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B IAN N UAL #2 - S P R I NG 2019 / S U M M ER 202 0

Art for everyone to enjoy

$4 | Free for Members

Exhibition Program Celebrating 10 Years of MRAG Meet a Member: Jane Caro Artists John Turier & Nicola Hensel

“Art is too important not to share.” – ROMERO B RIT TO




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: artgallery@maitland.nsw.gov.au mrag.org.au

Represented by volunteers on the MRAGM Committee, elected annually. E: mragm@gmail.com

E: artelmagazine@gmail.com

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 Nell’s Made in the Light – Happy Cloud and Drips, 2011, neon. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2019. Launched on 23 August 2019

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MRAGM Committee Chairperson Sui-Linn White Vice Chairperson Leeroy Chapman Council Representative Councillor Ben Whiting Treasurer Alasdair Smart Secretary Olivia Sophia Magazine Secretary Sally Denmead Acting Events Coordinator Leah Riches General Committee Member Holly Fisher-Bidwell MRAG Representative Keryl Collard

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 mrag.org.au Original Layout Jaime Pritchard Issue Designer Clare Hodgins Editorial Coordinator Sally Denmead Advertising enquiries artelmagazine@gmail.com 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, mainly from the Collection, which are on permanent or semi-permanent display around the Gallery. See page 23 for artwork details.

Contributors Kim Blunt, Kattie Bugeja, Anna Buxton-Soldal, Jane Caro, Keryl Collard, Sally Denmead, Cheryl Farrell, Ashley Grant, Nicole Lemaitre, Michelle Maartensz, Anne McLaughlin, Daniel O'Leary and Sui-Linn White. Thanks to Mayor Cr Loretta Baker, Linda Greedy, Judy Henry, Nicola Hensel, Dr Jan Noble AM, John Turier and Peter Woodley. 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 its wonderfully diverse exhibitions and programs, and the people who support it.

Message from the Gallery

See the Feature Story (p.10) for members’ favourite experiences over the past decade; Creative Kids (p.15) for a snapshot of the enjoyment Free Art Sunday provides; and Creative Insight (p.22) to hear about an arts-in-health pilot program for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

MRAG’s excellent reputation has been forged through ambition and passion, fired by the conviction that art is too important not to share. Building on this inspirational legacy, I am thrilled to work with Gallery Coordinator Kattie Bugeja and the amazing MRAG team in delivering a vibrant and innovative artistic program that will keep our Gallery at the heart of the community. Looking back as we celebrate 10 years since MRAG’s redevelopment, the vision of former directors, Joe Eisenberg and Brigette Uren, is acknowledged. Looking forward, art remains more vital than ever to tell us something about how the world is and to awaken what’s living within us. And we look forward to sharing this with you.

We MRAG and we know you do too! Thanks for your ongoing support.

Keryl Collard Manager Gallery and Libraries Maitland City Council

As we continue to celebrate 10 Years of MRAG, we’ve been reflecting on what an incredible asset the Gallery is to the community. Reading Artel, it’s clear how loved MRAG is and what diverse and enriching experiences it continues to offer visitors from near and afar.

Sui-Linn & Sally On behalf of the MRAGM Committee 5

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Exhibitions Look out for everything from an evocative animated film to a drawing machine, a cuckoo clock to a 3D warlock, in the diverse exhibitions at MRAG this Spring and Summer.

24 Aug 2019 – 16 Feb 2020

Unfolding Time: Penelope Seidler’s Gift to Maitland All of the artworks in Unfolding Time were donated to Maitland Regional Art Gallery by Penelope Seidler AM, from her own private art collection. The exhibition reveals Seidler’s love of art, her support of artists and her ties to Maitland. From the earliest work, a Lloyd Rees 1918 landscape drawing, through to the most recent, Fiona Hall’s 2015 cuckoo clock, Wrong Way Time, visitors are invited to explore layers of ‘time’ unfolding. The exhibition includes some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, as well as venerated international artists. Fiona Hall, Wrong Way Time (cuckoo clock with News of the world) 11, 2015, painted cuckoo clock, 30 x 24 x 15cm. Donated to the MRAG Collection under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Penelope Seidler, 2019


Join us at the Annual Arts Health Fundraiser, 25 October, to hear Penelope Seidler speak about life love, art and architecture. Tickets available via maitlandticketing.com.au


Until 3 Nov 2019

Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale & The Rose Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) touring exhibition showcasing the hauntingly beautiful collaboration between two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton and acclaimed film-maker Brendan Fletcher. This milestone exhibition traces their compelling interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s 19th century classic through a sophisticated and nuanced artistic lens.

Del Kathryn Barton wilder grew her song 2011-12. Image courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Until 3 Nov 2019

Lottie Consalvo: Somewhere Else Newcastle-based Lottie Consalvo’s work traverses painting, video, photography and sculpture, with a strong focus on performance. In this solo exhibition Consalvo brings her disciplines together as she explores the psychology of human experience, distant places in the self and ideas surrounding longing, desire and the immeasurable.

