REVIEW: Contemporary by Nature and Vitreous: Ceramic Glass & Mosaic 2019

An exhibition of the artworks by members of the Contemporary Art Society Inc., and an exhibition of sculptural works by Australian contemporary glass and ceramic artists, as part of the Herring Island Summer Arts Festival 2019.
7 February - 17 March

Review by Karen Foley

This year the Contemporary Art Society has combined two exhibitions into one. ‘Contemporary by Nature’ and ‘Vitreous: Ceramic Glass & Mosaic’. Both exhibitions will run for six weeks from 9 February to 17 March giving artists great exposure to the general public. This exhibition showcases a wonderful collection of art with great creativity and varied pieces in all mediums both 2D and 3D.

The opening was held on Saturday 9 February on Herring Island under the threat of rain after a hot spell of weather. Cooler conditions prevailed all day. Robert Lee, President of the Contemporary Art Society, gave a warm welcome to all in attendance. Robert acknowledged the City of Stonnington, which has generously sponsored the Herring Island Festival from January through April, and Parks Victoria for their generous support in sponsoring HISAF for the past 15 years. CAS is extremely grateful to be part of the festival.

This year there are 75 works on display: 46 for ‘Contemporary by Nature’ and 29 for ‘Vitreous’. This year ‘Vitreous’ welcomes artists from Western Australia, NSW and Victoria.

Robert made a special mention of Nancy Yu’s work. Nancy travelled from Sydney to be in the Viterous exhibition this year. He pointed out her work ‘Head Case 1’, No.75 in catalogue, is a wonderful example of cast blackwood crystal glass. Cast glass crystal is 20 times harder to produce than other processes. Quite an achievement. Robert spoke about the fact that all the mediums of glass, ceramic and mosaics on display involve complex procedures, and the artist therefore spends considerable time in planning and executing their work.

Contemporary by Nature’ artworks and sculptures all represent each artist’s interpretation of the natural world, through landscapes real and imagined, seascapes, the universe, memories, forests, flowers, fruits, birds, animals, people and upcycled objects used or found.

The general public can enter a draw to win $100 by voting on their ‘Best in Show’ which will be announced at the end of the exhibition. Robert thanked everyone for coming and please enjoy the show.

On entering the gallery I noticed ‘Flying Crane Trio’ by Jessie Yvette Journoud-Ryan. A striking three ceramic birds in flight made from recycled crockery on blueboard cement sheeting. All about migration and the journey. Deep blue and white crockery for body and wings, and red for eyes with golden beaks. Above the front desk hangs ‘Jurassic’ by Julia Mattea in acrylic. It’s refreshing and colourful, wild and free with yellow sunlight dappling through the trees. It definitely makes the viewer feel ‘alive and rejuvenated’ as quoted by the artist.

Wendy Morrell uses mosaics to express abstract concepts in ‘Beyond the Beginning’ with yellow orb in the centre with blue, black, gold/grey coloured mosaics circling in orbit around the yellow orb indicating further journeys. Her still life ‘Trio of Fruit’ mosaic shows great subtlety with the shadow effect of the green pears and red apple on a warm luminous background of blue and tan. Most pleasing.

Robert Lee’s mobile ‘Natural Forces’ is also a delight with all the elements of nature: wire, stone, wood, handmade paper, pressed botanical specimens, all grouped together with wire to balance and be guided by the wind in pure harmony in space. Poetic in nature.

Two sculptured heads ‘Marie 1’ and Marie 2’ by Betty Knight, sit on plinths opposite each other and even though the image is the same, they appear to be quite different. Many sculptures are on exhibition including Laurie Collins ‘Sea Flower’ and ‘In my heart’ created in recycled steel which are highly imaginative larger scale works. Amazing results using old tools, bolts and cut metal parts. Paul Cacioli ‘s ‘If pigs can fly’ forged steel and ‘The Weight Revisited’ in forged steel and slate are both delicate and strong in nature and have an elegance to them.

All the works have a story to tell which encourages the viewer to explore and interact totally. A wonderful exhibition.

All artworks are available to purchase as well as art cards from the artists’ studios.


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