includes a range of self-directed engagement experiences, designed to have broad appeal, which celebrate artists and their creative processes. Our extended Arts Health program creates opportunities

We are thrilled that our exhibition and community engagement project, Stories from Wonnarua Country, was awarded Highly Commended at the Inspiring Museums and Galleries in Excellence Awards (IMAGinE) in 2019; MRAG’s commitment to sharing and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and connection to Country will be further developed through ongoing consultation in 2020. 13


continue throughout 2020 and beyond. Physical infrastructure, including storage and climate control, will be a critical focus of our strategic planning, as will digital infrastructure, as we work to provide online access to a greater spectrum of Collection items.

In 2019 we continued to diversify MRAG's program, moving from a visual to multi-arts approach. Theatre, music, performance and sensory experiences are now firmly embedded in the Gallery program, providing new and exciting opportunities for our community to ‘see-make-do’ at MRAG.

MRAG’s desire to engage, inspire, empower and challenge over the past decade has earnt it the title ‘the people’s gallery’, an achievement for our community to celebrate. We look forward to sharing our 2025 plan with you later in the year, seeing you enjoy our 2020 artistic program, and to welcoming you and your family to the Gallery many times in the decade ahead.

Also in 2019, the MRAG Collection reached a momentous milestone, with artworks acquired into the Collection since 1957 totalling more than 5,500, at a value of $10 million. This growth has largely been made possible by the generosity of many MRAG supporters, who have donated more than 3,000 artworks of significant artistic and financial value. With our ongoing aim to make the MRAG Collection the most accessible public collection in NSW, our ‘open collection store’ concept will

For full program details including exhibitions and events head to


1 Li Hongbo, Gun No. 1, 2016, paper sculpture, edition of 50, dimensions variable. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2016 2 Simone Paterson, Magnum Mandala, 2014, digital print on satin, 86cm diameter. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2019 3 Simone Paterson, XP1000 Mandala, 2014, digital print on satin, 86cm diameter. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2019 4/ 5 Shonah Trescott, Kyoto Protocol (series of 24), 2015, silk screen on paper, edition 3/3, 36 x 48cm each. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2017 6 Christian Thompson, Writing on the Wall, 2019, C-type print on Fuji Pearl metallic paper, edition 5/6, 120 x 120cm. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2019 7 MRAG Visitor Survey pop-up at Green Hills Shopping Centre on 15th November 2019



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Creative Kids Every Sunday, all year round, kids can come into MRAG between 11am-1pm to enjoy a free tutor-led art activity. We asked some recent Free Art Sunday participants what they most enjoyed about the day’s activity. Activity: Create a collage of an imaginary machine Tutor: Annie In brief: Create your own imaginary job machine inspired by John Turier’s Never Need Artist Again Machine, on display in the exhibition Kalliope Calliope. Glue some cog wheel shapes onto paper and let your imagination run wild as you add collage or hand-drawn elements.

Verity Kelly (5), Waratah

“Going for the treasure hunt.” (the Kalliope Calliope Code Breaker)

Matisse Hudson (13) with her mum Renee, Aberglasslyn

Amica McGrath (9), Lorn

“I liked making a machine that crushes coconuts and makes slinky apples.”

“Creating a music box in my collage.”

Free Art Sunday is supported by MRAG Members and CleverPatch.


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News for Members Keep up-to-date with MRAGM events and activities.

2020 Art Sale Fundraiser

A new Members Committee was appointed at the AGM in October and we look forward to working with the Gallery to continue to enrich your membership experience and support MRAG’s valuable creative learning programs.

The biennial MRAG Contemporary Art Sale is back this year! This is our major fundraiser, through which we as members aim to raise the funds needed for us to continue supporting Free Art Sunday, Free Art January and other initiatives in the coming years. The last art sale, which raised more than $15,000, featured wonderful artworks by the Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendmu in Central Australia, artist Lara Scolari and MRAGM Kids. We’ll let you know closer to October what fabulous art will be available to purchase at this year’s event.

