Thursday, 6 October 2016

Art Exhibitions June‒August 2016

A wooden easel holds a large dot painting of an Aboriginal spirit figure.

I've been lucky enough to visit three art exhibitions this year, two of them in one month alone!  While these do not include crochet specifically, the variety of work can serve to inspire creativity in all sorts of crafts.  If you ever feel like you are in a crochet design rut, I can highly recommend a visit to a gallery or exhibition to stimulate and rejuvenate your creative spirit.

"White Sands" Exhibition (16th June) 
Brighton Secondary School Concert Hall Foyer

Teenaged friends were involved in this exhibition. I went along to the opening to support them and was impressed with the standard of work.

"White Sands" was a collaborative exhibition by students of  Port Lincoln High School and Brighton Secondary School Students. Port Lincoln is a country fishing and farming town on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia while Brighton is a beachside suburb of Adelaide, South Australia's capital city.

Basket weaving techniques are used to create rounded shapes, most of which are joined to create two larger shapes hanging offset from each other and with two individual circles hanging between them on a white background. The shapes are made of multiple colours.
Basket weaving wall hangings

The aims of the project were to share the artistic talents of students, build friendships, develop cultural understanding and teach each other art skills.  In order to do this, the artwork was carefully transported the 650 kilometres each way between the two schools and the students took turns to meet each other in Port Lincoln,  Adelaide and Scotdesco (Tjilkaba) Aboriginal Community.

Basket weaving techniques created three rounded bowl shapes which, when upturned, become the homes for hermit crabs, the woven legs of which are sticking out of two of the baskets. An abalone shell is embroidered with yellow yarn. Behind them is a flattened piece of ceramic work which has a design carved into it.
Shell and Basket Crabs

The students learned about basket weaving, contemporary Aboriginal painting techniques and understanding the storytelling involved in Indigenous Art.

Much of South Australia is an arid landscape. The coastline is a mixture of sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. There are sand dunes around the beaches and also in the desert.

Two large dot paintings symbolising the sand dunes in both the coastal and desert areas.
Sand Dunes

An excerpt from the artists' statement:

Two major pieces are based on the sand dunes that we share in common in our local areas and are intertwined in most of our shared experiences. Another major piece was based on the fields seen on the flight between the two schools.

Six volleyballs are decorated with painted designs. They are displayed at different heights atop straight black vertical poles which are mounted on a black flat rectangular base.
Volleyball Totems

Brighton Secondary School has a specialist volleyball program. I love the way the students incorporated this aspect of their identities into their artwork and combined it with totemic traditions.

A closer view of the top three volleyballs which have abstract designs painted on them. Dominant colours and shapes include blues, greens, white, orange and purples, with stripes, dots, swirls and patches of colour.
Close-up of Volleyball Totems

For geography buffs, here is a Map of South Australia showing Port Lincoln and Adelaide.
Port Lincoln is on the Eyre Peninsula and Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Scotdesco is west of Port Lincoln and Ceduna, between Penong and Fowlers Bay in the Bookabie area.

A closer view of the bottom three volleyballs. Left: dot paintings in whites, blues and pastels; centre: sea blues and greens; right: dot paintings inclue a hand outined in greens and abstract dots and colours in pinks, purples, oranges etc.
Close-up of Volleyball Totems

Gallery M Inaugural Open Contemporary Prize 2016 (5‒28 August) 
Marion Cultural Centre

The inaugural Gallery M Open Contemporary Art Prize is an exciting new opportunity for South Australian artists to exhibit their work ... and is open to all artists aged over 18 years living and working in South Australia. Entry to the exhibition was via a pre-selection process, with the judging panel selecting the finalist artworks from digital images submitted.  Through generous sponsorship the Gallery M Open Contemporary Prize is offering non-acquisitive prizes to the value of $4,500.
 - Gallery M
A vividly colourful large, square abstract work based upon the shapes of the landscape around the mouth of the Murray River viewed from the air. The palette of saturated solid colours includes blues, purples,oranges, yellows, greens and pinks.
'Murray Mouth' by Valerie Jordan

I went to the launch with my teen who is keen to learn more about art. This was the first exhibition launch she had ever attended and she was thrilled to be there. When children ask, "What time are we leaving?" it is usually a signal of boredom but mine was asking because she wanted to stay as long as possible! She truly was in her element and it was a joy to see a young person discovering their interests and talents.

