noosa regional gallery jill orr

All the Rivers Run: Noosa Regional Gallery

Image source: Contributed

Noosa Regional Gallery Director Michael Brennan highlights the beauty of our regional gallery and teases us with what’s to come.

What could be better than the experience of cruising along a picturesque river to be dropped on the doorstep of a leading contemporary art gallery? Well, while Noosa Regional Gallery might not be able to offer a room-sized mechanical replica human digestive system – complete with logical outcome – like MONA in Hobart (look it up!), there is at least one thing we can provide that the ferry ride on the Derwent River is less inclined towards… the option to enjoy the journey in short sleeves and non-thermal underwear.

The buzz of Hastings Street and Noosa Main Beach and the cultural experience of Noosa Regional Gallery neatly bracket the ferry ride down the Noosa River. Visitors regularly make the trip from one destination to the other, taking in the captivating river-scape from the sun-drenched top deck or listening to the Captain’s commentary from the comfort of the cabin. When you arrive, however, don’t expect to simply find a room of idyllic landscapes (although we do occasionally exhibit those as well). The artists we work with grapple with both ideas and aesthetics. FEM-aFFINITY is a great example.

A nationally touring exhibition for which Noosa Regional Gallery is the exclusive Queensland destination, FEM-aFFINITY brings together female artists from Arts Project Australia (the first full-time art studio in Australia for artists with an intellectual disability) and leading female Australian artists from the wider community to uncover shared perspectives on female identity through collaborative approaches to art making. Painter, printmaker and ceramicist, Lisa Reid has paired with Archibald Prize winner, Yvette Coppersmith, while emerging artist Eden Menta has worked with National Photographic Portrait Prize winner, Janelle Low, to name only a few. The exhibition is diverse in media and imagery and reveals how feminism materialises in distinctive and uncanny ways.

Noosa Regional Gallery prides itself on the diversity of its exhibition program. Regular visitors enjoy being surprised by the transformation of the gallery space with each new exhibition. The coming year sees the celebrated ceramic work of Rowley Drysdale installed delicately in the Gallery having endured a perilous wood-firing for several days; the Neo-Expressionist paintings of eight-time Archibald finalist, Ian Smith will also fill the walls with explosions of line and form; and the intricately hand-carved paper works of Elysha Rei talk about personal cultural heritage and the way it shapes our identity. Plus a gallery-wide celebration of First Nations arts practices will combine with similar events across the region to foreground the practices of leading Indigenous artists.

I didn’t want to start this article by continuing the narrative about COVID-19 that has so completely consumed us all this year. It bears noting though that the arts have been particularly hard hit by this social upheaval. With venues closed to the public, artists lost their principal way of sharing their work while we, as audiences, sharply realised what it’s like to live in a world without access to creative expression. If there is a silver lining to be found, it’s that this period of isolation has provided an opportunity for significant reflection on what we value in our lives and the artists that we continue to work with have been giving form to those thoughts. As Daniel Agdag’s meticulously hand cut three-dimensional cardboard architectural depictions of introspection remind us – also on show at the Gallery this year – art helps us makes sense of the world around us, evaluate what is important and understand our place in it. We look forward to seeing you in the Gallery soon to join us on the journey.

25 July – 12 Sept 2020

Ian Smith & Rowley Drysdale
19 Sept – 7 Nov 2020

Elysha Rei & Daniel Agdag
14 Nov 20 – 23 Jan 2021

For full details of current exhibitions and events visit:

About the Author /

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Director of Noosa Regional Gallery and described as an ‘accidental curator’ this prize-winning painter and sculptor has moved from creating works to curating them. It all began when he opened The Trocadero Art Space in Footscray in an effort to build an arts community in the area and 14 years later it is still standing we are lucky to have him taking the arts to a whole new level in our region.

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