Lottie Consalvo, I Stirred the Sea to See If It Was Alive (detail), 2019, video still, single-channel video, 5min 36sec

Until 17 Nov 2019

Suzanne Archer: Time Traveller For Suzanne Archer, travel has been one of the most powerful challenges and an enriching source of artistic expansion. This exhibition responds to the idea of Travel and Self, with Archer presenting a body of work produced over a lifetime of unwavering creative pursuit. Suzanne Archer, Kathy's Flowers and Water Towers, 1978, acrylic and collage on canvas, 198 x 239.4cm. Photographer: Effy Alexakis, Photowrite. On loan from Macquarie University. 7

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Until 17 Nov 2019

Nola Tegel: In the Light of Day Nola Tegel comes from a long-standing tradition of painting en plein air, creating artwork ‘in the moment’. Nola can often be found working in her magnificent home garden or out in the field during trips overseas, painting domestic or café scenes with a glimpse of grandeur.

Nola Tegel, Studio Exhibition (detail), 2015, oil on board, 100cm x 80cm

Until 24 Nov 2019

Maitland Region Society of Artists: A Poem for Maitland For the Maitland Region Society of Artists 21st birthday, MRAG has invited the society members to create a work of art celebrating what Maitland means to them. As part of the process each artist will contribute the words to a poem, which will be displayed as their gift to Maitland.

Marie Ho, Our River - Tranquil, But Can Be a Raging Torrent, 2018, oil on board, 36 x 43cm

9 Nov 2019 – 26 Jan 2020

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo This touring exhibition from Museums & Galleries Queensland celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo. It brings together a selection of more than 30 works by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, 25 years after the historic achievement. Arone Meeks, Mabo 25 & Big Wet Community (detail), 2018, mixed Media 183.2 x 61.2cm photo: Carl Warner Image courtesy of the artist



30 Nov 2019 – 16 Feb 2020

Dale Forward: Warlock In this exhibition Newcastle-based artist and comic creator Dale Forward invites viewers to wear 3D glasses and adventure into the dark fantasy world of a warlock with a cursed eye, looking for different images within each illustration that give two sides to the story. 23 Nov 2019 – 16 Feb 2020

Dale Forward, The Mountain, 2018, pen on paper, 29.7 x 21cm

John Turier and Nicola Hensel: Kalliope Calliope For 27 years, Nicola Hensel and John Turier have shared their home and studio producing a steady stream of sculptures, drawings, songs and offspring. This exhibition brings together their creative practice for the first time and includes a drawing machine, giant buttons and maps for the ever-renewable heart.

Nicola Hensel, The Great Continuum of Kindness (detail), 2019, ink and pencil on paper, dimensions variable, collection of the artist

Please note that exhibition details are subject to change.

In Brief

Edwardo Milan: Learning to Speak (Project Space)

Teresa Purnell: Snake About (Art Factory)

23 Nov 2019 – 2 Feb 2020

19 Oct 2019 – 2 Feb 2020

Hunter-based artist Edwardo Milan has a particular obsession to make things by hand. Referencing the everyday and raw gritty materials, Milan takes us into his world to talk about the who, the how and why of us.

Teresa Purnell has a special interest in, and deep knowledge of, snakes. This exhibition is a homage to the snakes and lizards of the east coast of Australia, comprising beautiful drawings, illustrations, posters and models. 9

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Feature Story Art for everyone to enjoy


“As I caught the school bus to Maitland Grossmann High School every day, I would dream of being an artist when I grew up. And in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined that one day I would have a permanent artwork on the outside of Maitland Regional Art Gallery!” – N E L L , J ULY 2019

has forged an international reputation with her career, the eastern side of the MRAG building will now be lit each night with her fabulous neon installation Made in the Light – Happy Cloud and Drips. A smiling cloud with raindrops,

To celebrate Maitland Regional Art Gallery’s 10th Anniversary since its innovative redevelopment in 2009, Maitland’s nightscape is now alight with a bright new face. Thanks to Nell, the Maitland-born contemporary artist who 10


Penelope’s Seidler’s Gift to Maitland MRAG has received another wonderful gift that coincides with its 10 Year Anniversary celebrations. Sydney-based architect, art patron and collector Penelope Seidler AM, who has a personal connection with Maitland, has generously gifted 26 artworks from her private collection to the city. The works include a sugar aquatint print by Picasso, an 18-canvas-board painting by Imants Tillers and an animated film featuring a pirouetting dancer by William Kentridge. Penelope grew up in an art-loving household and studied architecture at the University of Sydney in the 1960s, where she was also taught by landscape painter Lloyd Rees; a drawing by Rees forms part of her gift to Maitland. Penelope married architect and art-lover Harry Seidler in 1958 and together they collected art for many years; since his death in 2006, she has continued collecting and, indeed, sharing her collection.


it is a beautifully uplifting and playfully philosophical artwork to be enjoyed by all ages for years to come. Launched at the Gallery’s Light Up the Night! 10 Year celebration and fundraiser in August, its simple, recognisable imagery and happy/sad duality reflects key elements of Nell’s artistic practice. A former Maitland Grossman High School student, Nell was inducted into the Maitland City Hall of Fame in 2017 and donated part of the work – the seven ‘raindrops’ – to the city.

Penelope says: “As I am now in my eighties, it is time for me to let others share some of my collection. I know that Maitland will provide a good home and a link back to my father, who I know would have been pleased.” Most of the works Penelope has donated are on display in the exhibition Unfolding Time, on exhibition until February 2020.

