Review - Art at Burnley Harbour 2014

5-7 December 2014

 Review by Cressida Fox


An exhibition under a freeway, on a riverbank?! Burnley Harbour is a picturesque stretch of urban outdoor and undercover landscape, opposite Herring Island. It also has a garden of Australian native trees and shrubs – a perfect setting for the 'Sculpture Garden' as part of the exhibition. The bike path that runs next to the Yarra River and though the exhibition is enjoyed by a huge number of visitors, including the many regulars who ride their bikes and walk their dogs throughout the year. Art at Burnley Harbour is a great way for artists, particularly from country and interstate, to showcase their work to a wider audience.


This year, 100 artists, from all over Victoria and some from interstate, entered a total of 452 works in the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria’s tenth Burnley Harbour show. With artworks in so many styles and genres, and judging by the many favourable comments and expressions of delight from visitors, I'd say there were items to please all tastes. For instance, as we sat at the sales desk, numerous people said how good the works were this year, and there were many cyclists who shouted a warm “thank you!!” at us as they rode past.


In the Sculpture Garden, now in its second year, there were around 11 sculptures placed within the native bushland. Visitors loved it. The works included some wonderful steel sculptures: Birdform and Big Pig (he was a whopper!) by Laurie Collins, and Karl's Flower and Of Mice and Mushrooms by Paul Cacioli. Other works included Janet Cameron's elegant Egyptian in Mt. Gambier limestone, Guillermo Gomez' abstract form, Untitled (a hanging ball of wax and bambo skewers) and lovely ceramics by Edit Meaklim, Graham Duell, Evelyn Young and Suzanne Kaldor.


Some paintings portrayed parts and aspects of Melbourne, including: Mohamed Abumeis' Flinders Lane - Brunetti Cafe, Maureen Carolan-Dalton's Port Melbourne View, Geoff Cunningham's Red Shoes under the Clocks (at Flinders Street Station), Daniela Kiss' Melbourne + Port Phillip Bay, Charlotte Kandelaars' Beyond Federation, John Kodric's Princes Bridge, Melbourne, Helen Pollard's Southbank, Hermann Schwaiger's View from Southbank. Kenneth Watts' Sorrento, Peter Wendt's Is it edible? (a bird and spider).


 Many paintings were on natural themes, such as waterways, lighting and weather effects, mountains and seas, bird and animals, trees and flowers. To name just a few: Thalia Andrews' Beachside and Sunrise, Bruce Baycroft's Estuary, Bianca Bongiovanni's Protea (photography), George Eustice's Still Life, Helen Hanrahan's Yarra Dights Falls, Mandy Hopkins' A-pear-a-tif, Irmgard McComas' Summer Pears, Gwenda McDougall's Donkey, Karen Neal's Bonsai Garden, Nathan Paramanathan's Central Australia series, Marion Parker's Perfect Storm, Anthony Perkins' Driving Rain, Neda Starac's Enchanting Garden series, Gail Stiffe's Papillon series, Ian Whitford's Toolangi Forrest Discovery Centre, and Gayle Whyte's Koala Nightmares (a mosaic).


Many more paintings, drawings, photography and mixed media works (over half the show) covered a really wide range of subjects and approaches, including immigrants and multiculturalism, overseas cities, emotions and memories, portraits and gatherings of people, experiences and adventures, mythology, nudes, cars, bicycles and other inanimate objects.


Here are just some of them: Mohamed Abumeis' Zone of Peace and Tranquility, Cheryle Bannon's Hope, Aldo Bellemo's I Am Not Illegal, Juliet Collins' Pop Tart: Angel series, Robyn Dansie's The Man Who Fell to Earth, Paul Drakeford's Don't panic!, Karen Foley's Acoustic Movement, James Ford's Corporate Climber, Leon Frankcom's Big Bang series, Margaret Gurney's Olé!, Greame Kane's Bonded, Heather King's Don's Bike - a Portrait, John Kodric's Carnival in Venice, Robert Lee's The Difference Between Truth and Happiness, Michele Leereveld's Silent whispers, Eva Miller's Composition in Black and White, Nathan Moshinsky's Boats, Carmel O'Connor's Pavane in Pantone Black 2014, Ellsworth Overton's VW Kooka Campers, Nili Palti's Vietnam, Monika Poray's 5 Pentagonal Spirals, Jenny Scholes' Art Deco Reflections, Hermann Schwaiger's San Marco Venice, June Stahle' Mistaken Pride - The Falconer, Elizabeth Watt's Karma, and Maureen Whittaker's Love in a Time of War.


One of the nicest things, for me, was seeing the joy on each artwork buyer's face, their delight at having found a treasure that they could (once paid for) take home there and then. This show is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to have an art experience, some for the first time, others who may not otherwise go to exhibitions.


To compliment the show, there was a 'Kids Zone' set up with drawing materials and colour-in sheets, inviting children to be creative. I was pleased to see that 2 adults also enjoyed this, also a group of children from one of the local primary schools, whose thoughtful teacher had provided them with worksheets. We also had a 'Dog Café' with refreshments for visiting canids, and a donation box to raise funds for the very worthy 'Adopt-A-Dog' program.


Many thanks to our generous sponsors, who helped to make this great event possible: Ausnet Services, who not only provided funds, but 5 helpers on hanging day! Melbourne Table & Chair Hire, who kindly supplied all the trestles and chairs which play such a vital role in the show, particularly with setting up. Hocking Stuart Estate Agents in Richmond, Carlton, South Yarra and St Kilda, who supplied wonderful 8' x 6' signboards to advertise the event in 6 suburbs.


Many thanks also to all people who were involved in running the show, including CAS Committee and members, artists and their friends and family members. We could not have done it without you! We look forward to doing it all over again in 2015, conditions permitting.

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