Canberra artists go Galactic

Ooooh, this one sounds awesome: cosmic art over at CSIRO! Art inspired by astronomy! And not surprisingly, it's the Artists Society of Canberra's Abstract and Experimental Group - a very cerebral mob if ever there was one - showing at CSIRO Discovery Centre from February 1. CSIRO approached the group to put together a show based on astronomical images, especially those captured recently by the world-class telescopes used by its own astronomers. The show thus has solar flares, cosmic objects and "interpretative pieces hinting at traditional indigenous understandings of the night sky". Cosmic! Can we make this a superlative, please? Capturing the Cosmos opens today and runs until March 28 at CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross Street, Acton. All artworks are for sale and admission is free.

Belco takes off

The Belconnen Arts Centre is kicking off a full year of programs and a suite of new shows. Stills I Fragments I Landscapes, by Louise Curham and Jo Law, is a collaboration that transforms everyday spaces into "poetic and lyrical vignettes", with a series of screen works that combine hand-processed analogue motion film with hand-drawn animation. Both artists are filmmakers keen to explore the media as art, and will use the traditional still life as part of the moving image. "The work in Stills I Fragments I Landscapes shifts the focus … to the urban landscape, while still playing with the tension between stillness and movement. Skate parks around Canberra will feature in the video works." Stills I Fragments I Landscapes, by Louise Curham and Jo Law, is at the Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, until February 16.

Greatest estate

In her exhibition Farming without fences - how Aborigines made Australia, Canberra artist Helen S. Tiernan will be exploring the different ways land has been managed, by "newcomers" and by First Australians alike. "Native flora and fauna, colonial interiors and the land's inhabitants serve as symbolic references in this new body of work. Fire, kangaroos, the forest's edge, grass and humans are factors common in indigenous and non-indigenous land management and the difference in these components usage between cultures reveals the disparity between black and white land practices." Her work has been inspired by the seminal and multi-award-winning book by Canberra academic Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth- How Aborigines made Australia. Tiernan was also inspired by the construction of the National Arboretum and how the local landscape has changed over the years. "The artist has depicted the power of fire, both as a destructive force and as a land management tool in these works. In contract to the harsh realities of the land, each artwork contains elements of colonial life, including doilies, lace, wallpaper patterns and personalised stencilled patterns, to highlight the changing natural environment." Farming without fences - how Aborigines made Australia, by Helen S. Tiernan, runs until February 16 at the Belconnen Arts Centre gallery.

Save Canberra's plants?

And over in the centre's Arts Lounge, James Rowell will be showing works that "investigate the philosophical concerns of both dialectical and critical reasoning, through novel ideas". And furthermore, "the exhibition's theme is expressed by the inclusion of tree stumps and decapitated branches in most of the paintings." What the? Rowell's work draws from various sources of inspiration, including Cezanne, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Grace Cossington-Smith. Such illustrious company, and in Belconnen, too! Conserve Canberra's Vegetation, by James Rowell, runs at Belconnen Arts Centre in the Arts Lounge until February 16. There'll be an opportunity to meet the artist on Sunday, February 9 at the centre.

Mash up in Manuka

There's an intriguing new show on at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Manuka - intriguing not least because of the name. Mash up - Glue up is a set of works by Alex Asch, Mariana del Castillo, Tara Shield and Ham Darroch, who are all established artists in their own right, exhibiting together for the first time. This from the gallery: "As couples [Asch and del Castillo; Shield and Darroch] and as friends, their work has influenced one another for many years. They all make work using found materials and images, carefully crafted to provoke, unsettle and also delight the viewer. This is an exhibition about the profound impact that artists have on one another's work." Mash Up - Glue Up is on at CCAS Manuka, 19 Furneaux Street, Manuka, until February 2.

My country at Strathnairn

Over in West Belconnen, Strathnairn Gallery is exhibiting the first solo exhibition by Aboriginal artist Arnold Williams. Coming from a long line of Aboriginal artists, painting is "in his genes", although he has never painted for money, and all his works have been given away as gifts. Williams grew up in Canberra, and in Peak Hill, where he learnt to paint stories by watching his father create images. He began by painting on rocks, and later moved onto canvas. Last year, he entered the Queanbeyan City Regional Art Awards and won the Indigenous Artist Award, which has led him to exhibiting for the first time. My Country - Wiradjuri, by Arnold Williams, runs until February 16, at Strathnairn Gallery, 90 Stockdill Drive, Holt.