Nell is thrilled to see her work permanently displayed in such a unique way in her hometown: “I hope it makes people happy. I hope people passing up and down High Street will come to know the smiling cloud’s face as it welcomes them, day and night, rain and shine.”

Penelope’s links to Maitland extend back to the 1880s, when her grandparents married at St James’ Church in Morpeth and settled in the area. Her father, the 11

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hundred people who joined as members in 2009 are still members today – an incredible show of support! In honour of the 10 Year Anniversary celebrations, we asked members to share some of their MRAG highlights – their favourite exhibitions, events or experiences. Maitland residents Judy and Mal Henry were the very first members to join MRAG at the grand opening event in 2009. When asked to recall her highlight, Judy, who has also been a volunteer and staff member, says this opening event still stands out to her: “This has to be one of my favourite exhibitions and experiences, with the buzz of excitement leading up to, and including, that special day.”


Hon. Clive Raleigh Evatt QC, was born at the Bank Hotel in East Maitland in 1900, where his father John was the publican. Clive served as a cabinet minister in the NSW State Parliament from 1941 to 1954; Penelope’s uncle, Herbert, was president of the United Nations General Assembly when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948.

The opening was one of Mayor Cr Loretta Baker’s first official functions when elected to Council. Cr Baker

The Gallery is immensely grateful for her gift, which follows on from other donations she has made over the years, including a Matisse print in 2015. Her generous spirit enables the Gallery to share yet more diverse, inspiring artworks with the community and visitors from near and afar in the years ahead.

MRAG Member Highlights MRAG is also grateful for the generous support of its members and volunteers over the last decade, without which it simply couldn’t be the vibrant and dynamic Gallery that it is today. Members range from young families through to a 105-year-old, and it is heartening to discover that more than a




“My favourite ‘thing’ about MRAG is the friendly, vibrant and inclusive energy that you physically feel as soon as you walk through the Gallery doors. I, like so many others, love the place.” – L I N DA G R E E DY


Hunter-based artist Nicola Hensel recalls the opening: “[It] was fantastic. For me, it was standing outside, not being able to see Margaret Olley but hear her voice and talking about generosity and giving to the arts, and I just had this shivery feeling that it was a moment of history that I was really, really glad to be a part of.”

says: “It was a grand event with the irrepressible Margaret Olley at the helm, and as we toured the new lightfilled spaces we had a sense of what was ahead but never fully realised the great potential MRAG held for our city.” Moreover, Cr Baker says: “The Gallery really has been the jewel in the crown for our City, activating the east end, luring artists and gallery owners to High Street and providing school students with opportunities to showcase their performances at openings. It truly has been an exceptional decade for MRAG and it promises to continue to put Maitland on the map.”

Member and artist Linda Greedy says it’s impossible for her to single out a favourite exhibition or event over these years; her ‘favourite ‘thing’ about MRAG is “the friendly, vibrant and inclusive energy that you physically feel as soon as you walk through the Gallery doors.”



one of her highlights. At the opening of Gary Grealy’s Art – Maker, Patron Lover photographic exhibition in 2017 she had the pleasure of meeting artist Mary Turner OAM (who has since passed away), on her 91st birthday. “The exhibition included an exquisite, evocative portrait of Mary that captured her wisdom and strength so sensitively that I was moved to tears.”

For her the whole experience, from art to shop to café, combines “to create a wonderful world of art, available free to absolutely everyone, which is a rare and special gift. I, like so many others, love the place.” Dr Jan Noble AM, former Chairperson of the MRAG Members’ Committee, singled out portrait painter Judy Cassab’s exhibition Essentially Australian (2011) as her favourite. Jan, who has been a friend of the Gallery for many years, says “Cassab's portraits are colourful, bold and in a class of their own.” The MRAG-curated exhibition included portraits of John Olsen and Margaret Whitlam, and toured other regional galleries around Australia.

MRAG creates so many opportunities for diverse, challenging and sometimes emotional experiences that are accessible to people of all ages and walks of life. It’s an extraordinary asset to the community. As we reflect, celebrate and look ahead with joy and anticipation to MRAG’s future let’s keep the spirit of generosity and sharing alive. In the words of Margaret Olley AC: “The amount is of no importance. My parents gave and gave and gave, not only to us, but to other people. I’d like to make giving contagious.”

Chairperson of the MRAGM committee, Sui-Linn White, recalls an unexpectedly emotional experience at the Gallery as

Story: Sally Denmead Acknowledgments: Thank you to Collection Management Curator Cheryl Farrell for her invaluable input, to Nell and Penelope Seidler and to all members who shared their highlights. The catalogue Unfolding Time: Penelope Seidler’s Gift to Maitland is available from MRAG for a gold coin donation


1 2 3 4 5 6

Nell’s Made in the Light – Happy Cloud and Drips, launched on 23 August 2019 AES+F, The Feast of Trimalchio [Photograph #CF003086], 2008, ed. 5/16, photograph printed with epson ultra chrome K3 inks 55.5 x 42cm, Donated under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Penelope Seidler, 2019 Bank Hotel, East Maitland, where Penelope Seidler’s father was born in 1900 (as it was in 1924) Margaret Olley AC speaking at the grand reopening in 2009 The grand reopening in 2009 MRAGM Christmas Party, 7 Dec 2018


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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 a tree Tutor: Bronwyn Greive In brief: We are on Wonnarua Country. Think about your connection to Wonnarua and the trees that grow here. Look at the installation Tree of Knowledge (2019), made by students from Tarro Public School and on display in Stories from Wonnarua Country. Draw a tree trunk and branches; glue some twisted strips of newspaper onto the trunk; draw and pattern some leaves, cut them out and paste them onto your tree.

