Friday, July 1, 2022

Arts About – Gothic to sublime

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BC Turin reliquary, Stoneware, glaze, engobe, oxide – John O’Loughlin.
Photo courtesy Tarrangower Times

Nancy Whittaker, Tarrangower Times

Gothic and romantic aesthetics and ideas have been a longstanding influence on how I think and work. I often think of my sculptures as giving form to spirits, whether ghosts from ‘the other side’ or denizens of a parallel world or, less literally, from the world of the psychological unconscious that ‘haunts’ reality.

These supernatural characters often take masked or hybrid, anthropomorphic form: pagan gods, folk customs and masquerades provide inspiration both for playful creation and for exploring more serious thoughts and fears.

Well, the night is dark
And the night is deep
And its jaws are open wide

-Nick Cave

This is a quote from Kirsten Bishop’s Artist Statement, which sums up the theme of the next exhibition at the Cascade Art Gallery, which will reopen with this awe inspiring exhibition on Thursday, 16 June, until 31 July 2022.

From left: Untitled, Archival Pigment Print, 100 x137cm, Hilary Finch; Jack, Bronze, Kirsten Bishop; Bloom in White and Mauve, Jill Kempson.
Photos courtesy Tarrangower Times

Pretty Polly, Philomena Carroll.
Photo courtesy Tarrangower Times

Held in the Neo Gothic glory of the Cascade Art Gallery, Gothic To Sublime is a spectacular visual arts exhibition. According to Gallery Director Kareen Anchen, “It is a reminder, a reflection, a poke at the truly Gothic. An elevation, a bask in the majestic sublime. Romantic and awe inspiring, sometimes droll and spooky, a collection of artworks by a hybrid of visual artists curated to commemorate the inaugural Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas”.

Fourteen artists are participating in a group exhibition, including: Philomena Carroll, Hilary Finch, Terry Taylor, Sharon West, Jill Kempson, Liz Sullivan, Stephen Tester, John O’Loughlin, Julie Andrews, Kirsten Bishop, Lydia Poljak, Joel Sorenson, Zoe Amor and Jeff Gardner.

The works vary from extremely large to tiny and include some three dimensional reliquaries by John O’Loughlin, who studied theology for nine years in the 1970s before moving into education and, once retired, retrained to become an exceptional ceramic artist. His ‘BC Turin reliquary’ and Terry Taylor’s haunting Ten Commandments. ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours possessions’, are powerful Gothic images.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours possessions, oil on linen, 175x115cm – Terry Taylor. Photo courtesy Tarrangower Times

Terry wrote, ‘I have portrayed Louise as macabre human remains, sexually charged whilst clutching in her right hand the head of her lover. . . a blood stained skull (thy neighbour’s wife) which appears to hover in the darkness like a threatening beacon. Religious texts that cannot condone homosexuality are flippant in death because most people cannot tell the difference between the female and male skull.’

For Hilary Finch, who derives her photographic works both from single capture and composite images built over time, the physical and metaphysical landscape is blended. Atmospheric conditions are layered with geological formations and monolithic archaeological remnants to evoke a sense of the unknown and the intangible, where memory past and future coalesce in her ‘Untitled, Archival Pigment Print’.

There is so much more to see and think about; in fact, you will be blown away by the images and objects in this exciting exhibition, which will be officially opened on Saturday, 18 June 2022, 5.30 – 7.30pm

Gallery hours will be Thursday to Sunday, 10 am – 5pm

The Exhibition is a Free event. No bookings required.

Cascade Art Gallery  1A Fountain St  Maldon, info@cascadeart.com.au, www.cascadeart.com.au.

Tarrangower Times 17 June 2022

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 17 June 2022.

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