She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism
Impressionist artists are known for painting en plein air, or outdoors, to capture a scene’s vibrant colours and natural light. At this newly opened exhibition, revisit Australian life (and landscape) in the late 19th century with artworks from a cross-section of the country’s finest impressionists. With 270 pieces from major public and private collections, NGV Australia’s She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism renders the past in a stunning, often emotionally charged palette of dreamy tones and textures. A mix of landscapes and portraiture captures Australians at work and at rest – from Clara Southern’s gauzy, evocative vision of An old bee farm to Tom Roberts’s sharply rendered Shearing the Rams. Also expect works from celebrated artists such as Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder, as well as lesser-known artists including Iso Rae, May Vale and Ina Gregory, whose works shine among those of their male counterparts. And from June 4, this large-scale show will be complemented by NGV International’s blockbuster, Monet-starring French Impressionism exhibition.
Until August 22 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.
Rone in Geelong
No matter where you stand in the grand but beautifully dilapidated room, it looks like she’s staring right at you. Among ornamental features such as ionic pilasters, horizontal dado and ceiling skylights, there’s nowhere to hide from a face that takes up an entire wall. This is the work of acclaimed street artist Tyrone Wright – better known as Rone – who has returned to his hometown of Geelong for the first comprehensive solo survey of his work. Front and centre is his trademark style of juxtaposing larger-than-life murals of conventionally attractive women against the backdrop of decaying grandeur. But at this Geelong Gallery show there are also glimpses into the evolution of his career, including early stencils and photographs of his street murals (which have transformed abandoned spaces across the globe). You can also discover a 3D recreation of one such space, commissioned for the exhibition by Geelong Gallery.
Until May 16 at Geelong Gallery.
Blue Over Time: Robert Owen – a Survey
Robert Owen is an artist whose work has constantly evolved – whose style cannot be pinned down. Over the course of his 60-year career, the contemporary Australian artist has traversed a diverse range of mediums and contexts, from painting, sculpture, photography and installation, to public art and architectural commissions. Now, Heide Museum of Modern Art is presenting the first major Melbourne survey of his work in 20 years. More than 30 key works are on display, in a vibrant swirl of colour and geometry, including a new iteration of the large-scale wall work Afterglow, made especially for the Heide space. On May 8, Owen will appear at the gallery to discuss his new monograph, A Book of Encounters: Robert Owen, which unpacks the past six decades.
Until May 23 at Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Tarrawarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Waters
With its 2021 biennial, Tarrawarra Museum of Art is pushing back against the frenzied pace of modern-day life with a series of works that celebrate the gentle and the slow. Slow Moving Waters brings together 25 artists from across Australia and draws inspiration from the measured flow of the nearby Birrarung (Yarra River). One highlight is Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones’s installation, produced in close collaboration with senior Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin AO; piles of weathered river stones are presented alongside sound recordings of how the Birrarung came into being. Meanwhile, Tasmanian artist Lucy Bleach has contributed a site-specific work inspired by the phenomena of slow earthquakes: a double bass embalmed in a slab of toffee. And, working with Tarrawarra Estate, Sydney-based artist Yasmin Smith has created an installation of ceramic grapevines connected to the concept of terroir, or “sense of place”.
Until July 11 at Tarrawarra Museum of Art.
Flying creatures cast angular shadows on the wall. Sculptures seem almost miraculously suspended in midair. The rooms shift from dark to light. Big Weather is an ambitious and timely exhibition, drawn from the NGV Indigenous Collection. It taps into many generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists sharing their insight into the weather systems from Country, with a wide variety of interpretations along the way. Climate change is explored through works about flooding, bushfires, cyclones and storms – ranging from detailed painting and photography to woven shields and headdresses. And, importantly, the works look both backward and forward to interrogate some of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time.
Until February 6, 2022, at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Mike Parr: Half Way House
Traditionally an art exhibition is static – the same if you visit on the first or last day. That won’t be the case at Half Way House. Over the course of three months, provocative performance artist Mike Parr – who in 2018 buried himself under a Hobart street for 72 hours – will be transforming Anna Schwartz Gallery, in a series of “blind” performances. It’s an extension of 2019’s Towards an Amazonian Black Square, for which Parr climbed up and down a ladder painting black squares with his eyes shut, demonstrating his frustration with and despair at the Amazon wildfires. The blind performances at Half Way House will also be accompanied by some of the artist’s static works, which will change depending on the stage of the exhibition. These include video, painting, photography and sculpture.
Until July 31 at Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Troy Emery: Sonder
They look kind of like sheep dogs: shaggy, silky and even friendly. Except dogs usually aren’t peach or blue or a patchwork of colour. They usually also have eyes. Melbourne artist Troy Emery’s dreamy collection of tasselled sculptures is somehow simultaneously adorable and sinister. There’s one perched precariously on a mantlepiece above a fireplace; another stretched out on the ground, its different shades of pink “fur” mixing together. The dog-like creatures draw you in, their poses familiar, and their candied colours make it hard to look away. But the more you look, the more uncanny valley things get.
Until May 16 at Linden New Art.