We enjoyed meeting the artists and listening to audience discussion while enjoying an eclectic collection of artworks. I was surprised at the number of people taking photos of the artworks with their phones!  I thought such behaviour was frowned upon. Flash photography is usually not permitted in art galleries.  One cannot blame people though because the standard of work extremely high.

We overheard artist Tim O'Shea explaining that he always places his wife in his paintings. That notion reminded us of "Where's Wally" and added extra interest and fun. It must be fun for the artists to observe the audience and listen to what others say about their work. He won First Prize with his painting 'At the Gallery' and I was very much taken with it but was unable to take a good photograph due to the crowds! Fortunately, Gallery M have displayed the winning works online.

This monochrome woven tapesty depicts an X-ray of a person's shoulders, neck and the base of the skull and jaw, taken from the side.
'Windows No. 2' by Michelle Driver
woven tapestry
I was pleased to meet local textile artist Michelle Driver whom I follow on Instagram.   She is a woven tapestry designer and I recommend a visit to her web site where she has a couple of videos demonstrating the process.

Michelle received an  honourable mention for her tapestry featuring an X-ray.  She also went on to win the Port Pirie Regional Art Prize for a similar woven piece.

Congratulations Michelle!  Her work is available for purchase through her Etsy shop "Threefold Designs" or other outlets which are listed on her web site.

I am always thrilled to see talent from my local area reaping the rewards of their hard work. How parochial I am (!) but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate talent from elsewhere.

Michelle Driver's woven tapestry pieces remind me of  crocheted work by Kayt Ross who won the Crochet Guild of America's 2015 Crochet Design Competition with a crocheted ultrasound scan of her daughter.  Kayt Ross' "Emily Rose" can be viewed on Pinterest (link details below). It was also featured in Interweave Crochet magazine (Fall 2015).

Crochet lends itself well to such a project as it can curve easily. Kayt Ross is quoted: "To make the image work proportionally, I decided to "build in" the curve rather than working straight rows and decreasing the edges."

It is interesting that both Michelle Driver's and Kayt Ross' pieces have won prizes. Both require technical skill and they both combine traditional crafts with modern technology.

This digital artwork depicts geometrical shapes - 5 rhomboid shapes 'melting' into the white background. Each shape is a solid colour and the colours are typical of Lego bricks - black, blue, yellow, red and white. The 'melted' sections have rectangular edges as if they were created with flat rectangular tiles.
'Melting Moments' by Jeremy G Paddick
digital art inspired by Lego bricks

Final judging took place prior to the exhibition launch, and the prizes were presented to the winning artists on the opening night by the Mayor of Marion. A list of finalists and views of the prize-winning words can be found through the Gallery M website here:

SALA 2016 "Inspired"  (16‒26 August) 
Brighton Secondary School Concert Hall Foyer

This exhibition was part of the SALA Festival of visual arts during the month of August. 'SALA' stands for 'South Australian Living Artists.' All students and staff of Brighton Secondary School were eligible to enter.

The theme was "Inspired" and entrants were encouraged to be creative:

The theme can be interpreted in so many ways; what inspires the artist or perhaps how our friends, family and experiences inspire our creativity.

It was a great showcase for senior students who were preparing their work for the Senior Secondary Assessment Board (of South Australia - SSABSA). This is the major assessment for graduation from secondary school (Year 12) and to enter university.  The standard of work was stunning!