Elvie Vite (5), Thornton

“My favourite thing was making the leaves.”

Roma Higginson & Quinn-Reid Higginson-Chase (2), Chisholm

Luke (7) & Evelyn (5) Ford, East Maitland

“I enjoyed making the tree, the leaves and the bird.” (Luke) “It was fun creating art!”(Evelyn)

“Very relaxing, welcoming, enjoyable. We are locals and have never come to the art gallery before. We will be back!” (Roma)

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.

Dive into MRAG

Judy Jaeger has recently been appointed Group Manager Culture, Community and Recreation at Maitland City Council.

Don’t hold back! We’d love to hear from new volunteers interested in joining the MRAGM Committee. The positions of Vice Chairperson, Secretary and Events Coordinator are currently vacant (find the nomination form at the link below and apply before our AGM). Colourful new ‘Dive into MRAG’ membership posters are also now available from the front desk; we’d love for you to take one for your local café or community noticeboard! See: mrag.org.au/ support-us/mragm-committee/

Judy has executive level responsibility at Council for MRAG and will be working with Keryl Collard (Manager Gallery and Libraries) and Kattie Bugeja (Gallery Coordinator) on the strategic management of the Gallery. This is the first time that this executive role at Council has had a specific ‘culture’ focus. Judy has extensive leadership experience in local government and previously worked at Maitland City Council during the planning phase of the MRAG redevelopment.



Member Events Thank you to everyone who attended Light Up the Night! in August, which was both a fabulous MRAG 10 Year celebration party and successful members’ fundraiser. Thanks, too, to those who supported our Melamine Plate kids fundraiser over July and August. Our next major fundraiser will be the biennial MRAG Contemporary Art Sale.

· Competitions! · Visit the Gallery this Spring and Summer for two chances to win a $50 Gallery Shop voucher. All you need to do is email your answers to the questions below to artelmagazine@gmail.com before the closing dates.

Save the Dates Saturday 21 September 2019 Olive Tree Market


Closing Date | 23 November

16 October 2019 Members’ AGM

Visit the exhibition Maitland Region Society of Artists: A Poem for Maitland and find an artwork depicting a local landmark. Tell us which place in Maitland is special to you.

25 October 2019 Annual Arts Health Fundraiser 26 October 2019 Coach trip to Nola Tegel’s studio & garden 23 November 2019 Olive Tree Twilight Market


Closing Date | 15 February

29 November 2019 Members’ Christmas Party

In the exhibition Unfolding Time: Penelope Seidler’s Gift to Maitland, what type of book has Kylie Stillman carved into to create a bonsai tree?

16 October 2020 MRAG Contemporary Art Sale opening night

Did You Know? More than 5,000 people participate in free art activities at MRAG each year thanks to the support of members. Membership fees, and particularly the fundraising we do as members, goes towards art tutor fees and other costs associated with running Free Art Sunday and Free Art January, programs which enable people of all ages and abilities to enjoy quality arts education at MRAG.

Open to members only (one entry into each competition per membership category). Emails should have the subject line Spring or Summer Competition. Winners will be selected at random and notified by phone or email within 7 days of the close of entries. Prizes (one $50 voucher per competition) will be available for collection from the MRAG front desk. Member discount not applicable when redeeming vouchers.


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Meet a Member Jane Caro AM Lives: Sydney Member since 2018

Please tell us a bit about yourself. I am a writer, speaker, broadcaster, documentary maker and social commentator. I make my living talking to others about the things I really care about – public education, women’s rights and feminism, politics, climate change and inequality. I do this via all sorts of mediums – novels; nonfiction (my latest book is Accidental Feminists); columns; speaking (most of my income comes from speaking at conferences and events); broadcasting; documentaries (I am currently finishing my 5th documentary series for ABC Compass); and social commentary (I won the 2018 Walkley Award for Women’s Leadership in the Media and I now have over 100,000 followers on Twitter). On our 300-acre property in the Upper Allyn, my husband and I breed Canadian Speckle Park beef cattle and are growing 100 acres of hardwood eucalypts. What do you like about MRAG? My daughter and I discovered MRAG via the fabulous café. I have always found the best cafes in art galleries wherever I travel, and Maitland is no exception. Then we realised what a wonderful and child-friendly gallery it is; my grandchildren particularly love playing with the toys, producing their own art

Accidental Feminists by Jane Caro



What are some of your favourite places to visit in Maitland and the region?

and dressing up. I have also bought many gifts (sometimes for myself) in the terrific shop. I regard it as a regional gem and try to visit as often as I can.