We would particularly like to give thanks for the hard work of outgoing committee members Alasdair Smart, Treasurer for five years, and Olivia Sophia, Secretary for two years. The new committee members elected at the AGM are Sarah Crawford as Secretary, James Marshall as Treasurer, Michaela Swan as Membership Officer and Jannette Rush and Kerri Gear both as General Committee Members.



Members’ Survey Update

Save the Dates

We conducted our last survey in 2018 to seek feedback on the MRAG membership program. One of the key survey results showed that more than 70% of respondents were keen to be able to purchase and renew memberships online. We have made some progress and are working closely with the Gallery and Council towards developing a full online membership payment facility on the MRAG website over the next twelve months.

MRAGM events Hosted by the MRAG Members Committee 25 July 2020 Coach Trip to the Elliott Eyes Collection & White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney 16 October 2020 MRAG Contemporary Art Sale opening night (fundraiser)

A Month of Free Art Fun Free Art January was a great success again, with 2020 program highlights including 60-minute yoga sessions for children aged 4–12, which introduced yoga as a form of art appreciation and self-expression, and two sessions run by Emily Punu offering an exploration of Aboriginal culture through dance. Thank you for your support of this program and stay tuned for the Cool Art July program of school holiday fun to be released in the lead up to the Winter break.

16 October – 22 November 2020 MRAG Contemporary Art Sale exhibition (fundraiser) 21 October 2020 MRAG Members AGM 26 November 2020 MRAG Members Christmas Party

Key MRAG events 29 February 2020 Autumn season exhibition opening May 16 2020 Olive Tree Markets 23 May 2020 Winter season exhibition opening 7 – 19 July 2020 Cool Art July school holiday activities 29 August 2020 Spring season exhibition opening The MRAGM Committee wishes to thank all members for your support of the Gallery. You can contact us via email at


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Meet a Member The Torpey Family Live: Central Maitland Members on and off since 2009

Who are the Torpeys? Steven is a criminal defence lawyer, I (Simone) am an organic flower farmer and florist (The Little Urban Flower Farm), our kids Bea, Oscar, Fred, Henry and Matilda are either at uni or school and/or are ‘still deciding’ what they want to be when they grow up. How long have you lived in Maitland for and what do you like about it? We've lived in Maitland since November 2001, although there were only five of us when we first arrived. We lived in France for a few years in the middle, but after that adventure chose to come back to Maitland. We wanted to move back because of our incredible community, family, the beautiful historic homes and buildings, and the location. We feel it is the perfect combination of rural/country – lovely crunchy frosts in winter – and ‘city’, with all the amenities you might need either right here or close by. What have been some of your best experiences at MRAG? Simone, Steven and Henry: one late Winter afternoon a few years ago we all had a lovely nap under weighted



furry blankets in the ‘sensory’ exhibition. I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember who the artist was, or whether it was a collaboration. But as I’ve never, ever, had a snooze in a gallery, that stands out! Matilda: doing work experience at MRAG in 2019.

plastics and chemicals used right across the cut flower industry, even here in Australia. I decided I wanted to offer a truly local, all organic, no single-use-plastic alternative. I grow almost everything I sell, with some botanicals sourced from organic gardening friends. The Little Urban Flower Farm has created a home-based life for me, allowing me to be with my family whilst doing something creative, sustainable and optimistic. The response has been tremendous, and my increased, joyful connection to my local community here in Maitland is an unanticipated bonus. Swapping a suit for overalls was my best move ever.

Please tell us a bit about The Little Urban Flower Farm. The Little Urban Flower Farm came about in response to a series of events. A number of years ago two family members became very unwell at a time when I was working as a lawyer and CEO for an International Association based in Melbourne. It suddenly became both impossible and undesirable for me to leave my family to get on a plane every week. Around that time, I was also reading about community-based lifestyles as an antidote to the problem of food miles and was reflecting on my own massive carbon footprint consequential to my corporate travel.

