Mixed Blessings – The Great Art Scare group exhibition by RAT Gallery 

WHERE: Mercure Hotel & Convention Centre, 613 Main Road, Ballarat
WHEN: Thursday, 7 June to Sunday, 8 July 2018
OPENING NIGHT: from 6pm on Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Ballarat Courier: https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5445804/new-gallery-of-mixed-blessings-for-artists

Mixed Blessings is an exhibition of work by 12 artists from Ballarat and district, convened by well-known musician and painter Diokno Pasilan. He is showing a large energetic painting in the manner of sixties pop. PJ Gregg’s brilliant pattern of expressive impasto drying tomatoes on panels takes up the theme.

At the other end of the scale are magical townscape photos by Pippa Tandy and Neil Newitt’s luminous bush views. Jeff Moorfoot’s stripped down images of natural bush strike a different note. Aldona Kmiec weaves an enticing tracery in her image of tall, thin trees lit by the low red sunset in ‘Lake Hindmarsh’.

Also present is Lou Reed in a spiky painting by Casey Mcintosh. Andrew Dudley adds a different almost antipodean feel in his ‘Smoking Man’. In ‘More Venom’ street artist Stuart Walsh conjures a vision of evil that may be familiar to some.
Deb Johnston’s sparse stretching figures take up the tensions of Kandinsky in his Blue Rider painting. The large moody black and white spots and smudges by Jimi Gregg parade a vacuum before the eyes, an empty space that defies every effort to travel through it.

No collection of ‘blessings’ should be without some gentle humour. In Scott Fredericks ‘Portrait of a Boy’ round limpid grey eyes trapped between two bent car rego plates glow gently in soft mockery of Ned Kelly who for Nolan was more than two eyes in a tin.

Curator, David Bromfield

Lake Hindmarsh Wimmera Nights Australian Landscape print
Wimmera Nights 30.0 sec; f/2.8 Framed Print 120x80cm
Ballarat Art Walk Aldona Kmiec Lake Hindmarsh Dreaming Wimmera Nights Australian Landscape Victoria Australia
Lake Hindmarsh Dreaming Framed Print 120x80cm

Some artists are uneasy about only showing their work in a gallery. They know that visiting a gallery can be a bit like going to church. There are things to do and words to say. Words they don’t know. What if they show their ignorance, do the wrong thing? Try as they might galleries still have a whiff of the old school, God who sent you to Hell for bad behaviour, or, maybe, just to show you he could.

Some people are just plain scared of art.

One way for artists to avoid this is to show their work somewhere, anywhere else that gives people a chance to enjoy it. If art grew on trees no-one would worry about enjoying it.

It might even be best not to tell them its Art. Far too many people make a living from telling other people what Art is and is not; better they should make their own minds up. I once left some of my work on a tip only to find it on my neighbour’s lounge room wall. He thought it was rubbish from a fairground. No idea of art, he just liked it.

That is what the artists at the Mercure would like. The organisers Diokno Pasilan, Scott Fredericks and others have been putting art in unusual places for a while.

Here are many assorted sensations from Pasilan’s own paean to joyful sailing and wild patterns to Fredericks’ photo of a pair of eyes gazing out dolefully encircled between two bent car number plates. It’s the magic and mystery that matters, the real thing.

Things to watch out for include a wild take on figures in the landscape by Debra Johnston, moody night photos by Aldona Kmiec and Pippa Tandy who also shows small prints and one of her photo books about her empty family home. There is a comic style portrait of Nick Cave, a knight on horse-back and much more. It’s best to come and see.

Art can be anything, its what it does that matters. Think of it as an apple that fell on your head or a glittering treasure you took from the rubbish skip outside your office. Remember that Matisse forgot the weekend shopping and came home with something even better, a painting by Cezanne!

This is a show of Mixed Blessings that come to you, without notice, at the Mercure Hotel over a drink or even a smorgasbord.

The 12 local artists exhibiting are Scott Fredericks, Pippa Tandy, Aldona Kmiec, Jeff Moorfoot, Neil Newitt, Debra Johnston, Stuart Walsh, Jimi Gregg, Casey Tosh, PJ Gregg, Andrew Dudley and Diokno Pasilan.

Curator, David Bromfield