Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Pictured above: four happy artists, L - R: myself, Carole Wilson, Louise Saxton and Loris Button, snapped last Thursday on Day 2 of the installation of From the Bower - patterns of collecting at Warrnambool Art Gallery. Behind us is the exhibition's centrepiece, a huge wall work combining aspects of our private collections, constructed with consummate skill by Carole Wilson and Shane Jones.
Photo credit: Ren Gregoric.

L - R: Deborah Klein, Exhibitions Curator Ren Gregoric, Carole Wilson, Louise Saxton and Shane Jones
Photo credit: Agostina Hawkins

Directly below are some progress views of the install taken earlier in the day.

Carole Wilson and Shane Jones

As Carole and Shane beavered away on the wall work, Loris, Louise and I set about arranging additional collection objects and artworks in one of two large display cabinets.

On the middle shelf above and below, pages of my unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence, are paired with the hand painted Eucalyptus leaves that were the basis for the artwork, together with the antique flower presses in which the leaves were pressed and dried.

On the shelf beneath Leaves of Absence are tantalising glimpses of objects from the collections of Louise Saxton, Loris Button, Carole Wilson and myself, including one of my personal favourites, Loris's book of art deco wallpaper samples.

Below: A still life on the top shelf. The mannikin was a gift from my late mother when I was budding teenage artist. Needless to add, I've owned it for a very long time!  The miniature desk, doubtless an apprentice piece, was discovered at an antique market in Daylesford. The faux book, which has a secret compartment, was made by my late father as a gift for his sister, my Aunt Eileen. The vintage map and antique books are from the collection of Carole Wilson.

More of Carole's map collection can be seen in the view below.

Loris and Louise did a magnificent job of installing other collection items, most of them relating to the domestic realm, in the second vitrine. I'm particularly enamoured of Carole's miniature sewing machines (middle shelf, far right).

Above L - R: Loris Button, Agostina Hawkins, Ren Gregoric and Louise Saxton

Below is a detail of the finished display. The raffia sewing basket on the bottom shelf belonged to my mother. The remainder of needlework-related objects in this view are from the collections of Loris and Louise. Personal favourites include Loris's film canister containing buttons from four generations of her family and Louise's Sydney Harbour Bridge commemorative d'oyley (bottom row front, second and third from left).

As work continued apace on the wall piece, Iron Butterflies, an installation of cut-out linocuts, also began to take shape:

Iron Butterflies (directly below) is a suite of linocuts inspired by my collection of antique hair ornaments, a number of which are also in the show.

Agostina Hawkins, WAG's Curator of Collections, painstakingly installed the work. Meanwhile, on the far left, two Homo-insecta watercolours wait patiently in the wings.

The multi-faceted exhibition that is From the Bower took three days to install. I had to leave at the end of the second day in order to prepare for the Australian Zine Showcase at NGV International (see previous post) so I haven't yet seen the completed installation. If the photographs sent to me by fellow Bowerbirds and messages from those who've already seen the show are anything to go by, however, it's all come together beautifully.

From the Bower opened to the public on Saturday, 18 March.

Opening night is this coming Friday, 24 March, from 6 pm. If you're in town, do come in and join us for a celebratory glass of wine.

From the Bower - patterns of collecting
Warrnambool Art Gallery
26 Liebig Street
Warrnambool Vic
Free entry
Weekdays 10 am - 5 pm
Weekends and Public Holidays 10 am - 3 pm

The exhibition runs until Monday, 12 June.

From the Bower - patterns of collecting will travel to the Art Gallery of Ballarat, where it will run from 29 July - 17 September.