What are some of your favourite things to do in the Maitland area? Our home is in Central Maitland and we love that we can walk or ride just about everywhere we need to go. A glass of wine with friends at Coquun on a Friday night, inhaling the smell of real leather products at Dennerley Leather, a coffee at The Bikesmith, a sneaky beer at The Pourhouse, walking along the river to the library, MRAG (of course), and being able to buy local produce from Organic Feast, makes us very happy that we live in Maitland. Steven loves doing laps at the Maitland Pool, especially now that it’s open all year round, and the kids love swimming in the river (because teenagers have no fear).

Everything came together when I read an article about the traditional cut flower industry. Most cut flowers sold in this country are imported, incurring thousands of ‘flower miles’, and are produced in countries where there is little or no regulation of working conditions, the chemicals used on crops or even the age of workers. There is a reason why you can buy a bunch of flowers from major supermarkets for $10! I was also deeply alarmed by the amount of

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Five Ways to Experience MRAG


1. Look Closer

2. See Make Do

The central artwork in the new MRAG Collection exhibition Guns to Roses is Gun No.1, 2016, by artist Li Hongbo. Li Hongbo is a Beijing-based artist who uses paper to create unique 3D sculptures inspired by the traditional Chinese folk craft of concertina paper gourds. In this work the artist is deconstructing the forms of weapons of war – machine guns, handguns and bullets. Each piece is stretched from its solid form into a completely different shape, transforming a violent motif into colourful rosettes and rainbows, with limitless possibilities of display and interpretation.

Loved Free Art January? Well Cool Art July is its wintery cousin, keeping families and young people engaged during the July school holidays each year. The Gallery team are busy curating a unique and exciting program of events, including some very special NAIDOC week activities, to get the creative juices flowing. Stay tuned to for more info.




4.Get Social


3. Take a Piece of MRAG Home Wrap yourself up in something to feel good about this Winter! Local artist Vicki Cornish of Bonsai Woman has been busy on her spindle and loom creating deliciously soft one-of-a-kind scarves for you to wear throughout the cooler months. Vicki is passionate about using natural fibres, many processed by hand from raw fleece purchased directly from Australian farmers. What’s not to love?! Visit the Gallery Shop from mid-May to July to celebrate her practice and marvel at the incredible large-scale work she has created.

Are you in a book, craft or cycling group, or perhaps a choir, and would like to get everyone together for a different kind of social catch up? Or perhaps you have friends or family staying in the area and you’d like to enrich their visit with a unique cultural experience. We invite you to book a free guided group tour at MRAG, led by one of our knowledgeable staff or volunteers. Enjoy the exhibitions then discuss over coffee or lunch. Phone 02 4934 9859 to book.

5. I Spy With My Little Eye Many of us love a good puzzle, and MRAG’s Code Breaker series for kids continues to be a hit. Encourage the little people in your life to collect a clipboard from the front desk and go on an adventure around the Gallery and grounds to spy some hidden features. Use the clues to break the code. There are currently four available to choose from, ‘Search for the Golden Poo’ being one of the most popular, with additional Code Breakers created from time to time to engage with specific exhibitions.

Don't forget members receive 10% off Gallery Shop purchases all year round! IMAGES

1 Li Hongbo, Gun No.1, (detail) 2016, paper, dimensions variable. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery in 2016. 2/3 Scarves made with spindle and loom by Vicki Cornish from Bonsai Woman


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Creative Insight

Gallery Coordinator Kattie Bugeja shares an insight into school visits to MRAG and the Gallery’s approach to creative learning. Do you have fond memories of visiting your local Gallery on a school excursion? Perhaps you were lucky enough to travel to a state capital and recall wandering through the hallowed halls of a Gallery such as Art Gallery of New South Wales, whilst your teacher shushed and ushered your group to follow your tour guide.

students from Telarah Public School, one of the 7 schools that participated in our Stories from Wonnarua Country exhibition, came to explore the exhibition. Educators can either bring their students to MRAG (at no cost) for a self-guided group tour, or, for a modest fee (currently $7.50 per student), we can arrange for an experienced Art Tutor to develop and present a bespoke activity. Education visits are not limited to primary and secondary students; we love to tailor tours and workshops for preschool-age children and to work with tertiary educators and independent groups on special projects.

