19 October - 12 November
Join us for the exhibition opening at 5.30pm Friday 19 October - featuring mini tarot readings by Emma Magenta and a talk by Niki Read of The Groundswell Project, a community organisation that uses art to increase death literacy.
What if, instead of desperately trying to avoid discussions about death and dying, we brought it out into the open? What if, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, and trying to cope with it on our own when it inevitably does happen, our society was primed to talk about what it’s really like at the end of your life, or about grief, or about how death is just a natural part of life?
In The Great Divide, eight current and former Blue Mountains artists explore these themes, offering up their own concepts of mortality in order to help lessen the fear and denial around what it means to die or be dying. This exhibition is designed to help start a conversation that is long overdue in Western culture.
Artist Hayley West, who has reimagined a series of ceramic cremation urns, taking found vessels and creating new custom lids for each, is fascinated with the objects that get left behind when someone dies. “Ordinary objects can become significant keepsakes, at times revered like a reliquary of histories,” says Hayley.
Yoka Terzic, who has produced black and white ink works that serve to heighten the contrasting nature of life and death, says “death scares us because life is all we know. It is the role of the shaman and artist to visit the world of the dead and then return with the obtained wisdom; born again.”
Along with the big philosophical questions, this exhibition also delves into artists’ personal experience with death. “My images were inspired in part by my grandmother, who recently passed away,” says Mount Victoria artist Nina Lipscombe. “I wanted the images to express that feeling of loss, but also of letting go.”
Join us for this beautiful, poignant exhibition, and join the conversation about death and dyling, guided by the beliefs, insights and practices of the artists.
21 September - 15 October
“These goddesses and female winged creatures come to me as stories, and often act as my guardians,” says artist and printmaker Jan Melville. “They are created from my own mythology, and protect not only me, but the environment.
I feel that they have a big role to play in the landscape.”
The strong women and female beings featured in Jan’s exhibition include butterflies, moths and birds, as well as goddesses. One powerful presence is Insect Girl, who, according to Jan’s mythology, lives in the gardens along with her tribe of insects.
“The winged insects face an uncertain future. My ongoing concern is their decline due to habitat destruction, climate change and pollution. Insect Girl is here as a watcher and protector.”
Insect Girl is one of several lino prints in Wings for Flight. The exhibition also features assemblage and mixed media, including a series of printed cockatoo feathers, a woman’s flight helmet made of woven feathers and paper flowers, and a fertility totem featuring two winged goddesses.
“All of my mythological creatures are beautiful and iconic. They represent freedom, beauty and peace.”
Every piece in the exhibition is hand made, created or printed by Jan in her Blue Mountains studio (except Insect Girl herself, which was designed and cut by Jan but printed by master printmaker Gary Shinfield).
Jan will be sharing her process in a relief print workshop in the gallery on 6 October, where Jan will discuss topics such as safe carving, how to transfer images onto the plate, and the differences in various types of paper, before participants create their own lino or vinyl cut print on the day.
24 August - 17 September
“This series arose out of my love for fashion,” says artist James Gordon. “I especially love making the jewellery – I’m in heaven when I’m doing the tiny diamonds and emeralds.”
James’ art has been described as a combination of collage, fashion and sculpture. He works with scissors, scalpels, pencils and watercolour to create intricate paper relief sculptures, layering detail upon detail of delicately carved and painted paper artworks.
“I start by making their faces and hands, then I make clothes and jewellery, and play around with combinations until it looks right. The first few I made were these striking men in black and white tuxedos. If a man doesn’t look good in a tux, he will never look any good.”
"If a man doesn’t look good in a tux, he will never look any good.” - James Gordon
If anyone should know about fashion and a good tux, it’s James. His artistic career has been studded with couture collaborations, from styling Collette Dinnigan’s shows for fashion week, to working on covers for Vogue, to causing a scandal on Little Collins Street in the 1970s as a visual merchandiser for the department store Georges.
As a renowned event producer, James styled some of Australia’s most high profile weddings, including those of James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch. But in between these brushes with celebrity, it is always his paper sculptures that James comes back to.
“If it pleases people and makes them feel happy, then I’m happy. I love seeing people smile with pleasure when they see my work. I hope that when they look at it they get a sense of my love of doing it, because I really do love it.”
