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Published July 28th 2021
Taste the Australian Art
Murwillumbah is a small rural town in the sweet Tweed Valley. You can spend a lovely day strolling in town, visiting the shops, having a coffee and discovering the Tweed Regional Gallery.
The Tweed Regional Gallery is located in an award-winning building with large and tall windows to view the lovely Tweed Valley and Mount Warning.
The gallery has seven exhibition spaces presenting historical to contemporary exhibitions. The program includes the $20,000 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture.
There are rooms dedicated to the paintings of Margaret Olley. In particular, the Gallery permanently houses the recreation of the famous original studio of Margaret Olley in Paddington, Sydney. Thousands and thousands of pieces of original material were taken from Margaret Olley's house and relocated in the gallery.
The gallery also includes a workshop, education space, research library, the Gallery Shop and the Gallery Cafe.
In this article, I consider Artistic Endeavour Art Exhibition, permanent Margaret Olley studio reconstruction and A Life in Art - Margaret Olley Art Exhibition and Ned Kelly saga by Sidney Nolan.
The green Tweed Valley and Mount Warning in the background. Photo by Author.
Contemporary botanical artists' response to the legacy of Banks, Solander and Parkinson.
Friday 16 July 2021 to Sunday 19 September 2021
The Boyd Gallery
Daniel Solander was a Swedish naturalist and a student of Carl Linneus. In 1768, Solander went with Joseph Banks on James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific Ocean aboard the Endeavour. Where Captain Cook landed for the first time in Australia, the place took the name Botany Bay.
Solander helped to describe a great number of Australian plants when the Endeavour beached for seven weeks, where today is Cooktown.
Joseph Banks took part in Captain Cook's first great voyage (1768-1771). During the expedition, more than 800 specimens were illustrated by artist Sydney Parkinson and appeared in Bank's Florilegium.
Artistic Endeavour is the contemporary response to the legacy of Banks, Solander and Parkinson for the 250th anniversary of the HMB Endeavour voyage along the east coast of Australia.
The exhibition Artistic Endeavour showcases contemporary works by members of the Botanical Artist's Society of Qld in honour of the historical event. This exhibition portrays a selection of those same plants collected and identified in 1770.
Anne Hayes, Banksia serrata, old man banksia. 2017, watercolour on paper. collected 1770 in Botany Bay, collected 2017 in South Golden Beach. One of Australia's most distinctive and iconic genera, Banksia was named after Joseph Banks by Swedish naturalist and taxonomist Carolus Linneaus the Younger. The Artist has taken an innovative and contemporary approach in this high impact work, depicting a single cone at an expanded heroic scale. Fire triggers the release of stored seeds. Photo by Author.
Julia Hancock, Callicarpa pedunculata, beautiberry. 2019, watercolour on paper. collected 1770: Endeavour River, collected 2018: Murwillumbah. In this vivid and poetic portrait, the artist offers two reflected stems- one flowering and one fruiting. The simple sequences express the cycles of growth, maturation and death in singular detail and myriad colours. Also evident are the activities of insects across the soft and finely toothed leaves. Callicarpa pedunculata is grown as an ornamental shrub. Attracting wildlife and pollinators, the dense habitat provides protection for small birds, and the abundant fruits are an appealing food for birds and other wildlife. The fruit is astringent and too acid to be eaten by people. Photo by Author.
Louise Saunders, Dendrobium discolor, golden orchid. 2019 watercolour on watercolour canvas. Collected 1770: Bay of Inlets, Bustard Bay Cape Grafton, Endeavour River. Observed 2016: Tully gorge National Park, Stanage Bay. Capturing the orchid in all its extravagance, the artist has depicted ornately twisting flower sprays, lush leathery leaves, and gnarled withered bulbs. The fern, Drynaria rigidula, is also epiphytic and has been incorporated as a companion within the composition, intensifying the naturalism. In North Queensland, indigenous painters extract the viscous green juice from the fleshy stems and pseudobulbs of Dendrobium and other tree orchids to make a fixative for binding ground ochers to bark slabs, rock walls and human torsos. The plant is chewed to produce a useable sap that not only helps to attach pigments to a surface but also acts as a mordant to keep the colours strong and vibrant. Photo by Author.
Minung Oh, Pleiogynium timorense, Burkedin plum. 2018, watercolour on paper. collected 1770: Endeavour River, Bustard Bay, Bay of Inlets, Thirsty Sound. Observed 2018: Sherwood Arboretum. the vibrant and intensely detailed watercolour depicts the characteristically glossy leaves which may have up to eleven elliptical leaflets. A cluster of ripening and senescing. These dark, globular fruit vary in taste. those that have red purplish flesh are quite tart, those with a pale greenish white flesh are milder but less tasty. Some fruits are half red, half white and these are reportedly delicious. Indigenous people have been known to bury the fruit underground to assist with the ripening process. Joseph Banks' journal records that 'these, when gathered off from the tree, were very hard and disagreeable but after being kept for a few days became soft and tasted much like indifferent Damsons'. The fruit can be either eaten raw, cooked into jam or jelly, used to flavour meat, or to make wine or liquor. Photo by Author.
Liz Showniruk, Homalanthus novoguineensis, bleeding heart, 2019, watercolour on paper, Collected 1770: Endeavour River,Collected 2018: Whyanbeel Valley. In this dreamy and luminous composition, the plant is bathed in a soft focus through sensuous passages of transparent watercolour. The glorious red and decaying leaf anchoring the portrait is, by contrast, in crisp and dramatic focus. A dioecious rainforest species, so male and female plant need to be grown within pollinator distance if fruit and seeds are to form. The distinctive heart-shaped leaves change colour to a deep red before falling, hence the common name bleeding heart. The tree is a favourite of the Hercules moth, which has the largest wing area of any moth in the world. They lay their eggs on the tree and the larvae feed on the leaves. Photo by Author.
In 1964, Olley bought a house connected to an old hat factory in Duxford Street in the suburb of Paddington, Sydney. Her home was an eclectic place, full of many many objects, Many of the items inside the house became the subject in her artworks.
Margaret Olley reconstruction of her studio from Paddington. Photo by Author.
Sidney Nolan is an Australian painter (1917-1992) and he is the artist of one of the most famous series of paintings about the Bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang. The paintings are a way for Sidney Nolan to express his thoughts about injustice, love and betrayal.
A very important part of the paintings of the Ned Kelly saga is the Australian landscape with its red colours, harshness, beauty and desolation.
One of the painting from the Ned Kelly saga. Photo fromhttps://www.smh.com.au/national/nolans-kelly-sets-54m-auction-record-20100326-r088.html
This is a ticketed exhibition:
Gallery Friend/Foundation member: $7
Concession or child 5–17 years: $8
Family (2 adults up to 3 children): $30
Children under 5 years Free
Bus group booking: $8 per person
School/education group booking: $6 per person
More Current Exhibitions at Tweed Regional Gallery:
2021 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture
I visited this gallery just after the Margaret Olley installation opened, which is an exceptional look into the mind and art of Margaret Olley. Such an eclectic home! Thanks for the article, I wish I lived closer.