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Adelaide Fringe 2017 Visual Arts - Review

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by Kat May (subscribe)
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Be amazed at the superb quality of our Fringe art
The Adelaide Fringe Festival's Visual Arts program seems to get bigger and better every year. In this year's paper program, there is six and a half pages of listings all over Adelaide. While I am on the subject of the program booklet, I will say this format is not user-friendly. You have to read through every single listing to discover what exhibits are in the area you live or want to visit. All events in the program are alphabetically ordered, and while this is all very diplomatic to the artists, it hardly helps with the viewers' selections.

Adelaide fringe visual arts 2017
From the exhibit at Nexus at Lion Arts Centre. Image by the writer.

Once you have spent a good hour or more writing your own list, you can then set off to enjoy a big offering of visual arts exhibitions. The program can be viewed online with filters by suburbs, but you would have to know where these suburbs are first, so not that helpful. I heard many complaints about how difficult it is to use the paper program format during the Fringe event this year. To the organisers, I would suggest you write the program for the users and put the listings in order of areas of Adelaide such as CBD, hills, west, and so on. This is how the SALA Festival does it. So much easier.

Adelaide fringe visual arts
The current exhibit pieces at the Jam Factory are all made from steel. Image by the writer.

For this review, I visited around 15 of the visual arts exhibits, mainly in the Adelaide CBD. There are many good offerings in the suburbs also such as at Pepper St Gallery in Magill at Brompton and Onkaparinga to name a few. Do not overlook local art. There are some very talented artists out in the suburbs and these exhibitions usually have a variety of mediums on view.

Adelaide fringe visual arts
Wall murals are all over Adelaide and suburbs. This bright one is on the Target wall at Elizabeth Shopping Mall. Image by the writer.

Many of the exhibitions are annual events in Adelaide at this time, while some are here as a one off. Many artists travel with their art, and are here in town for the Fringe. One such artist is Maz Gill- Harper, who packed her artworks in her ute and travelled from Tasmania. Her collection of work titled, Telling Stories, which are beautiful large bible stories in art form are on display at St Peter's Cathedral. You can meet the artist and hear her talk about the art. Also at the church is a magnificent display of large picture quilts and pottery.

African art on show at the Kerry Packer Gallery at the Hawke Centre at Uni S.A. West. Image by the writer.

Some artists have not made it to the Fringe, such as with the artwork of the African artists at the Level 3 Hawke Centre at Uni SA, West Campus. These vibrant works pack a punch of colour and life and are really worth a look.

There are many photography exhibits around this year. The most outstanding selection would be Sky Photos at the Science Exchange. These are finalists in The David Malin Award 2016 for amateur astronomers and photographers. Although the photos are not large prints, they are of high quality and superb subjects in the night sky and solar system. At Chancery Lane Gallery, see some admirable photographic work by award-winning photographers Quentin Chester and Amy Pfitzner, of South Australian scenes including Kangaroo Island.

Highly commended is the first exhibition for photographer Helen Lewis, who is employed at the Women's and Children's Hospital and have supported her by showing her work in one of the corridors. Desert Dwellers of Africa, are stunning images of Namibia and could be on the cover of a travel brochure, as they are of such high quality and make you wish you were there.

Emerging SA artists have an excellent mixed large exhibit at the Drill Hall at the Parade Ground. This is titled The Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition. There is a good mixed selection of different works here. Another exhibit that delighted and surprised me was the Stencil Art Prize at the State Library Gallery. This is the world's largest stencil art event and has 80 works by Australian and international artists. Consider that these works are all made by creating cut out stencils and then printed with various inks and paints to produce bright pop art and high gloss stunners. The winning piece is mysteriously unique, with a warm textured velvet look created by adding soil and salt to the paint.

Adelaide fringe visual arts
The Stencil Art exhibition is something different with 80 works to admire. Image by the writer.

Many of the venues in the CBD could be covered in a day or pop in and visit a few over your lunch break. There is a good selection of wall murals, across the city and in many suburban areas for the Fringe. The kids may like to go on a walk around to discover these. See the Street Art Explosion page for the mural locations.

Adelaide fringe visual arts 2017
Hmmm, some thought provoking art at the Royal Croquet Club.Image by the writer.

The most unusual display setting I saw would have to be the quirky outdoor photos by Aaron Bradbrook at the Royal Croquet Club. The photos have been printed onto PVC and are hanging from and around a huge Moreton bay fig tree and are lit up at night.

There are many more exhibits than mentioned here, so make your selections and get out and about and see some beautiful art this Fringe. See the Visual Arts section in the paper progam for open times and address.
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Why? To get you looking and thinking.
When: On now until Sunday 19th March 2017
Where: Venues all over Adelaide and some country venues
Cost: Free
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