Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

Comments (0) Interviews

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s next six month program promises something of interest for everyone. Focus caught up with Gallery Curator Jo Besley, to find out what artistic delights will be on display for the public to enjoy!

During January, visitors can catch the final few weeks of Open House, the Third Tamworth Textile Triennial. This exhibition will change your mind about just what’s possible when artists work with fabric, fibre and textiles. From possum skin cloaks through to the finest embroidery, hand-dyed fabrics using native plants to a shark made from recycled fishing nets, the range and diversity of artworks is truly stunning.

The 2019 program kicks off on the 1st February with a local showcase. Featuring over 50 local artists, New Year: New Work reveals the vitality and diversity of the Coffs Coast arts community and brings art and business together. Presented as a partnership of the Regional Gallery, Friends of the Gallery and the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, each artwork is supported by a local business. The artists have had free rein to create what they want with a 50 by 50 centimetre square piece of plywood. 

Opening at the same time is an intriguing and experimental installation, Work in Process. Here, a painter, a photographer and an arts therapist – co.lab.arts – come together to work collaboratively on a project. Their process embraces uncertainty, experiential creation and play in art making. The resulting exhibition is an engaging, multimodal space of photographs, working journals, paintings and sculptures created by the three women involved, Ruth Ackary, Jay Black and Karlee Rawkins.

In March, the gallery welcomes Gerry Wedd, who enjoys a national reputation for his hand-built ceramics that brim with a dry wit, swinging from the humorous to darkly disturbing. From his beginnings making pots with his mother at the kitchen table to his work with the iconoclastic surf-wear company Mambo, Wedd draws his craft from personal interests and experiences – surfing foremost among these. His ceramic pieces, both functional and sculptural, are vessels for storytelling about history, politics, music and popular culture. The images of pioneering surf photographer John Witzig have been a lifelong inspiration for Wedd, and he has frequently translated them on to his ceramic objects. Witzig’s photographs of surfing in the 1960s and ’70s now have the status of cultural icons, capturing surfing’s “golden era”. In an exhibition presented in parallel with Gerry Wedd’s Kitschen Man, four artists – who also happen to surf – have created new works in response to Witzig’s extraordinary archive. Featuring Jon Campbell, Robert Moore, Gerry Wedd and Ozzie Wright, plus new work by John Witzig.

Continuing the ceramics theme, Clay Stories opens on 10th May. Clay Stories is a significant survey exhibition of contemporary artworks in ceramics created by established and emerging Indigenous artists in remote parts of regional Australia – Ernabella Arts in the APY Lands, Erub Arts in the Torres Strait, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre in Far North Queensland, Hermannsburg Potters in the Central Desert and Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island. The exhibition presents pieces that are both sculptural and vessel-based, with each body of work a strong medium for storytelling, representative of the artist’s connection to Country. 

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery is located on the corner of Coff and Dukes Streets and is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Free admission.

Thanks Jo.

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