School visits are integral to Maitland Regional Art Gallery’s art education offering; currently over 2,000 students visit each year and we are keen to welcome many more. Last year we were thrilled that many students from Maitland Grossman High School came to see former student Nell’s newlyinstalled artwork on the exterior of the MRAG building; and that more than 400 22


Our focus for school visits is to provide a participatory model of learning that champions active engagement through knowledge sharing and making. Responsive public programming within a Gallery or Museum has the potential to challenge and develop creative minds and inspire a passion for lifelong creative learning. Our Learning and Audience Development team works closely with talented Art Tutors to design and deliver diverse and accessible education experiences that complement and extend the Gallery’s exhibition program. Our ‘2020 Learn’ program for Terms 1 and 2 highlights many opportunities for students to explore an exciting range of artistic approaches, use of materials, styles and concepts, through investigating and responding to exhibitions such as Masters & Apprentices and Learning from Country.

Vanessa Turton is one of MRAG’s wonderful Art Tutors, with qualifications in secondary education, fine arts, drama, English, ticket writing and graphic design. Vanessa has been employed at MRAG for the past ten years as an Art Tutor, Drama Facilitator and Gallery Officer and maintains an art practice as an exhibiting painter/sculptor. She sees art engagement (whether in a Gallery setting or a laneway!) as a positive life-affirming and creative learning experience that people of all ages should be able to access and enjoy.

At MRAG we pride ourselves on being a valuable resource for local educators. Art is for everyone and we aim to stimulate, engage and inspire as many curious minds as possible. To all the incredible educators and inquisitive students reading this, please do not hesitate to get in touch to find out more about how we can support your creative learning needs and interests. Head to for more information.

Look Out! MRAG Collection artworks featured in this issue Inside front cover Li Hongbo, Gun No.1, 2016, paper Contents page Peter Speight, La Ragagnazza, 2006, wood and paint Pg 4 Gillie and Marc Schattner, Fetch Boy, 2010, fibreglass and bronze finish Pg 5 Peter Kingston, Untitled, 2004, paint on plaster* *Not currently on display in the Gallery. Pg 17 Susan O'Doherty, Matriarch, 2012, mixed media assemblage


Student visit led by Aboriginal Elders to Baiame Cave, which contains Wonnarua rock paintings, on 30 July 2019, for the Stories from Wonnarua Country project.


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Meet an Artist


Maitland-based artist and graphic designer Jaime Pritchard, who has a serious love of paper, finds joy in both collaborating and retreating into the quiet reverie of making in her studio. Each weekday morning, after sipping a ristretto or two at a Maitland cafÊ, Jaime Pritchard strolls across to her studio by the Hunter River to begin her day’s work. Her studio is on the ground floor of The Factory, a collective of creatives that Jaime and her partner, Sean Ballenden, a musician, producer and audio engineer, set up in 2017.

natural winemaker, to creating a mixed media abstract artwork, to painting, sewing and knotting paper as she develops a sculptural installation piece for an exhibition. She has taken a bold step into the freelance life, with all the excitement, freedom, and challenges that presents, after many years working as a full-time graphic designer.

A day in the artistic life of Jaime can include anything from a graphic design job for an organic flower grower or

Jaime grew up on the mid North Coast and moved to Newcastle in 1997, studying Graphic Design at Hunter TAFE 24


Children’s Foundation in Vietnam, which helps children in crisis.

and later printmaking at Newcastle Art School; she is an experienced multidisciplinary arts practitioner with a diverse set of skills and a serious love of paper. Paper, with all its beautiful textures and flaws, is a catalyst for Jaime’s creativity, bringing her joy whether she’s making a woodcut print or in creative flow with acrylic, ink or pastels.