We look forward to seeing you at the exhibition opening at 5.30pm Friday 24 August.
27 July - 20 August
Join us for the opening on Friday 27 July at 5.30pm
The Lost And Found by Blackheath artist Rebecca Waterstone is a suite of found objects, forms and abstract reliefs, exploring the elements of shape, colour, line and composition. These found forms take on new life, combined into fresh compositions with a quiet, solid presence. The themes of resurrection, veiled beauty and preservation run through these works.
Through a hybrid approach that references minimalism, modernist abstraction, colour-field painting and constructivism, relationships are formed between the shapes, proportions, textures, and colours of discarded and redundant items. These objects, now devoid of practical use, find new life and value through being composed into works that retain, and highlight, the materials’ inherent aesthetic qualities.
The geometric language is one of squares, rectangles, circles, arcs, and truncated segments. The works can be thought of (individually, and as a group) as akin to that of a jigsaw puzzle, with the individual components coming together to make up a complete, unified whole.
Within the assemblages and collages, attention is drawn to the materiality and character of residual surface markings, wear and tear. These serve as potent fragments, revealing a concentrated sense of the objects' history. There is great beauty in their weathered nature. Muted, distilled, applied (or found) colour defines and delineates space within the edges of the vertical plane. The symbiotic duality that characterises the reconfigured forms, lends gravitas to the individual elements. They are stronger together than apart.
The works are arranged on the wall as a single mass of related components. The negative architectural space surrounding them plays an important part in holding the group together as a whole, creating harmony, and unity with the physical presence of the works.
29 June - 23 July
Join us for opening night Friday 29 June 5.30pm
“I feel like this time the inspiration has come from doing the work, rather than the other way around,” says Blackheath artist and designer Hannah Surtees.
Hannah, together with husband Mark, is the winner of this year’s Sculpture at Scenic World major prize, for their work Geronimo. With The Unexpected In-Between, Hannah is showing a body of solo work featuring sculpture, painting and prints. We talked to Hannah about how her process for this work evolved out of a creative block, which she pushed through by returning to childlike play with paper and pen.
Join Hannah for her Unblocking Creativity Workshop on Sunday 1st July.
“A few years ago, I was struggling to rediscover my own style, after years of producing commercial work for other people. I was blocked, creatively. We were heading overseas for a family trip, so I brought some sketchbooks with me, in order to get back to the basics.
“I found the act of doodling very cathartic and freeing for my creative process, where I didn’t have to worry about the end result; just being present in the moment. It took me back to when I was about five, spending many happy hours repeatedly drawing the British flag, filling sketchbooks with my drawings, trying to find the perfect one.
“When we got back from our trip, I photographed all the work from my sketchbooks and uploaded them into my computer, playing around in Illustrator and experimenting with reversing the doodles, playing with negative space.
“It was a serendipitous way of work, and I felt able to look at the end result more subjectively. I enlarged some of the shapes and painted one onto canvas, just feeling my way with colours and framing, going with my gut instinct.
"This process has inspired me to push through my creative block. I’ve discovered that the good stuff can sometimes be hiding unexpectedly in the space in-between. If you keep looking hard enough, you’ll find it eventually."
If you would like to know more about Hannah's process and learn her techniques for breaking through creative blocks, join us for Hannah's Unblocking Creativity Workshop on Sunday 1st July.
Embroidered works by Jess de Wahls available for purchase. Please contact the curator, Kelly Heylen on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0414 771 439 for all sales enquiries.
Platform Gallery is a partner of Art Money, who offer interest-free art loans over 10 months to make art buying more accessible for everyone, and we are very happy to discuss this option with you.
1 - 25 June
View the full range of Jess' embroidered works here.
“I use my work to explore societal ideas of what it means to be a woman: from governments trying to restrict and legislate what women do with their bodies, to society judging women for both having and not having ovaries,” says artist Jess de Wahls.
“Traditionally ovaries are such an integral part of being a woman, and yet there are many other ways of being a woman, from being a transgender woman to having had reproductive organs removed surgically to just being born in a body that doesn’t conform to any gender.”
