Riddoch hosts diverse line-up

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Riddoch hosts diverse line-up

The Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre will present three new exhibitions opening to the public this month as part of the winter 

The exhibitions feature the works of three female artists spanning styles and generations, Clarice Beckett: Paintings from the National Collection, Natalya Hughes: The Interior and Beth Kay: The Feminine Art of Shooting.

Clarice Beckett: Paintings from the National Collection, on tour from the National Gallery of Australia, is an intimate selection of works by one of Australia’s most original and esteemed artists of the early twentieth century.

Clarice Beckett was born and raised in Casterton in 1887.

Beckett’s family moved to Ballarat and then Melbourne where she painted everyday life and scenery with an eye for the overlooked, common place and fleeting.

Deeply sensitive to the effects of colour, light and atmosphere, her works captured a world on the cusp of modernisation, evoking both the natural environment and simple pleasures of suburban existence.

Beckett died from pneumonia at 48 years old, not long after painting the sea during a storm.

Although a posthumous exhibition was well received by the public, Beckett’s subtle mastery was soon forgotten and her paintings moved to storage.

Almost 40 years later, curator Rosalind Hollinrake, who was alerted by Beckett’s sister, discovered more than 2000 paintings rotting in a Victorian countryside hay shed.

Most of the pieces were destroyed but Hollinrake recognised the gravity of what she had found.

In 1971, she staged an exhibition of Beckett’s paintings in Melbourne.

Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre and Cultural Development director Ashleigh Whatling said Clarice Beckett was now acknowledged as one of Australia’s most important early modernist painters and her work is included in major museum collections.

“Clarice Beckett has an amazing legacy in Australian art history both for the work and her personal journey as a female artist of the early 20th century,” she said.

“We are very proud to have this special collection of works on show in the region she grew up in.”

The Interior by Natalya Hughes is a national touring exhibition presented by the Institute of Modern Art and toured by Museums and Galleries Queensland.

Natalya Hughes is one of Australia’s most exciting mid-career artists, known for her explorations of decorative and ornamental traditions and their associations with the feminine, the human form, and excess.

Drawing on the gendered power dynamics between public and private space, Hughes will transform the gallery into a playfully exaggerated consultation room.

Combining sculptural seating, richly patterned soft furnishings, uncanny objects d’art and a hand-painted mural, The Interior creates a stimulating space to unpack our collective and unconscious biases.

Audiences are invited to recline and be enveloped, soothed and held by the furniture’s womanly forms while taking turns playing analyst and patient.

With this bodily encounter The Interior creates a space where the existence of women can be reimagined on different terms in the post ‘Me Too’ world.

“In this work I wanted to explore something of society’s unease with women; I am interested in the representation of women, how we are conceptualised and why expectations of us are so slow to shift,” artist Natalya Hughes said.

“Freud founded psychoanalysis – a theory which informs much of my art making.

Women are also problematic within his work, but psychoanalysis provides a useful framework for dealing with problems around gender and what we value.

By mining Freud’s references and imagery of women, I seek to see what they might offer or reveal in order to more equitably reimagine the idea of ‘woman’.”

Also opening this winter is an exhibition from young local artist Beth Kay, The Feminine Art of Shooting.

Beth Kay makes her mark on the male-dominated sport of bullseye shooting in Australia.

Having her own target range shooting practice Kay began making drawings and paintings using the target design as her launching motif.

Using the gun itself as a powerful mark making tool, Beth Kay loads up and delivers the end of each piece with a speeding bolt of lead.

To complement the winter exhibitions, the first-floor gallery space will be transformed into a creative space Viewfinder.

“Viewfinder is an interactive, creative space providing a unique look inside the worlds of exhibiting artists Clarice Beckett, Natalya Hughes and Beth Kay,” Acting Programming Officer Kyra Sykes said.

“We encourage visitors to explore the artists’ perspectives and discover their own through a variety of activities inspired by the artists’ work.”

Paintings from the National Collection, The Interior and The Feminine Art of Shooting are on view from June 15 to July 28.

The Riddoch will host an artist’s talk with Natalya Hughes on June 15 at 12.30pm, followed by a tufting workshop at 1pm, where participants will create their own textile work using the punch needle tufting technique that Hughes employs in her work.

A panel discussion on Clarice Beckett’s life and work will take place in the gallery on June 15 at 11am featuring the National Gallery of Australia’s Assistant Curator Australian Art Deidre Cannon and Conservator Jocelyn 

On July 20 there will be a presentation and Q&A with author of ‘The Worlds and Work of Clarice Beckett’ Dr Edith Ziegler.

Activities can be booked online at theriddoch.com.au

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