2019 Exhibitions

Saplings: The Trees Around Us

1 September to 20 October 2019

Goodstart Early Learning Muswellbrook

Artwork: Genevieve, aged 5

After we had received an invitation for our very own exhibition, we began discussing what theme we could have for our display. There were many suggestions such as buildings, flowers, people, birds and trees. Together as a class we decided that because birds nest in trees and they can have flowers, trees would be a great focus for us.

We started our project discussing all the different parts of a tree such as the roots, the bark, the trunk, the branches and the leaves. The children identified that not all leaves looked the same and this was due to different species. Looking at images of trees, the children were able to name a few - mostly fruit trees.

A teacher in our centre brought in bark that had fallen off a tree at her house and we investigated it closely, describing what it looked like, smelt like, felt like and what tree it may have come from. Some of the children identified that it looked “a little bit spiky” and had “little holes and cracks”. It felt “rough on one side but the other side was smooth”. “Fire”, “wood”, “chocolate” and “cinnamon” were some of the smells we recognised.

As we continued our investigation, Mick, Tracey and Gean from Muswellbrook Shire Council came to our centre on National Tree Day to speak to us about the importance of trees and how we care for them. Mick drew some pictures for us and showed us the different sizes of trees. He even brought in some branches where we looked at the different leaves and identified some species.

While celebrating tree day, we went for a walk to Karoola Dog Park to explore the trees that we were lucky enough to plant last year. We discovered many different species and took photographs to bring back to our centre and discuss with friends who couldn’t attend our excursion. We printed these photos and made a book from them for us to refer to when we were completing our artworks.

During all our excursions the children were on the lookout for all the different kinds of trees we could see. We even saw one with the roots sticking out of the ground!

During the process of creating our canvas works, each child was asked what materials they would like to make their artwork with. Some children wanted to paint their trees while others wanted to draw with pencils and Textas. There were many pictures of trees around our room, including trees in different seasons. The children used the book we had made and photographs from our excursion. We even had some bark left over and the children could feel the texture to assist their creativity.

Each child added their own unique aspect into their painting, including, ‘a tree that was melting in lava’, ‘a tree with some flowers growing in spring’, ‘leaves that have seeds on them’, ‘old trees with no leaves’ and even some ‘trees in the rain’.

We have had a great time doing our investigation and exploring all the different trees in our environment. As the seasons change we will continue to look at and discuss the natural changes of the trees around us.

Hymns to a Passion: Gabrielle Jones

1 September to 20 October 2019

“If you work with abstract painting for a period of time, you may come to think of it as a melody, a song, a piece of beautiful music”- Judi Betts.

Gabrielle Jones revels in the joy that art-making has brought to many an artist and observer throughout the course of history. Jones contorts colour until it becomes tangible, moving harmoniously with music one can only wish to hear. Her practice of abstract expressionism is rooted in the skilful application of paint that depicts more than just an object but something from within. An exploration of how oil and acrylic react to movement has given rise to a body of works that unify method and chaos, drawing the viewer’s eyes back and forth through progressions of colour and form. The presence of the artist is always evident in Jones’s work. She has sought to personalise abstraction by emphasising the paint brush as an extension of her hand, a stream of pure consciousness flowing from the artist onto the canvas.

“There is a freedom and ease in these new paintings. I’ve broken down all the “shoulds” and barriers and just painted and painted […] I have tried to remain curious, responded to the work, and relaxed. I’m exploring what paint does - trying to push my repertoire and skills and get out of my own way” - Gabrielle Jones.

The works unfold themselves to the viewer in a flirtatious push and pull. The more you stare the more they will reveal. The velvety glide of Seduction (2019) enthrals with its languid strokes - What could be hidden in that dark centre? Passion (2019) contains a flurry of oranges and deep reds; the motion of the pigment creates a haze suggestive of overwhelming elation. The paintings are somehow as tactile as much as they are visual. One can feel the surface of each work, sense the texture, without even having touched them.