Coming all the way from London for her Australian debut and a series of workshops at Platform, Jess de Wahls is known as the ‘enfant terrible of British textile arts’ for her boundary-pushing, provocative artworks.
Learn from Jess in these intensive, small class size contemporary embroidery workshops:
The exhibition Big Swinging Ovaries will feature Wahls’ signature embroideries, where her ovary motif is stylised into various maximalist patterns, including ovaries as cacti, rainbows, and Frida Kahlo (Kahlovaries).
“Since I first developed it for a solo exhibition in 2014, the Big Swinging Ovaries name and design has very much become a brand and a visual tool for expressing many of my creative, political and social thoughts as a woman, a feminist and a textile artist,” says Jess.
“What matters to me is that people make up their own mind and interpret my art for themselves, no matter what I intended. What matters is whether or not the work speaks to you.”
Platform is hosting two incredible feminist embroidery workshops with Jess, alongside her exhibition. You can choose from creating your own Big Swinging Ovaries or a Vagestic Mandala, all the while taking your craftivism to new heights.
You don't need to be a seasoned stitcher to take part in the workshops. What's absolutely needed is an open mind to a contemporary approach to an old craft, and a little patience since embroidery is a time-intensive art form. All materials and lunch are provided – you can book on the Platform Gallery website.
Join us for the opening of Big Swinging Ovaries on Friday June 1, and for the workshops on 2nd and 3rd June.
11 - 28 May
Exhibition opening 5.30pm Friday 11 May.
“There are many ways a person can enter a state of transition,” says artist Heidi Axelsen.
“Major and minor shifts happen in life where a current state of being is no longer possible and transformation takes place. It’s this liminal space that I am interested in.”
Liminal is a series of delicate and meditative work that is drawn from not only Heidi’s personal transitions, but an entire universe of threshold space.
“The word ‘liminal’ for me represents that space between consciousness and unconsciousness; that quality of ambiguity and disorientation that occurs at times when you are neither here nor there, but swimming in a vast changing space.”
“Emerging from these liminal states are quiet, easily missed, in-between moments that I have tried to capture in this work. Being on the cusp of becoming a mother was one such potent liminal state for me, where both immense and subtle transformations take place in body and spirit.”
The forms, material and textures have been combined to express implicit memories; thoughts and feelings that couldn’t be expressed in words but found in material and form."
The forms, material and textures have been combined to express implicit memories; thoughts and feelings that couldn’t be expressed in words but found in material and form.”
As Heidi’s daughter celebrates her third birthday, Heidi has reflected on motherhood and other states of transitions, and brought together this body of work.
“I’ve been working with concrete, plaster, marble, lead, felt, steel, copper, which I’ve been moulding, carving, folding, casting, sewing and assembling to find a material presence to immaterial and ephemeral experiences. The forms, material and textures have been combined to express implicit memories; thoughts and feelings that couldn’t be expressed in words but found in material and form.”
Most people know Heidi from her large-scale creative collaborations with partner Hugo Moline, but with Liminal, Heidi is showing a lesser-known side of her artistic practice.
The small scale, natural hues and reflective surfaces of these sculptural works stand in contrast to Heidi’s collaborative works of large architectural and environmental structures.
Whereas Heidi and Hugo work in the public realm rearranging social and spatial relationships, Heidi’s solo work invites contemplation of internal landscapes and dreamy states of being.
Liminal offers an exciting and rare opportunity to see Heidi’s solo work. Join us for the opening on Friday 11 May.
13 April - 7 May
Exhibition opening Friday 13 April 5.30-7pm.
A wall of saliva-dripping tongues and a yoga mat made of human hair might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of art, but emerging Blue Mountains artist Nina Grodahl is on a mission to put the abject front and centre.
“I want to provide a tactile experience in which the audience is shaken back into their body and into their present emotion,” says Nina. “My process involves exploring what I find jarring or confronting, and magnifying it to a scale where the only option is to experience it.”
“The title Yum/Yuk is my way of explaining what das unheimliche (the uncanny) means to me. The work both attracts and repels; you are disgusted but can’t look away. I hope that the audience will feel both pleased and unsettled when looking at my exhibition.”