The Upper Allyn is obviously first on my list; it is one of the most beautiful and little-known parts of Australia. Walking in the temperate rainforest that makes up the mountainous Barringtons is a wonderful experience - we particularly enjoy the Peach Tree Walk and the walk to Burraga Swamp (the highest suspended peat bog in NSW) – and the bird life is extraordinary. We routinely see lyrebirds, black cockatoos, scarlet honeyeaters (we have a pair in our garden), superb blue wrens, yellow robins, king parrots, wedge-tailed eagles soaring above the forest, willy wag-tails (my favourite), thrushes (we have three in the garden all called Geoffrey – fat Geoffrey, thin Geoffrey and just right Geoffrey) and far too many others to mention. The Allyn River itself, particularly this close to the forest, is a sparkling clean, wild river that is a delight to swim in on hot afternoons.

What have been some of your favourite visual art experiences in recent years? I have had the honour of being painted for the Archibald by three different, but hugely talented artists in the last few years – Louisa Chircop, Dale Rhodes and Marie Mansfield. None were hung in the Archibald but two of the portraits have been finalists in other competitions – Louisa’s portrait in the Portia Geach Memorial Award and Marie’s in both the 2019 Kilgour Art Prize and the Portia Geach. I always enjoy portraits (I am fascinated by people) and try to go to exhibitions like these whenever I can, so it is a particular pleasure to be painted myself! What are you enjoying reading, writing, watching and/or listening to at the moment? I have just finished Jess Hill’s extraordinary examination of why men commit domestic violence (a change of emphasis that is long overdue, if you ask me), See What You Made Me Do, and it has left me breathless. It is not a light or easy read but I recommend it unreservedly. I am also thoroughly enjoying writing my next novel (for young adults), provisionally titled ‘Snow on the Tops’, on the verandah at our farm overlooking the Allyn River and Carey’s Peak in the Barringtons. It is set in the Lister Village in the Upper Allyn in 1967 and will be published in 2020 – as long as I finish it by Christmas!

We love the spectacular drive across the Salisbury Gap to Dungog and Dungog itself, which remains an unspoiled, wide-main-street Aussie bush town. We must also give a shout out to the Bank Hotel in East Maitland where we often stop for a good pub meal on our way to the farm from Sydney on a Friday night and, of course, MRAG, where we have enjoyed many an excellent lunch and wander around the Gallery on a stinking hot day.


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Five Ways to Experience MRAG Geoffrey Hassall, an MRAG Partner, they are made from natural earth pigments and depict Baratjala, a Madarrpa clan estate where the artist camped with her father when she was a child. Baratjala, which opens onto the westerly coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, is a place where fresh and saltwater meet and lightning and storms abound. Look at Noŋgirrŋa’s patterning close up and then view the works from upstairs. Imagine wet season creek waters surging; turbulent seas; rocks; sand and tropical forest.

2. See Make Do Free Art January is a festive month of fun art-making activities at MRAG free for everyone to enjoy. The 2020 highlights include reptile conservationist Theresa Purnell with her snake safety presentation; and Dale Forward’s zine-making, which is certain to captivate tweens and teens. Our incredible art tutors are back with plenty of creative play activities to keep the young ones entertained. Keep your eye out for the full Free Art January program (available early December) and come see-make-do this Summer!


1. Look Closer Find the two dynamic paintings by Noŋgirrŋa Marawili hanging above the Gallery’s marble stairwell. On loan from the private collection of 20


4. Sip & Sketch Keep an eye out for the return of casual twilight drawing sessions at MRAG over Spring and Summer. Be serenaded by live music and enjoy a cool drink whilst you draw, or just enjoy exploring the Gallery after hours! Easels and materials are provided. Bring friends or colleagues and enjoy a different Friday night experience at MRAG. Save the Dates: 20 Sept 2019 31 Jan 2020 2

3. Take a Piece of MRAG Home The Gallery Shop is as abundant and generous as ever this Spring and Summer. It is brimming with art books to inspire and blocks to build. And oh, so much more! Fancy a limited-edition silk scarf featuring the artwork of local artist Nell? A unique hand-engraved pendant by local jeweller Joanne Herbert? Or a dapper bow tie by Hank in Chief to see you through the festive season? Pop in and grab yourself, or that special someone, something fabulous and enjoy!

5. After Dark MRAG is now alight every night with a neon light installation by ‘hometown girl’ Nell. To celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of the Gallery’s redevelopment, the Maitland-born artist’s work Made in the Light – Happy Cloud and Drips has been permanently installed on the eastern side of the building, near Fetch Boy. A smiling cloud with raindrops, made from LED lights, it’s a beautifully uplifting work that fits seamlessly in its new home. Take a stroll past after dark, look up and ponder, or come to an after-hours event to enjoy this new ‘face’ of Maitland.

Don’t forget as members you receive 10% off Gallery Shop purchases all year round!


1 Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, Baratjala, 2018, natural earth pigments on board, 200 x 120cm 2 Hank in Chief bow-ties available in the Gallery Shop


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Creative Insight

Art therapist Nicole Lemaitre tells us about Open Art: Art and Dementia, an arts-in-health pilot program she recently facilitated at MRAG. Open Art: Art and Dementia was a six-week pilot program (June–July 2019) for people affected by dementia and their carers that focused on creative engagement with artworks and artmaking activities. Modelled on the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s Artful: Art and Dementia program, its aim was to encourage people living with dementia and their caregivers to engage in the experience of art therapy in a safe environment for emotional and creative expression free from expectation or judgement.