Music is fundamental to Jones’s practice, each artwork containing its own choreographed dance. The performance element of mark making sits at the very heart of her current body of work Hymns to a Passion. The moment of creation is fleeting, but the energy captured in these paintings lives on.

Jones speaks of her practice as being in a transitional phase. Reflecting on her past work, this burgeoning transformation becomes apparent. The layered brush strokes and riot of colour yields a luminosity developed through many washes of paint. It engenders a sense of something that won’t be contained. This sensation is exemplified in Inner Voice (Mother Love) in which a luscious, fluid form, akin to a growing organism that will soon blanket its jagged environment, moves across the canvas. The painting epitomises Jones’s current body of work where emotional intensity, viewer interpretation and the physical act of painting merge on the canvas. Jones herself perhaps offers up the best manner in which to frame these works:

“In the end, the work is a call to the viewer to enter into the poetry and reality of making art, to collect their mental and sensual responses to the different works - to understand, enhance or orchestrate their sense of what it is to make art and specifically, poetic abstract art”.

Salient - Contemporary Artists at the Western Front

In 2017, almost a century after the guns had fallen silent, twelve leading Australian artists visited the World War One battlefields of the Western Front. Deidre Bean, Harrie Fasher, Paul Ferman, Michelle Hiscock, Ross Laurie, Steve Lopes, Euan MacLeod, Ian Marr, Idris Murphy Amanda Penrose Hart, Luke Sciberras and Wendy Sharpe each created new work in response to their experience of both the history and the present-day reality of these sites.

Salient: Contemporary Artists at the Western Front brings together the work they created, a series of poignant artworks that include paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture. sculpture

A touring exhibition by New England Regional Art Museum and King Street Gallery.

Exhibiting from 12 May to 30 June 2019. Opening night 6pm Saturday 11 May 2019. Free entry with refreshments courtesy of Small Forest Wines, Hunter Belle Cheese, Pukara Estate and Double Picc.

Artwork: Euan Macleod, Heaven and Hell  2017, oil on polyester, 100 x 124cm. Image courtesy of the artist and King Street Gallery.

Finery - Pearl Red Moon

With a vibrant and distinctly unique approach, mixed media artist Pearl Red Moon works from an artistic mindset, blending aesthetics to create bespoke Finery. Drawing on her love of ‘upcycling’, Pearl Red Moon’s practice engages diverse traditions manifesting itself in a combination of sculpture, wearable textiles, jewellery and painting.

Deriving inspiration from the natural world, Pearl begins each day in her garden, observing the light, form and colour along with the constant cycle of transformation that takes place.
Discarded materials that are inexpensive and ordinary are purposefully selected for her work.

The process and challenge of transforming them into objects transcending the humanity of their materials depends on Pearl’s skill as an artist to reimagine them into a new paradigm of seeing, into embellished pieces that offer a shared space at the intersection of artist and audience; an invitation to adorn oneself.

Exhibiting from 12 May to 30 June 2019. Opening night 6pm Saturday 11 May 2019. Free entry with refreshments courtesy of Small Forest Wines, Hunter Belle Cheese, Pukara Estate and Double Picc. 

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Imprints - Contemporary Printmaking

The invention of the printing press brought us into the age of mass production. The artist has however transformed and pushed the boundaries of the medium to produce works which represent major breakthroughs in creative expression, placing print alongside sculpture and painting.
The Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection has a diverse range of prints which include the four major print types. When brought together, the works convey the multiplicity of contemporary printmaking.
From the fine lined detail found in Rew Hank’s Fearless Tassie Tiger Hunter to the rich, coloured abstract forms of Helene Leane’s monoprint Flooded Billabong,
contemplate the vast and varied processes of the contemporary print.


Exhibiting from 12 May to 30 June 2019. Opening night 6pm Saturday 11 May 2019. Free entry with refreshments courtesy of Small Forest Wines, Hunter Belle Cheese, Pukara Estate and Double Picc.