Jaime’s impulse to collaborate with, and support, the local creative community led to her developing a small free local publication, The Conveyor, in 2018, which profiled artists in the region. In 2019 she and other residents of The Factory hosted an open studios event, Into the Void, celebrating their artistic practice, live music and community. For her latest project, Patina & Hide, Jaime is developing a line of bags and accessories featuring her design and original art, kicking it off with a limited edition of small bags in collaboration with Annie Dennerley of Maitland’s Dennerley Leather.

When I meet with Jaime, on a smoke haze day, she is excited about a special delivery of paper winging its way to her from Hanoi. This traditional Vietnamese paper, made in a sustainable way by the social business Zo Project, will form the basis of her next ‘Plants in Pots’ series. ‘Plants in Pots’ is a sustainable art concept Jaime developed while on holiday in Vietnam last year, to create ink paintings of pot plants on locally made paper and then donate a percentage of sales to the Blue Dragon

Jaime is a perfectionist at heart constantly inspired by the Japanese spirit of wabi-sabi, the acceptance and appreciation of beauty in imperfection. She draws from memory, emotion and reflection on her life in the reverie of practicing her art, especially whilst creating her large paper installations, when the process of making takes on its own rhythm and affords time for the exploration of, and expression of, her inner life. Jaime’s new multimedia installation, Unravelling to Recognition, will grace the Project Space at MRAG from February to May, and encompass strands of knotted paper, light projection and sound, with the audio composed by her partner, Sean. Inspired by a quote from the American social research professor and speaker Brené Brown, this piece, and more broadly Jaime’s practice, is guided by the idea that “We can’t unravel the truth without recognising the threads”.

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beaded garment called a yoke. It’s an immersive representation of a time of deep personal reflection; it’s about the process of allowing space to explore one’s inner self, leading to acknowledgment of past experiences and emotions, and to personal expression and growth. I was gifted the yoke by a local creative and as an experiment used an overhead projector to cast a still image of it onto a piece of satin. It threw such a beautiful pattern, and I later filmed some footage of myself moving behind the projection. The soundscape is composed by my partner, Sean, who has a wonderful talent for creating deeply visceral music. Even though he developed it independently of me, in his recording studio (Triple Three Studios) here in The Factory, this installation has been a great way for our creative endeavours to weave together.

What do you love about working with paper and how does the phrase ‘Life is as fragile as paper’ resonate with you and your creative practice? Paper can be strong and resilient, fragile and vulnerable, or all these things at once. It can be saturated but not disintegrate, folded time and time again; but there is a tipping point when it will break. It can be marked by ink, paint or charcoal; manipulated and sculpted to create form; it is so light it can hold movement and throw beautiful shadows; it can be sewn, cut and torn. All much like life itself. Tell us a bit about the different elements that form your multimedia installation Unravelling to Recognition? {Project Space, Feb to May 2020} Unravelling to Recognition is made with approximately 50sqm of paper, projected moving image, a soundscape and a

Interview: Sally Denmead 26



You can see more of Jaime’s work and read an extended Q&A with her at Jaime's installation will be in MRAG's Project Space during Artastique festival. See page 33 for more info.


Find out more about The Factory at thefactorymaitland/ and follow Jaime's new project via Instagram @patina_and_hide A selection of Jaime's exquisite paper products are also available in the Gallery Shop. IMAGES

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Jaime Pritchard in her studio at The Factory in Maitland. Jaime Pritchard, A Glimpse of the Inner (detail), 2019, multimedia installation created for Into the Void Jamie Pritchard, Unravelling To Recognition (detail), 2020, multimedia installation, video projection, paper, timber dowel, charcoal, cotton, beaded sequined embroidered garment yoke, dimensions variable. Sound by Sean Ballenden, garment yoke donated from private collection of Leonie Smith. Jaime Pritchard, Reflections, 2019, acrylic, ink and paper on timber, 61 x 46cm Jaime Pritchard, Plants in Pots, 2019, ink and pastel Jaime’s latest project is Patina & Hide, limited edition small bags made in collaboration with Annie Dennerley

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Collection Peek The MRAG Collection comprises more than 5,000 artworks by Australian and international artists, with a focus on works on paper.