The exhibition featured work from all year levels, both individual and group projects. Photography, sculpture, collage, mixed media, drawing, painting and graphic design were all included. Some students were quite excited to have their work publicly exhibited for the first time.  There were many pieces of work worth purchasing but most of them were not for sale.   I could have easily bought a couple if they were (and if I had the funds)! It was very crowded so I was unable to take many photos.

A collection of paintings and drawings displayed in one section of the exhibition. The works are on white paper, most of them in pencil or charcoal. On the left hand side are paintings which use solid blocks of colour to depict modern pop identities like Robert Smith of The Cure and David Bowie and called "Idol".
A variety of illustrations by junior students of Brighton Secondary School at the SALA "Inspired" exhibition.

It was my first time at the annual exhibition at Brighton Secondary. I happened to bump into a friend there who said that she visited every year because "the standard is always extremely high" so guess what I'll be doing next year?

There are many artistic events around South Australia during the SALA Festival each August.  Find out more here:
Put it on the calendar!

Do you enjoy art exhibitions?
What was the last exhibition you attended?
Have you ever had your work displayed in a public exhibition?


Links & Related Posts on Lupey Loops

Brighton Secondary School, 305 Brighton Road, North Brighton SA 5048:

Driver, Michelle, "Threefold Designs", woven tapestry artist, Hallett Cove SA 5048:

Gallery M, Marion Cultural Centre:

EDITED 30 October 2016: Gallery M new web site:

Interweave Crochet magazine:

Jordan, Valerie, "Jordan Fine Art":

Lupey Loops, "What a Busy Month", 5 September 2016:

Port Lincoln High School, PO Box 30A, Port Lincoln SA 5606:

Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, 3 Mary Ellen Street, PO Box 481, Port Pirie SA 5540:

Ross, Kayt, Winner 2015 Crochet Design Competition, Crochet Guild of America (CGOA), "Vivacious Art", Fallbrook CA 92028, USA:

Scotdesco Aboriginal Community, South Australia:

South Australian Living Artists Festival:


  1. The standard of work from the schools was amazing I really was impressed by the standards. Looks like a great exhibition.

    1. We have some very talented young people. I hope that they get every opportunity to continue their artistic development.

  2. Thank you for the virtual tour of these exhibits. Wonderful and inspiring work. I keep meaning to get to my art gallery, and then life gets in the way. I will make a more concerted effort this month.

    1. Indeed Mary-Anne! Do go! Many art galleries these days have coffee shops attached so that makes a nice excuse to meet a friend at the same time. I tend to get my inspirational art fixes when I combine them with regular errands. At the moment, many South Australian coffee shops and restaurants have become art galleries by displaying the works of local artists as part of the SALA festival.

  3. Such amazing creativity by all the artists. That x-ray and the ultrasound you mentioned are incredible. Very inspirational!

    1. I'm glad you looked them up, Meredith. As soon as I saw Michelle Driver's work, I thought of Kayt Ross. 'Windows No. 2' was quite a talking point because many people had never seen such an application of textile art before.

  4. very impressive work by the students!

    1. Indeed! The students are lucky to have wonderful teachers who inspire and nurture them to bring out their best. When I realise how young they are, just at the start of their lives, I wonder at their future possibilities. What amazing things will they contribute to the world? I always feel positivity and hope after attending such exhibitions.

  5. Very interesting artwork, and such vibrant colours. Pam in Norway

    1. Oh! I just loved the colours! Valerie Jordan's palette was amazing - so bold, bright and vivid - energising to me; I wish I had the right wall to display her work properly - but she wasn't the only one to stimulate the senses with fabulous use of colour.

  6. The shell and basket crabs are so cute ♥

    1. They are, aren't they? Very clever! I'm glad you like them because I thought the same.

  7. Thanks for sharing. You are right. The hermit crabs are so cool. I love that the schools collaborated on the project and learned about aboriginal art and weaving.

    1. I thought the crabs would go well with your sea-themed crochet: