Landmark Art at Caloundra Regional Gallery

Image source: Contributed

Georgia Beard previews an immersive program of exhibitions at Caloundra Regional Gallery, reminding us of forgotten cultural landmarks on our shores and across the sea.

Stamped onto our crowded cultural canvases, some markings catch more attention than others.

We love the patterns in our lives for their familiarity, mistaking them as the only experiences worth having and hearing about.

From personal conversations to spaces of public self-expression, we’re distracted by the focal points – the loudest voices, the simplest stereotypes.

When we miss the minutiae of our collective memories and movements, we owe it to ourselves and our neighbours to recognise the complete picture of culture.

This is where Caloundra Regional Gallery draws our gaze.

Over the summer months, a cultural exchange will take place as two exhibitions pull rare images and ideas from the pasts of Japan and Australia.

Together, they reframe historical understanding and remind us of lifestyles lost.

Variation and Autonomy: The Prints of Contemporary Japanese Painters will colour the gallery walls until 21 January, curated by Kyoji Takizawa from the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts in partnership with the Japan Foundation, Sydney and Consulate-General of Japan in Brisbane.

This exhibition reaches beyond the pivotal figures of contemporary Japanese printmaking to bring their unseen supporters to the forefront – painters who didn’t specialise in printmaking but nonetheless enriched this artistic landscape in the 20th century.

The evolution of printmaking traces back to the 1910s when emerging painters and sculptors cultivated the sōsaku-hanga or ‘creative prints’ movement – upholding the ideal of a single printmaker carrying out every stage of the printmaking process.

“This early-modern Japanese art movement arose during an era when the market was flooded with lithographs of minimal artistic value and woodblock prints that merely duplicated original pictures for the purpose of mass production,” Kyoji Takizawa said.

Post-World War II printmakers who dedicated themselves to the medium soon gained prominence, while lesser known painters and sculptors travelled to the West to learn the technical skills of print production.

These peintre-graveurs, as they were known, united the new potential of printmaking with their mastery of abstract, expressionist and figurative techniques.

Caloundra Regional Gallery introduces us to ten peintre-graveurs of the 1970s who explore a wide range of artistic possibilities through silkscreens, woodcuts, stone cuts, lithographs and more – Masanari Murai, Toshinobu Onosato, Yasukazu Tabuchi, Yayoi Kusama, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Hitoshi Nakazato, Tomoharu Murakami, Naoyoshi Hikosaka, Kosai Hori and Toeko Tatsuno expand the breadth of contemporary art, from geometric shapes and humanistic figures to expressions of European and Eastern culture and religious devotion.

“Without a doubt, the prints of the artists featured in this exhibition constitute variations on the medium of painting, yet at the same time they stand alone as works of art that could only be realised through printmaking,” Kyoji said.

After Variation and Autonomy illuminates a long-overlooked artform, Caloundra Regional Gallery’s second exhibition shifts the spotlight to cultural memories on our shores – a nostalgia we may not have revisited in decades.

From 26 January to 17 March, Reception this way: motels – a sentimental journey with Tim Ross invites us on a driving holiday through the quintessential Australian experience of staying in a motel.

National Archives of Australia developed the exhibition in collaboration with comedian and self-confessed architecture nerd Tim Ross, unearthing a collection of photographs and promotional film footage of long car rides, oversized roadside attractions and mid-century mod-cons.

Return to freedom and sophistication when the American motel revolutionised tourism from Canberra to the Gold Coast to Coober Pedy.

Googie architecture, neon signs and swimming pools were the landmarks of luxury, while private suites promised colour television, breakfast hatches and twin packs of biscuits inside.

Not even their essential housekeepers and hospitality workers are forgotten!

“The records at National Archives are richer and more diverse than many people would give them credit for. It’s a real treasure trove that deserves to be better known,” Tim said. “I’m really pleased that my earlier research and partnership with National Archives planted this seed that has blossomed into a really great exhibition.

“To be part of that journey has been fun. The result is this pictorial love letter to a somewhat bygone era, capturing the glamour and convenience of the roadside motels, from the east coast to the west, during a time when Aussie families found the time to hit road and take a break.”

Now is our chance to reconnect with the rare and the obscure, as Caloundra Regional Gallery rolls out an all-encompassing tapestry of cultural experience with much more to encounter in 2024!


Celebrate the Launch of Reception this way: motels – a sentimental journey with Tim Ross at Caloundra Regional Gallery on Thursday 1 February, 6pm to 8pm!

22 Omrah Avenue, Caloundra

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