It sure has been a quiet few weeks here in Canberra, which isn't always a bad thing. But things have sprung back to life this week, which is an even better thing. Herewith, the week's offerings in Canberra's ever-morphing art world.
RAW on Friday
RAW natural born artists (lack of capitals and punctuation not mine) is an independent arts organisation "for artists, by artists", with a mission to give independent artists across all creative genres the wherewithal to cultivate creativity. It hosts events in more than 60 cities across Australia, the US, Canada and Britain. And there's one happening here in Canberra this very Friday at Belconnen Arts Centre, with a showcase featuring 30-odd of "Canberra's best emerging talent spanning genres such as fashion, music, visual and performing arts, and photography". Visionary, by RAW Canberra, is on Friday January 30 from 7.30pm at Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen. Tickets are $16.50 (+bf) and are available through RAWartists.org/canberra/visionary or $20 on the door.
Mysterious in the inner north
Buildings nestled in the Canadian woods, intricate forest foliage, insects, birds and the human condition - there's still time to catch the tail-end of this intriguing show at the Front in Lyneham, by locals Louisa Giffard and Eadie Newman. The Mysterious North is showing at the Front Gallery, 1 Wattle Place, Lyneham until January 26. And hot on its heels in the same venue is Back to Front, a residency and ongoing performance by dancer Alison Plevey. Starting from January 28, contemporary dance artist, performance maker, improviser and physical theatre performer Plevey will "reframe the gallery space and the body as the artwork. She'll be in the gallery most days between 9am-4pm, where her physical accounts and movement responses to The Front can be viewed hour by hour. This process will develop throughout the weeks and culminate in two half-hour performances on Saturday February 7 at 11am and 3pm. Audience members are encouraged to walk through the gallery space throughout the residency as Plevey develops her work."
EEP! Now open!
Applications for M16's Emerging Exhibitions Prize are now open. "These two prizes will be awarded in 2015 to emerging professionals with serious intent. The winners will have the opportunity to be mentored in the development and presentation of an exhibition in Gallery 02 or 03. Both exhibitions will run from 28 May–February 14. Applications will be judged on quality of idea, quality of art practice and interest in M16 Artspace and emerging practices." I just love that the name is based on the "squeal of delight" that sometimes ensues when you try something new – that's what M16 wants! Applications for EEP! close February 9, with the winner announced on February 16. Forms and more info available at www.m16artspace.com.au/prizes/eep.
This modern world
Also at M16, four new shows are set to open this weekend, juxtaposing experiences of the modern world. In A Pinch of Salt, Kerry Shepherdson is inspired by her "experience of the vast, deep and mysterious expanse of the Pacific Ocean… dissolving horizon lines; unpredictable intersections of waves; sensations of buoyancy; and the light and energy associated with the swell of the tides". In Bubble 'n' Squeak, emerging artists Michele England, Dash Kossmann and Fran Meatheringham have collaborated to present a "neo-baroque installation…the experience of food – banquets, coffee to go, ingredients and forgotten sustainability speak a smorgasboard of reactions to the glut and excess of contemporary living. Food becomes a metaphor to explore aspects of globalised consumerism, through an eclectic mix of paintings, objects and installation." In Square Eyes, Josh Owen, Kai Wasikowski, Julian Rouch, all born in 1992, explore their pasts – such as they are – as first generation digital natives, with a show that investigates the sheer volume and variation of media and stimulation that assaults modern day culture, which has resulted in the rise of 'remix culture' and a hyper-awareness for advertising. And in Beauty Through Motion, Kelly Hayes focuses on the local flora with botanical paintings that "transform flowers and plants into intricate patterns. It is this metamorphosis into pattern that allows these artworks to encapsulate the essence of a flower to depict a refined and hidden beauty." All four exhibitions are showing at M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, until February 8.
Imagine the Imaginarium
There's a smorgasbord of fascinating things happening over at the Belconnen Arts Centre, and all part of the same show – Imaginarium. Curated by Amanda Stuart and showcasing the work of 20 local and national artists in various media, the exhibition "delves into the realm of imaginary creatures and/or forms that speak to interpretations of 'hybrids': imaginary creatures, creations, or objects that are fanciful, intriguing, even confronting, invite interpretation, and explores the cross–fertilisation of ideas, places and imagery." Imaginarium is showing at Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, until February 15, and there'll be a chance to meet many of the artists involved today, Saturday, January 24, from 2pm.
Plucked from the grads
If you missed the ANU Art School Grad show last year, there's a chance to see some of the works across the way at Belconnen Community Centre, as part of its contribution to the Emerging Artist Support Scheme. Each year, the gallery chooses four graduating artists from one department of the ANU School of Art to put together a group show of works from their graduation exhibition, and last year, it was clear that the Photography and Media Arts department was the strongest contender. The gallery, at Belconnen Community Centre, Swanson Court, Belconnen, is showing works by Chloe Gray, Andrea Mullens, Rebecca Worth, and Caitlin Kozman until February 6.