On Friday 7 February, New England Regional Art Museum will have its first opening event for the year as it launches five new exhibitions, giving audiences a diverse range of artworks to discover.
The 2020 Exhibition Program at NERAM begins with a massive install to bump in five new exhibitions across all gallery spaces, completely transforming the museum with major touring exhibitions and captivating art from interstate and local artists.
Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose showcases the hauntingly beautiful collaboration between acclaimed artist Del Kathryn Barton, celebrated director Brendan Fletcher and award-winning visual effects house Method Studios, this milestone exhibition traces the interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s 19th century classic through a sophisticated artistic lens.
A shining example of multidisciplinary partnerships across the creative arts, Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose has its genesis in a commission by ArtAnd Foundation (previously Art&Australia), who asked Del Kathryn Barton in 2010 to reimagine a timeless fairytale. Layered with a stirring score by Sarah Blasko and voiced by some of Australia’s most celebrated actors, including Mia Wasikowska, Geoffrey Rush and David Wenham, the film is an intense but remarkably ethereal gesture to the tragic earnestness of Wilde’s tale.
Featuring a selection of Barton’s evocative artworks, including never-before-seen handmade props, alongside material from the production archives and a screening of the short-film, ACMI’s Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose reveals the extraordinary workings behind this captivating animated picture.
NERAM is delighted to present USE, an exhibition of exquisitely crafted contemporary jewellery and small objects by seventeen artists from the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia (Queensland Chapter), also known as JMGQ. Tools and process are at the heart of an artisan’s practice. This exhibition celebrates jewellery and small objects from the point of view of the maker, their tools and the making process.
USE Curator, Lisa Bryan-Brown, says, “While contemporary jewellery and small objects practices are highly diverse in their forms and motivations, tools are the common denominator that defines this field of creative practice. From traditional tools like hammers, saws and pliers, to modern innovations like 3D printers and laser-cutting machines, tools are essential in the creation of jewellery and small objects works. That is why they provide such a rich and reflexive theme for a group exhibition of works by jewellery and small objects artists”.
The View from 1919 explores the view from the year 1919 in the art world in Australia. It examines the different styles, themes, media and diversity of art making in this period. The exhibition looks at the context of the era, relating the art making to world events and current attitudes. Key artworks from Margaret Preston, Hans Heysen, Sydney Long, Elioth Gruner, John Salvana, Norman Lindsay and Lionel Lindsay all feature in the exhibition. The focus on the early decades of the twentieth century and the Australian art scene, particularly in Sydney, allows for a discussion of the key artistic debate of the time, between traditional and modernist artists. The exhibition was developed for Tamworth Regional Gallery’s centenary celebrations.
NERAM Director Rachael Parson’s says, “We are pleased to present this Tamworth Regional Gallery touring exhibition as it highlights the great benefaction collectors can have on a regional area, much like Howard Hinton has had on Armidale.”
The Uncivilised Garden is a new body of work created by local artist Lizzie Horne. Horne uses etchings, dry point, linocut and mixed media to explore nature and anti-nature. From botanical studies to narratives informed by humankind’s attempts to suppress the natural world, the works in exhibition sit at the intersection of the cultivated and the wild. “Lizzie’s work is a real favourite amongst our audience“ said curator Belinda Hungerford, “and the work in this exhibition shows a slightly different direction of her printmaking. It’s a little darker and unsettling but absolutely captivating.”
NERAM is also proud to present Glimpses of New England, a solo exhibition of vintage photographic prints of the New England region by American-born, New Zealand photographer John Fields. Fields lived in Australia from 1976 until his death in 2013, and from 1987 was based in New England where he worked for UNE for almost 20 years. A master photographer and printer, Fields explored New England, capturing in classic black and white its people, landscape, architecture and its subtle and poetic details.
“This exhibition will be very special to Armidale and the people who remember John,” commented curator Belinda Hungerford. “He was a much-loved and respected member of the community and the exhibition poignantly marks the seventh anniversary of his passing.”
“We are thrilled to launch our 2020 exhibition program with these diverse and stimulating shows,” said Rachael Parsons, Art Museum Director. “We have a marvellous year if art and culture ahead of us at NERAM and we are enthusiastic to welcome our community and visitors to experience all that we have to offer.”
“We understand that many people from our community, region and country have, and are facing difficult times because of ongoing drought and critical bush fires. It is our job at NERAM to provide a haven and place for respite, and we will do all that we can to support our community through providing access to arts and cultural services and inspiring programs.”
Rachael also extended a warm invitation to the community, “All five new exhibitions open at 6pm on Friday, February 7, and everyone is invited to come and enjoy the new art on display and to celebrate the launch of our 2020 program.”