This therapeutic framework enabled us to support participants within safe, consistent boundaries across a range of diagnoses and cognitive abilities whilst acknowledging the diversity of individuals’ lived experience of dementia. Each week participants with dementia were guided through the Gallery exhibitions to engage with the artworks, while the carers’ group gathered to share their personal stories and to process and reflect on the program experience. An educator from Dementia Australia was invited in to speak with the carers to provide valuable information and resources, which the group reported finding very helpful.

Both myself and another clinically trained art therapist facilitated the program, supported by a team of experienced and dedicated volunteers. 22


At morning tea, the two groups came together to share delicious homemade cakes provided by the Gallery café. Afterwards, participants were ready to engage with the art activities, working with a variety of art materials including clay, watercolour and acrylic paints, charcoal and collage. Take-home art activities were also given out each week to extend creative engagement. On the final week the group held an exhibition, which delighted participants as they were able to see each other as unique and individual through sharing their stories and artworks.

Nicole Lemaitre is a clinically trained professionally registered art therapist. She is passionate about creative and artistic processes and their therapeutic benefits. Her experience is in the area of mental health and disability, working with the needs of clients using a psychodynamic and mindfulnessbased approach. She currently facilitates Conversations: Art & Dementia and the outreach program that takes artworks from MRAG’s Collection into aged care facilities. She also works at Maitland Private Hospital in mental health delivering art therapy inpatient programs.

Being part of the program helped inspire one participant to return to his artmaking practice. A mother and daughter said the time spent together creating without the distractions of a busy life enabled them to be more present with each other and to get enjoyment from that. Another participant said her work might not be as good as others, but what mattered to her was how good artmaking made her feel. For many, the program provided support, companionship and comfort in the knowledge they were not alone. This reduced their sense of social isolation and helped forge new friendships. Reconnecting with their innate capacity to create, and sharing this experience with others, was both relaxing and enjoyable.

Look Out! MRAG Collection artworks featured in this issue… Inside front cover Peter Kingston, Ginger Meggs, 2004, paint on plaster* Contents page Mandalay Buddha, 19th century, marble, lacquer, wood, paint and glass Pg 4 John Turier, Piano B (detail), 2002, bronze Pg 5 Peter Kingston, Luna Park, 1995, cast resin and acrylic paint* Pg 17 Paul Selwood, Points of Possible Surety, 2003, painted steel Pg 21 Peter Kingston, Untitled, 2004, paint on plaster* *Not currently on display in the Gallery.

MRAG's Arts Health programs are funded entirely by third party contributions. Come along to our Annual Art Health Fundraiser, 25 October 2019, & support these incredible programs.


Open Art participants displaying their artworks for an exhibition on the final week 23

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Meet an Artist


Artists John Turier and Nicola Hensel have shared a creative life together for over 27 years and are thrilled to present their work side by side in their first ever joint exhibition. Picture in your mind an artist’s studio. Tools of the trade and an assortment of curious objects lie strewn about awaiting inspiration; there is clarity in the chaos and a gentle hum of energy. John Turier and Nicola Hensel invited me into their family home (and studio) in Newcastle and I was welcomed by a symphony of creativity – music, texture, colour, keepsakes, books and art. For 27 years this space has produced a steady stream of sculptures, drawings, songs … and creative offspring who make things.

In November MRAG will install the couple’s first joint exhibition – Kalliope Calliope. Kalliope is the Greek muse of epic poetry; a calliope is a steam organ, reminiscent of carnivals and sideshows. Nicola explains their choice of title: “It’s that space between play and poetry [where] we both like to sit.” The exhibition will bring together their contrasting practices – John’s large-scale metal and wood sculptures (watch out for the drawing machine) alongside 24


Nicola’s intricate, emotional drawings and infinitely layered collages. Stalwarts of the Hunter region’s art scene, John and Nicola are both prolific artists who have exhibited in countless solo and group shows locally, regionally and nationally. John has taught at TAFE for the past 15 years and they have completed several large-scale public sculpture commissions together. You can see examples of John’s work (donated to the permanent Collection) as you wander through MRAG; you may have even placed a gold coin in one of his captivating money box creations.


primarily in three dimensions whilst Nicola favours two. But whilst they have chosen different mediums their work is unified in its quest for an epic poetic narrative; and as a couple their creative life is beautifully and respectfully symbiotic. The artwork credit on one of John’s many public art sculptures may read ‘John Turier’ but Nicola and, at times, their children (six between them), will often have contributed to the work.

The couple jokingly refer to themselves as ‘Statues and Pictures’; John works

John’s sculpture Foundation Seed (2004), inspired by the Red Cedar trees that grew in the region during the 18th and 19th Centuries – and, at 14-metres-high, the tallest piece of public art in Newcastle – was created amidst the joyful chaos of family life. Elements of the work lived in the lounge room, on the dining table and even on the lid of the washing machine. My burning question to the couple was, why has it taken them so long to develop a show together? I discovered it wasn’t a conscious choice but a symptom of this maelstrom of family life. Kalliope Calliope celebrates a new phase of their lives, which is about reflection, enjoying the

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“We trust each other’s aesthetic more than anybody else’s. We are kind to each other but also really straight.”


quiet moments, each other and the joyful life they have built together. Of their creative partnership they revealed to me: “We trust each other’s aesthetic more than anybody else’s. We are kind to each other but also really straight.”

an artistic experience created by Nicola’s son Oliver Harlan in collaboration with Jen Denzin. In true life-imitating-artimitating-life style, they had to rush their marriage application through in time for the exhibition!

Though they have been together for nearly thirty years, John and Nicola are in fact newlyweds. A passing comment –“we should get married in an artwork” – became reality when the couple curated a unique ceremony at The Lock-Up contemporary art space in Newcastle in 2019 in the gold room of Argo Pacifico,

John and Nicola both have many passions that shape their lives and artmaking. On arrival to their home, John shared his geological knowledge of flint with me and, in the weeks since our meeting, I have been inspired to scour the Ballast grounds of Stockton searching for unique glassy specimens,





Kalliope Calliope is on exhibition at MRAG from 23 November 2019 to 16 February 2020. Look out for information about artist workshops and associated events over the Summer period.

equally as beautiful for their texture as their ecological and social history. Nicola is an observer and a nurturer, and after meeting her I have been inspired to rediscover the nine Greek muses and explore the writings of Arundhati Roy.


John Turier and Nicola Hensel have crafted a life of love, generosity, family, passion and reflection. Kalliope Calliope celebrates their creative partnership and all that they have built together.

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Interview: Kattie Bugeja


Gary Grealy, John Turier & Nicola Hensel, 2017, digital print, 77cm x 57.5cm. Image courtesy of the artist. Nicola Hensel, Archipelago of the Broken (detail), 2019, ink and gouache on paper, dimensions variable, collection of the artist. Nicola Hensel, studio detail. Nicola Hensel, Midwives for a New World (detail), 2019, collage on paper, collection of the artist. Nicola Hensel, The Great Continuum of Kindness (detail), 2019, ink and pencil on paper, dimensions variable, collection of the artist. John Turier, Dancing Swans and Dead Dog, 2008, timber, metal, wire and painted steel, dimensions variable. Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2008

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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 Ron Royes Artwork Joe, 2015 acrylic on ceramic 21.5 x 10 x 14cm Donated to the MRAG Collection by the artist in 2015

Have you ever noticed, sitting perched alongside the hustle and bustle of the MRAG reception desk, this little sculpture of Cultural Director Emeritus of the Gallery, Joe Eisenberg? Joe played an integral role in the redevelopment of the Gallery and artist Ron Royes gifted the work to the MRAG Collection in 2015 to mark Joe’s retirement.

For his exhibition Through My Eyes (2011), he created a whole world of ‘little figures’ that theatrically capture everyday gestures and interactions. This inconspicuous little artwork is met with delighted gasps by visitors once discovered, and as we celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of the Gallery redevelopment, it seems only fitting to have this mini Joe looking over our shoulder, quietly observing the legacy he has left to the City of Maitland.

Royes has a strong connection to MRAG, having been a valued member of the MRAG volunteer team for many years as well as an exhibiting artist.

Words: Anna Buxton-Soldal 28


Sandra’s favourite artwork was: Barbara Hanrahan (b.1939, d.1991) Autumn, 1989 Linocut, black ink on ivory Velin Arches paper Ed 34/100 41 x 29.6cm Purchased by Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2012

Member Tour

and she knew straight away where they were stored! Barbara is one of my all-time favourite artists, but I thought she wasn’t that well known; I admire her skill and love the dark undercurrent to her folk art imagery. I even got to see my favourite of all her works, a linocut print of two women entitled Autumn.

MRAG’s Collection Management Curator Cheryl Farrell recently showed member Sandra Oost some of the treasures in the Collection Store. What did you most enjoy about your tour of the MRAG Collection Store? Definitely hearing the stories about how some of the artworks came to be in the Collection and being shown really unique items that I never imagined I’d see in there. For example, Cheryl showed me a book of Chinese watercolour illustrations from the late 1800s, with the illustrations depicting everything from street life scenes to methods of punishment, which was donated to the Gallery by a man who just brought it to the front desk one day. It’s since been valued at $30,000. The story of its provenance was fascinating.

What were your overall impressions? I loved the whole experience and it reaffirmed for me how much I love MRAG. It left me with an appetite to see more, so I’ll come back one day when it’s open to the public. I felt a bit sad in a way that all the artworks aren’t on permanent display, but Cheryl explained there are plans to have an open Store in the future that people can browse through.

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 artelmagazine@gmail.com to register your interest. The Collection Store is also open to the public from time to time; check the MRAG website for dates.

Which was your favourite artwork? Cheryl said I could request to look at particular artists’ work and I was surprised and thrilled that a series of linocut prints by Australian printmaker Barbara Hanrahan was in the Collection 29

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

Bertie Blackman, Cr Ben Whiting & Mayor Cr Loretta Baker at Autumn opening, 23 Feb 2019

Autumn opening, 23 Feb 2019

Ron Royes, Joe Eisenberg & Janis Wilton at Autumn opening, 23 Feb 2019

Autumn opening, 23 Feb 2019

Linda Greedy at Winter opening, 25 May 2019

Winter opening, 25 May 2019 30

S O C I A L G A L L E RY Maitland High Aboriginal Dance group at Welcome to Stories from Wonnarua Country, 3 July 2019

Hazel Brown and Uncle Warren Taggart at Welcome to Stories from Wonnarua Country, 3 July 2019 Tarro Public School Didge group at Welcome to Stories from Wonnarua Country, 3 July 2019

Operation Art Workshop, 14 Aug 2019

Skux Az artists Indeah Clark and Tamahae Puha at the Olive Tree Market, 11 May 2019 Olive Tree Market, 11 May 2019 31

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


Community Art O’Hearn Street Park in Tenambit, an eastern suburb of Maitland, has recently undergone a colourful transformation through a series of community art workshops facilitated by Maitland City Council and local artist Nina Katzmarski. Residents were invited to paint colourful patterns onto the 52 metal posts around the park’s boundary and a bright mural design, based on drawings by Tenambit Public School students, onto the bus shelter.

The workshops followed on from a community engagement project in which residents, including school students, were invited to share their ideas for how to upgrade the playground equipment and improve the look and feel of the surrounding park. The new playground will be in place by late 2019. www.maitland.nsw.gov.au/facilities/ ohearn-street-park



Maitland Art Drop Maitland Art Drop is a ‘scavenger hunt’ through the streets of Maitland that takes place every two to three months, with the aim of bringing the community together and sharing art in a fun way. On a set day and time, participating artists hide their work in central Maitland, post a photo on Instagram that gives a clue about where it is and interested followers then go on the hunt for the treasure (which they get to keep for free). Organised by local Beth Voltage, participating artists contact her prior to the ‘drop’ time via Instagram so she can then share an image of the art they will be “dropping”; people can then follow each artist’s Instagram account to see the clue that leads to their artwork. Beth would love for more artists and community to get involved, so keep an eye out for the next art drop!


major event or festival, and who have been nominated by a recognised peak body to do so. This applies to anyone working in the areas of Cultural Heritage (Artisans), Literature (Written and Spoken Word), Performing Arts or Visual Arts. The grants could, for example, assist with entry fees or travel and accommodation costs. Search for ‘High Achievers Grant Program’ within the Maitland City Council website for all the criteria and application details.

Instagram @maitlandartdrop

Creative Arts High Achievers Grants Creatives living in the Maitland local government area can apply to Maitland City Council for small grants of between $450 and $750 throughout the year, to support them to achieve recognition for their work at a national or international level. Grants may be awarded to individuals or collectives who have been selected to participate at the highest level, such as in an art competition,



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Work in progess on the bus shelter mural at O’Hearn Street Park, Tenambit Artwork by Jaime Pritchard found in the March 2019 Maitland Art Drop

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Inspired! Member Daniel O’Leary, co-owner of Maitland restaurant COQUUN, takes heart from Stories from Wonnarua Country and imagines walking with the ancestors. My name is Daniel O’Leary. I grew up here in Maitland, on Wonnarua country. I left when I was a teenager, but I’ve come back and opened a new restaurant with my lifelong childhood friend and brother, Anthony Ford. We’ve named our restaurant, COQUUN. Coquun is one of the first names that was given to the body of water that we overlook from our dining room in Maitland’s exquisite new Riverlink Building. Our menu is distinctly flavoured by the native food bowl and we use Wonnarua language to help describe the seasonal offering that our chefs prepare.


I am so moved to see these stories starting to be shared more broadly and more often. In schools, in galleries and in our family homes. There’s a great deal of healing to be done and exhibitions like Stories from Wonnarua Country are sure signs that we are well on our way to reconnecting. When I find life is challenging, and things just don’t make sense, I like to imagine that we’re all walking with the ancestors and it’s okay to ask for help.

At the heart of our new enterprise there is a firm grounding in, and sincere acknowledgement of, the extraordinary history that our first people have with plants and animals on this country. The ancestors have taken great care of, and been guardians to, the natural world for thousands and thousands … and thousands of years; and as I struggle to comprehend my own identity in the ever-changing world around me, I look to simple connections with language and culture as an important reminder of our shared history and the ancient wisdom in our first stories.

In each issue we’ll share a member’s creative response to artwork on display at MRAG. It could be a dance, musical, written or any other interpretation. If you’re interested please contact us at artelmagazine@gmail.com for more info.


THE LEVEE Art Gallery & Studio

282 High Street, Maitland NSW 2320 0407 123 200 | leveeartgallery.com.au

The Hunter Artisan Gallery & CafĂŠ

Art Classes Art Retreats Studio Open Days Independently Owned Gallery Exhibiting 13 Artists & Sculptors

48 Melbourne Street, East Maitland NSW 2323 0407 381 911 thehunterartisangalleryandcafe.com

Art & giftware 30+ artists & makers Group & solo exhibitions Unique, historic space Home-style meals & snacks Licensed cafĂŠ


1 Year

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Profile for Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Artel #2 ~ MRAG Members' magazine (Spring/Summer 2019-2020)  

In this issue: Celebrating 10 Years of MRAG - Nell, Penelope Seidler & MRAG Member Highlights; Exhibition Program; Artists John Turier & Nic...

Artel #2 ~ MRAG Members' magazine (Spring/Summer 2019-2020)  

In this issue: Celebrating 10 Years of MRAG - Nell, Penelope Seidler & MRAG Member Highlights; Exhibition Program; Artists John Turier & Nic...