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Artwork: Helene Leane, Flooded Billabong 2013, gouache monoprint on paper, Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

Looking East - Max Watters Collection

Works from the Max Watters Collection influenced by the culture and symbology of the East are brought together in Looking East.

John Plapp’s work Floating Through Nara celebrates the teachings of Shinto and the beauty of symmetry, while John Peart’s Abstract, inspired by calligraphic practices, explores the artistic expression of human language.
Setsuko Ogishi relates her practice to her Japanese heritage stating that ‘Traditional Japanese art and customs are important influences in my work.’ In her medium of glass blowing, she echoes ideas of light combined with colour forms creating a sense of movement and elegance.

Looking East shares with the audience the imagery of ancient traditions through a contemporary lens paying homage to the wisdom of Eastern cultures.

Exhibiting from 12 May to 25 August 2019. Opening night 6pm Saturday 11 May 2019. Free entry with refreshments courtesy of Small Forest Wines, Hunter Belle Cheese, Pukara Estate and Double Picc. 

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Artwork: Setsuko Ogishi, Sea Form Bowl undated, glass, 11 x 33 x 24cm, Max Watters Collection.

The Hidden Garden - Travis De Vries

There is a valley deep in the heart of the Australian bush that is the original site of the Garden of Eden, the real tree of knowledge and the terrible secret behind Adam and Eve’s story. In The Hidden Garden, Travis De Vries reveals the true story of the garden. A multidisciplinary artist, writer and creator, De Vries was the 2018 NSW Aboriginal Arts Fellow. Referencing Christian and other Western folklore he creates a new Australian mythology for this exhibition, subjugating the source mythology to turn a mirror onto the viewer’s idea of this well known trope. Unfolding through the lens of a fable, handed down from elder to initiate in the rite of passage as old as time, The Hidden Garden will feature paintings, soundscape and immersive installation artworks, merging to create a unified experience - a hidden garden. The exhibition will be accompanied by a number of public events to coincide with it’s launch and NAIDOC Week 2019. Exhibiting from 7 July to 25 August 2019. Opening night 6pm Saturday 6 July 2019. Free entry with refreshments courtesy of Stone Hill Vineyard, Hunter Belle Cheese and Pukara Estate.  Artwork: Travis De Vries, Forbid 2019 (detail), oil on canvas.

The Theatrical Eye - Kiata Mason

Kiata Mason - a National Art School graduate, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing, with Honours and a Master of Fine Arts, Drawing - has regularly placed in a multitude of awards including the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, the Mosman Art Prize, the Blake Prize and the Dobell Drawing Prize. In 2018, Kiata was a finalist in the Sulman and Paddington Art Prizes and winner of the 2018 Muswellbrook Art Prize, Works on Paper. The Theatrical Eye is an ode to Kiata’s family history and current surrounds. While she has not herself been part of the theatrical world, several close family members have played their part, and Kiata now takes her turn in the role of director and stager within her own art form. Kiata likens the paintings and drawings that comprise this exhibition to a form of embellished diary - an autobiographical and imaginative depiction of her world. Each work is like a vignette, a non-linear expedition through rooms, home and landscapes, in which each scene has been carefully arranged and the stage set. It is an intimate journey through her eyes where she as director chooses the focus.Exhibiting from 7 July to 25 August 2019. Opening night 6pm Saturday 6 July 2019. Free entry with refreshments courtesy of Stone Hill Vineyard, Hunter Belle Cheese and Pukara Estate. Artwork: Kiata Mason, Monkeys on Blue 2019 (detail), acrylic on canvas.

Download the Kiata Mason Catalogue

Odyssey: 8 Artists Artwork

1 September to 20 October 2019

 Janice Hanicar, Morning Light 2019.



46th Muswellbrook Art Prize Now Showing

Art Prize Finalists 2019

Winner - Painting CategoryPola s

Sacha POLA, Having Reached Utopia, It Was Then Time

2018 │acrylic and conté crayon on
canvas, 135 x 165cm.
This work merges the Classicism and Neo-Classicism (Romanticism) of Western Europe with
Asian visual traditions, invoking notions of the Divine that are as fundamental as they are vague.
It employs a visual language and philosophy that I have been cultivating over the course of my
career, and aims at re-energising the narrative tradition. The image conflates contemporary and
classical iconography and reflects a pop-digital age in which excess is standard, and both the
natural world, and human civilisation, await renewal.


Winner - Works onPaper Category

King s

Martin KING, Recess 

2018, graphite on drafting film, watercolour and pigment on paper, 144.5 x 189cm.
Recess I is part of a series of work that fuses aspects and representations of Australian
landscape. Images from early colonial depictions of fauna, 19th century paintings of landscape
including William Strutt and Eugene Von Guerard reappear as contemporary visions of a mixed
up world.


Winner - Ceramics Category

Esson s

Merran ESSON, Trees of the Monaro

2018, stoneware, copper glaze, 39 x 70 x 55cm.
Many journeys have informed this work; influences from road trips through the Monaro area in
NSW, time spent in Cézanne’s Provence in Southern France, and the cactus of Mexico. These
realise an abstract simplification that triggers one’s own sensations. They are the thoughts that
keep the traveller awake through the miles traversed to get there, and they are the passing
images that become familiar and permeate the creative processes that inform this art. They are
voluptuous forms that speak of passion and longing, but are pierced with signs of loss.

 Natalie Wilson edited 1

Natalie Wilson is Curator of Australian & Pacific art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, where she has worked since 1998. Research and writing include essays for AGNSW publications Australian Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2000) and Parallel Visions (2002). Since 2006 she has curated many collection-based exhibitions at the AGNSW, and she was a researcher and catalogue compiler for the 2007 Sidney Nolan retrospective. In 2010, Natalie co-curated the retrospective Justin O’Brien: the sacred music of colour. She was awarded the 2011 Art Gallery Society of NSW Staff Development Scholarship to conduct research in PNG, spending 5 weeks travelling in the Highlands and along the Sepik River. She was also awarded the 2012 AGNSW Moya Dyring Studio Residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and spent 2 months in 2013 researching Pacific art in museum collections across Europe and developing the exhibition Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, which opened in May 2014 at the AGNSW. Natalie curated the 2013 retrospective exhibition All fired up: Peter Rushforth, potter for the SH Ervin Gallery, where she is a member of the Art Advisory Committee. In 2015, she curated the touring exhibition Painter in Paradise: William Dobell in New Guinea, which travelled to Lake Macquarie, Brisbane and Cairns, in collaboration with the SH Ervin Gallery. More recently, Natalie curated the 2016 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes exhibition for the AGNSW.

Congratulations to all finalists!

 To view finalists follow this link!

Works on Paper
David Kurzydlo - Icarus (Before the Flight)
Lyn Raymer - Roundabout
Amber-Rose Hulme - Breath
Rew Hanks - Gone Fishing East of Faskrudsfjordur
Garry Foye - Grawin Construction
Jodie Zutt - Bend

Sacha Jeffrey - Having Reached Utopia, It Was Then Time
Kate Briscoe -Close Up Rockface Split - Geikie Gorge
Rocco Fazzari - Coastal Walk
John Bokor - The Red Velvet Lounge
Peter Gardiner - 36.7169°S 141.8783°E (somewhere, somehow)
Blak Douglas - Sting Dynasty
Craig Waddell - From Where We are to Who We Will Become
Nicolette Eisdell - Majestic Interior
Jude Hotchkiss - In The End
Annemarie Murland - Sheep Pens Dreaming

Works Ceramics
Kellie O'Dempsey - Butoh Cry
Barry Jackson - Dark Earth 2
Ebony Russell - Piped Dream - Blue Drip
Sassy Park - Indian Myna
Natalie Duncan - Dungog Memory Jug
Merran Esson - Trees of the Monaro
Johanna De Maine - Chiisai Sakura
Mollie Bosworth - Quandong Blues
Anne Mossman -Seams of Uncertainty

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