It would take a person braver than I am to predict with certainty events on the visual arts calendar for 2022. Certainly 2021 has been a year of lost opportunities and disappointments with many exhibitions cancelled or postponed and many artists struggling both personally and professionally. There have, however, been unexpected gains with galleries putting more effort into their online presence and using the internet to promote the work of artists online. And looking back on the year I am surprised to find that despite lockdowns there have been some excellent exhibitions.
Wendy Teakel and Janet De Boos' sensitive and heart-warming collaborative exhibition in February at Craft ACT celebrated creative friendship in a time of Covid. It was echoed by another enriching partnership of Jenni Kemarre Martiniello and Sharon Peoples. Their exhibition of work at Craft ACT from their 2020 artist-in-residence period at Namadgi National Park was held in March. Holly Grace's studio glass with its beautiful imagery of the high country at Beaver Galleries evoked a nostalgic sense of place when we couldn't travel freely. And Tom Moore's eagerly awaited exhibition of his imaginative glass creations finally went ahead (after being postponed) at the Beaver Galleries in November), giving pleasure to many.
At the ANU Drill Hall Gallery in June, Nigel Lendon and Tim Flannery collaborated on a thoughtfully curated exhibition of Afghani war rugs. These woven rugs have their traditional imagery supplanted by designs inspired by weapons of war. I first saw these rugs in Lendon's collection many years ago and found them rather chilling but they are a creative response to a society that has known great conflict.
At the Potters Gallery, Watson Arts Centre, one of the highlights of 2021 was Jeff Mincham's exhibition Vive La Vrai Ceramique. It featured beautiful ceramic pots with attitude that reflected the fact that it was Mincham's 90th solo exhibition.
In 2022 I will be looking forward (with fingers crossed) to some great local exhibitions. In February, Jacqueline Bradley, the 2020 Canberra Critics Circle artist of the year, will have an exhibition at the Canberra Glassworks with work from her residency there.
At the Potters Gallery the postponed exhibition by ceramic artists Mahala Hill and Anna O'Neale will go ahead in January. In June, renowned potter Owen Rye will take a break from wood firing clay to reveal another side of his creative practice and in November Hiroe Swen will present a very special exhibition giving an in-depth look at her art practice and the ceramic community of Canberra.
Craft ACT has scheduled another strong program for 2022. In February, I am looking forward to seeing what Nellie Peoples and Michelle Stemm have created based on the daily drawings they encouraged each other to do while in lockdown. Craft ACT's perennial exhibition of work by Emerging Contemporaries will be on again in March. The exhibition highlights the work of young designers and makers, giving them an opportunity to develop their professional careers. In tandem with this exhibition will be Peter Minson's colourful teapots, testifying to his long career in glassmaking. And March will also see the Tamworth Textile Triennial come to Craft ACT. Valerie Kirk and Harriet Schwarzrock were due to have their Craft ACT artists-in-residence exhibition in 2021 but it will now be on in August 2022.
At the Beaver Galleries 2022 will be several exhibitions of ceramics and glass. Cathy Franzi, well known for her ceramics celebrating local flora, will have an exhibition in February with flora from the high country. Franzi recently collaborated with Alison Jackson and Dan Lorrimer in a series of beautiful porcelain lights (Craft ACT, November 2021). An exhibition of studio glass by Brenden Scott French will be on at Beaver Galleries in early March but we will have to wait until October to see exciting new work by glass artist Ruth Oliphant.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.