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About 60 people attended the opening of The Save Our Gulf Coalition 2013 Exhibition at the Arts Centre at Port Noarlunga on Friday evening. (That’s Gulf St Vincent between the Fleurieu and York Peninsulas in South Australia). It was not the usual opening. After doing the visual and social rounds balancing large and luscious slices of bend-y pizza, we gathered in the theatre for two presentations.
The first was by Chris Warren, former TV journalist who showed some of his documentary “Chasing the surf” on the history of surfing in South Australia. It was a pleasure to see swell, pipelines and cutbacks without endless guitar music. It was also a revelation to see the size of our waves, many from the breaks at the legendary Cactus breaks on the edge of Great Australian Bight.
The second presentation was by Ian Dyson, Coastal and Environmental Geologist who presented graphic evidence of coastline degradation. One of his images was a photograph of extensive sand dunes of Brighton in the 1860s. The main message was that our coastline is affected by lots of controllable factors including stormwater effluent, brine and chemical discharge, dredging, building on the dunes. And that people in power aren’t really getting it. Sound familiar?
The works included paintings, prints, photography, jewellery and ceramics and ranged from strident statement to lyrical beauty.
The exhibition was non-juried and on delivery day it was difficult to imagine how such a diverse range of styles and skill could create a unified whole. The magic did happen, of course not by accident.
Although my record of these works is not ideal here are some images from the show. Rendering water is all about light (just like any landscape), so the most successful works for me were those that dealt well with the elusive.
David Woolaway, Ghostly Shadows. Photograph.
Wendy Rushby, Pelican. Print (unique edition). Nothing elusive about this pelican but the work was interesting for its ‘rusted’ paper, achieved with sunlight on a mixture of caustic soda, iron oxide and tea.
Chris Braham, Portrait of King George. Oil on canvas. Braham demonstrates the beauty of her subject in a photo-realistic ‘portrait’. The model was fresh from a Port Adelaide fishmonger. Word was that he required no coffee breaks or time out during modelling.
Jane Heron-Kirkmoe, Ghost Fish. Hessian, acrylic paint on perspex. Heron-Kirkmoe is primarily a sculptor. It is well worth a visit to her website!
Robert Miller, Don’t Waste It. Digital print on canvas.
Marie Jonsson-Harrison, Holdfast at Holdfast. Acrylic on canvas. This joyful painting is characteristic of Jonsson-Harrison’s work. Unfortunately the work was hung high on the wall and my photograph does not do it justice. You can see it is in the naive tradition. Visit the website for a really colourful experience!
The exhibition organizer Corrie Vanderhoek stated that the exhibition was conceived as an alternative to marches and vigils, deputations and sit-ins. It was an opportunity for artists to communicate the message of protest from the heart.
In this light, my choice of the “best in show” was the painting by Susanne P Morizzi. It was at once a moving statement and a lyrical piece of painting.
And yes, I did have a painting in the show. It shows in the first photograph of this post, top left corner.