“I have worked with the uncanny for some time in my art practice, stemming from my fascination with hair and its immediate repulsiveness as soon as it comes off the body. The abject came into my practice more recently and is now at the forefront of my mind after a recent residency in Berlin.”
“Originally I thought my fascination with this subject was intellectual, but the more I work with it, the more I realise it’s an unfurling of the personal; a way of processing old pain and trauma. My work is reminiscent of the human body, evoking skin folds, warmth, moisture and hair. This intention here is to be purposely uncomfortable, and in seeking out comfort from such an ambivalent place, allowing ourselves to tap into our own strength.”
Yum/Yuk is visceral, disgusting, beautiful exhibition, designed to provoke thought and reflection. You are invited to touch, feel, connect - and perhaps discover.
9 March - 9 April
Join us for the exhibition opening 5.30pm Friday 9 March.
“Back in the day when you shelled out for an album, you’d slip off the cover and on your first listen you’d devour the liner notes, so you knew more than anyone else at
school. Good times,” says Amanda Kaye, curator and contributing writer for the group show, Imaginary Albums.
“This exhibition is a collaboration between writers and artists, born of an affectionate nostalgia for those heady days. Imaginary albums are the albums that don’t exist, but should, sprung from the fertile imaginations of writers and artists in the Blue Mountains.”
To bring this exhibition together, Amanda invited 10 writers and 10 artists to a fireplace gathering to explore ideas and concepts, listen to old LPs and read delicious liner notes of days gone by. Pair ups between writers and artists flowed naturally from this process, and then the creative work began.
Each imaginary album begins with the writer, who crafts the story of the work. Sometimes using a real artist and sometimes inventing musos from the ground up, the writer invents the tracks and the back-story, before passing the creative baton to the graphic designer or artist, who designs the cover art.
“These imaginary albums are missed opportunities; albums we wish existed. They are the uncanny cultural signifiers of our collective vinyl-addled fancies.”
“The work you’ll see in the gallery will be the album covers and sleeve notes developed from this process,” says Amanda. “There’ll be a gramophone and a stack of LPs in the gallery for you to come and play, too.”
Imaginary Albums coincides with two major music events happening in the region: the Blue Mountains Music Festival on 16-18 March, celebrating folk, blues and roots; and the Live and Local Music Festival on 7 April, featuring local musicians in surprising venues across Katoomba, including here at Platform Gallery.
This exhibition has been generously sponsored by Mark and Nina Lipscombe of Cottontail Press – a boutique letterpress, fine art and photographic printing studio here in the Blue Mountains.
Each album is produced as a limited edition print run of 10 and is sold as a framed front and back set for $250.
1. UNFINISHED MUSIC NO.4: THREE PHASE PEACE – Yoko Ono with Delia Derbyshire and Else Marie Pade
Imagined by writer, Stuart Buchanan and graphic artist, Ben Tankard
2. THE FUTURE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE - A SYMPHONY IN 26 MOVEMENTS Every member of a supergroup ever
Imagined by writer, Ginger Stephen Neal and artist, Damian Castaldi
3. LIVE FROM A FITZROY LOUNGE ROOM Helen Garner and the Hopeful Earthlings
Imagined by writer, Manda Kaye and artist, Leia Sidery
4. OBJECTIFIED/CORRECTIFIED Various artists
Imagined by writer, Kelly Heylen and artist, Kevina-Jo Smith
5. LA SUBVERTA Pinch-Arse Opera
Imagined by writer, J-L Heylen and graphic designer, Kim Allen
6. A NICE HAIRCUT - THE BEST OF WITCHES WART Witches Wart
Imagined by writer, Mark O’Flynn and graphic artist, Heath Killen
7. I TOLD HER TWICE Julie London and the Redd Herrings
Imagined by writer, Solange Kershaw and artist, Bec Waterstone
8. THE LAST OPERA Opera Australia
Imagined by writer, Craig Billingham and graphic artist, Judith Martinez
9. NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL MUZAK Various artists
Imagined by writer, Jo Chipperfield and graphic artist, Hannah Surtees
10. THE CRIMSON CLAWS OF THE PANTHER AT MIDNIGHT Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone
Imagined by writer, Stephen Davis and artist, Julie Paterson