In Focus Artist Utagawa Yoshitora Artwork Golden Vase (detail) 1872-1911 Woodblock print on paper 34.4 x 44.5cm Donated under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts program by Anthony Renshaw in 2017

Designed by highly talented artists, ukiyo-e woodblock prints – also known as ‘pictures of the floating world’ – were created between the 17th and 19th centuries in Japan. These vibrant and beautifully coloured prints, 60 of which are in the MRAG Collection, depict the hedonistic lifestyle of the Edo period, including scenes of Kabuki theatre and courtesans.

Ukiyo-e prints made an impact on European Impressionist and PostImpressionist artists, who were intrigued by their original use of colour, dramatic foreshortening and asymmetrical compositions. Their influence on Western art became known as Japonism. Words: Linden Pomare 28


Some of the artworks Billie saw on her tour: Brett Whiteley Wren II, 1983, brush ink on silk with acrylic border (on board), 212 x 72.5cm (image size). Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Pauline Hunter, 2013 Brian Cowley Original Blast Furnace at Merthyr Tidfyl, South Wales, 1957, watercolour on paper, 26.5 x 49.5cm, Maitland Art Prize - Winner, 1957.

Member Tour

ink painting of a wren by Brett Whiteley, and then a very playful photo of Whiteley in his studio (by Greg Weight, 1971). I also saw the first artwork in the Collection, a watercolour of a strange-looking landscape by Brian Cowley. I enjoyed trying to guess what it depicted; Linden later revealed it was of a blast furnace in Wales.

MRAG Exhibition Officer Linden Pomare recently took member Billie Mosman on a guided tour of the treasures of the Collection Store. Please tell us a bit about your visit to the MRAG Collection Store today. I didn’t really know what to expect but it felt like walking into a box of treasures. I was amazed that so many artworks are stored in one room. I got to see lots of different styles of art, but an hour went by so fast. Linden showed me some Les Darcy boxing memorabilia, the Works on Paper drawers – including some amazing colourful Japanese woodblock prints – and then some paintings.

What else did you see or learn about?

What works were you especially interested in seeing?

Thank you to Karen Lantry for Auslan interpreting for Billie during her tour.

I’m very interested in Indigenous culture and am doing an assignment on the Aboriginal Dreaming story of the Seven Sisters stars at uni; Linden showed me quite a few works by Indigenous artists including one by Western desert artist Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri. I saw the most valuable artwork in the Collection, a large

Any MRAG Member who would like to experience a one hour private Collection Store tour, and would be happy to be featured on this page in a future issue of Artel, please email us at to register your interest. The Collection Store is also open to the public from time to time; check the MRAG website for dates.

I was interested to hear about how staff ‘accession’ works into the Collection, which is a time-consuming process. I asked Linden what his favourite work in the room was, and he showed me a lead pencil drawing of some curious-looking characters by Australian artist Keith Looby. I’d like to visit again … perhaps there could be a sleepover party in the Collection room!


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Social Gallery From exhibition openings to member coach trips, MRAG encourages people of all ages to come together and enjoy art.

Annual Arts Health Fundraiser, 25 Oct 2019

Light Up the Night! MRAG 10th Anniversary Celebration & Artist Party, 23 Aug 2019 Special Free Art Sunday Children's Christmas Party, 8 Dec 2019

MRAGM Coach trip to the Tegel’s residence, 26 Oct 2019



MRAG Members’ Christmas Party, 29 Nov 2019

Free Art January 2020

Free Art January 2020

X Marks the Spot – Celebrating 10 Years of MRAG, 24 Aug 2019

Summer Season Celebration, 30 Nov 2019 31

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Art About Town A snapshot of arts activity happening around the Maitland community.


Birds in the Laneway which have been painted on boards and installed in each window space. Look for a cockatoo, peacock, owl and many more. Recently a baby owl was spotted perched on the roof of an historic building nearby, perhaps attracted to living amongst this community of feathered friends!

