John Witzig's Country Soul.
John Witzig's Country Soul.

John Witzig: a life in pictures

ON Friday, September 15 we will be celebrating the opening of our new exhibitions, John Witzig: The Photographer, and The Lady & The Unicorn: A Collaboration Between Arthur Boyd and Peter Porter. At 5pm join us to hear from John Witzig as he delivers a casual artist floor talk in the main gallery, in his solo exhibition. We'll hear from John about some of his personal favourites in the show, and open up to questions from the audience.

The official proceedings will kick off at 6pm, with the Friends of the Gallery operating a pay bar, music from Mick Carr, and, of course, complimentary nibbles available. Councillor Peter Ellem will open the exhibitions and there will be a live reading of Peter Porter's poetry by Roger Millard, which we are looking forward to with anticipation.

John Witzig: The Photographer combines images from the Grafton Regional Gallery's collection of John's photographs, as well as works from John's private collection. From portraits to classic surfing photographs, this exhibition is a unique insight into John's practice as a photographer.

The Lady & The Unicorn, on tour from the Bundanon Trust, looks at the creative partnership between painter Arthur Boyd and poet Peter Porter. The two collaborated over 15 years and produced four significant limited edition books of prints and poems. For The Lady & The Unicorn, the second project with Peter Porter, Boyd produced 24 bold and evocative etchings in response to Porter's reinterpretation of the 16th century tale that has inspired musicians, poets, novelists and artists since its rediscovery in the 1840s.

John Witzig: The Photographer and The Lady & The Unicorn will be on show at the Gallery until October 21.

Last chance ceramics

Sandra Taylor's solo exhibition, True Stories 1975 - 2017, has just a couple of days remaining at the Grafton Regional Gallery, closing on Saturday (September 9).

The community and visitor response to this exhibition has been fantastic, with local school groups coming to experience the exhibition, as well as TAFE groups from Coffs Harbour and Lismore, daily visitors from around the Clarence Valley and travellers from interstate.

True Stories is a significant survey of Sandra's arts practice since the mid-1970s, with two- and three-dimensional works on display. Sandra came to prominence in the art world with her painted figurative ceramic works.

These pieces broke away from the traditions of ceramic practice with their subject matter and their unconventional use of new materials. In 1979 Sandra was invited to exhibit at the Sydney Biennale, a rare occurrence for a ceramic (and female) artist at this time. Since then, Sandra's practice has gone from strength to strength and she has continued to make art that is refreshing and influential. The Grafton Regional Gallery has held a special relationship with Sandra Taylor since its establishment in 1988.

Sandra's arts practice is boldly humorous and layered in meaning. Her ceramics have seen slugs on dinner plates and pigs in human situations - lounging on sofas and lazing in kidney-shaped swimming pools.

The important place Sandra Taylor holds in the visual arts in New South Wales, and broader on a national and international scale, is exemplified with the works in the exhibition on loan from other galleries such as the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, to name a few. She is widely admired and collected. Make sure you don't miss this important exhibition of Sandra Taylor's work.

Bus trip to Tweed

On Sunday The Gallery Foundation and guests travelled by bus to the Tweed Regional Gallery, to see David Hockney's work on display in the exhibition Words and Pictures. With the generous assistance of the Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation, this show is the first international exhibition at Tweed Gallery. Drawn from the British Council Collection, the exhibition presents four major suites of artists' prints produced by David Hockney between 1961 and 1977. David Hockey: Words and Pictures will be on show until Sunday, September 17, before travelling to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in Katoomba in October.

Northbridge Art Prize

The Northbridge Art Prize 2017 is now open, closing Monday (September 11). Northbridge School of Visual Arts and Gallery 307 is seeking entries for the prize, which is open to two- and three-dimensional artworks.

The grand prize is $4000 (acquisitive), and there are also prizes available for Best in Category, Best Youth and Derivan Award of Excellence in Acrylics. Clarence Valley-based artist and tutor Bernadette Trela will be this year's Northbridge Art Prize judge. For more information visit the Northbridge website.

Penny Evans' workshop

Grafton Regional Gallery collection artist, and winner of the 2015 Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award, is presenting an Introduction to Clay Techniques workshop at the Northern Rivers Pottery Supplies in Lismore on Sunday, September 17. This workshop is for those who have never touched clay, through to anyone wanting to update their hand-building skills. You will learn how to make a coil pot and a pinch pot, and Penny will explain different tools used in ceramics, how to use them, as well as different clays. The cost of the workshop is $140, which includes clay, glazing, and firing. Phone the Northern Rivers Pottery Supplies on 6621 4688 to book, or visit their website.

Gordon Brook Station

Art in the Paddock is nearly upon us, fast approaching this Sunday (September 10) at Gordon Brook Station. Final preparations are under way, but if you are an artist wishing to hold a stall please phone the gallery to make arrangements.

  • The Grafton Regional Gallery is a cultural service of the Clarence Valley Council. The gallery is located at 158 Fitzroy St, Grafton and is open from 10am-4pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Entry is by gold coin donation.

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