I’m not in the area very often, but I’ve really enjoyed going to this gallery. I remember the first time, as part of speed dating (2007), driving up and being impressed that this was a regional gallery with funds. I love its setting and that there are windows and continual opportunities to look out into the surrounding setting. I especially love being able to see cows from the gallery. Partly, because it reminds me of being able to see cows through the Buren at the Beyeler Foundation (2001).
What I really like about this gallery is that it absolutely embodies a sense of its community. It’s palpable. It nicely manages and accommodates a range simultaneously: traditional and conservative, stand-out contemporary practices, as well as local artists and I even like the kid’s exhibition in the gallery hallway. There are some gems. Even the vacant and hopeless wait staff in the rather nice gallery café, are memorable.
Last time I was impressed by the contemporary exhibition featuring principal artists (maybe Strange Cargo or a MCA show, I can’t remember) and this time it’s Time travel: reimagining the past, including works by Julie Bartholomew (NIKE Dynasty series, 2008, porcelain and photographic decals, pictured bottom), Penny Byrne (ceramics, pictured top), Alasdair MacIntyre, Mel Robson, Robyn Stacey and Anne Zahalka.
Worth a special mention are the Christine Willcocks. Utilising an engraving by H. Penkwell, based on the now lost painting by John Alexander Gilfillan, Captain Cook Taking Possession of New South Wales 1770 (1850s), which she happened upon in a Murwillumbah thrift shop. Noting that the Gilfillan version was previously a focus of nearby Gordon Bennett (Possession Island, 1991). The subsequent Penkwell engraving depicts a small group of Aboriginals, whereas in the other versions this bas been omitted and Willcocks re-inserts them.
Also similar to the Frye, Rachel overhead some officious statements regarding Danie Mellor’s triptych (New World, New Order, 2009, pictured in the background) – something about liking the use of the glitter pen. The exhibition is accompanied by a super light and glossy brochure, but for some reason it hasn’t been listed on their website, making it difficult to source details (the Willcocks label was kindly provided by staff, thankyou). What a lovely, dear gallery.