An artful flock of birds is now nestling on the side of an old building in Maitland, which was home to the Carrington Hotel until the 1980s and then a pet shop called ‘Bob’s Bird Barn’. The building has been vacant and deteriorating for years now, but thanks to an anonymous artist an exterior wall has come to life with colourful paintings of birds. Though Bob’s Bird Barn is gone, you can now look up from the laneway next to The Bikesmith & Espresso Bar and spot an array of characterful birds, some fierce and some friendly-looking,

326 High Street, Maitland



Create Maitland There’s exciting news about this Maitland City Council project seeking to activate vacant commercial properties in town by offering short term affordable leases to creatives and artists. Local creatives are settling into 344 High Street, previously home to a secondhand bookshop, bringing life and colour to the riverside shop space. Helen Hopcroft, whose solo exhibition, The Re-Enchantment, will be in The Art Factory at MRAG from May to August, is collaborating with artists Anna Eggenhuizen (a.k.a. Anna Elena) and Katrina Holden to enliven the space with creative activity. Look for fine, fairy tale-inspired paintings, dramatic feathered headpieces for theatre, and sculptures and drawings in this new working studio space. Property owners or real estate agents interested in working with Council to create further opportunities like this are encouraged to contact Council’s Business Liaison Officer.


turning the town into one large gallery. There will be a dedicated information centre and lots of art activities in the Levee for this year’s event. Artist Jaime Pritchard’s multimedia installation, Unravelling to Recognition, will grace MRAG’s Project Space window during the festival and beyond (see ‘Meet an Artist’, pages 24-27, for more info). business/create-maitland

Artastique is Back! This 10-day art exhibition and festival in Central Maitland returns for a second year, with 60 shops and other locations around town to display artworks from 29 Feb to 8 March. The vision for this community initiative (supported this year by Maitland City Council and The Mutual Bank) is to further put visual arts on the map for Maitland, attract visitors and promote local businesses by

Also on during Artastique is the first IF Maitland Indie Writers Festival, 28 Feb to 1 March. See for program details. IMAGES

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An artful flock of birds now nests on the side of an old building in Maitland thanks to an anonymous artist Linda Lunnon, Who me?, scratchboard, 30.5 x 40.6cm Linda's work will be on display at Skate Ape in Maitland during Artastique.

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Inspired! Artist Liss Finney takes yogic inspiration from Shaun Gladwell’s video work Track and Trials, which was in the MRAG Collection exhibition Unfolding Time. I’m Liss and I’m a yogi and artist, two practices that I believe intertwine and reflect each other beautifully. Both have taught me patience and perseverance, and provide an outlet enabling me to still my mind and foster a bit of inner peace. To me, the definition of yoga is anything that provides you with a chance to become present, whether that be connecting with your breath, being aware of your body in space, or being really committed to and aware of what you’re doing – perhaps making art. I really connected with Shaun Gladwell’s video piece Track and Trials, 2011, in the Unfolding Time exhibition, as the work displays immense mental presence and mind-body connection through the physical feat of balance, even when the surrounding environment is constantly providing distraction. The BMXer navigates his way around a rocky shore as ocean waves wash across it, demonstrating immense focus.

Liss Finney with Shaun Gladwell’s video work Track and Trials.

out through your fingertips, like the branches of a tree growing toward the sun. Balancing poses in yoga, such as this, are a great tool for creating space in your mind as they almost force you to be present and focus on what your body is doing and feeling. Liss Finney ran Yoga in the Gallery sessions for kids and families during Free Art January, 60-minute explorations of yoga as a form of art appreciation and self-expression.

For me Track and Trials brings to mind the yoga tree pose. This involves placing your weight onto one leg and gently hovering your other foot off the ground, before resting it on the ankle, calf or upper thigh of your standing leg. You then inhale, stretching your arms high above your head and extending

In each issue of Artel we share a member’s creative response to an artwork on display at MRAG. So, if an artwork inspires you to get creative – whether it be to write, cook, dance or sing – we’d love to hear about it! Please contact us at 34


WONNARUA ARTIST Mixed media, acrylic, resin, fluid & ink art




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