Contemporary Showcase 8
Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne
6 August - 8 November 2013
This show is a fine collection of 29 artworks by 16 artists. But what struck me most about the exhibition was the great variety of media in use. Just on the ground floor we have mixed media works by Cheryle Bannon, acrylics by Jenny Scholes and Linda Darville (the latter with a glossy glass coat), 3D paper butterflies by Gail Stiffe and digital prints by Ray Farrugia.
Papillion Three, paper, 32 x 90 cm, by Gail Stiffe
On the stairs is a small selection encompassing acrylics (by Antonietta Sanfilippo and Heather King), acrylic with gouache (by Loretta Krelle), linocuts (by Kylie Castan) and mixed media (by Rosemary Mangiamele).
Upstairs there is still more variety to be viewed. Again we have acrylics (from Dawn Cole, Kathe Bibi Ostermark, Linda Darville and Heather King) but we also have an oil pastel by Denise Dempsey, an encaustic by Rosemary Mangiamele, mixed media from Loretta Krelle, oils from Nathan Moshinsky and Sarah Freidman, plus the clever use of sand as a medium in Karen Foley’s Sand, Bells Beach.
Sand, Bells Beach, mixed media, 74 x 62 cm, by Karen Foley
I’m harping on about the variety of media because they each have (obviously) a different texture and so create a wonderfully varied display on the walls of the café. The intriguing thick matt wax of encaustic, the rich layers of oil and acrylic paint, the shaped and gently textured surface of paper, the strong graphic qualities of linocut, the gloss of acrylic works with a glass coat, and the fascinating textures in mixed media works all bring life to the cafe walls.
Flowers in the Field, acrylic with glass coat, 91 x 45 cm, by Linda Darville
The works also evoke a variety of moods. Hope shines out of Linda Darville’s Daisy and Flowers in the Field, whereas Ray Farrugia’s Lone Sentinel and Beached Pair are a mixture of contentment and slight foreboding. That feeling you have at the end of a day well spent but being aware that you need to get indoors before the storm hits. Other works make me smile, especially the joyful voluptuous figure in Kathe Bibi Ostermark’s Dancing with the Stars and the whimsical bird-creatures in Dawn Cole’s Wildlife of Venus Bay.
Dancing with the Stars, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 60 cm, by Kathe Bibi Ostermark
The works add another dimension to visiting a cafe. Each new exhibition gives the café a slightly difference look and feel. The patrons can enjoy and, hopefully, relate to the works on display. Purchasing a café latté here can be more than just getting your caffeine hit.
Report by Shelley Vincent